Songs of Desire - Leslie Dala and Asitha Tennekoon premiere Ian Cusson

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Songs of Desire - Leslie Dala and Asitha Tennekoon premiere Ian Cusson

Muzewest presents the world premier of a song cycle composed by Ian Cusson, performed by Leslie Dala and Asitha Tennekoon

By Müzewest Concerts

When and where

Date and time

Fri, May 12, 2023 7:30 PM - 9:30 PM PDT


Annex 823 Seymour Street Vancouver, BC V6B 3L4 Canada

Refund Policy

No Refunds

About this event

  • 2 hours
  • Mobile eTicket

Join us for an in person premier of a song cycle by Canadian Métis composer Ian Cusson, performed by pianist Leslie Dala and tenor Asitha Tennekoon.This concert is taking place on the ancestral and living lands of the Coast Salish Peoples.

COVID GUIDELINES (as of July 25, 2022):

  • Müzewest Concerts follows current provincial health orders
  • All guests are encouraged to wear masks and we will have some available if people wish.
  • There will be no intermission in order to reduce crowding into smaller spaces


Ian Cusson is a composer of art song, opera and orchestral work. Of Métis (Georgian Bay Métis Community) and French Canadian descent, his work explores Canadian Indigenous experience including the history of the Métis people, the hybridity of mixed-racial identity, and the intersection of Western and Indigenous cultures. He studied composition with Jake Heggie (San Francisco) and Samuel Dolin, and piano with James Anagnoson at the Glenn Gould School. He is the recipient of the Chalmers Professional Development Grant, and grants through the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation, the Canada Council, Ontario Arts Council and the Toronto Arts Council. Ian was an inaugural Carrefour Composer-in-Residence with the National Arts Centre Orchestra for 2017-2019 and was Composer-in-Residence for the Canadian Opera Company for 2019-2021. He is a Co-artistic Director of Opera in the 21st Century at the Banff Centre and the recipient of the 2021 Jan V. Matejcek Classical Music Award from SOCAN and the 2021 Johanna Metcalf Performing Arts Prize. Ian is an Associate Composer of the Canadian Music Centre and a member of the Canadian League of Composers.

Leslie Dala enjoys a multifaceted career spanning the genres of opera, symphonic music, choral and contemporary works. On the podium, he is known for his passionate, dynamic, and charismatic approach to music making. Named one of the top ten artistic leaders by the Vancouver Sun, Dala's national profile has grown steadily with guest conducting appearances with Pacific Opera Victoria, Edmonton Opera, Saskatoon Opera, Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra, Kamloops Symphony, Thirteen Strings of Ottawa, the COSI Festival in Sulmona, Italy, the Goh Ballet, University of Toronto Opera Department and the Glenn Gould School Opera Program. Dala began his professional career as a pianist and repetiteur, which led to his appointment as Chorus Director with Vancouver Opera. Since then, his role at Vancouver Opera has expanded to include the title of Associate Conductor and Program Director of the Yulanda M. Faris Young Artists Program. He has worked on more than 70 Vancouver Opera main stage productions. Operas he has music directed and conducted include Le Nozze Di Figaro in the inaugural Vancouver Opera Festival, Madama Butterfly, the World Premiere of Stickboy by Neil Weisensel and Shane Koyczan, Albert Herring, The Magic Flute, La Boheme, Rigoletto, West Side Story and the Threepenny Opera.

Asitha Tennekoon is a Sri Lankan tenor who has quickly established himself as one of Canada's most impressive and versatile singing artists. He drew critical acclaim as Paul in Tapestry Opera/Scottish Opera's Rocking Horse Winner , receiving the 2016 Dora Award for Best Male Performance. Of his performance, Richard Harris of the Globe and Mail wrote, “The surprise of the night was Asitha Tennekoon... his silky, emotional presence on stage – both vocally and dramatically – gave the show a powerful focus.” For his performance in the 2019 world premiere of Shanawdithit (Nolan/Burry) with Tapestry Opera, Ian Ritchie of Opera Going Toronto wrote: “Tennekoon's savage depiction of vicious racist magistrate and merchant John Peyton is nothing less than harrowing.” Asitha's operatic highlights include performances with Opéra de Montréal, Tapestry Opera, Against the Grain Theatre, Vancouver Opera, Soundstreams Canada, Opera on the Avalon, Opera 5, and Opera Lafayette (USA). On the concert stage Asitha is known for performing a wide variety of repertoire, from the Evangelist in Bach's Passions to premiering new works. Concert highlights include engagements with Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir, Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, Regina Symphony Orchestra, Ottawa Choral Society, Toronto Bach Festival, and Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.

About the organizer

From $22.21