Turning Point Ensemble is a large ensemble and a conductor, the group is dedicated to linking modern and contemporary music to music of our time and other artforms.


Based in Vancouver, British Columbia, the Turning Point Ensemble is a large chamber ensemble (16 instrumentalists and conductor) recognized for its outstanding musicianship.  Founded in 2002 by its musician members, Turning Point has a mandate to increase the understanding and appreciation of music composed during the past hundred years, the ensemble has built a strong reputation for linking seminal 20th century repertoire to contemporary works through thoughtful programming and innovative presentations.  Uniquely and flexibly sized between a small chamber ensemble and a symphonic orchestra, Turning Point Ensemble presentations offer a symphonic palette with a chamber music sensibility.

Turning Point Ensemble has released four cds on the Artifact, Centrediscs, Atma Classique and Redshift Record labels, and has been recorded on several occasions for CBC broadcast.  The most recent CD Thirst featuring the music of Ana Sokolovic and Julia Wolfe has been nominated for Best Classical Recording at the Western Canadian Music Award.  The ensemble has toured across Canada twice, most recently in the fall of 2015 with a program of Canadian women composers.  In addition, TPE has toured within British Columbia, most recently in 2015 spring, and has been invited to perform in prestigious festivals and series including the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival, New Music Concerts Toronto, ecm+ Montreal, groundswell Winnipeg, New Music Edmonton, MusicFest Vancouver, Vancouver International Jazz Festival (upcoming), and the Modulus Festival.  Educational outreach is a core value of TPE, and the ensemble has initiated an educational program, “Creating Composers; Nurturing Life-Long Musical Expression Through Composition” that has received raves from the participating students, parents, and teachers.

In 2010 Turning Point Ensemble was awarded the Rio Tinto Alcan Award for Music 2011 – the largest production prize for music in Canada for its presentation of FIREBIRD 2011, resulting in 4 sold out performances in March 2011 at The Cultch in Vancouver.  Other significant large-scale interdisciplinary projects include the premiere of air india [redacted] (5 performances November 2015), two major partnerships with Ballet British Columbia, and several projects with live music and moving image.

We are proud to have presented a diverse range of repertoire, commissioned and performed works by Canadian and international composers, and partnered with a number of community and cultural organizations.

The central artistic vision of the Turning Point Ensemble (TPE) is to bring to the public extraordinary music for large chamber ensemble written from the early 20th century through to present day.  We draw audiences to this music through outstanding performances, and intelligent programming that creates a lively context for the music.  We seek to create links from the music of earlier times to new music, to explore relationships and connections between composers and their music, to perform significant large-scale works from the Canadian and international repertoire, to collaborate with multiple art forms in extraordinary ways, and to establish meaningful long-term relationships with some of Canada’s most talented composers through commissioning and multiple performances.  More recently, we have striven to establish international links and this has resulted in commissions with composers such as Jürgen Simpson (Ireland), John Hollenbeck (USA) and Dave Douglas (USA).

Turning Point Ensemble has recorded three commercially released CDs: Strange Sphere (the music of Rudolf Komorous) on the Artifact Label, Disasters of the Sun (the music of Barbara Pentland) on the Centrediscs label, and Liquid featuring music for clarinet and large chamber on the ATMA label. CBC has recorded Turning Point’s concerts on numerous occasions, with the most recent broadcast recordings of Dave Douglas’ Sand Hill and Brad Turner’s Seven Scenes from Childhood available to hear on its Concerts on Demand site. TPE recorded new music by Jordan Nobles and Jennifer Butler for John Bolton’s short film, Flame/Through Walls, and recently recorded John Braham’s restored score for a Milestone Films centenary release of Edward Curtis’ 1914 film, In the Land of The Head Hunters.

A recent highlight is our ground-breaking cultural collaboration with the Westbank First Nation in the Okanagan for an outdoor presentation ofBarbara Pentland/Dorothy Livesay’s 1954 opera, The Lake at Quails’ Gate Winery, the original homestead of Susan Allison and her family.



Turning Point Ensemble began our association with the Air India project as early as 2010 and eventually became the principal producer and sole commissioner in the mounting of the premiere production that took place in Vancouver November 2015.This production based on the events and aftermath of Air India Flight 182 in 1985 is arguably the most significant artistic event undertaken by the Turning Point Ensemble in our ten-year history.

The powerful resonance of the bombing, the rescue efforts and the thirty-year history of care for the memorial, annual events and families impressed further upon us that this truly international production.