Music Director

I'm Rosemary Thomson, I am in my sixth season as Music Director at the OSO, a job that I absolutely love. The Okanagan is rich with artistic talent and I have discovered many wonderful musicians that I have been priveleged to share the stage with as members of the orchestra and as guest artists. As Music Director, I lead the artistic planning team in creating our annual programs. We strive to present a season of rich and diverse concert experiences that mix the tried and true repertoire with fresh new voices.

I'm in charge of rehearsing the orchestra and leading the performances. I also spend a lot of time out in our community. I work with school groups and youth arts groups including the Youth Symphony of the Okanagan. I rehearse the newly formed Okanagan Symphony Chorus in preparation for their performances with the OSO. I strive to include our many exceptional Performing Arts groups to share the stage with us.   I enjoy being invited to emcee events such as the Okanagan Arts Awards, Break Out West's Classical Showcase and other celebratory evenings. I have also enjoyed being the guest speaker for Rotary Clubs, Newcomer's Clubs, Woman's Clubs, Retirement Clubs and others.   I love to do workshops and masterclasses, and have especially enjoyed my time spent with the clients from Cool Arts.

Before coming to the Okanagan I held various positions across Canada; Resident Conductor with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Resident Conductor and Chorus Master with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, Music Director of the Calgary Civic Orchestra and Assistant Conductor at the Canadian Opera Company. I had great mentors in Bramwell Tovey, Hans Graf and Richard Bradshaw and I'm grateful for all of the insight that they shared with me. I have guest conducted orchestras across the country, and I also love to conduct opera which I do every chance I get. The mix of text and music, voices and orchestra and stage and pit is irresistable. For fourteen years I was the conductor for a contemporary music ensemble in Toronto, called Continuum. I toured with them across the country and in Europe and recorded several Cds. It was an exciting time, commissioning lots of new music and getting to spend lots of time with composers. I was a student at the University of Toronto earning a Bachelors of Music degree where my major instrument of study was the piano. While there, I also played the cello in the symphony and sang in many choirs. Errol Gay (who grew up in Penticton, and whose parents George and Bev Gay were founding members of the OSO) and his wife, Ann Cooper Gay got me started in conducting in the 1990s. I loved it from the get go. Having all of that sound come back in response to my gesture was and continues to be absolutely exhilerating.

My parents met singing in a choir and I'm one of seven children. We drove around in our old station wagon that had no radio, so we sang all the time. Music is in my blood, my bones and my very being. I love what I do.

I live in Kelowna with my husband, Dan and my kids, Sam (9) and Molly (7). They sing all the time, play guitar, piano, cello, violin, mandolin .... I love what they do too, and so it continues.