Gnats in the Wind – An Intercultural Concerto

The Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra (VICO) performs the world premiere of “Gnats in the Wind” by Farshid Samandari, featuring Azerbaijani tar virtuoso and UNESCO World Heritage artist Ramiz Guliyev (tar), conducted by his son, Ayyub Guliyev.

Filmed on June 11, 2022 in The Historic Theatre at The Cultch
Vancouver, Canada

Gnats in the Wind – A Concerto for Tar & Intercultural Orchestra by Farshid Samandari

The Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra, founded in 2001, was one of the first professional concert orchestras devoted specifically to performing new intercultural music on a grand scale. It is currently the only ensemble of its kind in Canada, and one of only a handful that exist in the world. The VICO brings together musicians and composers from many cultural and artistic communities in the Greater Vancouver area, including Chinese, Taiwanese, Japanese, Indian, Persian (Iranian), Latin and South American, Vietnamese, African, North American and European. The ensemble includes Western strings and winds (violin, viola, cello, contrabass, oboe, flute, clarinet) alongside Chinese erhu, sanxian, zheng, and sheng/suona; Persian kamanche, tar/setar, and tombak; Vietnamese dan bau; percussion from many world music traditions; and a variety of other instruments as required.

Since repertoire for the VICO’s unusual and diverse instrumentation does not already exist, creating new work is an integral component of all our programming. Developing new commissions provides a necessary framework for bringing musicians and composers together to learn from each other, in a uniquely collaborative process. Since its inaugural performance in 2001, the VICO has developed and performed over 50 new intercultural pieces by ground-breaking Canadian composers such as Elliot Weisgarber, Trichy Sankaran, Jin Zhang, Mark Armanini, Farshid Samandari, Moshe Denburg, Nikki Carter, Ed Henderson, Larry Nickel, Jeffrey Ryan, Rita Ueda, Lisa Cay Miller, Jim Hiscott, Lan Tung, Michael O’Neill, John Oliver, Grace Lee, Neil Weisensel, Joseph “Pepe” Danza, Niel Golden, Stephen Chatman, Rodney Sharman, Dorothy Chang, Neelamjit Dhillon, Jennifer Butler, Kara Gibbs, and Leslie Uyeda.

We build bridges of imagination. We approach diversity as a fascinating challenge and a creative call to action. We create and perform music that transcends borders and breaks down barriers, modelling pathways for integrating non-Western traditional instruments, sounds and techniques into contemporary Canadian classical music.


Ramiz Guliyev, tar
Ayyub Guliyev, conductor

Mark Ferris, violin
Yuel Yawney, violin
Francisco Barradas, violin
Sina Ettehad, kamanche
Jun Rong, erhu
Douglas Hensley, oud/mandolin
Saina Khaledi, santur
Dai Lin Hsieh, zheng
Tawnya Popoff, viola
Ju Dee Ang, viola
Barbara Irschick, viola
Finn Manniche, cello
Sungyong Lim, cello
Mark Haney, contrabass
Andrew Broughton, bass trombone
Zhongxi Wu, suona / sheng
Paolo Bortolussi, flute
Geronimo Mendoza, oboe
Milan Milosevic, clarinet
Mike Brown, bass clarinet
Jonathan Bernard, percussion
Brian Nesselroad, percussion

Videography – Alistair Eagle
Sound – Sheldon Zaharko

The VICO respectfully acknowledges that our work takes place on the traditional and unceded territories of the Coast Salish Nations, including the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-waututh Nations.

We also extend heartfelt thanks to the following funders, whose support made this project possible in very challenging times:

Canada Council for the Arts
Department of Canadian Heritage
The Province of British Columbia
BC Arts Council
Creative BC / Amplify BC
The City of Vancouver

June 10th, 2023

The VSO and VSO School of Music are excited for the return of Day of Music to Downtown Vancouver with FREE performances by musicians from across the Lower Mainland and beyond. Enjoy performances and activities by the VSO and others as we come together and celebrate the joy and fun of music.