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for oboe d’amore and chamber orchestra (alto flute (flute), bass clarinet, 2 percussion, violin, viola, cello)  

As he contemplated writing a chamber concerto for oboist and Soundstreams Artistic Director Lawrence Cherney, Chan thought immediately of the oboe d’amore—and, in particular, of that double-reed instrument’s age-old association with snake charming. It was with that exotic quality in mind that he set out to compose this piece. The Charmer depicts a modern-day character who is naturally outgoing and friendly, even somewhat eccentric. But Chan is also interested in exploring the private moments behind this character’s public persona. What happens when he or she is at odds with his or her surroundings? What inner pain might be masked by the outward-facing personality? To address these questions, Chan juxtaposes the “private” soloist with the “public” orchestra throughout, playing in his music with the relationship between individuals and their larger social context. At the end, optimism prevails and our charmer decides to take on life as it comes. 

Performed by:
Lawrence Cherney, oboe d'amore
Encounters Chamber Orchestra
Gary Kulesha, conductor

Commissioned by Soundstreams with generous support of the Ontario Arts Council