The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Vancouver Orchestra was founded in 1938 as the CBC Vancouver Chamber Orchestra. From 1939 to 1980, John Avison was the music director and during this period, he gave premieres of countless of works by Canadian composers, including Jean Coulthard, Barbara Pentland, and Elliot Weisgarber. In 1980, the orchestra abandoned its designation as a chamber orchestra upon the appointment of John Eliot Gardiner as music director. After a brief period of concentration on earlier repertoire, the orchestra returned to its commitment to contemporary works under the baton of Mario Bernardi, who became music director in 1983. The orchestra now commissions at least two major compositions every year. By the end of the twentieth century, the orchestra was the last-surviving radio orchestra in North America. It performs in a regular concert series in Vancouver, on tours in both Canada and the United States, and in broadcasts heard throughout Canada.
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