About the TSO

"Best of all, the Toronto Symphony and its music director delivered the music with utter conviction... This was an orchestra at its most riveting." Toronto Star, 2012

Music Director Peter Oundjian celebrates ten years with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra in the 13/14 season. The Orchestra is flourishing under his tenure, attracting new audiences, earning rave reviews, releasing recordings on TSO Live (a self-produced recording label), and travelling for concert tours across North America. 

About Peter Oundjian

Peter Oundjian is a critically acclaimed, internationally sought-after Music Director and Conductor. The 2013/14 season marks his tenth season as Music Director of Canada’s esteemed Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO). In addition, Peter has just completed his first season as Music Director of the Scottish Royal National Orchestra (RSNO).

Since the beginning of his Music Directorship with the TSO, Peter has become an integral part of the rebirth of the orchestra. He has established an annual celebration of Mozart; created the hugely successful New Creations Festival; launched TSO LIVE, a self-produced recording label with eight releases to date; lead the TSO in two unforgettable appearances at Carnegie Hall; initiated the TSO’s northern residencies; forged a relationship with Toronto’s Luminato Festival to present free large-scale outdoor concerts, and has revitalized the orchestra with the appointments of over 1/3 of the current TSO musicians, including 9 principals and Concertmaster Jonathan Crow in 2011.

That same season, the TSO’s 90th season, Peter oversaw record-breaking attendance and an increase in ticket sales with over 224,000 tickets sold, including 17,000 tickets in the under-35 programme, TSOUNDCHECK. To cap off a stellar year, Peter made a rare return to the violin to perform the Bach double violin concerto with Itzhak Perlman.

Peter’s first season with the RSNO featured a five-city tour through China, as well as his conducting débuts at the Edinburgh International Festival, with a Tod Machover world première – modeled after A Toronto Symphony, Machover’s world première at the TSO New Creations Festival earlier in the year – and BBC Proms with a Naresh Sohal world première.

In addition to his performances with the TSO this season, Peter has conducted the Houston Symphony’s 2013/14 Centennial Classical season opener; will make his conducting début with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra; and will guest conduct the St. Louis Symphony, the Rundfunk Symphony Orchestra Berlin, and the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra. Peter has also guest conducted the Detroit, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, Chicago, Boston, and San Francisco symphony orchestras.

Over the past season, Peter made several conducting débuts including the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra; the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra with nine concerts in Tel Aviv, Haifa and Jerusalem; and the NHK Symphony Orchestra in Japan. He also returned to conduct the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France in four concerts in Paris and Prague, including the opening concert of the Prague Spring Festival.

In summer 2013 Peter made his long-awaited return, with pianist Yefim Bronfman and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, to the Caramoor Festival in New York, where he previously served as both Artistic Director and Artistic Advisor for a combined ten years.

Toronto-born, Peter first studied violin in England with Manoug Parikian. He attended the Royal College of Music in London, where he was awarded the Gold Medal for Most Distinguished Student and the Stoutzker Prize for excellence in violin playing, by the Queen Mother. Peter completed his training at the Juilliard School in New York, where he studied with Itzhak Perlman and Dorothy DeLay and had the opportunity to conduct for Herbert von Karajan during a historic three-day series of master classes.

Peter is the longest-serving first violinist of the renowned Tokyo String Quartet (TSQ), a position he held for fourteen years. He is currently in his 32nd year as a visiting professor at the Yale School of Music, a partnership that began during his tenure with the TSQ. In 2009 Peter was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the San Francisco Conservatory, and in 2013 Peter was awarded the Samuel Simons Sanford Medal for distinguished service to music, the highest honour the Yale School of Music can bestow.

Off the podium Peter is an avid sports fan who grew up with childhood dreams of playing for England’s Chelsea soccer team! Today, he regularly plays tennis, snow skis, water skis and in 2011 he threw a first ball for the Toronto Blue Jays. A huge fan of hockey, Peter’s nephew Ben Smith plays for the Chicago Blackhawks Stanley Cup Champions. His middle brother Haig was a British Figure Skating Champion and Olympian, in the late 60s and early 70s. And his cousin is Eric Idle of Monty Python fame.

Peter and his wife Nadine have two children, Lara and Peter, whom the maestro depends on to keep him current with rock music and pop culture.

Current as of October 2013.



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