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Virtual Performances

On Set with Murdoch Mysteries & Frankie Drake Mysteries

March 4, 2021

Yannick Bisson, who plays Inspector William Murdoch; the cast of Frankie Drake Mysteries; and TSO Associate Principal Clarinet Eric Abramovitz

How is being on stage in the concert hall different than performing on the set of a TV show?

Associate Principal Clarinet Eric Abramovitz takes us behind the scenes of two special musical episodes filmed for Murdoch Mysteries and Frankie Drake Mysteries.


The TSO’s collaboration with Shaftesbury on Murdoch Mysteries and Frankie Drake Mysteries is just one example of the many creative projects we’ve undertaken with new partners this year. It’s another way we are delivering music in unique ways while we are not at Roy Thomson Hall. 

The shows, which air on CBC, follow the adventures of two crime-fighting detectives, and transport audiences to La Belle Époque and the Roaring Twenties. 

“Just to play in this kind of setting is obviously very different from what we’re used to,” Eric explains. “Being on these sets, it really transports you to the era of the show.”
 

TSO Musicians on set with the cast of CBC's Frankie Drake Mysteries

Members of the TSO pictured on set with the cast of Frankie Drake Mysteries. Eric can be seen on the far right.
 

The Music Director and Composer for both series, Rob Carli, programmed music that was “a little bit more eerie and serious” for Murdoch Mysteries, while the program for Frankie Drake Mysteries was more funky and jazzy. 

“It suits the tone of each show really well,” says Eric. “For me, that’s the best kind of gig, where I get to play a variety of styles.”

Of course, filming under lockdown restrictions brought challenges—like performing in a room separate from the other musicians on Murdoch Mysteries (Inspector Brackenreid’s office next door, in fact) to ensure a safe distance. “Having my own office, it felt like I was the manager of all the musicians!” jokes Eric. 

Spot Eric in this excerpt from the episode:

 

> Watch the full episode: “A Music Lover’s Guide to Murdoch Mysteries”

As a performer, Eric has always had an interest in other genres. “I want to become more fluid at improvisations…the jazz style is truly a passion of mine.” Frankie Drake Mysteries was an opportunity to explore just that, with jazz-infused arrangements of classical pieces—and even popular jazz standards sung by the cast. 

> Watch the full episode: Frankie Drake Mysteries: “Music at Midnight”

Eric shares more behind-the-scenes details, and the other projects he’s worked on during lockdown, in his interview with Kathleen Kajioka on The New Classical FM:

 
 

“A Music Lover’s Guide to Murdoch Mysteries” is presented by Acorn TV, in collaboration with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and Shaftesbury.

Frankie Drake Mysteries: “Music at Midnight” is presented by Ovation, in collaboration with musicians of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and Shaftesbury.

 

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