January 2019 at the TSO

December 19, 2018

From Stravinsky and Mozart to Sibelius and Wagner, distinguished artists take centre stage. And Star Wars: A New Hope—In Concert kicks off the Star Wars Film Concert Series.

Launching the new year with epic music, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO) features renowned guest artists like Leila Josefowicz and Pinchas Zukerman; timeless masterpieces by Stravinsky, Mozart, Sibelius, and Wagner; and the anticipated presentation of Star Wars: A New Hope—In Concert.

January 10 to 13, Canadian/American violinist Leila Josefowicz takes the spotlight for the Stravinsky Violin Concerto—a thrilling, dance-like work that inspired the legendary choreographer George Balanchine. Infused with melodies that sound like folksong, Sibelius Symphony 2 is widely regarded as the essence of the Finnish character in music. French conductor Ludovic Morlot, who last appeared with the TSO in 2008, leads the Orchestra. Morlot is the Music Director of the Seattle Symphony. He replaces American conductor David Robertson, who has had to withdraw from these January concerts with the TSO for personal reasons. Mr. Robertson sends his warmest regards to the TSO musicians and audience. The program, which remains unchanged, opens with the suite from Kurt Weill’s The Threepenny Opera, with its original version of the pop-song standard, “Mack the Knife”.

On Saturday, January 12 (10:00am–12:30pm), the TSO introduces Explore the Score. Presented in collaboration with the Canadian Music Centre (CMC), the program is part of the TSO’s commitment to support the development of emerging Canadian composers and the creation of new orchestral works, and to give the public the opportunity to witness artistic creation first-hand. Five emerging Canadian composers will have the opportunity to hear their brand-new works rehearsed in a live professional orchestral setting: Sean Clarke (Ottawa), Keiko Devaux (Montreal), Kathryn Knowles (Toronto), Julia Mermelstein (Toronto), and Scott Ross-Molyneux (Calgary). TSO Composer Advisor Gary Kulesha conducts the Orchestra. This event—free to the public—is at capacity.

Mozart with Zukerman (January 16 to 19) showcases the flair and artistry of one of today’s finest classical musicians. Pinchas Zukerman doubles as soloist and conductor in this all-Mozart program, featuring two violin concertos; the sprightly Symphony No. 35, K. 385 “Haffner”; and the overture to The Marriage of Figaro.

The TSO makes its 21C Music Festival début at Koerner Hall on January 16—the opening night of the festival—with two World Premières: the first of a piano concerto by Stewart Goodyear, titled Ur-, and the second by the TSO’s Affiliate Composer, Emilie LeBel, titled They do not shimmer like the dry grasses on the hills, or the leaves on the trees. The latter work will be conducted by the newly appointed RBC Resident Conductor of the TSO, Simon Rivard. Canadian conductor Tania Miller leads the rest of the program, which also includes the Canadian Première of a string orchestra version of Terry Riley’s Half-Wolf Dances Mad in Moonlight and three Ontario Premières by Canadian composers: Dorothy Chang’s North Star, Dinuk Wijeratne’s First Winter (both from True North: Symphonic Ballet), and Jocelyn Morlock’s Nostalgia. NOTE: tickets for this concert are sold via Koerner Hall.

January 23, 24, 25, and 26, guest conductor Sarah Hicks is on the TSO podium for Star Wars: A New Hope—In Concert. As the Special Edition version of the original trilogy—which includes the 1997 re-release material—is projected on the large screen, the Orchestra performs the music of legendary composer John Williams live. Williams is well known for scoring all eight of the Star Wars saga films to date, beginning with 1977’s Star Wars: A New Hope, for which he earned an Academy Award for Best Original Score.

On January 31 and February 2, Sir Andrew Davis Conducts Wagner features the first act of Die Walküre (The Valkyrie), the second opera in Wagner’s The Ring of the Nibelungs cycle. This Wagner-in-concert presentation (sung in German with English surtitles) marks TSO débuts for three of today’s finest singers—all acclaimed Wagner interpreters: Norwegian soprano Lise Davidsen, New Zealand tenor Simon O’Neill, and British bass Brindley Sherratt. Alban Berg’s monumental Three Pieces—with their inventive, First World War–era transfigurations of such traditional forms as the march—provide a dramatic prelude.

The TSO Season Presenting Sponsor is BMO Financial Group.

The Toronto Symphony Orchestra is generously supported by the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, and the City of Toronto.

The Toronto Symphony Orchestra thanks the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund for promotional support.

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