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March 2016 at the TSO

February 11, 2016

Celebrated Australian composer/conductor/violist Brett Dean curates the 12th annual New Creations Festival, March 5–12, 2016.
From Vivaldi to Stravinsky via Broadway, TSO musicians display their versatility.

February 11, 2016: The Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO) brings avant-garde, contemporary music to Toronto this March. Revered Australian composer, conductor, and violist Brett Dean joins festival conductor and host Peter Oundjian to curate the TSO’s 12th annual New Creations Festival, taking place March 5–12, 2016.

Packed with Premières (World, North American, and Canadian), many of which are TSO Commissions, the New Creations Festival features original, intriguing music by Canadian composers Kevin Lau, Paul Frehner, and Skratch Bastid, as well as works by György Kurtág (Hungary), Anthony Pateras (Australia), James Ledger (Australia), Jonny Greenwood (UK) of Radiohead fame, and of course, Brett Dean. Guest artists include Toronto’s Afiara Quartet, baritone Russell Braun, DJ Skratch Bastid, filmmaker Peter Mettler, and Swedish trumpet virtuoso Håkan Hardenberger. To round out the festival, Toronto composer Abigail Richardson-Schulte has curated an array of ancillary events such as pre-concert performances, a forum presented in collaboration with the Canadian Music Centre, and post-concert parties.

Fragile Absolute—March 5: The festival opens with a captivating program conducted by Peter Oundjian. Fragile Absolute is a mesmerizing work by Anthony Pateras that combines wind instruments, percussion, electronics, and celeste. In a rare act of creative/re-creative artistry, Brett Dean performs the solo part in his own Viola Concerto. The evening also includes György Kurtág’s The Answered Unanswered Question, and the World Première of Kevin Lau’s Concerto Grosso for orchestra, string quartet, and turntables. This TSO Commission features the Afiara Quartet and Skratch Bastid.

  • March 5 pre-concert event at 7:15pm in the lobby: Australian composer/pianist Anthony Pateras performs his solo piano work, Blood Stretched Out.
  • March 5 post-concert event in the lobby: The Afiara String Quartet and DJ Skratch Bastid perform an excerpt from the Spin Cycle project. The work for string quartet inspired by popular themes—an innovative conversation between musical worlds—was commissioned by the Afiara Quartet from four of Canada’s leading young composers (Kevin Lau, Laura Silberberg, Rob Teehan, and Dinuk Wijeratne).
  • On Tuesday, March 8, 2016, at 6:00pm at the Canadian Music Centre (20 St. Joseph St.), the TSO’s RBC Affiliate Composer Jordan Pal hosts the third annual Composers in Conversation forum.This year’s panel features celebrated composers from NCF 2016, including festival curator and Australian composer Brett Dean; composer James Ledger; and the Canadian composer/filmmaker duo, Paul Frehner and Peter Mettler. Admission is free.

Two Memorials (for Anton Webern and John Lennon)—March 9: Brett Dean and Peter Oundjian take turns conducting the TSO. Dean’s dazzling trumpet concerto—depicting various aspects of a heroic figure—spotlights the celebrated Swedish soloist for whom it was composed, Håkan Hardenberger. Two Memorials (for Anton Webern and John Lennon) by James Ledger pays tribute to two universally admired composers who died tragically. Composer Paul Frehner and filmmaker Peter Mettler join forces to create From the Vortex Perspective, a new work for film and orchestra (World Première/TSO Commission).

  • March 9 pre-concert event at 7:15pm in the lobby: ASSASSINS: University of Toronto Contemporary Music Ensemble (gamUT)—Wallace Halladay, director; Samuel Tam, conductor—“executes” Webern, Vivier, McCartney/Lennon, and Foss. 
  • March 9 post-concert event in the lobby: The Rattles—Canada’s most authentic tribute to The Beatles.

Knocking at the Hellgate—March 12: The festival wraps up on March 12, as Brett Dean presents Knocking at the Hellgate—a vocal/instrumental suite of excerpts from his forceful, surreal, and highly praised 2010 opera, Bliss, starring baritone Russell Braun. The evening includes Water, a tender and dynamic piece by Jonny Greenwood of the iconic English rock group, Radiohead, which adds a tambura (an East Indian instrument) to the Orchestra. As an ear-opening final bonus, DJ Skratch Bastid creates a remix of music from the festival.

  • March 12 pre-concert event at 6:45 pm in the lobby: Soprano Carla Huhtanen and baritone Peter McGillivray showcase selections from Tapestry Opera’s rich history of absurd, tragic, and beautiful Canadian operas, including a sneak preview of The Rocking Horse Winner, to be premièred in May 2016.
  • March 12 post-concert event in the lobby: Indie band Absolutely Free creates hypnotic, patient music that integrates analog electronics, African polyrhythms, psychedelia, Bollywood, and Krautrock.

On March 2—before diving into the New Creations Festival—the TSO highlights some of its very own outstanding soloists and their remarkable talents in Vivaldi Concerto for Two Trumpets, which spotlights Steven Woomert and James Gardiner. Peter Oundjian shares the podium with RBC Resident Conductor Earl Lee in this program—hosted by Tom Allen—which also showcases Principal Viola Teng Li in Paganini’s Sonata per la Gran Viola, and other remarkable soloists from the TSO playing works by Rossini and Haydn.

On March 23 and 24, the outstanding Stéphane Denève conducts Scenes of the Mediterranean. The highly enticing program presents Roman Carnival Overture by Hector Berlioz and the delightful Pines of Rome by Ottorino Respighi. Camille Saint-Saëns’s Piano Concerto No. 5 “Egyptian”—featuring beloved French pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet—and Jacques Ibert’s Escales (Ports of Call) complete the musical journey.

The TSO is On Broadway on March 29 and 30, with classic and recent Broadway showstoppers conducted by Principal Pops Conductor Steven Reineke. Sensational vocalists Darren Criss—known for his role on the TV series Glee—and rising-star Betsy Wolfe bring a selection of beloved songs from The Phantom of the Opera, The Last Five Years, Chicago, Little Shop of Horrors, Les Misérables, Frozen, and more.

On March 31, the TSO welcomes the dynamic Victoria Symphony for the very first time. In her farewell season with the orchestra (which is celebrating its 75th anniversary), Music Director Tania Miller conducts a rich program filled with the folk-flavoured charm of Norway (Grieg’s Piano Concerto with brilliant Canadian pianist Stewart Goodyear), America (Copland), and Russia (Stravinsky).

The TSO Season Presenting Sponsor is BMO Financial Group.
The New Creations Festival is presented by Via Rail.
The TSO Pops series is presented by Scotia Wealth Management.
The TSO Season Patron is The Renette and David Berman Family Foundation
In gratitude for their generous philanthropy, Blake and Belinda Goldring are recognized as Patrons of Jean-Yves Thibaudet’s appearances with the TSO on March 23 and 24.

Twitter: @TorontoSymphony
Facebook: facebook.com/torontosymphonyorchestra
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About the TSO: Founded in 1922, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra is one of Canada’s most important cultural institutions, recognized internationally. Music Director Peter Oundjian leads the TSO with a commitment to innovative programming and audience development through a broad range of performances that showcase the exceptional talents of the Orchestra along with a roster of distinguished guest artists and conductors. The TSO also serves the larger community with TSOUNDCHECK, the original under-35 ticket program; the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra; and music-education programs that reach tens of thousands of students each year.

All concerts are at Roy Thomson Hall, 60 Simcoe Street, unless otherwise noted.
Call the TSO ticket line at 416.598.3375 or order tickets online at TSO.CA.

Vivaldi Concerto for Two Trumpets

Wednesday, March 2, 2016 at 6:30pm
Peter Oundjian, conductor
Earl Lee, RBC Resident conductor
Sarah Jeffrey, oboe
Michael Sweeney, bassoon
Steven Woomert, trumpet
James Gardiner, trumpet
Jonathan Crow, violin
Teng Li, viola
Joseph Johnson, cello
Tom Allen, host

Rossini: Overture to La gazza ladra
Paganini: Sonata per la Gran Viola
Vivaldi: Concerto for Two Trumpets
Haydn: Sinfonia concertante, Hob. I/105

TICKETS: $29.50–$83.75

New Creations Festival I—Fragile Absolute

Saturday, March 5, 2016 at 8:00pm
Peter Oundjian, conductor & host
Brett Dean, conductor & viola
Afiara Quartet
Skratch Bastid, turntables

György Kurtág: The Answered Unanswered Question
Brett Dean: Viola Concerto
Anthony Pateras: Fragile Absolute for Winds, Percussion, Celeste, and Electronics (North American Première)
Kevin Lau: Concerto Grosso for Orchestra, String Quartet, and Turntables (World Première/TSO Commission)

Note: Composers Anthony Pateras and Kevin Lau will be present at this performance.

Pre-concert performance in the lobby
Intermission chat in the lobby
Post-concert party in the lobby

TICKETS: $33.75–$148

New Creations Festival II—Two Memorials: Anton Webern & John Lennon

Wednesday, March 9, 2016 at 8:00pm
Peter Oundjian, conductor & host
Brett Dean, conductor
Håkan Hardenberger, trumpet
Peter Mettler, live film

James Ledger: Two Memorials (for Anton Webern and John Lennon) (North American Première)
Paul Frehner/Peter Mettler: From the Vortex Perspective for Film and Orchestra (World Première/TSO Commission)
Brett Dean: Dramatis personae for Trumpet and Orchestra (Canadian Première)

Note: Composers James Ledger and Paul Frehner will be present at this performance.

Pre-concert performance in the lobby
Intermission chat in the lobby with host Gary Kulesha
Post-concert party in the lobby

TICKETS: $33.75–$148

New Creations Festival III—Knocking at the Hellgate

Saturday, March 12, 2016 at 7:30pm
Peter Oundjian, conductor & host
Brett Dean, conductor
Russell Braun, baritone
Skratch Bastid, turntables

Jonny Greenwood: Water (Canadian Première)
Brett Dean: Knocking at the Hellgate (North American Première)
Skratch Bastid: Festival Remix (World Première/TSO Commission)

Pre-concert performance in the lobby
Post-concert party in the lobby

TICKETS: $33.75–$107

Scenes of the Mediterranean

Wednesday, March 23, 2016 at 8:00pm
Thursday, March 24, 2016 at 8:00pm
Stéphane Denève, conductor
Jean-Yves Thibaudet, piano

Berlioz: Roman Carnival Overture
Saint-Saëns: Piano Concerto No. 5 “Egyptian”
Ibert: Escales (Ports of Call)
Respighi: Pines of Rome

TICKETS: $33.75–$148

On Broadway

Tuesday, March 29, 2016 at 8:00pm
Wednesday, March 30, 2016 at 2:00pm and 8:00pm
Steven Reineke, conductor
Betsy Wolfe, vocalist
Darren Criss, vocalist

Program includes a selection of songs from The Phantom of the Opera, The Last Five Years, Chicago, Little Shop of Horrors, Les Misérables, Frozen, and more.

TICKETS: $29.50–$107

Victoria Symphony

Thursday, March 31, 2016 at 2:00pm
Tania Miller, conductor
Stewart Goodyear, piano
Victoria Symphony, guest orchestra

Michael Oesterle: Entr’actes
Grieg: Piano Concerto
Copland: Suite from Appalachian Spring
Stravinsky: Suite from The Firebird

Pre-concert chat in the lobby with Rick Phillips on March 31 at 1:15pm

TICKETS: $29.50–$83.75

Media Contacts:

Francine Labelle
Manager, Publicity
Toronto Symphony Orchestra
416.593.7769 X 267

Melissa Prince
NATIONAL Public Relations

Alison Crocker
NATIONAL Public Relations

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