March 2017 at the TSO
March 16, 2017
The Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO) proudly presents its 13th annual New Creations Festival, March 4–11, 2017. Bold, experimental, and cutting edge, this year’s Festival is curated by Polaris Music Prize–winner Owen Pallett, a renowned Canadian composer, violinist, keyboardist, and vocalist. The 2017 New Creations Festival fuses the pop- and classical-music worlds, with a touch of electronic music, a little dose of improvisation, and a blend of Aboriginal and folk sounds. To further enhance the Festival, concertgoers can enjoy an array of ancillary events—curated by Canadian composer Abigail Richardson-Schulte—including pre-concert performances, intermission chats, and post-concert parties (all included with concert tickets). The Festival also features two more free events: Composers in Conversation, a forum presented in collaboration with the Canadian Music Centre on March 7, and a noon-hour concert at the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre, presented in collaboration with the Canadian Opera Company on March 9. All New Creations Festival performances are part of Canada Mosaic—a Signature Project of Canada 150.
New Creations Festival: Main events
On March 4, TSO Music Director Peter Oundjian hosts the inaugural event of the New Creations Festival, featuring vocalist and Canadian throat singer extraordinaire Tanya Tagaq, who was recently named a Member of the Order of Canada. Winner of the 2014 Polaris Music Prize, Tagaq brings her creative genius to the TSO stage to present the World Première of Qiksaaktuq—a powerful new work, written in collaboration with Christine Duncan (also featured as a performer and improvisation leader) and Jean Martin, with orchestration by Christopher Mayo. Peter Oundjian shares conducting duties with André de Ridder for this concert, which opens with Reflections on O Canada after Truth and Reconciliation—a Sesquie for Canada’s 150th (World Première) by Andrew Staniland, co-commissionned by the TSO and the Memorial University Chamber Orchestra. Trauermarsch—an imposing work for piano and orchestra by Jörg Widmann—features distinguished pianist Yefim Bronfman. The evening also includes the World Première of Iris by the TSO’s RBC Affiliate Composer, Jordan Pal.
On March 8, Peter Oundjian hosts the second concert of the New Creations Festival, taking turns at the podium with André de Ridder. Prominent Canadian violinist James Ehnes performs the World Première of the Violin Concerto by Pulitzer Prize–winner Aaron Jay Kernis (TSO Co-commission), written especially for Ehnes. The TSO performs Mixed Messages by Nico Muhly, an American composer and sought-after collaborator whose influences range from American minimalism to the Anglican choral tradition. “Muhly has a stunning gift for creating, with just a flicker of a gesture, an immediate and unerring sense of atmosphere,” wrote The New Yorker. Festival curator Owen Pallett offers his new work, Songs from an Island (World Première/TSO Commission), featuring Canadian bass-baritone Daniel Okulitch. The concert opens with Shadows Radiant—a Sesquie for Canada’s 150th by Harry Stafylakis, co-commissioned by the TSO and the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra.
The New Creations Festival wraps up on March 11 with an evening hosted by Peter Oundjian. Conductor André de Ridder leads the Orchestra in Black MIDI, a World Première/TSO Commission by Montreal composer Nicole Lizée, featuring the celebrated Kronos Quartet. The concert includes Emergence by Icelandic composer Daníel Bjarnason, as well as Round (another World Première/TSO Commission) by Canadian composer Cassandra Miller. Nicole Lizée’s Zeiss After Dark—a Sesquie for Canada’s 150th, co-commissioned by the TSO and the National Arts Centre Orchestra—kicks off the program.
Festival pass (three concerts for $30) available at TSO.CA.
More great concerts
On March 22 & 23, prominent Finnish conductor Hannu Lintu leads the TSO in Beethoven Symphony 6. The glorious “Pastoral” Symphony is paired with music by Finnish composers: Suite from The Tempest by Sibelius, and Magnus Lindberg’s Accused: Three Interrogations for Soprano and Orchestra—a North American Première/TSO Co-commission—spotlighting soprano Anu Komsi, who makes her TSO début.
March 25 (2:00 & 4:00pm) brings a treat for children, big and small: How the Gimquat Found Her Song tells the story of a rare and silent bird who lives in hiding. One day, her life is forever changed when she meets a magician who takes her on a musical journey through the history of western music in search of the perfect song. The enduring children’s classic is performed by the TSO, under the musical direction of Martin MacDonald, and actors from Canada’s renowned Platypus Theatre.
On March 29 at 7:30pm, Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark with Live Orchestra, presented in collaboration with TIFF, ends the series of films with live orchestra on a thrilling note. As TSO Pops Conductor Steven Reineke leads the Orchestra with boundless energy, John Williams’s score makes the heart beat faster, as Indy battles Nazis to find the all-powerful Ark of the Covenant. Note: this concert is sold out.
The TSO Season Presenting Sponsor is BMO Financial Group.
The 2016/17 season is dedicated to H. Thomas Beck in recognition of his vital and long-standing support of the TSO.
TSO at the Movies is presented by Accenture.
The Casual Concert Series is presented by Economical Insurance.