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May at the TSO

April 11, 2019

The genius of Beethoven, Mahler, and Mozart; Louis Lortie and Jeremy Denk; TSO visits Ottawa and Montreal

The month of May at the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO) is an ode to the genius of some of the greatest composers of all time, and some of today’s most brilliant pianists. An all-Mozart program features revered American pianist Jeremy Denk, and celebrated Canadian piano virtuoso Louis Lortie joins the TSO for two different programs. Not-to-be-missed concerts include Beethoven Symphony 5, Mahler Symphony 7, and Pines of Rome.

Spotlighting the brilliant musicians of tomorrow, the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra (TSYO) marks the finale of its 45th season on May 5 at Roy Thomson Hall. TSO RBC Resident Conductor & TSYO Conductor Simon Rivard and the young musicians take the stage of Roy Thomson Hall for a celebratory program anchored by Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 10 and featuring works by Prokofiev and Mussorgsky. The TSYO is dedicated to providing a high-level orchestral experience for talented young musicians aged 22 and under, delivering a unique, powerful, and life-enriching opportunity that encourages significant achievement, regardless of the career path participants ultimately choose to pursue.

The Pops Series resumes on a regal note with Queens of Soul (May 7 & 8). Ace pops conductor Jeff Tyzik and a trio of fabulous singers—Shayna Steele, Brie Cassil, and Melissa McMillan—offer a program featuring hits made famous by the legendary divas of soul and R&B: Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner, Patti LaBelle, Gladys Knight, Nina Simone, Whitney Houston, Jennifer Hudson, Amy Winehouse, and Alicia Keys.

Lauded in the London Evening Standard as a “high-calibre interpreter of a wide range of repertoire,” the electrifying British conductor Nicholas Collon makes his TSO début on May 11 & 12 with Beethoven Symphony 5—the most famous and influential symphonic work of them all. This program also marks the TSO début of Israeli pianist Shai Wosner, who is known for his “keen musical mind and deep musical soul” (NPR’s All Things Considered). Wosner performs Mozart’s elegant Piano Concerto No. 21, which is sometimes referred to as “Elvira Madigan”, after the famous Swedish film that featured the work.

Sir Andrew Davis returns to the podium on May 15 & 16 to conduct Mahler Symphony 7, a work full of contrasts and textures, much like Rembrandt’s painting The Night Watch, which inspired the composer. The late British music critic Michael Kennedy called it “Mahler’s most glamorous symphony.” Celebrated Canadian pianist Louis Lortie—who is featured on the TSO’s JUNO Award–winning recording Vaughan Williams: Orchestral Works—joins the TSO to perform César Franck’s Symphonic Variations for Piano and Orchestra. Rounding out the program is a reprise of My Most Beautiful, Wonderful, Terrific, Amazing, Fantastic, Magnificent Homeland by Chan Ka Nin. The work—a Sesquie for Canada’s 150th—was co-commissioned by the TSO and premièred in 2017.

The Orchestra, Lortie, and Davis then travel to Montreal to present the program at Maison Symphonique on May 21, and to Ottawa to perform at the National Arts Centre on May 22.

On May 24 & 25, the TSO, Sir Andrew Davis, and Louis Lortie team up again for a performance of Saint-Saëns’s most virtuosic piano concerto. Sir Andrew Davis leads the Orchestra in Respighi’s colourful tone poem Pines of Rome, Rossini’s overture to William Tell (well known to fans of The Lone Ranger), and the World Première of Colour of Chaos—a new work by Canadian composer Jordan Pal.

Denk Plays Mozart features the preeminent American pianist Jeremy Denk. Winner of a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship and the Avery Fisher Prize, Jeremy Denk was recently elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. On May 29 & 30 and June 1, he leads the Orchestra from the keyboard in an all-Mozart program as he performs the Piano Concerto No. 14 in E-flat Major, K. 449 (regarded as being the first of the mature series of concertos Mozart wrote), and the majestic Piano Concerto No. 25, K. 503. On May 30, Jeremy Denk joins The TSO Chamber Soloists for a pre-concert performance (included in the price of a concert ticket) at 6:45pm.

The TSO Season Presenting Sponsor is BMO Financial Group.

InterContinental Toronto Centre is the Performance Sponsor of the May 8 (8pm) Queens of Soul performance.

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

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