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Peter Oundjian named Conductor Emeritus of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra

May 30, 2017

The TSO has launched a microsite celebrating Peter Oundjian’s tenure at the TSO. Visit bravopeter.ca to see several highlights from his 14 years on the podium.

The Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO) is pleased to announce that Peter Oundjian will be honoured with the title of Conductor Emeritus when he completes his tenure as Music Director of the TSO at the end of the 2017/18 season.

By then, Peter Oundjian will have served in the role of Music Director for 14 seasons, the second longest tenure in the TSO’s history, surpassed only by Sir Ernest MacMillan, who was at the helm of the TSO for 25 seasons. Beginning with the 2019/20 season, Mr. Oundjian will return for a number of annual engagements, conducting the TSO at Roy Thomson Hall as part of the flagship Masterworks series.

Oundjian’s drive and devotion to the TSO has yielded extraordinary accomplishments. “Peter has brought the Toronto Symphony Orchestra to new and diverse audiences and has put his seal on the refined and wonderful sound that we hear from the Orchestra today. His contribution and commitment will continue to be a great benefit to all of us,” said Cathy Beck, Chair of the TSO Board of Directors. Gary Hanson, Interim Chief Executive Officer of the TSO adds, “Peter has built a lasting legacy, including, without doubt, his success in attracting and selecting the very finest players from a global talent pool.”

Over the course of his tenure, Oundjian has selected more than half of the current musicians of the Orchestra. Moreover, he has selected two-thirds of the principal players, including Concertmaster Jonathan Crow.

The announcement of Peter Oundjian’s honorary title, in recognition of his contributions to the TSO, comes as the institution proceeds in its selection process to name a successor to Oundjian as Music Director. The confidential search, which began in 2016, is being conducted by a Search Committee composed of TSO musicians, members of the Board of Directors, and senior management representatives. The Committee, chaired by Board member Tom Smee, is on track to conclude its work in 2018.

Through compelling programming, Peter Oundjian has showcased the Orchestra’s strengths by choosing musical experiences that embrace the great classical canon, engaging audiences with deep explorations into the human spirit through the musical lens of Beethoven, Sibelius, Nielsen, R. Strauss, Bartók, Mahler, Bruckner, Shostakovich, and Rimsky-Korsakov. Oundjian has been an extraordinary champion of new music. Under his leadership, the TSO created the hugely successful New Creations Festival, celebrating the best in contemporary orchestral music, as well as showcasing and premiering commissioned works. In 2008, Oundjian and the TSO launched tsoLIVE, a self-produced label of the Orchestra’s live concert recordings. Since then, eight recordings were released on the label, including Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 11 (June 2012), Vaughan Williams’ Symphonies Nos. 4 and 5 (December 2011), and Holst’s The Planets (March 2011).

Oundjian also created the wildly successful Mozart Festival, originally titled Mozart@249. The festival has continued throughout his 14-year tenure to popular and critical acclaim.

Music Director Peter Oundjian has led the Orchestra on eight international tours, including the TSO’s return to Carnegie Hall in 2008 after a 10-year absence, where they performed a sold-out, critically acclaimed concert. As The New York Times reported, “Under Mr. Oundjian the orchestra has maintained its shine, but now it packs a firm punch as well.” Earlier this month, Oundjian led the TSO on its first-ever tour of Israel, and a residency at the Prague Spring Festival, among other European concert appearances. Following their performance in Vienna, critics declared it “a season highlight” and “a knockout performance.”

Oundjian’s myriad contributions to the TSO also include community partnerships in Toronto with the Luminato Festival and the Regent Park School of Music. In addition, he has championed the Orchestra’s outreach and advocacy efforts through the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra (TSYO), annual education concerts, and the TSO’s Northern Ontario residencies.

In 2005—early in Oundjian’s tenure—a documentary entitled Five Days in September set the tone for Oundjian’s leadership, outlining the opportunities ahead of the institution. The film was subsequently nominated for two Gemini Awards and screened at international film festivals.

In June 2018, the TSO will celebrate Peter Oundjian with an abundance of not-to-be-missed events. Anticipated concerts will include performances with celebrated guest artists such as Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Daniil Trifonov, Emanuel Ax, and Christopher Plummer. Oundjian’s final performances will feature Beethoven’s triumphant Ninth Symphony.

The TSO has launched a microsite celebrating Peter Oundjian’s tenure at the TSO.
Visit bravopeter.ca to see several highlights from his 14 years on the podium.

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.

Peter Oundjian conducts the TSO at Roy Thomson Hall

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