Simon Rivard named TSO Resident Conductor & TSYO Conductor

May 9, 2018

Earl Lee wins Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra’s Associate Conductor position

The Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO) is pleased to announce Simon Rivard as the TSO Resident Conductor & Conductor of the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra (TSYO) as of the 2018/19 season. Rivard was chosen in a nationwide search that culminated in a live audition with both the TSO and TSYO earlier this spring.

“Simon is a gifted young conductor who radiates energy. A versatile, well-rounded musician, he is an accomplished violinist whose interest in new repertoire, vocal music, and education reveals an open and adventurous mind,” said incoming Interim Artistic Director Sir Andrew Davis. “Along with the musicians of the TSO and TSYO, I look forward to working with Simon and to fostering his impressive talent.”

As the TSO’s Resident Conductor, Simon Rivard will work closely with Sir Andrew Davis and the Artistic staff of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, with complete access to all TSO rehearsals and performances. He will also work with TSO guest conductors for consultation, coaching, and discussion. TSO audiences will see Simon Rivard on the podium in select education, community, and classical concerts next season.

Simon Rivard will succeed Earl Lee, who has been the RBC Resident Conductor of the TSO since December 2014, and was appointed Artistic Director & Conductor of the TSYO in 2016/17. Mr. Lee won the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra’s Associate Conductor position earlier this year. His tenure will begin in September 2018. He will also assume the post of music director of the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony Orchestra. He will be back on the TSO podium as a guest conductor in November 2018.

“During his tenure with the TSO and TSYO, Earl has brought passion and dedication to everything he has done,” said TSO Music Director Peter Oundjian. “He has wonderful ears and fine musicianship, making him an extremely valuable assistant who makes excellent observations and suggestions during the rehearsal process. His performances with both the TSO and TSYO have been inspired. We wish Earl continued success in Pittsburgh.”

About Simon Rivard: Simon Rivard is one of CBC’s recent and notable “30 Hot Canadian Classical Musicians under 30.” He is the newly appointed Resident Conductor of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra Conductor. He is concurrently serving as the Associate Conductor of the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra (TBSO).

During the TBSO’s 2017-18 season, he conducted over 30 concerts with the orchestra and chorus as their Resident Conductor, and received mentorship. Throughout the season, he has been an advocate for collaboration with Indigenous artists, as well as local arts organizations. Also in 2017, he stepped in for Jean-Philippe Tremblay as Music Director of the Orchestre de la Francophonie. In previous years, he has served as Assistant Conductor of the Ottawa Choral Society and the Church of St. Andrew and St. Paul under Jean-Sébastien Vallée.

Social transformation through music plays a significant role in his professional life. He has been associated with the Orchestre des jeunes de l’Ontario français since August 2017. He has also worked at the Fondation du Dr Julien, an organization offering free music lessons to socioeconomically disadvantaged children in Montreal. In 2015, he travelled to a Haiti orphanage with a team of professionals to offer three weeks of music, arts, and theatre lessons to the children.

He studied violin performance with Anne Robert and orchestral conducting with Raffi Armenian at the Montreal Conservatory of Music. He completed an MMus in Orchestral Conducting at McGill University under Alexis Hauser and Guillaume Bourgogne. He has been supported by the Millennium Excellence Awards, Sibylla Hesse Foundation, Jeunesses Musicales Canada, McAbbie Foundation, and Schulich School of Music (Wayne Riddell and Gerald Wheeler prizes).

The TSO Season Presenting Sponsor is BMO Financial Group.

The 2017/18 season is dedicated to H. Thomas Beck in recognition of his vital and long-standing support of the TSO.

The TSO gratefully acknowledges the RBC Foundation for its generous support of emerging artists through the RBC Resident Conductor and RBC Affiliate Composer.

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