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Sixteen year-old Eugene Zhang, Double Bass, 2019/20 Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra, Receives Stingray Rising Stars Award

May 4, 2020

The Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra (TSYO) is proud to announce that Eugene Zhang, a 16-year-old double bass player is the recipient of the 2019/20 TSYO Stingray Rising Stars Award. Before learning about his award, Eugene was already working on a virtual performance with his fellow youth orchestra members to make up for the cancelled final performance of their season, scheduled for May 3.   

The virtual performance, produced, mixed, and edited by Eugene, is a testament to his commitment and talent as a musician and leader. In place of their cancelled final performance, presented by Stingray, here is the TSYO’s virtual performance of  an excerpt from Antonin Dvořák’s Ninth Symphony (the “New World” Symphony) in celebration of their achievements this year. TSYO members have continued to stay engaged with online activities, masterclasses with Toronto Symphony Orchestra musicians, and virtual group performances.

The Stingray Rising Stars Award was launched in 1998 as Galaxie Rising Stars. This original program sets out to discover, encourage, promote, and champion new up-and-coming Canadian artists. The award, with a value of $1,000, will help Eugene advance his career.

“As a Canadian company and member of the music community, Stingray is committed to promoting local talent. We are proud to support the future of classical music in Canada and to invest in connecting them with the tools to fuel their work,” said Mathieu Péloquin, Senior Vice-President, Marketing and Communications, of Stingray.

“Eugene Zhang was the unanimous choice as winner of this year's Stingray Rising Stars Award for his outstanding leadership and extraordinary artistry throughout his four years with the orchestra,” comments Simon Rivard, TSO RBC Resident Conductor & TSYO Conductor.  “He is an inspiring leader for the bass section and, more generally, for the whole orchestra. His desire to share his passion for music with others will make him an indispensable artist in the years to come. We congratulate Eugene, thank him for his “feu sacré”, and look forward to following his career.”

Eugene Zhang is a 16-year-old double bassist, currently studying with TSO Associate Principal Double Bass Michael Chiarello. He began his double bass studies with Ching-Ping Lin in 2015. He is a national finalist of the Canadian Music Competition, as well as a three-time Ontario Music Festivals Association provincial finalist and Toronto Kiwanis Music Festival gold medallist. He has been a member of the TSYO for four seasons. He was a winner of the 2019 TSYO Concerto Competition, and he is scheduled to perform Bottesini’s Concerto for Double Bass No. 2 with the TSYO in fall 2020. Other achievements include being selected as an alternate for the National Youth Orchestra in 2019 and 2020, and receiving a 2019 TSYO award for leadership in the orchestra and double bass section. He has played in masterclasses with legendary bassists Joel Quarrington, Ali Yazdanfar, and TSO Principal Double Bass Jeffrey Beecher.

He currently attends Earl Haig Secondary School and participates in the Earl Haig Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Strings ensemble, and various extracurricular choirs and jazz ensembles. He won the 2019 Earl Haig concerto competition, performing Bottesini with the Earl Haig String Orchestra. His contributions won him many class and school music awards. He previously attended Claude Watson School for the Arts, where he was elected Valedictorian and Artist of the Year for his achievement in the arts.

For 46 years, the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra (TSYO) has been dedicated to providing a high-level orchestral experience for talented young musicians aged 22 and under. The TSYO program delivers a unique, powerful, and life-enriching opportunity that encourages significant achievement, regardless of the career path participants choose to pursue. The TSYO has a close affiliation with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra: TSO musicians serve as coaches through the season, TSO guest artists lead masterclasses for TSYO members, and the TSYO performs annually with the TSO in a side-by-side concert at Roy Thomson Hall. 

For more information about the TSYO, please visit TSO.CA/TSYO.

Please visit the following website to learn more about previous Stingray Rising Stars: music.stingray.com/en/CA/rising-star

About Stingray: Montreal-based Stingray (TSX: RAY.A; RAY.B) is a leading music, media, and technology company with over 1,200 employees worldwide. Stingray is a premium provider of curated direct-to-consumer and B2B services, including audio television channels, more than 100 radio licences, SVOD content, 4K UHD television channels, karaoke products, digital signage, in-store music, and music apps, which have been downloaded over 150 million times. Stingray reaches 400 million subscribers (or users) in 156 countries.

About the TSO: One of Canada’s most respected arts organizations, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO) plays a vital role in the city’s dynamic cultural life. Committed to serving local and national communities through vibrant performances and expansive educational activities, the TSO offers a wide range of programming that resonates with people of all ages and backgrounds. With a notable recording and broadcast history complementing international touring engagements, the TSO is a unique musical ambassador for Canada around the world.

The TSO continues its long-established history of connecting younger generations with orchestral music. Two core programs include School Concerts, performed for over 40,000 students annually, and the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra (TSYO), which, in a tuition-free model, offers high-level orchestral training for talented young musicians aged 22 and under. Additionally, the TSO supports the development of next-generation artists through its annual open call for Canadian orchestral scores, and its essential Resident Conductor and Affiliate Composer positions.

Gustavo Gimeno begins his role as the TSO’s Music Director in the 2020/21 season, the Orchestra’s 99th. With this appointment, Maestro Gimeno will become the Orchestra’s 11th Music Director. He succeeds Peter Oundjian, who has served as TSO Conductor Emeritus since June 2018 after a fruitful 14-year tenure as Music Director. Sir Andrew Davis, TSO Conductor Laureate, served as Interim Artistic Director in the 2018/19 and 2019/20 seasons.

The TSO was founded in 1922 by a group of Toronto musicians and gave its first performance at the historic Massey Hall. Since 1982, Toronto’s iconic Roy Thomson Hall has been the TSO’s home, drawing patrons from around the world. Soon to celebrate its centenary, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s name remains synonymous with musical versatility and growth, and artistic distinction.


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