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Toronto Symphony Orchestra announces 2018/19 mainstage programming

February 26, 2018

The Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO) launches its 97th season on September 20 at Roy Thomson Hall (for a 37th season). The opening concert, with Interim Artistic Director Sir Andrew Davis on the podium, highlights the Orchestra through the music of Berlioz—Symphonie fantastique and Fantasy on Shakespeare’s The Tempest.

“In designing the 2018/19 season, with its expansive and wide-ranging repertoire, we have chosen to direct the spotlight above all on the amazing talents of Toronto Symphony Orchestra musicians,” comments Sir Andrew Davis. “Our orchestra is a magnificent gem, and here we have a perfect showcase for that gem to sparkle and shine!”

As announced last year, Sir Andrew Davis is the TSO’s Interim Artistic Director for the two seasons following the conclusion of Peter Oundjian’s 14-year tenure as Music Director. Maestro Davis will provide artistic leadership through to the middle of 2020, when the TSO anticipates that a new permanent Music Director will be in place. Gary Hanson, Interim Chief Executive Officer of the TSO, comments, “As our Music Director Search Committee completes its work, we are grateful that Sir Andrew will step in to provide artistic leadership, just as he did in 2001 when our search for a Music Director led us to Peter Oundjian.” Sir Andrew Davis has had a 44-year relationship with the TSO, including 13 years as the Orchestra’s Music Director, from 1975 to 1988.


The season brings glorious orchestral works—the timeless symphonies of Berlioz, Rachmaninoff, Beethoven, Mahler, Bruckner, Tchaikovsky, Sibelius, and more—that exemplify the artistic calibre of the Orchestra.

Canadian music will be proudly represented in the 2018/19 season. The TSO will be reviving Variations concertantes by Jacques Hétu—a remarkable work that was commissioned and premièred by the TSO in 2006. Other Canadian composers whose music will be performed include José Evangelista, Nikolai Korndorf, Oskar Morawetz, Dorothy Chang, Dinuk Wijeratjne, Abigail Richardson-Schulte, Chan Ka Nin, Jocelyn Morlock, Stewart Goodyear, and Jordan Pal. Canadian guest artists (and guest artists who have strong Canadian connections) will include conductors Johannes Debus, Bramwell Tovey, Tania Miller, Earl Lee, Gemma New, Alexander Shelley, and Mélanie Léonard; singers Russell Braun, Marie-Nicole Lemieux, Claire de Sévigné, and Andrew Haji; pianists Louis Lortie, Jan Lisiecki, and Stewart Goodyear; and violinists James Ehnes and Leila Josefowicz.

Highlights of the 2018/19 season include:

In November 2018, the poignant Britten War Requiem coincides with the centenary of Armistice Day. Bramwell Tovey conducts the TSO, soprano Tatiana Pavlovskaya, tenor Toby Spence, baritone Russell Braun, the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, and the Toronto Children’s Chorus.

In January 2019, Mozart with Zukerman celebrates the genius of the immortal composer. Pinchas Zukerman, who last appeared with the TSO in September 2016, brings his virtuosity, both as a violinist and a conductor.

Also in January 2019, Sir Andrew Davis Conducts Wagner features Act I of Die Walküre in concert. Soprano Lise Davidsen, tenor Simon O’Neill, and bass Brindley Sherratt join the TSO.

In February 2019, Canada’s own Barbara Hannigan returns to the TSO to sing and conduct a program that includes Berg, Sibelius, Debussy, Haydn, and Gershwin. The Grammy Award–winning artist made her North American conducting début with the TSO in October 2015.

In March 2019, former Music Director Günther Herbig returns to the TSO podium for the first time since February 2012, for Schubert & Bruckner.

In May 2019, Denk Plays Mozart features one of America’s foremost pianists. Jeremy Denk leads the Orchestra from the keyboard.

Beyond Roy Thomson Hall, the TSO continues its exploration of contemporary music as it partners with The Royal Conservatory of Music in a concert under Canadian conductor Tania Miller. The performance, taking place at Koerner Hall on January 16, 2019, will feature music by Canadian composers Dorothy Chang, Jocelyn Morlock, and Dinuk Wijeratne along with a work by the celebrated minimalist composer Terry Riley. This program will include the World Premières of two commissions: one from Canadian pianist and composer Stewart Goodyear and one from the TSO’s new Affiliate Composer.

View the TSO’s 2018/19 concerts.

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