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Toronto Symphony Orchestra welcomes eight new members; RBC Resident Conductor & TSYO Conductor Earl Lee to also act as TSYO Artistic Director

September 12, 2017

As the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO) opens its 96th season on September 19 at Roy Thomson Hall, eight new musicians join the ensemble: Kelly Zimba, Principal Flute; Charles Settle, Principal Percussion; Michael Chiarello, Associate Principal Double Bass; Miles Jaques, Bass Clarinet; Alastair Eng, Cello; Douglas Kwon, Violin; Clare Semes, Violin; and Nicholas Hartman, Horn.

As he continues to act as RBC Resident Conductor with the TSO, and Conductor of the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra (TSYO), Earl Lee will now add the role of Artistic Director of the TSYO to his responsibilities, overseeing all artistic endeavours and programming for the youth orchestra. A dynamic and energetic figure on the stage, Earl Lee pursues a diverse career as both a conductor and a cellist. Lee frequently appears on the TSO podium at Roy Thomson Hall, and makes guest-conducting appearances throughout the world. Recent highlights include his South Korean début leading the Gangnam Symphony Orchestra at the prestigious Seoul Arts Center, and leading the Yeosu International Music Festival Ensemble in their inaugural season as their Music Director and Conductor in South Korea.

The TSO and Music Director Peter Oundjian warmly welcome the following musicians:

Flautist Kelly Zimba is originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Previously a flute fellow at the New World Symphony, she has performed with the Pittsburgh, Detroit, and Palm Beach Symphony Orchestras, and was a two-time fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center. As a soloist, and a chamber and orchestral musician, Ms. Zimba has performed in such venues as Carnegie Hall, Beijing’s National Centre for the Performing Arts, Royal Albert Hall, and the Teatro del Lago in Frutillar, Chile.

Born in Princeton, Kentucky, percussionist Charles Settle was previously a member of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra from 2004 to 2017, and served as acting Principal Percussion since 2015. Taking a leave of absence from the Atlanta Symphony for the 2008/09 season, Mr. Settle joined the New York Philharmonic as Percussion and Assistant Principal Timpani. A former member of the New World Symphony, he made his début solo appearance in September 2015 with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, performing Avner Dorman’s concerto Spices, Perfumes and Toxins, with Robert Spano conducting.

Double bassist Michael Chiarello joins the TSO directly following his completion of a master of music degree at The Juilliard School. Before winning his current position, Mr. Chiarello performed extensively with The Philadelphia Orchestra at The Kimmel Center in Philadelphia and the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. During the 2013 Tanglewood season, he was commended by the Boston Globe for his “bewitching bass solo” in Mahler’s First Symphony, led by Christoph von Dohnányi.

An accomplished orchestral musician, clarinetist Miles Jaques has performed with numerous ensembles, most recently The Cleveland Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Florida Orchestra, Florida Grand Opera, Aspen Festival Orchestra, and Symphony in C, among others. Before moving to Canada, Mr. Jaques was a member of the New World Symphony in Miami Beach, Florida. Mr. Jaques continues to serve as Bass Clarinet of the Santa Fe Opera Orchestra. An avid chamber musician, he has performed with several chamber music societies and in festivals throughout the US.

Born in Toronto, cellist Alastair Eng previously served as Associate Principal Cello of the Canadian Opera Company for seven seasons. He has performed as Guest Principal Cello with the Santa Fe Opera as well as the National Arts Centre Orchestra. His playing has been described by critics as “exquisite” (Broadway World), “a highlight” (The Classical Review), and “songfully performed” (The National Post). As a chamber musician, Mr. Eng has appeared at the Ravinia Festival, Ottawa Chamberfest, Rockport Chamber Music Festival, Strings Music Festival, and Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival.

Born in Seoul, South Korea, violinist Douglas Kwon has performed as a soloist with the Allen Philharmonic, Conroe Symphony Orchestra, Austin Civic Orchestra, University of Texas (UT) Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Conservatory of Music Orchestra, and University of Calgary Orchestra. As a chamber musician, he has collaborated with Menahem Pressler, Pedja Muzijevic, Kim Kashkashian, and members of the Cleveland, Concord, Ravel, and St. Lawrence string quartets. Mr. Kwon won a grand prize and a gold medal at the Young Texas Artist Competition.

Violinist Clare Semes is a graduate of The Juilliard School and a recent alumna of the New World Symphony in Miami Beach, Florida, where she was a fellow for the 2016/17 season. In addition to serving as a concertmaster of the New World Symphony, she has served as concertmaster of The Juilliard Orchestra and the Verbier Festival Orchestra. Ms. Semes has appeared as soloist with numerous orchestras, including the Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra, Spoleto Festival Chamber Orchestra, and Newark Symphony Orchestra, among others.

Nicholas Hartman joined the TSO as Fourth Horn in January 2017, after previously serving in the same role with the National Arts Centre Orchestra. He has performed with orchestras and chamber ensembles throughout the US and Canada, including the Pittsburgh Symphony, Seattle Symphony, Houston Symphony, San Antonio Symphony, Richmond Symphony, North Carolina Symphony, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Houston Grand Opera, Breckenridge Music Festival, and Sun Valley Summer Symphony.

The TSO 2017/18 season opens on Tuesday, September 19 at Roy Thomson Hall. The performance, part of Canada Mosaic (a Canada 150 Signature Project), led by Peter Oundjian, is anchored by the World Première of Life of Pi—a new orchestral suite by Canadian composer Mychael Danna. Commissioned by the TSO, the new suite is based on the soundtrack of the award-winning movie (please note that this performance does not include any film projection). Guest artists Bombay Jayashri (vocalist) and V. Selvaganesh (percussionist), who were both featured on the film soundtrack, join the TSO. Canadian violinist James Ehnes takes centre stage for Chausson’s wistful Poème for Violin and Orchestra, and Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso by Saint-Saëns. Derek Charke’s brief Élan (Sesquie for Canada’s 150th) and Stravinsky’s formidable Suite from The Firebird frame the program.

Canada Mosaic is funded in part by the Government of Canada.

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.

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