TSO and Sir Andrew Davis launch 2018/19 season with Symphonie Fantastique

September 6, 2018

The Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO), led by Sir Andrew Davis—Interim Artistic Director—embarks on its 97th season on Thursday, September 20 at Roy Thomson Hall. The opening concert highlights the Orchestra through the music of Berlioz: the epic Symphonie Fantastique, and the lesser-known Fantasy on Shakespeare’s The Tempest, featuring the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir. Both works will be recorded live by Chandos Records for future release. The program, which is repeated on September 21 and 22, also includes Variations concertantes by Canadian composer Jacques Hétu—a remarkable work that was commissioned and premièred by the TSO in 2006.

Romantic Rachmaninoff (September 26 & 29): Superstar violinist Nicola Benedetti, praised as a “powerhouse musician” for her performance of Szymanowski’s Violin Concerto with the TSO in 2017, returns with Prokofiev’s spirited Violin Concerto No. 2, in a program of music by Ukrainian and Russian composers. Hailed in The Telegraph as “an inspired architect” with “an energizing presence,” Kirill Karabits, the Ukrainian-born Chief Conductor of England’s Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, makes his TSO début. The September 29 evening includes a free pre-concert performance by The TSO Chamber Soloists at 6:45pm.

Mahler Symphony 5 (October 3 & 4): Mahler’s mighty Fifth Symphony charts a potent emotional arc from chilling darkness and thunderous despair to the blazing summit of joyous ecstasy. Making her TSO conducting début, Han-Na Chang (Artistic Leader and Chief Conductor of the Trondheim Symfoniorkester) is joined by the Spanish pianist Javier Perianes for Ravel’s Concerto in G.

Blue Suede Tunes (October 9 & 10): Kicking off this season’s Pops Series, the charismatic vocalist Frankie Moreno, who has been named the Las Vegas Headliner of the Year three times, teams up with TSO Principal Pops Conductor Steven Reineke and the Orchestra for an electrifying retrospective for the ages, featuring the music of Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Jerry Lee Lewis, Bobby Darin, Chuck Berry, and more golden-age rock ’n’ rollers. Frankie Moreno is also a prolific and eclectic songwriter, and this program will include one of his songs, written for the legendary Ray Charles.

Dvořák New World Symphony (October 13 & 14): For his TSO début, Uzbek conductor Aziz Shokhakimov leads the Orchestra in a performance of Dvořák’s much-loved symphony, which the composer wrote while living in America. The work is a touching love letter to Dvořák’s far-off homeland. Pianist George Li, winner of the Silver Medal at the 2015 International Tchaikovsky Competition, delivers Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini—a breathtaking showpiece for piano and orchestra. Beethoven’s Overture to Fidelio and Symphonie minute, by Canadian composer José Evangelista, round out the program.

Debussy La Mer (October 18 & 20): Danish conductor Thomas Søndergård returns to the TSO to lead a program that includes Debussy’s majestic portrait of the sea in all its moods, and Poulenc’s Les animaux modèles—a playful fairy-tale dance score. Latvian violinist Baiba Skride brings her artistry to Britten’s stirring Violin Concerto, composed as the Second World War loomed. The concert opens with Dances from Powder Her Face—a work with powerful theatrical impact by British composer Thomas Adès.

Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty (October 24, 25, 27 & 28*): Making her TSO début, brilliant Russian violinist Alina Ibragimova performs the exquisite Violin Concerto by Mendelssohn. Guest conductor Andrey Boreyko returns to the TSO stage for this program anchored by Tchaikovsky’s sumptuous ballet score, Suite from The Sleeping Beauty. With its bright, airy textures and innocent, joyous mood, The Smile of Maud Lewis reflects the artistry of the celebrated Nova Scotia painter (1903–1970) who Canadian composer Nicolai Korndorf admired deeply.

*Oct 28 at George Weston Recital Hall, Toronto Centre for the Arts

The TSO Season Presenting Sponsor is BMO Financial Group.

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