The TSO welcomes five new musicians

October 4, 2018

October concerts include Mahler Symphony 5, Dvořák New World Symphony, and Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty

The launch of a new season at the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO) is always cause for celebration. Adding to the joy of returning to Roy Thomson Hall for the inaugural concert of the 2018/19 season on September 20, Interim Artistic Director Sir Andrew Davis and the Orchestra extend a warm welcome to Eric Abramovitz (Associate Principal Clarinet), Darren Hicks (Associate Principal Bassoon), Joseph Kelly (Assistant Timpani/Section Percussion), Hugo Lee (oboe), and Ashley Vandiver (viola), who are joining the TSO family.

Eric Abramovitz joins the TSO as Associate Principal Clarinet. A Montreal native, Eric was previously a member of the Nashville Symphony Orchestra. A first-prize winner of the 2011 OSM Standard Life Competition, Eric has been featured as a soloist with numerous orchestras including the McGill and USC Symphonies, Orchestre symphonique de Québec, and the National Arts Centre Orchestra. Eric was a Sylva Gelber Career Grant recipient in 2016, and toured throughout Japan with the New York Symphonic Ensemble. He was named the Vandoren Emerging Artist of the year in 2017, and a CBC Next! artist in 2013.

Darren Hicks is the TSO’s new Associate Principal Bassoon. Prior to this appointment, Darren was a Fellow at the New World Symphony in Miami Beach, Florida, for three seasons. He was a member of the Verbier Festival Orchestra in Switzerland (2013–2015) where he had the opportunity to work with many world-renowned conductors. Born in Middleton, Nova Scotia, Darren was named to the CBC’s “Hot 30 under 30” list of classical musicians in 2016. Recent accolades include the Dean’s Prize at Yale University’s 2014 Commencement, the Thomas Daniel Nyfenger Prize (awarded to the student displaying the highest level of excellence in woodwind playing) from the Yale School of Music, and the 2012 National Arts Centre Orchestra Bursary Prize.

Joseph Kelly joins the TSO as Assistant Timpani/Section Percussion. Previously a member of the New World Symphony in Miami Beach, Florida, Joseph has performed with the Chicago Symphony, Lyric Opera of Chicago, New York Philharmonic, Seattle Symphony, Milwaukee Symphony, Kansas City Symphony, Malaysia Philharmonic, Civic Orchestra of Chicago, and Fort Worth Symphony. In 2014, Joseph toured Europe with the Lucerne Festival Academy under the direction of Matthias Pintscher. He was invited to return to the festival as solo percussionist of the Lucerne Festival Alumni Ensemble. Joseph received his bachelor’s degree in percussion performance and master’s degree in orchestral performance from the Manhattan School of Music, where he was a recipient of the Elizabeth Beineke Scholarship and the Outreach Award at the 2015 Commencement. He was awarded the 2012 Kerope Zildjian Concert Percussion Scholarship, and holds a professional diploma in orchestral studies from Roosevelt University.

Born and raised in Richmond Hill, Ontario, Hugo Lee joins the TSO as Second Oboe. A former student of TSO Associate Principal Oboe Keith Atkinson, Hugo holds a Bachelor of Music degree from The Juilliard School of Music. He is a graduate of the Arts York program at Unionville High School, and an alumnus of the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra and the Toronto Youth Wind Orchestra. Prior to joining the TSO, Hugo appeared as a soloist in New York City and across Canada. He has also performed as a chamber musician with Jeunesses Musicales Canada, along with cellist Cameron Crozman and pianist Philip Chiu as part of a 13-concert tour across Eastern Canada.

The TSO also welcomes Ashley Vandiver, Viola. Born in the United States, Ashley has performed in over 30 countries—both as a violinist and violist—on five continents. Prior to joining the TSO, she was a violinist with the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa. A member of the violin section in The Santa Fe Opera Company Orchestra since 2014, Ashley has also performed with the Saint-Paul Chamber Orchestra, Knights NYC, and the orchestras of the Canadian Opera Company and The National Ballet of Canada, and has appeared at major chamber music and orchestral festivals across North America and Europe. Ashley has served on the String Faculties of the University of Ottawa, Wellesley College (MA), and the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s Project STEP—a comprehensive training program for talented children from underrepresented Boston communities. She has also been an adjudicator for Carnegie Hall’s National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America.

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