For your Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO), young people are not only our future, they are an important part of our present, and a significant contributor to our history. As our Young People’s Concert (YPC) series launches for the 23/24 season, along with a number of community outreach initiatives, we are so excited to welcome the next generation of music lovers back to Roy Thomson Hall and beyond.
Our YPC journey begins with the Canadian première of Saint-Georges’ Sword & Bow—the incredible story of Giselle, a young girl who discovers her music teacher was one of the most accomplished musicians in 18th century Europe. This Classical Kids LIVE! production highlights the life and work of Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges, a Black composer, conductor, and fencer.
Other concerts featured in this season’s YPC series include: SingSong, a sensational sing-along with tunes from around the world featuring flautist Yelin Youn, winner of the 2022/23 Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra Concerto Competition; Bhangra & Beyond, a fun-filled fusion of sounds from Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Indian subcontinent, brought to life by the dancers of Maritime Bhangra; and Dan Brown’s Wild Symphony, a musical menagerie of new animal friends, conducted by RBC Resident Conductor Trevor Wilson, with story and music created by the author of The Da Vinci Code.
Part of the excitement surrounding this year’s YPC series is the continued evolution of the TSO’s relationship with Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser — Barrett Principal Education Conductor & Community Ambassador for the TSO — who leads the YPC programming, conducting some concerts himself. It was recently announced that Bartholomew-Poyser’s contract with TSO has been extended through the 2025/26 season. Reflecting both on this season programming, and his continued contribution to YPC’s development, Bartholomew shares that, “the TSO occupies a special role in the community, it exists to connect with others through shared musical experiences—and a core part of that involves kindling a passion for orchestral music in the next generation. This season’s fantastic programs for children and youth vary in focus and format, but they all go beyond the music to dive into history, touch on social issues, and challenge young minds. It’s my sincere honour to continue to act as a guide on this vital and transformative cultural journey.”
This mission to cultivate a passion for orchestral music in the next generation is already underway this season. On Halloween this year, excited (and sugar-saturated) students in Grades 7–12 from schools across the GTA were treated to a TSO performance, as we kicked off our 2023/24 School Concerts — which will serve up to 40,000 students — with a contemporary and diverse program. Conducted by TSO’s RBC Resident Conductor Trevor Wilson, this one-hour experience, entitled What Does The Composer Do?, combined live music with documentary video in a manner that invited the young audiences to discover living composers and explore the unique and creative challenges they face. What Does The Composer Do? will be offered again on April 15 and 18.