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Kun Yan & Renata Cardoso Headshots

New Season, New Faces: Kun Yan & Renata Cardoso

Meet the seven new members of the orchestra!
September 12, 2023

“It is simply the sharing of emotions through sound.”

Renata Cardoso

Adding to an already exciting start to Year 101 of your Toronto Symphony Orchestra, seven new musicians join the roster, including three new faces in violin section, three more in double basses, and one new trumpet. After jumping through the various obstacle courses involved in a rigorous audition process — which drew in hundreds of applicants from around the world for blind auditions — the latest recruits join our New Season, New Faces series to reflect on the incredible journey that has brought them to one of Canada’s premier orchestras. This first installation welcomes Kun Yan (Associate Principal Second Violin) and Renata Cardoso (Trumpet). 

Kun Yan, Associate Principal Second Violin

After first picking up the violin at the age of five, Kun Yan now holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the New England Conservatory, and a Master of Music degree from The Juilliard School. Along with touring with the National Youth Orchestra of China, she has also collaborated with the likes of Yuja Wang and Garrick Ohlsson, with appearances in venues such as Carnegie Hall, Konzerthaus Berlin, and more.

NW — How did you feel when you found out you were joining the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO)? 

KY — The first couple of days after the audition, before I found out I won the job, felt unreal. I had been so focused on preparing the audition repertoire that it was a total surprise! Joining the TSO means a lot to me. It is my first job and the first professional orchestra I’ve joined, and I’m very grateful to be able to start my career together with the TSO in its 101st year!

NW — Are there any concerts this season that you're particularly excited about?

KY — I’m excited about so many pieces this season, from The Rite of Spring to Mahler’s Symphony No.3. I’m particularly excited about collaborating with Danill Trifonov. I’ve loved his playing for many years and went to his concerts a couple of times, so I can’t wait to create music with him together on stage!

NW — What do you appreciate most about the communal aspect of making music?

KY — I was a member of Juilliard School’s Gluck Community Service Fellowship this past year, and my group performed regularly at venues such as nursing homes and mental hospitals. I was touched by how deeply music helps us connect with each other. I vividly remember the last performance before I graduated from Juilliard: it was on Mother’s Day, and I played Dvorak’s Songs My Mother Taught Me. Afterwards, a lady approached me, expressing her love for this piece and telling me that my playing reminded her of her mother. I feel grateful to be a part of the community engagement, it is thrilled to see how much strength audiences can derive from music.

NW — What are you looking forward to exploring in Toronto?

KY — I’m new to Toronto—my audition was the first time ever visiting Canada. So I’m looking forward to exploring Toronto’s museums and art galleries, as well as discovering the hiking trails around the city! 

Renata Cardoso, Trumpet

Hailing from Coimbra, Portugal, Renata Cardoso’s earliest musical interest was in percussion instruments, shifting to trumpet when she began her studies at Coimbra’s Conservatory. Thereafter she received her Bachelor’s degree from the Escola Superior de Música in Lisbon, Portugal, and completed a year of study at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music. Renata brings with her a virtuoso training as an alumni of the European Union Youth Orchestra and the Gulbenkian Orchestra’s Summer Fellowship program; she is also a winner of prestigious competitions like the Gulbenkian Foundation Scholarship and the World Trumpet Society.

NW — What pieces are you looking forward to the most this season?

RC — This season is going to be very exciting! Two programs I am very much looking forward to are the third and fifth symphonies of Mahler, and Pines of Rome by Respighi. As a trumpet player, these works are especially enjoyable to perform.

NW — How do you unwind after rehearsals? 

RC — My cats would say that they are my primary past time. My parents own a bakery, so I have always had a fondness for baking. Plus I recently discovered I have a passion for hiking in the mountains and being in nature. At some point, I would love to start painting and drawing. 

NW — What are you looking forward to exploring in Toronto?

RC — Having lived in Portugal and Houston, I am looking forward to exploring the northern region of Toronto. This includes experiencing the beauty of autumn and finally seeing snow … and eventually ice skating. Toronto has some wonderful parks that I look forward to exploring, as well as numerous Portuguese bakeries and restaurants. And I very much look forward to experiencing the mixture of cultures.

NW — What is your message to both longtime patrons and newcomers to the TSO?

RC — Orchestral music is exciting. I believe that both longtime patrons and newcomers should have the same opportunity to experience the wonder of orchestral music. Coming from humble roots in Portugal, I know that orchestral music speaks to, and is inclusive, of everyone. It is simply the sharing of emotions through sound.