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The Healing Power of Music: The TSO’s Collaboration with Princess Margaret Cancer Centre

The TSO is proud to work with Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, one of the top five cancer centres in the world, to harness the power of music for the benefit of its patients.
June 10, 2022

To celebrate the milestone of the Phase One completion of Princess Margaret Cancer Centre’s Space Transformation in 2021, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and Princess Margaret collaborated to create a captivating and compelling virtual performance that complements the serenity and modernity of the cancer centre’s new design—or, as they put it, “world-class music in a world-class space.” 

“A musician who’s coming into a more public space and performing… can actually shift the ambiance and environment in a really significant way that  is very different from my clinical role which is at the bedside… The more music, the more art in health care the better for the patient, family, caregiver, and staff experience,”  said Dr. SarahRose Black, Music Therapist, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre.

TSO musicians have contributed to Princess Margaret’s virtual Music in the Atrium program. Designed to provide patients with the therapeutic elements of music, the program has provided a wide breadth of musical experiences to the Princess Margaret community for over two decades. TSO Chamber ensembles provide uplifting virtual performances curated especially for, and directly distributed to, patients receiving treatment at the Cancer Centre.

Amanda Goodburn, TSO Violin: “ I want to bring music to different spaces and to people at different times of their lives, and I think it’s so important because it not only fulfills me as an artist, it fulfills me as a human.”

Tom Smee, TSO Board member: “As a two-time cancer survivor and current patient of Princess Margaret, I know that the environment in which cancer care is delivered can have a really significant impact on the patients, the families, and the staff providing the care.”

This season, TSO continues its partnership with Princess Margaret through the UHN Cancer Experience Program, providing calming, intentional, live music in different areas of the hospital to contribute to cancer care, and enhance the well-being of patients, healthcare providers, and care partners. Leveraging the expertise of the UHN Cancer Experience Program and artistry of Toronto Symphony Orchestra musicians, this collaboration will also contribute to ongoing research on the therapeutic effects of music in cancer care communities. 

Dr. Gary Rodin, UHN Cancer Experience Program: “There’s been so many advances in cancer care over the last decades and Princess Margaret has been at the centre of them. Attending the experience of patients and families who are going through this, is as important to treating the cancer itself.”

Watch the video here: