Wondering what we have in store for our momentous 2023/24 season, and why it represents a bold new beginning for your TSO? Well gather round, class, because here’s your introduction to Year 101!
In two special episodes of Sunday Night at the TSO, airing March 5 and 12 on The New Classical 96.3 FM, our leaders take host Kathleen Kajioka on a deep dive into next season’s programming and how it’s indicative of the path we’re forging as an organization. Each interviewee brings their own unique perspective and insights, sharing what they’re most looking forward to.
Part 1 features CEO Mark Williams, Concertmaster Jonathan Crow, and Principal Pops Conductor Steven Reineke.
Focusing on the big picture of our 101st year, Mark highlights the inclusion of new music and new voices that are reflective of new audiences, in addition to the beloved works of the classical repertoire. “It's a fresh, open-arms, open-heart kind of season and approach to programming,” he says. “There are always many ways that a person who loves music can find a home at the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.” He also notes that he’s particularly excited about the 2023/24 TSO Spotlight Artists, violinist James Ehnes and mezzo-soprano Emily D’Angelo, who are both Canadian and will each perform in multiple programs.
Representing the Orchestra, Jonathan touches on the elements of the season the musicians are anticipating, including solos by artists within their own ranks. These include his own performance of Ligeti’s challenging Violin Concerto. He then shares his excitement about the amount of new music being performed. “We're looking to the future,” he says. “We've just finished our 100th year, and in the next 100 years, there's probably going to be a lot of new music that we play, and it's exciting to have one of those at least on every program.”
Steven provides an enthusiastic overview of what he has planned for the 2023/24 Pops Series—from Doo Wop adaptations of modern hits and bringing Broadway’s brightest the TSO stage, to the musical storytelling of Star Wars and working with Canadian Jazz vocalist and “force of nature” Molly Johnson for the very first time. “I am super excited about this entire season,” he says. “Everything is just so much fun, and there really is a wide variety for everybody.”
Part 2 includes conversations with Music Director Gustavo Gimeno, Barrett Principal Education Conductor & Community Ambassador Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser, and Principal Flute Kelly Zimba Lukić.
Describing the “personality” of the 21st-century TSO, Gustavo cites numerous aspects of the 2023/24 season. “Some classics have never been played by the TSO, or they were very long ago,” he says, “and it's great to realize that there are so many ideas for new commissions, and from all different voices, places, cultures.” He adds that next year’s Spotlight Artists suit the TSO’s “DNA” in their versatility and collaborative spirit. Of all the repertoire he’s programmed, Gustavo notes that he’s particularly eager to lead Mahler’s Third Symphony, with alto Gerhild Romberger making her TSO début.
Daniel provides a survey of three vital series and programs: Describing the Young People’s Concerts on offer in 2023/24, he calls out one that will tell the story of Black 18th-century composer Joseph Bologne. He then sings the praises of the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra, which will celebrate 50 years next season, and details the importance of the TSO’s Relaxed Performances for neurodiverse audiences. “This really matters to us, and we want people who need accommodations to know that we have a whole section of our season there for them,” he says. “So subscribe, come, and enjoy in peace.”
In addition to being our incredible Principal Flute, Kelly is also the current head of the Orchestra’s Artistic Planning Committee, which plays a part in shaping each season’s programming. “It's important to have musician input because we have an intimate knowledge and understanding of what it means to create meaningful programs and musical experiences,” she says, going on to explain that the committee is responsible for the inclusion of an all-Bach program next season.