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Symphony orchestra

Biography

For over a century, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO) has played a fundamental role in shaping and celebrating Canadian culture. With a storied history of acclaimed concerts and recordings, Canadian and international tours, and impactful community partnerships, the orchestra is dedicated to engaging and enriching local and national communities through vibrant musical experiences. Music Director Gustavo Gimeno brings an expansive artistic vision, intellectual curiosity, and sense of adventure to programming the 93-musician orchestra that serves Toronto—one of the world’s most diverse cities.

As a group of artists, teachers, and advocates who share the belief that music has the power to heal, inspire, and connect people from all walks of life, the TSO engages audiences young and old through an array of education, community access, and health and wellness initiatives: The 2023/24 season marks the 50th anniversary of the TSO-affiliated Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra—a tuition-free training program dedicated to cultivating the next generation of Canadian artists. It holds open houses and free concerts for members of the public at its longtime home of Roy Thomson Hall. Its Relaxed Performances are designed to be more welcoming for neurodiverse patrons, including those on the autism spectrum, and those with sensory and communication disorders, ADHD, and dementia. Art of Healing, its partnership with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, supports First Nations, Inuit, and Métis patients through musical storytelling and composition. TSOUND Connections harnesses music and technology to connect TSO musicians with seniors in care, to reduce social isolation and support well-being. Its Morning with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra program offers Open Rehearsals for high school music students from across the Greater Toronto Area. And, in partnership with the Toronto Public Library, Symphony Storytime features Orchestra members performing live alongside the reading of children’s stories, expanding access for families and children to literacy and music education.

Since the orchestra’s first release in 1952, recordings have been an integral component of the TSO’s artistic legacy. Of the more than 150 titles in its discography, many have been nominated for prestigious awards. Most recently, our 2019 recording of works by Vaughan Williams, under TSO Conductor Emeritus Peter Oundjian, and 2021 recording of Massenet’s Thaïs, under TSO Conductor Laureate Sir Andrew Davis, both on Chandos, won JUNO Awards, with the former also receiving a GRAMMY® nomination. This recording marks the TSO’s first collaboration with Harmonia Mundi and its second recording of Turangalîla-Symphonie. The first was made in 1968 on RCA, under then–Music Director Seiji Ozawa. It also earned a GRAMMY® nomination and is widely considered to be a definitive interpretation of Messiaen’s masterwork.

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