The TSO returns to Europe this summer with a festival tour
The six-concert schedule (August 15–24) includes performances at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Helsinki Music Centre, and Reykjavik’s Harpa Hall
Kick-off concert (August 12) at Koerner Hall presented by the Toronto Summer Music Festival
TORONTO, June 5, 2014 – The Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO) and Music Director Peter Oundjian culminate the 10th anniversary season of their partnership with a European festival tour (August 15–24). The six-concert schedule includes performances at Vienna’s Grafenegg Music Festival, the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Germany’s Rheingau Musik Festival, Helsinki Music Centre, and Reykjavik’s Harpa Hall. Joining the Orchestra are Canadian violinist James Ehnes and composer and clarinetist Jörg Widmann. The TSO makes its Koerner Hall début when the tour kicks off on August 12 at the Toronto Summer Music Festival.
“We are delighted to make our first return to Europe since 2000,” comments Peter Oundjian. “Toronto is one of the world’s great cosmopolitan cities, and we are proud of our role as cultural ambassadors. As we represent Toronto on the world stage, this tour marks an important moment in the Orchestra’s development. We hope to shine a positive light on our city.”
On the tour, the TSO performs in some of Europe’s famed venues, including the renowned Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. In Reykjavik, the TSO is the first North American orchestra to perform at Harpa Hall. The venue, with its award-winning design, state of the art acoustics, and breathtaking harbour views, opened in May 2011. While in Reykjavik, TSO musicians will perform in small ensembles across the community, participating in Culture Night, Iceland’s biggest and most popular festival. Also part of the Culture Night festival is a free concert at Harpa Hall by The TSO Chamber Soloists, joined by guest soloist James Ehnes.
The tour’s broad and deep repertoire reflects the abiding musical passions of the TSO under the direction of Peter Oundjian. It embraces everything from totemic works by Rachmaninoff, Shostakovich, and Vaughan Williams, to vibrant contemporary scores by Jörg Widmann and Canadian composer Claude Vivier, both of whom were featured in past editions of the TSO’s acclaimed New Creations Festival.
“There is so much substance in the works we will play on tour and so much in them to connect us with our audience,” shares Peter Oundjian. “As an orchestra, we focus a great deal on what we’re communicating and how we’re speaking through the music we perform. Audiences want to be transported beyond the ordinary, to be taken on an emotional and spiritual journey. I believe this is of supreme importance whenever we make music and that it will be at the heart of our tour.”
The featured orchestral work on the tour is Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances, a work central to the TSO’s repertoire over the past decade. The piece opened Peter Oundjian’s first week of concerts as TSO Music Director in 2004. The 2013 TSO Live recording of Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances was nominated for a JUNO Award in the category of “Classical Album of the Year: Large Ensemble or Soloist with Large Ensemble Accompaniment”.
The TSO will be in residence at the Helsinki Festival, with an extended stay in the city and TSO musicians integrating into the community with outreach activities. The TSO also brings its popular Late Night format to Helsinki (August 22), performing Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 11 “The Year 1905”. When the TSO performed the work at Carnegie Hall in 2008, The New York Times wrote, “[Peter Oundjian’s] dramatic shaping of the work illuminated its searing passions, and the orchestra responded with a remarkable fluidity and power.” The TSO released a live Roy Thomson Hall recording of Shostakovich 11 on the TSO Live label in 2012.
“We are very lucky to be working with two outstanding soloists on tour,” observes Peter Oundjian. “Jörg Widmann and James Ehnes belong to a valued group of guest conductors and soloists who work regularly with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and have made major contributions to its development.”
Canadian violinist and a frequent TSO collaborator since his 1994 TSO début, James Ehnes joins the Orchestra as soloist in Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw (August 18), the Helsinki Music Centre (August 21), and Harpa Hall in Reykjavik (August 24). Charismatic clarinetist and composer Jörg Widmann performs his Elegie for Clarinet and Orchestra and Weber’s Clarinet Concerto No. 1, on two stops along the tour (August 15 & 19).
High-res photos of the TSO and TSO Music Director Peter Oundjian: TSO.CA/Media
TSO Live recordings of Rachmaninoff Symphonic Dances and Shostakovich Symphony No. 11: TSO.CA/TSOLive
About the TSO: Founded in 1922, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra is one of Canada’s most important cultural institutions, recognized internationally as an outstanding orchestra. Currently celebrating his 10th season as Music Director, Peter Oundjian continues to lead the Orchestra with a commitment to innovative programming and audience development with performances that range from Masterworks to New Creations, Young People’s Concerts to Pops, all showcasing the exceptional talents of the Orchestra along with a roster of distinguished guest artists and conductors. In addition to the concert season, the TSO serves the larger community with TSOUNDCHECK, the original under-35 ticket programme; the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra; and music education and outreach programmes that connect students with acclaimed curriculum-based programming.