Toronto Symphony Orchestra Unveils 2024/25 Season Featuring New Works, Guest Artists & More

Highlights include famed pianist Yuja Wang performing Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1, plus much more.

By: Feb. 22, 2024
Toronto Symphony Orchestra Unveils 2024/25 Season Featuring New Works, Guest Artists & More
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The Toronto Symphony Orchestra has revealed the details of its 2024/25 concert season. Music Director Gustavo Gimeno’s vision for the year is one of unified plurality—an expansive showcase of the collective talents of the orchestra with a shared focus on vibrant new works by contemporary creators, the popular music of everyday life, culturally diverse programs for youth, and captivating films in concert, all in addition to the cherished classics of the repertoire. Highlights include famed pianist Yuja Wang bringing her infectious passion to Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1; an electrifying tribute to Tina Turner, with the multitalented Tony-winning performer Adrienne Warren; and the world première of Red Sky Performance’s She Holds Up the Stars, a Young People’s Concert based on Artistic Director Sandra Laronde’s award-winning novel. Subscriptions to the TSO’s 2024/25 season are now available at TSO.CA/Subscribe.

“As we unveil the full expanse of our 2024/25 season, we are proud to highlight the array of programs designed to mirror the diversity of the broader Toronto community. From the Classical magnificence of Mozart and Mahler, to the contemporary beats of Tina Turner and the enchanting melodies of Encanto, our season is a vibrant tapestry of contrasting cultural colours. At the heart of this mission is the season-long spotlight we’re casting the exceptional talents within our orchestra. This spotlight will shine brightest on the various concerti for orchestra that we’ve peppered throughout the season, savouring the individual virtuosity and collective brilliance of our musicians. This season is more than a series of concerts; it's a celebration of inclusivity, excellence, and the transformative power of music that resonates with every member of the world’s most diverse city.” —Mark Williams, Beck Family CEO, Toronto Symphony Orchestra
 

Masterworks Series

Timeless treasures and the innovative works of today

A diversity of programming defines the Masterworks Series, curated by Music Director Gustavo Gimeno: crowd-pleasing canonical works stand alongside artform-expanding compositions by contemporary creators hailing from different nations and cultural backgrounds. One of the main themes traversing the Masterwork programs in the 2024/25 season is a series of concerti for orchestra by contemporary and canonical composers alike. From September 25 to 28, the season opens with Pictures at an Exhibition, which puts the majestic powers of the orchestra on full display in both the beloved Mussorgsky piece (orchestrated by Alexander Gorchakov) and Beethoven’s captivating Triple Concerto, with Concertmaster Jonathan Crow, Principal Cello Joseph Johnson, and Canadian pianist and 2024/25 Spotlight Artist Jan Lisiecki as soloists. Over the remainder of the series, the orchestra will perform such momentous works as Mahler’s Symphony No. 4; Dvořák’s “New World” Symphony; selections from Bizet’s Carmen; Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3 “Eroica”; Holst’s The Planets; the score to Bartók’s ballet The Miraculous Mandarin (recorded live for release on the Harmonia Mundi label); and Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto (featuring Principal Clarinet Eric Abramovitz), “Jupiter” Symphony, and Requiem, among other favoured works by the composer. The 24/25 season sees the return of two former TSO Music Directors. On the podium for Mozart’s haunting Requiem is former Music Director Jukka-Pekka Saraste. The other is beloved Conductor Laureate Sir Andrew Davis, who leads Richard Strauss’s cosmically grand Also sprach Zarathustra. 

Sir Andrew will also conduct Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 25, performed by the legendary Emanual Ax, who is among many celebrated guest artists returning to perform with the TSO next season. The roster of international pianists includes Angela Hewitt (Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21), Vìkingur Òlafsson (Brahms’s Piano Concerto No. 2), Beatrice Rana (Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G Major), and Stewart Goodyear (his own Callaloo—A Caribbean Suite for Piano and Orchestra). Violinists include Timothy Chooi (Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1), Karen Gomyo (Piazzolla’s The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires), and Nikolaj Szeps-Znaider (who leads Beethoven’s Violin Concerto and conducts R. Schumann’s Symphony No. 2). Conductors include Gianandrea Noseda (Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 2) and Tarmo Peltokoski (Vaughan Williams’s Symphony No. 4).

Numerous renowned artists are collaborating with the orchestra for the very first time as well. Along with three conductors: Anja Bihlmaier (Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9 “From the New World”), Marta Gardolińska (Mendelssohn Symphony No. 3 “Scottish”), and Kristiina Poska (Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3 “Eroica”). Pianist Behzod Abduraimov (Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini); cellist Kian Soltani (Saint-Saëns’s Cello Concerto No. 1); soprano Siobhan Stagg (Mozart’s Requiem); and bass-baritone Dashon Burton (Mozart’s Requiem) will all make their TSO débuts.

Two of today’s most revered composers will also grace the TSO stage to conduct programmes that include Canadian Premières of their own works: John Adams returns to lead his manic “short symphony” Frenzy (a TSO Co-commission), and Thomas Adès makes his highly anticipated TSO début conducting the Canadian premiere of his mesmerizing Piano Concerto (performed by Kirill Gerstein, for whom it was written). Throughout the season, other premières intended to amplify important musical voices include Daníel Bjarnason’s I Want to Be Alive—Trilogy for Orchestra (World Première/TSO Co-commission); Carlos Simon’s Wake Up! Concerto for Orchestra (Canadian Première); former TSO RBC Affiliate Composer Kevin Lau’s Kimiko’s Pearl Symphonic Poem (World Première/TSO Co-commission); a composition by Cree composer Andrew Balfour, created in partnership with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (World Première/Art of Healing Program Commission); and new works by the TSO’s 2024/25 NextGen Composers—Amy Brandon, Andrew James Clark, and Sonny-Ray Day Rider.

Performing in multiple programs throughout the season are two entrancing musical personalities selected by Gustavo Gimeno to be 2024/25 TSO Spotlight Artists—Canadian pianist Jan Lisiecki and Austrian-British soprano Anna Prohaska. In addition to Beethoven’s Triple Concerto, Lisiecki will bring to life Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 1 and, over two programs, he will lead all five of Beethoven’s piano concerti from the keyboard. Prohaska, in her TSO début, ​ will display her exquisite voice in Mahler’s Symphony No. 4, Haydn’s Scena di Berenice, and operatic selections from Mozart’s Così fan tutte and John Adams’s Nixon in China.

“In the symphonic world, things move very quickly: guest artists come, rehearse, perform a few concerts in a single week, and go,” says Gustavo Gimeno. “But through the TSO Spotlight Artists initiative, the orchestra and I are able to collaborate more extensively with a pair of incredible musicians each season, providing us—and our audiences—the welcome opportunity to grow closer to them, personally, humanly, and artistically. In turn, these artists develop a deeper relationship with us. In 2024/25, I am thrilled to be able to introduce my TSO family to Anna Prohaska, a performer of great versatility, and am eager to showcase our long-time friend Jan Lisiecki in three programs that demonstrate his extraordinary musical dexterity.”

Pops Series

A salute to the soundtrack to our daily lives

Designed by Principal Pops Conductor Steven Reineke, the TSO’s 2024/25 Pops Series is a musical tour through time and across genres: Finnish vocal ensemble Rajaton returns to bring the signature glitz and glamour of the ’70s to a brand-new show, DISCO! Bee Gees & Beyond. The ’80s saw the crowning of the indisputable “Queen of Rock ’n’ roll,” who is the subject of Simply the Best: A Tribute to Tina Turner with Adrienne Warren. La Vida Loca brings the sultry Latin rhythms and impassioned melodies of the ’90s and ’00s, including hits by Jennifer Lopez, Enrique Iglesias, and Ricky Martin, performed by GRAMMY®-winning instrumentalists and renowned vocalists. A program bursting with contemporary musical-theatre favourites — from Wicked, Hamilton, Dear Evan Hansen, and more — 21st-Century Broadway welcomes Broadway’s brightest stars to Roy Thomson Hall. And Pops Goes to the Movies: The Music of Hans Zimmer celebrates the unparalleled genius of the film composer who has captivated audiences for decades with his iconic scores to The Lion King, Pirates of the Caribbean, and other blockbusters.

“With all of the wonderful Broadway, rock, disco, Latin, and Hollywood hits we have in store for next season’s incredible Pops Series, there truly is something for everyone to enjoy,” says Steven Reineke. “But what excites me more than anything is that so many of the astonishing guest artists who will bring these songs and scores to life are appearing with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra for the first time ever. I can’t wait to introduce them to our musicians, and I know our amazing audiences are going to love them.”
Special Performances

Blockbuster films with live orchestra and a Lunar New Year celebration

Subscribers receive priority access to all Special Performances—including the always-popular films in concert. In 2024/25, the cinema meets the concert hall for The Nightmare Before Christmas, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, and Encanto, as the family-friendly flicks are projected on Roy Thomson Hall’s big screen while the orchestra performs the scores live to picture. And the TSO’s annual Lunar New Year celebration returns with Year of the Snake, a symphonic evening promising good fortune, prosperity, and captivating music.

Holiday Concerts

Festive fun and time-honoured traditions

From November 27 to December 22, the TSO presents multiple ways to make merry, with four festive programs guaranteed to get audiences into the holiday spirit: The seasonal offerings begin with Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker: Land of Sweets, conducted by Gustavo Gimeno and anchored by music from Act II of the cherished ballet classic. Then, full screenings of the hilarious Christmas movie Elf, marking its 20th anniversary, are accompanied by live performances of John Debney’s whimsical score. TSO Holiday Pops brings yuletide favourites with a jazzy twist, as Toronto’s own Denzal Sinclaire lends his smooth vocals to a program led by Jeff Tyzik. And Toronto’s grand tradition continues with Messiah, featuring four extraordinary soloists making their TSO débuts: soprano Sherezade Panthaki, countertenor Nicholas Burns, tenor Josh Lovell, and bass-baritone Enrico Lagasca. Alongside these soloists, the ethereal voices of the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir returns again for Messiah, with TMC Artistic Director Jean-Sébastien Vallée conducting. 

Young People’s Concerts

Entertaining musical experiences for the whole family

Intended to entertain, educate, and inspire, the TSO’s Young People’s Concerts are programmed by Barrett Principal Education Conductor & Community Ambassador Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser. The four one-hour experiences comprising the 2024/25 series are evenly split between well-loved classics and thrilling new productions. Returning to the TSO stage are Peter and the Wolf, featuring both Prokofiev’s treasured musical tale and a menagerie of other animal-inspired works, and Beethoven Lives Upstairs, with the actors from Classical Kids LIVE! dramatizing the wonderful story as the orchestra performs excerpts from the composer’s most beautiful creations. Brand-new programs include Hot, Hot, Hot! Calypso, Cumbia & More, a Caribbean adventure inviting listeners to dance in their seats to the vibrant beat of island music, and the World Premiere of Sandra Laronde and Red Sky Performance’s She Holds Up the Stars. Based on Laronde’s award-winning novel about an adolescent Indigenous girl, a boy, and a wild horse in a mesmerizing natural landscape, this new work features life-sized puppets, dance, visual art, and a newly commissioned orchestral work by Eliot Britton. 

“Next season’s slate of Young People’s Concerts is an exciting blend of cherished classics and brand-new creations,” says Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser. “This is a thrilling prospect for me and the musicians; we get to revisit old favourites and experience new, fantastic programs with the audience. Each one is going to be a real treat, in particular, She Holds Up the Stars, crafted in partnership with the incredible talents at Red Sky Performance, with whom we previously collaborated in 2017 to create Adizokan.”
Relaxed Performances

Inclusive concerts for members of the neurodiverse and disabled communities

The Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s Relaxed Performances are a vital offering that serves the organization’s mission to foster new and deeper connections with Toronto and its diverse citizens. Designed for the neurodiverse and disabled communities, and those who enjoy a more casual setting, these concerts invite attendees to move around freely, vocalize, and experience the orchestra in their own way. Resources like noise-dampening earmuffs, a Quiet Room, and a Venue Guide are also made available to maximize patron comfort. The TSO’s 2024/25 Relaxed Performances are Peter and the Wolf; Hot, Hot, Hot! Calypso, Cumbia & More; and Brahms & Beyond—a Masterworks program for all ages, conducted by Gustavo Gimeno, that includes selections from Brahms’s towering Symphony No. 4. Relaxed Performances can be purchased as a package, or individual performances can be added to any TSO subscription package. 

Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra Performances

Inspiring encounters with impressive young talents

In its 51st season, the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra (TSYO) welcomes a new leader — RBC Resident Conductor Trevor Wilson — and gives its remarkable young members three dedicated opportunities to demonstrate their versatility: At the Meridian Centre’s George Weston Recital Hall (North York), High Spirits features three dynamic works by key figures of the Romantic period—Brahms’s Academic Festival Overture, Dvořák’s Symphony No. 8, and Borodin’s Polovtsian Dances from his opera Prince Igor (the latter work will also be performed side by side with the TSO in November 2024). And iconic favourites both timeless and modern are thrillingly fused in May the Fifth Be with You, which includes John Williams’s Star Wars suite and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5, and Artemis, a work by Canadian composer Kevin Lau. At Roy Thomson Hall, the TSYO concludes its season with Shostakovich’s Fifth, contrasting the intense, revolutionary echoes of the piece with the tranquil charm of Lili Boulanger’s springtime tribute, D’un matin de printemps. TSYO performances can be purchased as a package, or individual performances can be added to any TSO subscription package.

Subscription Packages

Subscriptions to the TSO’s 2024/25 season are available now, and they represent the best value for patrons. Subscribers save up to 40% compared to regular ticket prices, and they receive a 20% discount on additional tickets all season long. They enjoy free exchanges on subscription-price tickets and are given priority access to special events before the general public, among other benefits. Masterworks Packages range from four to seven concerts, while Pops, Young People’s Concerts, Relaxed, and TSYO Packages comprise full series (three to six concerts each). Single tickets for all TSO performances will be released in July 2024.

To subscribe, visit TSO.CA/Subscribe, call 416.598.3375, or visit the TSO Patron Services Centre at 145 Wellington St. W., Suite 500, between 9:30am and 5:00pm, Monday through Friday.




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