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THE SCOOP | Toronto Symphony Orchestra To Fully Reopen This November

By Michael Vincent on June 16, 2021

Gustavo Gimeno conducts the TSO in a performance of ‘Firebird’ (Photo: Stuart Lowe)

The Toronto Symphony Orchestra has announced they will return to the stage on November 10, 2021.

The 2021-22 season will also mark Music Director Gustavo Gimeno’s first complete season on the podium, conducting 11 subscription programs.

The season will open at Roy Thomson Hall with a performance of Invictus, a brass-heavy piece inspired by the Black Lives Matter protests by American composer Anthony Barfield. The season ends on June 2022 with a Ludwig Van approved concert of Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy”.

It’s been a while: October 17, 2020, was the last time patrons were able to hear the TSO perform live at their Toronto’s CityView Drive-In before the province shut down the option of outdoor drive-ins.

TSO Season Highlights


  • Mendelssohn’s “Reformation” Symphony (Jan)
  • Beethoven’s Symphonies Nos. 2 (Jan) and 4 (Feb)
  • Sibelius’s Symphonies Nos. 7 and 5 (Mar)
  • Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 2 (Apr)
  • Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9 “From the New World” (Apr)
  • Stravinsky’s The Firebird (May)
  • Brahms’s Symphony No. 4 (Jun)
  • Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 (Jun)
  • Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 (Jun)

Guest Soloists:

  • Timothy Chooi: Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto (Nov)
  • Kerson Leong: Samy Moussa’s Concerto for Violin and Orchestra “Adrano” (Jan)
  • Angela Hewitt: Bach’s Keyboard Concerto No. 2 (Feb)
  • James Ehnes: Beethoven’s Violin Concerto (Apr)
  • Jan Lisiecki: Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 2 (Apr)
  • Patricia Kopatchinskaja: Ravel’s Tzigane for Violin and Orchestra and Francisco Coll’s Violin Concerto (Apr)
  • Karen Gomyo: Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 3 (Apr)
  • Daniil Trifonov: Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5 “Emperor” (May)
  • Tony Siqi Yun: Clara Schumann’s Piano Concerto (Jun)
  • Javier Perianes: Grieg’s Piano Concerto (Jun)
Gustavo Gimeno conducts the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (Photo: Jag Gundu)
Gustavo Gimeno conducts the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (Photo: Jag Gundu)

Guest Conductors:

  • Peter Oundjian (Conductor Emeritus)
  • Sir Andrew Davis (TSO’s Conductor Laureate)
  • Ryan Bancroft
  • Maxim Emelyanychev
  • Eun Sun Kim
  • Samy Moussa
  • Jukka-Pekka Saraste
  • Xian Zhang


  • Emilie LeBel (TSO RBC Affiliate Composer): Kiwis Can’t Play the Violin and the sediments.
  • Zosha Di Castri: New work for soprano and orchestra (featuring Canadian soprano Barbara Hannigan)
  • Samy Moussa: Symphony No. 2 (2021/22 Spotlight Artist)
  • Francisco Coll: Elysian
  • NextGen Composers and the “Celebration Preludes”. (Cris Derksen, Luis Ramirez, Julia Mermelstein, Afarin Mansouri, and Iman Habibi)

What they’re saying:

Gustavo Gimeno | Artistic Director: “Our art form soars when we present more racialized, Indigenous, women artists and new works on our stages, alongside Bach, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, and Dvořák Together, these works illuminate a repertoire that embraces a celebration of musical perspectives, histories, influences, and styles.”

Matthew Loden | CEO: “Gustavo has programmed a season with his uncompromising style, full of rich, challenging, and emotional music, featuring exceptional artists. Gustavo and the TSO musicians have charted a musical way forward from this historic period.”

Jonathan Crow | Concertmaster: “I speak for all TSO musicians when I say that the return to in-person performances is at the very core of our purpose. We have all missed the electric energy between the musicians and Gustavo Gimeno, our Music Director, and most of all, the enduring relationship with our patrons. This will be a season like no other and one to cherish.”

The Fine Print

  • TSO will stay on the safe side with hour-long concerts without intermission for the first four months.
  • To maintain physical distancing, concerts will feature smaller ensembles on stage. Symphonic works with full orchestra will have to wait for the late-Winter/early Spring.
  • 2021/22 season subscriptions are available now to renewing subscribers.
  • TSO will offer subscription packages to new or returning patrons at a later date, as capacity allows.
  • Single tickets will be released at a later date as availability allows.

Going deeper

Ontario’s “Roadmap to Reopening” lockdown restrictions are now being gradually lifted over three stages.

The first allows outdoor events for up to ten people, but no concerts. The second allows for outdoor concert events for up to 25 people.

The third allows for both outdoor and indoor concert events. Ontario will move into the third step once the population of Ontario reaches 70-80% single-dose vaccination rate. Ontario is currently at 61%.


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Michael Vincent
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