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Orchestra Toronto

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Details

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Toronto Centre for the Arts

5040 Yonge St.

Toronto ON  M2N 6R8

416-467-7142

info@orchestratoronto.ca

FACEBOOK | TWITTER

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About

Established in 1954 as the Bennington Heights Community Orchestra, Orchestra Toronto has grown in size and musical excellence to take its place as one of Canada’s oldest, largest and most highly lauded community volunteer orchestras.

It provides musicians with an opportunity to develop and perform public concerts from the symphonic repertoire and is dedicated to providing affordable family entertainment and music education. The orchestra performs five Sunday-afternoon concerts each season in the George Weston Recital Hall at the Toronto Centre for the Arts in North York.

Its first season, in 1955, consisted of just one concert under the direction of Assen Kresteff. Two years later, Albert Aylward, a 25-year veteran of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra string section, took up the baton. In 1964, Milton Barnes, former conductor of the St. Catharines Symphony, became the orchestra’s conductor.

The orchestra was incorporated in November 1967, a board of directors was named and the orchestra was re-born as the 63-member East York Symphony, with a focus on serving the East York community. Orval Reis, conductor of the University of Toronto Orchestra, began his six-season tenure as conductor.

During the ensuing years, conductors included Clifford Pool and David Ford, head of music at North Toronto Collegiate. Douglas Sanford was Music Director From 1990 to 2001 and was responsible for raising the calibre of performances to new heights. Errol Gay, who had been music director of orchestras in New York, Texas and North Carolina, was appointed music director in 2002. Gay has held professorial positions at several American universities and from 1970 to 1976 was a conductor and chorus master with the Canadian Opera Company in Toronto.  For several seasons, he was assistant musical director of the Charlottetown Festival and co-conductor of the High Park Choirs of Toronto, as well as music advisor/conductor of the Hart House Orchestra at the University of Toronto. For 24 years he served as associate principal librarian of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.

Gay’s celebrated eight-year tenure came to an end with the 2009-2010 season. His successor was Danielle Lisboa, who has a doctorate in orchestral conducting from the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester, New York. At the end of the 2012-13 season Lisboa left to pursue a teaching position in Edmonton.

In September of 2013 Orchestra Toronto welcomed celebrated conductor and violinist Kevin Mallon as our new music director.  He brings a wealth of experience from all over the world.  We have also now grown to more than 80 players and are recognized as an important resource for dedicated and motivated musicians to rehearse and perform orchestral repertoire and a source of entertainment and music education for its audiences.

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The Folks Behind It All

Music Director Kevin Mallon
Music Director Kevin Mallon

Kevin Mallon

Conductor, Kevin Mallon, grew up in Belfast, Northern Ireland. A scholarship brought him to Manchester’s specialist music school, Chethams School of Music where he was greatly influenced by the conductor and early music specialist John Eliot Gardiner. Later studies included composition with Peter Maxwell Davies at Dartington College Of Arts and violin at the Royal Northern College of Music. From 1989- 92 he led and directed The Irish Baroque Orchestra and was concert master of Le Concert Spirituel and Les Arts Florissants in Paris. With these groups, Mallon recorded and performed concerts all over Europe, including Vienna, London (Wigmore Hall), Berlin, Paris (Versailles), Russia, The Baltic States, China, and Japan. In 1993 he accepted positions with the University of Toronto and Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, positions he has now left in order to pursue conducting full time.  In 1999 Mallon founded the vocal and instrumental group the Aradia Ensemble, with whom he has toured widely, and become conductor of the Toronto Chamber Orchestra. With these ensembles he has made over 50 recordings for Naxos, has produced two music videos and appeared on numerous film soundtrack (including “Yes Man” with Jim Carey in 2008). Aradia has collaborated with Isadora Duncan and Baroque dancers, has co-produced opera, and worked with Balinese Gamelan. In July 2000, they were the featured ensemble in the New Zealand International Chamber Music Festival and in the summer of 2003 they performed in the festival: “Musica nel Chiostro”, in Tuscany. Aradia has made tours to the USA, Ireland and since 2010 has been the orchestra in residence at the Centre for Opera Studies in Italy.  Mallon has conducted the contemporary opera company Opera Anonymous performing Stravinsky’s Rakes Progress, and the early 19th century opera Lucas et Cecile by Canadian Joseph Quesnel. With Toronto’s Opera in Concert, he has conducted Handel’s Semele, Rinaldo, Tamerlano, Giulio Cesare, Orlando, Rameau’s Castor and Pollux, Vivaldi’s La Griselda, Mozart’s Zaide, Haydn’s Il mondo della luna,Schubert’s Die Freunde von Salamanka. Hippolite et Arice of Rameau is upcoming in February 2014. With the Toronto Operetta Theatre he has conducted Wiener Blut by Johann Strauss, The Merry Widow by Franz Lehár, and Lehár’s Count of Luxembourg.  In 2004 the Gramophone and BBC magazines featured major profiles of Maestro Mallon. His recording of Boyce symphonies won a Gramophone Editor’s choice award in 2005 and his recording of Handel’s Water-music and Royal Fireworks Music won the same award in 2006. Further awards include a 2009 Juno nomination for a Haydn Symphonies CD. Maestro Mallon also fulfills numerous invitations to guest conduct. In Ireland he was appointed Artistic Director of Opera 2005, Ireland’s newest opera company, formed to celebrate Cork’s tenure as European Capital of Culture. With this company he has conducted Mozart’s Figaro’s Wedding, Bizet’s Carmen, Weill’s Threepenny Opera, Rossini’s Barber of Seville, Don Giovanni,  and Verdi’s Ballo in Maschera. He was three times nominated for the Irish Times Theatre Award. In 2009 Maestro Mallon conducted Carmen and Don Giovanni in Odessa, then on tour to Holland, Belgium and Spain. Other guest conducting appearances include the Windsor Symphony, Symphony Nova Scotia and Symphony Niagara, the Hamilton Philharmonic, Thunder Bay Symphony, Orchestra London, Seattle Baroque Orchestra, Cambridge Concentus and the Halifax Summer Opera Festival.  Maestro Mallon’s most recent appointments are as Music Director of the Thirteen Strings Chamber Orchestra in Ottawa (2010), conductor for the Centre for Opera Studies in Italy (2010), conductor of New York’s newly formed West Side Chamber Orchestra (2011) and Music Director of Orchestra Toronto (2013).  Maestro Mallon is also a composer, most recently writing music for the TV series Camelot.

 

Executive Director Samantha Little:
Executive Director Samantha Little:

Samantha Little

Samantha Little has been an active musician, educator and arts director in Toronto for over 20 years.  She holds a Hons.Bac.Mus. from the University of Toronto and her A.T.C.L.  Samantha has managed a diverse range of music, theatre and dance groups most recently including the Oriana Women’s Choir and the Common Thread Community Chorus.  She is currently the Production Manager for the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir with whom she also performs as well as being the Executive Director of the Aradia Ensemble.  An active theatre technician, her management approach is holistic, having worked in both stage carpentry, audio and production management.  She also remains active in Film and TV production as a technician and production manager.  Samantha has maintained a teaching studio in Toronto for 17 years and was the Children’s Choirs Conductor and Assistant Music Coordinator at the MNjcc as well as co-founder of the Downtown Community Choral Summit.  As an active stage manager and former Front of House Manager of the Al Green theatre, Samantha enjoys supporting performers and ensembles in all areas and is the founder of the Apprentice Stage Manager program at Orchestra Toronto.  She has proudly been the executive director of Orchestra Toronto since 2013.

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Events

2016/17 Season

England

October 23, 2016, 3 p.m.

George Weston Recital Hall at the Toronto Centre for the Arts

Join us to start our 63rd Season as we celebrate Canada’s 150th Birthday!  We start by paying tribute to England; one of the founding countries of Canada!

Toronto-born mezzo-soprano/contralto, Maria Soulis joins us for Elgar’s Sea Pictures.

Tickets are $43 Adults, $37 Seniors and $15 Students and Under 29 at ticketmaster.ca or1-855-985-ARTS (2787)

More information at www.orchestratoronto.ca

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Youth at the Holidays

December 11, 2016, 3 p.m.

George Weston Recital Hall at the Toronto Centre for the Arts

Our annual holiday concert with a focus on Youth and Children!  We are once again joined by narrator Trevor Rines! We’ll have the Long & McQuade instrument petting zoo and our inspirational young soloist; Michael Murphy

Tickets are $43 Adults, $37 Seniors and $15 Students and Under 29 at ticketmaster.ca or 1-855-985-ARTS (2787)

More information at www.orchestratoronto.ca

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France

March 5, 2017, 3 p.m.

George Weston Recital Hall at the Toronto Centre for the Arts

The music of France, one of the founding communities in Canada continues our season theme of Canada’s 150th Birthday!

We also feature our very own Principal Cello Tom Mueller at this concert:
Tom Mueller holds a Bachelor of Music degree in performance from the Manhattan School of Music and a Masters degree from the University of Illinois. While completing his degree in Illinois, Mr. Mueller was personally chosen by Robert Shaw to serve as principal cellist of the Robert Shaw Choral Festival in Soulliac, France. As a founding member of the Allendale String Quartet in New York, Mr. Mueller has performed throughout the eastern seaboard with such highlights as; performances at Carnegie Hall as well as National Public Radio broadcasts.  As a teacher, Mr. Mueller has maintained private studios in New York, Central Illinois and Toronto. In addition, he has held teaching positions at the University of Illinois, Manchester Music Festival of Vermont and the Waterloo Music Festival in Princeton, New Jersey.   Mr. Mueller currently freelances throughout the GTA. He has performed in the Toronto productions of Show Boat, Sunset Boulevard, Ragtime, Beauty and the Beast, Phantom of the Opera and the Sound of Music. As a chamber musician, Mr. Mueller is currently a member of the Elgin String Quartet, Trilogy, and Quartet Saint Cecilia with Gloria Sarrinen, piano and has been heard frequently on CBC’s Two New Hours as well as The Music Around Us. He currently holds the position of Principal Cello for Symphony Hamilton and has appeared as soloist with them performing the Brahms Double concerto, the Beethoven Triple concerto as well as the Haydn concerto. Mr. Mueller also frequently performs throughout southern Ontario with such ensembles as the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony and the Hamilton Philharmonic as well with the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir and Elora Festival orchestras.

Tickets are $43 Adults, $37 Seniors and $15 Students and Under 29 at ticketmaster.ca or1-855-985-ARTS (2787)

More information at www.orchestratoronto.ca

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Canadian Light Classics

April 30, 2017, 3 p.m.

George Weston Recital Hall at the Toronto Centre for the Arts

This concert is the return of our annual Light Classic’s Concert!  In honour of Canada’s 150th Birthday, we are presenting a uniquely Canadian program including a world premiere commission from Richard Herriott! O Canada!

Tickets are $43 Adults, $37 Seniors and $15 Students and Under 29 at ticketmaster.ca or1-855-985-ARTS (2787)

More information at www.orchestratoronto.ca

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Concert for Peace

June 18, 2017, 3 p.m.

George Weston Recital Hall at the Toronto Centre for the Arts

In the finest tradition of Canada’s welcoming arms to the world we present music from Iran, Syria and iconic music evoking the theme of peace.  A beautiful end to our season honouring Canada’s 150th Birthday!

Tickets are $43 Adults, $37 Seniors and $15 Students and Under 29 at ticketmaster.ca or1-855-985-ARTS (2787)

More information at www.orchestratoronto.ca

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