Orchestra and Chamber Highlights

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The Toronto Symphony Orchestra has a robust season ahead of itself, presenting a wide ­variety of music under five category headings. As part of their Special Concert series, they will perform the scores of popular films such as Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Oct. 6), The Nightmare Before Christmas (Oct. 28 and 29), and Elf (Dec. 9 and 10). In addition, they will celebrate the orchestra’s centennial with a gala performance featuring special guests Yo-Yo Ma and Jeremy Dutcher (Nov. 16), and mark their return to Massey Hall with works by Samy Moussa, Bruch, and Tchaikovsky (Feb. 17, 2023). Through the ­holiday season, they will perform Handel’s Messiah in collaboration with the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir (Dec. 17-21). The TSO Masterworks series will include performances of Scheherazade (Sept. 21-24), The Planets (Nov. 9-12), Mozart’s Requiem (Jan. 11-15), and Romeo and Juliet (Feb. 8-9), to name a few. The orchestra will also produce a number of Pops and Young People’s Concerts throughout the year. www.tso.ca 

Tafelmusik welcomes audiences back into the hall for their first full season since the ­pandemic, with Handel’s London (Sept. 23 and 24), a program of Mendelssohn and Farrenc (Oct. 28 and 29), a program titled “Reflections of Mary,” featuring works by Charpentier, Poulenc, and a new commission by composer Tawnie Olson (Nov. 25 and 26), Handel’s Messiah (Dec. 16 and 17),  a concert of Haydn and Mozart, featuring violinist and director Rachel Podger (Feb. 10-12, 2023), Bach’s St John ­Passion (March 23-25), and a concert of ­virtuosic arias (April 28 and 29) featuring male soprano Samuel Mariño. They will end their season with a program of music from the French baroque (May 12-14). www.tafelmusik.org 

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The Mississauga Symphony Orchestra will bring to life works by Beethoven and Brahms (Oct. 15), a program of works from Italy and Argentina, including Piazzolla’s Oblivion, the overture to Verdi’s Nabucco, and Nessun Dorma, featuring guest artist Romulo ­Delgado (Nov. 19). Following their holiday concert (Dec. 17), they will present Rossini’s The Barber of Seville in concert (Feb. 11, 2023), a collection of works by Bach, Haydn, Stravinsky, Mascagni, and Rimsky-Korsakov in celebration of Easter (April 1), and Holst’s The Planets (May 27). www.mississaugasymphony.ca

Esprit Orchestra, Canada’s only full-sized professional orchestra devoted to new music, celebrates its 40th anniversary this season. On the program are both new works and pieces previously premièred by the ensemble. ­Conducted by Alex Pauk, Esprit’s first concert of the season titled “Spira” will feature works by Christopher Goddard and Thomas Adès, as well as the Canadian première of Spira, by South Korean composer Unsuk Chin who lives in Germany (Oct. 27).  “Violinissimo,” their second concert of the year, spotlights ­violinists Aaron Schwebel, Marie Bérard, and Stephen Sitarski, and will feature works by John Rea, Alexina Louie, José Evangelista, and the world première of a work by Andrew Staniland titled Six Enigmas (Nov. 27). Esprit’s season ­continues with “Taiko Live,”  featuring works for orchestra, electronics, cello and Japanese taiko drumming ensemble—including the world première of James O’Callaghan’s Overbound (Jan. 25, 2023).  www.espritorchestra.com

The Royal Conservatory of Music will host ­numerous guest conductors from around the world, as they lead the Royal Conservatory ­Orchestra. Joshua Weilerstein will step up to the podium for a program of works by Dinuk Wijeratne, Shostakovich, and Brahms (Oct. 7), Tania Miller for works by Valentin Silvestrov, Shostakovich, and Beethoven (Nov. 25), Earl Lee for a program of Stravinsky, Barber, and Schumann (Feb. 10, 2023), and finally William Eddins in a concert of Gabriel Pierné and Béla Bartók (April 28). Home in the incredible Koerner Hall, the RCM will host solo recitals by the likes of Marc-André Hamelin (Oct. 16) and Daniil Trifonov (Dec. 2), as well as chamber performances by Philippe Jaroussky and Ensemble Artaserse (Oct. 26) and a series of concerts by the Kronos Quartet, featuring guests Sam Green (Dec. 6), students from the Glenn Gould School (Dec. 8), and Tanya Tagaq (Dec. 9). www.rcmusic.com


In Ottawa, the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra, ­conducted by Tania Miller, will launch their season with a performance of works by Fauré, Debussy, Lyadov, MacDonald, and Stravinsky (Nov. 20), followed by a holiday concert titled The Hockey Sweater, conducted by Evan Mitchell, featuring Abigail Richardson-Schulte’s work of the same name (Dec. 18). In the new year, Janna Sailor will conduct the ­orchestra in a program of works by female composers (March 5, 2023). www.ottawasymphony.com

National Arts Centre Orchestra starts the year off with a concert of Rachmaninoff, ­featuring Chopin Competition Winner Bruce Liu (Sept. 8 and 9). The orchestra will then present a number of concerts as part of the SPHERE Festival, including “The Eternal Earth,” ­featuring mezzo-soprano Marion Newman (Sept. 22), and “Become Ocean” (Sept. 24). In October, John Storgårds will take up the podium for a performance of Haydn and Tchaikovsky (Oct. 5 and 6). The season will also include performances of Mozart’s ­Requiem (Nov. 9 and 10), Handel’s Messiah (Dec. 14 and 15), and a collection of holiday selections, featuring Natalie ­MacMaster (Dec. 21 and 22). Soloists Hilary Hahn (Jan. 18 and 19, 2023), Karen Gomyo (March 8 and 9), ­Angela Hewitt (April 5 and 6), Bryan Cheng (April 19 and 20), and Jan Lisiecki (June 7 and 8) will join the orchestra in concerts throughout the year. www.nac-cna.ca     

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