Sistema Toronto & Toronto Symphony Orchestra Partner to Elevate Music Education and Inspire the Next Generation of Musicians
Sistema Toronto and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO) are excited to announce their partnership aimed at enriching the music education of Sistema’s students over the 2023/24 school year. Sistema Toronto students – children from some of Toronto’s most underserved school communities – will be offered a series of workshops with esteemed musicians from the TSO, as well as have the opportunity to attend TSO concerts and get a peek at the backstage process of professional music-making.
Sistema Toronto, a charity committed to empowering children and youth through music education, believes in the transformative power of music to inspire and create positive social change. The collaboration with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra aligns neatly with this mission: the TSO’s long-standing commitment to sharing orchestral music with young audiences puts them in a unique position to enhance the learning experience of Sistema’s students.
The partnership will offer Sistema students a series of dynamic workshop experiences from world-class TSO musicians, as well as the chance to attend professional orchestral performances by the TSO. The workshop series commenced in early November with Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser, Barrett Principal Education Conductor & Community Ambassador at the TSO, who visited two of Sistema’s centres to teach students about the music and influence of Joseph Bologne and offer them instruction in conducting. Progressing through to May 2024, students will have the opportunity to see the TSO’s performances of Saint Georges’ Sword & Bow and Bhangra and Beyond; learn about the poetry of Marilyn Dumont through the music of Ian Cusson in a workshop with Bartholomew-Poyser; and learn about Aretha Franklin’s music and civil rights activism in a workshop that will take them behind the scenes at the TSO before attending FREEDOM! A Tribute to Aretha Franklin.
Shawn Earle, CEO of Sistema Toronto is excited about the rich potential of this collaboration: “We are thrilled to embark on this exciting journey alongside the TSO. As we combine our commitment to transforming the lives of our students with the TSO’s world-class musicianship and dedication to young learners, we look forward to fostering a lifelong passion for music in our exceptional students.”
“Music has the power to transform communities, and igniting a sustained love of music in young people — especially those who might not otherwise see themselves represented in orchestral music — is one way that the Toronto Symphony Orchestra seeks to serve our great community,” says Mark Williams, Beck Family CEO. “The TSO is proud to partner with Sistema Toronto to ensure that all students have the opportunity to bring their full, genuine selves to the orchestra, and to see themselves in the future of this art form.”
This collaboration underscores the commitment of both organizations to make music education accessible and inspiring the next generation of musicians. Through this partnership, Sistema Toronto and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra are not only enriching the lives of students but also contributing to the cultural vibrancy of the Toronto community.
About Sistema Toronto
Sistema Toronto is a non-profit organization that empowers children and youth through ensemble-based music education. By fostering a supportive and inclusive community, Sistema Toronto seeks to inspire social change and build a bright future for its participants. Read more at: Sistema-Toronto.ca
About the Toronto Symphony Orchestra
For over a century, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO) has played a fundamental role in shaping and celebrating Canadian culture. Now in our 101st year, the TSO’s commitment to musical excellence and ability to spark connection remain as strong as ever. With a storied history of acclaimed concerts and recordings, Canadian and international tours, and impactful community partnerships, we are dedicated to engaging and enriching local and national communities through vibrant musical experiences. Music Director Gustavo Gimeno brings an expansive artistic vision, intellectual curiosity, and sense of adventure to programming the 93-musician Orchestra that serves Toronto—one of the world’s most diverse cities. As a group of artists, teachers, and advocates who share the belief that music has the power to heal, inspire, and connect people from all walks of life, we engage audiences young and old through an array of education, community-access, and health-and-wellness initiatives. The 2023/24 season marks the 50th anniversary of the TSO-affiliated Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra—a tuition-free training program dedicated to cultivating the next generation of Canadian artists. Join us for a concert at Roy Thomson Hall, or experience the TSO in your neighbourhood. Visit TSO.CA or Newsroom.TSO.CA.
The TSO acknowledges Mary Beck as the Musicians’ Patron in perpetuity for her generous and longstanding support.
The TSO Season Presenting Sponsor is BMO Financial Group.
Gustavo Gimeno’s appearances are generously supported by Susan Brenninkmeyer, in memory of Hans Brenninkmeyer.
The TSO is grateful for the support of the Toronto Symphony Foundation and all levels of government, including the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, the Toronto Arts Council, the Government of Canada, and the Government of Ontario.
For media requests, please contact:
Tat Read, Senior Director, Communications
Toronto Symphony Orchestra