Toronto Symphony Orchestra and Song Exploder Present Symphony Exploder: The Rite of Spring

Featuring TSO Music Director Gustavo Gimeno in conversation with Hrishikesh Hirway — creator and host of the Netflix Series and Podcast Song ExploderSymphony Exploder: The Rite of Spring coincides with the hit podcast’s 10th anniversary

The Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO) is elated to announce a uniquely immersive musical experience and a listening party like no other—Symphony Exploder: The Rite of Spring. On April 5, 2024, Hrishikesh Hirway, the visionary behind the groundbreaking Song Exploder podcast and Netflix series, joins Music Director Gustavo Gimeno and the TSO for the hit show’s first-ever live orchestral collaboration.

Corresponding with Song Exploder’s 10th anniversary, this must-see event will feature Hirway and Gustavo in an onstage conversation that dissects the mesmerizing layers of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, interspersed with excerpts and live replays from the famously scandalous piece, and followed by a complete, heart-pounding rendition by the full orchestra. Discover how The Rite of Spring has influenced pop culture, from its inclusion in Disney's Fantasia to the infamous riot during its première in 1913. Think Tár meets Maestro meets the best live podcast you’ve ever heard.

“My relationship with the city of Toronto goes back a long way, and I'm likewise grateful for my various creative engagements across Canada,” says Hrishikesh Hirway. “So it’s going to be a really special experience to début the first orchestral version of the Song Exploder experience with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. This special orchestral edition of Song Exploder — Symphony Exploder — will be one of the highlights of the tenth anniversary of Song Exploder. I’m enthralled to discover, along with Toronto’s music community, how the capacity for deep-listening that we’ve cultivated for ten years will translate into the very fertile grounds of orchestral music. I couldn’t have asked for a better specimen than Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, it’s going to be like nothing else we’ve ever heard.”
“Almost every 20th- and 21st-century composer owes something to Igor Stravinsky, and The Rite of Spring represents the true beginning of that pervasive and perpetual influence,” adds Gustavo Gimeno. “Powerful, emotional, and, in a way, almost terrifying, it expresses, in a daringly original voice, the very essence of who the composer was. It’s many things at the same time—so when Hrishi, the orchestra, the audience, and I dive into this famed ballet score, we will be immersing ourselves in both the building blocks of modern music and in Stravinsky himself, in ways that promise to be illuminating and unforgettable.”

Created in 2014 and hailed by The New Yorker as a show that “elevates simple curiosity into a profound exploration of artistry,” Song Exploder is an award-winning podcast where musicians take apart their songs, and, piece by piece, tell the story of how they were made. Each episode is produced and edited by host and creator Hrishikesh Hirway, a “musical archaeologist” known for his incisive conversations with pop stars and music icons—from Billie Eilish and Bono to Yo-Yo Ma and Metallica. Currently the fourth-most popular show in Canada on Apple Podcasts, Song Exploder has released close to 400 episodes and was adapted into a series on Netflix in 2020—featuring the Nine Inch Nails, The Killers, Alicia Keys and more.


Watch the teaser trailer:

Trailer by Patrick Hodgson

Information & Tickets

Symphony Exploder: The Rite of Spring

Fri, Apr 5, 2024

Roy Thomson Hall

Gustavo Gimeno, conductor

Hrishikesh Hirway, host

  • 7:00pm: Doors open
  • 8:00pm: Conversation and performance ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​


For Tickets 

Visit TSO.CA/SymphonyExploder, call 416.598.3375 (Mon–Fri, 9:30am–5:00pm), or visit the Patron Services Centre at 145 Wellington St. W., Suite 500 (Mon–Fri, 9:30am–5:00pm).

For current health and safety protocols at Roy Thomson Hall, please visit TSO.CA/Safety.

The TSO Season Presenting Sponsor is BMO Financial Group.

The TSO acknowledges Mary Beck as the Musicians’ Patron in perpetuity for her generous and longstanding support.

Gustavo Gimeno’s appearances are generously supported by Susan Brenninkmeyer, in memory of Hans Brenninkmeyer. 

The TSO’s Education and Community Engagement programs are generously supported by Francine and Bob Barrett. 

TSOUND Connections is generously supported by TD Bank Group through the TD Ready Commitment and the George C. Hunt Family Foundation.

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.

Media Contact

For media requests, please contact:

Tat Read, Senior Director, Communications

Toronto Symphony Orchestra


About Toronto Symphony Orchestra

For more than a century, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO) has played a fundamental role in shaping and celebrating Canadian culture. Now in our 102nd 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 community-access, health-and-wellness, and education initiatives including 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.


500-145 Wellington St. W. Toronto, ON M5J 1H8