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A Special Day at the Toronto Symphony Orchestra

Today was the most amazing day!
I had an extra special day with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.

Josh and Sarah from the TSO arranged for me to sit in on a rehearsal.
Here is a picture of me and Dad with Sarah. She went through the program with us.

I was a little nervous that I might sneeze, but I didn't! 

They were rehearsing Thomas Adès' Dances from Powder Her Face and Benjamin Britten's Serenade for Tenor, Horn, and Strings, Op. 31.

Dances from Powder Her Face was composed in 1995 and it's the first time it's being performed in Canada! I really liked the Overture! It had a tango feel.

I loved Benjamin Britten's Serenade. It was even better than the recordings I've heard. Nicholas Phan performed the Tenor solo and Neil Deland was the Horn soloist. They worked on things like mood, phrasing and what Benjamin Britten thought was important. For Elegy they were trying to get the feel of night falling.  

During the rehearsal break I got to meet the TSO's Concertmaster Jonathan Crow.  We talked about the songs I'm learning in violin. It turns out that he knows my violin teacher!

I also spoke with Teng Li, the Principal Viola. She joked that I should switch to playing viola. I'd really like to try it one day but my Mom will only let me study two instruments.

I asked cellist Roberta Janzen how she prepares for a concert. She told us that after one program is done she goes to the library to pick up her music for the next week. She practices her part at home for a few hours each day and sometimes she listens to a recording so she can hear how her part fits in. She makes sure she knows it before rehearsal with the full orchestra.

The best part of the day was getting to meet the TSO's Music Director, Peter Oundjian!

I can still remember the first time I saw him Conduct the TSO. It was a Christmas Concert and they played a Liberace version of Sleigh Ride and I loved it. After that I wanted to be a Conductor too. 

We talked for a bit about the piece that they rehearsed.
The tempo changes a lot and he uses his hands to show the time. They were working on the dance feel of the piece. He even used his body to show the rhythm. 

I got to play a song for him!
I played one of my Grade 5 pieces - Study in G Major by Czerny.

Peter Oundjian prepares for a concert by clearing his day from 2 or 3 o'clock so he can focus on what he has to do that evening. When I have to perform I kind of do the same thing. I don't watch TV or turn on the computer. (Sometimes I will play with Lego though.)

 I want to say a big "Thank you" to Josh and Sarah, all of the TSO musicians especially Jonathan Crow, Teng Li, and Roberta Janzen, and to Peter Oundjian for such a wonderful experience!


  1. OMG Josh this was a GREAT POST!! :) Looks like you had a WONDERFUL day!! :)
    Happy Halloween SWEET boy!! ;)
    Julie, Sara & James Jay xoxoxo

  2. That was a great experience for a boy your age. Good Josh. Grandma.

  3. Hi Josh
    Congratulations on your great day out. I am happy for you and your very supportive parents. God bless always. Uncle Qasim from England