The Toronto Philharmonia. Orchestra, originally known as the North York Symphony; established in 1970 as a semi-professional orchestra in the borough of North York (Toronto). Originally 20 members, the orchestra played its annual six-concert series in Minkler Auditorium, Seneca College. It moved to the Leah Posluns Theatre in 1991; by then the orchestra had grown to 85 members including 11 professional players, giving an annual series of seven pairs of concerts. Walter Babiak, the orchestra's first conductor, was succeeded by Voltr Ivonoffski. William McCauley held the position 1973-88. Kerry Stratton (b Belleville, Ont 1952, B MUS (McGill)) succeeded McCauley in 1988. For its 20th anniversary, in 1990 the orchestra gave a concert in Roy Thomson Hall with Eugene Fodor as soloist.
Under Stratton, the North York Symphony moved to the North York Performing Arts Centre 2 Dec 1993. It became resident orchestra there in 1995.
By 1996, 85 per cent of the orchestra's members were professionals. The orchestra experienced a brief labour disagreement that year as it moved to fully professional status, which it achieved in 2001, albeit reduced in size (in 2002, 38 musicians, expanded as required). In 1999, it changed its name to Toronto Philharmonia.
In June 2010, the Toronto Philharmonia Orchestra (TPPO), still with some 38 musicians, was re-established with a 5 concert season at the Toronto Centre for the Arts' George Weston Hall. In 2011, Uri Mayer was named artistic director and principal conductor. Due to financial difficulties the orchestra cancelled the first concert in its 2012-2013 season.
Premieres and Tours
The Toronto Philharmonia performed the world premiere of Lee Pui Ming's Awakening: Concerto for Erhu and Orchestra 20 Sep 2007, and of Michael Kositsky's Requiem for Cecilia 8 Nov 2007. Canadian soloists performing with the orchestra have included pianists Arthur Ozolins and Janina Fialkowska, clarinetist James Campbell, soprano Leslie Fagan, and cellists Shauna Rolston and Denise Djokic. The orchestra has performed many Canadian works, eg by Violet Archer, Michael Conway Baker, Glenn Buhr, Sir Ernest MacMillan, Clermont Pépin, and Harry Somers. It has often toured to nearby Ontario cities such as Barrie, Belleville, Markham, Niagara Falls, Orillia, Stirling, and Welland. The Toronto Philharmonia has offered a school education program, music appreciation courses, master classes and open rehearsals.
This Toronto Philharmonia should not be confused with an earlier orchestra of the same name, which recorded under Walter Susskind and Victor Feldbrill. The North York Concert Orchestra, originally under the auspices of the North York Symphony, but which became independent in 1988, and the York Symphony Orchestra, both community orchestras, are unrelated.
See also: Orchestras - Ontario