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The Toronto Symphony's Canada 150 plans celebrate diversity and inclusion

Robert Rowat

The Toronto Symhony Orchestra has announced ambitious plans to observe Canada 150, the nation's sesquicentennial celebrations coming up in 2017. TSO Canada Mosaic kicks off in January and will run throughout the year, highlighting the country’s diverse musical landscape through performance, education, innovation, and collaboration in every province.

The TSO's plans include an unprecedented number of commissions, legacy works, and thematic programs. "Spotlighting the wealth of existing and new Canadian music, these initiatives will include classical, pop, indigenous, and film music," the orchestra announced in a press release. "Cross-country orchestral collaborations will showcase the vast network of excellent Canadian orchestras, composers, and soloists. Pioneering digital resources and an e-learning platform — with TSO concerts, listening guides, and other interactive resources — will engage new and existing audiences of all ages."

"Commissions will include works by composers from French and English Canada, as well as Indigenous and pop traditions," says the TSO's music director, Peter Oundjian. "Vincent Ho, Erica Procunier, Tanya Tagaq, Owen Pallett, Nicole Lizée, Cassandra Miller, and Sandra Laronde are just a few of the artists working with us. We also have a partnership with the Polaris Music Prize, and will be working with past Polaris Prize winners."

Highlights in Toronto include The Year of the Rooster: a Chinese-Canadian New Year Celebration on Feb. 4 featuring a new work for pipa and orchestra by Ottawa-born composer Vincent Ho with soloist Wu Man and narrator Mark Rowswell; CA-NA-DA, a journey through the best of popular music, from "The Log Driver’s Waltz" to the theme from Hockey Night in Canada in June; a newly commissioned Triple Concerto for Canadian Concertmasters by Alexina Louie with violin soloists Jonathan Crow (TSO), Yosuke Kawasaki (National Arts Centre Orchestra) and Andrew Wan (OSM) in September; and a tribute to Maureen Forrester in October with mezzo-soprano Susan Platts performing a new orchestral song cycle by Howard Shore.

Plans also include collaborations with 38 orchestras across the country, each of which has commissioned a "Sesquie" (an orchestral fanfare) to mark Canada 150.

Explore the full offering of TSO Canada Mosaic here.

To get the party started, the TSO has produced Our Shared Anthem, performances of "O Canada" in 12 of our nation's most commonly spoken languages: English, French, Mandarin, Punjabi, Spanish, German, Italian, Arabic, Tagalog, Cree, Tamil and ASL.

If you're feeling patriotic, belt out your own version, karaoke-style, with the TSO as your back-up band:

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