The Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO) announced today that conductor Peter Oundjian will be promoted to Conductor Emeritus following the 2017/18 season, his final term as TSO Music Director.
Oundjian first hinted at his honorary role last January in an interview with MT, but until today, nothing was confirmed.
Over his 14-year directorship, Oundjian grew to be the energetic face of a revitalized TSO, steering the Orchestra out of deep financial ruin in the process – according to the TSO’s annual reports available from the 2006/07 season onwards, the organization ran yearly operational surpluses except for the 2009/10, 2011/12, and 2012/13 seasons.
While the move isn’t surprising at all, the other news is that Sir Andrew Davis will return to fill in as Interim Artistic Director through 2020 until a permanent successor is found.
“I love being part of the TSO family. My years here have been some of the happiest in my career, and I am deeply honoured to be asked to serve the Orchestra during this transition,” adds Davis, who has held a 44-year relationship with the TSO.
The TSO music director search committee has been quietly searching for Oundjian’s successor since 2016, and intends to conclude its work in 2018.
Artistic highlights of his tenure include appointing Jonathan Crow as TSO Concertmaster, as well as leading the Orchestra on eight international tours. Oundjian oversaw the TSO’s outreach into other arts disciplines, including commissions that brought in actor Christopher Plummer, DJ Skratch Bastid, and poet Dennis Lee. In the community, Oundjian formed musical partnerships with organizations such as the Luminato Festival and the Regent Park School of Music, while maintaining educational initiatives such as the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra (TSYO), annual education concerts, and the TSO’s Northern Ontario residencies. Under his tenure, the tsoundcheck discount ticket program grew to be highly popular among young adults, the TSO New Creations Festival has grown to be an important presence in the city’s new music scene, and the Orchestra continues programming themed concerts for events such as Halloween, Remembrance Day, and Chinese New Year.
Oundjian will return to guest conduct the TSO beginning in the 2019/20 season.
Oundjian is also the music director of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, and principal guest conductor and artistic advisor of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. The TSO has launched a microsite, bravopeter.ca, to commemorate Oundjian’s accomplishments at the helm of Toronto’s preeminent ensemble.