Last week, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO)’s 2018/19 concert season culminated with Gustavo Gimeno Conducting The Firebird. The Spanish-born conductor and incoming Music Director returned to Toronto to lead this ever-popular suite from Stravinsky’s fairy-tale-inspired ballet.
The evening started with Sibelius’s virtuosic Violin Concerto in D. Minor, Op. 47 (rev. 1905) featuring the TSO’s Concertmaster, Jonathan Crow, as soloist. It is always a treat to hear Mr. Crow live. He played this piece beautifully balanced; complimented quite lovely with the strength of the orchestra alongside maestro Gimeno.
After intermission, he were treated to Prokofiev’s light and spirited First Symphony in D Major, Op. 25 “Classical“. Here we could see, hear and feel the orchestra playing well together. Gimeno’s direction here grounding and deliberate. It is clearly he and the orchestra member have built good rapport and enjoy working together.
The evening conclude with the ‘main event’ Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite (rev. 1945). Beautiful solo sections in the oboe, bassoon, piccolo, harp, and piano. The strings at the end were the icing on the cake to a most enjoyable evening.
Gustavo Gimeno, Jonathan Crow, and TSO Chief Executive Officer Matthew Loden stayed behind post concert for a special onstage conversation. This was an opportunity hear from the plan for the orchestra under Gimeno’s leadership. Gimeno mentioned his wishes to commission new Canadian pieces and perhaps also join forces with other orchestras to commission works by international artists. We will have to see what unfolds over the next year or so.
All in all, a most enjoyable evening. This introduction to Gustavo Gimeno left the audiences wanting more. It is evident the orchestra and Toronto are indeed ready for this new director. I, for one, am looking forward to what is in store for the Toronto Symphony Orchestra in 2020.