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Soundstreams Announces a Season of Music for the Soul



Soundstreams Season 2023-2024
Soundstreams Season 2023-2024
The Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir with Tõnu Kaljuste, Soundstreams’ Choir 21 with David Fallis, Steven Dann, Elizabeth Shepherd, Rebecca Cuddy, Adam Scime, Midori Marsh, Gregory Oh, and many more. World Premieres by Cecilia Livingston, Omar Daniel, André Ristic.

June 2023 // Toronto, ON – Lawrence Cherney, Founding Artistic Director, Soundstreams, announced a 41st season filled with concerts, compelling stagings and world premieres:

“Our post-pandemic world has made it easier to “stay home” on a grand scale. Wonderful as that can sometimes be, we’re wired to have collective experiences, to have a shared humanity. There’s something primordial about experiencing deeply-felt emotions with others, whether it be profound sadness or profound joy, and everything in between. Great music can inspire those feelings – it may happen rarely – but when it does, it’s truly nourishment for the soul. That’s the impetus behind every Soundstreams note you’ll hear next season!”

Whether its spiritual nourishment or sustenance you are after, Soundstreams’ 41st season has plenty to indulge in. Our 2023/24 Season launches with intimate musical reflections for solo viola and chamber choir on the world of legendary painter Mark Rothko with The Bright Divide, staged by critically acclaimed director Tim Albery. The 8th edition of our annual production of Electric Messiah, a riff on universal themes of love, betrayal and redemption, continues with a brand-new take featuring award-winning jazz vocalist Elizabeth Shepherd returning from last year. Singers making their Electric Messiah debut next season will include Dora award-winner Rebecca Cuddy, as well as Midori Marsh.

Appearing for the sixth time in Toronto, and always a sell-out, The Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir with renowned conductor Tõnu Kaljuste, will present ageless and spiritually profound classics by Palestrina and their universally beloved countryman Arvo Pärt, along with a world premiere by Canadian composer Omar Daniel

Rounding out our season is a mini-festival Keyed Up! celebrating new music for piano, harpsichord, organ and electronic keyboard! Bach’s famous Aria from the Goldberg Variations is one of the most spiritually uplifting themes in all of the Western canon. He would have loved our genre-bending Variations on Goldberg Variations almost as much as he would have loved the gorgeous sound world that electric keyboards can conjure up! Keyed Up! comes to a spectacular climax with 6 Pianos 12 Hands featuring two mesmerizing and hypnotic 20thcentury masterpieces: Steve Reich’s Music for Six Pianos and Terri Riley’s A Rainbow in Curved Air, plus works for multiple pianos by André Ristic, Ana Sokolovic and more.

We look forward to our audiences joining us for another exhilarating season. Visit to subscribe and for full subscription details.

November 10 – 11, 2023

Two immersive & contemplative works by Morton Feldman and Cecilia Livingston inspired by the paintings of Mark Rothko, with staging by Tim Albery.

The Bright Divide
The Bright Divide – TD Music Hall

Rothko Chapel by American composer Morton Feldman was written for the opening of the “Rothko Chapel” in Houston, Texas, a non-denominational spiritual space containing 14 paintings by the iconic Mark Rothko. Feldman wrote, “Rothko’s imagery goes right to the edge of his canvas, and I wanted the same effect with the music.” His evocative score is a dialogue with Rothko’s paintings featuring a solo viola, punctuated by distant timpani and choir. It’s also an homage to The Chapel, created “to illuminate our shared humanity, inspiring actions towards treating all with dignity and respect.”

mark will be a world premiere by Canadian composer Cecilia Livingston with text by Duncan McFarlane, responding both to Feldman’s piece and to Rothko’s art itself. mark offers a ritual of light and darkness: exploring this ‘Bright Divide’, the spiritual tensions in Rothko’s work, and the tensions between Rothko’s earlier bright colour fields and the sombre refinement of the Chapel paintings. Known for her powerful, dramatic creations for singers, Livingston contrasts soloist and ensemble, viola and voice, to evoke what Robert Hughes called the ‘breathing intensity’ of Rothko’s paintings—that sense of awe and contemplation.

Repertoire will include Morton Feldman’s Rothko Chapel (1971), and Cecilia Livingston’s world premiere of mark (2023). Performers will include Soundstreams’ Choir 21 with David Fallis conducting and Steven Dann on viola.

December 14-17, 2023

A re-imagining of Handel’s Messiah like you’ve never heard before!

Electric Messiah
Electric Messiah – Theatre Passe Muraille

Whether you know the music of George Frideric Handel’s Messiah or notyou’ll love our Electric Messiah. It’s a reimagining that riffs on some of Handel’s gorgeous arias and choruses, but is universal in appeal, probing as it does compelling themes of love, betrayal, joy and redemption.

It has become Toronto’s newest holiday tradition, returning now to our stage for the 8th time and this season for the first time at historic Theatre Passe Muraille. Unlike some holiday classics that never change, Electric Messiah is never the same two years in a row! This reboot of Handel’s masterpiece mixes diverse influences and genres to deliver the unexpected. It features four extraordinary singers and an instrumental ensemble that deliver musical styles ranging from jazz, blues, hip-hop, and gospel to classical. While it’s guided and shaped by the masterful hand of composer and synth player Adam Scime, the performance is a truly collaborative effort with musical contributions from all the singers and instrumentalists.

February 3, 2024

The world-renowned chamber choir returns to Toronto with music by Arvo PärtPalestrina, and a world-premiere by Canadian composer Omar Daniel.

Estonian Philarmonic Chamber Choir - St Paul's Basillica
Estonian Philarmonic Chamber Choir – St Paul’s Basillica

Led by its founder Tõnu KaljusteThe Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir (EPCC) is in the top rank of the world’s greatest vocal ensembles, famous as the foremost interpreters of music by their beloved countryman Arvo Pärt. This program includes Pärt favourites like Magnificat, Nunc Dimittis, Dopo la Vittoria and Kanon Pokajanen, as well as works by another great spiritualist of centuries past, Palestrina.

The concert takes place in the majestic and acoustically superb setting of St. Paul’s Basilica, adding depth to an evening of reverence and magic. On previous visits to Soundstreams, Tõnu Kaljuste and the EPCC have premiered several Canadian works, and this year is no exception with the world premiere of a new work by Estonian/Canadian composer Omar Daniel. He sets text from the poem A Sorrow of Stones, by Canadian poet Anne Wilkinson that explores perspectives on death and the afterlife.

Returning to Toronto for the sixth time since 2000 under Soundstreams auspices, EPCC concerts usually sell out, so don’t miss your chance to experience live this deeply-fulfilling international collaboration!


A mini-festival celebrating new music for piano, harpsichord, organ and electronic keyboard!

April 18, 2024

J.S. Bach’s Goldberg Variations is one of the most famous works in the Western canon.

Variations on Goldberg Variations - Jane Mallet Theatre
Variations on Goldberg Variations – Jane Mallet Theatre

A genre-bender inspired by Bach’s masterpiece Goldberg Variations our Variations on the Goldberg Variations reflects on Bach’s singular achievement through a contemporary lens. In the first half of the program, composers each write 7-8 variations to make up several new variations, each preceded by a rendition of the Bach original. Four gifted Canadian composers create 30 new variations on Bach’s originals, culminating with Australian pianist and composer Paul Grabowsky’s jazz variations. The composers represent not only a diversity of aesthetics, but the newly-composed variations will alternate continuously between piano, harpsichord, organ and electronic keyboard. J.S. would have loved it!

In the second half, the distinguished Australian composer and pianist Paul Grabowsky returns to Soundstreams nearly a decade after appearing with his boundary-breaking Australian Art Orchestra. This time he performs his jazz-inspired take on Bach’s monumental work. Performed 36 times across Australia last season, The Sydney Arts Guide had this to say: In this improvisation, jazz gesturing alternated with hand-crossing, complex filigree. Paul Grabowsky’s playing was effectively reminiscent of Bach’s ecstatic workings in his thirty variations.”

RBC BRIDGES: Emerging Composers Showcase
April 19, 2024

Six short new works for keyboard by Emerging Composers in our Bridges program with mentorship by renowned composers Paul Grabowsky & André Ristic.

RBC Bridged - Jane Mallet Theatre
RBC Bridged – Jane Mallet Theatre

The RBC Bridges program offers audiences a chance to hear some of the world’s most promising composers at an early stage of their careers. It’s an annual week-long, program that offers free tuition and accommodation to six emerging Canadian and international composers. They get to work with celebrated mentors and a resident ensemble of seasoned professional keyboard performers. Over the course of the week, each composer participates in rehearsals and workshops with the resident mentors and instrumentalists, culminating in a performance of all six works.

April 20, 2024

Steve Reich and Terri Riley have each had a profound influence on the way we listen to music. The term “minimalism” is often used to characterize their music, yet the music itself is anything but minimal, incorporating much nuance and subtlety that is maximal in imagination and innovation.  

6 Pianos 12 Hands - Jane Mallet Theatre
6 Pianos 12 Hands – Jane Mallet Theatre

Reich, described by the New Yorker as “the most original musical thinker of our time”, recognized the power of multiple pianos, exploited spectacularly in his mesmerizing Music for Six Pianos. This seminal work is combined with a new arrangement for six pianos by André Ristic of Terri Riley’s A Rainbow in Curved Air, itself dating from the same period as Six Pianos. And we feature a reprise of Ristic’s Soundstreams-commissioned work Vivaldi Variations.

A concert spectacular featuring two iconic works for 6 pianos: Steve Reich’s Music for Six Pianos and Terri Riley’s A Rainbow in Curved Air, plus works for multiple pianos by André Ristic, Ana Sokolovic and Alexina Louie.

TD Encounters

TD Encounters is our ongoing free concert series. Smaller in scale than our Main Stage Productions, these shows will include intimate live performances that explore culturally resonant themes and finish with a group discussion, allowing audiences to engage with the music and artists in a relaxed atmosphere.

This program is supported by TD Bank Group through the TD Ready Commitment.

Soundstreams |

Founded in 1982, Soundstreams is one of the world’s leading contemporary music companies, and the largest global presenter of new Canadian music. Founding Artistic Director Lawrence Cherney and Executive Director Beth Brown are committed to showcasing the work of Canadian and international composers on the world stage with the aim of creating a lasting legacy for Canadian music. Soundstreams’ focus is innovative thematic and experiential programming through which the organization serves a broad community of music lovers. Annual activities include its Main Stage series, a free community outreach series TD Encounters and two professional development programs: New Voices Mentorship Program for aspiring curators; and RBC Bridges Showcase for early career composers. Soundstreams is embarking on an ambitious recording project of the choral music of the late R. Murray Schafer, and has two productions touring in North America and Europe in coming seasons.

Content Source: Soundstreams

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