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Toronto Symphony Orchestra Announces Gustavo Gimeno as Next Music Director

New Chapter Ahead for One of North America's Foremost Symphony Orchestras

TORONTO, Sept. 17, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Toronto Symphony Orchestra Board Chair Catherine Beck and Chief Executive Officer Matthew Loden today announced that Spanish conductor Gustavo Gimeno will become the Orchestra's 11th Music Director beginning in 2020/21, the Orchestra's 99th season.

"This is a thrilling day for the Toronto Symphony Orchestra," said Catherine Beck, Chair of the Board of Directors. "We at the TSO were searching for a leader who would take our highly talented musicians to the next level and, in Maestro Gimeno, we have found exactly that person. We are indebted to our Search Committee who recognized that Gustavo has all the qualities you could ask for in a modern Music Director. He will lead the Orchestra with passion and imagination, bring the TSO to where Torontonians live, and stir this city's appreciation of great music."

Acclaimed for his ability to elicit fresh and vibrant performances, Maestro Gimeno has conducted leading orchestras in Europe, North America, and Japan, and became Music Director of the Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg in 2015. He made his Canadian début with the TSO this past February with a virtuosic concert program featuring music by Beethoven, Ligeti, and Dvořák.

"I am so proud to become the Music Director of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra," said Gimeno. "From our very first encounter, I connected with the Orchestra's sound, their cultivated playing and flexibility, and immediately felt at home, both musically and personally. I greatly admire the TSO's dual commitment to presenting the core repertoire while also introducing new composers and concert formats in a uniquely Canadian way. I look forward to sharing our musical stories with our loyal audiences everywhere."

Gustavo Gimeno began his international conducting career in 2012 as assistant to Mariss Jansons, while Gimeno was a member of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam. As a protégé of the legendary Bernard Haitink and Claudio Abbado, Gimeno gained experience that solidified his musical foundation and shaped his career on the world stage. 

Maestro Gimeno has signed a five-year contract with the TSO to begin in the 2020/21 season. He succeeds Peter Oundjian, who was named TSO Conductor Emeritus in June 2018 after a fruitful 14-year tenure as Music Director. Sir Andrew Davis is serving as TSO Interim Artistic Director until the end of the 2019/20 season, when he will continue his long relationship with the Orchestra, returning to the TSO podium regularly.

"The TSO's recent contributions to Canada's Sesquicentennial celebrations and its international touring activities have brought new vitality to this organization," said Matthew Loden, Chief Executive Officer. "Gustavo's arrival underscores our commitment to amplifying the energy and cosmopolitan profile of this great city. I can't imagine a more ideal partner for opening our next chapter. As a cultural anchor in the fourth-largest city in North America, the TSO will continue to evolve its artistry, its education and community engagement, and its service to this extraordinarily dynamic and diverse city. Gustavo shares in this vision fully and, as Music Director, will bring vibrancy, inspiration, and artistic intimacy that will broaden and deepen our connections with Torontonians and the world." 

A deeply versatile musician, Maestro Gimeno is as equally at home with traditional and contemporary symphonic repertoire as he is with opera. He has shared the stage with soloists such as Daniel Barenboim, Krystian Zimerman, Khatia Buniatishvili, and Bryn Terfel, as well as world-renowned Canadian artists including James Ehnes, Johannes Moser, and Jan Lisiecki. His 2018/19 season will bring collaborations with Leonidas Kavakos, Yuja Wang, and Katia and Marielle Labèque.

"Maestro Gimeno has an ability to connect with people, onstage and off," said TSO Concertmaster Jonathan Crow. "He has a musical charisma and technical ability that is remarkable—he pulls you into the musical moment. Gustavo is absolutely the right match for the TSO, and we are looking forward to a truly unique partnership that will blend his musicianship with the amazing flexibility of our Orchestra. Together, we will create something very special for music lovers in Toronto."

In the season ahead, Maestro Gimeno will tour throughout Europe's most prestigious concert halls with the Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg, and he will return as a guest conductor to the Cleveland Orchestra, the Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century, the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra. Maestro Gimeno recently débuted with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, and other upcoming engagements include conducting the symphony orchestras of Houston, St. Louis, and Seattle, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande. Moreover, Maestro Gimeno will make his Zurich Opera début in January 2019, conducting a production of Verdi's Rigoletto, which he will also lead in concert versions at the Philharmonie Luxembourg and the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in Paris.

Gustavo Gimeno has recorded the first symphonies of Dmitri Shostakovich and Anton Bruckner, Maurice Ravel's complete ballet music for Daphnis et Chloé, as well as Gustav Mahler's Fourth Symphony with the Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg on the Pentatone label.  

Born in Valencia, Spain, Maestro Gimeno is fluent in Spanish, English, Italian, and Dutch, and is studying French. He currently resides in Amsterdam with his wife and daughter, and looks forward to exploring his future home in Toronto over the next few seasons.

Maestro Gimeno will return to Toronto on June 29 and 30, 2019, to conduct The Firebird—a program anchored by the famous Stravinsky suite, also featuring works by Sibelius (with TSO Concertmaster Jonathan Crow as soloist) and Prokofiev.

About the TSO: One of Canada's most respected arts organizations, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO) plays a vital role in the city's dynamic cultural life. Committed to serving local and national communities through vibrant performances and expansive educational activities, the TSO offers a wide range of programming that resonates with people of all ages and backgrounds. With a notable recording and broadcast history complementing international touring engagements, the TSO is a unique musical ambassador for Canada around the world.

The TSO continues its long-established history of connecting younger generations with orchestral music. Two core programs include School Concerts, performed for over 40,000 students annually, and the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra (TSYO), which, in a tuition-free model, offers high-level orchestral training for talented young musicians aged 22 and under. Additionally, the TSO supports the development of next-generation artists through its annual open call for Canadian orchestral scores, and its essential Resident Conductor and Affiliate Composer positions.

Peter Oundjian was named TSO Conductor Emeritus at the end of his 14-year tenure as Music Director in June 2018. In the 2018/19 and 2019/20 seasons, Sir Andrew Davis will serve as Interim Artistic Director, prior to the arrival of the TSO's new Music Director in 2020. Sir Andrew Davis is well known to Toronto audiences, having a 44-year relationship with the TSO. Maestro Davis opens the 2018/19 season and returns to the TSO stage regularly in each of his two seasons as Interim Artistic Director. Gustavo Gimeno will begin serving as the TSO's Music Director in 2020/21.

The TSO was founded in 1922 by a group of Toronto musicians and gave its first performance at the historic Massey Hall. Since 1982, Toronto's iconic Roy Thomson Hall has been the TSO's home, drawing patrons from around the world. Soon to celebrate its centenary, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra's name remains synonymous with musical versatility and growth, and artistic distinction.

Gustavo Gimeno:  Goos-TAH-Voh Hee-MAY-No

Gustavo Gimeno (photo by Marco Borggreve)

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