Following a captivating finale at Thomson Hall in sunny downtown Toronto, the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra’s 45th season wrapped up Sunday afternoon, May 5, under the baton of Simon Rivard, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s (TSO) Resident Conductor and Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra (TSYO) Conductor.
Stingray proudly attended the performance as a first-time partner. The concert marked the end of the orchestra’s 45th season and showcased the talents of all 85 TSYO graduates, aged between 14 and 22. Featured works included Modest Mussorgsky/Orch. Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s Prelude to Khovanshchina, Sergei Prokofiev’s Suite from The Love for Three Oranges, Op.33, and Dimitri Shostakovich’s Symphony No.10 in E Minor, Op.93.
For 45 years, the TSYO has been dedicated to providing a high-level orchestral experience for talented young musicians aged 22 and under. The TSYO program delivers a unique, powerful, and life-enriching opportunity that encourages significant achievement, regardless of the career path participants choose. The TSYO has a close affiliation with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra: TSO musicians serve as coaches through the season, TSO guest artists lead masterclasses for TSYO members, and the TSYO performs annually with the TSO in a side-by-side concert at Roy Thomson Hall.
TSYO Stingray Rising Stars
The Stingray Rising Stars winner was announced on-stage by Matthew Loden, TSO CEO, and Ariane Charbonneau, Sponsorships and Partnerships Manager at Stingray. The talented 16-year-old Duncan MacDougall won the 1000$ prize to contribute towards advancing his career. Candidates for the award were judged on demonstrated leadership within the orchestra, artistic excellence, overall improvement and how they would use the prize money and exposure to further their musical career. Applications were judged by the TSYO faculty, made up of the TSYO Manager, TSYO Conductor and members of the TSO who act as teachers and mentors.
About the winner: Duncan MacDougall
Duncan has performed in masterclasses for Rachel Barton Pine, Ilya Kaler, Joel Krosnick, and Jonathan Crow. He is a Grade 11 student at Uxbridge Secondary School.
We sat down with Duncan to tell us more about his win:
What is your earliest artistic memory?
When I was three years old, I would hold a ukulele to my chin and drag a drumstick across its strings, pretending that it was a violin and bow. My brother would loudly strum along on his mini guitar.
Where/When did you decide you wished to become an artist professionally?
It’s been my dream since I started violin lessons at the age of four to become a professional violinist. In 2014, I watched a Taylor Academy/Glenn Gould School masterclass led by Peter Oundjian. I was amazed by how good some of the students were, and they were only about five years older than me. That was when I really started working hard and when I dedicated myself 100% to music.
Who and what are your main influences?
Two of my biggest influences are my teachers, Kelly Parkins-Lindstrom and Jonathan Crow. They are the ones who have gotten me to this point in my musical journey; they influence my musical choices, they help me to improve my technique and my practice habits, and I’m inspired after ever lesson.
I am also influenced by Itzhak Perlman’s violin playing. I love the joy and character in his playing, and the fact that he takes risks to let the music speak. I also enjoy the playing of James Ehnes and Vilde Frang.
How did you come to be part of the TSYO?
I knew many people in the TSYO before I joined, and they all seemed to enjoy it very much. I joined the TSYO in the 2017-18 season for many reasons. Being a part of this orchestra gave me valuable orchestral audition experience, I’ve explored amazing repertoire, and I’ve made many musical friends.
What do you plan to do with the prize money?
I plan to use it towards making professional recordings for university auditions, and also to help pay for tuition for universities and summer programs in the future. I am very grateful to Stingray and to the TSYO for this award.
For more information regarding the Stingray Rising Stars program, click here.