Toronto Symphony and Syrian clarinetist make video welcoming new refugees to Canada

Posted on: December 18, 2015

“They couldn’t make it to the airport to welcome newly arriving refugees, so the Toronto Symphony Orchestra made a video instead featuring Syrian native son, clarinetist and composer Kinan Azmeh,” writes Bruce DeMara in Friday’s (12/18) Toronto Star (Canada). “TSO president Jeff Melanson called the video a ‘wing-and-prayer miracle’ that involved flying Azmeh in from Paris for one night and gathering musicians and sound technicians at Roy Thomson Hall. ‘When we heard there were Syrian refugees arriving in Toronto, our hope was to be able to welcome them at the airport. But with security, there were too many issues to overcome,’ Melanson said…. ‘The orchestra sight-read the piece on the spot; we did two run-throughs for recording purposes and that was that. Kinan flew back to Paris the next day,’ Melanson said.” The artists and recording engineers donated their services. “The TSO is in the planning stages for future initiatives to welcome Syrian refugees, including a benefit concert and a concert for refugees to see their own culture onstage, Melanson said. In the video, Azmeh offers his thanks to Melanson and the TSO…. ‘It’s really moving to know that you guys are doing this,’ he said.”

Posted December 18, 2015