How Canadian conductors are adapting and innovating during the pandemic

Posted on: March 29, 2021

During the pandemic, conducting an orchestra “is a job that’s been upended like everyone else’s,” writes Keith Johnston in Thursday’s (3/25) Toronto Star (Canada). “Some of Canada’s most innovative conductors are … experimenting with new ways to make the epic sound of the orchestra relevant and meaningful in their communities… Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser is optimistic about the possibilities of connecting with audiences through online orchestral content… In his work with Symphony Nova Scotia, where he is artist in residence and community ambassador, ‘We did a reggae fusion concert that’s gotten 135,000 views,’ he says of last month’s performance with the Halifax-based singer-songwriter Jah’Mila…. The pandemic has also allowed Bartholomew-Poyser to present innovative programming with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, where he is Barrett principal education conductor and community ambassador. Last October, he and the TSO put together a first: a livestreamed found-footage horror movie featuring works by Canadian composers Gary Kulesha and Maxime Goulet…. ‘My hope is that … the benefits that we’ve accrued [during the pandemic] will continue to inform our decisions about how we present new music.’ ” Also quoted are conductors of Canada’s Allegra Chamber Orchestra, Calgary Philharmonic, Edmonton Symphony, Okanagan Symphony Orchestra, and Regina Symphony Orchestra.