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The Toronto Symphony Orchestra takes New York, Feb. 12 & 13, New York

To New York they went, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, as part of their celebratory year marking the 100th anniversary of the beloved institution. It was a return of sorts for the orchestra to the storied Carnegie Hall – a stage they have graced since the early 1960s (and most recently in 2011).

For the TSO’s music director Maestro Gustavo Gimeno, the performance on Feb. 13 marked his Carnegie Hall debut. With him from Toronto came a program that served as a friendly nod to the past, present and future of the TSO. He opened the evening with Canadian composer Samy Moussa’s Symphony No. 2, which the company commissioned and premiered last spring, then followed it with Lalo’s Symphonie espagnole featuring the dynamic Spanish violin prodigy Maria Duenas. Following intermission was the timeless and very lovely suite of Prokofiev’s ballet Romeo and Juliet assembled by the Maestro Gimeno himself which rounded out the evening. Waves of applause and a pair of encores followed.

The night before the performance, on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, the residence of Canada’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Bob Rae and his wife Arlene Perly Rae, provided the backdrop for a cocktail reception to celebrate the TSO’s time in New York. The Honourable Bob Rae was a fitting host – he’s been long-esteemed by both the organization and the TSO’s patrons for helping to stabilize the orchestra back in 2001 when the executive director resigned rather suddenly leaving the place in disarray. There in the room, alongside the aforementioned Duenas, Moussa and Maestro Gimeno, who were the evening’s guests of honour, was broadcast legend Tom Clark (with wife Janey Reid), who was announced just days before the reception as Canada’s next consul-general in New York. There too were members of the TSO’s devoted board of directors, chief among them Catherine Beck, who currently serves as chair (and whose family have been long-time, hugely generous supporters of the TSO, among other causes). Recent gen-next TSO board addition Michael Lockhart was there too, as were fellow cultural champions Reena Bhatt of New York, a director at Alchemy Capital Planning who serves on the National Arts Centre board and Ian M.H. Joseph, president of Paradigm Capital and chair of the Shaw Festival’s board. André Frenette, Deputy Consul General of Canada in New York, was out, and there of course was Mark Williams, CEO of the TSO.

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Bob Rae.Nolan Bryant/The Globe and Mail

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Samy Moussa.Nolan Bryant/The Globe and Mail

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Mark Williams.Nolan Bryant/The Globe and Mail

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Maestro Gustavo Gimeno.Nolan Bryant/The Globe and Mail

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Janey Reid.Nolan Bryant/The Globe and Mail

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Ian M.H. Joseph.Nolan Bryant/The Globe and Mail

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Colleen Sexsmith.Nolan Bryant/The Globe and Mail

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Cathy Beck, Martha Durdin and Arlene Perly Rae.Nolan Bryant/The Globe and Mail

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María Dueñas.Nolan Bryant/The Globe and Mail

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Tom Clark.Nolan Bryant/The Globe and Mail

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Michael Lockhart.Nolan Bryant/The Globe and Mail

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Reena Bhatt.Nolan Bryant/The Globe and Mail

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