Music TORONTO produces a main fall-winter series of traditional and contemporary chamber music concerts and recitals, including international and Canadian artists. Music TORONTO holds a special place in the GTA – it is a remarkable series, with a distinguished 50-year history, and a concentration on small ensembles and solo piano recitals; others present excellent music, but in variety series or festival form. We have a loyal and knowledgeable audience who enjoy night after night of great concerts. And, coming in May 2023, the Celebration of Small Ensembles, a new format in a new venue.
We produce an annual series of Master Classes, in cooperation with the Royal Conservatory and the University of Toronto Faculty of Music; these classes give senior students of music performance the opportunity to work with visiting concert artists. Our Composer Advisor Jeffrey Ryan offers pre-concert introductions to contemporary music to demystify the experience for listeners. We also present outreach events such as music programmes for local schools..
We are a mature organization with a clear mission. We have a distinguished 50 year history as a presenter both traditional and innovative. We make no apology that our focus is European chamber music; it is often considered the highest form of western classical music, and it arrived in Canada with the English and the French in the 17th century in the form of informal concerts, folk and church music.
We are respectful of that tradition but not, limited by it. We have always presented artists and works of historical, cultural and aesthetic diversity – and we continue to do so. Music TORONTO: bringing traditional chamber music into the 21st century with passion and commitment.
Music TORONTO, a non-profit Canadian charitable organization, presents and promotes traditional and modern chamber music. We present the highest caliber of international and Canadian artists, introduce artists new to the Toronto audience, foster the development of Canadian artists, and encourage the presentation of Canadian music.
Music TORONTO began as the music program of Toronto Arts Productions, presenting chamber music concerts and recitals at the Town Hall (now the Jane Mallett Theatre) in The St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts on Front Street. From its first concert in the 1971-72 season, the series established a reputation for high musical quality and considerable popular appeal.
Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, under artistic leaders Franz Kramer, Costa Pilovachi and Jane Forner, Music at the Centre offered a wide variety of concerts, bringing to Toronto, often for the first time, world-renowned chamber ensembles and soloists. Renamed CentreStage Music in 1983, the concerts continued, also presenting established Canadian artists and nurturing emerging ones. CentreStage Music was instrumental in the organization and presentation of major musical events such as the Bach 300 Festival in 1985 and special events such as musical theatre. In 1987, CentreStage devolved into The Canadian Stage Company and Music TORONTO.
Since 1989, our artistic programming evolved from Artistic Director Chris Wilcox, through an advisory committee, to our present Artistic Producer Jennifer Taylor. Music TORONTO always maintains its vision of artistic excellence and innovation, always featuring both international and Canadian artists. Music TORONTO also enjoys an international reputation for its loyal and discerning audience.
Music TORONTO prides itself on being a fiscally responsible organization, funded by earned revenue, donations and government grants. Facing a large accumulated deficit in 1992, Music TORONTO made a decision to pay down that deficit through annual operating surpluses – a plan suitable to a small organization. We had 19 years with an operating surplus, and never added a single dollar of new debt. A bequest from a former subscriber encouraged us to pay off the debt in full at June 30, 2011. We also took part in the Ontario Arts Foundation Endowment Fund programme and raised the maximum allowed. The programme allowed Music TORONTO to retain funds raised for operating purposes, and provides an annual interest payment. In the 7 years since, we have accumulated a small surplus which allows us to invest it in staffing, administration and marketing. We enjoy the support of many individual donors, foundations and individual and corporate sponsors. Music TORONTO continues to receive essential grant support from the Toronto Arts Council, the Ontario Arts Council, and Canadian Heritage.