Earlier this season, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO), and renowned independent record label Harmonia Mundi, were thrilled to announce a long-term recording partnership. This agreement represents the European label’s first major project with a North American orchestra and comprises the release of multiple recordings — beginning with Olivier Messiaen’s Turangalîla-Symphonie on February 2, 2024 — building on the TSO’s expansive and award-winning discography. The two subsequent recordings that will be released through this partnership will feature Stravinsky’s ballet Pulcinella (along with a work by Canadian composer Kelly-Marie Murphy) and Bartók’s The Miraculous Mandarin (along with a work by Canadian composer Emilie LeBel), to be recorded this season and next, respectively. These recordings are a testament to Music Director Gustavo Gimeno’s signature combination of new and old works for dynamic programming.
“For the first of our recordings with Harmonia Mundi, the wonderful musicians of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra brought an extraordinary level of energy, concentration, and commitment to their playing that I am simply in awe of,” said Gustavo Gimeno. “This made the experience of capturing Turangalîla-Symphonie profoundly intense and beautiful, and it will always occupy a precious place in my memory. I sincerely hope that listeners, now and in the future, will share the wonder of that experience and of Messaien’s incomparable masterpiece.”
“The Toronto Symphony Orchestra is very excited to be the first North American orchestra to partner with Harmonia Mundi. The inaugural recording of this partnership — the Turangalîla-Symphonie, among the greatest compositions of the 20th century — reflects the ebullient energy of today’s Toronto Symphony under the exceptional musical leadership of Gustavo Gimeno, while paying homage to our storied history,” said Beck Family CEO, Mark Williams.
Captured at Roy Thomson Hall during the TSO’s 100th-anniversary season, Turangalîla-Symphonie pays tribute to the orchestra’s iconic, GRAMMY®-nominated 1968 RCA recording of the same piece, and marks Gustavo Gimeno’s inaugural recording as Music Director. The recording also features soloists Marc-Andre Hamelin (piano) and Nathalie Forget (ondes Martenot).
Turangalîla-Symphonie recording launches February 2, 2024. Stream and download the album here. Visit turangalila.tso.ca for more information.
Founded in 1958 and based in Arles, France, Harmonia Mundi has produced many acclaimed recordings and developed a reputation for aligning itself with artists who possess a keen spirit of adventure and passion for excellence. Named international “label of the year” numerous times by Gramophone, Record Geijutsu, and Classica magazine, as well as by the International Classical Music Awards, it has raised the profiles of such esteemed musicians as Isabelle Faust, Emmanuelle Bertrand, Alexander Melnikov, and Jean-Guihen Queyras, among others. The label’s new endeavour with the TSO extends Gustavo Gimeno’s existing relationship with Harmonia Mundi, for which he has previously recorded Rossini’s Stabat Mater, Puccini’s Messa di Gloria, and Stravinsky’s The Firebird and Apollon musagète with the Luxembourg Philharmonic.
“I’m delighted to be starting this collaboration with such a prestigious orchestra as the TSO,” said Christian Girardin, Director of Harmonia Mundi. “Each new signing in the world of symphonic music takes on particular importance, especially in our case. The history of the label is intertwined with that of a certain form of interpretation, based on authenticity of purpose but also on genuine artistic sincerity. As far as Gustavo Gimeno is concerned, I want to say that I admire his blend of humility and virtuosity at the baton. The upcoming projects outline an exploration of the repertoire far removed from any form of routine. In any case, that’s my dearest wish: with an orchestra capable of drawing on a glorious history while constantly challenging itself, and a conductor attentive to the smallest details, I’m convinced we will do a great job! Thank you all for your confidence, and welcome to Harmonia Mundi.”
Recordings have been an integral component of the TSO’s artistic legacy since its first release in 1942. Of the close to 100 titles in its discography, many have been nominated for prestigious awards. Most recently, its 2018 recording of works by Vaughan Williams, under TSO Conductor Emeritus Peter Oundjian, and 2021 recording of Massenet’s Thaïs, under TSO Conductor Laureate Sir Andrew Davis, both on Chandos, won JUNO Awards, with the former also receiving a GRAMMY® nomination.