Here’s where to catch the hottest tickets of the season in one of the best cities for classical music.
From sweeping symphonies to intimate recitals (and everything in between), Toronto’s fall/winter performance season offers a wealth of shows for classical music fans.
Go for baroque with a stellar season of stirring symphonies and choral music. Tafelmusik orchestra kicks off its 45th anniversary season with an all-Beethoven blockbuster (September 22–24, 2023) featuring the master’s Symphony No. 4 and Symphony No. 5. Tune into a 17th and 18th-century European soundscape as the Tafelmusik Chamber Choir showcases a Choral Kaleidoscope (November 17–19, 2023). Kick off the holiday season with Handel’s Messiah (December 14–16, 2023), including a singalong version (December 17, 2023).
Dutch violinist and conductor André Rieu brings his 60-piece Johann Strauss Orchestra to Scotiabank Arena (September 24, 2023) for an evening of light classical, music from film and opera, pop interpretations and, of course, waltz—the genre he is credited for creating a global revival in.
Toronto Symphony Orchestra
The incomparable South Korean pianist Seong-Jin Cho performs the North American premiere of Peruvian composer Jimmy Lopez Bellido’s Synesthésie (September 28–30, 2023), celebrated Ukrainian conductor Oksana Lyniv leads the TSO in Dvořák’s lively Symphony No. 8 (November 16–18, 2023) and Aussie violin virtuoso/ social media savant Ray Chen creates magic with Korngold’s Violin Concerto and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6 “Pastoral” (January 26 & 27, 2024).
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Canadian Opera Company
The COC’s 2023–2024 season includes comedy, drama, sturm and drang, all set to the power of the human voice at the Four Seasons for the Performing Arts. Beethoven’s Fidelio (September 29 and select dates in October 2023), a modernized tale of crime and punishment, kicks off the season.
Real-life married couple—tenor Pene Pati and soprano Amina Edris—star as the tragic young lovers in Puccini’s La Bohème (select dates in October 2023). And, in an operatic tale of man versus nature, Leoš Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen (select dates in January and February 2024) pits gamekeeper versus fox in an all-ages, family-friendly production.
The Royal Conservatory of Music’s gem of a performance hall hosts a dizzying array of talent spanning jazz, world, pop and classical. Don’t miss Billboard chart-topping Easter Island pianist Mahani Teave (October 1, 2023) as she brings her magnificent artistry to Chopin, Rachmaninov and the Canadian premiere of Ancestral Rapa Nui: I hē a Hotu Matu’a.
Check out the Danish String Quartet (November 3, 2023) (actually three Danes and one Norwegian) performing works by Purcell, Haydn, Shostakovich and Schubert. And expect surprises when Sir András Schiff (November 5, 2023) performs: the legendary pianist and conductor no longer provides recital programs in advance. Sit back and be amazed!
Immerse yourself in the magic of live performances by Candlelight in some of the city’s most evocative concert venues. Best of all, there’s something for everyone. Vibe to classical string and piano interpretations of contemporary pop stars, get lost in the fever dream of video game soundtracks or tap your toes to Motown, Bollywood and jazz standards.
Contemporary classical hounds won’t want to miss a tribute to Joe Hisaishi (October 27 and November 17, 2023), the legendary Japanese composer renowned for his iconic Studio Ghibli film scores. March into the holidays with medleys from The Nutcracker (December 20–22, 2023) and other Christmas faves.
Lose yourself in the hypnotic rhythm and dramatic storytelling of Carl Orff’s barnburner, Carmina Burana (October 26–27, 2023). This monumental love story brings together the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir (TMC), Toronto Children’s Chorus, and members of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, conducted by TMC artistic director Jean-Sébastien Vallée, in a program that also includes a commissioned piece by TMC’s composer-in-residence, Tracy Wong.
Explore the alternative side of classical music with this Tafelmusik side project. The Haus Musik series brings baroque musicians out of the concert hall and into Toronto bars and nightclubs. Sip a beer or cocktail, clap along, cheer—do everything you can’t in a formal concert hall—as you enjoy the music you love at the legendary El Mocambo (November 7, 2023, and April 2, 2024).
Up-and-coming Polish pianist Hania Rani—known for a genre-bending style that blends classical, jazz and house music—brings her unique vision to TD Music Hall (November 22, 2023). This new 500-seat performance space within Massey Hall promises to be the perfect venue for her ethereal neo-classical piano soundscapes.
Salute to Vienna New Year’s Concert 2024
Kick off the New Year at Roy Thomson Hall with soaring music and breathtaking dance performances inspired by the Golden Age of Viennese culture. (Dazzling costumes and stunning floral design make this a feast for the eyes, too!)
Salute to Vienna New Year’s Concert 2024 (January 1, 2024). Promises an energetic and lighthearted spectacle of European song and dance—showcasing the music of Johann Strauss and his contemporaries.