The Scarborough Philharmonic (SPO) is committed to serving the community of Scarborough by assuming a leadership role in the artistic life of this vibrant city of 625,000 people. We intend to accomplish this by further expanding our reach into the diverse and varied sectors of the community, and by doing so, continue to build, empower and develop the arts and audiences in the community.
The SPO works to create high quality performances of symphonic and chamber music. Supporting and promoting Canadian composers and their music is a priority, as well as fostering and mentoring new generation and young musicians. The SPO reaches out to connect with under-served members of the community through discounted and free tickets as well as targeted community concerts.
Our vision is to create an environment of Inclusiveness, Equality, and Diversity through the arts. We believe music and the arts have the ability to unite people.
The Scarborough Philharmonic Orchestra’s mandate is to offer high-quality, affordable concerts to the Scarborough community at large and to support Canadian composers, new generation artists, music students, and the local musical/artistic communities of Scarborough.
Scarborough is a city of 625,000 people and is underserved by cultural organizations in comparison with other Toronto areas. The SPO is a neighbourhood orchestra working to promote music and connect with diverse and varied communities in the city.
Canadian music and fostering the next generation of creatives and performers is a priority in programming.
The Scarborough Philharmonic Orchestra (SPO), founded in 1980, has been serving Scarborough for 40 years. In 2009, the SPO welcomed its current Music Director, Ronald Royer, raising the artistic standards of the orchestra to a new level with performances of major repertoire such as Ravel’s Daphnis and Chloe, Stravinsky’s Petrushka, and Mahler’s Symphony No.4.
The SPO regularly commissions and performs new Canadian works. This includes a successful Composer-In-Residence (CIR) program that has included Canadian composers Barbara Croall, Omar Daniel, Bruno Degazio, Alex Eddington, John Estacio, Chan Ka Nin, Jim McGrath, and Alexander Rapoport amongst others. Our current CIR is Toronto-based Elizabeth Raum, an experienced and prominent composer.
In 2017 the SPO released its first commercial CD “Canadian Panorama” through Cambria Master Recordings and distributed by Naxos Records. This album of world-premiere recordings features all-Canadian music and received excellent radio play and great reviews in Canada and the United States. In May 2023, the SPO will release their second commercial CD of world-premiere Canadian compositions on the Akashic Rekords label, and distributed through Universal.
The SPO mentors new generation musicians, attracted by the orchestra’s high-performance standards and advanced repertoire, and provides them with valuable experience for their future careers. The SPO offers support and performance opportunities to students from organizations such as St. Paul’s L’Amoreaux Anglican Church youth community music program (Scarborough), Sir Oliver Mowat C.I., University of Toronto Scarborough Campus arts program, and Sistema Toronto.
Our annual New Generation Composers Workshop provides compositional training and career guidance in preparation for a reading session which includes a recording of the composer’s music. The SPO also has an Ensemble-In-Residence, the Odin String Quartet. This outstanding and innovative ensemble, comprised of new generation artists, has been prominently featured in performance.
We acknowledge the land our Orchestra presents on is the traditional territory of many nations including the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee, and the Wendat peoples, and is now home to many diverse First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples.
We also acknowledge that Toronto is covered by Treaty 13 signed with the Mississaugas of the Credit, and the Williams Treaties signed with multiple Mississaugas and Chippewa bands.
Moreover, Scarborough is in the Dish with One Spoon Territory, which is a treaty between the Anishinabeg, Mississaugas, and Haudenosaunee that bound them to share the territory and protect the land.