Strings, Symphonies, and Strauss

Musical variety from the modern era


Peter Oundjian, conductor emeritus of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, leads the CSO in its first live performance since February 2020. From Richard Strauss to Jessie Montgomery, this program reveals the remarkable musical variety of the modern era.

Leonard Bernstein Award recipient Jessie Montgomery describes her work Starburst as “a play on imagery of rapidly changing musical colors.” The program continues with the enduring Lyric for Strings by George Walker (Piano and Composition ’45). Igor Stravinsky draws from Russian folk music in his Symphonies of Wind Instruments. Organ faculty member Alan Morrison (Organ ’91, Accompanying ’93) performs the solo in the exuberant Toccata Festiva by Samuel Barber (Composition ’34). Audiences will immediately recognize the iconic opening of Richard Strauss’s Also sprach Zarathustra from the Stanley Kubrick film 2001: A Space Odyssey.

This performance, originally scheduled for January 28, has be rescheduled for February 20, 2022. 


JESSIE MONTGOMERY         Starburst for Strings
GEORGE WALKER Lyric for Strings
IGOR STRAVINSKY         Symphonies of Wind Instruments
SAMUEL BARBER Toccata Festiva
RICHARD STRAUSS Also sprach Zarathustra



Peter OundjianRecognized as a masterful and dynamic presence in the conducting world, Peter Oundjian has developed a multi-faceted portfolio as a conductor, violinist, professor and artistic advisor. He has been celebrated for his musicality, an eye towards collaboration, innovative programming, leadership and training with students, and an engaging personality.

Now conductor emeritus, Mr. Oundjian’s fourteen-year tenure as music director of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra served as a major creative force for the city and was marked by a reimagining of the TSO’s programming, international stature, audience development, touring, and a number of outstanding recordings, garnering a GRAMMY nomination in 2018 and a JUNO award for Vaughan Williams: Orchestral Works in 2019. He led the orchestra on several international tours to Europe and the U.S., conducting the first performance by a North American orchestra at Harpa in Reykjavik in 2014.

From 2012–2018, Mr. Oundjian served as music director of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. He led the RSNO on several international tours, including North America, China, and a European festival tour with performances at festivals in Bregenz, Dresden, Innsbruck, Bergamo, and Ljubljana, among others. His final appearance with the orchestra as music director was at the 2018 BBC Proms where he conducted Britten’s War Requiem.

Highlights of past seasons include appearances with the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande; and the Detroit, Atlanta, Colorado, Dallas, Saint Louis, Baltimore, Indianapolis, Milwaukee and New Zealand symphony orchestras. With the onset of world-wide concert cancellations, he prioritized support for his students at the Yale School of Music and the Juilliard School and the creation of a virtual summer festival in Boulder, where he is music director of the Colorado Music Festival. The 2021–22 season anticipates return visits to Toronto, Kansas City, Seattle, Colorado, Detroit, Baltimore, and Indianapolis.

Mr. Oundjian has been a visiting professor at the Yale School of Music since 1981, and in 2013 was awarded the school’s Sanford Medal for Distinguished Service to Music. A dedicated educator, he conducted the Yale Symphony Orchestra, the Juilliard Orchestra, and the New World Symphony during the 2018–19 season.

An outstanding violinist, Mr. Oundjian spent fourteen years as the first violinist for the renowned Tokyo String Quartet before turning his energy towards conducting.

Alan MorrisonAlan Morrison is one of the most sought-after American concert organists, performing in Alice Tully, Jacoby, Verizon, Benaroya, and Spivey halls; Meyerson Symphony Center; Overture Center; Jack Singer Concert Hall; the Crystal Cathedral; National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.; and colleges, cathedrals, and churches throughout North America, Europe, Russia, and Brazil.

Mr. Morrison has been a featured artist for numerous national and regional conventions of the American Guild of Organists. He won first prize in both the Mader (California) and Poister (New York) National Organ Competitions, as well as the silver medal at the 1994 Calgary International Organ Festival. Mr. Morrison’s numerous recordings are regularly featured on radio stations worldwide, and his television appearances include two episodes of Mister Roger’s Neighborhood as both an organist and pianist.

A graduate of Curtis (organ and piano accompanying) and the Juilliard School (organ), Mr. Morrison is college organist at Ursinus College in Collegeville, Pa. and organist in residence at Spivey Hall in Morrow, Ga. In 2002 he joined the faculty of the Curtis Institute of Music where he holds the Haas Charitable Trust Chair in Organ Studies.

Acclaimed for its “otherworldly ensemble and professional level of sophistication” (New York Times), the Curtis Symphony Orchestra offers a dynamic showcase of tomorrow’s exceptional young talent. Each year the 100 extraordinary musicians of the orchestra work with internationally renowned conductors, including Osmo Vänskä, Vladimir Jurowski, Marin Alsop, Simon Rattle, Robert Spano, and Yannick Nézet Séguin, who also mentors the early-career conductors who hold Rita E. Hauser Conducting Fellowships. This professional training has enabled Curtis alumni to assume prominent positions in America’s leading orchestras, as well as esteemed orchestral, opera, and chamber ensembles around the world.


Orchestral concerts are supported by the Jack Wolgin Curtis Orchestral Concerts Endowment Fund.

Guest conductor appearances for each Curtis Symphony Orchestra performance are made possible by the Rita E. and Gustave M. Hauser Chair in Conducting Studies.

The Jack Wolgin Orchestral Concerts