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On Summer May 2023
A playlist curated by Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s Mark Williams

A playlist curated by Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s Mark Williams

We recently got the chance to collaborate with two of the talented men behind Toronto’s Symphony Orchestra, creating a collection of quiet luxury inspired by their lives and work. One half of the duo is Mark Williams: an exceedingly cool and collected guy originally hailing from Cincinnati, Ohio. He first joined the TSO in 2022, making him the first Black person to become CEO of a major symphony orchestra in North America. It was a move that also reunited him with the Spanish conductor Gustavo Gimeno, who he had worked with before at the Cleveland Orchestra.

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The two come to the centuries old institution with a modern mission: to bring classical music to the masses. As Mark so beautifully put it in our most recent chat:

“In the simplest terms, what I need to do, and this institution needs to do is say: what these musicians put on stage is incredible. This is a group of musicians who play with beauty and delicacy. They are curious, supremely talented — but what they do with Gustavo is so incredible and has the power to wow everyone that is in front of them. Even people that “don’t know anything” about it… I would consider myself a success in this role if we have made steps towards helping people realize that music is for everyone. This orchestra exists in this city for the people of this city. What we do is not the same if no one is listening.”

It’s a noble cause and one we are more than happy to get behind. We thought, how better to do this than creating a playlist for our own community. Mark shared with us a diverse collection of tracks to educate and inspire even the most novice listener, with compositions from around the globe. It’s a stirring selection, we hope you’ll take a moment out of your day to give a listen.

"Choosing a few tracks from the vast world of classical orchestral music felt like torture, but limitations often spark creativity. This playlist features music spanning nearly 300 years, composed and performed by musicians from Europe, Asia, and the Americas, and for orchestras both large and small. Each piece conveys a different mood and emotion, showcasing the breadth of human experience as does all great art. I hope this selection brings beauty, joy, and introspection to your day to listen."

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We sat down with Mark and Gustavo at Roy Thomson Hall to talk all about how they’re working together to achieve a brighter future for classical music. To learn more about the pair and our recent collaboration, check out the full interview.

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