Robert Franz, Music Director
Year founded: 1947
The Windsor Symphony Orchestra (WSO) is a professional regional orchestra composed of 39 musicians. Since its inception in 1947, the orchestra has evolved from a group of volunteers to an orchestra of highly skilled core and per service professional musicians. Robert Franz was appointed WSO Music Director in 2013.
The WSO has a reputation for musical excellence, innovative programming, educational and community outreach, and artistic engagement with Canadian performers and composers. The orchestra has a long history of community participation contributing to, and sustaining, the cultural life of the Windsor/Essex community. WSO performances have aired on CBC national radio, helping the orchestra to connect with audiences outside the physical confines of the theatre.
Photo credit: Windsor Symphony Orchestra
Birthplace: Toronto, ON
Current home: Toronto, ON
With recent performances of his works by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra symphonique de Montréal, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, National Arts Centre Orchestra, St. Lawrence String Quartet, and more, Jordan Pal has emerged as one of Canada’s most exciting new generation composers. A 2016 JUNO nominee, Pal’s work has been lauded by audiences, critics, and leading industry professionals, while being described as “brilliantly imaginative,” “genuinely compelling” (Concertonet.com), “truly breathtaking,” and “beautifully crafted” (American Record Guide).
Described as “one to watch” (LaPresse), Pal has had the privilege of being commissioned and performed by many of Canada’s finest orchestras and ensembles, including the Gryphon Trio, St. Lawrence String Quartet, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra, Orchestra symphonique de Montréal, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, National Arts Centre Orchestra, Orchestre symphonique de Quebec, Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, Regina Symphony Orchestra, National Academy Orchestra, National Youth Orchestra of Canada, Symphony Nova Scotia, Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra, Victoria Symphony, Windsor SymphonyOrchestra, and more.
Pal is the RBC Affiliate Composer with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (since 2015), and was the National Youth Orchestra of Canada’s 2014 RBC Composer-in-Residence. He holds a doctorate degree in composition from the University of Toronto, under the mentorship of Gary Kulesha.
Sesquie for Canada 150
Toronto Symphony Orchestra
September 23, 2017
Windsor Symphony Orchestra, Windsor
Not every man evades his shadow
This theatre filled with such violence
Today another of ours has fallen
Man’s hatred toward man so senseless
—From “Dark Shadow” by Corporal Charles Wahome Matiru, Afghanistan, June 8, 2009
One in 10 Canadian war veterans is diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Countless more suffer in silence. The title Fallen comes from the final stanza of Canadian Master Corporal Matiru’s poem “Dark Shadow”. Following his fourth deployment to Afghanistan, Matiru took his own life.
Matiru’s poem provides us with a glimpse into the beleaguered souls of PTSD victims. It is also a poignant reminder of man’s senseless capacity for violence, and the toll of war on innocent life. Anguished, tumultuous, swirling, descending, gasping, straining, deafening—Fallen is my lament to the victims of man’s war, to its exquisite and far-reaching pain, to the helpless frustration we experience watching humanity engulf itself.
In the current global political climate, let Corporal Matiru’s poem be a reminder of the extreme cost of war.