Toronto's Historic Red Oak

Honouring Magnificent Roots

Very happy to announce that I have been commissioned by the acclaimed chamber orchestra, Sinfonia Toronto, to compose a new work in honour of their 25th anniversary season!

When Nurhan Arman approached me to compose this concert overture, I immediately thought about how it would be fitting to base the composition on something positive and triumphant in the history of this wonderful city I am happy to call my home. Toronto is blessed to have had many citizens who have made a positive impact on our world. But I also considered the wonderful flora and fauna of the city. I happened to come across a story about Toronto’s oldest tree, an approximately 250-year-old red oak which is located in the backyard of a house located at 76 Coral Gable Dr. This was beautiful fate that brought me to this tree as it happens to also be located in the North York section of the city, just as is one of the venues (the George Weston Recital Hall) that Sinfonia Toronto calls home.

Earlier this spring, I was given a tour of this amazing natural monument by community activist, Edith George.

Being inspired by my visit to this beautiful tree, I began composing immediately and the result is my composition, Magnificent Roots.

Composing Magnificent Roots has prompted me to think about how celebrating remarkable nature is similar to celebrating amazing human achievement. After all, we are all living things in this city. Just as esteemed Torontonians have contributed so much to the lives of their fellow citizens, so does a tree like this Historic Red Oak, as it has provided sanctuary, protection, clean air and heightened spirituality to those who have passed its way for centuries, despite being threatened by that very species it helped and nurtured. I feel we should pay homage and celebrate this tree’s achievements just as much as any humans who have graced this city, not only because of what it has contributed in the past, but all that it will contribute to our collective future.

It is an honour to use the composition of Magnificent Roots to also celebrate this special anniversary for a special and important Toronto cultural institution. You can experience the world premiere performance by Sinfonia Toronto on October 21.

Looking forward to working with the Maestro and Sinfonia Toronto’s talented musicians to bring Magnificent Roots to life! Stay tuned to my social media channels, my blog posts and my e-newsletter for updates on next steps.

Many thanks to the SOCAN Foundation and private patrons for funding Sinfonia Toronto’s commission.

Sinfonia Toronto commissions Frank Horvat for their 25th Anniversary

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