Kerry Stratton R.I.P.
Kerry Stratton was conductor of the Toronto Concert Orchestra as well as Wish Opera.
In the course of his international career, Stratton has conducted orchestras in Europe, North America and Asia. Having earned a degree in conducting from McGill University, Stratton later completed graduate studies at the Vienna Conservatory under Sir Charles Mackerras, Academia Chigiana in Siena, Italy, and L’Ecole Pierre Monteux with Charles Bruck.
Stratton’s engagements have included, Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, The Czech Philharmonic, Budapest Concert Orchestra, Hungarian Chamber Soloists, Prague Chamber Philharmonic, Bohemian Chamber Philharmonic, Slovak Radio Orchestra, Slovak State Philharmonic Orchestra, State of Mexico Symphony Orchestra, Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra, Seoul Philharmonic, Prague Radio Orchestra, Zagreb Philharmonic, Janacek Philharmonic. In January 2001, he became the first Canadian to conduct the St. Petersburg Camerata in the Hermitage Theatre at the Winter Palace. In December of 2004 he made his debut with the Beijing Symphony in a concert at the Forbidden City.
For his services to Czech and Slovak culture, Stratton is the 2000 winner of the Masaryk Award and was decorated by the Czech Government in 2007 at Prague’s Cernin Palace with the Gratis Agit Award. Other honourees included former Secretary of State, Madeline Albright, and filmmaker Milos Forman.
He has conducted concert tours for renowned orchestras, such as the George Solti Orchestra, Budapest; the Vienna Concert-Verein, Czech Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra, Orchestra Internazionale d’Italia and, most recently, the Slovak Sinfonietta.
In 2005 Stratton founded ‘Grand Salon’ a palm court orchestra, devoted to music of the early 20th century, which plays original orchestrations to enthusiastic audiences throughout Canada.
Kerry Stratton was also committed to broadening the repertoire of both concert and recorded orchestral music. Included in his discography is the world premiere recording of Franz Liszt’s De Profundis with the Hungarian State Symphony Orchestra on the Hungaroton label. His recording on Dorian Records entitled Celestial Fantasy, features this and other works of American composer Alan Hovhaness. A long-time devotee to Eastern European composers, he recorded a collection of Slavonic Serenades, with the Moscow Symphony on Dorian Records, which the Washington Post called “a delight.” Universal distributes his Dvorak CD recorded with the Prague Radio Orchestra. In 2006 he recorded an all-Brahms programme with the renowned Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra. Recently released are two new CDs recorded with the Slovak Sinfonietta featuring Beethoven Symphony No 8 and the Emperor piano concerto with Haiou Zhang pianist as well as Mozart’s clarinet concerto and Weber’s Clarinet Concertino with Kornel Wolak. His most recent CD features premiere recordings of music for strings by Jean Francaix and was released on Toccata Classics in the composer’s centennial, 2012.
Toronto Concert Orchestra
TCO serves the community in the greater Toronto area and north of Highway 401. Many of the Toronto Concert Orchestra musicians support and perform for the film, theatre, ballet, and opera presented in the GTA. They serve a larger population than many professional orchestras in smaller communities as they engage in tours and outreach to outlying regions. TCO has long established relationships with concert presenters throughout the province. As Toronto’s homeless orchestra, they have performed in a miscellany of venues expressing their focus on presenting orchestral music to new audiences in new environments.
Music Director, Kerry Stratton and Executive Director, Shaun Pilot, first teamed up in 2008 to produce symphony concerts at the Toronto rock venue The Phoenix Concert Theatre. Since then, they have performed at the Air Canada Centre for Toronto Raptor’s Season Opening, at Ontario Place Echo Beach, at the boutique hotel Windsor Arms, the Design Exchange, Roy Thomson Hall, George Weston Recital Hall, Betty Oliphant Theatre, Koerner Hall, St. Lawrence Hall, Glenn Gould Studio and in a half dozen Ontario communities.