La Cucina x SSO

Our friends over at La Cucina Restaurant have created this special menu to go with our Saturday concert La Dolce Vita! If you are local to Saskatoon you can call and pre-order for Saturday pickup. It’s a perfect addition to your special night in with the SSO. Journey # 1 Chicken Cacciatore Dinner for 2 … Read more

SSO Performances Online

Take a chance to listen to some past performances and new online performance by the SSO and our collaborators!

We’re thrilled to bring you two brand new videos – both collaborations with amazing friends of the SSO to help kick off these summer nights!

Music for Violin and Orchestra, 2nd Movement with Timothy Chooi – premieres June 19th at 7:30pm!

Join us on Saturday, June 20th at 7:30pm to kick off summer with a performance of Vivaldi’s Summer from his Four Seasons with violinist Veronique Matthieu!

It’s spring!  The SSO was joined by Veronique Matthieu for Vivaldi’s Four Seasons – take a listen to Spring!

Violinist Veronique Matthieu joined the SSO for a weekend of performances in October 2019.  The concert featured two sets of Four Season concertos, Vivaldi’s iconic set of seasons and Astro Piazzolla’s tango-tinged.  The Sunday afternoon performance at the Dekker Centre in North Battleford was filmed by Bamboo Shoots for SaskTel Max Local On Demand.

More videos from this concert will be added to this page soon!


The SSO’s Principal Bass Richard Carnegie and our Assistant Concertmaster Jacqueline Nutting joined forces to bring us this brilliant Beethoven Duo for our Beethoven Fest!


Anyone longing for travel? Please enjoy some photos from our various trips to London alongside the first movement of Haydn’s London Trio.

Allison married a British chap almost four years ago to the day! They enjoyed exploring the sights of London, never forgetting to stop for a proper cuppa tea!

While sitting under a tree in Hyde Park, Tom proposed to Erin. The first thing they did as an engaged couple was find a red telephone booth to call their family in Canada. Afterwards, they had the best Curry in the Baywater district of London. They both hate tea but love a good pint.

Stephanie enjoyed a fun family holiday shortly after graduating from high school. She was just old enough to have her first beer in a London pub with her dad and uncle. 2 sips was enough, they finished the pint.


Cellist John Payzant shares a beautiful work by Boismortier

Principal Oboes abound!
The SSO’s Principal Oboe Erin Brophey joins the Regina Symphony Orchestra’s Principal Oboe Tamsin Johnston for a little Mozart!

Principals Allison Miller, Erin Brophey, and Stephanie Unverricht (also known as Chicks with Sticks) clearly ain’t misbehaving during the social distancing!

The SSO’s Principal Bass Richard Carnegie shares a solo bass piece by Milton Barnes!

Our Principal Percussionist Fraser Krips brings us a chance to hear him collaborating with himself!

More collaborations on their way soon!




Silence Isn’t An Option

Running an arts organization these days is not for the faint of heart. Being an artist isn’t either…particularly exhausting and scary for musicians.

We’ve gone silent. And it feels worse than I’m able to explain in words.

I’ve been very proud of what the SSO has accomplished in the last few weeks. Our digitally distant performances, online concert, musician chats, and Beethoven Fest have had more than 25,000 people from around the world engaging with us. We have gotten to know ourselves in a new way, and we’ve gotten to connect with some patrons in ways we never thought we could. It’s clear that our SSO for You online portal is not only here to stay, but lets us grow and connect in more ways.

Musicians around the world went silent, and immediately the world turned to music…with streamed concerts and playlists meaning more than ever. It has been extra hard for a world on the cusp of celebrating the 250th anniversary of the birth of Beethoven.

The pandemic, and its effects on the SSO and music worldwide, has made me do a lot of reflecting about Beethoven. Musicians and music lovers alike know his music, often intimately, down to every last nuance. But there’s much still to consider from the man who changed music.

Just after turning 30, his hearing was slipping away. Nothing is more vital and more critical to a musician than their hearing. As each year passed, he worked harder, explored more, he pushed the limits of music. He performed and conducted premieres that he had to self produce just to make sure his music was heard. His life kept getting more challenging, and often he was his own worst enemy. To him, the world went silent. But his own world was musically vivid.

As his ability to communicate through music became increasingly challenging, Beethoven turned his face to the storm. He wrote. He wrote music that challenged the establishment, he wrote music that changed the way musicians took on their craft, and he wrote music that would go on to change the world forever.

He had something so crucial taken away from him, and he could not give up.

The SSO, like orchestras around the globe, had to go silent. And right now, it’s impossible to know what will happen next. There are great glimmers of hope around the world, with orchestras soon hosting concerts with up to 55% of audience in their halls. But none of us know what will happen next.

Over the last few weeks, the SSO team has become galvanized in the knowledge that we can’t give up.

We hope we can present the concerts we have planned this fall, with adaptations that keep us all safe. But, if we can’t, we have multiple “plan B’s” in the works – concerts that showcase the innovation, creativity, and beautiful music making that the SSO brings to its community. We are exploring ways to digitally capture our school shows, seniors homes, and outreach programming so that we can keep bringing musical experiences to everyone who needs it.

We will make music for you no matter what. We will look to ensure that our concerts are safe for patrons and musicians alike. We will push our creativity to new bounds. We will innovate and explore and face the challenge with determination. Like Beethoven, silence isn’t an option.

It might be different. It might feel strange at first. It will be creative. It will be worth the work and worth the wait.

It may not change the world, but it will make a difference.

Thank you for supporting the SSO – I hope you’ll join me in making a donation to your orchestra at this time when literally every donation makes a world of difference.

Mark Turner
Executive Director

Beethoven’s Cello Sonatas

With 2020 being the Beethoven Year, celebrating the 250th anniversary of his birth, the SSO is exploring his musical genius – and while we instantly think of Beethoven when it comes to symphonies and piano sonatas, his cello sonatas should not be overlooked!

For those new to exploring the music of Beethoven, these sonatas provide a good overview of the three broad periods (Early, Middle and Late) of Beethoven’s development as a composer. As such, they also span the time period and style changes between the end of the Classical era and the beginning of the Romantic era.

The sonatas were titled with the pianoforte listed first with “violon-celle oblige”. This seems fitting given the less important role the cello has in the first two sonatas, early works from Op. 5. These pieces would have served as a novel combination of instruments while still showcasing Beethoven’s own keyboard mastery. Musically, they sound like most early Beethoven – an extrapolation of late Mozart and Haydn. They were inspired by the French cello virtuoso Jean Pierre Duport whom Beethoven met in 1796. Overall, they are not very virtuosic pieces by Duport’s cello standards, but they are brilliant compositions with flashes of technical difficulties that Beethoven was famously indifferent to.

The third cello sonata, Op. 69, is from Beethoven’s most well-known and celebrated Middle period. The cello part is much more prominent than Op. 5 and similar to the violin sonatas in terms of the balance between the two instruments. This is one of the most loved and often performed pieces for cello and piano in the entire literature, beginning with the famous opening where the cello starts the piece alone for the first 6 measures. It is challenging but well written for the cello. This is powerful, gripping music of the artistic calibre of his 5th Symphony.

The Op. 102 sonatas were written in 1815, soon after Beethoven’s deafness had ended his public performances as a pianist. While they are not as inscrutable as his late string quartets, they are more eccentric than the first three cello sonatas. Even contemporary reviewers who loved Beethoven’s music found these two sonatas somewhat inaccessible for the first time listener. Like parts of his 9th Symphony, the music ranges from serene beauty to insistent, almost bombastic passages. Late Beethoven is not everyone’s cup of tea, but after several hearings these works can be appreciated in light of, if not an expression of, the unique frustration and pains of his deafness and declining health.

These five sonatas are some of the pillars of the cello repertoire and also give the listener an introduction to the wide stylistic expanse of Beethoven’s evolution as a composer – and human being.

The SSO’s Principal Horn Carol Marie Cottin

We’ve been keeping in touch with the musicians of the SSO during the pandemic – and we got this awesome note from the SSO’s Principal Horn:
Hi my name is Carol-Marie Cottin and I play principal horn with the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra. I decided to write about why I chose horn and some of my favourite composers for horn.
I’ve been a proud member of this orchestra since 1993. I started music at a young age. Being the last of six children my mothers made sure all of us started on piano. Unfortunately I didn’t stay with piano, something I regret to this day. Anyway, in grade 6 I started on trumpet. And the only reason I started with trumpet was because my older brother had played it and it was the instrument laying around. I was quite happy playing trumpet and had great teachers in those early years. Actually all my teachers were great I was very lucky in that regard. Then when I was in grade 10 I went to my then band teacher, shout out to Mr. Chuck Hendrickson, great teacher/mentor, and asked if I could play French horn. He said “let me think about it”. So I anxiously waited what seemed forever, but was in reality was only a couple of days for his answer. He came back and said yes. Well I was so excited to pick up this magnificent, complicated, challenging and beautiful instrument. And so began my horn career.
And now I’ll write about some of my favourite orchestral repertoire for the horn. Wow, it’s hard to know where to start there’s so much to choose from. Well as you might know Mozart write so much for the horn: 4 concertos, a rondo, horn quintet, wind sinfonietta just to mention a few. So I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Mozart.
Let’s move on to Brahms. Brahms and horn playing to me are one and the same. Brahms had a great understanding of the horn sound and it’s capabilities. Whether it’s a heroic horn call, as in the finale of his 1st symphony or the haunting melody of his 3rd symphony Brahms brings to life the true colour of the horn. For me, Brahms always brings me home to the raw beauty of the horn sound, so pure and simple.
Next, I’d have to mention Richard Strauss. Also someone who wrote 2 horn concertos. It might have had something to do with the fact that his father was a horn player and composer. But I digress. By this time the horn as we know it today was in full use.  Strauss wrote sheer gymnastic, acrobatic horn lines. It’s both a joy and a terrifying challenge to play his works.  There are so many juicy horn parts in all his tone poems; from Till to Don Juan and from operas such as Capriccio (very extended horn solo-3rd act) to Salome and Elecktra. I’ve never met a horn player that just didn’t love to play Strauss.
I will end and what for me is the ultimate in horn playing.  Mahler. I’ve had the great pleasure of playing a lot of Mahler and it’s always been a great joy and full of satisfaction. It’s like the chocolate cake with the cherry on top and a side of ice cream. Yum. A couple of years ago my dream of playing symphony #5 came true.   It was another universe, another reality. I encourage all to go and listen to it. Mahler just knew how to write glorious soaring horn lines that just fit nicely on the horn. As well as writing for the whole brass section and whole orchestra lines that spoke to the true humanity of us all.  His music fills up my soul and expresses all I want to say through my instrument -the horn 📯
Well, it has been a great pleasure to share some of my favourite horn parts during these strange times. Take care, stay safe and stay healthy.
Carol -Marie 📯

SSO For You

It’s strange to not be able to make music with your friends – and even stranger that we weren’t getting to make music FOR our friends!

While we all stay home to flatten the curve, the SSO wanted to bring you some special programming to enjoy from the comfort of your home.  Eric and the musicians have been busy working with the staff to create ways to connect with you during this time!

Meet the Musicians in Your Neighbourhood

Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7pm on at

Join Maestro Eric Paetkau every Tuesday and Thursday on Facebook live for a chance to talk to the musicians that make the SSO awesome.  Each episode gets chatty and explores how each person came to call Saskatoon home, their musical influences, and so much more!

Click to watch

Classical Now on CFCR

Mondays, 7:00-8:30pm on CFCR

Join our ED Mark Turner each Monday night for Classical Now – dig deeper into your music library and find out more about the behind the scenes stories of composers/performers and their music.  Discover music new and old and maybe even learn something on the way!

Online Performances

We are going to be sharing some music with you – some from past performances, and some filmed just for social media.  It’s a mix of stuff you’ll know well and stuff you should know better (it slaps, as the kids would say!).  We’ll be posting videos on Faecbook, Instagram, and YouTube – so keep your eyes pealed!

SSO Trivia!

with Richard and Stephanie – dates TBD

If you’ve been to one of our After Dark performances, you’ll know what we’re talking about!  From the musicians who brought you “Name that Tune on the Bassoon” and that weird thing with the cheese, we’re going to have a few trivia nights led by Richard and Stephanie to test your knowledge of all things pub-trivia mixed in with some music!

Beethoven 250 Festival

May 2nd to 8th

The festival week we had planned may have had to be cancelled, but we’ve got something up our sleeves for the stay-at-home edition.  Join us for some learn opportunities, catch some music, get interactive with the SSO!  Details announced soon!

Kids Learning Opportunities

Every day at 10am we’re posting a cool activity for your kids to try out – head over to our Facebook and check out the daily activity.


And more…

We have a bunch of plans in the works – maybe you’ll learn about the 12 most important symphonies ever, or how to make a double reed!  We are adjusting to this new world of having to connect with each other and with all of you in new ways – and its going to be a unique way to make music more during this difficult times!

Classical Music Online For You

With the impact of COVID-19 being felt around the globe, its become even more clear that music is something we all need at this time – and while we can’t gather together for performances, the classical music world is moving online as quickly as possible!

So we wanted to pull together some of our top picks for where to catch some brilliant performances online during this time.

Berlin Philharmonic Digital Concert Hall

One of the world’s most beloved classical music institutions has a 30 day free trial available of their Digital Concert Hall.  With that 30 day trial, you have access to hundreds of hours of music and live performances that you can enjoy!
You do have to sign up for the 30 day free trial.

Click for More

LA Phil

The Los Angeles Philharmonic has made itself an orchestra in a class of its own.  Their LA Phil Watch and Listen is always available and always free – they’ve got everything from concerts to interviews and more!

Click for More

Metropolitan Opera

The Met’s HD Broadcasts changed the game over a decade ago – and now they’re bringing you an HD Broadcast everyday on their website.  They announce their weekly line up the week before, and the videos are live on their website for 24hrs.

Click for More

Saskatoon Public Library – Naxos Music Library

Here’s something very special for folks with a library card!
You can sign on to the Saskatoon Public Library’s Digital Library Resources and with that you have full access to the Naxos Classical Music Library – it’s one of the largest online streaming systems and brings you a remarkable wealth of things to listen to!

Click for Digital Library

Enjoy the SSO!

We have lots of online opportunities you can enjoy from home:

On our Facebook –

Kids Music Activity -a special musical education activity to posted everyday at 10am

Take a Listen to This – a piece of music we think you’ll love, posted everyday at 8:30pm

Meet the Musicians in Your Neighbourhood – hosted by Eric Paetkau – Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7pm
Eric is joined by musicians in the SSO, and friends of the SSO, in conversations about music, life, and more.  When the chats are live, you can ask questions too!

Video Archive
We’ll be releasing some videos from past concerts – including our performances of Piazzolla’s Four Season of Buenos Aires


The Show Will Go On, Someday

Last Monday, if you’d told me that we’d be postponing concerts by the end of the week, I wouldn’t have believed you. It felt like the pandemic was something happening elsewhere, not here. It didn’t really seem real for us.

But as the week progressed, each hour brought new news. First the JUNOs (heartbreaking as the SSO was going to be playing with Jann Arden!). Then we had to postpone our Accent with the SSO concert because we weren’t able to get all six of the groups members here. Then the last few shows of our SaskTel Symphony in Schools Tour was cancelled. Then we postponed our Mozart Reimagined project with Saskatoon Opera and FreeFlow Dance. And our Music Talk at McNally for March 31st has been cancelled. And I’m sure more is on the way.

As of this morning, we are still taking things hour by hour. We’re looking ahead to the programming planned for the next few weeks and realizing that there are more postponements and cancellations in sight.

Some of these events will have to be cancelled, but the goal for us is to reschedule some of the events for a future date. I have no idea when, but I do know that we want to keep sharing music – and I have two reasons why I feel strongly we need to reschedule.

Firstly, our musicians. We are all grateful to be able to do our part in social distancing to try and slow the spread of COVID-19, but these measures will be devastating to our local musicians. They already have been. It highlights how exceptionally fragile working in the arts is. We all love to reap the benefits of having artists in our communities, but we have yet to find a way to ensure their stability as members of our communities. It’s something that we have to work on going forward, but more importantly, its something that we’re starring in the face right now. Most musicians in our community do not qualify for EI, and many of them will see a reduction or total loss of work.

On top of that, the financial risk this poses to the SSO, and all arts organizations, is drastic. My administrative team is working non-stop on trying to figure out what we can do. How do we support our musicians and remain afloat?  Can we find ways to soften the blow? And how do we even keep our doors open if the remainder of the season is shuttered?

The second reason I have for wanting to reschedule is that when the time comes for us to end social distancing, the need for us all to come together to participate in the act of making music will be key to finding our identity as a community again. We will need to be social, and a concert is one of the most joyous ways to come together and be part of something again. It will help us all rebuild emotionally and mentally after these strange days.

All of the tickets held to a postponed event will be honoured – we want to have you there when we get music back on its feet in Saskatoon. If you want you can ask for a refund as well, or you can choose to donate your purchased ticket to the SSO.  We’ve had a number of people do this already, and it means the world to us – it helps us continue to operate in this very difficult time and let’s us give you a tax receipt for your support.

The last few days have been very difficult, but I have been overwhelmed by supporters of the SSO reaching out wanting to help. I can not tell you how wonderful it feels to know that people are thinking of their orchestra at this time. I’ve been humbled by the people phoning in to make donations. I’ve been touched to see the care and respect our community has for its music makers.

Please keep subscribing to our 90th season – this fall will be an even bigger celebration than we could have expected, so we want to share that with you!  Your subscription helps the SSO stay stable moving beyond this fiscal year.

And the most meaningful help is making a donation.  This time of year is our largest in terms of the donations we receive – if donations drop off on top of losing ticket revenues, it will spell disaster for your SSO.

None of us ever imagined this kind of global scenario would play out – and all of us are feeling the impact. Social distancing and self-isolation are needed right now. But a time will come when we will need the communion of being together again to make music, and those will be such wonderful events.

Please support your local symphony – we all need you more than ever.

Stay well,
Mark Turner
Executive Director
Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra

Postponing Accent with the SSO

I’m very sad to announce that we need to postpone our March 21st concert with Accent.

Over the last few days, I have been working very closely with orchestras across the country, our venues, our funders, and with the SSO Board President Dr Anne Doig (former President of the Canadian Medical Association), and keeping a constant eye on Public Health advisories.

Currently, the risk to Saskatchewan residents is low and no venues have been closed. But this morning I discussed with Accent that they are uncertain of the travel options for a number of their group members, and rather than risking a show that wouldn’t be to the standard either party would want, we decided its best to postpone.

This concert has been such a thrill to put together with Accent – and we are so excited to share it with Saskatoon. So under these circumstances all parties agreed that this was something we will reschedule.

Over the next few weeks we’ll find a time to reschedule the event and keep you informed of the date.

All tickets for next weekend’s concert will be honoured for the rescheduled event.

If you’d prefer to not hold on to your ticket for the rescheduled event, we have two options for you:

  • chose to donate your ticket back to the SSO, and receive a tax receipt
  • request a refund for those tickets

As of this morning, we have no plans to postpone any other events – but we are monitoring the situation closely and want to do what’s in the best interest of safety and public health.

The financial impact that the COVID-19 pandemic could have to the SSO and our musicians is devastating.  So we are working hard to try and figure out what happens next.
I know that the stock market and pandemic have all of us worried – but I urge you as music lovers to consider the risk that this poses to the beloved musicians of the SSO.  My staff and I are working hard to put in to place contingency plans in a hope to ensure the well being of the SSO and its musicians and staff, physically and financially.  Our city is lucky to have the musicians and orchestra, and this current situation gives us a chance to show our support for them.

Our patrons and our musicians mean a lot to us – so please stay well.

Mark Turner
Executive Director

For any questions please feel free to email, call the SSO at 306-665-6414

Mozart’s Symphony No. 29

Accustomed as we are to the central importance attached to the later Symphonies of Mozart and Haydn, their earlier works often seem to be uncomfortably light in weight for two such masters to have created. The music may be as inventive, as beautifully crafted as the more famous later works, but that magical sense of emotional depth is much less apparent.

There are those who maintain that the two composers were merely feeling their way towards a greater musical expression in their earlier works, but a single hearing of one of Mozart’s Operas or of Haydn’s Masses from the same period quickly puts paid to that argument. The truth is, however, very simple. Symphonies, at least until the middle of the 1780’s, were not designed to be the most important part of a concert. They developed from, and at first were largely interchangeable with, Italian Overtures, and as such were intended merely to gather the audience’s attention towards the solo and the concertante works which were to follow. Over the decades, the Classical Symphony evolved in the direction of greater logic and structural efficiency, and almost by the way, grew more important in the scheme of things. Mozart and Haydn both started to express greater emotional depth in their Symphonies as more and more of their listeners began to pay attention, and as time went on, the Classical Symphony achieved the form and the style which we value so highly today.

Mozart’s Symphony no. 29 in A Major could well be regarded as being the finest of all of his early Symphonies. One of the seven Symphonies which Mozart composed was for the new Prince-Archbishop of Salzburg Hieronymous von Colloredo in the years 1773-4. The work was, according to the still extant manuscript, completed on April 6th, 1774. There is no record of the first performance in the Archbishop’s court. It is unlikely that the premiere of a new Symphony would be considered worthy of comment or even notice but Mozart apparently felt that the Symphony held a special significance, for he carried the work around with him for the rest of his life, scheduling it for performance whenever the opportunity would arise.

The Symphony no. 29 represents Mozart’s early maturity at its best. His personal synthesis of the three disparate Symphonic styles of the Mannheim School, of J.C. Bach and of Joseph Haydn would have been remarkable as a pastiche. Instead Mozart was able to develop a manner of Symphonic composition which partook of all three schools and yet was wholly his own. The Symphony is in the proper four movements.

The first movement, an Allegro moderato, begins quietly without the usual fanfare, but quickly establishes itself with an ingratiating charm, delightfully backed up by contrasting subjects. A short Development section rapidly leads to a direct Recapitulation.

The second movement, a serene Andante, is both civilized and somewhat pastoral in character, and is remarkably well written, even for Mozart.

The third movement opens in a brisk, business-like way in the opening Menuet section, only to become suddenly introverted, almost watchful, in the Trio.

The Finale, marked Allegro con spirito, is a dashing movement characterized by the use of hunting idioms, both rhythmic and melodic. The music swings along with real gaiety and even a certain amount of drama to bring the Symphony no. 29 to a satisfying close.

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Credit – Ronald Comber