Sachertorte for a Watch Party

For our year of musical tourism as part of our reimagined 90th season, we have been so thrilled to see people enjoy fondue for a trip to Paris, bison meatballs for Paris of the Prairies, and pretzels for our Oktoberfest event. Now that we’re off for a Visit to Vienna, there’s a few tasty treats you can try….but one of them is a must!

When in Vienna, you become intimately familiar with Wiener Schnitzel (it even has Vienna in its name!), apple strudel, spargel, tafelspitz, and of course enjoying their addition to Melange.

No trip to Vienna would be complete without enjoying a piece (or two…or three….) of Sachertorte.

Popular all across Austria, this rich chocolate cake is as important to a trip to Vienna as seeing the works of Klimt and hearing the Vienna Phil!

130 g – dark couverture chocolate (min. 55% cocoa content)
1 – Vanilla Pod
150 g -softened butter
100g – Icing sugar
6 – Eggs (its definitely an indulgent cake!)
100 g – Castor sugar
140 g – Plain wheat flour

200 g – apricot jam
200 g – castor sugar
150 g – dark couverture chocolate (min. 55% cocoa content)

Unsweetend whipped cream to garnish

Ok – here we go!

  • Preheat oven to 170°C. Line the base of a springform with baking paper, grease the sides, and dust with a little flour.
    Melt couverture over boiling water. Let cool slightly.
  • Slit vanilla pod lengthwise and scrape out seeds. Using a hand mixer with whisks, beat the softened butter with the icing sugar and vanilla seeds until bubbles appear.
  • Separate the eggs. Whisk the egg yolks into the butter mixture one by one. Now gradually add melted couverture chocolate. Beat the egg whites with the castor sugar until stiff, then place on top of the butter and chocolate mixture. Sift the flour over the mixture, then fold in the flour and beaten egg whites.
  • Transfer the mixture to the springform, smooth the top, and bake in the oven (middle rack) for 10–15 minutes, leaving the oven door a finger’s width ajar. Then close the oven and bake for approximately 50 minutes. (The cake is done when it yields slightly to the touch.)
  • Remove the cake from the oven and loosen the sides of the springform. Carefully tip the cake onto a cake rack lined with baking paper and let cool for approximately 20 minutes. Then pull off the baking paper, turn the cake over, and leave on rack to cool completely.
  • Cut the cake in half horizontally. Warm the jam and stir until smooth. Brush the top of both cake halves with the jam and place one on top of the other. Brush the sides with the jam as well.
  • To make the glaze, put the castor sugar into a saucepan with 125 ml water and boil over high heat for approximately 5 minutes. Take the sugar syrup off the stove and leave to cool a little. Coarsely chop the couverture, gradually adding it to the syrup, and stir until it forms a thick liquid (see tip below).


Let a little of the glaze run over a wooden cooking spoon. It should now be covered by a layer of glaze approximately 4 mm thick. If the glaze is too thick, add a few drops of sugar syrup to dilute it (to do so, loosen any remaining sugar in the saucepan with a little hot water). Make sure the glaze does not get too hot, or it will be dull when cooked and not glossy.


We know that this is a big baking challenge, but Sachertorte is worth every single ounce of love put in to it! Let us know how you made out with your torte by tagging us in your photos on social media @ssoyxe #SSOVienna

Happy baking!

Composers Series – Brahms

In 2016 the SSO reached out to artist Denyse Klette to pitch the idea of having her create an portrait of Mozart to help the SSO celebrate its Mozart Festival in 2017 – what was originally a simple one-off idea for promotional piece became a multi-year project that has been remarkably rewarding for both parties.

First came Mozart in 2017, then in 2018 an exceptional portrait of Joni Mitchell for our concert “Don’t Give Yourself Away – the Music of Joni Mitchell”. Then in 2019 we unveiled Denyse’s now iconic image of Beethoven that adorns the SSO’s windows at our offices on 51st street. It was sometime in 2019 that we realized this had to be a long term project together that would be added to each year.

And now for our Visit to Vienna concert, we’re thrilled to unveil Denyse’s Brahms.

Romantic. Passionate. Indulgent.
Johannes Brahms is a towering figure of the romantic era – passionately taking the structures and forms of the music before him and tearing it into a new romantic future. A lover of nature and long walks, the composer gained himself the nickname “the hedgehog” due to his almost nightly visits to the Viennese pub “The Red Hedgehog”.

Brahms’ music is at once full of colour and full of reverent restraint. It is completely caught up in heart-on-sleeve romance while finding the struggle between old forms and new sounds. He lived a life that was the stuff of legends, and his story is forever intertwined with Clara Schumann. The tenderness in their letters shows a man who loved with his whole heart.

An exceptional pianist, gifted with a sense of melody and harmony, Brahms’ music is evergreen and never loses its lusture.

Denyse Klette is one of Saskatchewan’s most celebrated artists; her work hangs in homes, galleries, and public spaces across the globe. Denyse is Canada’s only Disney Artist, and her work is full of colour and life that captures her joyous personality.



The Composers series are available in limited edition canvas prints. They’ll soon be available for purchase on our website.
To find out more, please email us at office@

The renaissance of Marianna Martines

They say that brilliant minds touch the lives of all that surround them. This was especially true for Vienna-born composer Marianna Martines (sometimes referred to as Marianne von Martinez). Marianna was born in 1744 into a family of career soldiers. Her father Nicolo, who had grown up in Naples, served in Vienna as major-domo to the papal nuncio (the Pope’s embassy to the Austrian Empire). 

Marianna’s brothers both led distinguished military careers and, for their service to the Empire, their entire family was awarded a patent of nobility in 1774 (back then, you couldn’t have “von” in your  family name without this handy slip of paper). But Marianna (with her musical gifts both as a performer and composer) was the rising star of the family, and with the help of a family friend she would one day become a sensation throughout all of Europe.

During Marianna’s childhood, The Martines family lived in a large building on the Michaelerplatz in Vienna. Described by historians as “a stately building still standing in the Kohlmarkt”, the complex was arranged by the social class of its occupants: upper class members of society held soirees in palatial rooms on the bottom floors, while the lower classes lived in the cramped interiors of the building’s uppermost reaches. As an upper-middle class family, the Martines clan were privileged enough to live on the third floor. 

The neighbors of Marianna Martines included the dowager princess of the wealthy Esterházy family (1st Floor), the well-known Italian singing teacher and composer Nicola Porpora (who lived a few floors above Marianna), and Joseph Haydn (then a struggling composer and freelance musician who lived in the building’s attic). The figure who helped unite all these neighbors into a network of musical support for Marianna’s development was her father’s childhood friend Pietro Trapassi. Writing under the famous pen name “Metastasio”, Pietro lived with the Martines family for the rest of his life after being appointed Poet Laureate to the Austrian Empire in 1730. 

As the tutor responsible for Marianna’s practical and musical education in childhood, Pietro ensured that the education Marianna received was of a quality far superior to that of the “standard” provided to women of her social class at that time. Through her rigorous study of languages with Pietro, for example, Marianna became an incredibly well-versed quadrilingual of French, English, Italian, and German. Pietro arranged for Marianna to take keyboard lessons from Haydn (that brilliant young man from the attic) and encouraged her to take singing lessons at the age of ten. 

So it was that Marianna continued her musical training under Nicola Porpora, with Haydn serving as both her accompanist and assistant to her new teacher. Demonstrating potential as a gifted composer, Marianna was encouraged by her tutor Pietro to take lessons in composition from Johann Adolph Hasse and the Imperial court composer Giuseppe Bonno. She brought Haydn with her to meet both Hasse and Bonno, and the attic musician’s career flourished as a result.

Martines was a virtuosic player, even as a child, and regularly performed before the Imperial court. Her biographer Helene Wessely depicts the young Martines as having “attracted attention with her beautiful voice and [superb] keyboard playing”. Wessely also asserts that her compositions, particularly for voice, possess a “predilection for coloratura passages, leaps over wide intervals and trills indicat[ing] that she herself must have been an excellent singer.” As a rock star on the harpsichord, she developed such a reputation into adulthood that she was frequently requested to perform before the Empress Maria Theresa.

Despite being one of the most eligible bachelorettes in the Classical Viennese music scene, Marianna Martines never married. She never sought an appointed position at court either. There were barriers to women (as well as individuals of her social class) when it came to pursuing compositional employment that her friend Haydn simply did not have to contend with. Together with her sister (who also remained a lifelong bachelorette) she cared for her mentor Pietro until his death in 1782. That very year, Marianna’s Italian oratorio “Isacco figura del redentore” was premiered in a renowned concert series put on by the Tonkünstler-Societät. The librettist for this oratorio is credited to Pietro’s pen name of Metastasio.

The poet left his estate to the Martines family, and to his student Marianna he bequeathed 20,000 florins, his harpsichord, and his entire music library. Marianna used this money to fill the Martines home with her former tutor’s favorite music, hosting musical soirees with her sister that attracted distinguished guests (such as the Irish tenor Michael Kelly and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart himself!). The latter was a frequent guest to these musical get-togethers and composed four-hand piano sonatas to perform with Marianne. Never too proud to forget his roots, Haydn would often pop in for a bit of harpsichord-tickling and merriment-making.

As a composer, Martines penned four masses, six motets, and three litanies for choir. She composed several works for solo voice and wrote several secular cantatas (as well as two oratorios) to Italian texts. In the definitive fashion of the early Classical period, particularly in Vienna, she composed in the Italian style. Her harpsichord playing was compared stylistically to that of C.P.E. Bach, and her compositions were so well-regarded that some scholars suggest Mozart modeled his 1768 Mass after the “Christe” of her Mass No. 1 in D major. 

As she rightly deserved, Martines’ name and music were lauded throughout Europe, but after her death in 1812 her musical legacy faced an incredible amount of erasure. It is only in recent years that her music has, rightly, been unearthed to the delight of the musical world. It is primarily thanks to the efforts made by publishers such as “Furore-Verlag” (a German publisher that specializes in works by female composers) that we can enjoy so many of her compositions today. The SSO is honored to bring her Sinfonia in C major to life at our upcoming “Visit to Vienna” concert.

Pretzels for Oktoberfest!

Well it isn’t Oktoberfest without a Bavarian pretzel – the tasty golden brown salty treat is iconic. If you’re like us, you’re too intimidated to make them from scratch…but thanks to a friend of the SSO we found out it’s easier than we thought.

Educator, author, and illustrator Peter Cowan helped us build our kids show Little Ludwig (released in just a few weeks!), and now he’s helping us learn how to make delicious Bavarian pretzels. We’re grateful that he let us invade his home to learn how to make amazing pretzels!



  • 3/4 cup milk, lukewarm
  • 1/2 cup water, lukewarm
  • 1 1/2 tsp brown sugar or malt extract
  • 2 1/2 tsp instant or active dry yeast
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp table salt


  • 4 cups water
  • 3 Tbsp baking soda


  • 2 Tbsp coarse salt (we used Maldon salt as we find it works the best)


1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment combine lukewarm milk, water, and brown sugar. Stir together with a fork then sprinkle instant (or active dry) yeast on top. Give it a swirl with the fork and let sit for about 5 minutes until foamy.

2. In the meantime melt the butter over low heat, then let cool for a few minutes.

3. Add flour, melted butter, and salt to the bowl with the yeast and knead for 5 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. Cover bowl with plastic wrap put it in a warm place and let the dough rise until doubled (about 1 hour).

4. Punch down the dough and divide it into 8 equally sized pieces. Roll each piece into a 16-inch (40cm) long rope, the middle part (about 2 inches or 5 cm) should be bulged to a diameter of about 1.2 inches and the ends should be thinned out to about 0.3 inches (0.75 cm).

5. Bring the ends together so the dough forms a circle. Twist the ends together twice then fold them down onto the bottom curve. Press ends into the dough and shape into a perfect pretzel shape.

6. Let the pretzels rise uncovered for 30 minutes in a warm place.

7. In the meantime preheat the oven to 390°F (200°C) with a baking sheet inside in the lower third.

8. Once the pretzels have risen, put them next to an opened window so the surface dries out and the pretzels develop a skin. This step is important for the texture.

9. Bring 4 cups water in a medium pot to a boil then add the baking soda. With a slotted spoon dip the pretzels one at a time carefully into the simmering water.

10. Take them out after about 5 seconds and place on a sheet of parchment paper.

11. Sprinkle with a little bit of salt and cut the dough with a sharp knife about 0.2 inches deep in the thick middle part at the top-back.

12. Transfer the parchment paper with the pretzels onto the hot baking sheet in the oven and bake for 18-20 minutes until nicely browned. You want them to be really brown and not golden.

13. Remove pretzels from the oven and let cool on a wire rack. If you want them to be shiny brush them with a little bit of melted butter.


Make sure you plan for some mustard or cheese dip to go with them – click for dip ideas

Give it a try – its not too hard!
Making these soft pretzels and enjoying a beer is the ultimate way to enjoy the SSO’s Night at Oktoberfest



What’s with all the clapping for Radetzky

The year was 1848. Revolution shook Europe with wave after wave of civil unrest. Territories then occupied by the Austrian Empire (and today a part of Italy) decided to make a push for independence. The Imperial-Royal Army (led by Field Marshal Joseph Radetzky von Radetz) was having none of that guff and was dispatched to quell the uprising.

Gathering near Verona on the 24th of July, Field Marshal Radetzky’s troops defeated the army of the Kingdom of Sardinia in the Battle of Custoza. The Italians, fearing more bloodshed, had no choice but to agree to a truce with the Austrian Empire. It is against this imperialistic backdrop that Johann Strauss Sr. drummed up his Opus 228: a march commissioned to honor the 81-year-old Radetzky and the Imperial-Royal Army while benefiting wounded war veterans at their victory celebration in Vienna.

The city hosted this bombastic gathering on the 31st of August, 1848, and Field Marhsal Radetsky arrived in full military dress to greet the throngs of people who had come to celebrate his decisive victory. His personal courage on the field of battle, especially at such an advanced age, had cemented his reputation among the men he commanded. When someone in their 80’s risks being stuck on the end of a bayonet after refusing to succumb to Mediterranean heatstroke, you throw them a party just because.

Johann Strauss Sr

A massive success, the gathering was highlighted by the premier and command repeat performance of Strauss’ Radetzky March. The soldiers present loved Strauss’ composition so much that they began wildly clapping during its first performance to show their approval.

This is a tradition that has been passed down to every audience since then, particularly when the piece is played at the Neujahrskonzert held in Vienna every New Years Day. During performances of the Radetzky March, it is traditional for the audience to clap along with the beat of the second (louder) repetitions of the chorus.

The popularity of the March’s musical structure is owed to two important decisions made by its composer. First, Strauss recycled the theme of his Jubel-Quadrille (Op. 130) for the March. It was a risky move, but ultimately one that paid off. The rousing theme simply functions better in the context of a march, in addition to the fact that most people nowadays forget what a “Jubel-Quadrille” is (or how to spell it).

The second decision Strauss made to guarantee the widespread appeal of his Radetzky March was to copy aspects of the music of Franz Joseph Haydn. The rhythmic upbeat of the Radetzky March is eerily similar to the second theme from the “Allegro” in Haydn’s Symphony No. 100, a piece of music composed nearly 100 years earlier. It goes without saying that if you can copy Haydn and get away with it, you are probably doing something right as a composer (they don’t call him “Papa” Haydn for nothing!).

A memorable passage of Strauss’Radetzky March is its Trio, the inspiration for which the composer derived from an old folk melody with two known titles: “Alter Tanz aus Wien” (Old Dance of Vienna) and “Tinerl-Lied” (Tinerl-Song). In the time of Richard Strauss Sr., a “tinerl” was the name given to any contemporary Viennese song originally composed in 3/4 time. It is said that the soldiers of Field Marshal Radetzky were singing this popular tune as they marched back to Vienna after winning the battle of Custoza, making its partial recapitulation during their victory celebration even more personalized.

How the elder Strauss was able to observe them singing this melody while miles away in Vienna is unknown, but he somehow cottoned on to its importance to the soldiers in Radetzky’s regiment and converted their song into 2/4 time for inclusion in his March. The piece is still lauded today as being one of the finest pieces of music ever penned by Strauss Sr., and it continues to get the hands clapping and the feet stomping to this very day. After all, who doesn’t like to feel like they’re part of a winning team?

You can hear the Radetzky March as part of our Night at Oktoberfest!

Piaf and La Vie en Rose

Imagine falling in love in Paris: a delicate series of scenes painted in soft pastels, where romance shines through every innocent moment of discovery in that bright and historic city. Do you hear the music? It is very likely that the melodies your mind instinctively conjures are a melodic throwback to a classic staple of French songwriting: “La Vie en rose”. The lyrics to this lush piece of Parisian music were penned by French singer-songwriter, cabaret performer, and film actress Edith Piaf.

Immortalized as France’s national chanteuse, Edith Piaf’s remarkable vocal stylings gave birth to a career peppered with high points, and the immediate commercial success of La Vie en rose was certainly one of them. It was the song that made Piaf internationally famous, with its lyrics expressing the joy of finding true love and appealing to those who had survived the difficult period of World War II.

Popularized in 1946, it was released as a single in 1947 to widespread acclaim, with seven versions of the song topping the Billboard charts in the United States alone. The song was popularly covered by Dean Martin, Louis Armstrong, Donna Summer, and Latin singer Thalia. Even Bing Crosby hopped on the musical appreciation train bound for France when he recorded his 1953 album “Le Bing: Song Hits of Paris”.

As is the case with most secret sauces, the harmony between distinct flavors (musical or otherwise) makes all the difference. Similarly, the success of La Vie en rose is owed not only to Piaf’s sparkling lyricism, but also to the subtlety of composer Louis Guglielmi’s musical design. His orchestration deepens our immersion into the musical imagery that makes Piaf’s performance so captivating. Known by his nom de plume “Louiguy”, Guglielmi was no stranger to delightful combinations (himself being a Spanish-born French musician of Italian descent).

Having studied at the Conservatoire de Paris alongside the likes of Maurice Baquet, Henri Dutilleux, and Paul Bonneau, Guglielmi was also responsible for penning the 1950 Latin Jazz hit “Cerisier rose et pommier blanc” (a popular song which would eventually be reconfigured as a mambo smash-hit for Perez Prado). Guglielmi created nearly three dozen film scores during his life, but the musical partnership he showcases with Piaf on “La Vie en rose” is a timeless sort of beauty that sets itself apart. Like Paris itself, this renowned ballad is in a class of its own.

The SSO is living La Vie en Rose and performing it as part of our Postcards from Paris

Chevalier and the Balloons

Audiences today don’t know enough Joseph Bolonge, the Chevalier de Saint-Georges, and we need to change that because he was an important figure in music history who’s music is making a major comeback.

Chevalier de Saint-Georges was a champion fencer, classical composer, virtuoso violinist, and conductor of the leading symphony orchestra in Paris. Born in the French colony of Guadeloupe, he was the son of George Bologne de Saint-Georges, a wealthy married planter, and Anne dite Nanon, his wife’s African slave.

His father took him to France when he was young, and he was educated there, also becoming a champion fencer. During the French Revolution, the younger Saint-Georges served as a colonel of the Légion St.-Georges, the first all-black regiment in Europe. He fought on the side of the Republic. Today the Chevalier de Saint-Georges is best remembered as the first known classical composer who was of African ancestry; he composed numerous string quartets and other instrumental music, and opera.

The Chevalier played a key role in the aristocratic life of Paris in late 1700s, with close ties to the Palace of Versailles. The Chevalier often found himself the guest at the private musicales salons of Marie Antoinette at Versailles…with Chevalier playing his violin sonatas, with the Queen accompanying on the forte-piano.

Etching of the September 19th air balloon flight at Versailles

In the fall of 1783, the Montgolfier brothers made a major step in human history – and it all happened in front of the court of Louis XVI at Versailles. The first ‘aerostatic’ flight in history was an experiment carried out by the Montgolfier brothers; at long last, man could leave the surface of the earth below.

On the day, crowds filled the gardens to watch the magical lift off. The balloon took off on a warm September 19th afternoon, with animals instead of humans as its first passengers – and it was a total success. Just two months later the first balloon flight with humans was also success. After that, there was no looking back. It was the first time that humans had been able to take to the skies, and proved that Da Vinci had been right…there would be a way to fly!

Hot air ballooning took off in France, and before long passenger balloon rides were filling the skies above Paris.

Chevalier de Saint-Georges’ music was the toast of Paris and Versailles. During the 1780s, Saint-Georges’ star continued to get brighter and brighter. His output during this time was swift – operas, concertos, sonatas – but he also shaped the music that Paris was hearing. We have Saint-Georges’ to thank for the commissioning of Haydn’s Paris Symphonies, which the Chevalier conducted upon their premieres.

Paris was a place filled with innovation, fascination, ambition, and pre-revolution tensions. Historians know that the Chevalier de Saint-Georges was at the Versailles court in September of 1873, but it remains unknown if he was there on the day that the Montgolfier brothers made everyone dream about flying!

Digital Concert Stream

A completely new way to experience the music. We are incredibly excited to launch our Digital Concert Stream.

What does this mean? It means your orchestra wherever you are. 

Log In to Digital Concert Stream

Live Stream Digital Ticket

Each concert will be live streamed from St John’s Cathedral in downtown Saskatoon. For a $15 Digital Ticket you and your household can watch the concert as it happens from the comfort of your own home, or wherever you have internet access.

This could be you, enjoying the SSO from home!
You can watch all SSO concerts from home

When you purchase your Digital Ticket from the SSO you will receive an email with a direct link that gives you access to the streamed concert. Not able to make it for the start of the concert? The live stream video will convert to a recorded file and it will be available for 24 hours.

A Digital Ticket is $15 and gives you access to one concert for 24 hours.

Click Here to Buy Digital Tickets

Plan on watching 6 or more concerts? Wish you could watch them whenever you want and as many times as you want? A Digital Concert Stream Subscription is for you! 

Digital Concert Stream Subscription

Log In to Digital Concert Stream

For only $95  you can have access to all SSO live streamed concerts for the year. You will also have full access to SSO video on demand. This means you can watch all our concert and bonus content wherever you want, whenever you want, and as many times as you want.

Love our opening night concert and want to see it again? You could watch it every day and its all covered by your $95 subscription!

Have major FOMO because you missed one of the live streams? Have no fear! You can catch all our incredible concerts at a later date and it still only costs you $95.

No FOMO for these lake goers. They have a subscription to the SSO Digital Concert Stream.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Purchase your Digital Concert Stream subscription by clicking here (you can checkout as a guest)
    Purchase your Digital Concert Stream Subscription
  2. You’ll get a confirmation email for your purchase
  3. We will set you up with a unique login based on your email.
  4. Once the Digital Concert Stream is set up you’ll be able to login to watch videos.
  5. Ahead of a live stream, you’ll receive an email with links to watch through the Digital Concert Stream or through a private YouTube link.
  6. Live streamed performances are available for 24 hours – 7 days after all live streamed concerts you’ll be able to watch the concert film of that concert on demand by logging in to the Digital Concert Stream. (there’ll be lots of bonus features and behind the scenes content to enjoy in the concert films!)
  7. Enjoy unprecedented access to the SSO for a year!

You not only get a fantastic discount for all the live streamed concerts by getting the Digital Concert Stream Subscription, but you also get the benefits of video on demand all while supporting your orchestra. How can you go wrong?

Here’s the full live stream lineup:



See if you can spot our new billboards around Saskatoon! Let us know where you will be watching from by tagging us on social media –  @SSOyxe.

SSO in the Classroom

The SSO has a long history of engaging in music education, both through our programs and through the reach of the incredible musicians who play in the orchestra.

With school music programs facing a time of unique challenges, we’re wanting to step up and find ways that your orchestra can be a resource during this time.

To adjust to the pandemic, the SSO is creating a wealth of online resources that are designed at growing literacy and awareness in music. As such we currently offer Meet the Musicians interview videos, the information from our online Beethoven Festival celebrating the composer’s 250th anniversary year, an online class From Bach to Bartok taught by Music Director Eric Paetkau, and more.

This fall we’re launching a number of exciting educational initiatives that could be used as classroom resources.

Watch SSO Concerts Anytime!
We’re launching our Digital Concert Stream which will house each and every one of our performances in the season as concert films streamed on demand. The SSO’s new Digital Concert Stream allows for classrooms to watch performances at anytime. The concert films feature behind the scenes footage, interviews with musicians, and much more. Supplemental material is available for most performances, including a video discussion of the program with each conductor.

As well we have past performances available upon request, including Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and Piazzolla’s Four Seasons of Buenos Aires.

Online Classes
After the success of our first online class in spring 2019 (From Bach to Bartok with Eric Paetkau, available on request), we are launching a series of online classes taking place throughout the year. In the fall we have Saskatoon composer Kendra Harder hosting Musical Herstory: a history of composers who happened to be women, in November Eric Paetkau presents Isn’t It Romantic: the big romantic hits, and in January of 2021 we launch It Ain’t Over: An Operatic Crash Course in partnership with Saskatoon Opera.
Class videos are available to watch at any time and can progress at any speed. Engagement with course hosts is available upon request.

Kids Show
2020 marks Beethoven’s 250th birthday, and we’re thrilled to present the film of our kids show Little Ludwig. This concert was created as part of our SaskTel Symphony in Schools tour – each year more than 10,000 students get to hear the SSO life thanks to the support of SaskTel.
The 30 minute film follows the life, talents, and challenges of Ludwig van Beethoven from childhood through his musical successes, his loss of hearing, and his lasting legacy. The video is available to watch on demand, and features the musicians of the SSO’s Chamber Ensemble and Maestro Eric Paetkau narrating. The show was the concept of SSO Principal Bassoon Stephanie Unverricht, and features artwork by Saskatoon educator Peter Cowan.

An educational package is available to compliment the performance.

Another children’s show will be launched online in Spring 2021.

Educational videos
A series of videos coming out in fall of 2020 that explore all sorts of musical ideas. Find out how a piano works, 12 things you never wanted to know about the oboe, the rhythms that fiddlers rely on, and how to write your first rap.

Our goal is to create an ever growing set of videos that help everyone explore music making from its most simple concepts to its most challenging excerpts.

Meet the Musicians in Your Neighbourhood
In spring 2020, Eric Paetkau hosted online interviews with a number of SSO and Saskatoon musicians. These are all available to watch in our online archive (available upon request), and we’ll be launching a new series of Meet the Musicians in Your Neighbourhood that also allows schools to book specific musicians to have for online interviews with classrooms.

And More…
We have a ton of ideas of educational programming we are considering, and we’re open to ideas! Maybe students would like to hear about how members of the orchestra balance careers in both music and other professions? Or get a chance to talk to a professional artist who grew up right here on the prairies who’s gone on to perform around the world? Maybe your students would benefit from hearing about the business of music?  We’d love to find ways to help connect students to ideas.

If you’d like to get more information about the resources we’re making available, please fill out our form:

Music Education Programming




Reimagine the Possibilities – 90th Season Replanned

The SSO is spending this year Reimagining the Possibilities as we adjust our celebratory 90th season to embrace the change.

We have been working closely with Saskatchewan Public Health and have prepared for a newly planned season ahead. We’ll have a smaller orchestra size to accommodate the social distancing safety protocols, a limited capacity for in-person audience, and we’re launching a Digital Concert Stream where our concerts will be available live and on demand.

Safety has been our primary concern, so there are lots of changes ahead to ensure the safety of our musicians and audience. See FAQ below.

Things aren’t going to be “concerts-as-usual” and pulling this all together has been incredibly challenging, but also incredibly exciting – the SSO has a mandate to make music for as many people as we can, and this re-imagined season allows us to present concerts that we can’t wait to share with you.

Since none of us are going on exotic vacations this year, the SSO is bringing you a year of musical adventure.

Stroll the streets of Paris, drink beer at Oktoberfest, tango in Buenos Aires,

spend a night at the Carnival of Venice – its going to be different but

completely memorable!

We’re not announcing our plans for the whole year but rather one or two musical trips at a time, and each concert will have all sorts of online adventures to enjoy (think cooking lessons from an Italian chef, or a wine tasting class!).

We know everyone will have a lot of questions and over the next few weeks we’ll be giving out as much information as possible to make sure everyone feels safe and ready for some musical adventure. From reimagined concerts, new fundraising initiatives, and much more, we’ve got a busy few weeks ahead. Thank you so much for supporting us all through this incredibly unique celebration of 90 years of SSO.

The SSO has made a name for itself as an organization that thinks outside the box, so right from day one we’ve been exploring how we can safely make music again. It’s going to be a challenging year, but one filled with unique opportunities and a chance to make special memories. To reimagine is to re-create – let’s go where the music takes us!
-Mark Turner, Executive Director



Are you cancelling your season?

No! While we aren’t able to have the season as planned we are being creative and reimagining what our 90th season looks like.

To ensure the safety of everyone involved, for now our reimagined concerts will be 60 minutes without an intermission.

What do you mean by reimagining the season?

We’re embracing the change.
We are finding new ways to bring as many people our concerts while following, and going above and beyond, the current safety guidelines. We have put together a series of concerts that explores incredible music with a smaller cohort of musicians for an in person and online audience.
Our new season plan allows us to have flexibility as the guidelines are updated and we are excited to bring you music we aren’t usually able to perform!

Will I be able to attend concerts in person?

Yes, and no.

Because we are limited to a 150 audience size we’re exploring the potential of repeat performances to accommodate as many as possible.
These in person tickets will be made available to subscribers first.

There may be a limited number of tickets available for purchase but that will vary by concert.

How can I watch the Saskatoon Symphony if you are limiting the in person audience?

We are going digital! Our concerts can now be viewed from wherever you are. There will be a live stream of the concert on the day of and then an option to see the concert whenever and as many times you like with video/symphony on demand available through the SSO Stream.

When will the concerts be?
You can find the full calendar of events by clicking here


Where will the concerts take place?

We’ll be hosting our concerts at St John’s Cathedral on Spadina until such time we can return to larger gatherings.  One of Saskatoon’s most iconic buildings, St John’s sits atop the banks of the South Saskatchewan, and has ample space for us to space a slightly smaller orchestra – we’re grateful they’ve welcomed us in to their home!



We are going to try something completely different this year – you’ll know the dates well in advance of a concert, but to allow us to create a truly unique travel adventure, you won’t find out where the musical trip is going until about a month ahead of time.

This allows us to grow or shrink in response to the current safety guidelines, and ensure that we’re always adapting and adjusting to keep everyone safe.

We’re going on a musical staycation. While we aren’t able to have any getaways any time soon, we hope you enjoy our exploration of sounds around the globe right here from Saskatoon.


How do you plan on addressing the pandemic risks?

We’ve been working very closely with Saskatchewan Public Health and research taking place in our industry. The good news is that orchestras around the globe have been slowly and safely reopening, and we get to use what they’ve learned to build our concerts.

To ensure the musicians are safe we’re putting in brand new protocols, including:

  • a minimum 2M distance between each player, and larger distances for some instruments
  • masks will be worn, excluding when a wind or brass player is using their instrument
  • UV  and 0.3 micron filtration systems placed throughout the orchestra
  • careful and thorough cleaning procedures before, during, and after performances

This means that concerts will feature a chamber orchestra, 15-30 players. The repertoire includes everything from Bach to Tchaikovsky to Debussy and new music!

For the Audience – the precautions that we’ll use include:

  • self-assessment questions ahead of attending an event
  • we ask everyone to wear masks
  • enter through one side of the hall, exit out the other
  • seated socially distant so that everyone is 2M apart from others “outside their bubble”
  • hand sanitation stations throughout the space
  • no intermission – 60 minute concerts – so please plan for no public bathroom use unless its an emergency
  • no food or beverage sales at the venue

Anyone who has in person tickets for a performance will receive an email early in the week ahead of the concert to ensure they are fully informed on the safety requirements we’ll have for our audience.


Over the last few months, the staff at the SSO have been heavily involved in the international dialogue about the safe practice of music. We’ll be releasing our full protocols later in August so that everyone has a chance to see the level of detail and effort being made to ensure a safe reopening to rehearsals and concerts.


We’re thrilled to be launching a Digital Concert Stream.  With this you’ll be able to watch our concerts live online and enjoy them again with Video On Demand. The concerts are all being filmed in 4K resolution, and we’ve been lucky to work with some of the best, most creative technicians to bring this Digital Concert Stream to life.

Our Digital Concert Stream will allow anyone with internet to watch the SSO through our own website. You can pay-per-view or buy a subscription for the year for just $95. We’re going to be able to reach more people than ever before, and connect to music lovers across our province and beyond!


More news about the Digital Concert Stream will be released in August.


We have heard from so many of our patrons that they want to help bring some celebration to this unusual 90th anniversary.

This fall we’ll be launching a new fundraising campaign that will help the SSO face the challenge and continue showcasing the important role music plays in all our lives.
We’ll announce the new fundraising campaign in early September 2020.


We’ll be in touch with all subscribers over the next few weeks – that’s going to be over 400 calls and emails, so we really appreciate your patience.

All subscriber TCU Place seats will be held – if you’re already a subscriber, we’ll keep your seats so that when we return to having a full audience, you’ll still have your seats.


I have already subscribed to the SSO, what happens now?

Thank you so much for supporting the SSO! You will have first right of refusal to in person tickets and full access to our SSO Stream. We will be in touch to discuss the details.


I was waiting to renew my subscription, what happens now?

If you were a subscriber for our 89th season and have not yet renewed we will be in touch regarding the updated subscription plan. We hope you will continue to support your orchestra and join us on this incredible journey.


I would like to subscribe, what do I do now?

Send us an email ( with your preferred method of contact and we will be in touch!




The staff of the SSO are all still working from home, so re-planning, rebuilding, and reconstructing our season and subscriptions has been no small undertaking – we appreciate everyone’s support and patience! We have the best supporters in the world and we’re so grateful to be able to keep the music coming for you this year.