Mandle Phil Becomes First Orchestra In Ontario To Resume Live Operations During COVID-19
TORONTO-BASED ORCHESTRA RESUMES SOCIALLY-DISTANCED IN-PERSON REHEARSALS PROVIDING MUCH-NEEDED OPPORTUNITY FOR MUSICIANS AND HOPE FOR FUTURE LIVE AUDIENCES
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TORONTO, SEPT 25, 2020 — Mandle Philharmonic, Toronto's newest orchestra featuring world-class musicians, today announced that it has officially resumed rehearsals for the first time since the advent of the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. The orchestra, who first performed in 2018, is in full compliance with “ShowLoveTO”, Toronto's incentive to enjoy all the city has to offer post-lockdown, while still following COVID-19 safety protocols in order to continue to help reduce virus spread. The orchestra is in rehearsal in hopes of welcoming a live audience back by the end of the year with appropriate health measures.
Though a mouthful, “Pestilential music” is a lesser-known musical genre that grew out of the rampant plagues of the Middle Ages and Renaissance - madrigals and other musical compositions were written and performed in response to these scourges. During yet another plague, 16th century Italian physician, Niccolo Massa, prescribed music as a prophylactic to prevent illness. Music has been scientifically proven to provide both comfort and catharsis in the human body- this is just as true for musicians as those listening to them. Viral ‘balcony concert’ videos from lockdown were meant to ease anxiety and calm and even the Philadelphia Orchestra began piping its performances into hospitals. For professional symphonic musicians, who have had their livelihood upended by the pandemic, both listening and feeling the music is as necessary as the actual playing. Mandle Orchestra is providing a way to support these musicians while looking to bring live musical performance back to the Toronto community as soon as possible.
Forty orchestra members gathered this past week, onstage and in person, for the first time in 6 months while taking all necessary precautions and following local health regulations. The live music industry has been devastated during the Pandemic and many are in flux with postponed concerts and even seasons mounting by the day. Canada’s newest orchestra is bucking the trend by putting safety at the fore while giving lifelong musicians the opportunity to both work and offer the public healing in a time when the world needs it most.
"Mandle Phil has been challenging music industry norms since our inception.” said Mandle Cheung, Founder and Conductor of Mandle Philharmonic. “We continue to lead the way, by being the only orchestra in Ontario to resume live operations and provide opportunities for promising musicians whose lives and careers have been brought to a standstill by this pandemic"
Cheung is the successful tech entrepreneur behind Mandle Philharmonic. After founding an IT company, he ultimately decided to pursue his love of classical music later in life by founding the orchestra and funding it himself. His original intention has been to popularize classical music and make it accessible to a wider audience. In order to encourage concert goers to attend and bring their families, ticket prices are lower than those of other orchestras, being capped at $17 - cheaper than a movie. With no formal training, Cheung has learned to conduct and has managed to assemble an orchestra of top-tier professional musicians. With few opportunities to play live during these trying times, the orchestra is a lifeline to some of Canada’s most esteemed musicians.
"My involvement with the Mandle Phil has come about through my enthusiasm for the project and my belief in its huge value to the community.” said David Kent, the Orchestra Personnel Manager of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, who is helping to coordinate the live rehearsals. “The experience of finally seeing the re-emergence of live Orchestra music in Toronto is very moving for all of us and we will continue to do our best to fight for the survival of live music."
The musicians wore masks and were socially distanced onstage. The wind instruments were in their own plexiglass enclosure separated from the rest of the orchestra to decrease aerosolization risk. The orchestra will continue rehearsing in this manner once a week, and are hoping to perform for a live audience at the end of the year. Mandle Philharmonic is thankful to Koerner Hall for working with them to make the rehearsals happen.
In comparison to the rest of the world, Toronto has managed to flatten the Coronavirus COVID-19 curve with cases well below their peak and residents adjusting to resuming daily life in the midst of the pandemic. Despite the encouraging numbers, with Toronto having the strictest COVID-19 regulations in Canada, there is a lot of frustration in the music community [ particularly for orchestra musicians, longing to be a part of an ensemble again. Mandle Philharmonic is striving to provide a space for these musicians - a connection, face to face contact, and future musical performances aimed at bringing together and healing the community from the outside in.
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