In 1989 CJRT-FM discontinued the orchestra's subscription series, limiting its performances to radio broadcasts. Subscription concerts were taken over by the Toronto Philharmonic Orchestra, which in 1990 had essentially the same players as the CJRT orchestra and was conducted by Robinson, but which was overseen by a new board of directors.

Comprised of up to 65 players, the TPO sought to present repertoire that complemented that of the Toronto Symphony (TS), and gave from five to six concerts each season. Among the guest artists appearing with the TPO were Jorma Hynninen, Ivry Gitlis, Gundula Janowitz, Paul Badura-Skoda, Moshe Hammer, Ofra Harnoy, Anton Kuerti, and Igor and Valery Oistrakh. Adele Armin was concertmaster in 1990.

The TPO performed regularly in Massey Hall until 1991, when it moved its main series to the Danforth Music Hall. The Toronto Philharmonic Chorus was formed in 1990 under Giles Bryant to perform Verdi's Requiem with the orchestra. An associate ensemble, the Toronto Chamber Orchestra, was operated by the Toronto Philharmonic Society and had by 1991 recorded three albums with Ofra Harnoy.

Opening Season Photographs & Reviews

(Peter Mose, Toronto Star)

“Wow. What a complicated, yet significant musical event that was Sunday night at Massey Hall, as the newly christened Toronto Philharmonic Orchestra made its debut….Why a significant event? The nostalgic value of Massey Hall, for starters. It’s an ugly, uncomfortable old barn, yes. But the important thing is that it has simply splendid, lively orchestra acoustics, unlike Roy Thomson Hall. And yet Massey was basically not being used for serious classical music anymore. Until now…Sunday night marked probably the first time in my four years of listening to orchestras in this city that I’ve felt their sound texture actually bracing on my skin, and vibrating in my solar plexus. What a joy. I moved up to Massey’s high upper gallery after intermission to compare, and the sound seemed even better than down front. Wow again!”


Walter Edward Hart Massey II and friend with Mrs. Paul Robinson (Marita Ensio) (left to right) Board member Michael Lipton, Q.C., TPO president Dr. William C.F. Forder, board member Gary Stein, pianist Derek Bampton, cellist Ofra Harnoy, Walter Edward Hart Massey II, and friend.
TPO president Dr. William C.F. Forder presents sponsor Paul Oulahen with a framed, signed copy of  the inaugural concert poster. Maestro Paul Robinson with board member Gary Stein and “Records in Review” partner Bruce Surtees of Shakespeare Beethoven & Co. 

Inaugural season brochure and various event photographs

Toronto Philharmonic Orchestra flyers from the 1990 season in Massey Hall

The Eaton Center Concerts

In the summer and winter of 1990, the Toronto Philharmonic Orchestra offered free concerts at the Eaton Centre, the Canadian National Exhibition and the Art Gallery of Ontario, amongst other venues. For many passersby this initiative, unusual for this art form, was their first exposure to classical music live.

“This is the first time I’ve ever seen an orchestra. I’ve only ever heard one on the radio. It’s great!” (Mark Glasser)

 “Fantastic! I love being able to stand right up next to the musicians as they play, and talk to them at the intermissions.” (Sarah Dority)

“It’s so wonderful to have good music right here in the mall.” (Joan Hall)