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The AFM has a proud history of managing change rather than being victimized by it. We find strength in adversity, and when the going gets tough, we get creative - all on your behalf.

Like the industry, the AFM is also changing and evolving, and its policies and programs will move in new directions dictated by its members. As a member, you will determine these directions through your interest and involvement. Your membership card will be your key to participation in governing your union, keeping it responsive to your needs and enabling it to serve you better. To become a member now, visit


Home » Recent News » Canadian Orchestras Celebrate Our Country’s 150th Anniversary

Canadian Orchestras Celebrate Our Country’s 150th Anniversary


by Robert Fraser, OCSM President and Member of Local 247 (Victoria, BC)

2017 marks Canada’s sesquicentennial (there’s a good word for you logophiles and Scrabble players). Orchestras across the country will be celebrating our rich musical heritage. Perhaps the largest-scale project is the Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s Canada Mosaic. Funded by the Department of Canadian Heritage, it is described on their website: “A pan-Canadian Signature Initiative of Canada 150, includes the creation of new works by Canadian composers, a celebration of Canadian legacy works and artists, digital resources for all ages, and orchestral collaborations across the country.”

Although the project is managed from Toronto, it involves more than 40 different Canadian orchestras in projects ranging from commissions (both large- and small-scale, including more than 38 short fanfares for the 150 celebrations, dubbed “sesquies”) to tributes to great Canadian artists of the past. There will also be a large educational component to the project, involving a number of web-based resources such as streams and listening guides. You can learn all about the project at

As of press time, two of our orchestras will be hitting the world stage in 2017: the Toronto Symphony Orchestra is planning a tour in both Europe and Israel, which will include concerts in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Prague, Vienna, Regensburg, and Essen. For the first time in its 36-year history, the Montreal-based Orchestre Métropolitain will tour six cities in Europe—Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Dortmund, Cologne, Hamburg, and Paris—under music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin.

Speaking of Montreal, that city celebrates its 375th anniversary in 2017, and will host the fourth International Orchestra Conference of the International Federation of Musicians (FIM) 11-14 May. There will be a dedicated article about this in an upcoming issue of the International Musician, but you’ll want to save these dates now. This will be an opportunity for AFM members to meet and learn from musicians from all over the world. So if you’re an orchestral musician, see if you can free your schedule to attend this event.

Finally, Organization of Canadian Symphony Musicians (OCSM) will be holding its annual conference in the national capital region, on the Quebec side of the Ottawa River, at the Four Points Sheraton Hotel in Gatineau, 14-18 August. As always, all musicians from our member orchestras are welcome to attend, so save these dates now.

If you are interested in following the orchestral scene in Canada, OCSM compiles a news digest every two weeks or so, that can be accessed through our website/social media pages ( This digest not only includes news items from Canadian orchestras, it includes links to press items from around the musical world that are of interest to all orchestral musicians.