CJRT Orchestra. Concert and broadcasting ensemble formed in Toronto in 1975 by Paul Robinson for the independent non-commercial educational radio station CJRT-FM (which receives 70 per cent of its funding from the Ontario government and 30 per cent from private donors). Until 1989 the orchestra presented an annual subscription series of from six to nine concerts in the Ryerson Theatre, except 1982-4, when the orchestra played in Massey Hall. A program usually was planned around a theme ('Music of Beethoven,' 'Bach and His Sons,' etc), often contained chamber works as well as orchestral ones, and was preceded by a talk by Robinson. The concerts were recorded for later broadcast. On the day of a concert, however, CJRT broadcast commercial recordings of music illustrating the same program theme. The orchestra, consisting of members of the TS and leading freelance players, has varied in size from 25 to 65. It has premiered Buczynski's Lyric for Piano and Orchestra (1977) and Schafer's Hymn to Night (1978), and has given the Canadian premiere of Britten's Suite on English Folk Tunes (1979). The orchestra also has presented such rarely heard works as Schumann's Violin Concerto (1975), Weber's opera Abu Hassan (concert performance 1976), Arriaga's Symphony in D (1976), and Gounod's Symphony No. 2 (1977). In the fall of 1980 it mounted a festival of the symphonies and concertos of Beethoven. The 1985-6 season consisted of four all-Mozart concerts. Other compositions the orchestra has premiered include six works for combined jazz and classical orchestras by Applebaum, Rick Wilkins, Ian McDougall, Freedman, and Victor Davies (1984), Morawetz' Clarinet Concerto, An-lun Huang's Symphonic Overture: Tien An Men (1989), David Morgan's Sonata for Chamber Orchestra (1989), James Fusco's Music for An Immortal Beloved (1990), and Walter Buczynski's Lyric VII with Steven Dann as soloist (1991). It also gave the Canadian premiere of Sibelius' Kullervo Symphony (1986). It has performed the complete symphony cycles of Schubert, and has presented annually a 'Canadian Composer Retrospectives' in cooperation with York University, giving concerts devoted to the work of a single composer, including Somers, Morawetz, Schafer, Beckwith, and Glick.
Robert Aitken, Jorge Bolet, Liona Boyd, James Campbell, Jane Coop, Chantal Juillet, Lorand Fenyves, Maureen Forrester, James Galway, Rivka Golani, Peter Katin, Greta Kraus, Antonin Kubálek, Anton Kuerti, James McKay, Arthur Ozolins, Shauna Rolston, Gérard Souzay, Steven Staryk, Janet Stubbs, Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi, and Barry Tuckwell are among the solo artists who have performed with the orchestra. Guest conductors have included Dwight Bennett, Boris Brott, Franz-Paul Decker, Paul Freeman, Brian Jackson, Arpad Joo, Andras Ligeti, and Barry Tuckwell.
In 1989 CJRT discontinued the orchestra's subscription series, limiting its performances to CJRT 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.