Toronto Symphony Orchestra Teams Up with CAMH Patients to Compose New Song

"To Live (Ikiru)" is coming to Roy Thomson Hall later this year

BY Ben OkazawaPublished Jun 19, 2023

Eight members of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra were at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) last week to privately perform a piece that French-Canadian and Georgian Bay Métis composer Ian Cusson originated with input from CAMH patients. 

The almost ten-minute song is called "To Live (Ikiru)," named after legendary Japanese director Akira Kurosawa's 1952 film Ikiru (which translates to "to live"). Along with being the inspiration for Cusson's composition, Ikiru also birthed a 2022 English language adaptation, Living

A group of eight CAMH patients joined Cusson as part of an eight-week program to discuss the music they loved en route to helping him create the song. He says that the group covered 800 years' worth of music spanning various genres during their meetings, per the CBC

The sessions were a part of the TSO and CAMH partnership labelled the Art of Healing that launched in late 2022. The TSO have announced that they'll give the song an initial debut in October and another next June with full orchestration.

Listen to a small sample of "To Live (Ikiru)" here and check out pictures of the concert on the TSO's official Facebook below. 

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