Toronto Symphony Orchestra to Perform Igor Stravinsky's 'The Rite of Spring' at Special Symphony Exploder Concert

The event will also feature 'Song Exploder' host Hrishikesh Hirway in conversation with TSO Music Director Gustavo Gimeno

BY Ben OkazawaPublished Mar 7, 2024

The Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO) has announced that it'll debut a special event in collaboration with Netflix's Song Exploder host Hrishikesh Hirway titled Symphony Exploder: The Rite of Spring, set to take place on April 5 at Roy Thomson Hall. 

To kick off the show, Hirway will sit down with TSO Music Director Gustavo Gimeno for a live breakdown of Igor Stravinsky's 1913 composition The Rite of Spring

Through engaging discussions and live orchestral excerpts, Hirway, Gimeno and the audience will delve into the different aspects of this iconic piece, from its haunting melodies to thunderous percussion. Together, they will examine how The Rite of Spring has influenced pop culture, from its inclusion in Disney's Fantasia to the infamous riot during its premiere. After the discussion, the orchestra will perform the scandalous masterpiece in full. 

Song Exploder, which began as a podcast in 2014 ahead of the 2020 Netflix series, is approaching its 10th anniversary, and Hirway thinks Symphony Exploder: The Rite of Spring is a perfect way to celebrate the occasion.

"It was really special to get the email from the TSO inviting me to do this. It’s kinda the thing that I actually secretly dreamed of, without even realizing it," he said. "When we got to the ten year anniversary of the podcast, I knew I wanted to do stuff that I’ve never done before. I wanted to take the moment to see what else I could do, in terms of stretching what the concept of the show is."

In the decade since Song Exploder began, Hirway has interviewed artists including Dua Lipa, Billie Eilish, Alicia Keys, Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor and more — but, the event at Roy Thomson Hall will mark a unique milestone for the host.

"To do a show that is based on an interview format ... you’re kind of limited by people who are alive, and so there’s really never been a chance to talk about a work from the early 20th century like this," he said. "But Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring is so influential and so relevant still, it’s really exciting to talk about it with the TSO, and with Gustavo who is so knowledgeable and obviously is such an insightful expert when it comes to Stravinsky."

Tickets for Symphony Exploder are on sale now at TSO's official website. This will not be recorded for the Song Exploder podcast, so you’ll have to experience this event live. Check out a preview below.

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