U of S and Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra sign partnership agreement

The University of Saskatchewan (U of S) and the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra (SSO) will sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on Jan. 28th to enhance and extend joint initiatives that benefit the cultural interests of the province of Saskatchewan and beyond.

“This partnership will advance the wonderful collaborations between two of the province’s most influential cultural institutions,” said Peter Stoicheff, U of S president and vice-chancellor. “It will build upon the longstanding connections between the community and our university’s diverse range of departments, colleges and schools.”

Stoicheff said that the agreement is intended to provide a starting point “for a variety of future research and artistic collaborations between the two institutions” that could include shared artist-in-residence programs, research chairs, and development of joint online programs such as e-lectures, that would expand the reach and impact of music education locally and across the province.  

SSO Executive Director Mark Turner noted that the U of S and the SSO are natural partners as they both have large impact upon the social, cultural and economic development of the province.

“We have a long, rich history of collaboration that dates back to 1931, the inaugural year of both the symphony and the U of S Department of Music, when Arthur Collingwood, the first head of the Department of Music, founded Saskatoon’s orchestra,” he said.  

Turner noted the MOU will encourage wider community engagement through joint educational programs aimed at involving elementary and secondary-level students in music and orchestral training.

The partnership also promotes engagement with the U of S instrument collections, such as the Amati string instruments, a rare quartet of 17th century instruments, and the growing Kaplan Collection of Instruments, comprised of historical and Indigenous instruments from around the world.

Initiatives featuring these collections, such as collaborations with other orchestras and visiting performer programs, will connect the U of S and the SSO to wider audiences locally, nationally and internationally through music.

“This partnership will allow us to build on our successful music-centered programming, while creating new opportunities to explore points of connection that extend throughout our campus and into the wider community,” said music department head Gregory Marion. 

Marion noted that innovative collaborations are already well underway and that the MOU provides a framework for encouraging wider engagement among the SSO members, the university and the community. 

The agreement will be signed by Stoicheff and Turner at the Jan. 28th SSO concert that starts at 7:30 pm.

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