Charitable Organization

Kindred Spirits Orchestra

Unionville, ON

Arts and cultureEducation and research

The Kindred Spirits Orchestra (KSO) is a critically acclaimed auditioned-based civic orchestra performing at the Flato Markham Theatre, the Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts, and the CBC Glenn Gould Studio in Toronto.

The mission of the KSO is to change lives through music’s extraordinary power to communicate, inspire, uplift, educate, and entertain. Through outstanding, evocative, dramatic, and passionate performances the KSO seeks to delight patrons and develop, in collaboration, new audiences of all ages for classical music.”

The KSO business structure is based on a unique model that integrates the best practices of managing symphony orchestras in Europe, the USA, and Canada.

In addition to performing concerts, the KSO offers several educational, community outreach, professional development and international cultural exchange programmes.

In 2009 and 2010, the KSO presented 9 concerts at the Glenn Gould Studio, to an ever-growing audience and mostly sold-out house. From 2011, the KSO has presented a concert series at the Flato Markham Theatre, in addition to an annual concert at the Glenn Gould Studio.

As ardent supporter of contemporary music, the KSO created, in 2011, the Markham Contemporary Music Festival. This annual event brings to life great pieces by illustrious international and Canadian composers, including Gary Kulesha, Brian Current, Larysa Kuzmenko, Kevin Lau, Constantine Caravassilis, James Campbell, Vincent Ho, John Williams, and Chan Wing-Wah .

In 2011, the City of Markham initiated the construction of the Cornell Community Centre and Library. In consultation with the KSO, the City included in the Centre a 5,000 ft2 (464 m2) state-of-the-art, 200-seat, purposed-built rehearsal hall. The KSO moved its rehearsals to the Cornell Recital Hall in 2013.

Also in 2013, with funding from the Ontario government, the KSO purchased a digital music library with over 20,000 titles, a Steinway grand piano, a Yamaha celeste, a complete set of professional-quality percussion instruments, a cutting-edge audio recording system with a 24-track console, multi-camera HD video recording equipment, ergonomic musicians’ chairs, music stands and stage risers .

In 2015, at the initiative of Kristian Alexander, the KSO musicians donated a piano and an organ to the remote community of the Easter Island. These musical instruments, travelling 15,000 km by sea, arrived in 2016 for the inauguration of the first music school in the history of this distinct society .

In 2017, the KSO gave a sold-out performance at the 3,200-seat Meridian Hall (Sony Centre for the Performing Arts) in Toronto at the first international concert-tribute to the Oscar-winning composer AR Rahman. Also in 2017, the KSO, in conjunction with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, participated in Canada’s 150th anniversary celebrations, by presenting a new work Rejuvenation written by Canadian composer Vincent Ho and featuring pipa player Wu Man and TV celebrity Yi Qin.

In 2018, the KSO performed at a sold-out event in Toronto to mark the centennial of the foundation of Romania. In 2019, the KSO produced several large-scale performances with the Hong Kong Oratorio Society, the Vancouver Oratorio Society and the Toronto Classical Singers.

By the end of 2018, the KSO audience continued to grow and the educational programs attracted patrons from across the GTA. On the occasion of its 10th anniversary, in 2019, the KSO was invited by the neighbouring City of Richmond Hill to present an annual series of concerts featuring renowned Canadian artists and international guest-conductors, composers and soloists.

In 2019, the KSO forged a partnership with the International Music Festival and Competition, an annual series of events that provide young musicians with opportunities to perform, conduct and write music, while receiving professional guidance from leading experts in the classical music industry, in Canada .

During the 2020 pandemic, the KSO quickly evolved and, by leveraging digital technologies and the Internet, transitioned to offering live concerts via broadcast and stream. As a result, the KSO is attracting patrons from beyond the geographical boundaries of the Greater Toronto Area (Vancouver, Montreal, Ottawa, Windsor, Kingston) and from as far away as the USA, Europe and Asia.

In 2021, with funding from the Government of Ontario, the KSO became the first symphony orchestra in Canada to significantly reduce its carbon footprint by replacing paper-based instrumental parts with a state-of-the-art digital system designed by Newzik for Apple. The KSO transitioned to environmentally conscious paperless operations that will save an estimated 30,000 sheets of paper, annually.

In 2014, the KSO gave the Canadian première of John Williams’ famed piece “On Willows and Birches” as well as the world première of James Campbell’s Concerto for Harp and Orchestra. In 2017, the KSO gave the world première of a Concerto for harp and orchestra by Hong Kong composer Chan Wing Wah. In 2019, the KSO gave the North American and Canadian première of Symphony No. 9 by Chan Wing Wah. In 2020, the KSO gave the world première of a Concerto for violin and orchestra by Canadian composer Werner Chan.

In 2013, 2015 and 2019, the KSO was presented with awards from the Government of Canada for the “extraordinary work of the Kindred Spirits Orchestra promoting Canadian music and Canadian composers as well as for the orchestra’s community outreach and educational programs .”

In the years between 2016 and 2020, the Government of Ontario has awarded 27 members of the KSO for their contribution to the development of arts and culture in the community.

Program areas

Description% of emphasis
Festivals & performances80
Youth organizations10
Education/ Training programs10

*% of emphasis is reported by the charity and does not necessarily reflect money spent.

Revenue and expenses