"Sensational... a Superb pop ensemble" - NOW Magazine
"9 out of 10... unleashing the unifying power of music" - Exclaim Magazine
Throughout much of the twentieth century the lives of queer artists were hush hush, quietly and swiftly swept under the rug. The Queer Songbook Orchestra are lifting that rug, taking a look back at the last one hundred years of popular song with the queer lens intact, and revealing the backstories and personal narratives behind much of this music. Building a living archive of songs which acknowledges the contributions of LGBTQ artists, the QSO explore the unifying and empowering elements of music and shed light on revelations such as the contradiction of a public which adores the art but shuns the artist.
A Toronto based project, the Queer Songbook Orchestra are an 11-piece chamber ensemble, made up of a selection of the top queer and allied musicians working in the city today. Not simply covering the songs as per the original artists recording, the QSO commission all new interpretations of the material from many of Canada’s top composers and arrangers, and present the songs alongside the narratives that illustrate their place in the Songbook.
The Queer Songbook Orchestra are partnered with the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives, the largest independent LGBTQ archives in the world. This agreement provides a permanent home for all QSO recordings and stories, and allows the ensemble to be granted financial support through the CLGA. To support the ensemble, please visit clga.ca and donate in honour of the QSO.
The Queer Songbook Orchestra are:
- Shaun Brodie, Artistic Director/Trumpet/Flugelhorn
- Alex Samaras, Vocals
- Alanna Stuart, Vocals
- Stephen Jackman-Torkoff, Storyteller/Poet
- Jennifer Burford, Violin
- Evan Lamberton, Cello
- Lief Mosbaugh, Oboe/English Horn/Vocals
- Micajah Sturgess, French Horn
- Thom Gill, Guitar/Vocals
- Ghislain Aucoin, Piano/Vocals
- Dan Fortin, Double Bass
- Stefan Schneider, Drums/Percussion
And an ongoing selection of guest singers, narrators and storytellers which has included Mary Margaret O'Hara, Mark Tewksbury, Veda Hille, Bill Richardson, Katherine Duncan, leZlie lee kam, Louis Negin, Wayson Choy, Syrus Ware, Remy Huberdeau, Torquil Campbell (Stars), Lorraine Segato (Parachute Club), Felicity Williams, Daniela Gesundheit (Snowblink), Katie Ritchie (The Organ, Vag Halen), Casey Mecija (Ohbijou), Vivek Shraya, Lisa Bozikovic, Geordie Gordon (The Magic), Simone Schmidt (Fiver) and Gary Beals.