Kingston Symphony musicians embrace pandemic living in new digital performance!

October 20, 2020

The Kingston Symphony has once again come together, virtually, to perform a brand new piece called Domestic Divertimento by award-winning Canadian composer, John Estacio. Commissioned by the Kingston Symphony in the early days of the pandemic, this premiere was recorded remotely and individually by over 40 musicians while in isolation in their homes. Tune in to see the wide range of new “instruments” that our very own Kingston Symphony musicians have learned to play.

To view the premiere, please visit

“Every piece of music we have ever performed for an audience, has been something that our musicians have experienced several times together during rehearsals before the actual concert takes place,” says Kingston Symphony Music Director Evan Mitchell. “The interesting upshot of a premiere of a brand new piece recorded by the players in isolation is that because we haven't been working on it together, the premiere of the piece will be a fresh discovery for everyone, including the musicians who made it happen. I think that's pretty special! We hope it will put a smile on your face. We certainly had fun with this performance!"

Mitchell approached John Estacio in the spring to see if he was interested in taking on such a project. Estacio jumped at the opportunity. “I’ve enjoyed watching the recent spate of video compilations of orchestra musicians performing from their respective homes,” says Estacio. “And as I’ve watched these videos, I wouldn’t be completely honest if I didn’t say I wasn’t also curious about what was in the background in the video, behind the musicians. I found myself wondering what it might sound like if the flutist suddenly turned on the shiny blender or if the trombone player opened up the closet and dragged out whatever was there and incorporated it into the performance. So when the Kingston Symphony asked me to write something for an orchestra at home, I wanted to acknowledge that the orchestra is not playing this new composition in a refined and well-tuned concert hall and instead embrace the domesticity of life at home as a performing musician.” 

About John Estacio
JUNO nominated composer John Estacio is a recipient of the 2017 Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Distinguished Artist Award. His works are frequently recorded, performed, and broadcast on international radio and television. His Trumpet Concerto was commissioned by 19 Canadian orchestras, including the Kingston Symphony, and was performed throughout the country in the 2017-2018 season. He has written four operas and has also composed a full-length orchestral score for Cincinnati Ballet's King Arthur's Camelot. His music has been performed at Carnegie Hall by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and the Edmonton Symphony. He is the recipient of the National Arts Centre Award for Composers and his music was performed by Pinchas Zukerman and the National Arts Centre Orchestra during their tours of China and the United Kingdom.

About the Kingston Symphony Association
Established in 1953, the Kingston Symphony Association exists to produce and promote professional quality programs of instrumental and choral music for the education, enjoyment, and enrichment of audiences in the Greater Kingston area. The Kingston Symphony is dedicated to the support, development and showcasing of Canadian artists and composers.

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