Music together

Queer Songbook Orchestra


Shaun Brodie

May 15, 2020

The Queer Songbook Orchestra (QSO) are a Toronto based 13-piece chamber pop ensemble, dedicated to exploring and uplifting queer narrative in pop music. With the queer lens intact they are looking through the last century of popular music and bringing forward obscured 2SLGBTQ historical narratives, as well as the personal stories of members of the community and the songs most deeply connected to them. The QSO have been steadily working to bring intimacy and vulnerability to stages across Canada since the project was founded in 2014 by Artistic Director Shaun Brodie. By working with a base of familiar songs, drawn from pop music of the last century and reinterpreted by highly skilled arrangers, and offered alongside their accompanying narratives, the listener is allowed a new entry point into familiar works, and a broader understanding of the universality of human experience. The ensemble has appeared at many of the top performing arts festivals in Canada and toured extensively throughout the country, including a 2018 cross Canada tour of smaller cities and communities from Whitehorse, YK, to St. John's, NFLD. The QSO is a highly collaborative project and to date have intersected with roughly 200 collaborators, from youth to elder, and including story contributors, local narrators, arrangers, featured singers, artists, designers, and other special guests. Among these collaborators have been Carole Pope, Beverly Glenn Copeland, Vivek Shraya, Orville Peck, Mary Margaret O'Hara, Cris Derksen, Safia Nolin, and many more, including high school students from across the country.