Auditions open for TTC Underground Sounds Subway Musicians Program

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Toronto TTC Street Car
TTC Toronto Street car proudly built in Thunder Bay

TORONTO – ENTERTAINMENT – Auditions are now open for talented Toronto musicians to secure a coveted three-year licence to perform in subway stations as part of the TTC Underground Sounds Subway Musicians Program. Ninety licences will be awarded, with video auditions to be judged by an expert panel, including veteran Toronto music and entertainment reporter Rudy Blair.

“This program combines Toronto’s love for music, local musicians, and the TTC. It’s a match made in heaven, and sets the bar high for public arts initiatives worldwide,” said Toronto Mayor Olivia Chow. “Subway musicians enrich the daily commute of countless Torontonians with moments of joy, excitement, and calm through their music. Like so many transit riders, I always love being stopped in my tracks by the beautiful sounds these musicians bring to the subway.”

The TTC first began issuing licences to subway musicians in 1980. Past and current TTC musicians include Juno Award winners, Royal Conservatory of Music graduates, symphony performers, and published musicians.

“With TTC ridership on the rise, initiatives like the TTC Underground Sounds Subway Musicians Program add a touch of creativity and entertainment to the daily commute.” said TTC Chair Jamaal Myers. “This programme represents the best of Toronto – the fusion of art and transit, creating a vibrant and inclusive cultural experience and creating a more welcoming subway environment for everyone.”

“We’re thrilled to continue supporting local musicians and providing them with a stage that reaches an enormous, and growing, TTC ridership,” said TTC CEO Rick Leary. “The TTC is a proud champion of local artists because, like them, the TTC is an integral part of Toronto’s cultural lifeblood. The Underground Sounds Subway Musicians Program sets a gold standard for public transit engagement and brings a little magic to the daily commute.”

To audition, musicians – whether performing solo or in a duo – are required to upload a five-minute performance video to YouTube, highlighting their skills. Once uploaded, musicians can submit an online application, available at www.ttc.ca. The expert panel will assess the audition videos of 175 applicants, scoring based on musicianship, entertainment value, and stage presence. While applications are open until March 31, once 175 eligible auditions have been received, the audition period will be closed.

Successful applicants will receive licences valid from April 29, 2024, to April 28, 2027. Over the course of three years, musicians will have the opportunity to perform on a three-day rotating schedule at 29 dedicated performance spaces in stations across the subway system.

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