Tafelmusik announces 2020/21 season

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Tafelmusik unveils 2020/21 Season

Passions of the Soul

Toronto, February 19, 2020… Today Music Director Elisa Citterio unveiled Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra’s 2020/21 season, Passions of the Soul, inviting audiences to experience the range of feelings music can inspire. For her third season, Citterio has curated a selection of music that spans more than four centuries — from early baroque to contemporary composers — with the ultimate goal of touching the heart of the listener. Detailed information about the 2020/21 season is below, and high resolution images are available in Tafelmusik’s Media Room. A trailer for the 2020/21 season can be viewed here, and subscriptions are now on sale at tafelmusik.org.

Highlights of the 2020/21 season include

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  • Birth of a Symphony, a new multimedia creation by double bassist, conductor, and composer Vanni Moretto
  • Beethoven 250 celebration with keyboard virtuoso Kristian Bezuidenhout
  • Tafelmusik debuts by guest conductor Rinaldo Alessandrini; cornettist Doron Sherwin; harpist Masumi Nagasawa; flutist Emi Ferguson; soprano Emöke Barath; countertenor Christopher Lowrey, and bass Philippe Sly.
  • Bach Christmas Oratorio and Brandenburg Concertos
  • New studio recording with oboist and guest director Alfredo Bernardini and the release of a live recording, A Handel Celebration
  • New commissions by contemporary composers
  • Tours across Ontario, Eastern Canada, and the United States
  • Launch of Saturday Mini Matinees series
  • Return of Close Encounters and Haus Musik series

“We’ve created a season that spans a variety of exceptional sounds. Our aim is to elicit emotions and offer an experience of intimate joy that leaves room for other feelings as well,” said Citterio. “I chose pieces that carry a strong emotional impact, with instruments in combinations that have never been heard on our stage. I hope audiences will join us for an unforgettable experience of beautiful music, new landscapes, and renewed passions.”

“Joy is something everyone needs in their lives,” said Executive Director Carol Kehoe. “At Tafelmusik, we aspire to bring joyful experiences to audiences at home and around the world, and the 2020/21 season is no exception. We’re confident our extraordinary musicians and the music they perform contributes positively to the wellbeing of our community and can’t wait to share our next season of concerts and activities.”

2020/21 season at a glance

Mozart Party
Sept 24–27, 2020 at Koerner Hall, TELUS Centre
Sept 29, 2020 at George Weston Recital Hall, Meridian Arts Centre
Elisa Citterio director
Masumi Nagasawa harp soloist
Emi Ferguson flute soloist

Tafelmusik rings in its new season with the sunny, witty music of Mozart. Elisa Citterio directs a program that includes the rarely performed Posthorn Serenade, featuring the valveless instrument that signalled the arrival of the mail coach. Guest soloists Masumi Nagasawa, harp, and Emi Ferguson, flute, make their Tafelmusik debuts in the Concerto for flute and harp in C Major, part of the orchestra’s cycle of Mozart concertos. Nagasawa is also featured in the Krumpholz Concerto, a virtuoso tour de force for classical harp. The unique timbre of period instruments lends an intriguing flavour to this program featuring three extraordinary women.

Passions of the Soul
October 8–11, 2020 at Jeanne Lamon Hall, Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre
Elisa Citterio director

Curated and directed by Elisa Citterio, this concert is a microcosm of the season theme, “Passions of the Soul.” Eighteenth century composers strove to describe the desires of the soul and touch the hearts of listeners with poignant and captivating music.This program explores the peaks and valleys of the emotional landscape, from the grandeur of Lalande’s Chaconne—inspired by the magnificent fountains of Versailles—to Locatelli’s mournful Sinfonia Funebre, to the roller-coaster of emotions experienced by stock market investors in Telemann’s suite “La Bourse.” Tafelmusik will tour Passions of the Soul across North America in 2020/21.

Cornetto Freestyle
November 5–8, 2020 at Jeanne Lamon Hall, Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre
Doron Sherwin, guest director and cornetto soloist

Known for his spontaneous performing style, the incomparable cornetto soloist Doron Sherwin makes his Tafelmusik debut directing these intimate dialogues by seventeenth-century composers whose musical language leaves plenty of room for experimentation and ornamentation. Prized for its purity of tone, the cornetto was long regarded as the instrument that most closely resembled the sound of the human voice. The instrument’s sweet, soaring timbre is a quintessential ingredient in the soundscape of the early baroque composers showcased here, including Gabrieli, Buonamente, Cavalli, Schein, Purcell, Dowland, Lasso, and Phillips.

Bach Christmas Oratorio
November 26-29, 2020 at Jeanne Lamon Hall, Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre
December 1, 2020 at George Weston Recital Hall, Meridian Arts Centre
Ivars Taurins director
Tafelmusik Chamber Choir
Margot Rood soprano; Benno Schachtner countertenor; James Gilchrist tenor; Peter Harvey baritone

Last performed by Tafelmusik in 2015, Bach’s Christmas Oratorio bears the unmistakable hallmark of the composer’s genius. The story of Jesus’ birth unfolds in a sequence of energetic choruses, richly harmonized chorales, and poetic arias, while the tenor Evangelist provides a continuous narrative arc. A full range of orchestral colours is punctuated by trumpets and timpani. Ivars Taurins directs Tafelmusik in performances of five parts from this essential masterpiece that balances exuberance with tenderness and simplicity, perfectly capturing the wonder of the nativity story.

Messiah and Sing-Along Messiah
December 16–18, 2020 at Koerner Hall, TELUS Centre
December 19, 2020 at Roy Thomson Hall
Ivars Taurins director
Tafelmusik Chamber Choir
Emöke Barath, soprano; Christopher Lowrey, countertenor; Charles Daniels, tenor; Philippe Sly, bass

Tafelmusik’s annual performances of Handel’s Messiah have become a cherished annual Toronto holiday tradition. Audience favourite Charles Daniels, tenor, returns for Messiah, and three vocal soloists, Emöke Barath, soprano; Christopher Lowrey, countertenor; and Philippe Sly, bass, make their Tafelmusik debuts under the direction of Ivars Taurins.

An audience of more than 2,000 participates joyfully in Tafelmusik’s Sing-Along Messiah, directed by Mr. Handel himself at Roy Thomson Hall.

Bach’s Friends & Rivals
January 21–24, 2021 at Jeanne Lamon Hall, Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre
Alfredo Bernardini and Elisa Citterio directors

Alfredo Bernardini, the charismatic Italian oboist, returns for a program devoted to the music of Telemann and Fasch, two highly admired friends—and rivals—of Bach.  Bernardini has hand-picked an oboe-friendly selection of concertos and suites, including the Concerto in B-flat Major for 3 oboes and 3 violins by Telemann, and the Orchestral Suite in G Minor by Fasch. A studio recording of this program is slated for future release on the Tafelmusik Media label.

Beethoven Symphony no. 4
February 11–14, 2021, Koerner Hall, TELUS Centre
Elisa Citterio director and violin soloist
Kristian Bezuidenhout director and fortepiano soloist
Keiran Campbell cello soloist

Tafelmusik is known for its trailblazing period performances of Beethoven’s symphonies—interpretations marked by an extraordinary transparency, unearthing new sounds and textures from these well-known works. The orchestra marks the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth with a trio of works including the mercurial Symphony no. 4 and the Triple Concerto, a lyrical work that places a trio—violin, cello, and piano—at centre stage. World-renowned guest soloist Kristian Bezuidenhout performs the Piano Concerto no. 2, exhibiting his astonishing ability to draw an array of sounds from a Beethoven-era piano.

Reflections of Mary
March 25–28, 2021, Jeanne Lamon Hall, Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre
Ivars Taurins director
Tafelmusik Chamber Choir

The figure of Mary, mother of Jesus, is central to this program of French choral music spanning more than three centuries. The lyricism and expressive power of Charpentier’s final mass, Missa Assumpta est Maria, is paired with a cappella works by the 20th-century composer Poulenc. The tenderness of Poulenc’s sacred music holds a mirror to Charpentier’s expression of Marian devotion in this uplifting concert that signals spring and rebirth. A new commission by a Canadian composer will bring this musical contemplation of Mary into the present day.

Birth of a Symphony
April 8–11, 2021, Jeanne Lamon Hall, Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre
Vanni Moretto, creator
Stefano Pintor, librettist
Elisa Citterio, music director
Blair Williams, actor and stage director

Tafelmusik is renowned the world over for its ground-breaking multimedia projects that combine music with text and visual storytelling. Its new creation, Birth of a Symphony, explores music through the narrative of chaos theory, where seemingly random interactions lead to order and unity. This latest multimedia project, by Italian composer and double bassist, Vanni Moretto, narrated by Blair Williams with text by Stefano Pintor, invites audiences to rediscover the evolution of the symphony through such disparate concepts as fractals and Russian nesting dolls. The program includes the world premiere of a new commission, and special guests will be announced at a later date.

Bach Brandenburg Concertos
April 22–25, 2021, Jeanne Lamon Hall, Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre
April 27, 2021, George Weston Recital Hall, Meridian Arts Centre

The Brandenburg Concertos encapsulate all of the qualities that affirm Bach’s brilliance as a composer. Creativity, originality, and boldness are on display in these ground-breaking concertos that feature novel combinations of solo instruments and an unprecedented solo cadenza for harpsichord – unheard of at the time. Tafelmusik’s JUNO Award-winning 1995 recording of the Brandenburgs helped establish the orchestra’s international profile. A quarter century later, Tafelmusik revisits four of these seminal works with newfound curiosity.

Vivaldi’s Choral Colours
May 13–16, 2021 at Koerner Hall, TELUS Centre
Rinaldo Alessandrini guest director and organ soloist
Krisztina Szabó mezzo-soprano
Tafelmusik Chamber Choir

Vivaldi’s effervescent spirit infuses this concert of sacred choral music that wraps up the 2020/21 season. Rinaldo Alessandrini, the founder of Concerto Italiano and a standard-bearer of Italian baroque style, makes his Tafelmusik debut directing music that radiates freshness and inventive verve. Mezzo-soprano Krisztina Szabó is the featured soloist in this program that unearths such buried treasures as “the other” Gloria RV 588, which packs as much ingenuity and intensity as its better-known cousin.

Partnership with Opera Atelier
Tafelmusik is thrilled to continue its collaboration with Opera Atelier and joins the company for two works at the historic Elgin Theatre: Mozart’s The Magic Flute (October 22–November 1, 2020), and The Angel Speaks – a Canadian commission by composer and violinist Edwin Huizinga – double-billed with Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas (February 20–27, 2021). Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra performs under the baton of Opera Atelier Music Director David Fallis.

Tours across North America
Tafelmusik will tour its Passions of the Soul program, curated and directed by Elisa Citterio, across North America during the 2020/21 season. Featuring music by Bach, Leclair, Lalande, Locatelli, and Telemann, this program will be presented in Central and Eastern Ontario in November 2020, followed by performances in Washington State, California, Connecticut, New York, and Massachusetts in March 2021. The final Passions of the Soul tour wraps up in Eastern Canada in April 2021 with concerts in New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia. On tour, Tafelmusik animates smaller communities with live performances, education, and artist training, and provides study guides and other tools to open doors for continued exploration long after the applause has ended.

New recordings on Tafelmusik Media
Slated for release on the Tafelmusik Media label in September 2020, A Handel Celebration is the first new recording featuring the combined Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir since 2012. A Handel Celebration will be recorded live in May 2020 at Koerner Hall under the direction of Ivars Taurins, marking the first recording to feature both Elisa Citterio and Taurins. Featuring guest soloists Amanda Forsythe, soprano, and Thomas Hobbs, tenor, the program includes favourite moments from Handel oratorios including Solomon, Semele, and Judas Maccabeus.

Following the January 2021 concerts of Bach’s Friends & Rivals with guest director and oboist Alfredo Bernardini, Tafelmusik heads into the recording studio to capture this program of music by Telemann and Fasch for an upcoming release on the Tafelmusik Media label. The album will include the Concerto in B-flat Major for 3 oboes and 3 violins by Telemann, and the Orchestral Suite in G Minor by Fasch.

Artist training
Tafelmusik continues to develop the next generation of local, national, and international musicians. Now in its 20th year, the Tafelmusik Baroque Summer Institute (TBSI) offers advanced students and professional musicians the opportunity to learn about period performance practice. The ninth annual Tafelmusik Winter Institute (TWI) is an intensive week-long training program in January, focusing on specialized orchestral study for select period players. In association with its summer and winter Institutes, Tafelmusik presents five free concerts at the University of Toronto Faculty of Music’s Walter Hall, Grace Church-on-the-Hill, and Jeanne Lamon Hall.

The Baroque Mentors training program invites emerging artists to learn directly from Tafelmusik musicians and distinguished guest artists through university residencies and guest artist masterclasses.

New Saturday Mini Matinees
Tafelmusik introduces Saturday Mini Matinees, informal one-hour orchestral programs with artist Q&As. Family pricing is available for these concerts, which begin at 1 pm. The 2020/21 Mini Matinee series includes Passions of the Soul on October 10, 2020; Bach’s Friends & Rivals on January 23, 2021; and Bach Brandenburg Concertos on April 24, 2021.

Haus Musik and Close Encounters
In addition to mainstage concerts at Jeanne Lamon Hall, Koerner Hall, and George Weston Recital Hall, Tafelmusik presents smaller concerts in other venues throughout the season.
Haus Musik is the go-to experience for musical mavericks. These concerts offer the chance to step out of the traditional concert hall and into a novel setting to catch collaborations not often seen on Tafelmusik’s main stage. Haus Musik details will be announced at a later date.

Tafelmusik’s Close Encounters Saturday afternoon chamber music series at Temerty Theatre, TELUS Centre returns for a fourth season with Re-tuned on November 14, 2020; Café Leipzig Returns on January 16, 2021; and Divertimento on May 8, 2021.

Led by Music Director Elisa Citterio and Executive Director Carol Kehoe, Tafelmusik is an orchestra, choir, and experience that celebrates beauty through music of the past.

Founded over 40 years ago on the pillars of passion, learning, and artistic excellence, Tafelmusik continues to bring new energy to baroque music and beyond. Historically informed performances of 17th- to 19th-century instrumental and choral music (led by Chamber Choir director Ivars Taurins) share the stage with vibrant, insightful multimedia programs, and bold new music written just for the group. Each piece is played on period instruments, underscored and illuminated by scholarship.

Through dynamic performances, international touring, award-winning recordings, and comprehensive education programs, Tafelmusik invites audiences to engage with beauty and experience the breadth of emotion music can inspire.

Tafelmusik wishes to thank the following for their generous support: BMO Financial Group, RBC Foundation, KPMG, Catherine and Maxwell Meighen Foundation, Whitmer Trudel Charitable Foundation, The Pluralism Fund, Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, Toronto Arts Council, Classical 96.3 FM, and NOW Magazine. Tafelmusik is a proud partner of the Bloor St. Culture Corridor.


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