Toronto, Canada, June 30, 2015 – Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir is wrapping up another remarkable season marked by enthusiastically received national and international tours, a thriving creative and artistic output that continues to redefine how audiences experience live music, exceptional guest artists, and dramatic improvements to the choir and orchestra’s home venue at Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre. The 2014/15 season saw an increase in single ticket sales over the previous season, with almost 15% of single tickets sold coming from Tafelscene — its 35-and-under membership programme. Tafelmusik also recently announced the appointment of William Norris as Managing Director, effective October 2015.
As the Toronto Star noted in a January 2015 review, Tafelmusik’s continued artistic excellence and forward momentum is palpable: “Over the last quarter-century, the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra has enjoyed the kind of PR that other arts organizations can only dream of. But to compare it with other orchestras is unfair, or is it? Where one typically finds modern orchestras adorning stern faces and taut demeanours (especially when performing Beethoven), Tafelmusik comes across as breezy and happy to be there. They are like a huge family, with everyone smiling, as if to say, stop scowling, Beethoven, you are loved.”
2014/15 Season Highlights:
TOURINGTafelmusik’s imposing presence on the national and international scene was reinforced by major tours to Australia, New Zealand, the United States, and Eastern Canada. A comprehensive map of all of the destinations where Tafelmusik has performed around the world is available here.
The orchestra’s Australian presenter, Musica Viva, has just been nominated for a 2015 Helpmann Award for Tafelmusik’s House of Dreams. Tafelmusik’s The Galileo Project toured Australia and New Zealand in 2012 and won that year’s Helpmann Award for Best Chamber and/or Instrumental Ensemble Concert.
Tafelmusik received the 2015 National Arts Centre Award for Distinguished Contribution to Touring in the Performing Arts, which honours exceptional achievement in fostering the touring of live performing arts in Canada.
Tafelmusik’s ambitious $3 million revitalization of its home venue at Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre will help usher in its vision of becoming a global centre of excellence in period performance, while preserving the 125-year-old building’s sacred and historic character.
In October 2014 Tafelmusik unveiled Phase Two, which includes dramatic improvements to the lobby and box office areas, increased wheelchair accessibility, installation of lighting and safety equipment, and improvements to air circulation.
Phase One took place in 2013 and brought major acoustical, stage and seating upgrades to Jeanne Lamon Hall.
Tafelmusik continues to push the boundaries of the concert experience with its stunning multi-media productions created by double bassist Alison Mackay, and 2015 saw the premiere of her latest fully-memorized programme, J.S. Bach: The Circle of Creation with narrator Richard Greenblatt. “The musicians are standing, without chairs, music stands or sheet music; liberated from this architecture, their bodies sway and their eyes sparkle, infusing the old music with an impressive new energy. It’s as though the complex 18th-century composition were being played by a band of East Coast fiddlers. In these hands, Bach’s music feels more alive than ever.” (Globe & Mail)
Tafelmusik’s Artist Training initiatives continue to flourish, with the most recent Tafelmusik Baroque Summer and Winter Institutes welcoming a total of 113 pre-professional and professional musicians from 16 different countries. Participants gathered in Toronto in January and June for advanced training programmes led by some of the world’s finest musicians in the field of baroque performance.
Tafelmusik’s Toronto performances during the 2014/15 season clearly resonated with audiences, who responded enthusiastically to the array of concerts presented in three Toronto venues: Jeanne Lamon Hall, Koerner Hall, and George Weston Recital Hall.
Total single ticket revenue came in at the second-highest level in the past decade.
Almost 15% of single tickets sold for the 2014/15 season came from Tafelscene, Tafelmusik’s hugely successful 35-and-under membership programme launched in 2012.
The number of Tafelscene tickets purchased increased by 40% over the previous season.
The 14/15 season featured performances by compelling guest artists including conductor Kent Nagano, and violinists/guest directors Rodolfo Richter, Davide Monti, Pavlo Beznosiuk, and Amandine Beyer.
Tafelmusik’s own Aisslinn Nosky guest directed Baroque Misbehaving, which featured the premiere of a new work commissioned from Canadian composer Michael Oesterle.
Tafelmusik Chamber Choir director Ivars Taurins led sold-out performances of Bach’s St. John Passion, Vivaldi Gloria/Handel Coronation Anthems, and Handel’s Messiah and Sing-Along Messiah.
LOOKING AHEAD TO 2015/16
Tafelmusik approaches the 15/16 season with particular anticipation and looks forward to welcoming its Managing Director Designate William Norris, who comes to his new post from London’s Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment — one of the UK’s leading period music ensembles. In addition to its concerts with renowned guest artists and long-time Tafelmusik collaborators, the orchestra will perform with prestigious international candidates for the position of Music Director.
Tafelmusik will continue to extend its national and international reach with a November 2015 tour to Versailles, France, with Opera Atelier, and a March 2016 Western Canada tour of House of Dreams directed by Jeanne Lamon.
In February 2016 Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir will mark a major milestone with a live recording of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony at Koerner Hall under Bruno Weil, thereby completing Tafelmusik’s recordings of all nine Beethoven symphonies.
Two more recordings in the “Best of” series compiled from the Tafelmusik catalogue will be released in Fall 2015: “Best of French Baroque” and “Best of German Baroque: Bach.”
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High‐resolution photos of Tafelmusik are available for download here.
Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, founded in 1979, is one of the world’s leading period performance ensembles. The Tafelmusik Chamber Choir, under the direction of Ivars Taurins, was formed in 1981 to complement the Orchestra. The orchestra performs more than 50 concerts each year at home in Toronto, and travels extensively around the world. The choir and orchestra’s multi-platform recording label Tafelmusik Media was launched in January 2012, along with the Watch and Listen site, Tafelmusik‘s digital concert hall. Tafelmusik’s 80-plus CDs have been recorded on the Sony Classical, CBC Records, Analekta and Tafelmusik Media labels. Since 1991, Tafelmusik has received ten JUNO Awards and a Grammy Award nomination. Tafelmusik is the Baroque Orchestra-in-Residence at the Faculty of Music, University of Toronto and operates its annual artist training programmes, Tafelmusik Baroque Summer Institute and Tafelmusik Winter Institute. Tafelmusik has been led by Jeanne Lamon since 1981. In June 2014, Ms. Lamon stepped down as Music Director, and is continuing as Tafelmusik’s Chief Artistic Advisor until her successor is appointed.