Toronto Mendelssohn Choir announces the appointment of Simon Rivard as Associate Conductor

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Toronto Mendelssohn Choir is thrilled to announce the appointment of Simon Rivard as Associate Conductor.

Simon Rivard has been serving as RBC Resident Conductor of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and Conductor of the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra since 2018. He was recently named an Equilibrium Young Artist as part of Canadian soprano and conductor Barbara Hannigan’s internationally-acclaimed mentorship program for early career professional musicians. In 2017-2018, he was Resident Conductor of the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra and Musical Director of the TBSO Symphony Chorus. In recent years, he has served as Assistant Conductor of the Choir of St. Andrew and St. Paul (Montreal) and the Ottawa Choral Society. In 2017, he received the Wayne-Riddell Choral Award upon graduating from the Schulich School of Music (McGill University).

Simon comes to the position of TMC Associate Conductor having worked closely with the Choir: in preparing the TMC for their performances with the TSO; jointly conducting the TMC’s Festival of Carols concerts this past December which featured the TSYO as guest artists; and directing the TMC-TSYO-TSO collaboration in May to create the virtual performance of Gabriel Fauré’s Cantique de Jean Racine.

He says of this new post: “I fell in love with the sound of the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir from the very first moment I heard it. I have been fortunate to collaborate with these wonderful artists many times in the past two years and this appointment fills me with delight. Together, we will strive to maintain the highest artistic excellence and adapt our practices to the heightened social awareness of our times. It has already begun!”

Simon takes over as conductor as David Fallis completes his two-year term as TMC Interim Conductor and Artistic Advisor. The Choir is grateful to David for taking the reins in 2018 and leading the Choir in a number of performances, including the 125th anniversary gala concert in October.  David also led the Choir’s first pandemic-era digital program, the re-imagined Great Poets in Music concert which brought together great poetry and music through readings by two Stratford actors, and choral music recorded by a number of Choirs around the world.

The TMC had expected to have completed its Artistic Director search by June but this search is now on hold temporarily due to the pandemic.

TMC 2020/21 Season planning well underway

Associate Conductor Simon Rivard, David Fallis, TMC administration and TMC Board are designing an exciting 2020/21 season that will include virtual choir performances, digital programs and artistic collaborations to keep choral music in the lives of TMC choristers and the community throughout the pandemic.  Programming will begin online with the hope of adding in-person elements as health and safety regulations permit.

A program of Thanksgiving.  Guest curator Suba Sankaran and TMC Associate Conductor Simon Rivard will map out a journey – both geographical and inward — of gratitude. Viewers will be able to enjoy music performed by the TMC and other multi-disciplinary performances. Guest Curator Suba Sankaran is a Toronto-based musician, composer, educator, choral director, sound designer, and world/fusion vocalist who brings together musical worlds.

A program of Remembrance. Guest curator Andrew Balfour and TMC Associate Conductor Simon Rivard are creating a program that will bring together captivating multi-disciplinary performances and music performed by the TMC – including excerpts from Andrew Balfour’s Notinikew (Going to War) which tells the story of the 107th Timber Wolf Battalion – a unit of 1000 men, half settler and half indigenous, who fought together in the First World War.  Of Cree descent, Winnipeg based composer Andrew Balfour is an innovative composer, conductor, singer, and sound designer with a large body of choral, instrumental, and orchestral works, including Mamachimowin, commissioned by the TMC for its 125th anniversary gala.

A Festival of Carols. TMC Associate Conductor Simon Rivard will include members of the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra in this TMC annual celebration of music for Christmas.

More details about the TMC’s 2020/21 season will be announced later this summer.

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