We recently sent questions by email to first-time Tafelmusik Baroque Summer Institute (TBSI) participant and Sri Lankan-born (and Toronto-based) tenor Asitha Tennekoon. He's currently busy with Tapestry Opera's production of Rocking Horse Winner, so we're happy he was able to find some time before TBSI started next week!
1. What are you most excited about for TBSI?
I'm really looking forward to collaborating with my colleagues at the program. Preparing and performing chamber pieces, where each person gets a chance to bring something unique and exciting every single time is extremely fulfilling.
I'm also looking forward to the Bach Bash. I mean, let's be real, it's Bach, there aren't a lot of other things that can get me more excited musically.
2. How’s your experience been singing with the Tafelmusik Chamber Choir this year?
It's always refreshing to be a part of a group of singers who are efficient, focused, and to state the obvious - really good at what they do! I believe very strongly that working in an ensemble gives you a gamut of skills you may never learn in a practice room on your own. So to be able to develop those skills with a group that's as good as they are has been a great experience for me.
3. Do you perform elsewhere in Toronto?
In the past two years, since moving to Canada, I've been fortunate enough to perform as a soloist and ensemble singer all over Toronto, the GTA, Ottawa, Montreal and London ON. I've performed as a soloist with Tapestry Opera, Stratford Summer Music Festival, The Indian River Festival, MY Opera, The Theatre of Early Music, London Pro Musica, and Village Voices. Hopefully the future will be as kind to me as these past two years.
4. What’s your favourite thing to do in this city?
I was raised in the tropics, so I try to take advantage of the sun whenever it's out! I like spending time by the Harbourfront, and the Distillery District, and regularly seek out green spaces. (So good luck spotting me in the winter!)
One of the best things about Toronto is the food! You can find any type of food from any culture, and it's almost always authentic and not 'mellowed' down. So I like experiencing different culinary backgrounds as well.
5. Where do you see yourself ten years in the future?
Ideally on a beach somewhere, sipping an endless flow of gin. (Can this happen tomorrow, please?)
Realistically, I think I'd like to focus on developing my singing, and myself as person. That way, wherever life/the career takes me, will be somewhere I'm happy, doing what I want to do, with plenty of opportunities to sing. (Pronounced: Germany)
6. What’s your favourite ‘non-classical’ music to listen to?
It ranges from Classic Rock to Jazz to Top 40....but give me some Regina Spektor any day and I'll be happy.
7. If you weren’t a musician, what would you be doing?
Trying to get people to pay me for reading books all day, or for trying out different coffee spots around the city. If that's actually an option let me know, asap!
Seriously though, I'd probably be teaching literature, or history. Doing something in the capacity of an educator.
Join us for our FREE concerts in June, part of the Tafelmusik Baroque Summer Festival. Click here.