Aug 13, 2020

Music Director Elisa Citterio renews contract to 2023

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Music Director Elisa Citterio renews contract to 2023 

Toronto, August 13, 2020 … David Kilburn, Chair of the Board of Directors of Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir, is delighted to announce that Music Director Elisa Citterio has renewed her contract through to the end of the orchestra’s 44th concert season in 2022/23. Since assuming the helm of “one of the world’s top baroque orchestras” (Gramophone) following Jeanne Lamon’s remarkable 33-year tenure, Citterio has blazed new trails while enhancing Tafelmusik’s status as a global leader in period performance.

“We’re thrilled that Elisa will remain with Tafelmusik until at least 2023,” said David Kilburn. “In addition to her bold programming and breathtaking playing, she has provided inspiring artistic leadership that continues to set the bar even higher for what is already one of the world’s leading period orchestras.”

Since her tenure began in 2017, Citterio has stretched Tafelmusik’s artistic boundaries through the exploration of new repertoire including last season’s record number of six commissions from contemporary composers. Among the programming innovations are Citterio’s own new orchestral arrangement of Bach’s Goldberg Variations, excerpts of which were premiered online in May 2020; the creation of new multimedia programsThe Indigo Project and The Harlequin Salon; and the orchestra’s first-ever foray into the music of late Romantic composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. When the COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of several concerts earlier this year, Citterio and her colleagues brought the concert experience — including the world premiere of Phantom of Goldberg by Grégoire Jeay — to virtual audiences with Tafelmusik at Home, an online series of five solo and duo performances hosted by Tafelmusik musicians from their homes. 

Critics have noted the evolution of Tafelmusik’s sound under Citterio’s direction, referring to her “strong individual mark” and the “vibrancy,” “freshness,” “transparency,” “rhythmic energy,” “delicacy,” and “confidence” she draws from the musicians. The orchestra’s sound continues to evolve with the appointment of three talented new core orchestra members: Brandon Chui, viola; Keiran Campbell, cello; and Pippa Macmillan, double bass.

“What a joy it is to make music with my Tafelmusik colleagues, who inspire me every day. It is a privilege to perform for such enthusiastic live and online audiences who embrace the breadth of emotion that music can inspire,” said Elisa Citterio. “Here in Toronto, we have a unique opportunity to build and strengthen artistic bridges, and to create something wonderful through collaborations that cross many boundaries. I am grateful for the trust and support I’ve received and look forward to sharing many beautiful musical moments in the years to come. Stay tuned for an announcement about exciting updates to our 2020/21 season!”

Tafelmusik’s local, national, and international profile has flourished under Citterio’s leadership. The orchestra reaches millions of people through digital media and public broadcasts, including a recent concert from London’s Barbican Centre on BBC and CBC, and extensive touring across Canada and the United States, Australia, the UK, Belgium, and France. Tafelmusik musicians have been invited to perform at high profile engagements including the nationally televised ceremony for Governor General Julie Payette in 2017, the 2019 Toronto Mayor’s Arts Lunch, and IT@CA 2019, an international conference featuring such distinguished speakers as Oscar Farinetti, founder of Eataly.

Citterio’s ground-breaking work with Tafelmusik garnered formal recognition when she received the 2019 Leonardo Award from the Italian Chamber of Commerce of Ontario for her significant contribution to the cultural and intellectual life of Canada.

Citterio has also invited a number of leading artists to make their Tafelmusik debuts, including Rinaldo Alessandrini, David Blackadder, Emi Ferguson, Vittorio Ghielmi, Roberta Invernizzi, Vanni Moretto, Masumi Nagasawa, Enrico Onofri, Suba and Trichy Sankaran, Doron Sherwin, and Masaaki Suzuki.

Tafelmusik’s love affair with the music of Italian composers, particularly Antonio Vivaldi, has only deepened with Citterio, who led the orchestra in Vivaldi con amore, an internationally acclaimed recording released in September 2019. “There's determined beauty to their sweetly rich, gently vibrating sound ... precision and poetry comes wonderfully together. An attention-grabbing return to the recording studio." (Gramophone)

Tafelmusik’s commitment to community life has grown during Citterio’s tenure, thanks to a number of collaborations and partnerships with Aga Khan Museum and Nuit Blanche, Arts Etobicoke and Coverdale Mall, Istituto Italiano di Cultura, a free concert for asylum seekers at Toronto Plaza Hotel, CBC Sounds of the Season in support of Daily Bread Food Bank, and Evergreen in support of the revitalization of the Don River Valley.

“Working with Elisa is a joy,” says Executive Director Carol Kehoe. “Not only is she a gifted musician, she’s smart, ambitious and funny. As a co-leader, she easily helps me do my best work and together, we’re excited about how Tafelmusik can build on its legacy to create a vibrant future.”

Photos of Elisa Citterioand Tafelmusikare available for download from our Media Room. Photo credit: Daniel Banko.


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.

Media contact: Luisa Trisi, Big Picture Communications, (416) 456-0499 | 427 Bloor Street West, Toronto, ON M5S 1X7