Feb 13, 2017

Tafelmusik Announces 2017/18 Season

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Elisa Citterio’s First Concerts as Music Director
Safe Haven: A New Multimedia Concert by Alison Mackay
Complete Beethoven Symphony Recordings Released as Box Set
Tafelmusik on Tour with Elisa Citterio: Australia, Eastern Canada, Ontario
Mozart’s Piano with Kristian Bezuidenhout Bach B-Minor Mass, Beethoven “Pastoral” Symphony

Toronto, February 13, 2017 … This evening at a season launch party at The Great Hall on Queen Street West,Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir unveiled plans for its 2017/18 season —the first featuring newly-appointed Music Director Designate Elisa Citterio. Hosted by Managing Director William Norris with musicians from the orchestra, the event featured a special video message from Citterio and reaffirmed Tafelmusik’s status as North America’s most active and innovative period orchestra, thanks to an unprecedented level of activity in touring, recording, artist training, and live concerts performed in seven venues across Toronto. Subscriptions for the 2017/18 season are now available through the Tafelmusik box office at (416) 964-6337, or for renewal online at tafelmusik.org.

Highlights of Tafelmusik’s 2017/18 season include Elisa Citterio’s inaugural concerts as Music Director; national and international tours; Safe Haven, a new multimedia concert creation by Alison Mackay; the release of the complete Beethoven symphonies as a box set; the release of Mackay’s striking Tales of Two Cities: The Leipzig-Damascus Coffeehouse on DVD and CD; performances of such baroque masterpieces as the B-Minor Mass by J.S. Bach; and appearances by internationally acclaimed guest artists, including fortepianist Kristian Bezuidenhout.

Elisa Citterio’s Inaugural Concerts as Music Director

She’s wise, she’s warm, she’s collaborative, she’s smart, she works hard. She’s going to fit in perfectly.” — Jeanne Lamon, Music Director Emerita

The first two programs of Tafelmusik’s 2017/18 season herald the arrival of the “superb” (The Guardian) Italian violinist Elisa Citterio as Music Director. The unanimous choice of the orchestra and search committee, Citterio is renowned for her stunning virtuoso performances on baroque violin and her innovative approach to period performance. Currently based in Milan, Citterio assumes her new role in July 2017, and will take up full-time residence in Toronto along with her family. In a nod to Citterio’s Italian roots, movements from Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons will be peppered throughout Tafelmusik’s 2017/18 concert programs.

“I am fascinated by the possibility of exchange between our two countries, Canada and Italy, distant in geography, but which music unites through a shared language. We will learn from each other, intertwining our cultures and music without the need for words. I also look forward to bringing Toronto audiences some of the colours and flavours of my homeland by way of its music. And of course we will journey beyond Italy to bring you some of the greatest music ever composed,” says Citterio.

One of the fall’s most anticipated musical events is sure to be A Joyous Welcome, Tafelmusik’s gala season opener at Koerner Hall featuring Elisa Citterio as director and violin soloist. (Sept 21 to 24, 2017 at Koerner Hall, and Sept 26, 2017 at Toronto Centre for the Arts). This celebratory program welcomes only the second Music Director in Tafelmusik’s history and includes Handel’s festive Concerto a due cori, a concerto grosso from Opus 6 by Corelli, an instrumental suite from Les Boréades by Rameau, and “Summer” from Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons.

Citterio takes audiences on a guided tour of music by Italian baroque composers in Elisa’s Italian Adventure (Oct 11 to 15, 2017). These concerts mark Citterio’s debut as Music Director in Tafelmusik’s home venue of Jeanne Lamon Hall, Trinity-St Paul’s Centre, and open with Sonata 14 by baroque composer and fellow Brescia native, Giovanni Battista Fontana.  A dramatic orchestral suite from Steffani’s Niobe, Locatelli’s Concerto for 4 violins, and “Autumn” from Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons are among the works hand-picked by Citterio for this program.


Safe Haven
A multimedia tale of the musical ideas of baroque Europe’s refugee artists.

Tafelmusik continues to push the boundaries of the concert experience with its spectacular multimedia productions created by double bassist Alison Mackay. Her latest, Safe Haven, explores the musical ideas of baroque Europe’s refugee artists and taps into Mackay’s uncanny ability to examine the parallels between 18th-century Europe and the issues currently facing our world. Safe Haven features music by Corelli, Lully, Bach, and “Winter” from Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons. The program portrays the influence of migration on the musical life of Europe—and equally of present-day Canada. Safe Haven explores how the movement of refugees across baroque Europe changed and enriched both the economy and culture of major cities.

Haus Musik
Between the late-night feel of Longboat Hall, the staging of the show, and the music performed, baroque music felt shiny and new last night, reflected in a fresh and fearless light. Above all, it felt like a good party.” — The Wholenote

After bursting on to the music scene last season, Haus Musik returns for three pop-up events in non-traditional venues around Toronto. Immersive, engaging, and experimental, Haus Musik plays with the rules of the traditional classical music experience by taking it out of the concert hall and dropping it into an atmospheric, theatrical setting. Past Haus Musik mashups have featured interventions by DJs, an alien dancer, a theatrical director, and hundreds of white balloons. Tafelmusik musicians are front and centre as they perform baroque music on period instruments in standing-only venues with a laid-back vibe and a cash bar. Dates for 2017/18 Haus Musik events are November 16, 2017, February 1, 2018, and April 26, 2018, and venues will be announced throughout the season.

Close Encounters Chamber Music Series

Following the successful inaugural season of Close Encounters, Tafelmusik’s daytime chamber music series returns for a second round. These intimate, informal hour-long performances are presented with introductions from the musicians and invite audiences to explore new aspects of Tafelmusik’s repertoire. The 2017/18 line-up includes: Close Encounters … in Paris, with music by Couperin, Rameau, and Marais (Wed Nov 15 2017 and Sat Nov 18, 2017); Close Encounters … in Salzburg, featuring music by Biber (Wed Jan 31, 2018 and Sat Feb 3, 2018); and Close Encounters … in Vienna and Madrid, with music by Vanhal, Boccherini, and Mozart (Sat Apr 21, 2018 and Wed Apr 25, 2018). Wednesday concerts start at 11am and take place at Heliconian Hall; Saturday concerts start at 2pm and take place at the Temerty Theatre, TELUS Centre, The Royal Conservatory.

Tafelmusik Chamber Choir

Under the direction of Ivars Taurins since its formation in 1981, the Tafelmusik Chamber Choir has been described as “the best period-performance choir anywhere in the world.” (The Globe and Mail). One of the undisputable highlights of the 2017/18 season is the Mass in B-Minor by J.S. Bach, a profound work of transcendent spirituality and one of the great masterpieces of Western music (Apr 5 to 10, 2018). Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir are joined by a stellar cast of soloists including soprano Dorothee Mields, mezzo-soprano Laura Pudwell, tenor Charles Daniels, and baritone Tyler Duncan.

Choral highlights include Four Weddings, a Funeral, and a Coronation (Nov 29 to Dec 3, 2017), jointly directed by Elisa Citterio and Ivars Taurins and featuring music composed by Purcell, Lully, and Handel for royal weddings, Pachelbel’s famous Canon, a coronation anthem by John Blow, and the sublimeMesse des Morts by Charpentier. The choral season continues with Alexander’s Feast (Feb 22 to 25, 2018), Handel’s ode to the power of music, with soprano Amanda Forsythe, tenor Thomas Hobbs, and baritone Alexander Dobson, together with the choir and orchestra under the direction of Ivars Taurins.  

Tafelmusik’s Messiah (is) a masterpiece of urgency and fire, tension and drama.” – The Globe and Mail.

No Tafelmusik season would be complete without performances of Handel’s baroque masterpiece Messiah at Koerner Hall. Guest soloists include soprano Joanne Lunn, countertenor James Laing, tenor Rufus Müller, and baritone Brett Polegato (Dec 13 to 16, 2017). “Christmas just would not be the same without being part of this beautiful and cathartic event,” says CBC Radio about Tafelmusik’s Sing-AlongMessiah, performed in grand style at Massey Hall (Dec 17, 2017). An audience of 2,700 participates in this cherished annual tradition, directed by Herr Handel himself dressed in full period garb.

Special Guests and Friends

Mozart’s Piano
Guest directed by Kristian Bezuidenhout, fortepiano soloist

Known as “the finest living exponent of the fortepiano” (The Herald), virtuoso Kristian Bezuidenhout returns to direct Tafelmusik with his vibrant and expressive style (Nov 9 to 12, 2017). One of the first virtuosos of the fortepiano, Mozart used all of the instrument’s colours to great effect. The lyrical Concerto for piano in A Major is the centrepiece of this program, which includes the Rondo in A Minor for solo piano, the dynamic Symphony no. 29 in A Major, and symphonies by two of his mentors, Carl Philipp Emanuel and Johann Christoph Bach—all directed from the fortepiano by Bezuidenhout.

J. S. Bach: The Circle of Creation
Created by Alison Mackay

Alison Mackay’s acclaimed J.S. Bach: The Circle of Creation returns (Mar 14 to 18, 2018), following its premiere performances in 2014/15. Directed by Elisa Citterio, narrated by Blair Williams, and performed by Tafelmusik musicians entirely from memory, this multimedia creation combines text, music, and dramatic projected video and images to explore the world of the artisans—papermakers, violin carvers, string spinners, and performers—who helped J.S. Bach realize his musical genius. Tafelmusik has toured The Circle of Creation to China and Korea, and the program will be seen in several cities in the United States over the coming weeks and across Australia and Eastern Canada during the 2017/18 season.

A Recorder Romp 
Alison Melville,
recorder soloist

This program of delightful and daring concertos will challenge preconceptions about the recorder (Feb 8 to 11, 2018). A long-time Tafelmusik collaborator, Alison Melville “shapes the phrases marvelously; music, breath, and ornaments are as one. This is art beyond time—the moment might last forever.” (Early Music America). Melville is joined by a select chamber group of Tafelmusik musicians for concertos by Vivaldi and Telemann, while Van Eyck’s charming variations from Garden of Delights for solo recorder showcase her artistry.

Beethoven Pastoral Symphony and Violin Concerto

Guest Directed by Bruno Weil
Elisa Citterio
, violin soloist

The 2017/18 season wraps up with a remarkable program that brings together long-time Tafelmusik collaboratorBruno Weil as conductor, Music Director Emerita Jeanne Lamon as concertmaster, and Music Director Elisa Citterio as violin soloist. From May 3 to 6, 2018, Weil conducts the orchestra in performances of Beethoven’s “Pastoral” Symphony No. 6. The critically acclaimed partnership between Weil and Tafelmusik "convinces us that Beethoven can sound as radical in the 21st century as he must have done in the 19th.” (Gramophone).

The thrilling culmination of this program features Elisa Citterio’s much anticipated solo performance in Beethoven’s Violin Concerto in D Major, one of the world’s best-known concertos.


In addition to concerts at its home venue of Jeanne Lamon Hall, Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre, Tafelmusik performs regularly in six other venues across the city: Koerner Hall and Temerty Hall at the TELUS Centre for Performance and Learning; George Weston Recital Hall at Toronto Centre for the Arts; Massey Hall; Heliconian Hall; and most recently The Great Hall. Additional venues for Haus Musik events will be announced throughout the season.   

Opera Atelier

Tafelmusik’s three-decade-plus partnership with Opera Atelier continues to flourish as the orchestra joins the company for its season at the Elgin Theatre. David Fallis conducts Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro (Oct 26 to Nov 4, 2017), and Monteverdi’s Ulysses (Apr 19 to Apr 28, 2018).  

Elisa Citterio’s National and International Tafelmusik Touring Debut

In 2017/18 Canada’s busiest touring orchestra will spend more than six weeks on the road thanks to its trademark creative multidisciplinary concerts, which continue to delight audiences around the world. Next season Elisa Citterio makes her Tafelmusik touring debut directing Alison Mackay’s acclaimed multimedia creation J.S. Bach: The Circle of Creation on tours to Eastern Canada and Australia. Canadian performances take place in November 2017 at Salle Bourgie in Montreal, Mount Allison University in Sackville, Confederation Center of the Arts in Charlottetown, Acadia University in Wolfville,and theRebecca Cohn Auditorium in Halifax. Australian performances take place in May 2018 in Perth, Melbourne, Canberra, Adelaide, Brisbane, and Sydney.

Premiered in Toronto in May 2015, the all-Bach program garnered praise from American Record Guide, which remarked that “the sheer enjoyment shown by Tafelmusik's players in performing Bach's music from memory ... gave special zest to their playing.” J.S. Bach: The Circle of Creation toured to China and Korea earlier this season, and will seen across the United States in the weeks to come. Closer to home, Tafelmusik makes its annual Ontario tour in March 2018.


Since the launch of the Tafelmusik Media label in January 2012, Tafelmusik has released more than twenty highly acclaimed albums, including live performance, studio CD and DVD recordings, and re-releases of previous Tafelmusik recordings from SONY Classical and CBC Records.

In 2017/18 Tafelmusik will release the complete Beethoven symphonies as a box set on the Tafelmusik Media label in conjunction with Analekta. Recorded under the direction of conductor Bruno Weil over an eighteen-year period, Tafelmusik’s cycle marks the first time a North American orchestra has recorded all nine Beethoven symphonies on period instruments.

Another important upcoming Tafelmusik Media release in autumn 2017 is Alison Mackay’s Tales of Two Cities: The Leipzig-Damascus Coffee House on DVD and CD. Tales of Two Cities is inspired by the colourful, opulent world of 18th-century Saxon and Syrian coffee houses, and is performed entirely from memory by Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, guest ensemble Trio ArabicaMaryem Tollar, voice and qanun; Demetri Petsalakis, oud; and Naghmeh Farahmand, percussion — with narrator Alon Nashman. Described as an “enterprising concept …  [that] blends elements that are entertaining, educational, musically rewarding and visually arresting” (Huffington Post Canada), this stunning multimedia concert was filmed before a live audience at the Aga Khan Museum’s Auditorium last December.

Artist Training

Tafelmusik continues to develop the next generation of local, national, and international musicians. Now in its 17th year, the Tafelmusik Baroque Summer Institute (TBSI) offers advanced students and professional musicians the opportunity to learn about period performance practice. The ancillary Tafelmusik Baroque Summer Festival includes a number of free community concerts in June. The sixth annual Tafelmusik Winter Institute (TWI) is an intensive week-long training program taking place in January. TWI focuses on specialized orchestral study for select period players, culminating in a public concert.

The Baroque Mentors training program allows emerging artists to learn directly from Tafelmusik musicians and distinguished guest artists through university residencies and guest artist masterclasses. Many of the students reached through Baroque Mentors are being introduced to period performance for the first time, while experienced period players or singers are able to access training at the highest level. Additionally, as the Baroque Orchestra-in-Residence at the Faculty of Music, University of Toronto, Tafelmusik partners with the Faculty to expand the school’s period-performance program and to offer post-graduate studies.


Committed to building an international centre of musical excellence while making baroque and classical music fully relevant in a 21st-century context, Tafelmusik continues to develop and invest in ongoing music education and outreach programs for music lovers of all ages. These include free public pre-concert chats for Tafelmusik audience members, free Education Concerts, in-school visits,Toronto Public Library panel discussions, and other events to engage with the community. 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.


Over 40% of Tafelmusik’s annual income comes through grants and fundraising, with individual donors committing about $800,000 in charitable gifts. As the result of personal communication and frequent updates about the connections between giving and Tafelmusik’s success, the number of Continuo and Music Director’s Circle Members (their top member groups) is at its highest level in Tafelmusik history, and growing. For the 17/18 Season, Tafelmusik is offering new Membership levels and benefits, including a meet-and-greet with the incoming Music Director Elisa Citterio and access to the exclusive Membership Academy. Tafelmusik’s Membership programs begin with a contribution of $75.

About Tafelmusik

Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, founded as a registered charity in 1979, is one of the world’s leading period performance ensembles. In January 2017 the orchestra appointed violinist Elisa Citterio as Music Director, succeeding Jeanne Lamon, who stepped down in 2014 following a remarkable 33-year tenure that began in 1981. Lamon continues her association with Tafelmusik as Music Director Emerita. The Tafelmusik Chamber Choir, under the direction of Ivars Taurins, was formed in 1981 to complement the Orchestra. The orchestra performs some 80 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 discography of 80-plus CDs has been recorded on the Sony Classical, CBC Records, Analekta and Tafelmusik Media labels. Since 1991, Tafelmusik has received nine JUNO Awards and a Grammy Award nomination. Tafelmusik is the Baroque Orchestra-in-Residence at the Faculty of Music, University of Toronto and operates annual artist training programs, Tafelmusik Baroque Summer Institute and Tafelmusik Winter Institute. Managing Director William Norris joined the Tafelmusik team in 2015.

2016/17 Season Partners

Tafelmusik wishes to thank the following for their generous support: BMO Financial Group, RBC Foundation, TD Bank Group, John and Margaret Catto, Margaret and Jim Fleck, Great West Life, London Life, Canada Life, Hal Jackman Foundation, KPMG, 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.

Media contact:
Luisa Trisi, Media Relations Manager, (416) 456-0499 | ltrisi@sympatico.cawww.tafelmusik.org  | 427 Bloor Street West, Toronto, ON, M5S 1X7
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High‐resolution photos of Elisa Citterio and Tafelmusik are available for download at tafelmusik.org/PressPhotos