Jun 19, 2013
Tafelmusik's Alison Mackay named winner of 2013 Betty Webster Award
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Toronto, Canada, June 19, 2013 … Tafelmusik warmly congratulates orchestra member Alison Mackay
, who has been named the winner of the 2013 Betty Webster Award
by Orchestras Canada
. The award celebrates sustained contribution to Canadian orchestras, with a focus on leadership, volunteerism and education. Mackay’s unique multidisciplinary and cross-cultural concert programs such as The Galileo Project
and House of Dreams
have opened doors around the world, and her festivals have explored Toronto’s many artistic, architectural and cultural synergies. Mackay, who has played violone and double bass with Tafelmusik since 1979, was nominated by Music Director Jeanne Lamon
of Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, and Dr. John Percy
, Professor Emeritus: Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of Toronto.
“I'm overwhelmed to have been chosen for the 2013 Betty Webster Award and deeply touched to have been nominated by Jeanne Lamon and John Percy, who have both opened so many doors for me. The Orchestras Canada organization has made amazing contributions to our lives as orchestral musicians, and it is a great honour for me to have been recognized in this way,” said Alison Mackay.
“Alison Mackay has reinvented the concert experience,” said Jeanne Lamon. “She has inspired the arts community of Toronto to come together in two unique city-wide arts festivals. Her programmes have led to major international touring, national and international partnerships, recordings, radio broadcasts, internet and television programmes that have reach millions of people worldwide. It is this sort of creativity that will change the future of concert-giving and concert-going in Canada and the world.”
Mackay’s creative multi-media programmes House of Dreams and The Galileo Project were co-productions with The Banff Centre, and have attracted invitations for Tafelmusik from presenters the world over — from Australia, New Zealand, China, Malaysia, Japan, South Korea and Mexico, to the United States and Canada. The resounding success of these programmes abroad has led to repeat invitations to such prestigious venues as Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles.
The programmes have also become an important element in the orchestra’s multi-platform recording label Tafelmusik Media, launched in January 2012. A DVD/CD recording of The Galileo Project was among the first releases on Tafelmusik Media, and was nominated for a 2013 JUNO Award. Alison Mackay’ House of Dreams, which has been filmed in Toronto, London, and Venice, will be released this fall on CD and DVD, adding to Tafelmusik’s discography of more than 80 recordings that have helped the orchestra build and maintain its excellent reputation around the world.
Dr. John Percy, Professor Emeritus: Astronomy & Astrophysics, University of Toronto, and one of the organizers of the International Year of Astronomy in 2009, remarked, “In creating The Galileo Project, Alison used timeless music and text, stunning images and motion to connect culture and history with the most profound ideas in Galileo’s and Newton’s science – one of the best fusions of arts and science that I have ever encountered.”
In the spring of 2005 Mackay was co-director of the Metamorphosis Festival, a Toronto-wide festival of music, art, dance, film and theatre inspired by the stories from Ovid's Metamorphoses. Her multi-cultural creation The Four Seasons: A Cycle of the Sun has been made into a feature documentary by Toronto's Media Headquarters. A live concert version of this project has toured across North America and in Asia, and will be seen again in Toronto in 2014.
In 2008 Mackay organized Sacred Spaces, Sacred Circles, a celebration of architecture and the arts in the varied worship spaces of many cultures in the city of Toronto. In 2006 her children's tale Baroque Adventure: The Quest for Arundo Donax, released on the Analekta label, was awarded the JUNO Award for Children's Recording of the Year.
Speaking on behalf of the Betty Webster Award jury, chair Vicki Young said, “We were humbled by the breadth and depth of Alison’s achievements. Through the programs and festivals that she has developed with Tafelmusik and the Toronto Consort, she has brought an energy and excitement to the presentation of classical music, engaging and awakening audiences in a genuine way. She is doing very important work to bring classical music into the modern world. She creates bridges between the distant past and contemporary society, and blazes new paths forward.”