Jan 26, 2016

Tafelmusik Announces 2016/2017 Season

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Toronto (Canada), January 26, 2016 …Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choirannounced its 2016/2017 Season this evening at a season launch event at Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre, Jeanne Lamon Hall, hosted by Managing Director William Norris with musicians from the Orchestra, andChief Artistic Advisor Jeanne Lamon in attendance. The season reaffirms Tafelmusik’s status as North America’s most active period orchestra, thanks to international tours to Asia, Europe, and the United States; a new multimedia concert creation —Visions & Voyages: Canada 1663 - 1763 —by Alison Mackay; the release of a live recording of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony; the launch of a new chamber music series called Close Encounters; the celebration of Tafelmusik Chamber Choir’s 35th anniversary; appearances by internationally acclaimed guest artists including soprano Karina Gauvin and cellistChristophe Coin; and extensive artist training initiatives. In addition to concerts performed in its home venue of Jeanne Lamon Hall, Tafelmusik returns to Koerner Hall, TELUS Centre for Performance and Learning for three programmes, and continues its three-concert series at the George Weston Recital Hall, Toronto Centre for the Arts.  

Tafelmusik launches its 2016/2017 season at Koerner Hall with the perennial favourite, Handel’s Water Music. Composed in 1717 for a party on the river Thames, this festive piece features a large orchestra with winds and brass. (Sept 22 to 25, 2016 at Koerner Hall; Sept 27 at George Weston Recital Hall).

Tafelmusik will continue its tremendously successful 35 & Under membership programme, Tafelscene, which was launched in 2012.  Tafelscene welcomes young audience members to concerts at discount prices, and invites them to intimate intermission parties and other special events with Tafelmusik musicians. 

Guest Artists

Celebrated guest artists joining Tafelmusik during the 2016/17 season include soprano Karina Gauvin, featured soloist in The Baroque Diva — a programme including a Vivaldi motet and several Handel opera arias that are beautifully suited to Gauvin’s exceptional vocal virtuosity (Mar 23 to 26, 2017); father/daughter team Alfredo Bernardini, oboe, and Cecilia Bernardini, violin, in Bach: Keeping it in the Family, which includes music by J.S. Bach and his eldest sons, Wilhelm Friedemann and Carl Phillip Emmanuel (April 5 to 9, 2017); and one of the world’s foremost period cellists, Christophe Coin, in The Eloquent Cello, with music by Boccherini, Haydn and Dittersdorf (Oct 5 to 9, 2016).

Other renowned vocal soloists joining Tafelmusik include sopranos Julia Doyle and Joanne Lunn in Mozart’s Mass in C Minor (May 4 to 7, 2017); and sopranoSherezade Panthaki and tenorPhillippe Gagné in Let Us All Sing! Tafelmusik Chamber Choir at 35 (Nov 2 to 8, 2016); and mezzo-soprano Krisztina Szabo, tenor Colin Balzer, and baritone Tyler Duncan in Handel’s Messiah and Sing-Along Messiah (Dec 14 to 18, 2016).

NEW: Close Encounters Chamber Music Series

For the 2016/2017 season Tafelmusik introduces a new Saturday afternoon three-concert chamber music series. These intimate hour-long performances, presented in an informal style with introductions from the musicians, allow audiences to explore new aspects of Tafelmusik’s repertoire. The inaugural line-up includes: Close Encounters of the Italian Kind, with music by Geminiani, Vivaldi, and Boccherini (Dec. 3, 2016); Close Encounters of the Cross-Channel Kind, featuring music from England and France by Purcell, Leclair, and Couperin (Jan 28, 2017); and Close Encounters of the German Kind, with music by Telemann, Zelenka, and Fasch (April 22, 2017). All concerts start at 2PM and take place at the Conservatory Theatre, Royal Conservatory of Music.

NEW: Visions and Voyages: Canada 1663 - 1763

Tafelmusik marks the 150th anniversary of Canadian Confederation with a new creation, Visions and Voyages: Canada 1663 – 1763.Alison Mackay’s latest multi-dimensional programme views Canada through the lens of baroque Europe. The music in Tafelmusik’s repertoire was often composed for French and English monarchs, whose prosperity owed much to the Nations who had lived and worked in Canada for thousands of years. Visions and Voyages weaves together images of maps and works of art, diplomatic dispatches, and orchestral works by Purcell, Lully, and Handel to explore a fascinating century in Canada’s history.

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). Let Us All Sing! Tafelmusik Chamber Choir at 35 marks an important milestone in the choir’s history. This festive programme features soprano Sherezade Panthaki and tenor Phillippe Gagné, and includes works by Handel, Rameau, Lully, and Zelenka (Nov 2 to 8, 2016). Other choral highlights are A Bach Tapestry, with choruses from several of J.S. Bach’s cantatas, and the Mass in G Major (Feb 9 to 14, 2017); and Mozart’s powerful and inspiring Mass in C Minor, with guest soprano soloists Julia Doyle and Joanne Lunn (May 4 to 7, 2017).

No Tafelmusik season would be complete without performances of Handel’s baroque masterpiece Messiah at Koerner Hall. Guest soloists include mezzo-soprano Krisztina Szabo, tenor Colin Balzer, and baritone Tyler Duncan, (Dec 14 to 17, 2016).  Dec 18, 2016 marks the 30th anniversary of Tafelmusik’s Sing-AlongMessiah —Toronto’s Hallelujah event — performed in grand style at Massey Hall. An audience of 2700 participates in this cherished annual tradition, directed by Herr Handel himself dressed in full period garb. “Christmas just would not be the same without being part of this beautiful and cathartic event.” (CBC Radio)


Tafelmusik’s three-decade partnership with Opera Atelier continues to flourish as the orchestra joins the company for its season at the Elgin Theatre. David Fallis conducts Purcell’s Dido & Aeneas (Oct 20 to 29, 2016), and Charpentier's Medea (Apr 22 to Apr 29, 2017). In addition to the performances in Toronto, Tafelmusik will join Opera Atelier in performances of Medea at the Royal Palace of Versailles, France, on May 19, 20, and 21, 2017.   


In 2016/2017 Canada’s busiest touring orchestra will spend more than six weeks on the road, travelling to Asia, France, the United States, and throughout Ontario.

Asia: China and Korea

Tafelmusik’s creative multidisciplinary concerts continue to delight audiences around the world, and the 2016/2017 season is no exception. From Nov 9 to 21, 2016, Tafelmusik brings Mandarin and Korean versions of its acclaimed multimedia creation J.S. Bach: The Circle of Creation to China and Korea. Premiered in Toronto in May 2015, the fully-memorized programme 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.” In addition to a concert at the Shanghai Oriental Arts Centre in China, Tafelmusik will perform in several concerts in Korea, including the Grand Concert Hall in Daegu, Tongyeong Concert Hall in Tongyeong, and the LG Centre in Seoul.   

United States: Ohio, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Florida, California, and Washington State.

“For Tafelmusik, Baroque music and period instruments are no gimmick – they are a means of expression so ingrained, these musicians seem to breathe it. They bring the same attitude to the use of technology and multimedia. It makes no show of itself; it serves the art. Thus the old and the new coexist on stage like two good friends – Friends who improve each other.”- Violinist.com (Los Angeles)

Tafelmusik has enjoyed regular invitations from American presenters and returns stateside February 28 to March 12, 2017, for eight performances of J.S. Bach: The Circle of Creation at Finney Chapel in Oberlin (OH); Schwab Auditorium at Penn State University (PA); Luis. A Ferre Performing Arts Centre in San Juan (PR); Tiedtke Concert Hall in Winter Park, (FL); Lobero Theater in Santa Barbara (CA); Carpenter Performing Arts Centre in Long Beach (CA); Sherwood Auditorium in La Jolla (CA); and Meany Hall at the University of Washington, Seattle (WA).  

France: The Royal Palace of Versailles

Tafelmusik is thrilled to return to the Royal Palace of Versailles with long-time collaborators Opera Atelier for performances of Charpentier's Medea on May 19, 20, and 21, 2017. Following the success of Opera Atelier’s Armide in 2012, The Royal Opera House invited the company back to Versailles with Persée in 2014, and again in 2015 to reprise Armide. The May 2017 appearance marks the fourth time that Tafelmusik has joined Opera Atelier in this historic venue.

Canadian tours

Tafelmusik makes its annual Ontario tour in March 2017 with Visions and Voyages: Canada 1663 – 1763, Alison Mackay’s multimedia programme commemorating Canada 150, the sesquicentennial anniversary of Canada’s Confederation.


Fall 2016 marks another important milestone in Tafelmusik’s history: its recording of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony will be released on the Tafelmusik Media label, therebycompleting its cycle of recordings of all nine Beethoven symphonies.Recorded live in concert at Koerner Hall under the direction of Bruno Weil, the recording features the combined forces of the orchestra, choir, and guest soloists, soprano Sigrid Plundrich, mezzo soprano Mary-Ellen Nesi, tenor Colin Balzer, and bass-baritoneSimon Tischler. Tafelmusik is the first North American orchestra to record all nine Beethoven symphonies on period instruments.

Since the launch of the Tafelmusik Media label in January 2012, Tafelmusik has released more than a dozen 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 June 2014 Jeanne Lamon stepped down as Music Director, and is continuing as Tafelmusik’s Chief Artistic Advisor until her successor is appointed. Tafelmusik’s Music Director search committee, consisting of musicians, board members, administrative staff, and community representatives, has searched Canada and the world to identify possible candidates. Tafelmusik continues to work with candidates as guest directors to assess musical fit and chemistry, and to allow the orchestra to become better acquainted with them. Given the breadth of Tafelmusik's repertoire, potential candidates must perform music from a wide range of eras with the orchestra. Tafelmusik will also continue to work with a number of guest directors who are not candidates, but who are a delight to welcome to the stage.


Tafelmusik continues to develop the next generation of local, national, and international musicians, together with the audiences that will support and appreciate their endeavours for decades to come. Now in its 15th 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 fifth annual Tafelmusik Winter Institute (TWI) is an intensive week-long training programme taking place in January. TWI focuses on specialized orchestral study for select period players, culminating in a public concert.

The Baroque Mentors training programme 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 programme and to offer post-graduate studies.

Artist Training initiatives are complemented by international residencies, such as the Baroque Residency at Hanyang University in Seoul, South Korea.


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 programmes for music lovers of all ages. These include free Education Concerts, in-school visits,and Toronto Public Library lectures. 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.


Website: www.tafelmusik.org

Media contact:

Luisa Trisi, Media Relations Manager, 416 456-0499 | ltrisi@sympatico.ca
High‐resolution photos of Tafelmusik are available for download at: