Nov 16, 2013

Tafelmusik’s Messiah and Sing-Along Messiah to be heard live in concert this December and around the world on Tafelmusik Media recordings

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“ … this is as fine a period-instrument performance of Messiah as you are likely to experience anywhere in the world right now … this living, breathing piece of 1742 can make every Torontonian proud.” — Musical Toronto

Toronto, Canada, November 14, 2013 … The world-renowned Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir ring in the festive season with intimate and uplifting performances of Handel’s baroque masterpiece, Messiah at Koerner Hall from December 18 to 21 at 7:30 PM under the leadership of Choir Director Ivars Taurins. Sing-Along Messiah will be performed at Toronto’s Massey Hall at 2 PM on Sunday, December 22, and the 2012 90th Parallel film of Sing-Along Messiah will be featured by American public broadcaster WNED on Sunday December 15 at 8:30 PM.
 
Performed on period instruments by the orchestra and sung by a choir of 24 singers specializing in 17th- and 18th-century music, Tafelmusik’s Messiah has become a beloved tradition for Toronto audiences since 1981. As of 2012, Tafelmusik’s Messiah has been heard all around the world, thanks to a live recording of the complete Messiah made in Koerner Hall, released on the Tafelmusik Media label —described as “a finely played and sensitively directed performance … one of the best-played recordings of Messiah” by the UK’s Gramophone magazine. Individual tracks from this recording are also available to stream live from Tafelmusik’s Watch & Listen site. 
 
Tafelmusik’s Messiah is a profoundly moving experience in the style and spirit of Handel's own productions. No other Canadian conductor has led as many consecutive performances of Messiah as Ivars Taurins, who has conducted performances of Handel’s masterpiece annually with Tafelmusik and other orchestras and choirs across Canada since 1981.    
 
This season’s cast of soloists are well-known to Tafelmusik audiences and includes one of the world’s great pioneers of early music, soprano Dame Emma Kirkby; Canadian mezzo-soprano Laura Pudwell, whose performances in Mozart’s Requiem wowed audiences and critics last season; tenor Colin Balzer, known for his “unerring style and great beauty of tone,” (Opera Canada); and baritone Tyler Duncan, renowned for his “rich, clear, and resonant” voice. (Le Monde
 
On Sunday December 22, Tafelmusik performs its 27th annual Sing-Along Messiah at Massey Hall. Tafelmusik’s Sing-Along Messiah is a unique Toronto audience-participation phenomenon led by George Frideric Handel himself (aka Ivars Taurins — in character and dressed in full baroque costume). Each year, 2,700 audience members fill Massey Hall to the rafters, and with scores in hand, raise their voices together with those of the choir and soloists. Seating is General Admission, by voice part. A live-performance film of Sing-Along Messiah made in Koerner Hall was released commercially on the Tafelmusik Media label in 2012. Taurins received a 2011 Gemini Award nomination for his performance as Handel in Sing-Along Messiah, which has been broadcast on the Bravo! and CTV television networks.  
 
Founding director of the Tafelmusik Chamber Choir, Ivars Taurins was also violist of the Tafelmusik Orchestra for its first 23 years. Principal Baroque Conductor of the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra from 2001 to 2011, Taurins also appears as guest director with orchestras and choirs across Canada.  In September 2011, he was guest choir director for the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, preparing a combined chorus of Tafelmusik Chamber Choir and members of the OSM Chorus for performances and a recording (Analekta) of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, directed by Kent Nagano at the gala opening of the new Maison symphonique in Montreal. Taurins was director of the 2012 National Youth Choir, the 2000 and 2009 Ontario Youth Choirs, the 2003 Nova Scotia Youth Choir, and the 2004 Alberta University & College Choir. Taurins teaches orchestral conducting and directs the baroque string ensemble at the University of Toronto. He is director of the vocal/choral programme at the annual Tafelmusik Baroque Summer Institute.
 
The 2-CD recording of Messiah and the DVD of Sing-Along Messiah on the Tafelmusik Media label are on sale to the public and will be available at the performances. Excerpts of both are also available on Tafelmusik’s digital concert hall at www.tafelmusik.org/watch-and-listen, along with excerpts of Tafelmusik’s new release House of Dreams DVD and CD.
 
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For media information or to arrange an interview, please contact: 
Luisa Trisi, Media Relations Manager, tel: 416 481‐1161 | e‐mail: ltrisi@sympatico.ca 
High‐resolution photos are available for download in the Media Room at Tafelmusik.org
 
Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, founded in 1979 and led by Music Director Jeanne Lamon since 1981, is one of the world’s leading period performance ensembles. The Tafelmusik Chamber Choir, under the direction of Ivars Taurins, was formed in 1981 to complement the Orchestra. The orchestra performs more than 50 concerts each year at home in Toronto, and travels extensively around the world to such places as this season's tour destinations: Japan and South Korea, Carnegie Hall in New York City, BachFest Leipzig in Germany, cities across Ontario, and a tour with Opera Atelier to Versailles, France. 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 digital concert hall. Tafelmusik has a rich discography of more than 80 CDs 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 its annual artist training programmes, Tafelmusik Baroque Summer Institute and Tafelmusik Winter Institute.