Our History

The Toronto Mendelssohn Choir is one of Canada’s oldest, largest and best-known choral ensembles. Founded in 1894 by Augustus Vogt, the Choir presented its first concert in Massey Hall, as part of the hall’s inaugural season, on January 15, 1895. The Choir has flourished under the successive leadership of Herbert Fricker (1917-42), Sir Ernest MacMillan (1942-57), Frederick Silvester (1957-60) Walter Susskind (1960-64), Elmer Iseler (1964-97) and Noel Edison (1997-present). All of these Canadian conductors have been internationally renowned in their own right, and have successfully brought the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir to the world’s attention, through performances, recordings and tours.

For a more lengthy history, go to Toronto Mendelssohn Choir

1894

founding of Toronto Mendelssohn Choir by Augustus Vogt. See some photos of Toronto in 1894

1902

first concert with symphony orchestra (Pittsburgh Orchestra); the first of several partnerships with major US orchestras

1926

first LP

1932

first performance of Handel’s Messiah

1952/3

critically acclaimed recordings of the Messiah and St. Matthew Passion under Sir Ernest MacMillan

1972

first tour to Europe, appearing in Paris, Lucerne, the Proms in London and the Edinburgh Festival

1976

performance at the opening ceremonies of the Olympic Games in Montreal

1977

formation of the Toronto Mendelssohn Youth Choir

1986

Juno-nominated recording of Messiah with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra under Sir Andrew Davis

1993

recording of film score of Schindler’s List with composer John Williams

1995

receipt of the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for the Arts

1998

recording of the Berlioz Requiem under Noel Edison for Naxos

2002

formation of the Mendelssohn Singers

2003

tour to Vienna and Salzburg, appearing with the Vienna Boys Choir

2006

recording of “A Festival of Carols” – music for the Christmas season

2007

performance of Oratorio Terezin by Canadian composer Ruth Fazal at Carnegie Hall

2008

inception of the TMC Apprentice program, replacing the Toronto Mendelssohn Youth Choir program

2010

creation of the annual TMC Choral Conductors’ Symposium for emerging conductors, led by Noel Edison

2010

participation in the 2010 Cultural Olympiad in connection with the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, BC

2011

inception of the Associate Conductor position

2012

first live webcast of a TMC performance – the 2012 Choral Conductors’ Symposium concert