TMC announces retirement of Executive Director Cynthia Hawkins

For the past 14 years, Executive Director Cynthia Hawkins has been the administrative leader of the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir. Earlier in May she informed the TMC Board of Directors that she would be taking her retirement at the end of August. In her letter to the Board, Cynthia stated “My work with the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir has been the highlight of my professional career. I will miss the choristers, TMC staff and the excitement of performances very much.”

Categories: 2019-2020 Season and Media Releases.

Choral maestro Andrew Balfour pursues his Indigenous identity through music

Carol Toller, The Globe and Mail. Toronto’s Tafelmusik and Mendelssohn choirs and the buzzy New York-based experimental ensemble Roomful of Teeth have all commissioned pieces from Balfour, and close to 20 groups across the country have performed his first published work, Ambe. The five-minute piece builds around a driving, rhythmic bass line that echoes the sound of a ceremonial drum – or, as Balfour has said, the heartbeat of Mother Earth – and projects a message of unity for all "two-legged beings.” The text is in Ojibway, and its energetic, welcoming message “seems to be something that people want to hear right now,” Balfour says.It’s a far cry from Handel’s “Hallelujah” chorus and the rest of the Western canon that dominates choral programming in North America. And for Canadian choir directors, that may be what’s most exciting about Balfour’s work. He’s drawing on his First Nations identity to nudge the Canadian classical-music scene out of its stodgy Eurocentric traditions.

Categories: 2018-2019 Season, 2019-2020 Season, and Media Reviews.

A great blend of architecture and music

Michael Johnson, This year’s Easter presentation by the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir (“Sacred Music in a Sacred Space“) took place at St. Anne’s Anglican Church a heritage building whose interior was decorated in the 1920s by notable artists in a style hearkening back to art nouveau. The space thus related nicely with the program of 20th century music composed between 1910 and 1987, a time period that experienced the emergence of various musical philosophies and styles. The word “rapt“ best describes the approach of all eight composers.

Categories: 2018-2019 Season and Media Reviews.