Artistic Leadership

Conducting excellence

The TMC’s artistic leadership team guides the artistic planning for the Choir, leads the Choir in rehearsals and prepares them for appearances with the TSO and other orchestras, and conducts TMC concerts.

Jean-Sébastien Vallée

Internationally recognized conductor, scholar, and pedagogue Jean-Sébastien Vallée was named as the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir’s new Artistic Director on May 31, 2021 following an international search.  In addition to his work as Artistic Director of the TMC, Jean-Sébastien is Associate Professor of Music, Director of Choral Studies, and Coordinator of the Ensembles & Conducting Area at the Schulich School of Music of McGill University, and Director of the renowned choir of the Church of St. Andrew & St. Paul in Montreal. Maestro Vallée will conclude his tenure as Music Director of the Ottawa Choral Society with the 2021-22 season. Prior to his return to Canada, Jean-Sebastien served as Director of Choral Studies at California State University, Los Angeles and was on the choral faculty of the University of Redlands.

In addition to his interest in choral, operatic, and orchestral music, Jean-Sébastien is an advocate for contemporary music, making one of his priorities to premiere and commission works by young composers and program rarely performed repertoire.  He has recorded extensively with the Choir of the Church of St. Andrew and St. Paul.

Read the media announcement.

Read Jean-Sébastien’s full biography.


Simon Rivard, Associate Conductor

Simon RivardChoral and orchestral conductor Simon Rivard was named in July 2020 as Associate Conductor for the 2020/21 season. Simon has been serving as RBC Resident Conductor of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and Conductor of the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra since 2018 and over that time has worked closely with the Choir: preparing the TMC for their performances with the TSO; jointly conducting the TMC’s Festival of Carols concerts in December which featured the TSYO as guest artists; and directing the TMC-TSYO-TSO collaboration in May to create the virtual performance of Gabriel Fauré’s Cantique de Jean Racine.

Simon Rivard’s appearances for the 2020-2021 season have been generously underwritten by an anonymous donor. We thank them for their support.

Read Simon’s full biography.

Simon can be reached at

Gergely Szokolay, Collaborative Pianist

Gergely SzokolayHungarian born pianist Gergely Szokolay has performed both as a soloist and chamber musician in Europe, North America and Japan while specializing in collaborative piano and working with renowned musicians. From 2005-2017 Mr. Szokolay was principal collaborative pianist for the Canadian Children’s Opera Company. In 2014 Mr. Szokolay appeared as soloist and collaborative pianist with Andrea Rost at the Warner Theatre in Washington DC. Equally at home in choral, lieder, operatic and string repertoire, Mr. Szokolay balances a busy schedule of teaching and performing. He begins his work with the TMC with the 2018/19 season.