Toronto Mendelssohn Choir celebrates 125 years of contributions to the Toronto and Canadian choral scene

2019 marks TMC’s 125th anniversary. Founded in 1894, the Choir has performed in the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries, as Toronto went from a city of 200,000 to the Greater Toronto Area of over 6 million. Over its 125-year history the TMC is proud to have played a role in the development of Canadian classical choral music, particularly in Toronto.  Discover some of Toronto’s choral music history through the TMC’s history.
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Categories: 2019-2020 Season, Media Releases, and TMCHistory.

Toronto Mendelssohn Choir commissions new work from composer Andrew Balfour to help celebrate TMC’s 125th anniversary

The Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, under Interim Conductor David Fallis, has commissioned a new work from acclaimed Cree composer Andrew Balfour, to be premiered at the TMC’s 125th anniversary gala on October 20, 2019. The 10-minute work, titled Mamihcimowin (The act of singing praises), will be a partial setting of Psalm 67 translated into Cree. It will be scored for SSATTB , violas, cellos and double basses. Of Cree descent, Winnipeg-based composer Andrew Balfour is an innovative composer, conductor, singer and sound designer with a large body of choral, instrumental, electro-acoustic and orchestral works.
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Categories: 2019-2020 Season and Media Releases.

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

Toronto Mendelssohn Choir celebrates singing through three centuries with a gala concert to launch its 2019/20 season

The TMC celebrates its 125th anniversary in 2019 with a gala concert with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra at Koerner Hall. The Choir was founded in 1894 by conductor Augustus Vogt and had its first concert on January 15, 1895 in Massey Hall.  The Choir has performed in the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries, as Toronto went from a city of 200,000 to the Greater Toronto Area of over 6 million. A lot has changed over the years, but the Choir continues to hold annual auditions for all choir members, a practice started by founder Augustus Vogt.The Gala Concert will take place Sunday, October 20, 2019 at 3:30 pm at Koerner Hall. The Choir will be joined by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, long-time musical partners with the TMC and a youngster at only 97 years old. TMC Conductor David Fallis has put together a program that brings together the three centuries in three major works: Gabriel Fauré’s Requiem, composed in the late 1880s and re-orchestrated by him in 1894, the year of the founding of the TMC; Igor Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms, composed in 1930 and one of the greatest choral-orchestral works of the 20th century; and for the 21st century a new commission by acclaimed Cree composer Andrew Balfour. Andrew’s commission for the TMC will set one of the Biblical psalms in Cree, interwoven with words by Indigenous poet Karen Vermette.
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Categories: 2019-2020 Season and Media Releases.