Meet a Member: Anne Longmore, Toronto Mendelssohn Choir

Mike Rowan, Chorus America. Toronto Mendelssohn Choir director of marketing and community outreach Anne Longmore has an unusual dual career—college professor and arts administrator, thanks to a big move. “I worked for a year and a half in Dubai with my family, and taught some marketing classes at Canadian University Dubai where my husband was working,” recounts Longmore. “When I came back to Toronto, I wanted to work in the arts, but also look for an opportunity to teach part-time.” She teaches at Humber College, which offers a post-graduate certificate program in public relations, in addition to her work with TMC. After obtaining her master’s in arts administration and working for some of Toronto’s large cultural institutions, Longmore was happy to combine her personal passion for singing and working for an arts organization that makes a difference in society. She also increasingly enjoys opportunities to lead seminars and webinars where she can share practical advice for those just starting out with a stretched budget or staff. Says Longmore, “I love to help other professionals understand how to make the ideas that you read about actually happen.” Longmore spoke to Chorus America president and CEO Catherine Dehoney about trends in marketing and arts administration programs in our latest edition of ‘Meet A Member.’
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Categories: 2017-2018 Season and Media Reviews.

Toronto Dominates Classical Music Nominees At The 60th Annual Grammy Awards

Michael Vincent, Ludwig Van Toronto. The 60th annual Grammy Awards have announced the complete list of nominees. This year, three Toronto artists/presenters represent the only Canadians nominated over the 10 classical music categories. Soprano Barbara Hannigan is nominated for in the Best Classical Solo Vocal Album category for her 2017 album release, Crazy Girl Crazy featuring music by Gershwin, Berg & Berio with Orchestra Ludwig. The Toronto Symphony Orchestra and Toronto Mendelssohn Choir are both nominated for last year's recording of Handel’s Messiah with Andrew Davis, (conductor) Noel Edison (chorus master) and soloists: Elizabeth DeShong, John Relyea, Andrew Staples & Erin Wall. TSO Messiah album producer, Blanton Alspaugh, also has a nod for producer of the year.
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Categories: 2017-2018 Season and Media Reviews.

The Toronto Symphony Remembers…

Jeff Mitchell, Toronto Concert Reviews. (T)he Toronto premiere of an hour-long work entitled Afghanistan: Requiem for a Generation, by Vancouver-based composer Jeffrey Ryan, with text by Canadian poet Suzanne Steele, who spent time with the Canadian Light Infantry in Afghanistan between 2008 and 2010.  Her “observations of a Canadian battle group’s road to war and that of their loved ones, before, during and after war”, as expressed through her vivid and graphic poetry, set the stage for the dramatic and visceral music composed by Ryan.  The work is written for orchestra, vocal soloists, as well as adult and children’s choruses. Each of the soloists were exceptional, singing music that was not as lyrical or melodic as one often hears in a requiem but that was, at turns, percussive, violent, plaintive and emotionally raw, even at its quietest moments.
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Categories: 2017-2018 Season and Media Reviews.

Toronto Symphony Orchestra lifts war into art with Afghanistan: Requiem for a Generation

John Terauds, Toronto Star. Art loves conflict and resolution, while the real world muddles along in the sludgy mass between the two. But art, carefully applied and administered as it was by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra on Thursday night, can lift that sludgy mass up and turn it into something almost as beautiful as neat resolution.
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Categories: 2017-2018 Season and Media Reviews.

Toronto Symphony Remembers Afghanistan War With Deeply Moving Tribute

John Terauds, ludwig van Toronto. The second half of the program belonged to Ryan and Steele’s 60-minute Requiem, with full orchestra and four vocal soloists augmented by the always-excellent Toronto Mendelssohn Choir and Toronto Children’s Chorus. Soprano Measha Brueggergosman, mezzo Allyson McHardy, tenor Colin Ainsworth and baritone Brett Poegato did excellent work with what was often difficult singing, bringing genuine emotion to the text.
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Categories: 2017-2018 Season and Media Reviews.

Review: Afghanistan: Requiem for a Generation

John Gilks, operaramblings. It’s a new piece by Jeffrey Ryan that sets lines from the Latin Requiem Mass combined with words by poet Suzanne Steele who joined up with the PPCLI on a tour of duty in Afghanistan.  So there are structural resemblances to the Britten work but whereas in the War Requiem we have a clear delineation between sections of the mass (for soprano and chorus) and Owen’s poetry (for the baritone and tenor), in Afghanistan: Requiem for a Generation the two parts are blended and there’s an underlying narrative.  Generally, the Latin is given to the adult and children’s choruses and set quite lyrically while Steele’s words are given to the four soloists with generally more abrasive, sometimes atonal music and sometimes even, spoken.  Steele’s texts are redolent of the discomfort and danger and, sometimes, the essential pointlessness of the Afghanistan campaign.  There’s a longing for home and a sense of wonderment at Nature but never, thankfully, bogus nationalism or sentimentality.
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Categories: 2017-2018 Season and Media Reviews.

Review: A Triple Concerto & A German Requiem with the TSO

Jenna Simeonov, Schmopera. The TMC sounded spectacular under the direction of Noel Edison, as did the solo singing by Braun and Wall - Wall in particular filled the Hall with her stunning soprano.
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Categories: 2017-2018 Season and Media Reviews.

TSO Gives Substance to Brahms Requiem Redux

Arthur Kaptainis, ludwig van Toronto. (The Toronto Mendelssohn Choir) of about 130 as prepared by Noel Edison furnished what a devout listener might call a firm foundation, confidently projected yet carefully balanced. The Mendelssohnians are about three-fifths female, and generally sound it, but there was no difficulty in hearing the gentlemen in Brahms’s fugues, which came across as urgent and stirring rather than academic. Words were admirably clear.
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Categories: 2017-2018 Season and Media Reviews.

A Fiery Finish to the Toronto Symphony Orchestra Season

Joseph So, Musical Toronto. Indeed, energy and passion were what defined the performance on Friday night. Peter Oundjian threw himself into the monumental work, conducting with a deft baton. Most importantly, there was a real sense of joy, something lovely to see. With appropriately brisk tempi, he raised the musical temperature to a scorching level: exciting, yes; raw, never! From the very striking opening of “O Fortuna,” one is completely drawn into the drama. The Toronto Mendelssohn Choir sang with impressive power, energy and incisiveness. I was particularly struck by how youthful the women sounded, almost like a treble choir – and I mean that in a good way! The Toronto Children’s Chorus provided the proper sound of innocence, so important in this piece.
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Categories: 2016-2017 Season and Media Reviews.

TSO’s Carmina Burana is a memorable conclusion to its 16/17 season!

David Richards, Toronto Concert Reviews. Carmina Burana, Carl Orff’s masterpiece of ritualistic primitivism, the main event of the week’s concerts, was everything one could hope for. The performance was a tour de force. Peter Oundjian led the orchestra, choirs and soloists through the medieval poetic settings paying homage to the ebb and flow of “fortune”. The celebration of spring time, the decadence of life in the tavern and the joys and sorrows of love-making all took their turn. The large orchestra that included two pianos and five percussionists filled the hall with rhythmic drive, virtuosic passages and subtle melancholy. The work held its high energy throughout the full hour of intense music making. The Toronto Mendelssohn Choir was in fine form in both the explosive O Fortuna choruses and the delicate a capella sections.Toronto Children’s Chorus added to the large choral sound and had some tender moments of its own.
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Categories: 2016-2017 Season and Media Reviews.