Toronto Mendelssohn Choir announces conductors for 2017 Choral Conductors’ Symposium

Five conductors from across North America have been selected to participate in the TMC’s seventh annual Choral Conductors’ Symposium (Jan 24-28, 2017), led by conductor and artistic director Noel Edison.  Conductors will work with Noel and with the Elora Singers and the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir on a variety of choral music for chamber and large-scale ensembles, including works by composers from Bach, Mozart and Mendelssohn to a number of contemporary Canadian works, including Leonard Cohen’s iconic Hallelujah.

The TMC Symposium has been praised by participating conductors for the opportunity to work with Noel Edison and with two world-class choirs, and because of the extensive amount of podium time – each conductor gets approximately 200 minutes of podium time over the five-day workshop.

The Symposium concludes with a free community concert at Yorkminster Park Baptist Church on Saturday, January 28, at 3 pm (doors open at 2:15 pm). The concert will also be webcast live on livestream.

The five conductors are:

Lawrence Abernathy of College Station, Texas
Lawrence is an active church musician, conductor, and tenor. He is currently the Director of Music at A&M United Methodist Church, located across from Texas A&M University. Most recently he was featured as a Conducting Fellow with the Ars Longa Ensemble out of Austin, Texas, and prepared the Brazos Valley Chorale for a performance of Brahms’ Requiem with the Brazos Valley Symphony Orchestra. He holds a M.Mus in Choral Conducting from the University of South Carolina, and a B.A. in Vocal Performance from Columbus State University (GA).

Hana J. Cai of Rochester, New York
Hana is best known for her elegant conducting style and energetic personality on the podium.  Between 2007 and 2015, Hana enjoyed a career as an in-demand music director and vocal coach for musical theater. In Philadelphia, Hana served as a music director in the Department of Theater at Temple University. As a conductor, Hana serves as the conductor of the Holy Cross Choir and the Mount Hope World Singers. She is in the second year of her master’s degree in choral conducting at the Eastman School of Music where she studies with Dr. William Weinert.

Dr. Jonathan Harvey of Belchertown, Massachusetts
Jonathan is a conductor, singer, and teacher based in Massachusetts. He is Assistant Professor of Music and Director of Choirs at Fitchburg State University, Music Director of the South Hadley Chorale, and Chorus Director with the Pioneer Valley Symphony. His dedication to early music inspired his dissertation research on Adrian Willaert, and his published work on Lassus and C.P.E. Bach. His commissioning projects, composer collaborations, and frequent performances of new works are a testament to his commitment to ensuring that classical music is a living, breathing art form.

Walter Mahabir of Toronto, Ontario
Walter is a graduate of St. Michael’s Choir School and York University (BFA Classical Voice). He is currently in his second year as the Apprentice Conductor for the Orpheus Choir of Toronto. Walter is a music teacher and conductor at the Regent Park School of Music. He was also the Assistant Conductor for The Ontario Youth Choir in 2016, and has sung with the Ontario Male Chorus, the Ottawa Bach Choir, the Nathaniel Dett Chorale, the Cantabile Chamber Singers and the Canadian Men’s Chorus.

Matthew Swanson of Cincinnati, Ohio
Matthew is assistant conductor of the Cincinnati May Festival Youth Chorus, adjunct instructor of early music at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM), and chorus master of CCM Opera. He regularly prepares choruses for the Cincinnati Symphony and the Cincinnati Pops. As a tenor, Swanson performs with Schola Antiqua (Chicago) and the Vocal Arts Ensemble (Cincinnati) and is on the faculty of Berkshire Choral International. Upcoming engagements include preparation of Alexander Nevsky at CCM and a return to the music staff of the National Youth Choir of Great Britain’s Training Choir.

For more information on the Symposium and on opportunities to observe the workshop sessions, visit the Symposium web page.

Conductor bios and photos are on the Meet the conductors page .