To celebrate the TMC’s 125th anniversary, and in line with our long tradition of commissioning Canadian composers, the TMC commissioned a new work by Andrew Balfour to be performed on October 20, 2019, at our 125th-anniversary concert at Koerner Hall, with guest artists the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.
Of Cree descent, Winnipeg based composer Andrew Balfour is an innovative composer/conductor/singer/sound designer with a large body of choral, instrumental, electro-acoustic and orchestral works, including Take the Indian (a vocal reflection on Missing Children) and Empire Étrange: the Death of Louis Riel. His new Indigenous Opera, Mishabooz’s Realm, was recently premiered in Montreal and Haliburton, Ontario, commissioned by L’Atelier Lyrique de Opéra de Montréal and Highlands Opera Workshop. He has also been commissioned by the Winnipeg, Regina and Toronto Symphony Orchestras, among many others.
Andrew is also the founder and Artistic Director of the innovative, 14-member vocal group Camerata Nova, now intis 22nd year of offering a concert series in Winnipeg.
Andrew writes of his work:
“Mamachimowin (The act of singing praises) is a choral work that explores the difficult relationship between Indigenous spirituality and the impact of the Christian culture on First Nations people. Translating Psalm 67 into Cree, I wanted to add a musical perspective that added a dimension of fragmentation into the structure of the work. Also, I wanted to utilize the instrumentation of violas, cellos, and double basses to give the idea of the strings representing a foundation of the ground, or Mother Earth. I wanted to present the idea of musical tension and musical phrases along with the choir whispering some of the text to add an element of uncertainty. Many thanks to David Fallis and the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir for commissioning this work, and I am so honoured to be part of this concert that celebrates the choral legacy of Canada’s oldest choir. Chi Migwiich!”