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 Mamachimowin (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. His new Indigenous Opera, ​Mishaboozʼs Realm , was recently premiered in Montreal and Halliburton, Ontario, commissioned by LʼAtelier Lyrique de l’Opéra de Montréal and Highlands Opera Workshop. Andrew has also been commissioned by the Winnipeg, Regina and Toronto Symphony orchestras, Ensemble Caprice, Groundswell, the Winnipeg Jazz Orchestra, the Winnipeg Singers, the Kingston Chamber Choir and Camerata Nova, among many others. His works have been performed and broadcast locally, nationally and internationally.

David Fallis, TMC Interim Conductor and Artistic Advisor, explains the importance of this commission: “Throughout its 125-year history the TMC has recognized its role in performing and commissioning works by Canadian composers. So we decided that commissioning a new work from Andrew Balfour for the Choir’s 125th anniversary gala concert would be the perfect way to pay homage to TMC’s heritage of commissioning and performing Canadian works and to its future. Andrew is a tremendous musician and composer and generously shares his Aboriginal heritage and music with choirs of all backgrounds. We are honoured to work with him and bring voice to his vision through the performance in October.”

The TMC Gala concert – Singing through Centuries will take place at Koerner Hall in Toronto on October 20, 2019. Under the baton of David Fallis, the TMC will be joined by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra for a concert of three important choral works, representing the three different centuries in which the TMC has performed: Gabriel Fauré’s Requiem (re-orchestration by the composer first performed in 1894, the year of the founding of the TMC); Igor Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms (1930) and Andrew Balfour’s Mamihcimowin (2019).  More information on the concert can be found here: