New Season, New Associate Conductor: Welcome Jennifer!
There is a new figure on the TMC podium this year: in September, Jennifer Min-Young Lee took over the position of Associate Conductor for a two-year term. Jennifer is no stranger to the TMC. A former member of the Toronto Mendelssohn Youth Choir, she also participated in the 2013 Choral Conductors’ Symposium, while studying conducting at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester NY. In fact, Jennifer says, that she has had the goal of working as the Associate Conductor in mind for a long time, and that this goal is, in fact, what motivated her to apply for the Symposium.
“I felt there was a hole in my training,” she says, “And that was the opportunity to work with a bigger ensemble.” The Associate Conductor posting was “a perfect opportunity.”
“I can’t really imagine anything more exciting,” Jennifer smiles, praising the TMC’s responsiveness and flexibility. She has found the Choir to be very welcoming, with a refreshing paucity of divas. She is finding that her role as the Associate Conductor provides a “perfect environment” to grow as a musician, and to make music: “I get to see Noel conduct 120-plus singers, and guest conductors as well,” she says.
TMC audience members witnessed Jennifer’s lyrical and precise conducting at the German Romantics concert at Koerner Hall. In addition to rehearsing the entire German Romantics programme with the Choir, Jennifer conducted four pieces by Schubert. Noel Edison, Artistic Director of the TMC, says he was “thrilled,” with her performance and is generally “delighted” to be working with Jennifer. “She has a lyrical, precise gesture, and is very sensitive and receptive, but also energetic and enthusiastic,” Noel says.
Of course, no artistic endeavour is without challenges: Jennifer says that conducting the sheer number of singers in the TMC is taking some getting used to. The Choir makes a big sound, rehearses in a large room, and contains a lot of singers! But she is getting used to the Choristers and to working with a large group.
The TMC is not just large, though! Comprising mostly volunteer singers, the Choir consists of more than 120 singers who come to rehearsal each week (sometimes several times a week!) for the sheer joy of making glorious music. Jennifer is enjoying the passion and positive attitudes that singers bring to rehearsing and performing for enjoyment.