LSM Newswire

Monday, March 19, 2012

Tafelmusik Presents Choral Spectacular: Celebrating 30 Years

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Choral Spectacular: Celebrating 30 Years

Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir

Directed by Ivars Taurins

Date + Times: Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre

Thurs March 29 – Sat March 31 at 8 PM

Sun April 1 at 3:30 PM

George Weston Recital Hall, Toronto Centre for the Arts

Tues March 27 at 8:00 PM

Ticket Prices: Trinity St. Paul’s Centre:

Regular $39 – $89

65+ $35 - $79

Ages 30 & Under $20 - $79

George Weston Recital Hall:

Regular: $36 - $76, 65+: $29 - $69, Ages 30 & Under: $20 - $69

Venues: Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre, 427 Bloor Street West

Toronto Centre for the Arts: 5040 Yonge Street (North York)

Box Office: Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre: 416.964.6337 / www.tafelmusik.org

Toronto Centre for the Arts: 1.855.985.2787 (ARTS) / www.ticketmaster.ca

Website: www.tafelmusik.org / www.facebook.com/tafelmusik.org

The Tafelmusik Chamber Choir celebrates its 30th anniversary March 27 to April 1, 2012 with Choral Spectacular, a concert exploring the power of words and music from the baroque and beyond, specially selected by Choir Director Ivars Taurins: songs of praise and penitence, of love and regret, of joy and celebration. Choral Spectacular includes music by baroque composers Bach, Handel, Charpentier and Rameau, alongside works by 20th and 21st century composers Francis Poulenc, Frank Martin, Morten Lauridsen, John Tavener, Eric Whitacre and James Rolfe, whose new work Garden was commissioned for this special occasion. For a complete programme listing, visit the Tafelmusik website.

Founded in 1981, the Tafelmusik Chamber Choir is one of the jewels in Canada’s choral crown. Described as a contender for “the best period-performance choir anywhere in the world” (The Globe and Mail), the 22-member choir has been under the direction ofIvars Taurins since its inception. Taurins conducts symphonic and choral repertoire with equal expertise. Founding director of the Tafelmusik Chamber Choir, he was also violist of the Tafelmusik Orchestra for its first 23 years. Under his direction, the choir has been praised for its clarity, nuance and brilliance.

“Celebrating the 30th anniversary of my collaboration with the remarkable singers of the Tafelmusik Chamber Choir, I continue to be fascinated with the fusion of words and music, and how these two elements, in the hands of a great composer, can be melded, moulded, and burnished to a wonderful lustre. I look forward to continuing to share this fascination for many years to come,” says Taurins.

Over the years, Taurins and the choir have developed a quality of sound, intonation, word painting and colour that has enabled them to bring a freshness and directness to the music they perform. This was formally recognized in 1991, when the choir was awarded the Healey Willan Prize “in recognition of the consistently high level of achievement by the choir and of its unique contribution to choral art in Canada.”

Over the past 30 years, some 200 individual singers have sung with the Tafelmusik Chamber Choir. Teachers, architects, writers, a baker, a butler, a doctor and a drag queen have all been singers in the Tafelmusik Chamber Choir. Astronaut Julie Payette was a member of the choir from 1989-1992, and took a copy of Tafelmusik’s Messiah recording with her on the space shuttle Discovery in 1999. Among past choristers enjoying successful solo careers further afield are soprano Gillian Keith, mezzo-soprano Laura Pudwell, tenor Michael Colvin and baritone James Westman.

In recent years the choir has expanded its programming to include occasional forays into the music of the

19th, 20th and 21st centuries, including premieres of works by Imant Raminsh, R. Murray Schafer, Omar Daniels, Chan Ka Nin, Paul Frehner, Christos Hatzis, Brian Cherney, Ruth Watson Henderson and most recently, James Rolfe.

Rolfe compiled the lyrics for Garden from various translations of the Biblical text, The Song of Solomon. “If I had to choose desert island words, The Song of Solomon would make the list: it is evergreen, sexy, and tasty to sing. Garden takes the form of a brief dialogue between the sexes. Men and women weave in and out, saucy and vivid, first wooing each other, then singing together. I am delighted to dedicate this new work to a wonderful choir whose singing I have known and loved for many years,” says Rolfe.

The Tafelmusik Chamber Choir is also admired for its annual performances of Handel’s Messiah —“an almost superhuman achievement … one of the best Messiahs I have ever heard.” (Globe and Mail) — and Sing-Along Messiah. In December 2010, a live performance of Sing-Along Messiah was seen by 87,000 viewers when it was telecast nationally on Bravo! and garnered director Ivars Taurins a Gemini Award nomination. A DVD version of Sing-Along Messiah by Canada’s 90th Parallel Productions will be released on the newly-launched Tafelmusik Media label on April 24, 2012, and a CD recording of the complete Messiah will be released in the fall of 2012.

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