Tafelmusik, Canada’s award-winning period instrument orchestra, has become an internationally recognized ensemble lauded by Gramophone Magazine as “one of the world’s top baroque orchestras.” Founded in 1979 by Kenneth Solway and Susan Graves and composed of a group of seventeen permanent members, Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra has been under the inspired leadership of Music Director Jeanne Lamon since 1981. With its artist-focused mandate and commitment to excellence and innovation, Tafelmusik is actively creating new contexts for the performance of baroque and classical music.
This season, Tafelmusik embarks on a U.S. tour of House of Dreams, an imaginative multi-media concert program exploring the intersection of baroque art and music. The orchestra will perform House of Dreams for Columbia University’s Miller Theatre, the Yale School of Music, the University of Washington’s Meany Hall for the Performing Arts, La Jolla Music Society, and at the Walt Disney Concert Hall under the auspices of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, among other dates.
In recent seasons, the orchestra made its debut at Carnegie Hall with sold-out performances that were praised by The New York Times for “stately, buoyant and crisply etched playing … elegant phrasing and lithe clarity.” Tafelmusik returned to Italy’s Reate Festival by invitation from the Festival’s Artistic Director Kent Nagano. In September 2011, the Tafelmusik Chamber Choir appeared with Kent Nagano and l’Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal at the inaugural concerts in its new hall, La Maison symphonique de Montréal.
The orchestra has toured in Asia since 1990, performing in Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan and the People’s Republic of China. Tafelmusik took The Galileo Project on the road to the Beijing Music Festival and Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia in 2010 and debuted the project in Australia and New Zealand in March 2012 to critical acclaim.
Tafelmusik has been invited to perform in Europe’s leading concert halls, including the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Musikverein in Vienna, Symphony Hall in Birmingham, and the Barbican Centre in London. The Orchestra has also performed in Austria, Belgium, Bermuda, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Israel, Latvia, Luxembourg, Lithuania, Mexico, The Netherlands, Puerto Rico, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Venezuela, and from coast to coast in the United States and Canada. The only Canadian orchestra to have held an annual international residency, Tafelmusik was orchestra-in-residence at the Klang und Raum Festival in Germany for 19 years, through the festival’s final edition in September 2011.
An integral part of Tafelmusik’s success worldwide has been its recordings, with a discography of more than 76 baroque and classical albums on the Sony Classical, Collegium, Hyperion, Analekta, CBC Records, and BMG Classics label. In 2012, Tafelmusik established its own record label, Tafelmusik Media, which recently released a DVD of its acclaimed concert program, The Galileo Project. The label will also issue re-releases of previous recordings from SONY Classical and CBC Records, and new digital live performance and studio CD and DVD recordings.
At home in Toronto, Tafelmusik performs over 50 concerts each season at Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre, as well as a series of performances at the Toronto Centre for the Arts, at Koerner Hall, and at the Royal Conservatory of Music. Selected concerts at Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre are recorded for broadcast on CBC Radio Two programs, and are also heard on National Public Radio in the United States.
The Tafelmusik Chamber Choir, which specializes in baroque and classical performance practice and vocal technique, was formed in 1981 to complement the orchestra. Under the direction of Ivars Taurins, the choir has been praised for its clarity and brilliance and has been described as “the best period-performance choir anywhere in the world”(The Globe and Mail).Tafelmusik’s annual performances of Messiah and Sing-Along Messiah have become an established part of Toronto's holiday tradition.
Tafelmusik’s long and celebrated collaboration with Opera Atelier has helped establish Toronto as an important North American center for baroque and classical opera performance. The two organizations collaborate on two productions per season, including 12/13performances of Der Freischütz and The Magic Flute.
In keeping with its vision of becoming an international center of musical excellence, Tafelmusik has invested in ongoing music education and outreach programs for music-lovers of all ages. In 2000, the orchestra and choir founded the Tafelmusik Baroque Summer Institute, held at the Faculty of Music at the University of Toronto, where Tafelmusik is the baroque orchestra-in-residence. The program offers advanced students, pre-professional and professional musicians an in-depth course of study of baroque repertoire and performance practice through masterclasses, lectures, orchestral and choral training, and chamber ensembles.
Tafelmusik offers free outreach concerts, multi-disciplinary projects with area schools, university residencies and education events on tour as part of its ongoing commitment to music education. The orchestra provides music-education classroom materials to the school groups, including access to Tafelmusik’s online learning centre, curriculum-based study guides, and Tafelmusik’s JUNO Award-winning TafelKIDS™ Baroque Adventure: The Quest for Arundo Donax CD, and the Four Season Mosaic DVD with Inuit, Chinese and South Asian musicians.
Tafelmusik last performed for La Jolla Music Society in the Revelle Chamber Music Series on March 9, 2013.