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Volume 19 Issue 1 - September 2013

  • Text
  • September
  • Jazz
  • October
  • Toronto
  • Theatre
  • Musical
  • Orchestra
  • Choir
  • Concerts
  • Guelph

✒ Larry Beckwithhis is

✒ Larry Beckwithhis is the beginning of a particularly exciting season forJeanne Lamon. Under her music directorship for one finalyear — her 33rd in the position — the Tafelmusik BaroqueOrchestra is presenting a rich and diverse Toronto concertseries, touring to Japan, South Korea, France (with Opera Atelier),New York City and Leipzig, and running its second annual WinterInstitute for advanced students and young professionals.when reached by phone on a busy late-August afternoon, however,Lamon is most occupied by and enthusiastic about the renovations toTafelmusik’s home venue, Trinity-St. Paul’s United Church.“Making this project a reality has been a lot of work and represents ahuge accomplishment for us,” Lamon says.Tafelmusik is spearheading the Revitalization Project, as it is called,in close consultation and partnership with Trinity-St. Paul’s UnitedChurch and its other permanent tenant, the Toronto Consort. The renovationscommenced in late May, 2013, and the first phase is scheduledto be completed by the end of September.“I’m particularly thrilled and surprised at how spiffy it’s all going tolook. I think it’s going to make even more of a splash than we thought.”Lamon explains that the plan always involved taking up the oldcarpeting in the church and putting in a new floor. Before they didthat, they erected scaffolding and brought in ladders to re-paint thewalls and ceiling.“The painting is making an enormous difference,” Lamon says. “It’sgoing to give everyone the sense that they’re in a brand new hall. I’mso pleased with how it’s going.”Another small but delightful detail of the new plan means a moredirect route from Lamon’s “dressing room” (the church’s MemorialRoom) to the stage.“It’s very exciting. They’ve moved the door stage right so that everything’son the same level. For years we’ve walked down the hallway,down six or seven stairs, out into the church and then up six or sevenstairs to the stage. We won’t have to do that anymore.”Cosmetic details aside, Lamon emphasizes that the priorities of therenovation have always been enhanced acoustics and audience comfort.“Many people have commented over the years that here we are, aworld-class orchestra playing in a slightly dowdy church with less-thanidealacoustics. The last few strategic plans that we’ve drawn up, overmany years, have always included venue improvement as a priority, butfor various reasons it’s taken until now to get it done.”She credits managing director Trisha Baldwin for leading the chargeand keeping it on time.“She’s remarkable. We know we have an early-bird concert for oursubscribers at the end of September and that’s driving the timing of thevarious aspects of the project.”While all this is happening, the organization is searchingfor a replacement for Lamon, who steps down from themusic director position at the end of June, 2014. She isphilosophical at the start of her last season at the helm.“I feel in 33 years, I’ve done everything I know howto do. The process will probably not be very quick, butwouldn’t it be great if they found someone super dynamicto inspire and lead the orchestra to the next level?”When asked to reflect on some the other major accomplishmentsof the organization under her leadership, concertizing,touring and recording vie for the top of the list.“Well, securing the Sony recording contract was a huge one for us” — arelationship that began in the early 1990s and resulted in dozens offine recordings of Baroque and Classical repertoire — “and TBSI wasanother major one.” The annual Tafelmusik Baroque Summer Institutewas founded in 2000.“And there have been so many wonderful concerts and tours that havebeen fun and memorable for a whole variety of reasons.”Additionally, Lamon is particularly proud of the new Tafelmusikmedia label that was launched in 2012 and has given them the abilityto release new digital, CD and DVD recordings and re-release discontinuedrecordings from their rich discography.Getting back to the present excitement, however, she emphasizeshow important the Trinity-St. Paul’s hall renovations are to the searchfor her successor.“Sure, the music director search is tied in. We hope that a renovatedhall we can call our own will be part of the attraction for a world-class,great director.”As our conversation comes to a close, we agree to talk again thisseason to give her the chance to do some more expansive reflection onher leadership tenure and give The WholeNote readers a window intoher immediate journey in 2013/14 and her plans for the next stage ofher significant career.A few days after our chat, news breaks of the extraordinary milliongift from the Hal Jackman Foundation to the renovation project, inhonour of Jeanne Lamon.“As I have long respected Jeanne Lamon and admired her tremendouscontribution to the arts in Canada and abroad, it is an immensepleasure for me to make a gift in honour of this great musician,” saidthe Hon. Henry N.R. Jackman.Tafelmusik will refer to the venue as Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre, JeanneLamon Hall.Not a bad way to start the season.Larry Beckwith is a former long-time member of theTafelmusik Chamber Choir and is the founder and artisticdirector of Toronto Masque Theatre.8 | September 1 – October 7, 2013 thewholenote.comair’leth aodhfin

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