Tafelmusik, the Canadian-based period instruments orchestra, has achieved international stature through its frequent tours and concerts and through its substantial catalogue of recordings for Sony Classical. In 1996 Tafelmusik received Germany's highest recording accolade, the Echo Klassik Award, as Best Orchestra of the Year. In Canada Tafelmusik has received four Juno Awards for Best Classical Album, most recently in 1995 for Bach's Brandenburg Concertos (SK 66289). The orchestra's recordings have also received Diapason D'Or awards, citations for Record of the Year in Absolute Sound and Disc of the Month in CD Review, as well as nominations for Record of the Year in Gramophone. England's The Penguin Guide has awarded Tafelmusik's recording of Vivaldi's The Four Seasons (SK 48251) its highest accolade - the Rosette in 1994.
Recently released on Sony Classical is a new period-instruments recording of the Mozart Requiem (SK 60764), directed by Bruno Weil. This recording uses the new performing edition by H.C. Robbins Landon of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's setting of the Requiem, K.626, which brings this unfinished work closer than ever to the intentions of the composer and his students, who completed it after his death.
For Sony Classical's Vivarte series, the orchestra's most recent releases are recordings of the complete piano concertos of Beethoven, with Bruno Weil conducting and Jos van Immerseel as soloist, a disc of instrumental music by Wilhelm Friedemann Bach, and Handel's Music for the Royal Fireworks coupled with Concerti a due cori Nos. 1-3.
Tafelmusik has an active touring schedule and averages about twelve weeks a year on the road with annual tours in Canada, the United States and Europe. The orchestra toured the People's Republic of China, Hong Kong and Japan in 1998. A highlight of the November 1997 U.S. tour was Tafelmusik's engagement at the newly renovated Orchestra Hall in Chicago.
In June 1997, the orchestra made its debut at the Jerusalem Festival in Israel and performed in Athens and Thessalonika, Greece.
Tafelmusik has been orchestra in residence since 1993 in Irsee, a small village in Bavaria which is the home of the German Klang und Raum Festival. Tafelmusik performed Beethoven and Haydn in September 1997 at the Fifth Annual Klang und Raum Festival under the direction of Bruno Weil.
Based in Toronto, Tafelmusik was founded in 1979. Violinist Jeanne Lamon serves as its musical director, a post she has held since 1981. The Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra has a permanent membership of 19 - which can be expanded when necessary - all of whom are specialists in historical performance practice. The Tafelmusik Chamber Choir, specializing in Baroque choral performance practice and vocal technique, was formed in 1981 to complement the orchestra. Under the direction of Ivars Taurins, the award-winning choir has been praised for its clarity and brilliance.
Each year, Tafelmusik performs over 50 concerts on its home subscription season at Trinity-St. Paul's United Church, an historic church in the Annex neighborhood of Toronto. Selected concerts are recorded by CBC Radio for national broadcast and are also heard on national public radio in the U.S. Tafelmusik's annual Messiah and Sing Along Messiah have become Toronto Christmas traditions.
Media response to Tafelmusik has been increasingly enthusiastic as the stature of the group has grown over the years. Perhaps the New York Times summed it up the best: "Beyond its impeccable discipline and luminous textures, the group displays an expressive sensibility that transcends the instruments, whether strung with gut or wire."