May 28: Beethoven! Guest Artists: The Toronto Mendelssohn Choir + Soloists | Noel Edison, Artistic Director

MAY 24 2016 • MSO TEAM

Toronto Mendelssohn Choir

The Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, as one of Canada’s largest choral organizations, believes its role is to provide Canadian audiences the experience of the classical choral masterworks of the world.  Grand symphonic sound has been the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir’s trademark for over 100 years. Performing both sacred and secular repertoire, TMC choristers are committed to offering audiences authentic interpretation, clarity of expression and a profound emotional experience of some of the most important music ever composed. Concerts are exhilarating and uplifting celebrations of the triumphs, great and small, of the human spirit.  Through its performances and educational programs, the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir aspires to make choral masterworks available, accessible, and inspirational to all listeners in order to create a shared heritage of musical expression and appreciation.  Twenty members of the Elora Festival Singers form the professional core of the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir.  Founded by Noel Edison in 1980, the Elora Festival Singers is “one of the world’s finest professional chamber choirs”, according to reviewer David Vernier. The TMC organization also includes the Mendelssohn Singers, a 70-voice ensemble formed from the ranks of the TMC, giving us more flexibility in both performing venue and repertoire.

Noel Edison - Artistic Director

Noel Edison is well established as one of the most versatile and charismatic conductors in the world today. As conductor and artistic director of two world-class Canadian ensembles, the large-scale Toronto Mendelssohn Choir and the chamber-sized Elora Festival Singers, Edison is widely recognized and appreciated for his skillful interpretive work with both choir and orchestra.The 2016/17 season will be Noel’s 20th as Artistic Director and Conductor of the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir. His vision for the TMC is to create performances that connect audiences emotionally with some of the greatest traditional and contemporary choral repertoire.A native of Toronto, Edison moved to the scenic village of Elora where, in 1979, he co-founded the Elora Festival and, a year later, the Elora Festival Singers as its choir-in-residence. Since 1984 Edison has served as Artistic Director of the Elora Festival as well as Organist and Choirmaster of one of the few all-professional church choirs in Canada at the Church of St. John the Evangelist in Elora. In 1997 the Elora Festival Singers were selected as the professional core of the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir.In 2002 the University of Guelph conferred upon Noel Edison the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Music. In 2009 he was appointed to the Order of Ontario, the province’s highest honour, and in 2012 he received the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal.

Soloist: Julia Barber - Mezzo Soprano

Mezzo soprano Julia Barber completed her Master of Music at the University of Toronto under Professor Lorna MacDonald. Since graduating from the Opera School, she has been a featured soloist of choral and oratorio works with the Elora Festival Singers, art song with the Aldeburgh Discovery Series and Bayfield Festival, music theatre and popular classics with Jewish Music Week, and early music with newly-formed quintet Tantalus.

Soloist: Lesley Emma Bouza

Lesley Emma Bouza is a graduate of The University of Guelph where she earned her Bachelor of Arts in music as a saxophone major. During her time at Guelph Lesley discovered singing and chose to pursue her post-graduate studies in voice at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff, Wales, where she earned her Artist Diploma.
 Lesley is a versatile singer who is equally comfortable performing jazz, classical repertoire, and opera. In the past few years her accomplishments have included competing in the Ricardo Zandonai Competition in Italy, where she was the recipient of the Riva del Garda Festival Prize, winning the Classical Music Consort’s Handel Competition, and touring Taiwan with the Swingle Singers. Recent engagements include performances with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, Elora Festival Singers, and Les Violons du Roy. Lesley is an alumna of the Tafelmusik Baroque Summer Institute.

Soloist: Jordan Scholl - Baritone

Jordan is excited to be making his debut with the Mississauga Symphony Orchestra. Jordan has been hailed for his “rich full-throated baritone” voice and the sense of ease he brings to dramatic works. Favourite solo highlights include Messiah, Saul, St. John Passion, Lord of the Rings Symphony, as well as the Requiems of Fauré, Duruflé, Brahms, and Mozart.  Jordan has been working with choirs, ensembles and opera choruses as a soloist, chorister, and accompanist for the past 20 years. Most notably, Jordan’s 9-year membership with the Elora Festival Singers has earned him Grammy and Juno nominations. Jordan’s performance training hails primarily from the University of Guelph where he also completed a Master of Science with a focus on Human Anatomy and Physiology. Jordan has a passion for teaching and has taught lectures, labs, and masterclasses on the anatomy and physiology of the voice and singing including a TED Talk on why he believes “Anyone Can Sing.” Currently, Jordan lives in Toronto where he works as a speech-language pathologist at a private practice, rehabilitation hospital, and University of Toronto lab exploring novel approaches to assessment and treatment of speech in people with Parkinson’s Disease.  

Soloist: Owen McCausland - Tenor

Canadian tenor Owen McCausland was born in Saint John, New Brunswick and is a recent graduate of the Canadian Opera Company Ensemble Studio. He has appeared in COC mainstage productions as Don Juan in Don Quichotte, Lord Cecil in Roberto Devereux, Ferrando in Cosei Fan Tutte (Ensemble Studio performance) and Reverend Horace Adams in Peter Grimes. 

In 2013, Mr. McCausland replaced an indisposed Michael Schade in the title role of La Clemenza Di Tito for four performances at the COC while also performing in the Ensemble Studio Production. Other COC credits include Chevalier de la Force (cover) in Dialogues des Carmelites, Arturo (cover) in  Lucia Di Lammermoor, Narraboth (cover) in Salmoe,  Junger Seeman in Tristan Und Isolde,  un messagero in Il Trovatore,  and Dr. Blind (cover) in Die Fledermaus, 

In the fall of 2014 Mr. McCausland debuted with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra singing Bach Cantatas and with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra singing Howard Blake’s The Bear. Mr. McCausland was a finalist and winner of the Canadian Encouragement Award at the 2015 George London Singing Competition and also a semi-finalist in the 2015 Montreal International Music Competition.