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THE SCOOP | The Toronto Consort Announce The End Of An Era — But Also Something New

By Michael Vincent on October 4, 2017

Photo courtesy of The Toronto Consort
Photo courtesy of The Toronto Consort

The Toronto Consort has announced that David Fallis will be stepping down from his role as Artistic Director of the Toronto Consort after the 2017–18 season. This marks the end of a 27-year tenure at the forefront of one of Canada’s leading early music chamber ensembles.

Since 1991, Fallis has made a historic mark on the ensemble with successful tours of the U.S and Canada, nine recordings, the building of a subscription series at Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre, educational programs, and the recording of music for TV and film, including the Sweat Hereafter (1997) by Atom Egoyan.

“I am honoured and humbled to have worked with such creative and incredible musicians in The Toronto Consort over many years,” said David Fallis in a statement. “The Consort has always been an ensemble in the truest sense of the word.”

As a leading expert in early music, Fallis has been responsible for Canadian premieres of operas by Cavalli, a fully-staged version of the medieval masterpiece “The Play of Daniel” in a new rhymed English translation, and worked with artists from many traditions, including First Nations, Chinese, Indian, and Arabic performers.

The Toronto Consort confirmed that Fallis will still maintain a close relationship with the ensemble moving forward, but will pass on the leadership to a new model. This unique method of leadership sees the group run as a united collective, rather than under the vision of a single Artistic Director.

“This new leadership model formalizes the collaborative approach we have always brought to our work and will allow us to expand the artistic development process and draw more deeply on the expertise of the group,” Fallis said. “We are ambitious and eager to do more and explore new ideas, and I am excited by the many new possibilities the Associates will bring to the organization.”

The newly formalize leadership model will be run by a group of “Artistic Associates”. This new body will be composed of Toronto Consort members David Fallis, Michele DeBoer, Ben Grossman, Katherine Hill, Paul Jenkins, Alison Melville, John Pepper, and Laura Pudwell.

While consensus-driven leadership has been known to result in relatively slower decision-making and a higher risk of infighting and stagnation, the group are betting on its benefits. These include developing solidarity amongst members, as well as a sense of self-determination.

Notably, this new model will allow the Consort to avoid the often long and expensive international search process to find suitable candidates for artistic leadership.

“We are so grateful for his unique contributions in shaping The Toronto Consort as a highly respected, creative, and relevant performing arts organization — locally and internationally,” said Heather Turnbull, Chair of the Board of Directors. “This new Artistic Associates model honours David’s legacy, as well as assures the continuation of our hallmark quality programming for all – an exciting future indeed.”

According to Adam Smith, Marketing and Communications Director at the Toronto Consort, Fallis will be using the free time to focus more conducting with other orchestras and ensembles. 

The Toronto Consort season begins on November, 17–18 with Renaissance Splendours at Trinity St. Pauls. Full details can be found, here


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Michael Vincent
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