Since the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir (TMC) appointed David Fallis as Interim Conductor and Artistic Advisor this past June, the 120-member professional choir has undergone an extensive international search for a permanent conductor to take the helm.
David Fallis was hired in the fall of 2018 to replace Noel Edison, who resigned after a series of sexual harassment allegations surfaced involving choir members. Fallis’ appointment continues through 2020, giving the TMC two years runway to find a suitable replacement.
In a letter by TMC Executive Director Cynthia Hawkins sent to choir members on Monday, she announced conductors John Trotter, Gregory Batsleer, and Jean-Sébastien Vallée as finalists.
“You will be interested to know that the TMC’s artistic director search committee reviewed applications or expressions of interest from 35 conductors and researched 25 others who had been recommended to us,” Hawkins wrote.
“Of the total pool of 60, 17 (28%) were Canadians, and 12 (20%) were women. Thirteen conductors went through the interview process.”
The TMC will spend the 2019/20 season working with the three candidates to determine the best fit to move the choir forward beyond their current 125th anniversary year.
A Canadian, John Trotter is a diverse conductor with experience in choral/orchestral masterworks, jazz, new music, and film scoring. He is currently serving as Artistic Director Designate of Chicago a cappella and Associate Professor at the Wheaton College Conservatory of Music. Trotter is scheduled to conduct the TMC’s free concert, “Romantics and New Romantics” on February 22, 2020.
Hailing from Manchester, England, Gregory Batsleer is Chorus Director of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, and Director of the Huddersfield Choral Society. Batsleer first performed with the TMC in a joint concert with Huddersfield Choral Society in June 2017. Audiences can see him lead the choir in “Sacred Music for a Sacred Space” on April 8 & 10, 2020.
Jean-Sébastien Vallée is Associate Professor of Music, Director of Choral Studies, and Coordinator of the Ensembles & Conducting Area at the Schulich School of Music of McGill University in Montréal. Beyond his duties at McGill, he also serves as Director of the Choir of the Church of St. Andrew & St. Paul in Montreal and Musical Director of the Ottawa Choral Society. Vallée is a specialist in Renaissance French music, the oratorical works of Michael Tippett, and conducting pedagogy. Vallée will conduct the TMC in a program titled “Great Poets in Music” on May 30, 2020.
The TMC season begins October 20, with a Gala performance at Koerner Hall. The concert features works by Andrew Balfour, Igor Stravinsky, and Gabriel Fauré performed alongside the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Full details can be found here.