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THE SCOOP | Toronto Mendelssohn Choir Names Five Emerging Conductors For Symposium

By Michael Vincent on December 14, 2021

(L-R) Joshua Boggs, Ann Chen, Marcus Desir, Sarah Maria Leung, Matt Taylor; Toronto Mendelssohn Choir Choral Conductors’ Symposium participants. (Photo courtesy of the TMC)
(L-R) Joshua Boggs, Ann Chen, Marcus Desir, Sarah Maria Leung, Matt Taylor; Toronto Mendelssohn Choir Choral Conductors’ Symposium participants. (Photo courtesy of the TMC)

After a three-year break, the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir has announced the names of five hopefuls to participate in this year’s Choral Conductors’ Symposium.

The hopefuls (listed below) will arrive in Toronto this winter for a five-day workshop with artistic director Jean-Sébastien Vallée.

  • Joshua Boggs (Emory, Virginia) — Assistant Professor of Choral and Vocal Studies at Emory & Henry College in Virginia, and Founding Artistic Director of AppOpera.
  • Ann Chen (Los Angeles, California) — Currently pursuing a Master of Music degree in choral music at the University of Southern California. Before that, she taught and conducted in Vancouver, B.C.
  • Marcus Desir (Los Angeles, California) — Conductor of the recently established Los Angeles-based singing group, De-Nuance, and is currently pursuing a Master of Music degree in choral music at the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music.
  • Sarah Maria Leung (Toronto, Ontario) —Music Director at the Newman Centre at the University of Toronto, Assistant Conductor at Pax Christi Chorale, and the project-based group Incontra Vocal Ensemble.
  • Matt Taylor (Athens, Georgia) —  Currently a DMA student at the University of Georgia, pursuing a degree in Choral Conducting on a Hoveland Choral Fellowship.

What they’ll learn

The conductors will work on repertoire on the theme of Songs of Sanctuary: a musical reflection on the meaning of exile and sanctuary through the works of Caroline Shaw, Paul Hindemith, Roderick Williams, Benjamin Britten, and others.

The Symposium concludes with a concert on Feb 5, 2022.

Why it matters

Education has increasingly become an essential part of classical music organization mandates related to community engagement. These programs offer a chance for new talent to gain experience in a professional setting. Most of these conductors will be looking to hone the skills needed to run auditions, rehearsals and performances of their own choirs.

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Michael Vincent
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