Chair of the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir (TMC) Board of Directors, Denny Young, announced that Jean-Sébastien Vallée has been appointed as the TMC’s eighth Artistic Director
The Toronto Mendelssohn Choir is one of Canada’s oldest, largest, and best-known choral ensembles. Founded in 1894 by Augustus Vogt, the Choir presented its first concert in Massey Hall, as part of the hall’s inaugural season, on January 15, 1895.
Jean-Sébastien Vallée will join the TMC as of June 1st and will work with TMC Associate Conductor Simon Rivard (MMus'17) during the transition season of 2021/22. Highlights of the TMC’s 2021/22 season will include Brahms’ Requiem, Festival of Carols with the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra (TSYO), Sacred Music for a Sacred Space concert in a collaboration with the Nathaniel Dett Chorale, and a new commission by Odawa First Nation composer Barbara Croall.
Jean-Sébastien Vallée is currently Director of Choral Studies at the Schulich School of Music of McGill University; Conductor of the acclaimed Choir of the Church of St. Andrew and St. Paul in Montreal; and will conclude his tenure as Music Director of the Ottawa Choral Society with the 2021/22 season. He is an internationally recognized conductor, scholar, and pedagogue. Prior to his appointment at McGill University, he served as Director of Choral Studies at California State University in Los Angeles and was on the choral faculty of the University of Redlands. In addition to his interest in choral, operatic, and orchestral music, Jean-Sébastien is an advocate for contemporary music, making one of his priorities to premiere and commission works by young composers and program rarely performed repertoire.
The TMC’s extensive international search for a new Artistic Director was launched in 2018 under the direction of an 11-member search committee, chaired by TMC Board member Dick Freeborough. The Committee, which included external experts along with TMC board members and choristers, originally planned for a two-year process but, in March 2020, pandemic restrictions put the final stage of the selection process on hold.
More details of the 2021/22 season will be announced in the coming months, including information on Jean-Sébastien Vallée’s conducting debut as TMC Artistic Director.
The TMC has flourished under the successive leadership of Herbert Fricker (1917-42), Sir Ernest MacMillan (1942-57), Frederick Silvester (1957-60) Walter Susskind (1960-64), Elmer Iseler (1964-97), and Noel Edison (1997-2018). All of these Canadian conductors have been internationally renowned in their own right, and have successfully brought the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir to the world’s attention, through performances, recordings, and tours.