Jeanne Lamon’s 30 years as Music Director of Tafelmusik

The 2011/2012 season marks Jeanne Lamon’s 30th anniversary as music director of Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra. Jeanne and Tafelmusik are currently celebrating this milestone with a brand new production of Handel’s Hercules, a “Musical Drama in Three Acts” about jealousy and power, inspired by a Greek tragedy written by Sophocles.

Lamon says of her anniversary, “I feel Tafelmusik is at an all‐time high with the new projects and artistic collaborations we have been creating. The orchestra is enjoying much success on the national and international stage. Our recording projects have been both creative and stimulating, as has been our exploration of broader repertoire. We have been working with tremendously talented young musicians not only in our training programmes, but now on our mainstage. In my 30 years at Tafelmusik, I have never experienced such an outpouring of talent and creativity.”

When asked what convinced her to stay with Tafelmusik so long Lamon replies, “before coming to Toronto I had been a freelancer. I was often hired to be concertmaster, and my job was to make the orchestra sound as good as possible so that the conductor could focus on interpretation. Each time we’d start from the beginning and everything sounded horrible, and we’d work and work to try to get it to sound better. By the end you’d have a great sense of accomplishment and everybody felt very positive about what we’d achieved together. But then, next thing you know you go back to the beginning again with a new group. It’s like Sisyphus rolling the rock up the hill only to have it roll back down so that he has to do it again – my musical life felt a bit like that.

“So even though we weren’t great the first year I was here at Tafelmusik, we could build on what we’d achieved – putting a program together we’d work very hard and we’d get it to a certain point, and we’d perform, and then we’d start with the next programme from where we left off, so we weren’t starting from square one. It’s so satisfying to work with a consistent group of musicians who are all committed to making music and making it just a little bit better, always. And that hasn’t changed.

“That’s the beauty of Tafelmusik – we have consistency of players, so we can constantly build our own sound, our own interpretation – what we did last week will inform and improve what we do this week. It’s a cumulative thing, and I think it has exponential benefits.”

We look forward to continuing Jeanne’s anniversary celebrations when Tafelmusik arrives in Australia in March!


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