True to the spirit of the individual and organization in question, the announcement from Jeanne Lamon came first not as a press release but as a letter to Tafelmusik’s subscribers. “After more than thirty years at the helm of Tafelmusik, I feel it is time for me to move on to the next stage. You, as a member of our audience, are one of our most loyal supporters and I wanted you to be among the first to know.”
What she wanted us to know was that in 2014 she will be stepping down as full-time music director of Tafelmusik “to focus more on our artistic training programs which are at a very exciting crossroads.” And she went on to talk about a “national and international search for a successor” and ambitious plans for the next two years, including “acoustical renovations to our beloved home venue at Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre, more great recordings on our new Tafelmusik Media label, and the establishment of the Tafelmusik International Baroque Academy. The latter has been a long-standing dream of mine and it will take a lot of dedication, time and commitment to take this initiative to the next level. I feel very passionate about this undertaking and want to devote the time it fully deserves.”
So I had been all set this month to launch this opener with a paean of praise for Jeanne Lamon. But then I saw that my colleague, CD Discoveries editor David Olds, had already beaten me to the punch, in Editor’s Corner on page 61. So I think I will let it go, for now. Besides, right now I am green with envy at the thought of anyone having a succession roadmap that stretches all the way out to 2014. The only thing I know clearly about 2014, for crying out loud, is that sometime in the course of that year I will throw away my 2013 calendar.
For another thing, having followed Lamon’s, and Tafelmusik’s, fortunes for the better part of three decades, I am quite sure she’s going to remain so busy and so involved, for the foreseeable future, that premature eulogies will look ridiculous. So instead I’m going to jump the gun and talk about another pioneer who is about to step down, after 40 years of incalculable service to Canadian music, on Monday, December 31, 2012—CBC producer extraordinaire David Jaeger.
Jaeger joined the CBC in 1973, hot out of a Masters Degree in composition at University of Toronto. He worked first as a programmer for the program Sounds Classical, and a year later, moved on to produce a contemporary music program called Music of Today (hosted by Norma Beecroft). From the ten programs he produced with Glenn Gould on the music of Arnold Schoenberg, soon after arriving at the CBC, to his role in the commissioning and production of John Cage’s seminal work, A Lecture on the Weather, a radio-phonic work observing the American bicentennial, to the almost 30 years he produced the program Two New Hours, contemporary music was the backbone of his CBC career.
The numbers alone are staggering. He had a hand in commissioning more than 300 new works, and over 1,200 concert recordings. But the facts behind the numbers are even more impressive. In 1975 he was named the English Radio Coordinator of the National Radio Competition for Young Composers, a post he held for 27 years. He represented CBC English Radio as a delegate to the International Rostrum of Composers (IRC) in Paris for more than 20 years and, from 2002 to 2008, was the only non-European ever to preside over that body.
He commissioned R. Murray Schafer’s iconic String Quartet No.3 for Two New Hours, produced Schafer’s Wolf Music at Wildcat Lake in the Haliburton Forest & Wildlife Reserve, and Schafer’s opera, The Palace of the Cinnabar Phoenix, in the woods near Pontypool, Ontario. He created the CBC partnership with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra to establish their New Music Festival and initiated live broadcasting of that event all the way up to 2006. He also created the partnership with Soundstreams Canada to establish their Encounters series in Glenn Gould Studio, a series of radio-sponsored concerts with works by high-profile international composers sharing the stage with music by significant Canadian composers.
It is not possible to overstate the importance of his role in giving presence and heft to contemporary music in Canada.
For him, as for Lamon, the kudos will undoubtedly follow. For Lamon, I predict, the highest praise will be in the extent to which Tafelmusik continues to build upon the foundation she laid.
I sure wish I could hope the same for the CBC.