Carol Kehoe credit Sandra MulderSpeaking as executive director, Tafelmusik, since COVID-19 hit, I would say we have had to let go completely of any sense at all that we could plan for the immediate future!  No, seriously: we were all looking forward to A Handel Celebration at the end of May, featuring the orchestra, choir and guest artists soprano Amanda Forsythe and tenor Thomas Hobbs. Choir director Ivars Taurins had completed so much work to curate a program of some of his favourite moments in Handel’s oratorios. We were also planning to record the program live in Koerner Hall to release later this year on our Tafelmusik Media label. It would have been the first recording featuring both music director Elisa Citterio and Ivars Taurins, with the Tafelmusik Orchestra and Chamber Choir. Sadly, those plans have been shelved and we are all extremely disappointed about that.

When we can, we’re absolutely going to find a way to present the new orchestral version of Bach’s Goldberg Variations, which we had planned for April. Bach’s timeless keyboard masterpiece had been arranged for orchestra by Elisa Citterio, who turned these keyboard miniature masterpieces into various combinations of solo players as well as the full orchestra. She had spent most of last summer working on the arrangement, and we had also commissioned a new piece from Canadian composer Grégoire Jeay to open this program. This perfect 90-minute concert was going to be a highlight of the season.

A video recording of two variations (#1 and #30) from Elisa’s orchestral arrangement of Bach’s Goldberg Variations was posted online in late April and can still be seen as part of #TafelmusikTogether, a digital initiative we launched on March 17 on Tafelmusik's InstagramFacebook and YouTube channels.  It was one of the first performances Elisa suggested for our social media platforms and offers viewers a small taste of her arrangement. Elisa hopes our digital version will bring joy and help people feel less isolated.

 Also, instead of a live recording, in March we launched our first digital-only release Baroque for the Brain: Music to Study By, curated by Music Director Emerita Jeanne Lamon. Baroque for the Brain is available on digital platforms and features tracks from previous Tafelmusik recordings including music by Bach, Handel, Vivaldi, Mendelssohn, and Beethoven.

We are hopeful about sharing live music in the future, and subscriptions for Tafelmusik’s 2020/21 season, Passions of the Soul, are now available at We also invite people to join us virtually for short performances and other artistic content being shared from musicians’ living rooms and kitchens through #TafelmusikTogether on Tafelmusik's InstagramFacebook and YouTube channels. I would also like to mention that Tafelmusik has launched the Keep Tafelmusik Together campaign with the goal of raising $250,000 before June 30, 2020. This appeal will help Tafelmusik musicians and team members to continue to work on new initiatives, like #TafelmusikTogether, and prepare for the 2020/21 season. Donations can be made online at

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