1989 International Choral Festival/Festival Choral International 1989
1989 International Choral Festival/Festival Choral International 1989. Month-long series of choral performances held in Toronto 1-30 Jun 1989, conceived by its artistic director Nicholas Goldschmidt. The festival's theme, 'The Joy of Singing,' was exemplified by the exuberant civic Festival Overture, 31 May, in Nathan Phillips Square, with a concert by a massed choir of 2000 school children, accompanied by an all-star high school band. By the end of the final concert - a performance of the Verdi Requiem in Roy Thomson Hall - more than 4000 performers had presented 71 concerts in 35 different locations throughout Metropolitan Toronto and its suburbs, for more than 65,000 people. The international roster included choral ensembles (from a vocal quartet to massive choirs) from Wales, England, France, Spain, Germany, Bulgaria, Latvia, Finland, USSR, Tibet, the USA and from every province in Canada. The TS accompanied seven of the Roy Thomson Hall concerts, the MSO and the NACO, one each. Guest conductors included Charles Dutoit, Gunther Herbig, Krzystof Penderecki, Helmuth Rilling, Gennady Rozhdestvensky, and Robert Shaw. The guest soloists were as representative of the international music world as were the choral ensembles themselves. The repertoire presented was no less eclectic - avant garde, baroque, barbershop, and folk, requiems, classical and folk masses, Gregorian and Tibetan chant, gospel and pop, electronic and liturgical music, and premieres of newly commissioned works. These included The Death of a Buddha by R. Murray Schafer, commissioned by the BBC for the BBC Singers (6 June); Songs of Creation by Srul Irving Glick, commissioned for the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir (14 June); Learsongs by William Mathias, commissioned by the Welsh Arts Council for the Toronto Children's Chorus (15 June); and Les Illusions fanées by Jacques Hétu, commissioned for the Tudor Singers of Montreal (18 June).
The 31 Canadian choral groups who participated in the Festival in the Community component of 39 concerts, were selected by a jury from the Ontario Choral Federation. Most included works by Canadian composers in their programs. Many of these took place in Toronto's churches and synagogues, and these institutions added to the festival by themselves programming special choral services of worship during the month. There was also a Festival Fringe - a series independently organized by eight choral groups. Both the University of Toronto and the RCMT scheduled conducting workshops, master classes for singers, open rehearsals and lectures as part of the 'Joy of Learning' aspect of the festival. Some of the conductors and artists who participated in these events were Jean Ashworth Bartle, Iwan Edwards, Elmer Iseler, Imants Kokars and Ave Sol, Penderecki, Erkki Pohjola and the Tapiola Chor, Valeri Polansky and the Polansky Choir, John Poole and the BBC Singers, Doreen Rao, Rilling, Shaw, and Jon Washburn.
CBC Stereo broadcast 34 of the concerts, and Gloucester Films prepared a feature film documentary - The Joy of Singing - that was premiered 19 Dec 1989 on TVOntario. The souvenir program The Joy of Singing [Toronto 1989] listed all the events, participants and locations, as well as the names of the many who ensured the success of this truly international choral festival.