In June we were delighted to welcome our new Executive Director, Glenn Hodgins. No stranger to Tafelmusik, Glenn started his remarkable career in arts administration in 1988 as the orchestra’s Director of Operations, Finance, and Touring. Since then, he has helmed such organizations as the Canadian Music Centre and Ottawa Chamber Music Society, presenters of Ottawa Chamberfest.   

We chatted with Glenn about his professional journey, his favourite Tafelmusik memories, and his goals for the orchestra’s future.

Glenn Hodgins by Shelagh Howard

How did music first enter your life?

I grew up in a musical family. My mother was an accomplished organist, pianist, and choral conductor. In the 1950s she studied with Alberto Guerrero, a distinguished piano teacher in Toronto who included Glenn Gould, John Beckwith, and R. Murray Schafer amongst his students. Later in her career she was very involved in the establishment of the Amadeus Choir of Toronto. She was my first piano teacher.  

Glenn at the piano by Gary Beechey, BDS Studios, 1994

How does it feel to be returning to Tafelmusik, where your career in arts administration began?

Déjà vu big time. Tafelmusik was a formative stage in my career—a huge stepping stone at a time when I was searching for my future. Ottie Lockey (Managing Director 1981 to 2000) and Jeanne Lamon (Music Director 1981 to 2014) were amazing mentors for me. I was given the opportunity to be part of the Tafelmusik team in the early stages of development. Now I have the honour and privilege of standing with one foot in the past and the other in the future. 

Glenn on tour with Tafelmusik in the 1990s

In celebration of our 45th anniversary this season, can you share a favourite behind-the-scenes Tafelmusik moment?

There are many to choose from, but I’ll share these three:

In the 1990s an interview opportunity with The New York Times came up while Jeanne and Christina Mahler were canoeing in Quetico Provincial Park. There were no cell phones and even if there had been, there’s no coverage in Quetico. But I knew where they were, what their schedule was, and the license plate number of the car. I managed to get in touch with a park ranger who put a note on their windshield so they could find it when they finished their trip and get in touch. It worked and the article was published.

I’ll never forget Jeanne’s 50th birthday party on the Soper River on Baffin Island, Nunavut in 1999. It was a dream of hers to experience the tundra. We encountered a polar bear,  which was terrifying. Fortunately, no one got hurt, including the bear. That was exciting.

With our Beethoven 4 & 5 concerts coming up, I’m often thinking back to 1993 and the first Klang und Raum Festival in Irsee, Germany with Bruno Weil, followed by the recording of Haydn’s Creation. The whole team at K&R were a joy and the experience was exceptional.

Jeanne Lamon, Bruno Weil, and Tafelmusik performing at Klang & Raum Festival, Irsee, Germany

What is your secret talent or superpower?

My wife, the superb soprano Ann Monoyios. During her career she participated in many Tafelmusik performances and recordings, and we have been close friends with Jeanne and Christina (even cottaging close to each other) for decades. Ann and I are a Tafel couple through and through. She was the soloist for the Haydn Creation, and we got to spend every fall with Tafelmusik at Klang und Raum until I moved into a new job in 2000.

Ann Monoyios by Robin Holland

If arts administration had not been a career option, what would you most likely be doing now?

I would be a collaborative pianist (a musician who plays a supportive role for instrumentalists and vocalists). This area of study didn’t exist when I was at school at the University of Toronto and the Royal Conservatory, but it makes so much sense. I am a chamber musician to the core and feel an absolute affinity for Tafelmusik as a chamber ensemble.

Your favourite place in Toronto?

Batifole Restaurant on Gerrard Street east of Logan. It boasts that it is the “best French restaurant in China Town.” It’s my favourite restaurant.

What’s your favourite free-time activity outside of work?

Restoring wood-canvas canoes. Cycling. Canoe tripping in Northern Canada, especially on the tundra. We are so lucky in Canada to have so many opportunities for these trips.

Shooting the rapids

What’s your preference, analogue or digital?

Digital but I still like the physical feel of vinyl recordings and CDs.  I’m a bit of a systems geek so I like IT tools when they work and bring about efficiency.

What’s your preference, canoe or kayak?

I’ve dabbled with kayaks, but I am a canoeist at heart. I own about a dozen, mostly wood canvas but also ABS. I recently purchased a collapsible canoe from Norway that is necessary for transportation to fly-in northern trips.

Can you describe your vision for the future of Tafelmusik?

To build into the future while respecting and honouring the legacy of Jeanne Lamon, who established the orchestra in her role as “first among equals.” She was a reluctant star but one that continues to guide us as an organization. I hold her in my mind as a beacon leading us in our pursuit of excellence, our exploration of wonderful masterpieces and unknown works of beauty, and our advocacy for the arts and music.

What do you most look forward to in your role as Executive Director of Tafelmusik?

I’m delighted to join forces with our wonderful team of Artistic Co-Directors—violist Brandon Chui, bassoonist Dominic Teresi, and violinist Cristina Zacharias—and to dig into planning our next era. The pandemic has shown us that change is a given, which I accept as both a challenge and an opportunity. Together with the Artistic Co-Directors, Choir Director Ivars Taurins, and our newly named Prinicpal Guest Director Rachel Podger, we’re charting the course towards a rich and healthy artistic future for both the Orchestra and the Chamber Choir.

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