Equally at home conducting symphonic and choral repertoire, Ivars Taurins is the founding director of the Tafelmusik Chamber Choir, now celebrating its 41st season. He was also founding member and violist of the Tafelmusik Orchestra for its first 23 years. Under his direction, the choir has been praised for its clarity, nuance, and brilliance.
Principal Baroque Conductor of the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra from 2001 to 2011, Ivars appears as guest director with orchestras and choirs across Canada, including the Edmonton, Victoria, Winnipeg, Regina, Kitchener-Waterloo and Okanagan Symphonies, Calgary and Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestras, Orchestra London, Symphony Nova Scotia, Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, Pacific Baroque Orchestra, Thirteen Strings (Ottawa), Vancouver Chamber Choir, Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, Pro Coro Canada, Winnipeg Singers, Halifax Camerata Singers, Vancouver Cantata Singers, Early Music Vancouver, the Elora Festival Orchestra & Singers, and at the Festival International de Musique Baroque de Lamèque. In September 2011, Ivars was guest choir director for the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, preparing a combined chorus of Tafelmusik Chamber Choir and members of the OSM Chorus for performances and a recording (Analekta) of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, directed by Kent Nagano at the gala opening of the new Maison Symphonique in Montreal. In 2017, he directed the Cuban choir Schola Cantorum Coralina in Havana, in a special concert celebrating the 85th anniversary of Glenn Gould’s birth and Canada’s 150th birthday. Besides Ivars Taurins’ appearances with Tafelmusik, some recent highlights include directing Symphony Nova Scotia’s 2019 Mozart Festival, and Handel’s Messiah for Early Music Vancouver in December 2019, featuring the Pacific Baroque Orchestra and the Vancouver Cantata Singers. Upcoming engagements include a return to Symphony Nova Scotia.
Ivars Taurins and the Tafelmusik Chamber Choir have premiered works by R. Murray Schafer, Omar Daniels, Chan Ka Nin, Brian Cherney, and Paul Frehner with Soundstreams Canada. The choir has also commissioned and premiered works by Jeffrey Ryan, Imant Raminsh, James Rolfe, Christos Hatzis, and Ruth Watson Henderson.
Ivars was nominated for a 2011 Gemini Award for his performance as George Frideric Handel in Sing-Along Messiah, filmed by 90th Parallel Productions for Bravo! Television and released on DVD by Tafelmusik Media.
A passionate lecturer and teacher, Ivars teaches orchestral conducting at the University of Toronto. He is also on the faculty of the Glenn Gould School, where last season he directed a fully staged production of Handel’s Rinaldo, collaborating with veteran stage director Tom Diamond. Ivars has been a guest teacher/conductor at the Université de Sherbrooke, Queen’s University (Kingston), Western University (London), and at the Universities of Alberta, Calgary, and Windsor. He was director of the 2012 National Youth Choir, the 2000 and 2009 Ontario Youth Choirs, the 2003 Nova Scotia Youth Choir, the 2004 Alberta University & College Choir, and guest director of the Taylor Academy Chamber Orchestra (RCM), and the London, Calgary, and Nova Scotia Youth Orchestras. Ivars Taurins is director of the vocal/choral program at the annual Tafelmusik Baroque Summer Institute.
Photo credit: Sian Richards