In a surprise announcement this morning, Italian violinist Elisa Citterio has been named Music Director of the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra.
Citterio replaces, Jeanne Lamon who stepped down in 2014 after leading Canada’s flagship Baroque orchestra for over three decades.
This announcement marks the end of a five-year selection process undertaken by a committee composed of orchestra members, board members, admin, and community members. The process was guided by a search consultant, Margaret Genovese based on criteria centered on looking for an “international-calibre soloist specializing in period performance and a leader who directs the orchestra while playing.”
The choice for the renowned baroque violinist was unanimous. The orchestra and search committee were particularly impressed with Citterio’s “stunning virtuoso performances… and her innovative approach to period performance.”
Citterio (pronounced “chee TEH ree oh”) was the former concertmaster and soloist with the orchestra of the Accademia del Teatro alla Scala di Milano. She first made her Tafelmusik debut on November 2015 with Baroque Masters, and last appeared in the 16-17 season opening concert of Handel’s Water Music.
“…I would like to give my heartfelt thanks to the entire Tafelmusik organization for the faith it has placed in me, and I’d especially like to thank Jeanne Lamon for her tremendous artistic leadership over the past three decades,” Citterio said in the press release statement.
Lamon congratulated Citterio on the appointment that was “delighted to pass the torch.” She described the directorship as “the best job in the world.”
Citterio said that she is looking forward to the possibility more “exchanges” between Italy and Canada. Whether that hints as a possible Italian tour is open to speculation, but with Tafelmusik’s increasing focus of touring, it seems a distinct possibility.
The announcement is certainly good news for Tafelmusik and closes years of speculation on who the new Artistic Director might be.
Some concern, however, is that the new appointment means Tafelmusik is now run primarily by non-Canadians. British-born William Norris was named Managing Director in 2015, and Citterio (an Italian citizen) replaces Jeanne Lamon, who was born in the US but became a Canadian Citizen in 1988. Besides the board members, and orchestra musicians, this leaves Tafelmusik Chamber Choir Director Ivars Tourins the sole Canadian artistic executive.
While the argument for hiring a Canadian is compelling, there is no question that Citterio’s international profile and experience is an asset that Tafelmusik can bank on. She brings with her a new vision that can invigorate an organization transitioning into a legacy of baroque music making in Canada.
Citterio will begin her duties full-time with Tafelmusik after she relocates to Toronto with her family this summer from her current home in Milan.
Readers will be able to meet Elisa Citterio in concert with Tafelmusik on May 4 to 7, 2017, for performances of Haydn’s Symphony no. 98 at Koerner Hall. Details here.