Let the speculation begin: As Tafelmusik unveils its 2015-2016 season, its fans can study the list of guest artists appearing with the Toronto Baroque orchestra to guess who might replace Jeanne Lamon, the long-time music director who retires at the end of the current season.
Next season, Tafelmusik will welcome back its regular collaborator, conductor Bruno Weil, who will help the orchestra complete its recordings of Beethoven's symphonies with a live recording of the Ninth at Koerner Hall.
It will also work with guest violinists/directors Rodolfo Richter and Cecilia Bernardini and harpsichordist Benjamin Alard, but the organization is not saying who might be considered to fill the job Lamon has held since 1981.
Baroque ensembles do not traditionally have full-time conductors, preferring the model of a musician-leader: a violinist, harpsichordist or even another player could be hired as music director.
"Our analogy is that Tafelmusik is like a string quartet – both the music director candidates and the orchestra need to assess whether the musical fit and chemistry works," Andy Kenins, chair of the search committee, told audiences in a recent program note, reminding them not every guest artist is an applicant and that the applicants names will not be public.
It will make for a busy season for Tafelmusik, which will tour to the Palace of Versailles with Opera Atelier next fall, as well as taking Alison Mackay's multimedia presentation House of Dreams to British Columbia and Alberta in March. This kind of memorized program, in which the musicians perform without sheet music while a narrator draws links between projected images and the music, is building Tafelmusik's international touring capacity.
House of Dreams has been seen across the United States and will visit Australia and New Zealand this month. In 2016, the orchestra will unveil another such work by Mackay, Tales of Two Cities: The Leipzig-Damascus Coffee House, about coffee-house culture in Europe and the Arab world.