Get to Know Cory Knight, tenor

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Tenor Cory Knight first joined the Tafelmusik Chamber Choir in the fall of 2010, shortly after participating in the Tafelmusik Baroque Summer Institute. In 2012 he moved to Switzerland to pursue a Master’s degree in Historical Performance Practice at the prestigious Schola Cantorum Basiliensis. He rejoined the Choir upon returning to Toronto, and balances his career in Canada with engagements in Europe. He was recently featured as the Sailor in Opera Atelier’s production of Purcell’s Dido & Aeneas.

How did you come to decide to sing?
I’ve always been interested in music and fortunately I have parents who are very supportive of that. They signed me up for piano and voice lessons and drove me to all kinds of rehearsals when I was a child. My plan was to be a high school music teacher, but after I finished my teaching degree I thought I’d give this singing thing a try. So I auditioned at the Glenn Gould School and was accepted into the vocal program that year. I met some important professional contacts and mentors through that experience and haven’t looked back since.

What was your first music gig?
I played a sailor at my Kindergarten graduation. It was a big deal. But my first professional gig was with Opera Atelier. I was cast as Telemaco in Monteverdi’s The Return of Ulysses.

Who has been your greatest inspiration?
Probably my grandfather, who taught me that no job is as difficult as picking tomatoes. [Cory comes from Leamington, the Tomato Capital of Canada.]

What is your ‘guilty pleasure’ music to listen to?
My grandmother recently gave me her old LPs and I’m currently making my way through them. There’s a Patsy Cline album in there that I just can’t get enough of.

What is your favourite thing to do in Toronto during your free time?
I love walking around the city and discovering little places that I’ve never seen before.

What is your favourite restaurant in Toronto?
Smoke’s Poutinerie.

Where is your own personal oasis in Toronto?
I really enjoy my apartment in the Village. The neighbourhood is so vibrant, and I love the mix of people and general energy. But when I’m not at home, I love Kensington Market, Toronto Island, and wandering the paths in Don Valley.

Are you involved with any clubs/charities in your off-time?
I volunteer as a Youth Mentor through Catholic Children’s Aid Society. Basically I get to hang out with a really cool kid who keeps me up to date on the latest Nerf toys and video games. I’ve also spent most of the past 20 summers working at camp.

You have a night off—what do you do?
I get cozy on my couch with some yummy snacks and watch movies.

Where do you see yourself ten years in the future?
In my 40s.

What words of wisdom would you pass to budding musicians?
Practise, practise, practise. Find joy in everything you do. Follow your instincts. Be patient. And when things get tough just remember that you could be picking tomatoes.

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Apple or PC? PC
Starbucks or Tim Hortons? I’m faithful to my small town roots on this one: Timmies.
Cat or dog? Dog
City or country life? A healthy amount of both.
Hockey or baseball? Hockey
Batman or Superman? Depends on which nephew I’m hanging out with.
TTC or “anything else that gets me to my destination”? TTC
Favourite season? Summer
Favourite instrument? I played trombone in high school and university. So, trombone. But I’ve always loved the viola.
Old or new? Old
Tidy or cluttered desk? Tidy


Join us for A Bach Tapestry at Jeanne Lamon Hall, Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre and George Weston Recital Hall, Toronto Centre for the Arts. Tickets are available here.

Intimate German Baroque Advanced Playlist

by Tim Crouch, Senior Manager of Marketing & Audience Engagement

We’ve put together a playlist of (most) of the music you’ll hear at Intimate German Baroque (Jan 19 – 22, 2017), featuring English baritone Peter Harvey and Jeanne Lamon, violin. It’s a great way to get into the spirit of the concert before you hear it live on stage. Since we are not including a recording of Böddecker’s Sonata sopra La Monica, you’ll have to come to the concert to hear it. Enjoy!

The first piece on the program and on the playlist is H.I. F. von Biber‘s Fidicinium sacro-profanum no. 1 in B Minor (Nuremberg, c.1683). We included L’Armonia Sonora’s recording.

The next track on the playlist is Dietrich Buxtehude‘s Cantata “Mein Herz ist bereit” (Lübeck, c.1680), featuring our guest artist, Peter Harvey, and the Purcell Quartet.

Then we visit J.S. Bach’s mentor and cousin Johann Christoph Bach and his Lamento “Wie bist du denn, O Gott?” (Eisenach, late 17th century). The version we selected for the playlist is by The English Baroque Soloists with conductor John Elliot Gardiner.

We revisit Biber and his Sonata no. 3 in F Major for violin & continuo (Nuremberg, 1681). This version is performed by Romanesca (Andrew Manze, baroque violin; Nigel North, lute and theorbo; Johnn Toll, organ).

The final piece on the playlist is Johann Sebastian Bach‘s Cantata 82 “Ich habe genug” (Leipzig, 1727) with baritone Peter Harvey, and John Eliot Gardiner and The English Baroque Soloists.

You can find this playlist on our YouTube channel at youtube.com/tafelmusik1979.


Join us for Intimate German Baroque at Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre from January 19-22, 2017. Concert information and tickets are information is available here.

 

Personal Reflections: Tales of Two Cities

by Patrick Jordan, viola

Tafelmusik’s performance of Alison Mackay’s latest creation, Tales of Two Cities: The Leipzig-Damascus Coffee House, at the Aga Khan Museum last week on Friday, December 9 was many things. It was on the one hand the culmination of the production of the video component of our upcoming DVD of the program. It was also and all of a sudden, one of the most moving and intense performances I have experienced in quite some time.

Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Trio Arabica on stage at the Aga Khan Museum
Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Trio Arabica rehearsing at the Aga Khan Museum. Photo: Mara Brown
Recording the audio tracks at Grace Church-on-the-hill. Photo: William Norris
Recording the audio tracks from September 30-October 1 at Grace Church-on-the-hill. Photo: William Norris

Most of the video being shot on Friday was of the audience, not the orchestra — that was done on Thursday. Also, the audio portion of the program had already been completed before this show. So it was in some ways a regular concert with the slightly disconcerting elements of cameramen on the stage and the house lights up to full. Those are distractions to be sure, although being able to see the public so clearly revealed an audience that was a mix of extraordinarily familiar faces and some very new ones. Among the new ones I particularly noticed a couple which I guessed to be of Middle Eastern descent, maybe in their 40s, seated six to seven rows back, in the centre; the man of the couple seemed particularly engaged by the entire program: the actor Alon Nashman, Trio Arabica, the images, and Tafelmusik.

For whatever reason, I allowed the distractions of my day to get the better of me (this happens to all of us on stage in some moment or another). I don’t know if it was the extraordinary circumstance or one of my own all-too-reliable demons, but I didn’t achieve my personal best in the most exposed bit I have in this program (which happens in the first half). I came offstage feeling less than great about myself.

We went out for the second half, and when we reached the very powerful sequence of images that tie the history of Leipzig and Damascus to the current plight of Syrian refugees living in Germany and continuing to celebrate their culture, I again noticed the couple in row 6–7. The woman was gently stroking the arm of her partner, who was becoming visibly more upset as the sequence unfolded. He began to weep. I almost couldn’t stay on stage, I so wanted to go out to offer additional comfort to this fellow. A poem relating and embracing the cultures of various European cities and Damascus follows that sequence, and the man was continuing to weep, his partner continuing to offer solace. I felt almost helpless on stage.

The show ends with a popular song in Arabic, during which the phenomenal singer Maryem Toller encourages the audience to join in. And there before me was the fellow in row 6–7, now beaming and joyously singing this obviously very familiar tune.

One of the perks of being a musician who performs in public routinely is that I get thanked a lot. People clap for me, people tell me “Great concert!” after a show (or even approach me on the street), people ask for an autograph — the variety of thank-you’s is large. And I’m genuinely grateful for the support, I really am. However, it is not often that I want to fall on my knees and thank an audience member like the fellow in row 6–7. But thank him for what exactly? For allowing himself to be so moved? For cleansing me of my preoccupations with my own performance? Because whatever I did today, it obviously didn’t do a whole heck of a lot to blunt the bigger message for him. To thank him for the bigger gift of grace? And where does that grace begin and end? I am certainly eternally grateful to my colleagues on stage and behind the scenes at Tafelmusik. And grateful to the Aga Khan Museum for probably putting me in the path of someone new. But it also reaches very far back, to gratitude to my mother, who came to every concert I played as a kid, and whose support probably made it possible for me to be on that stage today. And to my childhood viola teacher who saved my life at key moments.

For a certainty, I left the concert knowing that today was a good day for art, and a good day for the meeting of souls.

Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, Trio Arabica and Alon Nashman at the world premiere at the Isabel Bader Centre for Performaning Arts. Photo: Bruce Zinger
Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, Trio Arabica and Alon Nashman at the world premiere of Tales of Two Cities at the Isabel Bader Centre for Performaning Arts, May 17, 2016. Photo: Bruce Zinger