My Tafelmusik … with Dorothy Russel

In our ongoing series of featuring long-term supporters, “My Tafelmusik” invites donors to share their story in a Tafelmusik house program, and various digital platforms.

 Individual support is integral to Tafelmusik. It funds live concerts in Toronto and across the world, education programs for young people, innovative new multi-media and recording projects … in addition to bringing renowned guest artists to our stage.

By Dorothy Russel

I imagine my musical life began in utero. My mother, a classically trained pianist, was the rehearsal accompanist for the Verdun Operatic Society in Montreal. This may explain my affinity for 1950s Broadway musicals. My musical education continued with piano lessons, singing in an elite youth choir, and playing the flute in high school and university bands and orchestras, augmented by regular attendance at TSO concerts.

Having become disenchanted with the TSO, in 1991 I subscribed to Tafelmusik. I immediately appreciated the excellence of their craft, the clarity of their sound and musical lines, and crisp articulation. Their delight in making music together was obvious, as was their joy in sharing it with us. What began as a way to have a regular outing with my sister, alternating with a date night with my sweetheart Rudy, soon became an addiction. I believe I have not missed a concert in the regular season since. And we even travelled to Irsée to hear them in the off-season. Before long, Rudy and I felt we were part of the Tafel family. Deep friendships developed over countless post-matinée dinners that Rudy produced at our house.

Music nourishes my soul. At no time was this more important than when Rudy died unexpectedly in 2013. A Tafel concert of the Mozart Requiem not long after conjured memories of our rich life together, rather than plunging me into sorrow as I’d anticipated. For many months, recordings by members of Tafelmusik filled my home with music and provided much needed company.

My recent donation of a baroque viola to the Jeanne Lamon Instrument Bank has filled me with indescribable joy. Unlike a contribution to a fund, this is something tangible. I can experience it year after year as each new student receives the opportunity to explore their music with a new tool. I feel part of something quite special — a circle of creation.


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