My Tafelmusik … with May Webster

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 May Webster

Tafelmusik has been part of my musical life for many years. I sang in a church choir, and the music director, who was a subscriber, would tell us about what he had heard at the concerts. I was intrigued, especially by the concept of hearing music played as it was originally intended to be played. So I went to a concert, and became a subscriber myself, and then a member.

Tafelmusik has educated me. I have learned to appreciate choral music sung in original languages — from a choir whose words are so clear I could almost hear the words as if they were in English! I have learned from the pre-concert chats many details about the works I then would hear. Or about the composers and their world. I have learned from the Membership Academies about the baroque world itself, about baroque performance practices, and a little about how the baroque instruments differ from the modern ones. (And I am somewhat saddened that the Academies are no longer available to members at the lower ranges of contribution, although I appreciate that their popularity may have made this necessary.) I have learned to appreciate the works of composers I once thought obtuse or complicated — Bach, for instance, as against Haydn, Handel, or Mozart. So many thanks to all the musicians and other experts who have presented those lectures over the years.

I look forward to each new season, for what I shall hear and enjoy, from the Orchestra and from the Chamber Choir, and for what I might learn. I also look forward to sharing my Tafelmusik experiences with friends, and perhaps introducing them to music that I find life-enhancing.


Membership makes a difference! Membership donations allow Tafelmusik to continue inspiring the love of baroque and classical music. Give today!

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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.


Support a global leader! Membership donations allow Tafelmusik to continue
inspiring the love of baroque and classical music. Give today!