Stage Door News
Toronto: Tafelmusik mourns the loss of Jeanne Lamon
Sunday, June 20, 2021
With profound sadness, Tafelmusik joins the music world in mourning the loss of its Music Director Emerita Jeanne Lamon, C.M. O.Ont., who passed away in Victoria, British Columbia, on Sunday June 20, 2021 at age 71.
It is no exaggeration to say that Tafelmusik would not be the organization it is today without her passionate dedication during her tenure as Music Director. Jeanne was an extraordinary person and we will never forget her generosity, integrity, collaborative nature, and sense of humour. Though Jeanne’s passing will leave a huge void in our hearts, we are comforted by the knowledge that her spirit will continue to vibrate through our music.
Lamon’s inspired leadership, passionate dedication to artist training, and commitment to the values of collaboration, inclusion, and artistic excellence shaped Tafelmusik over the course of her remarkable 33-year tenure from 1981 to 2014. Under Lamon’s guidance, Tafelmusik built an enviable reputation as “one of the world’s top baroque orchestras” (Gramophone), growing from its modest beginnings to the cutting-edge period ensemble it is today under her successor, Music Director Elisa Citterio.
Tafelmusik will announce plans for a special tribute to Jeanne Lamon in the coming weeks.
As a period music pioneer, Lamon made a significant and lasting contribution to the growth of historically informed performance, in Canada and beyond, that has been recognized through countless awards and honours, including the Order of Canada and the Order of Ontario. In 2013, the Hon. Henry N.R. Jackman dedicated a $1 million gift to the revitalization of Tafelmusik’s home venue at Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre, which was named in Lamon’s honour.
Lamon was especially devoted to Tafelmusik Baroque Summer Institute (TBSI), an annual comprehensive training programme led by some of the finest musicians in the field of baroque performance. As a TBSI faculty member and mentor, Lamon played a transformative role in the careers of many local and international musicians who have gathered in Toronto each summer.
Described as “a toweringly influential figure in the musical life of Canada” by the Canada Council for the Arts, Jeanne Lamon began to specialize in baroque violin in the early 1970s, during her studies in Amsterdam with Sigiswald Kuijken. In 1980, Lamon was invited to Toronto by Tafelmusik’s founders, Kenneth Solway and Susan Graves, and was appointed Music Director in 1981.
Before moving to Victoria with her partner, long-time Tafelmusik cellist Christina Mahler, Lamon was Artistic Director of the Health Arts Society of Ontario, an organization dedicated to providing seniors in long-term care and retirement homes with quality concerts.
“Jeanne was an amazing and gifted leader who greatly inspired me and many colleagues around the world,” said Music Director Elisa Citterio. “She remains and will always be an integral part of our wonderful organization because we are the fruit of her tireless passion and tenacity. We are heartbroken to have lost her, but the memory of her smile, laughter, and unbridled creativity will console and uplift us. Jeanne lives on in our music, and every note that Tafelmusik plays will be dedicated to her memory.”
“Today, Tafelmusik is missing a special light, one that shone brightly for so many years in our ensemble and organization, said Executive Director Carol Kehoe. “Jeanne was an extraordinary individual—ahead of her time. She was a passionate musician who was totally engaged with the donors, subscribers, volunteers, and funders who supported her ‘baby’ – a baroque ensemble that grew into a world-recognized powerhouse. We extend our sincere condolences to her family and especially to her partner and our friend, Christina Mahler.”
Photo: Jeanne Lamon. © Sian Richards.