The Canadian conductor, Ivars Taurins conducts, symphonic and choral repertoire with equal expertise. Founder and director of the Tafelmusik Chamber Choir since 1981, he was also principal violist of the Tafelmusik Orchestra for its first 23 years. Under his direction the Tafelmusik Chamber Choir has been widely praised for its clarity and brilliance, and in 1991 was awarded the Canada Council’s Healey Willan Prize “in recognition of the consistently high level of achievement by the choir and its unique contribution to choral art in Canada.”
Ivars Taurins is Principal Baroque Conductor of the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra. He is also active as a guest conductor with orchestras and choirs across Canada. In addition to his ongoing work with the CPO, recent conducting engagements include guest appearances with Edmonton, Kitchener-Waterloo, Saskatoon and Windsor Symphonies, Orchestra London (Canada), the Canadian Chamber Ensemble, Symphony Nova Scotia, Symphony New Brunswick, Pro Coro (Edmonton), the Elora Festival Singers, the Amabile Youth Choir, and Lyra Baroque Orchestra (Minneapolis). Ivars Taurins was director of the 2000 Ontario Youth Choir, the 2003 Nova Scotia Youth Choir and the 2004 Alberta University and College Choir. He was also guest director of the Nova Scotia Youth Orchestra. He has also collaborated with the Canadian Brass as musical advisor and conductor for various recording projects.
A dynamic conductor, Ivars Taurins has impressed audiences with his exuberant and compelling performances. Though an advocate of period performance practices, he does not limit his work to period instrument ensembles, or his repertoire to earlier centuries. He succeeds in bringing new life to “familiar” works through his conviction that the vitality of a historically informed performance is the key to understanding the musical languages of different ages, whether with period or modern instruments. The enthusiastic response by musicians and audiences alike to his approach is proof of its success.
Ivars Taurins' regular appearances as conductor of the Tafelmusik Chamber Choir and Orchestra have received widespread critical acclaim and are frequently heard on CBC Stereo. He has conducted the Tafelmusik Chamber Choir on recordings for the Hyperion and CBC labels. His recordings of the complete choruses from George Frideric Handel’s Messiah and the complete Bach motets with the Tafelmusik Chamber Choir and Orchestra (CBC Records) received great critical acclaim and Juno nominations. The choir’s most recent recording, a CD of French 19th- and 20th-century a capella music entitled Chants sacrés et profanes, was nominated for a 2003 Juno Award. The choir was featured at the Toronto International Choral Festival in 2002, and participated in Canadian Voices (February 2004), a festival celebrating 50 years of professional choral singing in Canada. This season (2004-2005) it will be working with the Hilliard Ensemble, premiering a new oratorio by Omar Daniel.
A passionate lecturer and teacher, Ivars Taurins teaches conducting and vocal ensembles at the University of Toronto. He is in demand as a guest lecturer, adjudicator and clinician. He was guest lecturer at Podium 2000, the conference of the Association of Canadian Choral Conductors. He has been a guest teacher at the Université de Sherbrooke in Quebec, the University of Western Ontario, and at the University of Alberta. He is also director of the vocal/choral programme at the annual Tafelmusik Baroque Summer Institute.