Noel Edison is well established as one of the most versatile and charismatic conductors in the world today. As conductor and artistic director of two world-class Canadian ensembles, the large-scale Toronto Mendelssohn Choir (TMC) and the chamber-sized Elora Festival Singers, Mr. Edison is widely recognized and appreciated for his skillful interpretive blending of rigorous musical purity together with warm emotional content. In addition to full seasons with the TMC and the Elora Festival Singers, he is in demand for guest engagements with such orchestras as the Charlotte Symphony in North Carolina, the Winnipeg Symphony, Toronto Symphony and Symphony Nova Scotia. His recent recording on the Naxos label, featuring the choral music of Eric Whitacre, was nominated for a Grammy.
A native of Toronto, Mr. Edison aspired from boyhood to pursue a vocation in music with a special emphasis on conducting. During his youth he received a disciplined choral education at St. Simon’s Church as a chorister in one of North America’s leading boys’ choirs. Further, a supportive family encouraged his efforts to organize and conduct his first choir, an all-girls chorus at Toronto’s downtown Jarvis Collegiate. Mr. Edison completed his formal education with a music degree at Wilfrid Laurier University (WLU) in Kitchener-Waterloo in 1985 and in 2002 was awarded an honorary Doctor of Music by the University of Guelph. As a singer and piano-organ player, Mr. Edison studied with a number of leading musicians including Victor Martins, Helmuth Rilling, Sir David Willcocks, Wayne Riddell and John Aldis as well as the late Ned Hanson and Robert Shaw.
Mr. Edison’s greatest successes as conductor and musical impresario are linked strongly to the historic Ontario village of Elora. The Elora connection was forged in 1980 when Mr. Edison harnessed the resources of musically-inclined citizens and professors from nearby WLU to establish the Elora Festival, together with the Elora Festival Singers as the choir-in-residence. Every summer for three decades, the Elora Festival has attracted capacity crowds for three weeks of international vocal music, from large-scale classical works for choir and orchestra to intimate evenings of jazz and cabaret. For his artistic services to the Elora community, Mr. Edison received the Prime Minister’s Young Canadian Achiever’s Award in 1982. Since 1984, Mr. Edison has served both as Artistic Director of the Elora Festival as well as Organist and Choirmaster at the Church of St. John the Evangelist in Elora, one of the few all-professional church choirs in Canada.
Mr. Edison’s formal association with the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir began in 1997, with the selection of his Elora Festival Singers as the professional core of the venerable Toronto institution. After serving two years as TMC Interim Conductor, Mr. Edison succeeded in
winning one of Canada’s greatest musical prizes with his appointment as permanent Conductor in 1999.
During his musical career, Mr. Edison has commissioned many new works from Canadian composers, including Eric Robertson, Gary Kulesha, John Beckwith, Srul Irving Glick, Timothy Sullivan, Glenn Buhr, and Imant Raminsh. In 1994, the Elora Festival’s production of Sullivan’s chamber opera, FLORENCE, THE LADY WITH THE LAMP (with libretto by Ann McPherson) won the Chalmers Award, Canada’s leading award for the performing arts. Mr. Edison tours regularly with the Elora Festival Singers and is a favourite in concerts with the Elora Festival Singers or the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir on the CBC. A frequent guest conductor of the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, Mr. Edison has twice performed the Berlioz REQUIEM, recording this work for the Naxos label during his inaugural season as TMC Conductor. Mr. Edison’s other recordings include Arvo Pärt’s Berliner Messe, Nine Lessons and Carols for Summer, Christmas in Elora, A Festival of Carols, A Celebration in Song, Willan: In the Heavenly Kingdom, Psalms for the Soul, Pärt – Music for Unaccompanied Choir and Songs of Folk and Love and most recently Requiems: Faure and Durufle and Eric Whitacre: Choral Music and selections from the choral works of Julian Wachner.
Mr. Edison serves as a regular juror for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the Ontario Arts Council, and the Juno Awards. In addition, he serves on the Board of Directors of the Association of Choral Conductors of Canada.
|Mass in B minor|
|Selected Orchestral Suites|
|Mass in C|
|Symphony Nos. 2, 7, 9|
|Bernstein||Symphony No. 3 – Kaddish|
|Brahms||Ein Deutsches Requiem|
|Serenade No. 1 in D major|
|Symphony Nos. 1, 3|
|Variations of a theme of Haydn|
|Serenade for Tenor Horn and Strings|
|Elgar||The Dream of Gerontius
Pomp and Circumstance Marches
|Handel||Oratorios and Instrumental Concerti
|Mahler||Symphony No. 2|
|Midsummer Night’s Dream|
|Symphony Nos. 2, 3, 4, 5|
|Mozart||Requiem in D minor
Mass in C
Selected Concerti and Divertimenti
|Symphony Nos. 35, 37, 28, 40, 41|
|Saint-Saëns||Symphony Nos. 1, 2, 3|
|Schubert||Mass in A flat|
|Mass in E flat|
|Schumann||Symphony Nos. 2, 3|
|Vaughan Williams||Lark Ascending|
|Serenade to Music|
|Symphony No. 1 (Sea Symphony)|
|Toward the Unknown Region|
|Selected Opera Overtures|
“The festival’s founding music director, Noel Edison, led a remarkable performance of Elijah…in a two-and-a-half hours of powerful, moving, beautifully layered choruses and airs.”
Toronto Star – John Terauds
“Noel Edison, artistic director of the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, masterminded this clean, expressive ensemble, so ably led by a guest conductor. The choir’s collective voice shone with superlative musicianship.”
National Post – John Keillor
“We know from Noel Edison’s sure grasp of the oratorio Elijah that he is a Mendelssohn conductor to be reckoned with. And, in fact, he did a fine job with the Lobgesang on Friday.”
The Globe and Mail – Ken Winters
“Conductor Noel Edison, his Elora Festival Singers, and the Elora Chamber Players brought a near-perfection rendition of two of Bach’s lesser-known Lutheran masses to St. Mary’s Church.”
The Record – Amy Fuller
“The greatest satisfaction of this recording by the Elora Festival Singers is the sheer perfection of their performance. This is choral singing that respects every tenet of the sacred practice and demonstrates the finest ensemble technique you’ll hear anywhere. Noel Edison’s leadership of this particular project will be a milestone.”
Disc of the Month – Alex Baran
Lux aurumuque (Light of Gold) by Eric Whitacre as performed by The Elora Festival Singers, conducted by Noel Edison
NOEL EDISON CONDUCTS AT CARNEGIE HALL
Noel Edison will conduct the Elora Festival Singers at New York’s Carnegie Hall on March 13, 2015 as part of the a capella Next! concert series. Founded in 1980 by Noel Edison as the principal choral ensemble of the Elora Festival, the Elora Festival Singers continue to attract praise from at home and abroad. This GRAMMY and Juno-nominated chamber choir now has nine releases on the Naxos label.
Edison moved from his native Toronto to the scenic village of Elora, one hour west of Toronto, where he co-founded the Elora Festival. For 35 years, the Elora Festival has attracted capacity crowds where patrons enjoy a stellar line-up of performances from large-scale classical works for choir and orchestra to intimate evenings of jazz, cabaret and chamber choral music.