In what is likely to be the first of many such honours, Tafelmusik's departing music director Jeanne Lamon was on Thursday awarded the 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Toronto Musicians Association, joining such past winners as Gordon Lightfoot, Anne Murray and Stompin' Tom Connors.
Lamon has led the Tafelmusik Orchestra to one triumph after another since she assumed leadership of the baroque ensemble in 1981. Buoyed by a record deal with Sony Classical (in the days when the major labels still routinely recoded classical music), Tafelmusik under Lamon earned an international reputation for tight, expressive playing which took them across Canada and around the world. Today, it is routinely acknowledged as one of the world's top baroque orchestras.
In accepting the award, Lamon said: "For me, it is always the most significant of honours when it comes from my peers. Only a musician can truly understand the work of another one, so this award from the TMA is extremely touching." Lamon's last season as music director begins next fall. Her last concert will be almost exactly a year from now, a special tribute featuring her favourite music and pieces written in tribute to her by members of her orchestra. She will remain affiliated with the orchestra as music director emerita and will continue her educational work with the institution's International Baroque Academy.