"One of Toronto's best-kept secrets."
- Frank Nakashima, Wholenote magazine
The Toronto Continuo Collective is an educational and performing group dedicated to exploring the art of Baroque accompaniment. The ToCC was launched in the fall of 2005 by Lucas Harris and Borys Medicky, who spent time with the New York Continuo Collective and recognized the need for a similar group in Toronto.
In the ToCC, we share ideas about the performance of basso continuo and its role in various genres of Baroque music, with particular focus on church, chamber, and theatre music of the seventeenth century. Topics discussed include figured bass harmony, supporting text inflection and delivery, ornamentation, rhetoric, word painting, and improvisation. We accompany different guest soloists from week to week, and welcome guest presenters to provide special workshops and coaching sessions. We perform at least one program per year, and have given concerts of seicento repertoire in several Toronto venues: Fort York National Historic Site, Church of the Holy Trinity, Royal St. George's Chapel, The University of Toronto Faculty of Music (during the Tafelmusik Baroque Summer Institute), and Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church. We have also performed at the CanAsian Dance Festival, on the Folia concert series in Kitchener, and for the Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies at the University of Toronto.
Joining the ToCC
We welcome new members who play continuo instruments (lute, theorbo, Baroque guitar, harpsichord, organ, Baroque harp, etc.). Although prior continuo playing experience is not required, members should have a reasonable facility with their instruments. We normally meet for twelve Monday or Tuesday evenings each semester (in addition to extra dress rehearsals during concert weeks). Dates are chosen during a bi-annual scheduling huddle or party.
Regular ToCC members are asked to pay $120 per semester (soloists do not pay). Drop-ins are always welcome, though a donation of $15 per class is greatly appreciated. Classes normally take place at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church, either in the sanctuary or the choir room (heartfelt thanks to Paul Jenkins for the use of the space and keyboard instruments). Music and handouts are normally emailed or posted for download in PDF format.
After three years of exploring seventeenth-century vocal repertoire, the ToCC is recognizing the need for a workshop where Toronto singers can learn and share ideas about vocal style, technique, rhetoric, ornamentation, gesture, and physical movement which is appropriate to that repertoire. Our hope is that this new workshop will be both theoretical as well as practical, leading to a collaboration with the ToCC in the form of a staged project each Spring semester. Please check the new Singers' Collective page for more information.
For more information, please contact us.