Jean-Sébastien Vallée is appointed as the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir’s eighth Artistic Director
Jean-Sébastien will join the TMC in June as it begins its 128th season. Highlights of the TMC’s 2021/22 season will include Brahms’ Requiem, Festival of Carols with the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra (TSYO), a Sacred Music for a Sacred Space concert in a collaboration with the Nathaniel Dett Chorale, and a new commission by Odawa First Nation composer Barbara Croall.
"Toronto Mendelssohn Choir has continued to be a vital artistic partner throughout the Toronto Symphony Orchestra's history, including our annual performance of Messiah. I am pleased to offer a heartfelt welcome to Jean-Sébastien Vallée, who I know will continue to evolve the choral artform, enrich the TSO audience experience and serve Toronto music lovers. I look forward to working with Jean-Sébastien and wish him the best as he embarks on his new role."
- Gustavo Gimeno, Music Director, Toronto Symphony Orchestra
Canadian-American conductor Jean-Sébastien Vallée is an internationally recognized conductor, scholar, and pedagogue. Maestro Vallée is Artistic Director of the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir; Associate Professor of Music, Director of Choral Studies, and Coordinator of the Ensembles & Conducting Area at the Schulich School of Music of McGill University; and Director of the renowned choir of the church of St. Andrew & St. Paul in Montréal. Moreover, Jean-Sébastien will conclude his tenure as Music Director of the Ottawa Choral Society with the 2021-22 season. Prior to his return to Canada, Jean-Sébastien served as Director of Choral Studies at California State University, Los Angeles and was on the choral faculty of the University of Redlands.
Ensembles under his direction have toured throughout Europe and North America, performed for the American Choral Directors Association and the California Music Educators conferences, and were awarded first and second places at the San Luis Obispo International Choral Competition in 2011. In 2015, Maestro Vallée was the runner-up for the American Prize in Choral Conducting. Dr. Vallée holds degrees from Laval University, Sherbrooke University, the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a doctorate in conducting from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
In addition to his interest in choral, operatic, and orchestral music, Jean-Sébastien is an advocate for contemporary music, making one of his priorities to premiere and commission works by young composers and program rarely performed repertoire. As a scholar, his research interests are varied and focus primarily on Renaissance French music, the oratorical works of Michael Tippett, and conducting pedagogy, more specifically the connection between audiation and gestural communication. Dr. Vallée has been invited to present his research at several national and international conferences in North America, Europe and Asia including the American Choral Directors Association Conventions, Festival 500 in Newfoundland, the National Collegiate Choral Organization conference, Podium—the national convention of Choral Canada, the Hawaii International Conference on Arts and Humanities, and the World Symposium on Choral Music in Spain (2017) and New Zealand (2020) .
Maestro Vallée’s work has been broadcast internationally and can be heard on several recordings, including his recent albums entitled Lux (ATMA, 2017) Fauré & Duruflé Requiems (ATMA, 2018), and Distance (ATMA, 2021)
Upcoming activities include concerts at the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music in Budapest and a tour with the National Youth Choir of Canada in 2022.