Countertenor & Conductor Recognized As One Of Canada’s Most Celebrated Cultural Ambassadors
December 30, 2020
The office of the Governor General of Canada announced today that Daniel Taylor, countertenor, conductor, recording artist, and Professor of Opera, Early Music and Voice, has been appointed as an Officer of the Order of Canada. One of the our highest civilian honours, the Order recognizes outstanding citizens for distinguished service in their fields and extraordinary contributions to the country, whose service shapes our society, whose innovations ignite our imaginations and whose compassion unites our communities.
The Official Citation from the Office of the Governor General of Canada
With a voice that draws global applause, countertenor Daniel Taylor is one of our country’s most celebrated cultural ambassadors. Distinguishing himself with moving performances and known for his warmth and humour, he has appeared on the world’s greatest stages with prestigious orchestras, composers and artists. Serving as founding artistic director and conductor of the Theatre of Early Music, and of the critically-acclaimed ensemble The Trinity Choir, he is highly regarded as a devoted university professor and mentor to the next generation of singers.
Taylor joins an esteemed list of leaders named over the past 50 years in politics and science including the Right Honourable Ed Broadbent, the Nobel prize laureate John Polanyi, author Margaret Atwood, sports icons Wayne Gretzky and Terry Fox, as well as musicians including Joni Mitchell, Celine Dion, and Oscar Peterson.
For the full announcement from the Office of The Governor General of Canada, click here.
“I am honoured to have my service thus far recognized and I am humbled to be in the company of so many dedicated and truly remarkable individuals,” says Taylor. In this pandemic year, Taylor is especially gratified of the recognition of music-making and its “values of beauty and vulnerability, stillness and honesty.”
During this year of crisis, Taylor has been providing solace through his projects that connect people online, including the virtual choir, One World Baroque, while also raising University scholarship funds through outdoor concerts. “The pandemic has devastated the lives of many artists,” comments Taylor, “When we feel like there is little hope, music can help lift each other up and bring us together. In a country as fortunate and glorious as Canada, we need now to have a guaranteed basic income for all needing support in our society. We also have to accept that this virus has laid bare the historic underlying inequalities that exist in our communities, especially suffered by racialized groups.” As a Professor at the University of Toronto, Taylor is known for his advocacy for social justice, within and outside the University, including his work for the disabled. He accepts this honour as a call to action for artists and teachers: “Beauty can be seen through many different lenses and we must not insist that there is only one way to look at music or, indeed, to look at life. We are here to be in the meaningful service of others.”
Daniel John Taylor, O.C. is praised by the critics and audience alike as ‘Canada’s star countertenor’. Since his early career debuts at New York’s Metropolitan Opera, the Glyndebourne Festival, and the Rome Opera, his voice has been hailed as an “unwavering spirit carried aloft above the tumult of earthly existence” (The Toronto Star). The Times says the “beauty of his voice will stop you in your tracks,” while The Guardian calls him “part angel, part man.”
Additional operatic engagements have included the San Francisco Opera, the Welsh Opera, Opéra de Montréal, and the Canadian Opera Company. Taylor has performed with the Edinburgh Festival, the New York Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, Israel Philharmonic, the symphonies of Madrid, Dallas and Toronto, with Tafelmusik and Les Violons du Roy, and returned to Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires last fall. He has been heard in recital at the BBC Proms and at Wigmore Hall in London; at Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw and Zürich’s Tonhalle; in China’s Forbidden City; at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris; and at Carnegie Hall. Additional performances include a world tour with Sir John Eliot Gardiner and the Monteverdi Choir for the Bach Cantata Pilgrimage; projects with actors Ralph Fiennes, Jeremy Irons, Megan Follows, Martha Henry, and Chris Noth; and Ryuichi Sakamoto’s opera, Life, which was narrated by the Dalai Lama.
Canada’s most prolific recording artist, Taylor may be heard on over 120 albums and in films on labels including DG Archiv, Warner, DECCA and SONY. Taylor’s productions have been recognized with numerous awards including a GRAMMY Award, Diapason d’Or, BBC Music Awards, JUNO Award, and Quebec’s ADISQ, among many others. He also appears on Cirque du Soleil recordings of Totem and Avatar.
Taylor is Founder and Artistic Director of two ensembles: The Theatre of Early Music and The Trinity Choir. A gifted choral conductor and sought-after teacher. In recent years, Taylor traveled to Africa as well as to Brazil, Cuba and to China to offer workshops, masterclasses and recitals. Daniel Taylor is Director of the Historical Performance Area of the Faculty of Music, University of Toronto. Opera Canada praised Taylor’s leadership in his teaching role: “Daniel Taylor has created one of Canada’s leading early music programs by marrying tradition and history with artistic freedom. Freedom of exploration, and more crucially freedom from judgement, has been a central pillar of Daniel Taylor’s educational philosophy.”
Taylor completed his undergraduate study at McGill University, graduate work at the Université de Montréal with advanced studies at the Royal Academy of Music in London and with leading exponents in the area of early music. He is the recipient of the Queen’s Jubilee Medal for Music.
Daniel Taylor lives in Toronto with his wife and their young son.