The Toronto Children’s Chorus has just celebrated its 40th Anniversary season, ‘Fire and Ice’ - and has also marked its eleventh year under the dynamic leadership of Artistic Director Elise Bradley, MNZM. Since its founding in 1978 by Conductor Laureate, Jean Ashworth Bartle, C.M., O.Ont., the Chorus has been committed to the enrichment of children’s lives through the discipline, teamwork, joy, and unique camaraderie of fine choral singing. Its multi-faceted music education programs, challenging and diverse repertoire, and life-changing opportunities to perform on local, national, and international stages help prepare over 300 young choristers each season to become ambassadors of music - and caring citizens of the world.
During its thirty international tours since 1980, the Toronto Children’s Chorus has performed in such revered venues as the Musikverein, Haydn Hall, the Berlin Dom, Carnegie Hall, Kennedy Center, Royal Albert Hall, and the Sydney Opera House. Choristers have also had the privilege of singing under the baton of many celebrated conductors, including Sir Andrew Davis, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Peter Oundjian, Krzysztof Penderecki, Sir Simon Rattle, Helmuth Rilling, and Sir David Willcocks, and performing as guest artists with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Bach Consort, Soundstreams, Opera Atelier, and the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir.
This season, the Chamber Choir has appeared twice with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra - in Jeffrey Ryan’s Afghanistan: Requiem for a Generation and in James MacMillan’s Little Mass - and has also had the distinct honour of singing Canada’s National Anthem at the closing ceremony of the international Invictus Games, hosted by Toronto in September 2017. The Chorus is thrilled to perform once again at Podium and to return to Newfoundland for the first time since Festival 500 in 2003!
Elise Bradley, MNZM, Artistic Director
This season Elise Bradley has celebrated her eleventh year as Artistic Director of the 300-member Toronto Children’s Chorus. A passionate musician, award-winning conductor and educator, and internationally respected adjudicator and clinician, Ms. Bradley served for many years as the Head of Department, Music, at Westlake Girls’ High School in Auckland, New Zealand. She was recently honoured to be named a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM) for her services to Music in her homeland and in Canada.
Since arriving in Toronto in 2007, Ms. Bradley has garnered praise for her artistry and for her deep commitment to children and the art of treble choral music. She has led the Chamber Choir on eight international tours - Austria, the Czech Republic and Germany (2009), Brazil and Argentina (2011), Sweden (2012), South Africa (2013), Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland (2015), Boston and New York City (2016), Bahamas (2016) and Spain, to perform at the World Symposium on Choral Music in Barcelona (2017) - and three national tours: Ottawa (2012), Montreal and Ottawa (2013), and Halifax, Truro, and Amherst (2014).
Under her direction, the choir’s CD, Sounzscapes: From Our Lands, was named ‘Outstanding Choral Recording’ by Choral Canada in 2014. She has also commissioned Canadian composers to write new works to be premiered by the Toronto Children's Chorus and has prepared the Main Choir to perform as guests of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and Youth Orchestra, Opera Atelier, the Bach Consort, Soundstreams, and the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir. Ms. Bradley receives many invitations to work with choirs and present at conferences around the world, most recently in China, Australia, Jordan, and Hong Kong.
Matthew Otto, Assistant Artistic Director
Matthew Otto is an innovative conductor, educator, and performer. He recently completed his term as President of Choirs Ontario and is establishing himself as a vibrant voice on the Canadian choral scene. This year marks Mr. Otto’s seventh season with the Toronto Children’s Chorus. As Assistant Artistic Director, he conducts the Toronto Youth Choir and Chorealis, and co-conducts Chorale. He has been privileged to direct the Chamber Choir on tours to Russia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, the United States, and the 2017 World Choral Symposium in Barcelona. The TCC has also premiered his treble arrangements of works by Bach, Mendelssohn, and Vaughan Williams.
Committed to choral excellence, Mr. Otto is founder/conductor of Incontra Vocal Ensemble, a project- based, professional-level ensemble in Toronto. Now in its fifth season, Incontra provides high-calibre
performance opportunities for emerging singers and conductors. Passionate about music's role in liturgy, he has over 15 years of experience in sacred music and currently serves as choir director and organist at Christ Church Deer Park. Mr. Otto has guest conducted the Elora Festival Singers, Toronto Cantata Chorus and University of Auckland Chamber Choir, and was also the Assistant Conductor of Pax Christi Chorale. From 2011 to 2013, he served as Associate Conductor of the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir and helped prepare the singers for appearances with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.
Twice-recipient of the Elmer Iseler Fellowship in Choral Conducting, and finalist in both the Leslie Bell Prize for Choral Conducting and the Sir Ernest MacMillan Foundation Fellowship Award in Orchestral Conducting, Mr. Otto holds a Bachelor of Music in Composition and a Master of Music in Conducting. He is currently pursuing a PhD in Music Education at the University of Toronto, where his research interests
include cultural identity as seen in the choral music of Canada, and choral music education in a pluralistic context.