Daniel Taylor | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Daniel Taylor

Daniel Taylor. Countertenor, teacher, conductor, director, b Ottawa 21 Nov 1969; BA (McGill) 1992, M MUS (Montreal) 1994. One of Canada's leading countertenors, Daniel Taylor demonstrated musical ability from early on, singing in the choir of St.

Daniel Taylor

Daniel Taylor. Countertenor, teacher, conductor, director, b Ottawa 21 Nov 1969; BA (McGill) 1992, M MUS (Montreal) 1994. One of Canada's leading countertenors, Daniel Taylor demonstrated musical ability from early on, singing in the choir of St. Matthew's Church in Ottawa at age six and appearing as a soloist at the National Arts Centre at age 10. By his teens, his potential as a countertenor had become clear. He began studying voice with Allan Fast at 16, and a year later he enrolled at McGill University in English, philosophy, and music, graduating in 1992. He completed graduate studies in music and religion at the University of Montreal before turning to a career on the stage.

On Stage

Taylor made his first professional appearance at age 17 with the Studio de musique ancienne de Montréal. Three years later he made his debut with the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra in the Bach Christmas Oratorio. He continued studies in Baroque music in the UK, where, in 1997, he made his operatic debut as Didymus in Peter Sellar's avant-garde production of Handel's Theodora at the Glyndebourne Festival; Taylor received some of the production's best reviews, commended for his "astonishing purity of tone and musicianship" (The Times, London, Jul 1997). This was followed by a stream of international debuts as Nireno in Handel's Giulio Cesare at the Metropolitan Opera (10 Apr 1999), as Eustazio and Goffredo in Handel's Rinaldo with the Academy of Ancient Music (2000), as Athamas in Handel's Semele with the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra (2000), and as the lead in Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice at the Edinburgh Festival (2004).

Daniel Taylor quickly became recognized as one of the world's finest countertenors, and he has earned almost universal praise for his refined approach and commitment to the nuances of period performance. He has appeared with the San Francisco, Munich, Welsh, and Canadian opera companies, as well as with such ensembles as the Gabrieli Consort, the King's Consort, the Monteverdi Choir, Les Violons du Roy, Les Voix Humaines, the Montreal and Toronto symphony orchestras, the New York Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra, and the Rotterdam Philharmonic. Taylor has appeared in recital at London's Wigmore Hall, and in 2010 he made his debut at Carnegie Hall under conductor Thomas Adès. Although he is known as an early music specialist, his repertoire is by no means limited. Taylor has been well received in contemporary works such as Leonard Bernstein's Chichester Psalms, Ryuichi Sakamoto's opera Life, Carl Orff's Carmina Burana, and Alfred Schnittke's Faust Cantata.

Recordings and Awards

Since 1991 Taylor has appeared on more than 80 recordings for the labels ATMA, Analekta, Decca, Deutsche Grammophon, and Sony Classical. He has recorded with internationally renowned singers Cecilia Bartoli, David Daniels, Emma Kirkby, and Suzie LeBlanc, and appeared under John Eliot Gardiner in the BBC production of Handel's Israel in Egypt. His recordings Henry Purcell: On the Muse's Isle (1997), Lamento: German Sacred Concert (2002), and Handel: Love Duets (with Suzie LeBlanc, 2002) all garnered Opus prizes, while the Decca recording of Rinaldo with Bartoli and Daniels won a Gramophone award in 2000. In 2004, Taylor was named artist of the year by the Conseil québécois de la musique.

Teaching and Directing

He has served as artist-in-residence at the Banff School, and in 2006 he was made an adjunct professor at McGill University; he was appointed professor of voice at the Conservatoire de musique et d'art dramatique du Québec (Montreal) in 2009. In addition to teaching, Taylor is the founding director and conductor of the Montreal-based Theatre of Early Music.

Selected Discography

Henry Purcell: On the Muse's Isle. 1997. ATMA ACD 22133

Handel: Rinaldo. 2000. Academy of Ancient Music, Cecilia Bartoli, David Daniels, Taylor, Christopher Hogwood conductor. London Decca 2OH3 467-087

J.S. Bach: Cantatas for the 9th Sunday After Trinity. 2000. Katharine Fuge, Taylor, Monteverdi Choir, English Baroque Soloists, John Eliot Gardiner conductor. Deutsche Grammophon 463-590-2

Christos Hatzis: Everlasting Light - Footprints in New Snow. 2001. Benjamin Butterfield, Russell Braun, Taylor, Amadeus Chamber Singers, Lydia Adams conductor. CBC MVCD 1156-2

Handel: Love Duets. 2002. Suzie LeBlanc, Taylor. ATMA ACD 22260

Lamento: German Sacred Concert. 2002. Taylor, Theatre of Early Music. ATMA ACD 22308

Primavera. 2004. LeBlanc, Taylor, Les Voix Humaines. ATMA ACD 22258

Love Bade Me Welcome: Songs and Poetry from the Renaissance. 2005. James Bowman, Ralph Fiennes, Taylor, Theatre of Early Music. Naxos BISCD 1446

The Best of Daniel Taylor. 2007. ATMA ACD2 3001

Handel: Saul. 2007. Stuttgart Gächinger Kantorei Choir, Stuttgart Bach Collegium Orchestra, Helmuth Rilling conductor. Hänssler Classic 98280

Daniel Taylor: The Voice of Bach. 2008. Taylor, Agnes Zsigovics, Theatre of Early Music. RCA Red Seal 88697290312

Further Reading