The Canadian Aradia Ensemble is one of the most exciting period instrument ensembles to emerge in recent years. Under the direction of Kevin Mallon, Aradia presents an innovative concert series in Toronto that incorporates old-world artistry and modern-day relevance. Projects often include dancers, actors, singers or world music collaborations. Recently Aradia has paired baroque with Balinese Gamelan, Irish musicians and First Nations Musicians. Aradia has made music videos and film sound tracks (most recently appearing on the soundtrack for Jim Carey’s Yes Man) and has produced 50 CDs for Naxos several have won awards including a Juno nomination. Tours have taken the ensemble across Canada and internationally to New Zealand, the USA. The ensemble was for four years Orchestra in Residence for COSI (The Centre for Opera Studies in Italy) in Sulmona, Italy. This past summer Aradia completed a residency at the Halifax Summer Opera Festival. According to Robert Graves, Aradia was the daughter of Apollo’s twin sisters, who was sent by the gods to teach humankind to order the music of the natural world into song.
Aradia Ensemble is a not-for-profit music group that specializes in the performance of Baroque music and also performs classical chamber, orchestral and vocal repertoire on period instruments. Aradia endeavours to advance an appreciation and greater public understanding of these repertoires through an annual concert series, tours and recordings. Aradia is committed to developing and presenting fresh approaches to baroque music by engaging young musicians and embracing creative partnerships that highlight the baroque style through juxtapositions with a range of art forms.The Aradia Ensemble was formed in 1996 as a musicians’ collective, becoming fully professional in 1999. Aradia has worked tirelessly to develop new talent and interest in Baroque music. Under the dynamic leadership of conductor Kevin Mallon, Aradia presents a regular concert series in Toronto, and has toured extensively across Ontario, Canada and internationally (New Zealand, the USA, Ireland and Italy). From 2010-2014, Aradia was Orchestra in Residence for COSI (The Centre for Opera Studies in Italy) in Sulmona, Italy. Aradia performed in Newfoundland (2011) and with the Halifax Summer Opera in Nova Scotia in 2014.
Aradia has a major recording contract with Naxos records, with over 50 CDs, some of which have won or been nominated for international prizes, including a JUNO nomination in 2009. This has helped the ensemble gain a strong presence in the Canadian musical landscape, as Aradia receives significant airtime on CBC and other classical music stations. Aradia has benefitted from positive reviews that stand as markers of the ensemble’s artistic excellence. Aradia’s most recent recording, a 3CD set of Handel concerti grossi opus 6 to be released in April 2013, has garnered interest in the international press (BBC Music Magazine feature, Gramophone magazine review etc.) Aradia has recently negotiated an ambitious recording program with Naxos for the coming five to ten years. This unique opportunity has given the organization renewed vitality and vision, as it has the potential to broaden the ensemble’s exposure and revenue sources while ensuring its artistic legacy.
Over the past ten years Aradia has joined forces with Tornto’s Voicebox/Opera in Concert to produce an annual performance of a major work from the baroque operatic repertoire: Handel’s Semele (2002) and Rameau’s Castor and Pollux (2003), Handel’s Rinaldo (2004), Handel’s Tamerlano (2005) Vivaldi’s La Griselda (2006), Mozart’s Zaide (2008), Il mondo della luna, by Haydn, (2009), Handel’s Giulio Cesare (2010), Die Freunde von Salamanka by Schubert (2012) Handel’s Orlando (2103). Hippolite et Arice of Rameau (2014)
Aradia has also performed with a wide range of arts organization over the years, including the Isadora Duncan dancers, baroque dancers, Irish musicians, Balinese gamelan, opera companies and opera schools. Aradia has performed on film soundtracks such as Jim Carey’s Yes Man and the Camelot TV series.
The Dublin Messiah is now Aradia’s flagship concert: a unique take on Handel’s Messiah that is a reconstruction of the first performance in Dublin. This concert has helped Aradia establish itself alongside the other Toronto “Titans” the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and Tafelmusik. Toronto Life recently listed Aradia’s Messiah among these three “best choices” for holiday concerts.
Aradia has a long history of involvement with education and outreach activities. The ensemble is the mentor group for The Kingsway Conservatory Strings founded by Aradia violinist Elyssa Lefurgey Smith, which often performs alongside Aradia. Since 2009/2010, the ensemble’s regular home has been the Glenn Gould Studio – an ideal venue to engage an audience of baroque music enthusiasts. Increasingly, the ensemble is building on the audience based derived from the Glenn Gould Studio concerts, to host concerts in more intimate venues when it suites the repertoire. The ensemble is well known in Toronto and is often featured the city’s music magazine, Wholenote.