Larry Beckwith has been called a “musical polymath” for his wide-ranging professional experience and interests. He holds undergraduate and graduate music degrees from the University of Toronto, and has been a radio producer, sound designer, singer, baroque violinist, journalist, university sessional instructor, teacher and festival programmer. As a professional singer, he has appeared regularly with the Elora Festival Singers, Tafelmusik Chamber Choir and Opera Atelier. As an accomplished baroque violinist, he studied with Jeanne Lamon and was a founding member of the Aradia Baroque Ensemble. As a teacher, he runs the celebrated strings program at the arts-intensive Unionville High School. He has also conducted two mainstage productions for Toronto Operetta Theatre – John Beckwith’s Taptoo! and La Vie Parisienne by Jacques Offenbach. As the Artistic Director of Toronto Masque Theatre, Larry Beckwith puts into play his intense interest in presenting multi-discplinary, eclectic programs featuring music, dance, theatre and other performing arts disciplines in innovative, open and entertaining ways. Always of the highest calibre, brimming with a palpable combination of intellect and joy and wide-ranging in their historical scope, TMT productions are a reflection of Beckwith’s innovative and unpretentious approach to performance.
TORONTO MASQUE THEATRE
Founded by Artistic Director Larry Beckwith in 2003, Toronto Masque Theatre (TMT) is one of the few companies in the world devoted to the masque form.
TMT is both historically informed and daringly modern. It takes its inspiration from the rich courtly masque tradition of the late Renaissance and explores the limitless possibilities of the art form. The company offers intimate productions which fuse aspects from different performing arts, primarily music, dance and theatre, and has a reputation for warmth, originality and excellence.
A significant player on the Toronto arts scene, the company has produced 40 critically acclaimed productions, ranging in repertoire from the late Renaissance to new works that reinvent this historic performing art form and speak to multi-cultural Toronto in the 21st century.
TMT has commissioned eight new works: three from James Rolfe, and one each from Omar Daniel, Abigail Richardson, Dean Burry, Alice Ping Yee Ho and Juliet Palmer. Librettists have included André Alexis, Marjorie Chan, Steven Heigton and Anna Chatterton. The company has also presented music theatre works by Monteverdi, Purcell, Handel, John Blow, Stravinsky and John Beckwith, plays by Edna St. Vincent Millay, James Reaney, Patrick Garland and Molière, and “variety” evenings such as Les roses de la vie, Commedia and Masque of Irony.
The Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding New Musical/Opera was awarded to TMT’s 2013 commission, The Lesson of Da Ji by Toronto composer Alice Ping Yee Ho and librettist Marjorie Chan. TMT has appeared at the Guelph Spring Festival, the Festival of the Sound, the Westben Festival, the Music and Beyond Festival in Ottawa and the Elora Festival, and has been heard on CBC Radio.
Beckwith is supported in this work by co-artistic associates, Derek Boyes and Marie-Nathalie Lacoursière, the company’s managing director, Vivian Moens, and an active and enthusiastic board of Directors.
TMT has set itself the goals of: introducing audiences of all ages to the art of the masque; increasing our audience’s understanding and appreciation of the masque tradition through both performances and an active education and outreach program; achieving consistent excellence of performance standards in music, theatre and dance, with an historically informed sensibility; involving and engaging the audience; and exploring and expanding the repertoire of the art form by reviving little-known works, creating innovative programs, and commissioning and performing new works.
The company presents an annual subscription series consisting of between two and four productions, each presented over two to four evenings. In 2013 we introduced a Salon series, and we have an active educational outreach tradition.
As it goes into its eleventh season, TMT is as committed as ever to exploring the special world created by the melding of music, theatre and dance, past and present.