Symphony Nova Scotia mourns the loss of Jeanne Lamon, Principal Baroque Leader

For Immediate Release
June 21, 2021

Halifax/K’jipuktuk, NS – Symphony Nova Scotia is deeply saddened to share the news of the passing of its Principal Baroque Leader, Jeanne Lamon (1949-2021). Jeanne died in Victoria, British Columbia on Sunday, June 20 after a short and devastating bout of cancer.

Jeanne Lamon’s relationship with Symphony Nova Scotia extends back over 20 years, and her regular annual appearances leading the orchestra were consistent audience favourites. Her informed, enthusiastic, and collaborative approach to the music of the Baroque period (c. 1580-1750) built an avid following for Baroque music here in Nova Scotia, and also supported Symphony Nova Scotia’s development as a Canadian leader in the performance of historically informed Baroque – a unique and powerful skill set that carried over into multiple other aspects of the orchestra’s work.

In recognition of Jeanne’s leadership with Symphony Nova Scotia, in 2013 she was officially appointed as the orchestra’s Principal Baroque Leader, a role she held until her death. In this position, she became an integral pillar of Symphony Nova Scotia’s artistic and creative team, directing Baroque programming plans, communicating with audiences, offering coaching and masterclasses, and leading the orchestra several times each year, both in Halifax and in communities throughout the province. Her last appearance with the orchestra was a sold-out “Baroque Grand Tour” of Halifax, Lunenburg, and Wolfville in February 2020, just prior to the COVID-19 shutdown.

Alongside Jeanne’s work with Symphony Nova Scotia, she was also a cross-Canada musical powerhouse. She served as the Music Director and Concertmaster (principal violinist) of Tafelmusik, Canada’s premier Baroque ensemble, from 1981 to 2014, and led the orchestra to countless awards and international acclaim. She frequently appeared with orchestras across North America, and earned multiple personal accolades, including the Order of Canada and three honorary Doctorates – one from Mount Saint Vincent University here in Halifax. She also held a firm commitment to teaching, and to sharing her passion for the Baroque with young and upcoming artists across Canada.

“Jeanne was truly an inspiration for all of us here at Symphony Nova Scotia,” says Symphony CEO Christopher Wilkinson, who also played in the orchestra with Jeanne for dozens of performances.

“She was an extraordinary artist and performer, whose passion and respect for Baroque music was contagious. For many of us, her enthusiasm and expertise sparked a heartfelt personal investment in this wonderful music, and nurtured many Baroque music experts among us – which also led to a committed audience of fans and supporters here in Nova Scotia.

“However, beyond all that, Jeanne was a trusted colleague and confidante, and a dear friend. This is a devastating loss, and we extend our deepest condolences to all those grieving her today.”

Jeanne also deeply valued her relationship with Symphony Nova Scotia and Nova Scotian audiences. She often called working with the orchestra one of the highlights of her musical year, and frequently praised the orchestra’s dedicated Baroque specialists. She also took great care in creating musical experiences that were unique, exciting, and informative for Nova Scotian audiences, often advocating for the presence of Symphony Nova Scotia soloists in particular pieces, or bringing in guest artists she felt the audience would appreciate.

“We will greatly miss Jeanne’s presence and music making here in Nova Scotia,” write Symphony Nova Scotia musicians Celeste Jankowski and Hilary Brown, who have been close friends and collaborators with Jeanne since her first appearances with Symphony Nova Scotia.

“We have been so lucky to work with and learn from Jeanne all these many years. Her extraordinary legacy with us here at Symphony Nova Scotia – and with Tafelmusik and many other orchestras across Canada and beyond – will be keenly felt for years to come.”

In honour of Jeanne, Symphony Nova Scotia will present a concert featuring some of her musical favourites in the 2021/22 season. More details will be announced once public health performance restrictions are finalized.

About Symphony Nova Scotia
Symphony Nova Scotia (Music Director: Holly Mathieson) is one of Canada’s most versatile and dynamic orchestras. Founded in 1983, the 37-member orchestra proudly performs music that reflects Nova Scotia’s diverse musical interests and history, combining classical masterworks, historically informed baroque, new compositions, and groundbreaking collaborations featuring artists from Nova Scotia’s rich pop, indie, and Celtic music scene. With a home base in Halifax and performances across the province, Symphony Nova Scotia reaches more than 80,000 Nova Scotians of all ages each year with its inclusive mix of concerts, free community programs, and educational outreach.