Mak­ing a ca­reer out of choir

Tim Pyper on the joys of mu­si­cal per­for­mance, from age five to now

Annex Post - - CURRENTS - by Ju­lia Mas­troianni

Tim Pyper, or­gan recital­ist and choir di­rec­tor who is now the in­terim di­rec­tor of mu­sic at the Church of the Holy Apos­tles in New York City, says he re­ally got a taste for a ca­reer in mu­sic dur­ing his time at Royal St. Ge­orge’s Col­lege (RSGC).

“As a young per­son, some­times you feel so­cial pres­sures that you should be this or you should be that, but RSGC was an amaz­ing en­vi­ron­ment in which I felt it was OK to be artis­tic,” he says.

Pyper says he’s loved mu­sic from as early as he can re­mem­ber. He sang in a cho­rus as a child and got started with pi­ano lessons when he was five. All of this, he says, was re­ally en­cour­aged at RSGC.

“Be­ing at St. Ge­orge’s gave me such an out­let for mu­sic and made me re­al­ize that, if I wanted it, it could be a ca­reer path for me,” says Pyper.

Pyper men­tions Douglas Jamieson, who taught cho­ral mu­sic at RSGC while Pyper was there and still does to­day, as some­one who re­ally en­cour­aged him through­out his time in high school.

“When you are a young per­son see­ing that there are adults in your life that are real men­tors, who are teach­ers and very suc­cess­ful in the mu­sic field, I think that gives you some­thing to strive for and that keeps you prac­tis­ing when you might oth­er­wise make the choice to do some­thing else with your time,” Pyper says.

After com­plet­ing his time at RSGC, Pyper was ac­cepted into the East­man School of Mu­sic in Rochester, N.Y., and earned both his bach­e­lor of mu­sic and mas­ter’s de­gree there in or­gan per­for­mance.

Stay­ing state­side, he went on to earn his doc­tor of mu­si­cal arts from Cor­nell Univer­sity in Ithaca, N.Y.

“That was the hy­brid de­gree, a hy­brid be­tween per­for­mance and his­tory, and, so by study­ing his­tor­i­cal styles of the past, it helps me to bet­ter in­ter­pret mu­sic that I play to­day,” Pyper says of his doc­tor­ate.

Although Pyper has per­formed count­less or­gan recitals, some of which have been aired by the CBC, he says play­ing the or­gan can be quite soli­tary.

To con­trast that, Pyper took on roles in choir per­for­mance, be­com­ing a di­rec­tor of mu­sic at the Cathe­dral Church of the Redeemer in Cal­gary from 2010 to 2015. There he led the choir in two CD record­ings that were na­tion­ally broad­cast, and in 2013 the choir spent a week as the choir-in­res­i­dence at Ex­eter Cathe­dral in the U.K.

He has held his cur­rent role at the Church of the Holy Apos­tles since 2017.

“[Choir] is a great way to build com­mu­nity. It’s a great way to so­cial­ize and make mu­sic to­gether,” Pyper says. “On a very pri­mal level, you’re sort of vi­brat­ing to­gether, res­onat­ing with each other.”

He says di­rect­ing choirs has helped to con­tinue his pas­sion for mu­sic and per­for­mance, in par­tic­u­lar the re­hearsal process.

“It is about the per­for­mance, but it’s also about the jour­ney of getting there, and I think that’s what makes me re­ally ex­cited to still be mak­ing a ca­reer out of mu­sic,” says Pyper.

Of all the no­table mo­ments in his ca­reer, Pyper’s most mem­o­rable per­for­mance was tour­ing with his choir from Cal­gary and con­duct­ing them in the U.K.

“But I try to en­joy the mo­ments ev­ery day and make a high­light out of ev­ery time I have the priv­i­lege of mak­ing mu­sic with peo­ple,” he says.

Next up, Pyper is look­ing for­ward to a recital he’ll be per­form­ing at the Church of St. Mary the Vir­gin in New York City in Fe­bru­ary 2019.

Pyper is the in­terim di­rec­tor of mu­sic at the Church of the Holy Apos­tles

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