Brainerd Blyden-Taylor is the founder, artistic director and conductor of The Nathaniel Dett Chorale, Canada’s first professional chamber choir dedicated to the creation and performanceof Afrocentric music of all styles. Born in Trinidad & Tobago, Brainerd immigrated to Canada in 1973. He founded The Chorale in 1998, in response to a musical void in Canada; there had never before been a professional ensemble dedicated to the dissemination of Afrocentric choral music. The response that The Chorale has received in Canada and the United States since its inception has certainly given credence to his vision.
Brainerd has conducted several university, youth and concert choirs, most notably completing a 25 year tenure with The Orpheus Choir of Toronto. In addition, he works frequently as a guest conductor; having appeared with organizations such as the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Symphony Nova Scotia, Hannaford Street Silver Band, Nova Scotia Youth Choir, Ontario Youth Choir, Central Manitoba Youth Choir and the New Brunswick Choral FederationYouth Sing. He has also worked as artistic director and advisor for the Algoma Festival Choir, the Nova Scotia Mass Choir and the Chatham-Kent Roots Festival.
Brainerd is in constant demand as a clinician, adjudicator and lecturer both nationally and internationally, working extensively across Canada and the United States, as well as in Cuba and France; and has been invited to deliver workshops in Japan, Turkey and Israel. In addition, he is an active church musician, serving currently as music director of St. Timothy’s Anglican Church in North Toronto.
Other: Has served as a member of the teaching staff of the Faculty of Music at the University of Toronto and the Faculty of Music at Queen’s University. Brainerd is a Master Teacher with the Toronto Board of Education, coaching teachers and students in conducting and choral technique.
Honors: Including being recently awarded an honourary Doctor of Laws degree from York University in Toronto; inclusion in Who’s Who in Black Canada 2 (2006); Gemini Award, for the documentary Carry Me Home: The Story & Music of the Nathaniel Dett Chorale (2003).