Astronaut and Singer Julie Payette is Canada's New Governor General

Oct 2, 2017

Julie Payette, a former member of the Tafelmusik Chamber Choir who became an astronaut, is now the next Governor General of Canada. The Governor General of Canada is a largely ceremonial position, but an important one as the representative of the Queen in Canada.

At the Oct. 2 investiture in Ottawa, former musical colleagues from Tafelmusik will perform Mozart following Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's address, and just before Payette's first speech as Canada's 29th Governor General. Tafelmusik director Elisa Citterio and three other members of the group will play a quartet arrangement of the "Allegro" from Mozart's Divertimento in D Major, K. 136.

Payette was a member of the Tafelmusik Chamber Choir from 1982 to 1992. The choir is affiliated with the Tafelmusic Baroque Orchestra, an outstanding period-instrument group that has made many fine recordings.

Here's a little about the chamber choir on the occasion of their 35th anniversary last year.

Payette was the first Canadian astronaut on the International Space Station and spent more than 600 hours on the shuttle Discovery in 1999 and Endeavor in 2009. She took Tafelmusik's recording of Handel's Messiah with her during the 1999 mission to demonstrate that music is a universal language transcending all boundaries. 

Here, she talks a bit about the 2009 mission.

Here's a selection from Tafelmusik's The Galileo Project, with a musical theme taking us out of this world—with some of the most beautiful music made in this world.