About Diana Torbert
Diana Torbert received her Bachelor of Music Degree in Piano Performance and Pedagogy from Converse College in South Carolina and her Master of Music degree from Manhattan School of Music in New York, with further studies at Aspen Music School in Colorado. Her musical career has encompassed a wide range of solo and ensemble performances with orchestras, chamber groups, instrumentalists and vocalists, choral groups and opera.
Since moving to Halifax in 1987, she has become well known as a pianist, teacher and adjudicator. Ms. Torbert has performed frequently with Symphony Nova Scotia and on many concert series in the region. She is well known as a collaborative pianist in the musical community of Nova Scotia and at Dalhousie University’s Department of Music. She is the pianist for Rhapsody Quintet, who have released six CD’s: the newest one, “Passion” was just released in October, 2012. “Rhapsody in Red” won the Music Industry Association of Nova Scotia’s Best Classical Recording Award in 2005. “Rhapsody in Red” was also nominated for Best Classical Recording at the East Coast Music Awards in 2006. “Rhapsody by Request” – also won the 2009 “Classical Recording of the Year” from the Nova Scotia Music Awards. Rhapsody Quintet has performed twice as guest artists with Symphony Nova Scotia, and on many concert series in the Atlantic Provinces and in Ontario.
Ms. Torbert has taught hundreds of students from beginning to professional levels during her 40- year teaching career and continues to maintain a large private studio in Halifax. She is currently the Past President of the Halifax Chapter of the Nova Scotia Registered Music Teachers Association.
About Fifth Wind
Hailed by CBC Music as the top 10 emerging music act to watch in 2017, Halifax-based Fifth Wind is a woodwind quintet whose genuine enjoyment of their intimate musical connection has inspired many adventurous collaborations and educational initiatives. United in their commitment to both embrace the traditions of the woodwind quintet genre and break new ground via collaborations, founding members Jack Chen (flute), Suzanne Lemieux (oboe), Eileen Walsh (clarinet), Ivor Rothwell (bassoon) and Mary Lee (horn) are established musicians in the Canadian music scene whose love of chamber music is contagious and inspiring.
Fifth Wind has performed extensively throughout the Maritimes, on professional music series and in schools and universities. Their collaborators have included storytellers, choral and wind ensembles, a DJ/Beatboxer, a harpist, participatory audience, Apple’s Siri, and even an owl! Their enthusiasm in encouraging the growth and performance of the wind quintet repertoire has led them to collaborate with established composers and nurture young emerging talents.
In addition to performing, Fifth Wind, along with 4 other Canadian woodwind quintets are co-founders of a wind quintet focused platform Wind Quintet International (www.WindQuintet.International) for the sole purposes of connecting wind quintets around the globe and advancing the wind quintet repertoire as a collective!
Having shared the stage and camera with Amy Grant, Sir James Galway, Michael Giacchino, Bobby McFerrin and Doc Severinsen, Canadian flutist Jack Chen appeared in 13 PBS television music specials and toured with Tim Janis, Finnouala Gill, EMI artist Giorgia Fumanti, Ryland Angel and “Siren.” Having earned his masters degree in flute and early music performance from Indiana University, Jack has studied with flutists Jeanne Baxtresser, William Bennet, Robert Dick, Patrick Gallois, Sarah Jackson, Bart Kuijken, Robert Langevin and Emmanuel Pahud. Jack can be heard on the recent orchestral and cinematic albums “Horizons,” “Awakening” and “Unconditional.” Appointed Instructor of Flute and Flute Methods at Acadia University, Jack also coaches several high-energy flute ensembles and teaches flute throughout the Maritime.
Suzanne Lemieux became Principal Oboe of Symphony Nova Scotia in 1986, following three years in the same capacity with the Victoria Symphony. She has performed as soloist with SNS on more than twenty programmes. She has premiered and commissioned works by many Canadian composers including Christos Hatzis, Marjan Mozetich, Steve Tittle, Bob Bauer, Dennis Farrell, Jerome Blais. She also performed the Canadian premieres of pieces for oboe by British composers H.Birtwhistle, S. North and O.Knusssen among others. Suzanne has recorded Hatzis’ Telluric Dances for Oboe and Orchestra for CBC records and gave the US premiere of this work at Avery Fisher Hall. Suzanne returns to Scotia Festival of Music annually, and has been invited to most of the Atlantic Canada summer festivals where she has played with the Penderecki Quartet and the Quatuor Arthur Leblanc. She has performed chamber music at the National Arts Centre’s Salon and Fourth Stage and was a guest at the Picton County Chamber Music Festival. (photo by Perry Jackson)
Clarinetist Eileen Walsh has been Second Clarinet and Bass Clarinet with Symphony Nova Scotia since October 2007. Formerly the Associate Principal and E-flat Clarinet with the South Bend Symphony, Eileen earned her master of music degree and performer diploma from Indiana University in the studio of Eli Eban. Eileen completed her Bachelor’s degree in Vancouver, Canada at UBC in the studio of Wesley Foster, and she was the recipient of the Aspen Music Scholarship and Mathilda Heck Woodwind Award at the WAMSO Young Artist Competition in 2006. She has been a semifinalist at the International Clarinet Association’s Young Artist Competition twice. Eileen has attended many festivals and masterclasses, including summers at the National Youth Orchestra of Canada, Aspen Music Festival, National Academy Orchestra of Canada, Orford Arts Centre, and Domaine Forget Academy of Music and Dance. Her solo performances with orchestra include the Nielsen and Copland Clarinet Concertos. (photo by Perry Jackson)
Hornist Mary Lee is originally from Toronto, and completed her musical training at the University of Toronto, and the Utrecht Conservatory in the Netherlands. During her undergraduate years she spent two summers at the Banff Centre and participated in masterclasses in Freiburg, Germany. Mary’s first orchestral job took her to Israel to play with the Israel Sinfonietta. Shortly after that, in 1989, she won the position of second horn with Symphony Nova Scotia, and has been there ever since. Mary is active as a chamber musician, horn instructor, coach and adjudicator and is on the faculty at Acadia University and the Maritime Conservatory of the Performing Arts. She greatly enjoys her work with horn students of all ages and abilities and continues her learning through teaching.
Ivor Rothwell is a Canadian bassoonist. For the last 28 years, he has been Principal Bassoonist of Symphony Nova Scotia. Before this, he had been a member of the Calgary Philharmonic, the KW Symphony. He is an active teacher and chamber musician in Nova Scotia, founding member, recorder player and baroque bassoonist of the period-instrument early music ensemble Rejouissance and Fifth Wind quintet.
About Nick Halley
Nick is the Assistant Director of the University of King’s College Chapel Choir. He is the founder and Director of The King’s Chorus, a choral society for students, faculty, staff, and other members of the King’s and Dalhousie University communities. He is the founder and Artistic Director of Capella Regalis Men and Boys Choir, which sings Tuesday Evensong in the King’s College Chapel. Nick is also Cantor and Director for the King’s College Chapel male Compline choir. Nick was for one year (2013-14) the Host of CBC’s Choral Concert, a national, weekly radio show exploring all facets of choral music. In 2012, Nick was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in recognition of his contribution to Canada and Nova Scotia through the arts.
As a jazz drummer and world percussionist, Nick performs and records internationally with a wide range of musicians, including the world-renowned James Taylor, Oscar Castro-Neves, Maucha Adnet, David McGuinness, Revenge of the Folk Singers, Concerto Caledonia, Jefferson Hamer, the Chris Norman Ensemble, various Paul Halley ensembles, Suzie LeBlanc, Theresa Thomason, Trio Diomira with Dinuk Wijeratne and Joseph Petric, and occasionally the Nick Halley Band. The recording Barnum Hill features Nick and his ensemble playing some of his original compositions. You can learn more about Nick at www.nickhalley.com.
About Trio Arkaède
The members of Trio Arkaède share a passion for chamber music, technical excellence on their instruments, and a love of performing. Flutist Karin Aurell, violinist Isabelle Fournier and pianist Julien LeBlanc all have New Brunswick connections – Isabelle and Julien are both originally from the Moncton area, and Karin relocated to Sackville NB from her native Sweden in 2001. Hence the name – Arka from Arkadie, an old version of Acadie and ède the final three letters of Suède.
The eclectic programming ranges from baroque to new commissioned works, and is reflected in the two albums the trio has released. The first, self- titled, album, was first heard as a radio broadcast. On CBC’s All the Best in 2006, the performance was touted as ‘pure, passionate, and really just brilliant’. The material from this radio broadcast was later turned into the trio’s first album.
The second album, Tour de France, was released on the Leaf Music label in 2015 and was nominated for an ECMA award in the classical recording category. The Halifax Chronicle Herald highlighted the album as their pick of the week and writes that “the trio perform with a great deal of mutual sympathy….and turn the tonal differences between their instruments to their advantage, and their perfectly synced layers of sound delight the ear.”
Flutist Karin Aurell is a chamber musician who lives in Sackville, New Brunswick. Born in Sweden, Karin had a long career as an orchestral player before moving to Canada in 2001 to pursue her dream of playing chamber music full-time. She is the co-founder of the woodwind quintet Ventus Machina, and she has performed new music across North America with new music group Motion Ensemble. Karin teaches flute at Mount Allison University and at Université de Moncton.
Violinist and violist Isabelle Fournier is principal second violinist of Symphony Nova Scotia in Halifax. She is an active soloist and chamber musician and has made appearances throughout Canada, the United States, Japan, Taiwan and Europe. For many years, Isabelle lived in London, England, where she was a member of the English Chamber Orchestra. Isabelle is originally from Moncton, New Brunswick.
Pianist Julien LeBlanc is in high demand throughout Canada as a collaborative pianist, vocal coach and chamber musician. He is acclaimed for his sensitivity and exceptional communications skills. Originally from Cocagne (NB) he currently resides in Montreal. His numerous activities on the Canadian musical scene include co-artistic direction of L’Été Musical, a summer concert series at the Historical Church in Barachois (NB) and adjudicating at numerous music festivals and piano competitions.
About Rachel Desoer
Rachel Desoer is a cellist from Hamilton, Ontario. Shestudied at the Juilliard School, Oberlin College, McGill University and the Banff Centre. She graduated from Oberlin in 2008 with a Bachelor of Music degree.
Rachel was the cellist of the Cecilia String Quartet from 2010 to 2018. In this ensemble Rachel toured extensively around the world, recorded 4 albums on the Analekta label and taught chamber music at the University of Toronto.
Touring has brought Rachel to inspiring venues such as Wigmore Hall, The Concertgebouw (Amsterdam), Konzert Haus Berlin and many more. The Cecilia Quartet also made educational programming a priority and performed hundreds of presentations for schools. In 2014, the quartet created a concert series called Xenia concerts specifically designed for children on the autism spectrum and their families. Exemplifying their commitment to the equal representation of women in music, Rachel spearheaded the commissioning of 4 string quartets by Canadian women composers in 2016. Throughout her schooling and career Rachel has also played recitals and concertos with orchestra. She has also worked in other orchestras, most notably, the National Arts Centre Orchestra and the Canadian Opera Company.
Rachel plays the 1929 Carlo Guiseppe Oddone cello generously on loan to her from an anonymous donor. She is currently the principal cellist of Symphony Nova Scotia.
About Ezra Duo
Formed at the Glenn Gould School in 2016, the Ezra Duo (Jacob Clewell, viola and Sasha Bult-Ito, piano) quickly established itself as a performing ensemble of the highest caliber. The duo found themselves racking up a string of early performances, including Britten’s Lachrymae in a masterclass for violist Hsin-Yun Huang, and Hindemith’s rhapsodic Sonata Op. 11 no. 4 for the Arts and Letters Club of Toronto and again in Mazzoleni Hall at the Royal Conservatory of Music. Ezra gave their first performance in Koerner Hall in Toronto with the same sonata in the spring of 2017, performing in a prelude concert for the Royal Conservatory Orchestra.
Together, they have played for Leon Fleisher, James Ehnes, Richard O’Neill, James Dunham, Steven Dann, David Louie, and John Perry. They’ve represented the Glenn Gould School in outreach recitals for members of Baycrest Hospital, and were featured in a Koerner Hall postlude recital for Nicola Benedetti and the Venice Baroque Orchestra. In summer of 2017 Ezra appeared at the Scotia Festival of Music in Halifax, Nova Scotia, performing on the Young Artist recital series, and receiving acclaim from festival faculty for their interpretation of Rebecca Clarke’s Viola Sonata. In November 2017 they made their first appearance in New York City’s esteemed Carnegie Hall, performing in Weill Recital Hall.
Most recently, Ezra was announced the first prize winners of The Great Composers Competition: The Art of Chamber Music and The Music of America, Golden Classical Music Awards, Grand Prize Virtuoso Competition, and IMKA Music Competition, earning invitations to perform in New York, Vienna, and Sarajevo. In March 2018, they competed in the Città di Pinerolo e Torino – Città Metropolitana International Chamber Music Competition, in Turin, Italy.
Upcoming concerts feature works by George Rochberg, Jean Coulthard, and Robert Schumann. Highlights from the 2018-2019 season include re-engagements at the Arts and Letters Club of Toronto and Prime Chamber Music Society, a guest artist appearance with the Rome Symphony Orchestra (Georgia), and a tour featuring their Women in Music program through the southern United States and Ontario, Canada. www.theezraduo.com
American violist Jacob Clewell stands in the vanguard of musicians of his generation. Gold Medalist of the 2017 Vancouver International Music Competition, his recent performances include solo and chamber appearances at the Scotia and Green Lake music festivals, as a fellow at Music by the Sea in Bamfield, BC, at the Festival Pablo Casals in Prades, France, and frequent recitals in Canada, England, and the United States. He has served as principal violist of the Royal Conservatory Orchestra under maestros Gabor Takacs-Nagy and Bramwell Tovey, and at the Eastern and Marrowstone music festivals under maestro Gerard Schwarz. In May 2018 he made his first solo appearance in Chicago’s Symphony Center, appearing on the VIMC winners’ tour with works by Henri Vieuxtemps. Highlights for the 2018-19 season include solo recitals in Vancouver and Santa Fe, and the premier of Paint : Music, a long-term collaboration with painter Karen Mosbacher. Jacob holds degrees from the Cornish College of the Arts and Stony Brook University, and in May 2018 received his Artist Diploma from The Glenn Gould School. His principal teachers have been Mara Gearman, Nicholas Cords, Lawrence Dutton, and Steven Dann, with additional study in Europe with Yuko Inoue, Roger Chase, and Nobuko Imaï.
Alaskan pianist Sasha Bult-Ito has appeared as soloist with orchestras in both the United States and Europe. She made her orchestral solo debut with the Fairbanks Symphony Orchestra at age seven after winning the Fairbanks Symphony Concerto Competition, of which she was a rare, three-time first-place laureate. Sasha performed in Koerner Hall as a finalist of the Glenn Gould School Annual Concerto Competition, and was a semifinalist of the 2015 e-Piano Junior and Fourteenth Eastman Young Artists International Piano Competitions. Recent performances include Dohnányi and Vasks piano quartets, and Chausson Piano Trio at the Scotia Festival of Music, Beethoven Sonata Op. 81a at the Southeastern Piano Festival, Schumann Sonata in F-sharp minor at the John Perry Academy Summer Piano Festival, and Saint-Saëns Concerto No. 2 with the Brunensis Virtuosi Orchestra under the baton of Danwen Wei at MusicFest Perugia in Italy. Sasha also participates in the Internationaler Klaviersommer Cochem Meisterkurs in Germany, and served on the Young Jury for the 2018 Arthur Fraser International Piano Competition. Beginning her piano studies at age four with her mother, Sasha attended the Interlochen Arts Academy for high school where she was a student of Thomas Lymenstull. She is currently studying under the direction of John Perry and David Louie at The Glenn Gould School of the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, where she is a full scholarship recipient.
About Étienne Chenard
Étienne Chénard reveived a “Prix avec distinction” in viola at the Conservatoire de musique du Québec in 2016. He studied with François Paradis, Catherine Dallaire, and Élise Lavoie in Rimouski and Québec City.
Étienne learned violin, viola and chamber music at Domaine Forget Academy and Orford Art Center working with Anne Robert, Helmut Lipksy, Mark Fewer, David Gilham, Mimi Zweig, François Paradis, Jocelyne Bastien, Arthur-Leblanc String Quartet, Vera Beth and Kenneth Slowik. He received master classes from Christian Tetzlaff, Antoine Tamestit, Roberto Diaz, Paul Silverthorne, Jean Sulem, and Miguel DaSilva. Étienne is Assistant Principal Viola of Symphony Nova Scotia since 2018. He occupied the same chair in both Orchestre Symphonique de Sherbrooke and de l’Estuaire. He’s a regular substitute with Orchestre Symphonique de Québec and Les Violons du Roy. Étienne particularly loves to play chamber music. He has recently been invited to play in Concerts aux Îles du Bic, Inner Space Concerts, Music at Three Church and Cacouna en Concert.
Awesome! Just one thing: I’ve changed instrument since I sent you the bio. The last sentence should be this :
Étienne performs on a mid-18th-century Milanese viola and a bow from François Lotte. Both are generously loaned by CANIMEX INC.
About Kerry Kavalo
Kerry Kavalo is a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and is thrilled to be Symphony Nova Scotia’s Assistant Principal Viola. Prior to joining Symphony Nova Scotia, Kerry was a viola fellow with the New World Symphony, America’s orchestral academy, in Miami Beach, Florida. He has served as Principal Viola under many renowned conductors including Michael Tilson Thomas, Bernard Labadie, and Lorin Maazel. Summer festival appearances include Manchester Summer Chamber Music, Verbier Festival Orchestra, Castleton Festival, Tanglewood Music Center, and Spoleto Festival USA. Kerry has been a prizewinner of numerous solo competitions including the Ohio Viola Society, Tuesday Musical Club of Pittsburgh, and the Alexander & Buono International String Competition as a member of the Konova String Quartet. Kerry thoroughly enjoys his opportunities through Symphony Nova Scotia to share the joys of music outside the concert hall, performing in schools and other cultural institutions. As a fellow at the New World Symphony, Kerry taught as part of the Young Artist Program, offering students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds private music lessons. Recipient of the Horace and Marie Arnold Viola Award, Kerry earned a Bachelor’s degree at the Cleveland Institute of Music under the tutelage of Lynne Ramsey and Jeffrey Irvine. In addition to being an active volunteer with the Ecology Action Centre and the Make-a-Wish Foundation, Kerry proudly serves on the Board of the Blue Nose Marathon. In his free time, Kerry enjoys copious amounts of great coffee and being an enthusiast of healthy living!
About Helios Vocal Ensemble
Founded in 2015, Helios Vocal Ensemble is Atlantic Canada’s premier vocal ensemble, performing sacred and secular music from the Renaissance and beyond. Its regular members include Eszter Horvath (soprano), former music director at All Saints Cathedral, Halifax; Elisabeth Stones (soprano), National Youth Choir alumna; Andrew Pickett (alto), former lay clerk at Manchester Cathedral; Garth MacPhee (tenor), music director at St George’s Round Church, Halifax; and John Mark Dawson (bass), former boy chorister at Christ Church Cathedral, Ottawa. They made their débuts at the Indian River Festival in 2016 and Cecilia Concerts in 2017, and will appear in Mahone Bay’s Tree Churches Festival this summer. In December they released their first CD, “An Illuminated Christmas.”
Flutist Paolo Bortolussi is a soloist, chamber artist, and new music pioneer. Dedicated to championing music by living composers, he has premiered over 150 works for flute, including concerti written for him by Dorothy Chang, Jocelyn Morlock, and Aaron Gervais. Paolo is co-artistic director of the Nu:BC Collective, a new music ensemble in residence at the University of British Columbia. Firmly established as one of the premier interpreters of contemporary music in Western Canada, Nu:BC has performed at festivals across Canada, the US and Asia, and has premiered works by some of Canada’s leading composers including Brian Cherney, Gabriel Dharmoo, Michael Oesterle, Chris Paul Harman, Dorothy Chang, Owen Underhill, Aaron Gervais, John Oliver, Edward Top, Keith Hamel, and many more. Beyond Shadows, Nu:BC’s debut CD, as well as Paolo’s recent solo release Israfel have received multiple nominations at the Western Canadian Music Awards.
Raised in Halifax, Dr. Bortolussi is a graduate of the University of Ottawa and the Indiana University School of Music. He serves on the faculties of the University of British Columbia, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, and Trinity Western University, and has presented masterclasses across North America as well as in Korea and Taiwan. Paolo is principal flutist of the Vancouver Island Symphony where he is the driving force behind the Canadian Concerto Project, which has commissioned, premiered, and recorded five new concerti by Canadian composers for principal players of the orchestra.
Well established in the Baroque music world, Marie Bouchard leads an active performing career as a chamber and orchestral musician, accompanist and soloist.
She collaborates with several ensembles, including the Ottawa Baroque Consort, Thirteen Strings, Seventeen Voyces, Symphony Nova Scotia, and various festivals. She also worked with the MSO, Les Violons du Roy, SMAM and Tafelmusik.
Marie recorded CDs with Les Boréades, Les Voix Baroques, Aradia, the Ottawa Bach Choir, Tempest and Thirteen Strings.
In addition to sharing her love of Baroque music with her audiences, Marie is very involved as an accompanist and pedagogue in harpsichord, organ, piano, chamber music and Kindermusik.
Marie holds Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees from McGill University. She also completed training in Germany and France. She studied with John Grew, Hank Knox, Noëlle Spieth and Jean Boyer.
When she is not off camping in the woods, Marie enjoys participating in summer music festivals such as Music and Beyond, the Ottawa Chamber Music Festival and Boxwood.
Hilary Brown began her cello studies in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and received her Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees from Boston University. She also studied as a Fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center in Lenox, Massachusetts. Hilary has toured Japan with the Saint John String Quartet (New Brunswick) and she has also performed in Europe and South America.
Hilary is currently a cellist with Symphony Nova Scotia, a coach for the Nova Scotia Youth Orchestra, and a private cello teacher. She has performed as a soloist with Symphony Nova Scotia and is heard frequently as a chamber musician on CBC Radio.
Hilary is a founding member and the cellist of the Blue Engine String Quartet. She is also a member of Trio Nova Scotia and two early music ensembles: Tempest Baroque Ensemble and La Rejouissance. Hilary has performed on many Maritime concert series such as Musique Saint-Bernard, the St. Cecilia Concert Series, the Mahone Bay Concert Series, Musique Royale, and the Indian River Festival on Prince Edward Island.
Regarded as one of Canada’s prominent clarinetists, Dominic Desautels enjoys an active career in Canada and beyond.
He began playing the clarinet at age 15, has made his debut as a soloist with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra at age 21, and has since been featured with several other orchestras in Canada and abroad. In high demand as a chamber musician, he is a guest artist at Scotia Festival, and has toured across Canada, including a 40 recital tour with pianist Tina Chong for Jeunesses Musicales of Canada, and across South America in the Brahms and Mozart clarinet quintets as co-artistic director of The Parcival Project ensemble. The winner of several competitions, he notably became the first clarinetist to win a top prize at the prestigious Stepping Stone Competition, at its 33rd edition in 2011. A versatile artist being active outside the classical concert setting, he was the winner of the 2015 Stingray Rising Star Award at the Halifax Jazz Festival as a member of The New Bridge.
Studies include schools such as the Glenn Gould School under the guidance of Joaquin Valdepeñas, and with Jean-François Normand at the Université de Montréal. In 2008, upon graduation, he became the principal clarinetist of the Orquestra Filarmônica de Minas Gerais, one of the top orchestras in Brazil. In 2012 he was appointed as principal clarinetist at Symphony Nova Scotia. Dominic also has served as acting principal clarinetist with other orchestras such as the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and the Canadian Opera Company.
Dominic Desautels proudly endorses musical products crafted in Canada. He plays on Légère reeds and is a Backun Clarinets Artist, and plays on their MoBa model made of cocobolo wood.
About The Blue Engine String Quartet
Jennifer Jones – Violin 1, Anne Simons – Violin 2, Alexandra Bates – Viola, Hilary Brown – Cello
The Blue Engine String Quartet was formed in 1997 as the core ensemble of the Nova Scotia chamber music series, Blue Engine Music. Blue Engine has been artist-inresidence at the Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts, Acadia University, Cecilia Concerts in Halifax, and is heard frequently on national CBC Radio and CBC.CA. Blue Engine won gold in The Coast magazine’s 2015 “best of Halifax” reader’s poll.
Named after “The Little Blue Engine That Could”, the Quartet like its namesake, is always looking to climb that hill and deliver the goods. Our “station house” is built upon a foundation of European masterworks; bricks, beams and mortar by Beethoven, Brahms, Schubert and Shostakovich, Ravel, Mendelssohn, and Dvorak. Living artists forge the steel for our rail line. In the last two decades, The Blue Engine has traversed some challenging heights thanks to our close association with contemporary Canadian composers- Derek Charke, Christos Hatzis, Brian Current, Peter-Anthony Togni, Tony Genge, Jeff Reilly and John Plant. The Blue Engine String Quartet is especially proud to perform the work of female composers- Fanny Mendelssohn, Amy Beach, Lucy Vellère, and Rebecca Clarke and Jennifer Higdon. Always looking for music that matters, we strive to perform works that have greater social context; premiering compositions that were repressed by the Nazis or hidden away during the Holocaust. 2009 saw the first performance of Scott Macmillan’s “We Are Africville”. The 2012 Scotia Festival of Music was the scene for another premiere, this one a concert opera composed by John Plant and Andrew Wainwright, a memorial to Robert Dziekanski, “I Will Fly Like a Bird”.
Blue Engine is frequently featured as guest artists on the recordings and videos of our finest singer-songwriters; Mary Jane Lamond, Jenn Grant, Meaghan Smith, Jill Barber, Catherine MacLellan, Reeny Smith, and Erin Costelo. A Christmas tour, featuring Shelley Thompson reading her evocative short stories coincided with the release of our Blue Engine Christmas CD. The Quartet was featured in ‘Quartet Plus Four at Christmas’, a Christmas Special for Vision TV and CBC. The Quartet was delighted to accompany Michael Buble in his breakout performance at the 2006 Juno Awards Gala broadcast.
We’re blessed to perform so much wonderful music, with so many exceptional musicians, but every now and then, along comes a rare privilege. In 2011 we gave a private performance of Philip Glass’s Fourth String Quartet with the composer himself in attendance. Asked for his reaction, Mr. Glass replied, “as soon as I heard the first two chords, I knew it was going to be great”. In the late 1990s, Blue Engine was approached by the BBC to play some music for a documentary film on the life of comic genius Dudley Moore. The experience of playing for an ailing Mr. Moore was a deeply emotional one. We were asked to play one of his compositions, written during musical studies at Oxford. It had been more than forty years since he last heard his only string quartet.
In 2005, we released our first commercial recording; “If It Be Your Will- Songs of Leonard Cohen.” This collection of fifteen essential songs was arranged by Chris Palmer, featuring the insightful interpretations of singer Cliff Le Jeune and the piano accompaniment of Paul Simons. The CD received many rave reviews, including a handwritten one from Leonard Cohen: “Dear Colleagues, thank you for this sublime gift.”
The voice of Suzie LeBlanc is, without question, a sublime gift. The quartet was honoured to be the core ensemble in the Canadian Soprano’s Elizabeth Bishop Legacy Project, “I Am In Need Of Music”. This important recording is a multi- faceted collection of song settings of Bishop’s verse featuring the work of composers John Plant, Christos Hatzis, Alasdair MacLean and Emily Doolittle. The recording, a finalist for the Nova Scotia Masterworks Award, received the 2013 ECMA Classical Recording of the Year award. The Blue Engine String Quartet was thrilled to share the stage with Suzie for our Toronto debut this past December.
About Trio de Moda
Canadian ensemble, Trio de Moda is “turning heads with their style, flare and musical charisma” (St. Albert Gazette). The Alberta based Trio, which is Neda Yamach Kathleen da Caen and Clayton Leung, formed in 2016, arose out of friendship and a mutual love of chamber music.
Graduates of McGill, University of Victoria and The Cleveland Institute of Music, the members of Trio de Moda have been mentored by the Lafayette, Cavani, Cleveland, Juilliard, Tokyo and American String Quartets and musical celebrities; Itzak Perlman, Pinchas Zukerman, Lorin Maazel, William Preucil, Henk Guittart, Barry Shiffman and Thomas Rolston.
Passionate teachers and promoters of classical music, Trio de Moda is involved as mentors in their community. They are on faculty at the MacEwan Conservatory and have worked extensively as teaching artists and ambassadors with YONA Youth Orchestra of Northern Alberta over the past two years.
In addition to chamber music and teaching, Neda and Clayton perform in the Edmonton Symphony and Kathleen in the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra.
Mooring in Halifax in 2010 to enroll at Dalhousie University, Benjamin Marmen and his cello have since sought to become dynamic contributors to the city’s musical life.
A small-town boy out of Grand Bay-Westfield, NB, Benjamin began cello lessons at age seven with Sonja Adams in Saint John. Throughout high school he performed with Symphony New Brunswick as a substitute, with the Early Music Studio in SJ, and also with provincial and national youth orchestras.
In summer programs such as Le Domaine Forget, Scotia Festival, and the National Arts Centre’s prestigious Young Artist Program, Benjamin has received instruction from acclaimed cellists such as Lynn Harrell, Philippe Muller, Hans Jørgen Jensen, Denise Djokic, Paul Marleyn, Blair Lofgren, and Thomas Wiebe. However, his most cherished mentorship has come from Shimon Walt, under whom Benjamin recently completed his Bachelor of Music.
During his studies, Benjamin produced himself on stage with various ensembles –Scotia Festival’s “Chamber Players,” his sixteen-stringed clique known as Quartet LaCorde, and Symphony Nova Scotia, recently awarded the position of section cello. He also performed as a soloist with two of the local orchestras, Chebucto Symphony Orchestra and Nova Sinfonia, and was programmed as a soloist with SNS as one of the winners of the NS Youth Orchestra’s 2014 Concerto Competition. Benjamin has performed throughout Nova Scotia, notably as a guest artist in Mahone Bay’s Music at Three Churches, in Tatamagouche in Bonnyman House Tearoom’s concert series, as well as in New Brunswick as part of the Musique à l’église historique de Barachois.
Away from the classical stage, Benjamin has taken part in a variety of musical ventures, such as taking to the stage with Natalie MacMaster and her band at the 2013 ECMAs, as well as performing and recording with various local artists, such as guitarist Maxim Cormier, winner of a 2013 NS Music Award, and the popular singer-songwriter Mo Kenney. He has played on film soundtracks by local composers Blain Morris and Josh Cruddas, as well as in a short film by Halifax director Dillon Garland.
Through his interest in new music and improvisation, and thanks to suddenlyLISTEN and Upstream Music Association, he was involved in improvised concerts by Montreal’s Musique Actuelle, played in workshops with composers and improvisers such as Danielle Palardy Roger, Jean Derome, and Joëlle Léandre, and has also appeared as a soloist in Halifax’ Open Waters Festival.
BARBARA PRITCHARD specializes in performing piano music from the 20th and 21st centuries. While living in Toronto, she played with the Arraymusic and Continuum ensembles, and for several years she was a faculty member in the Banff Centre’s summer program. Since moving to Halifax in 1998, Ms Pritchard has established herself as a soloist and chamber musician, giving many recitals with the help of grants from the Canada Council and Arts Nova Scotia. She has returned to Toronto several times for performances, including a solo recital at the St. Lawrence Centre in January 2015 (presented by New Music Concerts and Music Toronto).
In 2009 the Canadian Music Centre awarded Ms Pritchard the title of CMC Ambassador for her commitment to the performance of Canadian music. In 2011 she became a founding member of Musikon, a recital series of new Canadian music, based at Saint Mary’s University. In November 2015 in recognition of her contributions to cultural life in Nova Scotia, Ms Pritchard received an Established Artist Recognition Award from the Creative Nova Scotia Leadership Council.
Ms Pritchard’s first solo CD, The View From Here was released to critical acclaim in 1998. The final track from her second CD, Piano Atlantica, (Clark Ross’ Last Dance) was nominated for a 2011 Juno Award: Classical Composition of the Year. Her third CD, Toccata (2012), was nominated for a 2014 ECMA Award: Classical Recording of the Year; Toccata was also chosen as one of Musical Toronto’s Top Ten Albums of 2012.
Born in Brazil, bassoonist Ariana Pedrosa has gained extensive experience over the years as a bassoonist and orchestra bassoonist as well as a pedagogue.
After completing her bachelor’s degree at the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (UFMG) in 2000, she won the position of bassoon and contra-bassoon at the Orquestra Sinfônica in Minas Gerais until 2005, and subsequently held the same position from 2007 to 2013 at the Orquestra Filarmônica de Minas Gerais, presently recognized as one of the most important symphony orchestras in South America. Currently residing in Halifax, Nova Scotia, she has been a regular guest musician with Symphony Nova Scotia since her arrival in 2013, as well as various other ensembles. Her professional career was interwoven with graduate studies, such as obtaining a master’s degree from the Université de Montréal in music performance in 2007, and since 2015 as a Doctoral candidate at the same institution. Her research focuses on Brazilian concert music for wind instruments, and the dialogue between popular and classical music in this tradition.
She was a lecturer in bassoon and chamber music at the Universidade do Estado in Minas Gerais from 2003 to 2005, then substitute professor from 2009 to 2011 at the UFMG in bassoon and pedagogy for wind instruments.
Recognized for her sensitivity, intelligence, and virtuosity as a soloist and chamber musician, pianist Alexandra Gorlin-Crenshaw is regularly invited to play with the Jigsaw Players in London, as well as in festivals such as the Thy Chamber Music Festival, IMS Prussia Cove Open Chamber Music Sessions, Festival Dino Ciani, La Ferme de Villefavard, and the International Holland Music Sessions. Recent concerts in Canada included performances of the Ravel Trio in the Série Jeunes et Pros at the Salle Bourgie of the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts with violinist Ewald Cheung and cellist Peter Wiley, recorded and broadcast live on CBC Radio; a performance of Christopher Cerrone’s « Hoyt-Schermerhorn » for piano and electronics at the Banff Centre for the Arts, as well as collaborative recitals in the CAMMAC Summer Music Festival Series and the Eckhardt-Grammatté Competition in Manitoba.
Other notable musical activities include an artistic residency at the Banff Centre for the J.S. Bach Well-Tempered Clavier, solo recitals in the Série Jeunes Artistes Prometteurs in Sorel-Tracy, Série Vivace in Montréal, and in a J.S. Bach residency in the Série d’Excellence at the Conservatoire de musique de Montreal. In recent years, Alexandra earned particular attention for her interpretations of J.S. Bach, working with specialist Robert Levin and subsequently performing the complete Two-Part Inventions and the Goldberg Variations in the USA, France, Germany, and the Netherlands. In 2013 Alexandra performed the seven J.S. Bach Keyboard Toccatas to particular acclaim in Montreal, garnering further engagements. Alexandra is grateful for the support from the following organisations: Fondation Wilfred-Pelletier (Excellence Award), the Canadian Council for the Arts, Fulbright Lusk Foundation of the U.S. Government, the Harriet Hale Woolley Foundation, and to Indiana University for their Gyorgy Sebok Scholarship. Alexandra completed an Artist Diploma and a Master of Music with high distinction under the tutelage of André Laplante (piano) and Mireille Lagacé (harpsichord) in Montreal between 2010 and 2013. Previously, Alexandra studied with Jean-Louis Haguenauer and Edmund Battersby at Indiana University Bloomington, and with David Lively in Paris, France. In 2012, Alexandra was appointed professor in the Préconservatoire at the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal, and since 2015 she serves as assistant teacher for the Préconservatoire class of Richard Raymond.
She has performed in recitals with members of the Cleveland Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Toronto Symphony, Houston Symphony, San Diego Symphony and other orchestras in the U.S. in Canada.
She has accompanied top prize winners in Munich International Competition, Montreal International Competition, as well as other international and national competitions for strings and winds.
During the 1990s, she was on staff at the Royal Conservatory of Music’s Glenn Could Professional School, as well as working regularly at the University of Toronto as a pianist for recitals and competitions. Susan also worked for several years as an accompanist at the Meadowmount and Encore Schools for Strings. In 1999, she participated in the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, California, where she collaborated with many instrumentalists from around the U.S. and Canada.
Her formal studies include receiving her Bachelor of Music in piano performance at UBC, and a Master of Music from the Cleveland Institute of Music in Collaborative Piano. She has been heard in performance on NPR’s Talk of the Nation, Bavarian Radio, CBC and Radio- Canada.
Australian-born pianist Simon Docking has appeared as a soloist for Toronto’s Soundstreams, the Winnipeg New Music Festival, the Scotia Festival of Music, Acadia University’s Shattering the Silence, Australia’s Aurora Festival, the new music group Stroma in New Zealand, and MATA Festival in New York.
Simon has often been heard on CBC Radio Two’s Two New Hours, The Signal, and Concerts on Demand. Internationally his performances have been broadcast on ABC Classic FM (Australia), Swedish Radio, and Radio New Zealand.
Active as a chamber musician, Simon has been a founding member of several ensembles, including the Toronto-based group Toca Loca, with pianist Gregory Oh and percussionist Aiyun Huang. Toca Loca has been presented by nearly every new music series in Canada from St John’s to Vancouver, as well as appearances in New York, California and at the C3 Festival at Berlin’s legendary Berghain. Toca Loca have released two CDs: P*P (2009) and SHED (2010).
Simon studied piano in Australia with Ransford Elsley, and holds a doctorate in piano performance from SUNY Stony Brook, where he worked with Gilbert Kalish, and upon graduation was awarded New York State’s Thayer Fellowship for the Arts. In October 2011 Simon received an Established Artist Recognition Award from the province of Nova Scotia.
Isabelle studied at the Royal College of Music (U.K.), and The Juilliard School. Her principal violin teachers have been: Paul Campbell, Rodney Friend, Dorothy DeLay, and Lydia Mordkovotch.
Whilst living in England, Isabelle worked with many great British Chamber Orchestras. From 1998-2002, she worked principally with the English Chamber Orchestra and The Academy of St. Martin in the Fields. She also worked regularly with the Britten Sinfonia, the Northern Sinfonia, The City of London Sinfonia, and the Bournemouth Sinfonietta.
Since her return to Canada in the Fall of 2002, Isabelle has been keeping very busy as Chamber Musician, Orchestral Musician, Soloist, Teacher, Adjudicator, and more recently, as Music Director. She has worked regularly with Symphony Nova Scotia these last ten seasons, and from 2009-2012 she was also Concertmaster of the McGill Chamber Orchestra in Montreal.
During many summer studies, Jennifer worked with such inspiring teachers and performers as Lorand Fenyves (Banff), David Cerone (Ohio), Sylvia Rosenberg (Banff), Luis Grinhauz (NYO), Yehudi Menuhin, and Nigel Kennedy (Halifax).
Jennifer has performed as a soloist with the NSYO, Dalhousie Chamber Orchestra, Chebucto Orchestra, Saint John Symphony and Symphony Nova Scotia. Over the past two decades her work as a chamber musician has frequently been recorded by the CBC. She has performed at the Gerhart Chamber Music Festival in Alabama, the Salisbury Summer Institute in England, the Arcadia Music Festival in Maine, the Scotia Festival of Music, the Fredericton Music Festival, and many years at the Indian River Music Festival in Prince Edward Island.
Jennifer has a passion for teaching and is a well recognized violin teacher. Early in her career she spent time taking Suzuki teacher training in Kingston, Ontario where she worked with Helen Brunner-Spira. Throughout her career she has maintained a busy private studio. She has also been faculty member of Acadia University and the Maritime Conservatory of the Performing Arts. One of her greatest pleasures is coaching members of the NSYO. She has adjudicated exams and festivals and has been on the faculty of various summer institutes throughout the Maritimes.
Symphony Nova Scotia is where Jennifer devotes most of her energy as she enjoys her work under the direction of Bernhard Gueller and the collaboration with so many fine musicians. Another of her musical endeavours is her widely varying and exciting work as first violinist with the Blue Engine String Quartet. Since its inception in 1997, the quartet has performed some of the most interesting chamber music performances on the East Coast. In 2005 the quartet, along with singer Cliff Le Jeune, released a CD entitled If It Be Your Will…Songs of Leonard Cohen and this fall the quartet will release a CD of Christmas music. The history and upcoming events of the Blue Engine String Quartet are available at www.blueenginestringquartet.com.
When not performing or teaching, Jennifer enjoys time with her son Noah, her husband Jamie and their golden retriever, Belle.
After receiving his Masters degree at the Royal Academy of Music with the highest distinction, Mr. Lee worked closely with the London Symphony Orchestra, and with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra as acting Principal Violinist. He has made recordings with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, and has toured extensively throughout Europe, Russia, and Asia. He has also performed for members of the British Royal Family in the House of Lords Parliament.
Mr. Lee is a member of the Verbier Music Festival Orchestra serving as concertmaster under many renowned conductors including Charles Dutoit, Yuri Temirkanov, Daniel Harding, Jaap van Zweden, Ivan Fischer, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Gianandrea Noseda, Valery Gergiev, Manfred Honeck, and Zubin Mehta.
As a chamber musician, Mr. Lee has performed extensively across Europe. His performances have been radio broadcasted live across the UK and Scandinavia. He has worked with several established chamber ensembles such as the BBC Scottish Ensemble, the RTÉ Vanbrugh Quartet, the Maggini Quartet, the Endellion Quartet, the Ying Quartet, and the Escher Quartet.
Renaud has performed and toured with Orchestre symphonique de Montréal throughout Canada, Japan, Korea, and Europe, where he visited twelve cities in two weeks. He has also toured in the U.S. with Les Violons du Roy, playing in Los Angeles at the Walt Disney Centre and in New York at Carnegie Hall.
In 2005, Renaud was winner of the Trois-Rivières Symphonic Orchestra Competition. Previous appointments as Concertmaster include the Orchestre de la Francophonie canadienne and Orchestre de l’Université de Montréal. He also held the position of Principal Second Violin for Symphony Nova Scotia in 2011/12.
In his spare time, Renaud enjoys reading, cooking, hiking, camping, getting together with friends, and spending time with his two children.
Dr. Gillian Smith enjoys a varied performance career which has included collaborations in chamber music performance with members of the Acadia University School of Music, the Dalhousie Department of Music, the Yale School of Music, the Juilliard School of Music, the Indiana University School of Music, and the University of Minnesota. She can be heard on “Live Wired”, a CD of contemporary Canadian chamber music recorded with members of the Acadia New Music Society. She has also recently recorded another CD with the Acadia New Music Society, “In Sonorous Falling Tones”, featuring compositions by Acadia University professor Derek Charke, to be released in winter/spring 2016-17. Gillian Smith has performed extensively in concerts, recordings, and broadcasts with Symphony Nova Scotia, the Winnipeg Symphony, and the Minnesota Orchestra.
A passionate and committed teacher, Gillian Smith is Instructor of violin and viola at the Acadia School of Music. She also serves as Head of the Upper Strings department at the Maritime Conservatory, and teaches violin, viola, and chamber music at the Conservatory. She is a coach with the Nova Scotia Youth Orchestra and has been a member of the summer faculty at the Acadia School of Music.
Gillian Smith received a Bachelor of Music degree from the Eastman School of Music, where she studied with Peter Salaff and Syoko Aki, a Master of Music degree from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where she was a student of Camillla Wicks, and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the University of Minnesota, where she studied with Jorja Fleezanis. She has also worked closely in summer studies with noted performers and pedagogues Kathleen Winkler and Roland and Almita Vamos.
In addition to his work as a classical cellist, Norman is well known as an improviser and electronic musician, playing free and creative music across North America and Europe. Norman has collaborated with many leading artists including Joëlle Léandre, Gerry Hemingway, Eddie Prévost, Pauline Oliveros, Buck 65, Jerry Granelli, Marilyn Crispell and Evan Parker.
Since 2000 Norman has been the Artistic Director and Producer of suddenlyLISTEN Music, an organization that both presents an annual series of concerts of improvised music, featuring a broad range of local, Canadian and international artists; and produces a wide range of other performance projects and public workshops.
Norman is dedicated to the arts community, and serves on the national board of The Canadian New Music Network, as well as on the boards of The Canadian Circuit, The NS Lieutenant Governor’s Masterworks Award and Strategic Arts Management. He is a former board member of Symphony Nova Scotia, and has served on juries for the The Canada Council for the Arts and various Nova Scotian arts funding bodies and organizations.
In 2010 Norman was awarded an Established Artist Award by the Nova Scotia Arts and Culture Partnership Council, for his varied work.
Norman makes his home in Halifax with Symphony principal violist Susan Sayle, and their two teenaged sons. Together, they spend their summers living and working at the Charlottetown Festival on Prince Edward Island. Norm’s passion for music is equaled by his love for riding and racing bicycles, and if he’s not playing the cello, or organizing a show, he’s probably out cycling on the roads and trails of the Island or Nova Scotia.
Visit suddenlyLISTEN at www.suddenlylisten.com and Norman’s website at www.normanadams.ca
Growing up in Edmonton, Kathleen de Caen started playing the cello at age 5. Her primary teachers were Grazyna Sobieraj, Julie Amundsen, and Tanya Prochazka. She later went on to complete a Masters in cello performance with Matt Haimovitz at McGill University.
As a soloist, she has been invited to perform with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra on multiple occasions for their education series. Kathleen was also the featured young artist of the 2012 Symphony Under the Sky series.
As a chamber musician, Kathleen has performed across North America with musicians such as Yehonatan Berick, Jean Efflam- Bavouzet and Paul Coletti. She often performs with Matt Haimovitz’s ensemble, Uccello, who performed at Carnegie Hall in 2013. Kathleen recently co-founded Trio De Moda, an Edmonton based string trio.
Kathleen is also an avid orchestral musician. She is currently acting principal cello of Symphony Nova Scotia, in Halifax, for the 2017/2018 series. She is very excited to be joining the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra as a section cellist starting in the fall of 2018.
Kathleen has been passionate about El Sistema education ever since taking a course at McGill. The philosophy is “social change through music” and reaches out to under-served communities. She taught with Edmonton’s YONA-Sistema program from 2015-2017, and encourages everyone to check out and support this amazing, and other similar Sistema organization.
After the demise of the Atlantic Symphony Orchestra he was appointed by the Nova Scotia government to a Steering Committee entrusted with rebuilding symphonic life in Nova Scotia. He was Symphony Nova Scotia’s first Personnel Manager, a position he held for six years.
Shimon was educated in Tel Aviv and Boston, where his principal teachers were Uzi Wiezel and George Neikrug. He has performed with major orchestras under such noted conductors as Leonard Bernstein, Zubin Mehta, and Pablo Casals. Today he shares his time between Symphony Nova Scotia, Dalhousie University, and operating Walt Music. Shimon is also an integral member of Rhapsody Quintet, one of the community’s most sought-after ensembles, with six recordings to their credit, ECMA nominations, and awards from Music Nova Scotia, who also nominated Shimon for Booking Agent of the Year in 2012.
Shimon Walt is known as a dedicated teacher, and many of his students have gone on to professional musical careers. He has been a provincial adjudicator for the Kiwanis Music Festivals in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, and served on national juries for FACTOR (the Foundation to Assist New Canadian Talent on Record) and the Canada Council for the Arts. Shimon is the Artistic Director of the Music at Three Churches concert series. He was honoured to receive an Established Artist Award from the Province of Nova Scotia, and was Musician-in-Residence for the St. Cecilia Concert Series during its 2012/13 season.
As well as occasionally hosting Symphony In-School Concerts and narrating “Peter and the Wolf” too many times to count, he has acted as MC for many events in the community over the years and was one of the hosts for the Symphony’s “Musically Speaking” concerts. Of course his first passion is the double bass, which he began playing in the Toronto public school system at the age of ten. The rest just seemed to fall into place…
Max has appeared as a soloist with the orchestra on several occasions, and given many solo bass recitals over the years. He also loves playing chamber music, and has formed the Gatto Dolce Duo with cellist Colin Matthews. They released their first CD, Duets for Cello and Bass, in the spring of 2008, and are slowly working on the next one.
Max has a keen interest in period music; he plays in Halifax with Réjouissance and Tempest baroque ensembles, and plays as an extra with Tafelmusik on occasion.
Now pursuing a second career as a bow maker, Max has the unique distinction of playing on a bass and bows he has made himself. He lives in Halifax with his love, Esther Ricketts, and their three cats: Xena, Murray, and Finnegan. In his spare time he likes to watch TV, read, sleep, and feed the cats.
Max is currently serving a two-year term (until 2015) on Symphony Nova Scotia’s Board of Directors as Musician Representative.
Jack earned his graduate degree in flute and early music performance from Indiana University, Jack has studied with flutists Jeanne Baxtresser, William Bennet, Robert Dick, Patrick Gallois, Sarah Jackson, Bart Kuijken, Robert Langevin, Emmanuel Pahud, and jazz legend, David Baker.
An instructor of Flute and Flute Methods at Acadia University, Jack has also taught and given masterclasses at Mt. Allison University and Memorial University of Newfoundland. With a tremendous love for chamber music, Jack has appeared in music series in the Maritimes such as Indian River Festival, Music Room Chamber Players, St. Cecilia, Mahone Bay Music at the Three Churches, and Classics By the Bay. Jack now performs regularly with Fifth Wind (fifthwind.org), the Conundrum Duo and the Jollimore Trio.
Jack lives in the old ‘village’ of Jollimore with his wife clarinettist Eileen Walsh, two little boys, Hansen and Hendrik, 3 very loud cats and a couple of kayaks.
An active chamber musician, Suzanne has been a guest of the Penderecki String Quartet and the Quatuor Arthur Leblanc and was invited to the Prince Edward County Chamber Music festival in Picton, Ontario. She has played recitals at the National Arts Centre’s Fourth Stage and Salon. She is a returning guest artist at the Scotia Festival of Music and has participated in the Indian River Festival and New Brunswick Summer Music Festival on several occasions. She has toured with soprano Wendy Nielsen and pianist Robert Kortgaard for Debut Atlantic.
Suzanne has commissioned and premiered many pieces by Atlantic composers and enjoys working with non-traditional ensembles. She has performed with Halifax’s progressive pop band Mir and recently collaborated with hip-hop artist Buck 65 and the Nova Scotia Youth Orchestra in Dinuk Wijeratne’s Hymnpeace. As a musician of Symphony Nova Scotia, she has been “adopted” by several schools in Halifax and together with classrooms of children has created new pieces that have been performed onstage.
Suzanne holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Ottawa where she studied with Rowland Floyd and a Master of Music from the University of Michigan where her teacher was Harry Sargous. Other influential teachers include Maurice Bourgue and Richard Killmer.
Clarinetist Eileen Walsh has held the position of Second Clarinet and Bass Clarinet with Symphony Nova Scotia since October 2007. Formerly the Associate Principal and E-flat Clarinet with the South Bend Symphony, Eileen earned her Master of Music degree and Performer Diploma from Indiana University in the studio of Eli Eban, and her Bachelor’s degree at the University of British Columbia in the studio of Wesley Foster.
Eileen’s love of chamber music has led to the co-founding of the Fifth Wind Woodwind quintet and the Jollimore Trio, and most recently to her joining Rhapsody Quintet. Eileen is currently on faculty at Dalhousie and Acadia Universities, and she lives in Halifax with her husband, flutist Jack Chen, and their two young boys. Other pursuits include performing on period instruments, and a two-year term as Associate Instructor of Music Theory at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music.
Ivor is active throughout Halifax as a teacher and chamber music performer, and specializes in the baroque bassoon. In partnership with Symphony Nova Scotia violinist Karen Langille, he co-founded the baroque ensemble Réjouissance, specializing in the performance of 17th and 18th century music on period instruments in historically informed style.
In addition to the baroque bassoon, Ivor has also mastered the dulcian (a 17th-century precursor of the baroque bassoon) and the recorder.
Mary is on the faculty at Acadia University and the Halifax City Schools Fine Arts Department. In the summertime she teaches at the Acadia and University of New Brunswick music camps and often performs at the New Brunswick summer music festival in Fredericton.
As a chamber musician, Mary was a member of the quartet Horns East for several years and was the recipient of a Canada Council grant which was used towards the commissioning and performance of two new works for horn quartet. Mary enjoys chamber music of all kinds and has performed at music festivals throughout the Maritimes.
Mary lives in Halifax with her husband, Stephen, and her two daughters, Joey and Laura.
David Parker has been Principal Hornist of Symphony Nova Scotia since 2000. He has been a member of orchestras in Kitchener-Waterloo, Barcelona, Quebec City, Israel, and Mexico City. He has also performed with the Toronto Symphony, the Hamilton Philharmonic, the Boston Lyric Opera, the Boston Pops, Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, and Les Violons du Roy. He is a graduate of Boston University, the University of Toronto, and Acadia University. Mr. Parker has had generous support from the Nova Scotia Talent Trust, and the Canada Council for the Arts. Mr. Parker is a founding member of the newly-formed Canadian National Brass Project. He has appeared in chamber music festivals including Scotia Festival of Music, the Toronto Chamber Music Festival, the Ottawa Chamber Music Festival, Festival of the Sound, the Garden Room, and the Charlottetown Festival.
Ross Burns is a professional musician, capoeira player, and teacher. Studying the guitar since a young age and training the Brazilian dance/martial art form capoeira seriously since 2003 Ross is becoming a familiar face on Canadian stages as a guitarist, percussionist, singer, dancer and front man.
He is a four-time ECMA award winner with the juggernaut hot-jazz outfit Gypsophilia; he heads Mestre Azeitona’s capoeira group Dendê do Recife in Halifax; he is guitarist and background vocalist in roots-reggae band Verbal Warnin’ and one part of chamber-jazz quintet The New Bridge. Ross is one fourth of Andrew Mackelvie’s improvising ensemble New Hermitage, singer and guitar player in the R&B quartet Tomatron, and is a dedicated acolyte of Jerry Granelli’s Creative Music Workshop.
Ross’ love for percussion and especially the pandeiro (Brazilian frame drum/tambourine) has lead him to study with some of the world’s best teachers in New York City, across Canada and in Brazil.
Ross has collaborated with the likes of Jerry Granelli, Sergio Krakowski, Shauntay Grant, David Myles, Dinuk Wijeratne, Suzi Leblanc, Khari MacClelland, Duane Andrews, Erin Costelo, Rich Aucoin, McGill Percussion Ensemble, Der Heisser, Rômmel Ribeiro, Balako do Samba, Paul Halley’s Ensemble Regalis, Symphony Nova Scotia and many more.
TARA SCOTT is one of Atlantic Canada’s most renowned collaborative pianists. Her love of teaching and performing has led her to pursue staff accompanist positions at Western, Dalhousie, Acadia, and Mount Allison Universities. She has performed extensively with singers and instrumentalists across Canada and appeared on national television and radio.
Tara is the principal Music Director and Pianist for Maritime Concert Opera, based in Lunenburg NS. With MCO, she has performed fifteen full-length operas and has conducted chamber orchestras for two productions. She co-founded, with Nina Scott-Stoddart, Halifax Summer Opera Workshop, an opera training program with fully staged productions, now in its fourteenth season. She has worked as Music Director for Acadia’s Singing Theatre and has performed with Opera Nova Scotia and Opera New Brunswick.
Currently on leave from the Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts, Tara maintains a busy private studio of children and adult students. She has adjudicated extensively for music festivals throughout the Maritimes and has worked as piano examiner for Mount Allison and the Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts. She is also the accompanist for Dalhousie’s Collegium Cantorum, directed by Gary Ewer.
Tara received a Bachelor of Music Degree in piano performance from Mount Allison University, studying with Dr Janet Hammock. She then studied with Dr John Hess at Western University, receiving a Master’s degree of literature and performance in collaborative piano. Originally from Grand Bay-Westfield NB, Tara now resides in Dartmouth NS with her husband and three children.
Collaborative pianist, Mary Castello, is the Staff Accompanist for the School of Music at Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia. She holds an MMus in Collaborative Piano Performance from McGill University, where she studied with Michael McMahon. Originally from Kitchener, Ontario, Mary received a BMus in Piano Performance from Wilfrid Laurier University, as a student of Leslie De’Ath.
Mary spent the 2016-2017 season as a member of the Yulanda M. Faris Young Artists Program at Vancouver Opera, where she had the privilege of acting as principal repetiteur for their production of Hansel and Gretel, and chorus rehearsal pianist for Otello and Dead Man Walking.
As an operatic repetiteur, chamber musician and recital partner, Mary has participated in summer festivals and training programs internationally, to include Opera NUOVA in Edmonton, AB; COSI in Sulmona, Italy; Franz-Schubert-Institute in Baden bei Wien, Austria; and Opera on the Avalon, in St. John’s, NL. Mary spent eight weeks with Opera Saratoga as an apprentice pianist/coach in the summer of 2018.