ESPRIT Chamber Choir
Founded in 2010, ESPRIT is an SATB ensemble under the dynamic and enterprising direction of Mervin William Fick. Through his diligent guidance, the group has impressed its audiences with the depth and range of its interpretive skills in performance of a capella early music repertoire.
ESPRIT is pleased to announce that it was awarded a first prize at the Peel Music Festival in April 2012. ESPRIT is also the proud recipient of the Hon. Barbara A. Hagerman Award for first place at the 2012 Ontario Provincial Music Festival and was awarded second place in the Barbara Hagerman Class at the 2012 National Music Festival.
As part of its mission the chorus seeks out performances in historical venues; in the summer of 2011, ESPRIT toured Montréal, Québec, performing at St-Joseph Oratory, Notre-Dame Basilica, Christ Church Cathedral and Marie-Reine-du-Monde Cathedral. In the summer of 2012, ESPRIT performed as the resident chorus at the 'Festival de la Nouvelle-France' in Québec City, August 2-5, and delighted its audiences with early sacred music and French Renaissance Chansons.
As well, our mission is to perform in other types of venues that are often overlooked by the performing arts community, such as retirement homes, homeless shelters and rehabilitation centres.
Mervin Fick is the Artistic Director for MCS Chorus, PCS Singers, Toronto Beach Chorale.
Mervin William Fick
“I believe the choral experience to be one of the most intensely exciting of all musical experiences for singers and audiences alike. Its benefits reach far beyond the concert hall to touch the daily lives of all those involved – the true music experience is a shared one.” -- Mervin Fick
A graduate of the University of Toronto Faculty of Music, Mervin William Fick brings to his role as Artistic Director of the Esprit Chamber Choir more than 30 years of creative leadership as a choir director, organist, voice teacher, professional tenor and adjudicator.
In addition Mervin programs and conducts a concert season with the Mississauga Choral Society, as well as with the Peel Choral Society of Brampton and the Toronto Beach Chorale. He has led two choir tours in Europe successfully showcasing Canadian choral repertoire in Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic.
One of the greatest gifts that Mervin brings to singers under his direction, is the ability to inspire truly joyful singing. Recently, Mervin appeared on an episode of Vision TV’s God’s Greatest Hits, discussing the cultural impact of Handel’s Messiah, the passion it ignites in singers and the authenticity this brings to a performance.
Mervin also enjoys the challenge of conducting new and innovative choral commissions; in 2009 he conducted the Mississauga Choral Society in the world premiere of jazz musician David Mott’s Creation-A Jazz Oratorio at the Mississauga Living Arts Centre which was recorded live by CBC Radio 2
With the creation of the Esprit Chamber Choir, Mervin brings to fruition his passion for early and baroque music repertoire, and he continues to share his passion for great classical choral music and his commitment to sharing the wonderful gift of music.
An accomplished musician, Canadian conductor Michel Brousseau is currently Conductor and Artistic Director of the New World Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir, the Ottawa Classical Choir, Les Chanteurs de Sainte-Thérèse Choir, the Choeur Tremblant and the International Choir.
Michel Brousseau was introduced to music early in life and began intensive piano studies when he was nine. He developed a special interest in symphonic music, and at the age of fourteen knew that he would become a conductor. He studied conducting under maestro Raffi Armenian, completing his studies at the Montreal Conservatory of Music, where he was awarded the First Prize in piano. He also studied with Otto Werner-Müller, Milen Nachev, Valery Vachev and Aldo Faldi, and has conducted in Italy, France, the Czech Republic, Romania, Bulgaria, Ukraine, the United States and Canada.
Michel Brousseau’s passion for opera has led him to conduct more than ten operas in opera houses worldwide, including Madama Butterfly (Puccini), La Bohème (Puccini), Suor Angelica (Puccini), La Traviata (Verdi), Cavalleria Rusticana (Mascagni), I Pagliacci (Leoncavallo) and Carmen (Bizet).
In 2010, following the success of various international tours, Michel Brousseau created the International Choir, comprised of choristers from his four choirs as well as a selection of the best voices in choral music in Quebec, for the purpose of performing abroad. Michel Brousseau and the International Choir were invited to perform the Messe de saint Remi by Théodore Dubois at Carnegie Hall in New York City, with the New England Symphonic Ensemble in June 2010.
In May 2011, Michel Brousseau presented with great success, Verdi’s Messa da Requiem at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa.
In February 2013, Maestro Brousseau was invited to conduct six concerts of the opera « Pinocchio » at the renowned San Carlo di Napoli Opera House in Naples, Italy.
Louis, born and raised in Sault Ste. Marie, now a resident of Chapeau, Quebec, has been playing the fiddle since the age of eight. Being from a musically inclined family, he received his training in both classical and traditional music. He has performed and competed in numerous competitions for the past eighteen years. Since music has always been of interest to him, Louis decided to pursue a musical career. He attained a Bachelor of Music Degree from the University of Ottawa in April 1994.
Throughout his musical career, Louis has been the recipient of many awards and titles. He is recognized as an eight-time Canadian Fiddle Champion, which is held in Shelburne, Ontario, and broadcasted live, on CBC Radio across Canada. Louis was proclaimed the youngest fiddler to ever win the Canadian Fiddle Championship at the age of eighteen.
He is also the four-time Canadian Grand Masters Fiddle Champion, the only to have won the Canadian Grand Masters Fiddling Championship for four years. Each year, five of the best old time fiddlers from each of the ten Provinces and two Territories are chosen, by invitation, to compete in the Canadian Grand Masters Fiddling Championship held in Nepean, Ontario.
In 1999 Louis also won the famous, and one of North America's largest, Pembroke Competition for the third consecutive year. He is the second person to accomplish this feat in the last 30 years.
His musical talent has enabled him to participate as a special guest on various television programs and interviews, such as; The Tommy Hunter Show, Midday (CBC-TV), Global News at Noon, Regional Contact (CJOH-TV, Ottawa), Eye on Ottawa (CJOH-TV), a documentary for Adrian Clarkson Show (CBC-TV), Public Television (PBS), Midday News (CJOHTV) and the Heart Institute Telethon (CBC-TV), just to mention a few. He has also been interviewed by CBC-Radio and by various newspapers across Ontario.
He recorded his first album with his two brothers at the age of fourteen and a second recording, also with his brothers. Triple Fiddle, the title of this recording, was produced by Louis. He has currently released his first solo CD.
To enhance and diversify his musical talent, Louis has played and performed with various artists that are well recognized. Having an interest in studio recording, he has had the opportunity to gain valuable experience in studio sessions with several artists. His versatility in music enables him to record in various musical styles.
Music is Louis' life. He enjoys performing for an audience and doing studio musician work. He would like the opportunity to learn more and to improve his capabilities to endless limits. The energy, enthusiasm, and quality of his music makes it a pleasure to both see and hear.
Violinist Jessica Linnebach has distinguished herself among the next generation of Canadian classical artists being lauded on concert stages nationally and around the world. Since her soloist debut at the age of seven, Jessica has appeared with major orchestras throughout North America. A highlight of her career to date was a tour of the Middle East and Europe as guest soloist with the National Arts Centre Orchestra under Pinchas Zukerman. Jessica has been a member of the first violin section of the National Arts Centre Orchestra since 2003 and was named their Associate Concertmaster in April 2010.
Acknowledging the importance of versatility in today’s world, Jessica is fast developing a reputation as one of those rare artists who is successfully building a multi-faceted career that encompasses solo, chamber and orchestral performances. A passionate chamber musician, Jessica is a founding member of the Zukerman ChamberPlayers, a string quintet led by Pinchas Zukerman. Since the ensemble’s inception in 2003, it has toured extensively to international acclaim appearing throughout North America, South America the Middle East, Europe and Asia. Its recording of the Mozart Viola Quintet in G minor was nominated for a Juno Award in 2004 and its fifth and latest release, quintets by Mozart and Dvorak, was released in early 2008 on the Altara Label.
Jessica has also collaborated with some of the most illustrious artists of our day, including Emanuel Ax, Yefim Bronfman, Leon Fleisher, Joseph Kalichstein, Gary Graffman, Gil Shaham, Lynn Harrell, Jaime Laredo, Michael Tree, Yo-Yo Ma, and Gary Hoffman.
Accepted to the world-renowned Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia at the age of ten, Jessica remains one of the youngest ever Bachelor of Music graduates in the history of the school. While there, Jessica’s primary teachers were Aaron Rosand, Jaime Laredo and Ida Kavafian. At eighteen, she received her Master of Music degree from the Manhattan School of Music in New York City where she studied with Pinchas Zukerman and Patinka Kopec.
The 2012-2013 season includes a busy schedule of performances in Canada and the United States as well as tours of South America, Europe and Asia.
Jessica performs on a circa 1840 Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume (Guarnerius del Gesu 1737) violin.
Of Joel Quarrington , England’s “Double Bassist” magazine said, “his performance was mesmerizing - his trademark bel canto playing style brought an otherworldly quality to Bottesini’s “Elegy”…he demonstrated impeccable articulation, a rich tonal palette, absolute control and crystalline clarity. A memorable night…” Reviews such as this have confirmed his reputation as one of today’s leading double bassists.
A winner of the Geneva International Competition, Joel has served as the Principal Double Bassist of many ensembles including the Canadian Opera Company, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa and most recently the famous London Symphony Orchestra.
In 2010 Joel's latest solo recording "Garden Scene" won the Juno Award as the years Best Classical recording.
Jean Desmarais, internationally acclaimed pianist and pedagogue, is sought after for a wide and eclectic range of repertoire. He has studied with Monique Collet-Samyn, Anisia Campos (Canada), Monique Deschaussées (Paris), Johanna Stieler (Berlin) and Dalton Baldwin (U.S.A.). In constant demand as a soloist, chamber musician and collaborative- pianist, Mr. Desmarais has performed in Europe, the U.S.A. and Mexico, as well as Canada. He has been a guest soloist of numerous orchestras, including the NAC Orchestra, Philharmonic Orchestra of Chihuahua (Mexico), Orchestre Philharmonique du Nouveau-Monde, Les Violons du Roy and I Musici of Montreal, and has collaborated with renowned artists such as Kiri Te Kanawa, Amanda Forsyth, Yannick-Muriel Noah, Ben Heppner, Joel Quarrington, Johannes Debus and Pinchas Zuckerman. In 2011, he performed Beethoven’s “Emperor” Concerto with the Orchestra de la francophonie.
Mr. Desmarais is on the faculty of the NAC’s Summer Music Institute and has been guest coach for the Canadian Opera Company (Don Carlos, Pelléas et Mélisande, War and Peace, Die Zauberflöte, etc.). He has performed over a hundred World Premieres of new compositions.
He has been decorated with the Commemorative Medal for the 125th Anniversary of the Canadian Confederation for his remarkable contribution to the arts in Canada and abroad.
Born in Longueuil, Montreal suburb, Francois literally fell in love with what will become his closer companion, the violin. He began to play music from an early ages. After receiving his university degree in music from Montreal, Francois made the short list of young adult fiddlers and attended an international musical camp in Germany. During this session, a renouwned teacher invited him to study for two years at the Conservatoire de Musique de Paris at the master’s level. In these years, Francois refined his playing in attending master classes and private tutoring with numerous internationally renowned violonists in the USA and in Germany. Soon after this, he was invited to join a youth orchestra as the first violin and traveled throughout France and Canada. This adventure showed to be only the tip of the iceberg as Francois traveled and played since then in many countries with the Cirque du Soleil, or in hotels and resorts, giving recitals in which he gave back the pleasure and the secrets he received from his art.
Francois developed his own style as violinist, composer and arranger/improviser. Apart from his passion for the violin per se as a top musical instrument, Francois is a performer at ease on a stage with a crowd in front of him. He is found of a large variety of music styles ranging from: classical, popular, jazz, blues, gypsy, tango, etc. He switches from one to another with the ease of those who were born to perform on stage. His presence on a stage never goes unnoticed. According to his inspiration and to the style of the music he could dance, jump, keep the beat with his foot or stay almost still as a mime. Attending one of his shows remains a unique and unforgettable experience.
First violin of the Orchestre Symphonique Pop de Montreal, he is also conductor and teacher at the Rudolf Steiner School of Montreal. Over the past two years Francois has performed his shows “The Magic Violin” and “From Bach to the Beatles” and is currently writing his third one-man show “The Crazy Violin“.
Soprano Isabelle Lacroix completed her graduate studies in voice performance at the University of Ottawa. She has performed the roles of Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte and Zerlina in Don Giovanni with the University of Ottawa’s Opera Workshop. She was a member of Opera Lyra’s Young Artist Program with whom she performed the roles of Hansel in Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel, the title role in Rossini’s Cinderella, and the Queen of the Night in Mozart’s Magic Flute. She also performed the role of Annina in La Traviata, Ines in Il Trovatore and Frasquita in Carmen with Opera Lyra Ottawa. She has performed various works as a soloist including Handel's Messiah, in collaboration with CAMMAC, Bruckner’s Mass in F Minor, under the direction of David Currie, and many other works including Mendelssohn’s Lobgesang, Bach’s Cantata BWV 140, Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme, Mozart’s Requiem and Vivaldi’s Gloria. Ms Lacroix has also performed in several recitals, among which figures the Festival d’automne d’orgue et de couleurs in Montreal, Les Concerts Ponticello, the Festival Pontiac Enchanté , the Southminster Concerts Series, the Cleary Chamber Music Series, and the Under the Pines Music Festival. Recent engagements include the role of Annina in Opera Lyra Ottawa’s production of La Traviata in concert, solo performances in the Southminster Noon-time Concert Series and Brahms’ Requiem at Rideau Park United Church. Upcoming performances include the role of Electra in Mozart’s Idomeneo in July, as well as Bach and Handel arias performed in recital at All Saint’s Anglican Church in Ottawa on May 31st, and also in Kingston at Queen’s University in the fall.
Marya Woyiwada, soprano, received her Bachelor of Music, majoring in Vocal Performance, from the University of Ottawa in 2006, studying with Ingemar Korjus. During her time there, Marya starred in a number of operas. Since then she has performed with Opera Lyra Ottawa, with the Savoy Society, and in several collaborations with Jean Desmarais. Her operatic roles have included Zerlina and Donna Anna (Don Giovanni), Musetta (La Bohème), Countess and Susanna (Le Nozze di Figaro), First Lady (Die Zauberflöte), Mabel (The Pirates of Penzance) and Phyllis (Iolanthe). More recently, Marya has earned her Bachelor of Education, and is teaching with the Public School Board in Ottawa.
Soprano Janelle Lapalme recently graduated with honors her Masters of Music at the Université de Montréal. In her 2013-2014 season, Miss Lapalme performed her Masters recital, her mid-masters recital and performed as a soloist with the Université de Montréal’s Baroque Ensemble. She also played the role of Adina in Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore for the Atelier d’Opéra de l’Université de Montréal excerpts concert. In 2012 she was a soloist for the Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s dream with the University of Ottawa orchestra. In past seasons, miss Lapalme performed the role of Zerlina in Don Giovanni and Papagena in Die Zauberflöte with the University of Ottawa Opera Productions. Lapalme has also been heard as a soloist for the Calixa-Lavallée Chamber Ensemble, a David Buley production of Leçon des Ténèbres, and the Laurentian University production of Bach’s Magnificat, and has organized and performed in a fundraising concert for the Northern Cancer Foundation. In addition to her solo work, Lapalme took part in the chorus for Opera Lyra Ottawa’s production of Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci at the National Art Centre. Janelle Lapalme will be pursuing a second Masters in the fall at the University of Toronto in the Historical Performance program and is the proud recipient of the scholarship Fondation Baxter et Alma Ricard.
Carole Portelance, mezzo-soprano, has been active in the Ottawa classical music scene for several years, having previously sung with the Ottawa Choral Society and the Cantata Singers of Ottawa, and now performing as a soloist, in concert and in recital. She has performed in recital within the St Luke’s Anglican and Glebe St. James United Church concert series, and as soloist in concerts with the Canadian Centennial Choir, CAMMAC, the Harmonia Choir of Ottawa, the Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica Choir, the Ottawa Brahms Choir, the University of Ottawa Choir, Castenchel Choir, the North Grenville Concert Choir, and the vocal chamber ensemble, Singers’ Storybook. Recent solo performances have included the Duruflé Requiem with the Canadian Centennial Choir, Dvořák's Stabat Mater with CAMMAC, “The Last Night of the Proms” at St. Matthias Anglican Church, and songs by Slovak composer Ján Cikker with pianist Jean Desmarais.
Audiences always welcome tenor DILLON PARMER for a voice that “breathes warmth and lyricism.” Critics praise his performances as “particularly rewarding,” “finely honed,” and “outstanding.” Mr. Parmer has been heard on CBC radio and television and has appeared as a guest soloist with such companies as Opera Lyra Ottawa, I Musici de Montreal, the Nathanial Dett Chorale, Seventeen Voyces, Thirteen Strings, Gatineau Chamber Orchestra, Musica Divina, L’orchestre symphonique de Trois-Rivières, Timmins Symphony Orchestra, L’orchestra symphonique du nouveau monde, Choeur classique de l’Outaouais, Canadian Centennial Choir, Opera Breva, and Productions lyrique de Gatineau. Mr. Parmer is a versatile oratorio singer with a repertoire spanning over forty major concert roles. Whether in Bach's Mass in B Minor or Britten’s Saint Nicolas, Handel’s Messiah or Haydn's Die Jahreszeiten, Mozart's Requiem or Mendelssohn's Elijah, Beethoven's Ninth Symphony or Rossini’s Stabat Mater, he is equally at ease. Mr. Parmer has refined his dramatic and comedic skills in nearly thirty operatic roles ranging from Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte, Don Giovanni, and Die Zauberflöte, through Donizetti’s Betly and Rita, Offenbach’s La Périchole and Barbe-bleue, to Poulenc's Dialogues des Carmélites and Moore’s Gallantry. An avid supporter of the avant garde, Mr. Parmer has premiered many new works, including the Canadian première of Smith Moore’s Nobel Prize-nominated Scenes from the Life of a Martyr (Toronto Center for Performing Arts), as well as the world première of Anthony Davis’s 9/11 commemorative Restful Mourning (Piccolo Spoleto). In the past year, Mr. Parmer—under the direction of Bill Schuman—has moved into full lyric-spinto roles. His current season includes an all Britten gala, Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde, a recital of favorite Tenor-Baritone Duets, as well as guests appearances with Men of Note and Under the Pines Music Festival. Next season he will appear as Pollione in Bellini’s Norma, Tamino in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, Faust in Berlioz’s La damnation de Faust, and Alfredo in Verdi’s La traviata.
M Fortier-Lazure is proud to announce that he will be joning the Canadian Opera Company’s Ensemble Studio for their 2014/2015 season. Recognized by Christopher Huss in le Devoir of Montreal, Jean-Philippe Fortier-Lazure is “the best young Québecois tenor heard in a long time”. In his past seasons, Mr. Fortier-Lazure performed the Role of Pelléas in Pelléas et Mélisande (2012) and Le Chevalier de la Force in Dialogues des Carmélites (2013) and most recently Rinuccio in Gianni Schicchi with the Atelier d’Opéra de l’Université de Montréal under the direction of Jean-Francois Rivest. Other highlights include Mozart’s Requiem with the Deep River Symphony Orchestra and Handel’s Messiah with St. Matthew’s Anglican Ottawa. Mr. Fortier-Lazure performed the role of Beppe in Opera Lyra Ottawa’s 2012 Silver Cast production of Pagliacci at the National Arts Centre, one of his personal highlights. Interested in oratorio, Mr. Fortier-Lazure has performed works such as Orff’s Carmina Burana, Respighi’s Lauda per la nativita, Zelenka’s Missa Dei Filii, Haydn’s Theresienmesse among others.
Proudly hailing from St. John’s Newfoundland, Baritone Denis Lawlor has performed extensively in both opera and concert in Canada and abroad.
A passionate advocate of Art Song, Denis has performed many of the great song-cycles including Die Schone Mullerin, Winterrise (Schubert), Les Histoires Naturelles (Ravel), and most recently Dichterliebe (Schumann) at the National Arts Centre with pianist Jean Desmarais.
A former member of Opera Lyra’s young artist program Denis has performed numerous roles including Papageno (Die Zauberflote), Figaro/Il Conte (Le Nozze), Guglielmo/Don Alfonso (Cosi fan tutte), Don Giovanni, and most recently Ben (The Telephone) in Ottawa’s Music and Beyond festival.
Denis has been a resident artist at the Banff Centre for the Arts, and has given recitals in Berlin, Germany, Vermont (In memorial for Gerard Souzay), as well as across Canada. Recent appearances include Faure’s Requiem, Cosi fan tutte, Bach Kanata 140, and a recital of Debussy melodies. A graduate of Ottawa University, Denis studied with bass-baritone Ingemar Korjus as well as extensive coaching with pianist Dalton Baldwin. Denis is the extremely proud father of a four year old boy, Emmanuel.
Phillip Holmes, bass-baritone, lives in Norway Bay, Quebec, and has studied voice, piano and organ extensively. He has performed nationally and internationally and has won numerous awards and scholarships.
In 2006 Phillip Holmes completed a Bachelor of Music Degree in Voice Performance, at the University of Ottawa, where he studied with Lawrence Ewashko. Previously he studied voice with Patricia Kern at the University of Toronto. He has trained with Mervin Fick, Toronto, María Guinand, Germany and bass-baritone Daniel Lichti, Kitchener-Waterloo.
Mr. Holmes has sung with the Ottawa Choral Society, the Cantata Singers, CAMAC, the Cathedral Choir of Men and Boys, The Valley Festival, Seventeen Voyces and Toronto’s MacMillan Singers. He has performed as a soloist in Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Brahms’ Requiem, Handel’s Messiah, Faure’s Requiem, Bach’s St Matthew Passion, and St John Passion, Rossini’s Stabat Mater, Rutter’s Mass for the Children, Vaughn William’s Five Mystical Songs and Peter Cornelius’ Weihnachtslieder.
Mr. Holmes premiered the role of the Robber Father in Bruce Nichol’s opera, A Christmas Rose, and the lead role of Colonel John By in Timothy and Laura Piper’s musical, Bye Bye Bytown. He appeared as Alidoro in Opera Lyra Ottawa’s production of Cinderella and as Paris in their production of Romeo and Juliet.
In 2006 Phillip Holmes was a finalist in the Bravo television series Bathroom Divas which won a Gemini Award.
From 2001-2007, Mr. Holmes performed with the Bachakademie Festival Chor & Orchester directed by Helmuth Rilling for the Europäishes Musikfest, Stuttgart, Germany. Performances included Verdi’s Requiem and Messa per Rossini, Bruckner’s Te Deum, Beethoven’s 9th Symphony and Fidelio, Mendelssohn’s Elijah and Britten’s War Requiem.
Mr. Holmes teaches Theatre Arts at Philemon Wright High School, Gatineau, Quebec, where he has directed the musicals, Grease, Annie, Les Misérables, Jesus Christ Superstar, Into the Woods, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and most recently, RENT. He continues to perform and teaches voice and piano privately. In 2012 Phillip Holmes founded, and became General Director of Under the Pines, a classical music festival, which takes place in Bristol, Quebec.
Pursuing his trumpet studies at the Conservatiore de Musique du Québec in Gatineau, McGill University in Montreal and New York City under the renowned brass specialist Carmine Caruso, Eleno Pontiroli began freelancing with the NAC Orchestra, the Montreal Symphony Orchestra and the Quebec Symphony Orchestra while holding the position of Principle Trumpet of the Quebec Youth Orchestra for several years.
A native of Ottawa, Andrew Ager is one of Canada’s most widely known composers, having had performances across Canada, the US, and in Europe. In his home country, his music has been performed by some of Canada’s leading ensembles, and he has been the recipient of numerous grants.
Possessing a strong interest in the “national voice” of his country, Ager seeks to express, in a number of his works, the richness and variety of the land. Having been raised at first in Ottawa, he was aware of the strong and enduring presence of the neighbouring Francophone culture, and later, having lived for some time in Nova Scotia, of the particular character of the Maritimes.
His music is above all melodious and direct, characterised by a love of writing for specific performers and ensembles, as attested to by his numerous commissions.
As well, in his work as the Composer-in-Residence at St. James Cathedral, Toronto, he has been producing a steady stream of Liturgical music which is performed throughout the year.
Ager is also well-known as an arranger, having had great success recently with his setting of La Paloma, performed in Paris, Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia by Canadian countertenor Mark Donnelly.
In Summer 2000 his “Revue for Studio Ensemble and Two Lounge Singers” (Ellis Portal) was recorded by Talisker Players of Toronto and in Fall 2010 he performed with the same group for the premiere of a new comedy score for a Buster Keaton film.
As well, his arrangement for four-parts of "Jingle Bells" was recently featured at a VIP Screening of Disney Production's new remake of "A Christmas Carol".
A gifted musician with a wide array of artistic and creative talents, Roland Graham is an accomplished pianist, conductor, composer and impresario. He is the Organist and Director of Music at Southminster United Church in Ottawa, as well as the Artistic Director of the Verdun Classical Music Society in Montreal, QC.
As a pianist he has been heard on CBC Radio 2 and in recital across Canada. He has a special interest in interpreting the works of J. S. Bach, having this past year interpreted Bach’s Keyboard Concerto in D minor with orchestra (Ottawa, March 2011) and the fifteen Sinfonias in recital (Festival Pontiac Enchanté, July 2010).
His experience in Broadway and Musicals includes “Wicked” (National Arts Centre, 2008), “A Chorus Line” (National Arts Centre, 2009), and “Love Conquers All” (Great Canadian Theatre Company, 2009).
Mr. Graham is also an accomplished composer, predominantly of sacred choral music, and was proud to have debuted his “Canticles for the Evening Service” at Canterbury Cathedral (UK, 2005). His original jazz number, “She Walks in Beauty Like the Night”, was featured as the unifying theme for a series of Jazz Concerts in August 2009 in Montreal. The song has since been recorded by the internationally respected Geoff Lapp Trio.
Mr. Graham holds a Bachelor’s in Music from the University of Ottawa where he studied Piano Performance with Jean Desmarais, and a Master’s from the Université de Montréal where he studied Piano Interpretation with Jimmy Brière and Marc Durand.
My name is Qi yu Zhang. My English name is Leo. I'm 16 years old. For ten years I studied piano in China, and then came to Canada in August 2010.
Since September 2010, I have been studying piano with Jean Desmarais in Ottawa, Ontario. Last year I joined the Canadian Music Competition. In 2013 I won three classes at the Ottawa Kiwanis Music Festival, and was invited to perform at the Highlights Concert this past May. For more than ten years, I studied with my grandfather, who taught me to play the erhu, a two-stringed bowed instrument that is used as a solo instrument and can also be played as part of a small ensemble or with a large orchestra.
Ursula Schultz was born in Ottawa and raised in Shawville, Quebec. At the age of six she began learning to play the piano, and a year later began taking step-dancing lessons. These experiences led Ursula to take up studying the fiddle, which she has done for five years. At first Ursula concentrated on traditional Ottawa Valley Music but has recently become interested in East Coast Celtic Music. This past year Ursula began writing her own compositions. Ursula hopes to continue to expand her knowledge of fiddle playing as she explores the classical and contemporary fields, and pursues her interest in crossover music, including, pop, rock and country. Major influences have been Canadian fiddlers, Richard Woods, Natalie McMaster, The Leahy's and German violinist, David Garrett.
Alexandre was born in 2002. When he was three months old, he was diagnosed as being deaf, and at fifteen months, received a cochlear implant. At the age of five, Alexandre discovered music while attending a summer music camp at École de musique de l'Outaouais, where became passionate about learning to play the violin. He enrolled in the music program at his elementary school, Euclide-Lanhierin in Gatineau, Aylmer sector. At the same time he studied violin under Catherine Gagné in the enriched ARCO program at École de musique de l'Outaouais (ÉMOI), and for three consecutive years won a scholarship for the year-end review in the external program at the Conservatory. Alexandre also plays clarinet in his School Harmony Band.
Born and raised in Ottawa, Thaddeus is an active freelancer in the city. He has been principal cello of the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra for two years, and recently joined the Thirteen Strings. Thaddeus also works as an additional cellist with the NAC Orchestra. His teachers in Ottawa were Donald Whitton and Amanda Forsyth, and his studies continued at McGill University with Yegor Dyachkov and Matt Haimovitz.