When Philippe Bélanger was nine years old he was named official organist at Saint Paul's church in Aylmer, Quebec, his native city. He studied organ with Monique Gendron at the Conservatoire de musique du Québec à Hull and with John Grew at McGill University. Philippe Bélanger furthered his musical studies through master classes with Marie-Claire Alain, Daniel Roth, and Ludger Lohmann. He has held posts as organist in the Ottawa region, at St-Rémi and at Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica and, in Montreal, at Saint Matthias' Church in Westmount, at the Presbyterian College, and at the Maison mère des sœurs grises.
In November 2002, when he was still only 27 years old, Philippe Bélanger won the competition to become the official organist at Saint Joseph's Oratory in Montreal. He gives regularly recitals in Canada, the United States, and France. He has been heard on CBC and Radio-Canada, and has recorded for the National Film Board of Canada. In 2001, he won first prize in the John Robb Organ Competition of the Royal Canadian College of Organists and, in 2002, first prize in the Ligue d’improvisation à l’orgue.
Philippe Bélanger is also known for his love of organ building. He is currently artistic director of the organ manufacturing company Les Orgues Baumgarten.
Serhiy Salov was born in Donetsk, Ukraine. It's there that his vast musical training began, extending well beyond the technique of the piano to composition, improvisation, the multiple disciplines of musicology, as well as to language studies.
M. Salov gave his first public concert at age 11, playing Grieg's A minor concerto with the Ukrainian National Orchestra, and his first solo recital a year later at the Philharmonia Hall of Donetsk.
At age 15, Serhiy Salov left for Germany to study at the Freiburg Musik Hochschule with the great Michel Béroff. Having graduated, he then moved to London for another four years, to complete a masters at the famed Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
M. Salov has performed with such outstanding conductors as Leonard Slatkin, Christopher Warren-Green, Lawrence Foster, Jacques Lacombe and Yannik Nezet-Seguin, and major orchestras like the Montreal, Salt Lake City, Hallé, Tokyo and Berlin Symphonies, l'Orchestre National de Radio France, the Philharmonia and Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic.
Serhiy Salov's has garnered three international First Prizes on the piano competition circuit (Dudley, Épinal and Montréal), one second (Gina Bachauer) and three thirds (Long-Thibaud, Hamamatsu and Tromso), as well as Audience Prizes in Montreal and Tromso.
He is one of the very few pianists to arrange, interpret and record his own version of Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring". Among his other arranged works is the solo piano version of the complete "Pétrouchka" ballet.
Serhiy's first commercial CD, Shostakovich's circle (Analekta, 2007), showcasing the highly sophisticated piano concertos by Galynin and Ustvolskaya, received the Prix Opus for best classical recording of the year.
The Canadian soprano, Donna Brown performs throughout Europe, North America, South America, and she has collaborated with most of the world’s finest conductors and orchestras.
She is also a highly accomplished performer of the Art Song and can be heard regularly in recitals and chamber music concerts. She is currently teaching at the Conservatoire de Montréal.
Donna Brown, studied piano, voice and composition in Ottawa and at McGill University in Montreal. She also studied with Edith Mathis.
Ms. Brown was a visiting professor at the Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea, the Fondacion Schola Cantorum in Caracas, Venezuela, the Bachakademie in Santiago de Compostella, Spain, and has given numerous masterclasses throughout the world.
The celebrated soprano, renowned for the floating, angelic quality of her voice, has performed on many of the world's great opera and concert stages, including Paris, London, Tokyo, Berlin and Los Angeles; and with many renowned conductors, among them Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Carlo Maria Guilini, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Kurt Mazur, Daniel Barenboim and Trevor Pinnock.
She has received critical acclaim for such roles as Pamina, Sophie, Gilda, Nannetta and Zerlina.
One of her most recent CD release is a recording of Mozart’s Exsultate, Jubilate paired with the Krönungsmesse conducted by Helmuth Rilling.
Soprano Maria Knapik frequently appears as a soloist with major orchestras and opera companies throughout North America and Europe. With her captivating stage presence and passionate singing, Ms. Knapik breathes life into all the roles she performs be it Tosca, Alzira, Mimi, Donna Anna, and others. She has been honoured by the American Institute of Polish Culture and the Polish government with the Gold Medal and “Gloria Artis” respectively for her ongoing national and international efforts to promote Polish arts and culture. As well, Ms. Knapik is the only artist to date who has been named “Artist in Residence” by Carmela Altamura, Founder/Director of the Altamura Center for Arts and Culture in New York.
Ms. Knapik is now preparing for the fall season with a number of projects including (with Maestro and pianist Michel Brousseau) an anticipated Carnegie Hall performance.
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.
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.
Erinne-Colleen Laurin holds a Bachelor of Music Honors degree in vocal performance from Carleton University. In 2011, she placed first at the Ontario Music Festival Association Provincial Competition leading to her competing at the 2011 National Music Festival. In 2012, she won first place in the Graduate Level at the Ottawa National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) Student Vocal Festival. This past November she was a finalist for the second time in the Brian Law Opera Competition. Erinne-Colleen has appeared as the soprano soloist in Handel’s Messiah with the Divertimento Orchestra under conductor Gordon Slater, CAMMAC Orchestra under conductor Louis Lavigueur and the Sinfonia Sacra Orchestra under conductor Uwe Lieflander. She has performed the role of Romilda in Handel’s Serse, Galatea in Handel’s Acis and Galatea and the title roles in Handel’s Alcina and Lully's Armide with baroque Orchestra. In the summer of 2013, she performed the role 'Madame Herz' from Mozart's opera Der Schauspieldirektor in Salzburg, Austria. Recently, Erinne-Colleen performed the role of Sophie in Massenet’s opera Werther as well as performed as soloist in the major worksVesperae solemnes de confessore by Mozart and Haydn’s Harmoniemesse with full orchestra. In May 2014, she had the honour of singing the national anthem accompanied by the National Arts Center Orchestra at the 2014 Governor General Performing Arts Awards Gala (GGPAA).
Jacinthe Parisé is an alumna from the École de musique Vincent d’Indy in Montreal and from the school of music of the University of Ottawa. All along her flourishing career, Jacinthe performed as a soloist with many orchestras in Quebec and Ontario. She also performed in many recitals and concerts where she sang arias, melodies, lieder , opera exerpts , requiems of differents composers. Jacinthe also sang the parts of Micaela in the opera Carmen, Suor Angelica , Serpina in La Serva Padrona. She participated to the production of many operettas, musicals and festivals,and she was finalist notably at the Atelier d’opéra de Montréal. She participated in recordings for the CBC and the Société Radio-Canada, she has been directing many sacred repertoire choirs in many regions. In 2001, Parisé, took part in a serie of workshops in Italy to perfect her art and her vocal technique alongside many world renowned artists, while performing during numerous concerts in Milan region . Also a vocal teacher, she leads her students into the understanding of the vocal arts and techniques. A vocal master that transmits with strength, emotions and authenticity the nature of the masterpieces she executes.
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.
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.
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.
Native of Kitchener-Waterloo, Mr. Fortier-Lazure began his formal vocal training at the University of Ottawa with Laurence Ewashko and sang with groups such as the Ottawa Choral Society, the Christ Church Men and Boys choir and the Ewashko singers – with whom he toured through France, England and Italy. He is currently in his masters at the University of Montreal with Catherine Sévigny. M Fortier-Lazure is honoured to participate in the Governor General Performing Arts Awards Mentorship Program, paired with the great Canadian Bass-Baritone, Joseph Rouleau.
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.
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, RENT,- (2013, Cappies Award for Best Musical), and most recently, Legally Blonde. 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.
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.
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.
Frédéric Lacroix has performed in Canada, the United States, Europe, and Asia as a soloist, chamber musician, and collaborative pianist, having performed with many of Canada’s most important musicians. He has made regular radio appearances on the Canadian CBC and SRC or the American NPR. Following the University of Ottawa’s purchase of a fortepiano in 1997, Frédéric has devoted part of his time to the study and performance of music on period keyboard instruments, for which he was recognized as the Westfield Center Performing Scholar for the 2008-09. He has recently performed Mozart piano concertos on the fortepiano with the Albany Symphony Orchestra, the Cape Cod Symphony Orchestra and the Ottawa Chamber Orchestra.
Intrigued by the seemingly infinite diversity of new music, Frédéric has enjoyed collaborating with composers and performers in the premiere of a number of Canadian and American works. Frédéric is also active as a composer, having composed for the Ottawa Chamber Music Festival, the Society of American Music, the Canadian University Music Society, the Choeur Classique de l’Outaouais and other noted Canadian musicians. His song cycle, Nova Scotia Tartan (2004), is featured on Hail, a disc dedicated to Canadian Art Song.
Much in demand as collaborative artist, teacher, adjudicator and composer, he currently teaches at the University of Ottawa. He holds degrees from the University of Montreal, the University of Ottawa, and Cornell University, where he recently completed his Doctorate degree in keyboard performance practice with Malcolm Bilson. His other teachers include Marc Durand, Cynthia Floyd, Andrew Tunis, Jean-Paul Sévilla and Monique Collet-Samyn.
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.
Nick Rodgerson is a freelance accompanist, working with a number of vocal studios, choirs, and instrumentalists. Nick also enjoys orchestral piano and his performances include Holst's Planets, Shostakovich 1st and 5th symphonies as well as a performance of Bartok's Violin Concerto No.2 in April 2014 with the National Arts Centre Orchestra. He holds a Master's degree in piano performance from the University of Ottawa and a Bachelor of Music from Dalhousie University, graduating with its 2005 University Medal in music. A recent highlight was a set of three performances of Bach's D minor keyboard concerto with the Strings of St John's in June 2013.
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.
One of Canada’s best-know flutists, Joanna G’froerer enjoys an exciting career as an orchestral player, chamber musician, soloist and educator. She has been the principal flute of the NAC Orchestra since 1992.
Ms. G’froerer performs regularly as a soloist with the NAC Orchestra, and with many of Canada’s other fine orchestras and ensembles. She regularly appears at the Ottawa Chamber Music Festival and in the NAC’s Music for a Sunday Afternoon series. In 1990 she was the winner of the wind division of the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal Competition.
Joanna G’froerer’s latest release, an all Saint-Saëns disc, was recorded for Naxos with her NAC Wind Quintet colleagues and pianist Stéphane Lemelin. This recording was named an “Editor’s Choice” in the March 2011 issue of Gramophone magazine.
A native of Vancouver, Ms. G’froerer comes from a family of professional musicians. She studied flute in Vancouver with Kathleen Rudolph, and at McGill University with Timothy Hutchins. Joanna G’froerer has taught flute at McGill University, and is presently a faculty member of the NAC Summer Music Institute. In 2007, Joanna was a resident artist and teacher at Campos do Jordao Festival in Brazil.
Praised for her “exquisite playing” by The Ottawa Citizen, Michelle Gott is an award-winning and versatile harpist active in Canada and the United States. As an orchestral musician, Ms. Gott has played with the New York Philharmonic, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the National Arts Centre Orchestra, and the Boston Pops. She has performed extensively for productions on Broadway, including The Producers and The Fantastiks and for artists such as Olivia Newton-John and Jennifer Sheehan. Ms. Gott has been featured in recital at the National Arts Centre, and as a soloist with the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra, the Atlantic String Quartet, and the Juilliard Chamber Orchestra as winner of the 2009 Juilliard Concerto Competition. An avid performer of contemporary music, Michelle has worked with luminary composer and conductor, Pierre Boulez, as a member of the Lucerne Festival Academy Orchestra in Switzerland (2009 and 2011). Ms. Gott was a winner of both the 2004 and 2006 Anne Adams Award, a prizewinner of the 2005 American Harp Society National Competition, and a quarterfinalist at the 2012 International Harp Contest in Israel. She is also a recipient of Juilliard’s Peter Mennin Prize for Outstanding Leadership and Achievement in the Arts as well as the Richard F. French grant for her doctoral dissertation research on the music of Canadian composer, R. Murray Schafer. Ms. Gott holds both Bachelor and Master of Music degrees in Harp Performance from The Juilliard School under the tutelage of Nancy Allen and is currently a Doctorate of Musical Arts candidate. She is currently the director of harp ensembles for the Ottawa Youth Orchestra Academy. Beginning in the fall of 2014, Ms. Gott will be on the harp faculty for the University of Ottawa.
Violinist Emily Westell has established herself as a versatile musician, performing recitals for the International Holland Music Sessions and appearing as soloist with the Orchestre de chambre de Paris, Calgary Philharmonic, Tanglewood, and Banff Festival Orchestras. She has performed at the festivals of Prussia Cove, Norfolk, Spoleto USA, and Orford. She also plays frequently with the National Arts Centre Orchestra.
Her concerts have been broadcast on CBC and Radio-Canada, and she appears on the Land’s End Chamber Ensemble’s CD, Rollin’ Down #1, which won a Western Canada Music Award for Outstanding Classical Album. An advocate for new music, she has premiered works with the Harvard Group for New Music, Columbia Composers, and Callithumpian Consort, among others. A former instructor of violin and chamber music at McGill University, she is a recent graduate of the prestigious Pinchas Zukerman Performance Program at the Manhattan School of Music.
Emily performs on the 1717 Windsor-Weinstein Stradivari violin, on loan from the Canada Council for the Arts Musical Instrument Bank.
Sonya Probst, Viola
Sonya started her studies on violin at the age of four. She went on to study violin performance at McGill University. In her second year she was drawn to the rich sound of the viola and switched instruments. Her teachers at McGill included Yehonaten Berick (violin), Douglas McNabney (viola), and Andre Roy (viola). Shortly after graduating she joined Symphony Nova Scotia (for a year) as their Acting Assistant Principal Viola. She is an avid chamber musician and has toured with various groups including the Blue Engine String Quartet. She has been the recipient of many scholarships, grants and awards, including the NACOA prize at the National Arts Centre Bursary competition. She currently lives in Ottawa and has played with the National Arts Centre Orchestra, 13 Strings, the Ottawa Symphony, and the Gatineau Symphony. In a more contemporary setting she has played with artists such as Barbra Streisand, Harry Connick Jr, and Anne Murray. She has also played in many musicals, including Anne of Green Gables and The Lion King.
A native of Newfoundland, Sean Rice has performed extensively throughout North America and in major cities throughout Germany, Switzerland, Malaysia, Japan, Brazil and China. His broadcasts include recitals with CBC National Radio and Newfoundland’s weekly classical music program, Musicraft. Mr. Rice has appeared as soloist with Orchestre Symphonique de Quebec, Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, Axiom, The New Juilliard Ensemble, Symphony Nova Scotia, Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra, and Memorial University Chamber Orchestra. Gaining recognition as an exciting performer of contemporary music, The New York Times described Mr. Rice as a “technically precise, exuberant protagonist,” for his performance of Magnus Lindberg’s Clarinet Quintet. Mr. Rice has performed at Pierre Boulez’s Lucerne Festival Academy (2008-2010), New York City’s Museum of Modern Art Summergarden Series (2007-2009), Barge Music, The Juilliard School’s 2007 Chamberfest, The Juilliard School’s Focus! Festival, the National Arts Centre Young Artist Program (2005-2006), and Banff Music Festival. A graduate of The Juilliard School, Mr. Rice received his Master of Music and Doctorate of Musical Arts while studying with Charles Neidich. The recipient of numerous awards, Mr. Rice received first prize at the 2006 Orchestre Symphonique de Quebec Canadian Concerto Competition. Now residing in Ottawa, Mr. Rice is Second Clarinetist with the National Arts Centre Orchestra and serves as the Director of the Contemporary Music Ensemble at the University of Ottawa.
Flutist and composer Aura Giles is equally comfortable in any solo, chamber or orchestral genre, but gets the most enjoyment out of working with composers on new, never been performed pieces. Aura has been privileged to present a number of premieres, including works by Andrew Ager, Victor Sanchez, James Wright, Margaret Ashburner and Jennifer Jolley, among others. Aura has performed as concerto soloist with the Alberta Baroque Ensemble and the University of Ottawa Orchestra. She is currently principal flute for the Ottawa Chamber Orchestra. Ms. Giles holds an MMus in flute performance from the University of Ottawa and an MA in composition with Steven Gellman. As a recording artist she has been involved in projects of various genres, most recently as a guest artist on singer/songwriter Gillian Kirkland's new recording.
Her writing extends the limits of the flutists' traditional skills by incorporating a strong vocal component in her solo pieces. Her compositional style reflects an eclectic mix of influences, ranging from jazz, folk and other earth styles to the highly structured contemporary and classical. Dedicated to the performance and promotion of new music, Aura sat on the board of directors of the Ottawa New Music Creators from 2010-2013. Aura's music has been performed by a number of established musicians such as the Thin Edge New Music Collective, Sarah Albu (trick pony) and Sesquisharp Productions among others.