Patricia Ahern has been a frequent soloist and core member of Tafelmusik since 2002. She was educated at Northwestern University, Indiana University, and the Schola Cantorum in Basel, Switzerland. She taught baroque violin at the Freiburg Conservatory in Germany and Oberlin’s Baroque Performance Institute, and has given masterclasses at McGill, York University, Wilfrid Laurier, University of Windsor, Western University, University of Toronto, University of Wisconsin, Grand Valley State University, California State University Long Beach, Sookmyung Women’s University (Seoul), and the Sydney Conservatorium (Australia). She has concertized throughout Canada, the US, Europe, Asia, Australia, and South America, and has performed with Milwaukee Baroque, Ars Antigua, Chicago Opera Theater, Toronto Consort, Aradia, I Furiosi, Newberry Consort, Musica Pacifica, and the Carmel Bach Festival. Tricia has recorded for Sony, Naxos, and Analekta.
Under the direction of Dr. Rachel Rensink-Hoff, Avanti Chamber Singers a community-based SATB chamber choir based in Niagara. We are dedicated to presenting intimate choral performances of exemplary quality in diverse musical genres with an emphasis on the works of living composers. Avanti strives for excellence and is committed to generating a supportive and enthusiastic audience base through innovative and inspired thematic programming. Our concerts typically feature an eclectic range of old and new musical styles, from small-scale compositions to extended choral works. We are a registered Canadian charity.
In three decades of work at the Shaw Festival, Guy played in over 4000 performances. Recent work on stage includes King Charles III (Studio 180, Toronto); Agatha Christie’s comedy thriller Spider’s Web (Theatre Aquarius, Hamilton); the world premiere of Norm Foster’s The Writer (Foster Festival, St. Catharines); and The New Canadian Curling Club (Thousand Islands Playhouse, Gananoque, 2019; Western Canada Theatre Company, Kamloops and Vernon, British Columbia, 2020). On television he has been seen in Murdoch Mysteries, The Firm and Warehouse 13. Guy is also heard as the voice of Mr. Bear on Rupert the Bear. While working at the Stratford Festival, Guy received a Guthrie Award, and he has also received a Newton Award and a Paul Reynolds Award at the Shaw Festival. He has been an artist-in-residence at universities across Canada, and frequently teaches with colleague Sharry Flett, specializing in “Victorian Costumes and Customs.”
Brad Barnham is a musician from Burlington, Ontario. As a skilled conductor, adjudicator, composer and producer, Mr. Barnham enjoys a career of musical variety, and balances his time between his many passions. He is the Director of Music & Choral Activities at St. George’s Anglican Church in St. Catharines, and is Music Director of Wavestage Theatre Company in Toronto. In the fall of 2023, Brad was appointed as the assistant conductor of St. Catharines’ own Avanti Chamber Singers, as well as director of the Changed Voice Ensemble of Chorus Niagara Children’s Choir. He has been regularly sought-out as a conductor and clinician for national and regional vocal festivals and competitions including MusicFest, Ontario Vocal Festival and Kiwanis Music Festival. As a choral and symphonic composer, Mr. Barnham has written for choirs and ensembles across Ontario and abroad, and has most recently premiered works with the Exultate Chamber Singers, Christ’s Church Cathedral Choir, the Woodstock Fanshawe Singers, and his own St. George’s Choir. When he is not writing in the choral/symphonic idiom, Mr. Barnham finds himself in world-renowned recording studios across North America where he writes, records and produces music. In the summer of 2022, Mr. Barnham and his band “Family of Things” signed a record deal with Label Music Group and MusicBed Publishing, and released that record the next year. Recent production credits include full-length records for west-coast indie-pop artist Zerbin, Oscar-winning actor/singer-songwriter Amy Forsyth, and folk-pop artist Emily Flack. In 2016, Mr. Barnham graduated with a MMus (Hon. Choral Conducting) degree from the University of Toronto, as the youngest graduate of the program up to that point. Before that he completed a BMus (Hon. Theory & Composition) degree from Western University. During his professional education, Mr. Barnham had the opportunity to conduct in masterclass for the National Estonian Male Choir and the Gloucester Cathedral Choir, and from 2015-2017, he was the assistant conductor of the Ellison Canadian Honour Choir. Past experiences include assistant conductor positions for the Bach Chamber Youth Choir, Christ’s Church Cathedral Choir, University of Toronto Men’s Chorus, Church of Redeemer Choir, Western University Singers, St. James Westminster Choir, and the Woodstock Fanshawe Singers. In 2016, Mr. Barnham sat on the JUNO Awards panel, as a judge for the Classical Award that year.
Julie Baumgartel has performed with Tafelmusik and the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra across Europe, North America and Asia. A resident of Kitchener-Waterloo, she frequently performs with the K-W Symphony along with performing in many chamber music projects in the Waterloo Region. Julie has been featured in numerous CBC radio broadcasts and performs chamber music regularly with the Gallery Players of Niagara, at the Festival of the Sound in Parry Sound, and with the Factory Arts Quartet as the in residence ensemble of INNERChamber in Stratford. From 2003-2012 she was conductor of the KWS Youth Sinfonia and taught at the Wilfrid Laurier String Academy from 2011- 2021.
David began his studies on the violin at the age of seven. His family having relocated numerous times allowed David to experience instruction from a number of teachers in various methods. David’s introduction to orchestral playing was with the Niagara Youth Orchestra in St. Catharines. After high school David earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Music Education from Northwestern College in Roseville Minnesota. During his time in Minneapolis David was able to tour internationally as Concert master of the Continental Singers and Orchestra and of the Communique Singers and Orchestra. While in Minneapolis David studied with Roger Frisch, Associate Concert Master of the Minnesota Orchestra. Upon returning to St. Catharines David studied with Deryck Aird of the Bradley Institute of Music and at that time, Concert Master of the Niagara Symphony. David has been a member of the Niagara Symphony Association since 1989 and has also worked for the District School Board of Niagara as a secondary school music educator since 1989. He currently teaches music at Centennial High in Welland. David and his wife Deborah met while preparing a faculty recital for the Laura Secord Music Department where David began teaching. Since then they have formed the chamber ensemble now known as Glissandi; together with their friend and colleague Douglas Miller, principal flute with the Niagara Symphony. The past twelve years have been very full as the demand for their particular style of chamber music has increased. Performances and audiences have varied greatly providing many rich experiences. One of those was a concert tour of Southern England in the spring of 1997. Upon returning from that tour Glissandi set out to record their first CD entitled Serenity. He enjoys both teaching and performing and is looking forward to much more of the same. David and his wife Deborah have three children: Matthew, Nicholas, and Jessica.
Deborah Braun (harpist) is a native of St. Catharines and began her harp studies locally with Doris Scharing. She subsequently studied with Eilene Malone of the Eastman School of Music, Suzanne Thomas of the Buffalo Philharmonic, and Elaine Pamphilon of Cambridge, England. In additional to extensive solo and ensemble playing, she is harpist with the Niagara Symphony Orchestra and Glissandi.
Nicholas Braun is a graduate of Brock University’s Bachelor of Arts Music program as well as a former student in the Mohawk College Jazz Music Program in the field of drums and percussion. Nicholas has also been writing original music for the past 10 years since the age of 15 in rock groups of various styles as well as composing his own music and performing all the instruments with the exception of a few musicians who feature on his recordings. The name of his solo project is Diz James with recordings available online and on music streaming services. Nicholas intends to continue composing and recording music and honing his craft as well as travelling and working.
Christine Chesebrough, violinist, pianist, and organist, holds a Master's Degree, from Western University, in Music Performance and Literature, as well as an Artists Diploma, and a Bachelor of Music Education. Christine has also completed chamber music programs through the University of North Carolina, and has travelled to both Italy and Switzerland to study. Christine has held positions, as a violinist, with the Thunder Bay Symphony, and as Concertmaster of Drayton Theatres orchestra; she has played with Orchestra London, Windsor Symphony, The National Ballet of Canada, the Kitchener Waterloo Symphony, and at Stratford Festival. Christine plays regularly with the Hamilton Philharmonic and the Canadian Opera Company. Her keyboard skills have led her to hold the position of Music Director at Brant Hills Presbyterian Church, accompanist for the Canadian Male Orpheus Choir, and current position of Music Director at Appleby United Church, in Burlington. Christine is no stranger to the pop music world, having performed/recorded with the likes of Josh Groban, Andrea Bocelli, Sarah McLachlin, Ann Murray, Barry Manilow, Michael Buble, The Who, Bryan Adams, and The Arkell's. Most recently, Christine completed a Masters Degree in Business Administration through the University of Fredericton and serves as Operations Manager at Port Nelson United Church in Burlington.
Principal cellist of the Niagara Symphony Orchestra, Gordon Cleland has performed across North America. He has appeared as soloist with the Niagara Symphony (Schumann Concerto in A minor and Vivaldi Double Concerto in G minor with cellist Gisela Depkat) and for the Debut Series in Montreal. He has extensive experience as a chamber musician, notably as a member of Trio Surgite with Erika Reiman on piano and fellow Niagara Symphony member Vera Alekseeva on violin. He is a regularly featured artist for the Encore! Series at Brock University. Gordon has broadcast frequently for CBC FM Radio and has performed on TV5, the international French television network. His strong interest in contemporary and Canadian music is reflected in the repertoire he performs. In addition to his activities as a performer Gordon has made a strong commitment to music education. He teaches cello at Brock University and is an instructor with Suzuki Niagara and the Niagara Youth Orchestra. He has been a featured performer for the Concertino Program of Jeunesses musicales, whose artists are carefully chosen for their pedagogical skills and their ability to communicate with young people. Gordon has adjudicated music festivals across Canada and runs a private studio in the Niagara region. Gordon started his musical training in London, Ontario and completed his studies with a Master of Music degree from Boston University. His principal teachers were George Neikrug, Walter Joachim and Gisela Depkat.
Canadian violinist Daniel Dastoor studies with Ian Swensen at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, pursuing an Artist Diploma in Chamber Music. A native of Montreal, Daniel is a winner of the Sylva Gelber Music Foundation Award, the Calgary Philharmonic’s Marley Rynd Scholarship, won first and second prize at the GGS Chamber Competition, won first and second prize at the Fontainebleau Festival’s Prix Ravel, and is a prizewinner of the Canadian Music and Alberta Festival competitions. He has performed as soloist with the Lethbridge Symphony and with the Calgary Philharmonic. A passionate chamber musician, Daniel participated in the Perlman Music Program, Kneisel Hall, NAC’s Young Artist, Trondheim Chamber, Banff Centre, Fontainebleau and Orford festivals. Active in the concert scene, Daniel competed at the 11th Joachim Competition, the 45th Fischoff Competition, has appeared at the Festival de Febrero and Rockport Chamber series, and has given performances across North America and Europe. He plays on a 1737 Guidantus violin on generous loan from the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. Daniel gratefully acknowledges the Sylva Gelber Music Foundation for their generous support for his studies in San Francisco.
The Eybler Quartet came together in late 2004 to explore the works of the first century and a half of the string quartet, with a healthy attention to lesser known composers such as their namesake, Joseph Leopold Edler von Eybler. The group brings a unique combination of talents and skills: razor-sharp ensemble skills, technical prowess, expertise in period instrument performance and an unquenchable passion for the repertoire. The Toronto- based ensemble’s live performances have consistently garnered praise as “glowing and committed”, “spirited” and “lively and energizing”. Their recording of Joseph Haydn’s Op. 33 String Quartets for the Analekta label was called “simply a treasure” by Early Music America, “the tempos are beautifully chosen, the ensemble perfect, and the intonation absolutely pure. This is music-making that reflects the deeply human and attractive qualities found in Haydn the composer—good humor, wit, and invention.” Their recording with clarinetist Jane Booth won praise from Gramophone for being “totally engaging performances that breathe life into Backofen’s music”. Their most recent release, Beethoven Quartets, Opus 18 nos. 1-3 garnered this praise from Gramophone: “…the revelations flood in: the swiftness with which the Eyblers take the great Adagio of Op 18 No 1 allows violinist Aisslinn Nosky’s almost vibrato-free period-instrument tone to sound breathtakingly fragile.” Violinists Julia Wedman and Patricia Ahern, and violist Patrick G. Jordan are members of Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra. Cellist Margaret Gay is much in demand as both a modern and period instrument player. This summer the group will again be on the faculty at the Banff Centre as part of the EQ: Evolution of the String Quartet program. In September 2022 Patricia Ahern joined the group, replacing founding member Aisslinn Nosky.
Godwin Friesen grew up making music with his eight-person family, touring Canada and recording three albums. In 2022, he won the OSM Competition, performing a concerto with the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal. In 2015 he placed first in piano at the National Music Festival and in 2019 he won The Glenn Gould School (GGS) Concerto Competition. Last June, he won second prize at the PianoArts North American Competition in Milwaukee having also earned Best Performance of a Composition by Bach. Godwin has performed concertos with several other orchestras including the Milwaukee, Regina, and Saskatoon Symphony Orchestras, as well as an orchestra of his fellow students whom he directed from the piano. Godwin’s compositions have been performed by a youth orchestra, a children’s choir and other small ensembles. Godwin completed a bachelor’s degree and an Artist Diploma at the GGS with John O’Conor, and is now pursuing a master’s degree at the Université de Montréal with Henry Kramer.
After completing a Bachelor of Music degree at Boston University School for the Arts, Margaret Gay accepted an invitation to the Banff Centre for Fine Arts, where she completed the winter programme. From there she moved to Toronto, where she earned a Master’s degree at the University of Toronto and began a remarkably active freelance career performing on both modern and period ‘cello. Margaret performs regularly with Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, the Toronto Symphony, Opera Atelier, Mississauga Sinfonia, Baroque Music Beside The Grange, the Eybler Quartet, and Ensemble Polaris, a group exploring the traditional music of various Nordic countries. She is the Artistic Director of The Gallery Players of Niagara, an organization based in the Niagara Region that presents chamber music. She was for many years a member of Modern Quartet, a string quartet dedicated to the performance of new works, the Burdocks, a foursome specializing in works of the 20th century, and Critical Band. In the summers she has performed at the Carmel Bach Festival, Stratford, Elora, Parry Sound, Grand River Baroque, and Lameque Baroque Music festivals, as well as teaching ‘cello and coaching chamber music at the Toronto Board of Education Music Camp, and the University of New Brunswick Summer Music Camp. Margaret can be heard on numerous CD’s, including a recent release from Analekta of Joseph Leopold Eybler's string quartets Op. 1, Ensemble Polaris, Not Much Is Worse Than A Troll, a Hungaroton disc of 17th century English theatre music, Ah! How Sweet It Is To Love, O Bali, from New Music Concerts, and, A Curious Collection for the Common Flute.
Glissandi, is a Niagara-based trio that has been performing together for over twenty-five years. They are featured regularly in Niagara's finest venues, and are members of the Niagara Symphony. Glissandi has recorded three CDs and each of the members is an established freelance musician of their own.
Noted for her “appealing clarity and emotional heft” (New York Times), mezzo-soprano Kristin Hoff is a graduate of Vancouver Opera’s Yulanda M. Faris Program, where her debut as Tebaldo in Don Carlo was praised as “absolutely charming in voice and person”. Credits include Dryade in Ariadne auf Naxos at the Tanglewood Music Festival and the title role in Carmen for Jeunesses Musicales du Canada. Kristin made her Carnegie Hall debut with the MET Chamber Ensemble in Elliot Carter’s Syringa. Her critically-acclaimed interpretation of Ana Sokolovic’s Love Songs has been seen across Canada, including at Lanaudiere Festival, Montreal’s Salle Bourgie, Kingston’s Watershed Festival, and most recently in Vancouver, presented as part of Re:Naissance’s IndieFest. Kristin is co-founding member and General Director of Musique 3 Femmes, an opera company which supports female opera creators. She recently performed the principal roles of two new Canadian operas at Berlin’s ufaFabrik, Plaything by Anna Pidgorna & Maria Reva and L’hiver attend beaucoup de moi by Laurence Jobidon & Pascale St-Onge
Michele Jacot is a Canadian musician with an active schedule of performing, conducting, adjudicating, teaching and concert production. Besides being in demand for her skills as a clarinetist, Michele is equally at home as a saxophonist and flutist. She regularly performs with symphony orchestras and opera companies, as well as in theatre pit orchestras including Mirvish Productions and the Shaw Festival, and in many chamber ensembles. Michele was extremely honoured to be the Associate Conductor for Canadian musical icon, Howard Cable, and appeared with him as guest conductor of several Canadian orchestras. In addition, Michele is a dedicated teacher and is in demand from the elementary to the post-secondary level. She maintains a busy timetable teaching privately, presenting workshops, adjudicating, and designing and leading instructional woodwind clinics for school music teachers. Michele has been the Artistic Director of Toronto’s Wychwood Clarinet Choir since its inception in 2009. She is proud to be a Yamaha Canada Spotlight Artist, and an Artist at Vandoren, Paris, France. Born and raised in Toronto, Michele holds a Bachelor of Music in Performance from the University of Toronto and a Master of Music in Performance from Northwestern University in Chicago.
Patrick Jordan, a native of West Texas, studied with Susan Schoenfeld before moving to Boston in 1981 to study with Walter Trampler. Mr. Jordan holds a Bachelor's degree from the New England Conservatory and an Artist's Diploma in Chamber Music from the Longy School, where he began several years' study with Eugene Lehner. Now a resident of Toronto, Mr. Jordan is a member of Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra with which he tours throughout Canada, the United States, Mexico, Asia and Europe. He is also the Artistic Administrator and violist with the Gallery Players of Niagara. He has been a member of the Boston Early Music Festival Orchestra since 1997 and has appeared with the New York Collegium as well as the American Classical Soloists. While living in Boston, he performed regularly with D.C. Hall's Band (a recreation of a 19th-century dance and concert band),the van Swieten Quartet, a period instrument string quartet, and the Handel & Haydn Society Orchestra. He was a member of the Boston Quartet, a modern instrument string quartet, and the Really Eclectic String Quartet (RESQ), a group that explored popular dance and lyrical music from many cultures. From 1988 to 1993 he was Lecturer in Violin and Viola at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA; he is currently on the faculty of the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. He has recorded for Sony, Sony Classical, Dorian, Newport Classic, NorthStar, Analekta and Northeastern.
Musician Penner MacKay has been living and breathing drumming for more than forty years. His work has accompanied numerous television shows (“Off the Map”), major theatrical productions (Shaw Festival), and movie soundtracks (“The Snow Walker”). In the late 70’s he was part of the Juno Award Winning group “Myles and Lenny.” In the 80’s he toured North America with singer/songwriter Dan Hill. Most recently, ‘Accordion Crimes’, on which Penner played percussion, was listed as one of CBC musicologist Jurgen Gothe’s favourite CD’s of 2006. This versatile musician has conducted workshops for all age groups from troubled teens, to university students, to senior citizens. He’s also worked with corporations like Royal LePage, using drumming as an exercise in team building and co-operation. In 1992, with the help of artist/craftsman Rod Hillier, Penner created a set of thunderous tunable drums from wine barrels. Inspired by the Japanese Taiko drummers, and given that the two men live in the winery region of Niagara, these drums made perfect sense; they are completely unique, impressive works of art that make the ground tremble. And so was born ‘The Barrelhouse Drum Company.’ Having studied all styles of drumming, Penner has been passing his extensive knowledge along to students for 20 years. In 2006, he helped to launch “Drums Along the Niagara,’ Niagara-on-the-Lake’s annual drumming festival. In 2006, he received the town’s cultural award for volunteering. Personable, dynamic, and inspiring, when it comes to performance and percussion, Penner is one of Canada’s great communicators.
Eric is a producer/arranger/multi-instrumentalist performing in the studio and in concert on: jazz, classical, finger style acoustic and electric guitar; classical and jazz chromatic and diatonic harmonicas, celtic and jazz violin and mandolin; accordion, clarinet, banjo, tablas drums and didgeridoo. He was a member of the multiple Juno award winning country vocal group “THE MERCEY BROTHERS”, performed in shows at Casino Fallsview, COUNTRY CLASSICS, Memories from the attic, SIX CHIX and HOLIDAY PARTY. Performed harmonicas in Shaw Festival Theatre’s production of FLOYD COLLINS. Canadian tour of DON MESSER’S VIOLIN with Frank Leahey. Presently on call guitarist with KITCHENER-WATERLOO SYPHONY and is a featured jazz, country and classic guitarist at various concerts in Canada. Eric keeps busy teaching the various instruments he plays at his recording studio MAHAR MUSIC STUDIO in Bolton Ontario when he’s not mountain biking or skiing.
James Mason is highly regarded as one of Canada’s most prominent oboists. He came to Canada in 1975, accepting the position of Principal Oboe with the Saskatoon Symphony and Lecturer in Woodwinds at the University of Saskatchewan. Since 1979 he has been the Principal Oboe of the KitchenerWaterloo Symphony and Canadian Chamber Ensemble. He has appeared as a soloist and chamber musician in Germany, Holland, Spain, South America and Japan as well as the United States and Canada. Mr. Mason has many recordings to his credit and is heard regularly on CBC radio, for which he has recorded most of the standard chamber music and solo oboe repertoire, along with several new works for oboe and orchestra and oboe and strings written specifically for him. Mr. Mason has appeared as guest Principal Oboe with the Boston, Toronto and Montreal Symphony Orchestras, along with the National Arts Centre Orchestra. Since 1981 he has been a regular performer at both the Elora Festival and the Festival of the Sound in Parry Sound, Ontario. Over the years, Mason has been a very familiar face in the musical life of southwestern Ontario. He and his wife, violinist Julie Baumgartel, were founding Artistic Directors of the Grand River Baroque Festival. Jim has also appeared as performer, audience member and heckler at INNERchamber in Stratford. He has performed and recorded on numerous occasions with the Gallery Players. He was on the faculty at Wifrid Laurier University for 37 years. In 2000, in recognition of his contribution to the arts, Mason was given the Kitchener Waterloo Arts Award for Music.
Is a Mestizo artist of Mexican descent. Her main studies in the arts are in classical ballet and contemporary performance (México, US, Canada, Germany). Mariana is an interpreter, creator, street artist, and her artistic practice is heavily influenced by a socio-cultural understanding. The major milestones that have shaped her art include being raised in México, migrating north, and developing deep connections and research in the Middle East (Palestine, Jordan). She’s created art via performance, dance, installation, in the streets and venues of México, Canada, Palestine, Jordan and Germany. At this moment her main concern is to expand the art viewer demographics and to question value systems in a society. Mariana has worked with many artists, directors and choreographers in Toronto while touring across México, Canada, U.S. and Europe. But she has developed artistic and life-long relationships with Brian Solomon (Anishnaabe/Irish), Daina Ashbee (Cree/Dutch), Jumana Dabis (Palestinian) and with The Dietrich Group, D.A. Hoskins. Mariana is a Dora Mavis Moore Award recipient.
Douglas Miller is a versatile soloist who is active within various symphony orchestras, chamber music series, mega-musicals, film and television recordings. He has performed with the Toronto Symphony, Hamilton Philharmonic, and Kitchener Waterloo Orchestra. He is current principal flute of the Niagara Symphony and a former Instructor at Brock University. As theatre musician, he is a regular member of the pit orchestras in Toronto productions such as The Sound of Music, Phantom of the Opera, The Wizard of OZ, and Les Miserables. In The Lion King, and The Lord of the Rings, he played a collection of ethnic bamboo flutes, several of which he built himself. In 2004-2006 he toured North America with Hal Princes' production of EVITA, celebrating the show's 25th anniversary. He has been a member of the Shaw Festival Orchestra in various productions since 1991 and performs regularly at the Stratford Festival. One of his many online videos with guitarist Timothy Phelan was used for a seminar in the music curriculum at Brock University in 2021. He has performed with Diana Krall and has made videos with Idina Menzel, Jonathan Antoine, and Chantal Kreviazuk. He is heard on the soundtracks of many films and TV series such as CBC's Road to Avonlea and David Suzuki's Nature of Things. Mr. Miller's diverse education includes a Master of Music in flute from University of Toronto, a Bachelor of Music and Licentiate with Distinction in saxophone from McGill University, where he completed a year of graduate studies in recording engineering. A graduate of the Royal Conservatory's Orchestral Training Program, he also spent a year of Advanced Studies in Music at the Banff Centre followed by private studies in Vienna. He is a founding member of The Gallery Players of Niagara and has produced three CDs with his trio Glissandi. He regularly performs his multimedia show, 'Flutes en Route!' a showcase of ethnic flutes from around the world. He makes his home in Niagara-on-the-Lake.
Joan Nicks, retired associate professor, Communication, Popular Culture and Film, author of two new volumes, Lost Movie Theatres / Disappearing Motels (Niagara Artists Centre, 2022), and co-editor of two studies on popular culture (Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2010, 2002). For many years, Joan and Barry Grant programmed BUFS (Brock University Film Series). Her on-going public work includes programming film series at the Niagara Falls History Museum, and collaborating with Gallery Players musicians on special screenings of restored silent films. Active researcher and writer, she continues to walk, drive and document Niagara Falls street scenes and voices.
Mike Phelan is a drummer, percussionist, instructor, educator, conductor & an arranger of Percussion Ensemble music. He was the District School Board of Niagara’s Principal Percussion Instructor from 1989 to 2012. Mike is a Percussion Instructor with the Niagara Elementary Instrumental Music Program, the Ridley College Music Department, offers private instruction for students 10 years of age & older in his home studio & continues to work with & coach several Secondary school Percussion Ensembles. Mike also teaches an Adult Percussion Class through Niagara College, providing enough students register! Mike is a percussionist with the Niagara Symphony Orchestra & performs on a regular basis with the Town of Lincoln, Thorold, Port Colborne & the Hamilton Concert “Wind” Ensembles. As a “pit” percussionist, he performs with Garden City Productions in St. Catharines & Firehall Theatre in Niagara Falls. Over the years, Mike has been the drummer/percussionist for many popular Rock & Contemporary bands such as Starlord, Nightwinds, Jeffrey & the Juniors, Private Stock & Undun. He was the Music Director, Conductor & Arranger of The Malletheads, a very popular student Percussion Ensemble, from 2000 to 2006. The group recorded 4 CD’s in that span, highlighted by performances with the John Sherwood Trio, at the OMEA Conference in Huntsville, ON. & with the Niagara Symphony Orchestra for a Christmas Pops Concert. Since 1993, Mike has been the Principal Percussion Instructor at the Niagara Symphony Summer Music Camp. In 1996, Mike wrote & performed two pieces of music for the CD “Local Scores” recorded by the late poet/lyricist Terrance Cox & in 1999, enjoyed the experience of teaching the Percussion Techniques Course at Brock University. From 2008 to 2011, Mike was the percussionist with the World Rock Symphony Orchestra, featuring a 7-piece Rock band, a 12-voice Gospel Chorale & a 35 piece Orchestra at Fallsview Casino’s Avalon Ballroom in Niagara Falls, ON.
Canadian guitarist, conductor, composer and arranger Timothy Phelan has performed in Canada, the USA, Mexico, Cuba, Martinique, Europe, Scandinavia and China. He made his CBC debut recording at the age of eighteen as concerto soloist with Orchestre Symphonique de Québec, and he has since been heard in solo, concerto and chamber music broadcasts over CBC Television & Radio, Radio France, Radio Caribbean, Cuban Radio & Television, and Radio Jalisco, Mexico. He is a regular guest soloist, conductor, teacher and lecturer at international guitar festivals in Canada, the USA, Mexico, Europe and China. A passionate and accomplished chamber musician, Tim collaborates in several duos with celebrated musicians, including fellow Canadian guitarist Emma Rush, Niagara Symphony Principal Flutist Doug Miller, violinist Julia Wedman of Canada's revered Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, and with Swedish cellist Kristin Malmborg in Aurora Polaris Cello & Guitar Duo. Tim is also a member of The Gallery Players of Niagara, performing with, among others, the Eybler String Quartet and members of Tafelmusik, and he has been involved in the performance and acclaimed recording of new transcriptions of Schumann song cycles for voice, strings and guitar, with world-renowned Canadian baritone Brett Polegato. Tim is a prolific arranger of music for solo guitar, guitar ensemble, and various chamber music combinations of guitar with other instruments. Much of his work as a composer has been dedicated to expanding the repertoire for guitar with choir, and he has collaborated with many of Canada's finest choral ensembles, even writing works for choir with symphony orchestra and guitar, including a commission for Chorus Niagara & The Niagara Symphony. For the past decade, Tim has been composing new works for guitar orchestra, and conducting their premieres in Sweden, Germany and Mexico. A graduate of the University of Toronto, and a former director of the University of Toronto Guitar Orchestra, Tim has been on faculty at Brock University for the past decade.
Pianist Erika Reiman studied at Mount Allison and McGill Universities and earned a PhD in musicology from the University of Toronto. She is the author of Schumann's Piano Cycles and the Novels of Jean Paul, published by the University of Rochester Press in 2004. In addition to her piano teaching duties at Brock University, she is active as soloist, accompanist, and chamber musician throughout Southern Ontario. In 2008, she was the soloist in the premiere performance of David Fawcett's Concerto for Piano and Orchestra.
Dr. Rachel Rensink-Hoff is Associate Professor of Music at the Brock University Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine & Performing Arts, Conductor of the Brock University Choir and Sora Singers, and Artistic Director of the Avanti Chamber Singers. She is founder of the Niagara Choral Workshop summer program for choral teachers and conductors and host of an online guest choral series, Shared Perspectives. Prior to her appointment at Brock University, she spent eight years on faculty at McMaster University. Rachel was recently awarded St. Catharines’ 2022 Arts in Education award, and is the 2014 winner of the prestigious Leslie Bell Prize for Choral Conducting awarded by the Ontario Arts Council. She was selected to conduct the 2022 Alberta Youth Choir, and the 2023 Ontario Youth Choir. Her university women’s choir earned first prize in their category of the 2015 National Choral Competition for Amateur Choirs and in 2019 the Avanti Chamber Singers was named “Most Promising New Adult Ensemble".
Formed at The Glenn Gould School (GGS) of the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, the Rilian Trio is composed of Daniel Dastoor (violin), David Liam Roberts (cello), and Godwin Friesen (piano). Successful chamber musicians separately, they began playing together in 2021, receiving coaching from Bryan Epperson. Five months later, they won first prize at The GGS Chamber Competition performing Tchaikovsky's Piano Trio. Last September, they travelled to Norway to participate in the Trio Academy of the Trondheim International Chamber Music Competition, and were one of two trios preselected to participate in the upcoming Competition in September. Recognized for their strong conviction and depth of musical narrative, the Rilian Trio has enjoyed performance opportunities ranging from the stage of Koerner Hall in Toronto to the Kulturkirke (church) in Levanger, Norway. They have also premiered a new work for piano quartet by Godwin Friesen.
First prize winner of the Canada Council for the Arts 2021 Michael Measures Prize, David Liam Roberts is recognized as one of Canada’s top young musicians. In 2019, Roberts was named one of Canada’s “30 Top Classical Musicians under 30” by CBC, and he recently won first prize at the 2022 WMC McLellan Competition, performing Schumann’s Cello Concerto with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and Maestro Daniel Raiskin in the competition’s final round. Recent engagements included a three-week recital tour of the Maritime provinces in March 2023 with pianist LaLa Lee as 2022-23 Debut Atlantic touring artists, as well as collaborations with the Viano Quartet, cellists Rachel Mercer, Cameron Crozman and Bryan Cheng, and violinist Scott St. John at the Prince Edward County festival as the festival’s 2023 Young Artist-in-Residence. Chamber music has been an integral part of Roberts’ life since he started busking with his older siblings performing Métis fiddle tunes in his home province of Manitoba. He traces his musical heritage to his Lutheran church organist grandmother on his mother’s side, and his Métis fiddler great-grandfather on his father’s side. Roberts plays a Ruggeri-model cello that was made for him in 2017 by Winnipeg-based luthier Garth Lee.
Anna Ronai has performed at major venues in Europe, North America and China, including the Weill Recital Hall of Carnegie Hall in New York, Gläserner Saal, Musikverein, and Schubert Saal, Konzerthaus in Vienna. Anna has collaborated with distinguished singers as Brigitte Fassbaender, Michelle Breedt, Bernarda Fink, Robert Holl, and Members of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra Anna is a graduate of the Music University of the Arts Vienna, where she earned two Masters degrees, one in Piano Performance and the other in Collaborative Piano. She maintained positions at the Vienna and Innsbruck Conservatories, and a faculty position for piano, piano chamber music at the Institute for European Studies in Vienna. She has played for master-classes with esteemed artists including Brigitte Fassbaender, Christa Ludwig, Thomas Hampson and Linda Watson. Anna has appeared and placed in several major Lied Duo competitions such as the Robert Schumann Duo Competition in Zwickau, Germany, the East & West Artists International Auditions in New York, and Schubert und die Moderne in Graz, Austria. In 2009 Anna moved to Canada, and is a Vocal / Opera Coach at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo. In Fall 2020 Anna joined Conrad Grebel University College at the University of Waterloo as the piano instructor, where she has also been an instrumental accompanist since 2019. She is an active performer at concerts and recitals across Ontario and abroad. Performances with the Trio d’Argento include “Music Toronto” (the world-premiere of ”Manidoog” by native composer Barbara Croall). Recent collaboration with Vienna based Flutist Ulrike Anton and the “Exil.arte” Institute in Vienna included several concerts in Europe and at the Holocaust Education week in Toronto .
Peter Shackleton is principal clarinetist of the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra and a member of Music in Common and INNERchamber. He has served as principal clarinetist of Orchestra London Canada, and has performed with Tafelmusik (on historical clarinet) and Les Violons du Roy, as well as with the Milwaukee Symphony, Winnipeg Symphony, Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony and Stratford Festival Orchestras. Peter is currently on the faculty at Wilfrid Laurier University and in the past has held teaching positions at Western University and Lakehead University. Awarded First Prize at the 27th CBC Radio Competition, he has performed as a soloist with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, National Arts Centre Orchestra, CBC Radio Orchestra (Vancouver), Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra and Tafelmusik. Peter received his Honours Bachelor of Music from Northwestern University and a certificate in Chamber Music Performance from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Brian Solomon is of Anishinaabe and Irish descent, born in the remote community of Shebahonaning / Killarney, located in the Manitoulin District of Northern Ontario, Canada. The bedrock in the area is among the oldest on earth. There are white mountains of quartz, silica and granite. There are clean bodies of fresh water the size of seas in every direction. Animals, Plants and Humans have thrived in the region since before the iceage, and Solomon’s ancestors have been on that land a very long time. This immense fortune he was born into informs his work greatly. These were his first teachers. Solomon followed first in the tradition of visual art in the region – the surrounding lands are one of the birthplaces of Eastern Woodland Art, and many contemporary artists are drawn here to practice. He began his Visual Art practice learning from some of these artists. While working as a portrait artist in his teenage years in Sudbury Ontario, Solomon discovered theatre, traditional and contemporary dance. He moved to Toronto to train at The School of Toronto Dance Theatre, and later received a Masters in Performance from the Laban Centre (UK). Solomon then performed in dance and theatre for dozens of creators from across Canada, the US and Europe, earning several Dora and Gemini award nominations. As a creator his work is multidisciplinary, raw, challenging and present. He has created a community work with over 40 interpreters, solos in trees, and animated installations of landfill. Solomon’s work has toured nationally and internationally. It has been presented at the Art Gallery of Ontario, the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre and nGbK – neue Gesellschaft für bildende Kunst Berlin. A co-creation with German visual artist Judy Ross on their film "the Filmmaker", won best prize for experimental film at Watch Out! film festival in Macedonia. Solomon was also a recipient of a REVEAL Indigenous Arts Award from the Hnatyshyn Foundation. He has taught his practice in numerous shelters, friendship centres, dance and theatre companies and in universitie. Solomon is passionate about helping people relearn about their forgotten bodies, and take back the space those bodies occupy. Find out more at electricmoose.ca
Leanne is thrilled to be performing with the Gallery Players this season! Upon completion of an Honours Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance at Brock University, she attended Western University Canada to complete two graduate degrees: a Master of Music in Voice Performance and Literature, and a Doctor of Musical Arts in Voice Performance. Leanne has extensive operatic, music theatre, and recording credits, and has performed throughout Canada, the United States, and Europe. Leanne is the voice instructor at Brock University, and is also the adjunct professor of voice at Niagara University, a music instructor at Ridley College, as well as maintaining a small home teaching studio. An active performer, Leanne sings in 2 choirs (Avanti Chamber Singers, The Edison Singers), 3 bands (High Fidelity, Temple of Night, Minuscule), and frequently performs as a soprano soloist and session musician. Recent research projects include a curriculum of Canadian Art Song, and the development of a meditation technique for singers and performers. When not making music, Leanne can be found at her local yoga studio, cultivating her wild perennial garden, or immersed in a Dungeons and Dragons campaign.
Trevor Wagler has dedicated his life to the art of music. He is co-owner/Director of Renaissance School of the Arts, as well as a freelance French horn player (on both modern and historical instruments), conductor, organist, composer, arranger/orchestrator, music editor/copyist and clinician. He holds a Bachelor Degree in Music Composition, a Diploma in Performance, and a Diploma in Chamber Music from Wilfrid Laurier University, as well as a Masters of Music Degree in horn performance from Western University. He has performed with the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, the Canadian Chamber Ensemble, Tafelmusik, Orchestra London / London Sinfonia, the Hamilton Philharmonic, the Nota Bene Period Orchestra, the Windsor Symphony, the Stratford Festival, Drayton Entertainment and more, sharing the stage with the likes of Dianna Krall, Anne Murray, Michael Burgess and Howard Cable. Trevor has conducted the historic Waterloo Concert Band since 2006, and has spent nearly two decades conducting various ensembles for the KWS Youth Orchestra Programme. He is the regular guest conductor of the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony for their acclaimed joint performances with KW GLEE. He founded the Kitchener-Waterloo Youth Concert Band (KW YCB) in 2017. Passionate about music education, Trevor maintains an active teaching schedule at Renaissance School of the Arts, and holds part-time faculty positions at both Laurier University and the University of Waterloo (Conrad Grebel University College). In addition to his active performance and teaching schedule, Trevor is also a busy arranger/orchestrator and composer, having written more than 1000 scores for orchestras, bands, chamber ensembles and soloists around the world. Recent commissions have included orchestrating (and conducting) The K-W Symphony Presents KW Glee Live! (2015, 2017, 2019 - and hopefully again in 2022, pending the end of this pandemic!) at the Centre in the Square (Kitchener), as well as new music for the KWS, Symphony Nova Scotia, the National Arts Centre Orchestra, the Toronto Symphony, the Vancouver Symphony, the Edmonton Symphony, and the Kingston Symphony. Trevor is a member of the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN), the American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada, the International Horn Society, the Historic Brass Society and the National Geographic Society. Trevor resides in Waterloo, Ontario with his soulmate, flutist Wendy Wagler, and three fabulous children.
The Toronto Star declared "under Warren's direction, the orchestra sounded full-bodied and alive!" and "...sounding luscious and regal, Warren accomplished his task". Daniel Warren has conducted the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the National Arts Centre Orchestra, The Colorado Symphony Orchestra, The Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, Symphony Nova Scotia, Hamilton Philharmonic, Orchestra London, the Windsor Symphony, Symphony New Brunswick, The Thunder Bay Symphony, The ERGO and Continuum ensembles and the Canadian Chamber Ensemble. Many of these performances have been heard on CBC radio. Warren served as Resident Conductor of the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony for fourteen years and, more recently, as Creative Advisor and conductor for Orchestra London Canada. For the past twelve years he has been conducting at the Westben Arts Festival Theatre in performances of opera, choral and orchestral programs. Comfortable with virtually all genres of orchestral music, Warren has conducted such notable opera singers including John Fanning, Gary Relyea, Susan Platts, Donna Bennett, Karina Gauvin, Jane Archibald, Daniel Lichti, Virginia Hatfield, Jennifer Enns Modolo, James McLean, and Mark Dubois. Other artists include Anne Murray, Barenaked Ladies, Roger Hodgson of Supertramp, Jim Cuddy of Blue Rodeo, Neil Donell (lead singer, Chicago) Louise Pitre, Holly Cole, Denzal Sinclair, Martin Fry of ABC, Laurence Gowan of Styx, Jeans ‘n Classics and Cirque de la Symphonie. Recent Opera and Ballet engagements include conducting the world premiere of Brian Finley's opera "The Pencil Salesman", Massenet's "Cendrillon", Mozart's "Marriage of Figaro", Mozart’s “Die Zauberflöte” at Westben and Opera Kitchener’s "Die Zauberflöte", The Nutcracker with Ballet Jörgen and the Minnesota Ballet. Other acclaimed conducting engagements have taken Daniel Warren to the United States, Austria, the Netherlands, and the Czech Republic. As a conductor and as a trumpet soloist Warren has recorded both on CD and in live television broadcast. He has toured extensively with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and the Canadian Chamber Ensemble throughout Canada, the United States, England, France, Holland, Germany, Spain, Switzerland and throughout South America. Also active as an arranger, Daniel Warren’s work was recently played by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in London, England. His symphonic arrangements span Classical, Jazz, Broadway and Rock styles and have been performed by orchestras in Canada, the USA, England and Asia. He has arranged for such artists as Quartetto Gelato, Payadora, David Rogers, Louise Pitre, Michael Dore, Donna Bennett and Stephen Michaels Kabakos. He resides with his wonderful wife and family in their rural, owner-built home.
Violinist Julia Wedman brings an "infectious vitality" to music (Victoria Times Colonist). Her playing has been described as "highly communicative", and "extraordinarily lithe and intuitive" (Globe and Mail). Originally from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Julia completed her studies in music at the University of Western Ontario, the University of Toronto and Indiana University at Bloomington. With a life long passion for chamber music, she formed her first serious string quartet at age 15 and performs with a wide collection of chamber ensembles including the Eybler Quartet, I FURIOSI Baroque Ensemble and L’Harmonie des Saisons (Montreal). She joined the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra in 2005, and is regularly featured as a soloist with the group on their home series in Toronto as well as on tours in Canada, the U.S.A, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Germany, China and Korea. Always interested in the latest research in period performance, Julia joined the Accordes! Ensemble in 2019 at Oxford University (UK) in their ground-breaking research into 19th Century performance practice, which culminated in a CD of music by Tchaikovsky and Fuchs.