Most people who have listened to CBC Radio 1 or 2 will be familiar with the voice of Tom Allen. At the moment he is the host of Shift on Radio 2. His programs are filled with interesting facts about the selection, the composer and about history and our time. Tom is also a host and consultant for symphony orchestras and is an author, a musician and broadcaster with a Master’s degree in Music Performance from Yale. He worked as a professional trombonist in Toronto and New York and has had his own radio program on one or other of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s networks for 23 years. He loves telling the stories of how and why a piece of music may have become the way it is, and, as the critics agree, he is very good at it. Most recently Tom has written a series of shows that mix storytelling, chamber music and original popular songs to bring classical music and the stories behind it to life in an inspiring and accessible format. These “chamber musicals” feature a brilliant and diverse cast and have been presented at the Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival, Music Niagara, Toronto's Luminato Festival, theatre and music festivals across Ontario and at Toronto’s Soulpepper theatre, where Tom is a 2014 Resident Artist.
Guy’s first appearance on the professional stage was at the Crest Theatre in Toronto in 1958 when he played thirteen-year-old Howard in Inherit the Wind. Recently, Guy appeared as Hans Blix in the Mirvish presentation of Studio 180’s production of David Hare’s Stuff Happens. He also appeared in Factory Theatre’s production of Missing and at Rochester’s Geva Theatre Center in numerous roles including Dr. Gibbs in Our Town, Noel in the North American premiere of That Was Then by Irish writer Gerard Stembridge, Jack in The Weir, in Hibernatus Interruptus, a festival of new plays (2003) and as Christmas Present or Mr Fezziwig in five productions of A Christmas Carol. He has performed at most major theatres in Canada, as well as in the United States and England. Favourite productions include the Neil Munro directed Saint Joan (Theatre Calgary); Jacob Two-Two’s First Spy Case (Lorraine Kimsa Theatre for Young People); Between Pancho Villa and a Naked Woman and The House of Blue Leaves (Hamilton’s Theatre Aquarius); The Stillborn Lover (Theatre Passe Muraille) andThree in the Back Two in the Head (Tarragon Theatre and the National Arts Centre). Television series credits include Leo and Me with Michael J. Fox, Love and Hate: The Colin Thatcher Story, and Lt Murphy in the teenage detective series Daring and Grace on CBC/YTV. Guy is also heard as Mr. Bear in the animated series Rupert the Bear. Other television credits include Direction Canada (in German) for German television and Mountain Men for BBC-TV, which was also released as a feature film. His creative talents also extend into the fields of writing and directing. He has been active in new play development, as a guest director and artist-in-residence, and has written articles on contemporary theatre. After early university studies in modern languages, he received an MA (Drama) from Essex University (UK) in 1988. Guy permanently resides with his wife and two children in Niagara-on-the-Lake.
Julie Baumgartel has performed with Tafelmusik and the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra across Europe, North America and Asia. Now living in Kitchener-Waterloo, she frequently performs with the K-W Symphony and Nota Bene Baroque Players. She has been featured in numerous CBC radio broadcasts and performs chamber music regularly with the Gallery Players of Niagara, with the Factory Arts Quartet as the in-residence ensemble of InnerChamber in Stratford and at the Festival of the Sound in Parry Sound. From 2003-2012 she was conductor of the KWS Youth Sinfonia and has been an instructor at the Wilfrid Laurier University String Academy since 2011. She performs on a Paulo Antonio Testore violin made in Italy in 1740.
Bohemians in Brooklyn is something between cabaret, storytelling, chamber music and musical theatre. It tells the story of the remarkable collection of artists that lived together at 7 Middagh Street in Brooklyn, New York from 1939 until the building’s demolition in 1945. Among them were: the poet WH Auden; composer Benjamin Britten and his life¬ partner the tenor Peter Pears; the southern writer Carson McCullers; the burlesque star turned author Gypsy Rose Lee; composer and author Paul Bowles and his wife, the author Jane Bowles; composer, musicologist and writer Colin McPhee and the novelist and editor, the unsung hero of the enterprise, George Davis. The show was commissioned by the Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival and Music Niagara, and developed with the help of the Young Centre for the Performing Arts in Toronto. Ken McKenzie provided the set design. It was premiered in Ottawa and Niagara¬-on-¬the-¬Lake in July, 2012, and at the Global Cabaret Festival at the Young Centre in October, 2012. Bohemians lives on with regular performances, fuelled by equal parts smut, gossip, jealousy, well ¬intentioned humanity and heartbreaking beauty. Patricia O’Callaghan is a recording and performing artist with 5 solo CDs and several collaborations. She tours both her own shows, and as a cast member or guest artist, around North America, Europe, and Australia. www.patricia-ocallaghan.com Bryce Kulak is an actor, singer, pianist and composer who has been performing professionally across Canada since he was 11. His albums Welcome, Tin Can Telephone, and The Man That Got Away are available on iTunes.www.brycekulak.com Lori Gemmell is the Principal Harpist with the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony and plays often with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. She has 2 recordings of solo harp music, 2 duo recordings and also recorded with Feist. www.lorigemmell.com Tom Allen hosts Shift on CBC Radio 2 and hosts concerts across Canada. He is the author of three non-fiction books, plays the trombone when he can and wrote this show, among many others. Mostly, he’s a storyteller. www.tomtomallen.com
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.
Principal cellist of the Niagara Symphony, Gordon Cleland has performed across North America. He has appeared as soloist with the Niagara Symphony and for the Debut Series in Montreal. He has extensive experience as a chamber musician, notably with violinist Atis Bankas at the Niagara International Chamber Music Festival and with pianist Karin Di Bella at Brock University. Gordon has broadcast frequently for CBC FM Radio and has performed on TV5, the international French television network. Gordon is the cello instructor at Brock University. 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.
Horn player Derek Conrod is a member of the National Ballet Orchestra (Toronto), Music in Common and the Stratford Festival Orchestra, and teaches at the Eastman School of Music (Rochester) , Wilfrid Laurier University, and the University of Western Ontario . A frequent recitalist and lecturer on historical horns, Derek performed for thirty seasons as a member of Toronto's Tafelmusik, and appears on numerous recordings with Tafelmusik, Aradia, American Bach Soloists (San Francisco), and Apollo’s Fire (Cleveland). He appeared as a soloist with Tafelmusik at the Mostly Mozart Festival at New York’s Lincoln Center and at Orchestra Hall in Chicago. In 1995 he served as music consultant for the Stratford Festival’s acclaimed production of Amadeus.
Grace Coveney is a grade 10 student at Eden High School. She has studied cello under Gordon Cleland for many years and has had the opportunity to perform in small group ensembles, as well as Master Classes. She completed the Academy program at the Summer Music Camp as well as the Royal Conservatory Basic Rudiments Theory exam. This past summer, Grace was invited to play the processional at a wedding ceremony in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Grace thoroughly enjoyed her time with both the Junior and Senior Niagara Youth Orchestra and is currently playing with the community orchestra, Mercredi Musique.
ENSEMBLE POLARIS was founded to create a multifaceted Canadian voice for the ‘idea of North’ in music. Their innovative and genre-bending artistry has won them international rave reviews of all kinds, from an Amazon.com customer’s “I dare you not to love this music!” to selection as the Best New Disc of 2012 from KMUW-FM’s award-winning show Global Village. Comprised of eight expert performers from a variety of musical traditions and backgrounds, Polaris incorporates an eclectic palette of influences in their music, and performs on traditional instruments from Scandinavia, percussion from Asia, Africa and the Middle East, and other instruments from the folk, classical and early music worlds. Accompanied song makes up about one-quarter of their programming, and their repertoire is created by a mixture of individual and collaborative arrangement, improvisation, and composition. The band members are Marco Cera (guitar, banjo, mandolin); Margaret Gay (cello); Kirk Elliott (violin, accordion, mandolin, Swedish pipes, bouzouki and more); Katherine Hill (nyckelharpa, voice); Colin Savage (clarinet, bass clarinet, recorders); Debashis Sinha (percussion); Alison Melville (traverso, recorders, seljefløyte); and Jeff Wilson (percussion, musical saw). Since their first performance at the 1997 Northern Encounters Festival, Ensemble Polaris has performed at the Salle Pierre Mercure, Luminato Festival, Music at Sharon, River Run Centre, Barrie Colours of Music, Chamber Music Mississauga, Gallery Players of Niagara and others, and on tour to audiences in Western and Atlantic Canada. They present occasional evening and school concerts in their home base of Toronto, and perform in conjunction with silent film, traditional dance and other art forms. Polaris has worked collaboratively with diverse groups including the Canadian Children’s Dance Theatre, Viva! Youth Choir, the University of Toronto’s Jackman Series and the Association for the Advancement of Scandinavian Studies. Upcoming shows include a collaborative venture with Ryerson University’s Image Arts Department (May 16/15), and with the Toronto Silent Film Festival in 2016. Polaris’s five CDs have received national and international rave reviews from critics and public alike, including a ‘Disc of the Month’ selection from Classic CD (UK) magazine (for Midnight Sun). Their latest CD Nutcracker Nouveau was supported by a grant from FACTOR and released in October 2013 to critical acclaim from Canadian, Swedish, American and other writers. Regularly heard on radio in North America, Europe (BBC, NRK, RUV), Australia and New Zealand, Polaris’s music has also been included in compilations and film/TV soundtracks in Turkey, Canada and Germany.
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.
Lori Gemmell is the Principal Harpist with the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony and plays often with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. She has 2 recordings of solo harp music, 2 duo recordings and also recorded with Feist. www.lorigemmell.com
Mezzo-Soprano Kristin Hoff debuted at Carnegie Hall singing Elliot Carter’s Syringa with Maestro James Levine conducting. She has been a soloist with the Boston Pops Symphony Orchestra, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, and the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, among many others. Kristin has performed in many operas, including as Carmen on tour with the Jeunesses Musicales du Canada, the role of Dryade in Ariadne auf Naxos at Tanglewood with conductor Christoph von Dohnanyì, and Tebaldo in Don Carlo with Vancouver Opera. She has won several prizes, including the Prix Lyrique Allemand of the Jeunes Ambassadeurs Lyriques du Canada, 1st prize in the NYCO Mozart competition and the Place St. Moritz competition, and she was also a finalist at the International Voice Competition of Canari, Corsica. She was chosen as a Caramoor Vocal Rising Star in 2012 and sang also as a part of the New York Festival of Song, about which the New York Times referred to Ms. Hoff as having « sung with an appealing clarity and emotional heft ». Kristin has performed in recital with Music Niagara, the Vancouver Island Chamber Music Festival, the Qualicum Beach concert series, the Silk Purse concert series, the Chapelle Historique du Bon-Pasteur, Place St. Moritz, among others. An avid performer of new music, Kristin has performed Ana Sokolovic’s solo acapella opera “Love Songs” with the Festival de Lanaudière, the Kitchener Open Ears Festival, in Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver and at the Musée des beaux-arts in Montreal. She also recently performed Messiaen’s Harawi and two world premieres: Triptych by Luna Pearl Woolf and White Wines by Dorothy Chang.
Keanna Hoffe is a grade ten Denis Morris high school student. She is currently beginning her ninth year of private cello lessons under the instruction of Gordon Cleland. Keanna was a member of the Niagara Youth Orchestra for five years, has played in a trio and has a performed at a wedding.
Michele Jacot is a musician with an active schedule of performing, conducting, teaching and concert production. Besides being in demand for her skills as a clarinetist, she is equally at home as a saxophonist and flutist, and is often featured as a soloist or ensemble performer on all of her instruments. She has played with symphony orchestras and opera companies across Ontario, as well as in theatre pit orchestras including Mirvish Productions, the Shaw Festival, and in many chamber ensembles. Michele is extremely honoured to be the Associate Conductor for Canadian musical icon, Howard Cable. She has recently appeared as guest conductor of the Sudbury Symphony and Symphony Nova Scotia. 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 clinics for band teachers across Canada. Michele is also the Artistic Director of Toronto’s Wychwood Clarinet Choir and is proud to be a Yamaha Canada Spotlight Artist. 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.
Described as a “formidable colouratura soprano”, Charlotte Knight is establishing herself as versatile artist on opera, musical theatre and concert stages across Canada and abroad. Recent engagements have included in Rona Lisa Peretti in The 25th Annual Putnam Country Spelling Bee with No Strings Theatre, Cecily in Benson & Davies’ Canadian operetta Earnest, The Importance of Being and Hanna in the Canadian premiere of Künneke’s Cousin from Nowhere (Der Vetter aus Dingsda) both with Toronto Operetta Theatre, Queen of the Night in Mozart’s The Magic Flute with Summer Opera Lyric Theatre, Musetta in Puccini’s La Bohème with The Opera Project in Vancouver, Le Feu in Ravel’s L’Enfant et les Sortilèges with the Canadian Operatic Arts Academy and as Marie in Donizetti’s La Fille du Régiment in an Opera Gala performance with Orchestra London. Her recent seasons have marked professional debuts with several Canadian ensembles, including Primavera Concerts at Lieschen in Bach’s Coffee Cantata, the Etobicoke Philharmonic as Gilda in Verdi’s Rigoletto, Toronto’s Opera in Concert and the Classical Music Consort as Diana in Haydn’s La Fedeltá Premiata, and Toronto Masque Theatre as Aréthuze in Charpentier’s La Descente d’Orphée aux Enfers.
Helen Kopec earned her Honours Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Toronto, where she studied with Vladimir Orloff. She also attended master classes with Janos Starker at the Banff School of Fine Arts. She was principal cello with the Chamber Players of Toronto, and a member of the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra. Helen now lives and teaches in the Niagara region after seventeen years in Atlanta, GA., where she performed regularly with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the Atlanta Ballet, and was a member of the Amadeus String Quartet. She also hosted a daily eclectic radio show, “Afternoon Intermezzo,” at WMLB, “The Voice of the Arts in Atlanta.”
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.
Bryce Kulak is an actor, singer, pianist and composer who has been performing professionally across Canada since he was 11. His albums Welcome, Tin Can Telephone, and The Man That Got Away are available on iTunes.www.brycekulak.com
Hailed as "a pianistic sensation" (Rhein-Zeitung, Germany), David Louie ranks among the foremost Canadian musicians of his generation. A twice Grammy-nominated artist for his SONY BMG Masterworks recordings with the ARC ensemble, David Louie is a laureate of prestigious music competitions including the CBC Radio Competition, Santander International Competition and Sydney International Competition. David Louie made his New York debut under the auspices of the city's venerable Peoples' Symphony Concerts. He has appeared as soloist with numerous orchestras including the Vancouver Symphony, National Arts Centre Orchestra of Canada, Gulbenkian Chamber Orchestra of Lisbon, and Royal Philharmonic Orchestra of London. A respected chamber musician, David Louie has played with the Takacs Quartet, and is a founding member of ARC (Artists of the Royal Conservatory). Dedicated to rediscovering the work of unjustly neglected composers, the ARC Ensemble has received international critical acclaim for their groundbreaking albums On the Threshold of Hope (RCA Red Seal) and Right Through the Bone(RCA Red Seal). In recent tours with ARC, David Louie has performed at London, Rome, Budapest, Warsaw, Tel Aviv, New York, the Washington Kennedy Center, and the Amsterdam Concertgebouw. In addition to performances on modern piano, David Louie is an accomplished harpsichordist, and one of few keyboard artists to traverse traditional boundaries between period and modern performance. He has presented Bach's Goldberg Variations and The Well-Tempered Clavier in concert, and written transcriptions of works by Bach and Rameau. Born in British Columbia, Canada, David Louie began studying music at the age of five. At the Royal Conservatory in Toronto he worked with Boris Zarankin and Leon Fleisher, and as an Canada Council Arts Grant recipient he completed graduate studies with John Perry at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. He currently resides in Toronto and is on faculty at the Glenn Gould School of the Royal Conservatory. A dedicated teacher of numerous successful and prize-winning students, David Louie has given masterclasses in the United Kingdom, Poland, Israel, and Australia.
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.
Douglas Miller is a versatile flutist who is active within various symphony orchestras, chamber music series, mega-musicals and records for film and television. He has performed with the Toronto Symphony, Hamilton Philharmonic, Kitchener Waterloo Orchestra, and is current principal flute of the Niagara Symphony. As theatre musician, he has recently completed 15 months in the Toronto production of The Sound of Music and has played in many Toronto productions such as Phantom of the Opera, 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 2005 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 returns for their 2011 production of My Fair Lady. 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 has recently premiered and co-produced his own orchestral show, “Flutes en Route! a showcase of ethnic flutes from around the world. He makes his home in Niagara-on-the-Lake.
Joan Nicks is adjunct professor of film and popular culture, Brock University, with long experience as a film programmer, critic and juror of media and film festivals. Her writing has appeared in various edited books and journals. She is the recipient of teaching awards, research grants, and the Laura Sabina Award (2003) in recognition of women’s contributions to the arts in Niagara. Joan is co-editor of Covering Niagara: Studies in Local Popular Culture (2010), and Slippery Pastimes: Reading the Popular in Canadian Culture (2002): Wilfrid Laurier University Press. Her collaborative research on local popular culture includes blackface minstrel shows, early movie-going and theatres, and the role of newspapers in fueling fandom. She programs film series for the Niagara Falls History Museum, and is working on a history of lost movie theatres and post-WWII motel culture in the cross-border city, Niagara Falls, Ontario. She collaborates with The Gallery Players of Niagara for special silent film events with live music accompaniment. Her curated image-projections for Chorus Niagara concerts include: “A Holocaust Memoir” (2011); “A Might Cry” (2013), commissioned in commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812; and “The World Remembers: the war to end all wars” (2014). She curated image-projections for the Toronto premiere of composer Larry Nickel’s Requiem for Peace performed by the Orpheus Choir and conducted by Robert Cooper (2012); and “The End of Innocence - WWI” (2014).
Aisslinn Nosky is a versatile and charismatic musician who brings passion and fervour to every project she pursues. She performs in solo and chamber music recitals across North America, Europe and Asia. Recent triumphs include performing concertos with the Calgary Philharmonic and with Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, as well as giving the world premiere of "Stand Still"- a new piece for solo violin by Michael Oesterle comissioned by Aisslinn with the support of the Canada Council for the Arts. Highlights of the 2011/2012 season find her performing Vivaldi's Four Seasons both in Boston with the Handel and Haydn Society and at the Lameque International Baroque Festival and guest directing the Thunder Bay Symphony. She is often in demand as a leader and concertmaster and has led the Grand River Baroque Festival Players, Arion Baroque Orchestra, and Collegium Musicum Hanyang. Aisslinn has recently been named concertmaster of the Handel and Haydn Society in Boston. Since 2005, Aisslinn has been a highly active member of Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra.
Patricia O’Callaghan is a recording and performing artist with 5 solo CDs and several collaborations. She tours both her own shows, and as a cast member or guest artist, around North America, Europe, and Australia. www.patricia-ocallaghan.com
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.
St. Catharines native Timothy Phelan is a guitarist, conductor, composer and educator based in Niagara. He made his CBC recording debut at the age of eighteen as concerto soloist with l'Orchestre Symphonique de Québec, and he has since been heard in solo, concerto and chamber music broadcasts over CBC Radio and Television, Radio France, Radio Caribbean and Cuban National Radio and Television. Tim's performances in North America, Europe and the Caribbean have included concerts at the international guitar festivals of Toronto, Hamilton, Havana, Fort-de-France (Martinique) and Nyköping (Sweden). An accomplished orchestral and choral conductor, Tim has collaborated with Canadian guitarist Liona Boyd in concerto performances, served as director of the University of Toronto Guitar Orchestra, and appeared in the CBC/Rhombus Media Film Guitar conducting music by Leo Brouwer. Tim's work as a composer includes numerous commissions and collaborations with several of Canada's finest choral ensembles. He currently holds faculty appointments in the music departments at both Brock University and Mohawk College. Tim’s varied recent engagements include solo guitar concerts in Germany and Sweden, the premiere of his composition for guitar, choir and symphony orchestra with Chorus Niagara and the Niagara Symphony, chamber music concerts and the CD recording Transformation with The Gallery Players of Niagara, and two conducting appearances in Sweden which included a concert with the Filharmoniska Sällskapet chamber orchestra and the premiere performance of his new large-scale composition for guitar duo with guitar orchestra.
Joseph Phillips has been Principal Double Bassist with Orchestra London since 2007, a position he has also held with the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra and Sinfonia Toronto. Joe’s musical interests span a wide range of styles. He plays regularly with violinist Mayumi Seiler in her Via Salzburg Chamber Music series. This, and recent engagements such as concerts with the Art of Time Ensemble and the Sweet Water Music Festiva,l have given Joe the opportunity to play with some of the best chamber musicians in Canada. He performs with cabaret-pop songwriter Sarah Slean, cabaret singer Patricia O’Callaghan, folk-country songwriter Jenny Whiteley, Andrew Downing’s chamber-jazz group Arts & Letters and a really cool Balkan-gypsy-tango trio that still doesn’t have a name. As a double bassist and guitarist, Joe has contributed to many recordings, including Juno-nominated albums by the Pierre Schryer Band, Joey Wright and The Wailin’ Jennys. Joe has written symphony orchestra arrangements for a number of Canadian artists, including blues diva Rita Chiarelli, and songwriter Ian Tamblyn. A Toronto native, Joe studied double bass at the University of Toronto with the renowned virtuoso Joel Quarrington. When not playing or stuck on the 401 somewhere, Joe spends time at his home in London with his partner Sylvie, and enjoys playing with their children Eloïse and Rémi, as well as cooking and reading.
Brett Polegato's artistic sensibility has earned him the highest praise from audiences and critics: “his is a serious and seductive voice” says The Globe and Mail, and The New York Times has praised him for his “burnished, well-focused voice” which he uses with “considerable intelligence and nuance.” He appears regularly on the world's most distinguished stages including those of Lincoln Center, La Scala, the Concertgebouw, the Opéra National de Paris, Glyndebourne Festival Opera, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Houston Grand Opera, the Teatro Real, Roy Thomson Hall, the Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall, and has collaborated with conductors such as Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Andris Nelsons, Robert Haitink, Seiji Osawa, Jeffrey Tate, Marc Minkowski, and Martyn Brabbins. He can be heard as soloist in the Grammy Awards’ Best Classical Recording of 2003 - Vaughan Williams’ A Sea Symphony (Telarc) with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Robert Spano. Brett's 2013/2014 season started with a role debut: he sang his first Ford in Falstaff for Pacific Opera Victoria. In November, he traveled to Winnipeg to perform Doctor Malatesta in Don Pasquale for Manitoba Opera and in December, he appeared with Symphony Nova Scotia in performances of Handel's Messiah. After January concerts with the Eybler Quartet of a new transcription of Schumann's Dichterliebe in both Toronto and St. Catharines, he travels to Atlanta for February concerts and a recording of Vaughan Williams' Dona Nobis Pacem with the Atlanta Symphony and conductor, Robert Spano. In March, he revisits one of his signature roles: the title role in Don Giovanni for Vancouver Opera, then follows that with another role debut: Rodrigo, Marquis of Posa, in Don Carlo also for Vancouver Opera. He concludes his busy season in Buenos Aires in June, where he will appear as Gowan Stevens in a new opera by Oscar Stasnoy entitled “Requiem” for Teatro Colòn.
Growing up in Ancaster, Mark Russom had a poster of Garfield on his bedroom door, in which the cherubic cat, bedecked as a one-man band, proclaims "music is my life". Although not quite a one-man band, the similarity is evident today. Mark's musical studies have included the organ, cello, piano, and clarinet. Since the late 80's, Mark has also been putting his vocal cords to great use, with tenures in the Exultate Chamber Singers, the Tafelmusik Chamber Choir, and more recently the Cathedral Choir of St. James in Toronto. Mark has been a resident cellist with the Niagara Symphony since 1988, is a founding member of the Serenata String Quartet, and enjoys an active freelance career, performing both as a vocalist and instrumentalist. Away from his music, Mark is an avid curler, cyclist, and golfer, on those rare occasions when spare time avails itself.
Clarinettist Peter Shackleton joined the Faculty of Music at Wilfrid Laurier University in 2011 as Musician in Residence. He holds the Principal Clarinet chair with the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra, is a member of Music in Common, and performs with Tafelmusik on historical clarinet. In 1993 he was awarded First Prize at the 27th CBC Radio Competition, and has since performed as a soloist with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, National Arts Centre Orchestra, CBC Radio Orchestra, Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra and Tafelmusik. He has served as Principal Clarinettist of Orchestra London Canada and has performed with Les Violons du Roy and the Milwaukee Symphony, Winnipeg Symphony, Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony and Stratford Festival Orchestras.
Born and raised in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Jena Slingerland began training in ballet at the Dingman- Nagy School of Ballet Arts at an early age. Participating in the dance program at Niagara District Secondary School, she discovered her love for other types of dance including jazz and modern. In 2007, Jena entered Ryerson University where she studied Performance Dance. It was there she trained with the esteemed faculty of Nadia Potts, Vicky St. Denys, Karen Duplesea, Kenny Pearl, Robert Glumbek and many other respected artists. She was also fortunate enough to work with Matjash Mrowzoweski and Kate Hilliard in new works premiering on the Ryerson stage. Upon graduating in 2011, Jena began working at the Greg Frewin Theatre as a Magician’s Assistant and dancer for over three years. Also in 2011, Jena joined the Niagara Dance Company’s mentorship program . Upon completion of the mentorship program in 2012, Jena joined the Niagara Dance Company as company member for the following two seasons. She performed in Mary-Jo Mullins original work, Vintages II: Moving as well as many other works. Jena is thrilled to be joining the Gallery Players of Niagara this season.
Grace Snippe is a student at Brock University entering her fourth year in the Bachelor of Music program at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts. Grace has been studying the cello under Gordon Cleland for the past seven years during which she has also been a member of the Niagara Youth Orchestra. Grace was principal cellist at the NYO for the past two years and last April was a featured soloist in the NYO Chamber Concert. Grace performs regularly at weddings and other events in the Niagara region with the chamber group Grace Notes String Ensemble, as well with local artists such as Melissa Shriner and the indie alternative surf-rock band, The Bends.
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. In addition to performances with the Eybler Quartet, she is currently a member the innovative young baroque ensemble I FURIOSI, known for their imaginative and unconventional programming. She joined 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. Julia's debut solo recording of Heinrich Biber's Mystery Sonatas (Sonoluminus) was released in the spring of 2011 and has received rave reviews. The CD was featured in the July 2011 issue of Gramophone magazine, saying "Rather exceptionally, one suspects, Wedman has approached Biber's music as a true pilgrim, interpreting key moments in the life of Christ thoughtfully, vividly and with evident personal humility and warmth. Her performances exude humanity and have about them a radiance that somehow transcends the sound of her lovely 1694 instrument."