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Ms. Armin began her violin studies at the age of four. Prior to receiving a scholarship to study at Indiana University at the age of sixteen, she had already made two cross-Canada concert tours, and had appeared frequently on radio and television as a soloist and chamber musician. Following Indiana, Ms. Armin completed her studies with Professor Lorand Fenyves at the University of Toronto. A first prize winner of several national and international competitions, she began a busy solo career performing with Arthur Fiedler, Karl Ancerl, Mario Bernardi, Franz-Paul Decker, and Glenn Gould, among others. Her great love of chamber music prevailed, however, leading to the formation of Camerata, a chamber music group which flourished for fourteen years (1972-1986). Among their successes was the CBC Recording of the Year for Schoenberg’s Kammersymphonie Op.9 and Berg’s Kammerkonzert’s Adagio, arranged by Berg himself for violin, clarinet, and piano. Her 1992 performances of Schnittke’s Concerto Grosso with the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra generated enthusiastic reaction from audiences and press alike.
During the 1980’s, Ms. Armin had a key role in the development of RAAD electro-acoustic string instruments, and has commissioned many new works for which they are ideally suited. She has performed on her RAAD for many new music organizations, including the Esprit Orchestra, playing Sergio Barosso’s Jitanjafora. The CBC taping of that performance was entered in the l995 International Composers’ Forum in Paris, where it received an award of distinction. It has subsequently been broadcast in 23 countries. She is also soloist on the Vivaldi instalment of the Classical Kids series, the recording of which won a Juno Award.
Ms. Armin was a member of the avant-garde jazz ensemble, Hemispheres, and has performed and recorded with contemporary groups such as Array, New Music Concerts, and Sound Pressure, as well as traditional ones like The Toronto Chamber Players. She is the violinist for Trio Vivant, a well-known and much recorded piano trio featuring pianist Catherine Wilson and cellist Sharon Prader. In 1997, she became a member of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, where she serves in both the first and second violin sections.
Violinist Geneviève Beaudry is a graduate of the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal, where she was awarded Premier Prix diplomas in both violin and chamber music. She then furthered her studies in Europe, notably with Philipp Hirschhorn at the Utrecht Conservatory in the Netherlands, and with Boris Belkin at the Chigiana Academy in Sienna, Italy. Currently Concertmaster of the Orchestre des Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal, she has also performed with other ensembles including the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, Les Violons du Roy, the McGill Chamber Orchestra, and the Société de musique contemporaine du Québec, in addition to regularly appearing at the Ottawa Chamber Music Festival, the Orford Festival, and the Festival de Lanaudière. A founding member of Montréal duo Beaudry-Belzile and former member of the Bozzini Quartet, she has appeared in concert in Canada and the United States, and is frequently heard on CBC Radio. Geneviève Beaudry currently teaches violin at Bishop’s University in Lennoxville, Québec.
Pianist Louise Bessette has carved out an enviable place as a performer of the greatest works of our time. Renowned for her eclectic repertory and impeccable delivery, she has earned numerous distinctions, including First Prizes at the Eckhardt-Gramatté National Music Competition, the Concours International de Musique Contemporaine in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, and the International Gaudeamus Competition in Rotterdam. The Conseil québécois de la musique has also presented her with several Opus Awards, including Performer of the Year and Musical Event of the Year for Automne Messiaen 2008. Graduating with Premier Prix diplomas in piano and chamber music from the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal, she then furthered her studies with Eugene List, Yvonne Loriod, Claude Helffer, Jay Gottlieb, and Dominique Merlet. Louise Bessette frequently appears in concert on stages across Europe and America, and more recently, in China at the 4th International Piano Festival of Shanghai. She has made some twenty recordings, and has contributed to the advancement and dissemination of new music through her participation in the premiere performances of several works. She is a Member of the Order of Canada, an Officier of the Ordre national du Québec, and, since 1996, has been a Professor of piano at the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal.
Pianist Jeanie Chung has given concerts across North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. Recent highlights include solo and collaborative performances at the Clarchen Ballhaus, Berlin, Rolston Recital Hall, Banff, salle Claude-Champagne, Montréal, Merkin Hall, New York, Teatro Verdi, Florence, and the Shanghai Conservatory. A respected chamber musician, Ms. Chung has performed at the Banff Centre, Toronto Summer Music Festival, Oslo Philharmonic Mozart Festival, Belize International Music Festival, and the Pyongyang International Music Festival, among others.
Jeanie Chung has distinguished herself at several international piano competitions and chamber music competitions including the Busoni International Piano Competition, and the Provincia di Caltanissetta and Premio Vittorio Gui international chamber music competitions. Upon completion of her studies at The Royal Conservatory of Music, she obtained her Doctor of Musical Arts degree from The Juilliard School where she twice won the prestigious Juilliard Concerto Competition. Her principal teachers have been Boris Lysenko, Leon Fleisher, John Perry, and Herbert Stessin. Ms. Chung is currently based in Toronto where she is a member of the faculty of the Young Artist Performance Academy at The Royal Conservatory of Music.
Mezzo-soprano Patricia Green enjoys a brilliant international career. Highlights include performances at Carnegie Hall, with the Festival Musica de Strasbourg with the Orchestre de Radio-France, the Concertgebouw Amsterdam with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, and at the Kennedy Centre in Washington, D.C. with the Theater Chamber Players, among others. Over the course of her career, she has crossed paths with some of the world’s finest conductors and has created over 25 works written by such leading contemporary composers as Pierre Boulez, György Ligeti, and R. Murray Schafer.
Patricia Green has also performed with a number of chamber music ensembles including the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, the Washington Bach Consort, the Library of Congress Concerts Society, and the Russian Chamber Arts. Her performances have been broadcast on television and radio across Europe and North America. She has made numerous recordings for Griffin Recording, Newport Classics, Albany Records, and Live Unity Productions, and is currently Associate Professor of Voice at the University of Western Ontario.
Dr. Blaine Hendsbee, tenor, has been praised for his appealing lyric tenor voice, keen musicianship, and expressive and dramatic performance style; he is heard regularly in opera, oratorio, and art song recitals throughout Canada and the United States. He has a repertoire of more than 60 roles, which span the entire operatic repertoire. His operatic performances include Il barbiere di Seviglia, Elektra, Salome, Peter Grimes, and Die Fledermaus (Vancouver), Madama Butterfly (Calgary, Edmonton, Regina, Winnipeg, Vancouver, Victoria and Ottawa), Hänsel und Gretel (New York’s Lincoln Centre), Le nozze di Figaro, Der Rosenkavalier, L’incoronazione di Poppea (Canadian Opera Company Toronto), Die Zauberflöte (National Arts Centre, Ottawa, Halifax, Edmonton), The Rape of Lucretia (Milwaukee), Die Entführung aus dem Serail (Victoria, Halifax), Turandot (Cincinnati, Winnipeg, Edmonton), La vie parisienne, Countess Maritza (Toronto Operetta Theatre), Amahl and the Night Visitors (Avery Fischer hall, NYC), and several New York City premieres with The Center for Contemporary Opera (The Postman Always Rings Twice, Markheim, La Cantatrice chauve, and Transformations ), as well as the world premier of Erewhon.
He is a regular guest soloist with symphony orchestras from coast to coast. Major roles of his oratorio repertoire include the tenor solos in Handel’s Messiah, Mozart’s Requiem, Bach’s St. John and St. Matthew Passions, Haydn’s The Creation and The Seasons, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, as well as Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. This season he performed several art song recitals in the Atlantic Provinces, Manitoba, the American midwest and Florida, specializing in music from The British Isles, as well as Schubert lieder and French mélodies.
Dr. Hendsbee is Head of Voice and Director of Opera Workshop at the University of Lethbridge located in southern Alberta. Opera directing and conducting credits include Die Zauberflöte, Dido and Aeneas, Dialogues des Carmelites, Die Fledermaus, HMS Pinafore, Into the Woods, The Mikado, The Old Maid and the Thief, and Le nozze di Figaro. Dr. Hendsbee is a frequent masterclass clinician, festival and competition adjudicator, and guest instructor at summer vocal programs. In 2009 he instituted a very successful summer voice intensive program entitled SAVE (Southern Alberta Vocal Experience) at the University of Lethbridge which takes place annually in late August and focuses on the needs of talented young singers.
Philip Hornsey is a graduate of the Schulich School of Music, McGill University, where he studied with Pierre Béluse and D’Arcy Gray, and of the Université de Montreal where he studied with Julien Grégoire and Robert Leroux. He furthered his studies in Canada and abroad, notably in Banff and Darmstadt, Germany, and with Robert Slapcoff, Robert Leroux, Louis Charbonneau, Isao Nakamura, Mircea Ardeleanu, David Kent, Alexander Lepak, Michel Udow, and Fujimoto Yoshikazu. A versatile concert performer, Philip Hornsey plays percussion with a number of different orchestras such as the Orchestre Métropolitain, le Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, and I Musici de Montréal, and also plays with contemporary music ensembles, including the Ensemble Contemporain de Montréal, Kore Ensemble, and the Kovalis Duo, among many others. To date, his performance schedule has taken him across Canada, the United States, Asia, and Europe. Philip Hornsey has made many recordings for the National Film Board and the CBC, and numerous recordings for commercial projects. He currently teaches percussion at FACE high school in Montréal.
Abe Kestenberg studied at McGill University and Manhattan School of Music. His instrumental teachers were: Rafaelle Masella and Herb Blayman (clarinet), Arthur Romano and Gerald Danovitch (saxophone), Gail Grimstead and Max Shoenfeld (flute). Abe Kestenberg was one of the founding members of the Gerald Danovitch Saxophone Quartet (GDSQ), performing with the group for its entire thirty-year life, giving concerts across Canada, as well as in the United States, Europe, Asia, and the Caribbean. The Quartet won the prestigious du Maurier Search for Talent Stars competition in 1983 and served as Yamaha Performing Artists from 1986-1997. It performed for major international festivals as well as for many radio and TV shows, and recorded for the CBC and McGill Records with invited guests such as Eugene Rousseau and the New York Saxophone Quartet.
Abe Kestenberg toured with numerous ballet companies, Broadway shows, and orchestras including Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, the National Arts Center Orchestra, Symphony Nova Scotia, Orchestre Métropolitain, Société de musique contemporaine du Québec, La Scala and the Bolshoi orchestras, and with individual artists and chamber music ensembles. As part of his extensive studio, theatre and touring free-lance background, he played TV series, radio shows, films, jingles and recordings for CBC, CTV, Télé-Métropole, the National Film Board, RCA and London/Decca.
Some of the artists with whom Abe performed include: Tony Bennett, Mel Torme, Lena Horne, Maynard Ferguson, Tom Jones, Neil Sadaka, Jerry Lewis, Maureen Forrester, Stevie Wonder, Paul Anka, Eartha Kitt, Danny Kaye, Harry Belafonte, Glen Campbell, Sammy Davis Jr., Paul Williams, Diana Ross and the Supremes, Sonny and Cher, Marlene Dietrich, Bert Bacharach, Marvin Hamlish, Julio Iglesias, Michel Legrand, Dizzy Gillespie, Phil Woods, Johnny Mathis, Shirley MacLaine, Charles Dutoit, Franz Paul Decker, and Herbert von Karajan.
Abe Kestenberg is presently the Woodwind Area Chair and Associate Professor at the Schulich School of Music of McGill University, where he teaches saxophone, clarinet, flute, chamber music and a course called, Introduction to Life as a Professional Musician.
Gwen Klassen is the Assistant Principal Flute and Principal Piccolo of the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra. A graduate of the University of Manitoba, and Northwestern University in Illinois, she studied under the guidance of renowned pedagogue Walfrid Kujala. Gwen Klassen has taken part in a number of concert tours and summer festivals in Canada and the United States, playing with the National Orchestral Institute, the National Youth Orchestra of Canada, and the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, to name a few. She recently performed with the Instrumental Society of Calgary, the Kensington Sinfonia, for the Celebrity Series at the University of Calgary, and has organized and performed recitals for the benefit of the Cochrane Humane Society’s “PetsDOMatter” campaign. Often heard on CBC radio, Ms. Klassen is the Founder and Director of the Mount Royal University Summer Program, the Pender Island Flute Retreat, and is currently Sessional Instructor of Flute at the University of Calgary.
A native of Saint Petersburg, Russia, and a graduate of the city’s Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory, violinist Natalia Kononova has performed under the direction of such renowned musicians as Lord Yehudi Menuhin, Gidon Kremer, Yuri Temirkanov, Mariss Janssons, Kent Nagano, Yuli Turovsky, Jamie Laredo, and Sir Georg Solti. She currently holds the position of Concertmaster of the Orchestre symphonique de Drummondville and First Violin with the Orchestre symphonique de Trois-Rivières, appearing regularly as Guest Concertmaster of the McGill Chamber Orchestra, and with I Musici de Montréal. She has also given solo recitals and appeared with chamber ensembles around the world, in addition to recording for ATMA classique, and collaborating on other recording projects, notably with composers André Gagnon and Joe Hisaishi, and with the La Pietà chamber orchestra. First Prize winner of the National Violin Competition in Russia, Natalia Kononova teaches in a number of music schools, and is frequently invited to give master classes.
A native of Rivière-du-Loup, Maurice Laforest first studied piano with his mother, and then continued at the Cégep de Sainte-Foy with Michèle Royer, and at the Music Faculty at Université Laval with Robert Weisz. From 1997 to 1999, under an FCAR scholarship, he furthered his training with Robert Leonardy at the University of Music in Saarbrücken, Germany. He also studied under such master teachers as György Sebok, Menahem Pressler, Anton Kuerti, Brigitte Engerer, Marie Fabi, and Jean Micault. Having since settled in Quebec City, he enjoys an active career as a soloist, chamber musician, orchestral musician, accompanist, and teacher. He has appeared on many stages in Canada, France, Germany, Switzerland, and Italy. Maurice Laforest is frequently heard on Radio-Canada, and is often invited to adjudicate major music competitions. Mr. Laforest has been a lecturer at the Université Laval and a teacher at the Music Department of the Cégep de Ste-Foy since 1999. He is also actively involved with the École préparatoire de musique Anna-Marie Globenski as well as with numerous music camps.
In 1975, guitarist Peter McCutcheon received a Premier Prix from the prestigious Conservatoire National Supérieur de musique de Paris after studying there for three years under the direction of Alexandre Lagoya. He previously studied under Marie Lévesque and Martin Prével at the Université de Montréal, Faculty of Music where he teaches today. Mr. McCutcheon also is a regular guest teacher at the Orford Arts Centre, the International Summer Academy of Nice, and at the Domaine Forget Academy. In June of 2002, he was a guest professor at the Stetson University Guitar Festival in Florida. His career as a concert musician has led him to several cities throughout North America and Europe, including Boston, San Francisco, New York, Paris, Tours, Avignon and Brussels. In the spring of 1996, he toured to seven cities in Mexico, performing, notably, at the International Guitar Festival of Morelia. He has also given concerts in Morocco and Tunisia. Peter McCutcheon has made numerous recordings for a variety of labels and is a regular member of the Guitar Foundation of America International Competition jury, among others.
Pianist Kent McWilliams has enjoyed a successful performing career since his debut in Rachmaninov’s Third Piano Concerto with conductor Kazuhiro Koizumi and the University of Toronto Symphony Orchestra. After a recent appearance with the Kitchener- Waterloo Symphony Orchestra, the local music critic exclaimed, “McWilliams’ performance of Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No.1 was nothing less than a triumph. ”. He has played in over a dozen countries, and has been an award winner at the competitions of Porto (Portugal), the Regina Symphony, the Canadian Music Competition, and the Canadian National Competitive Festival of Music. He recently returned from a concert tour to China. He has also played frequently for radio, having performed live recitals and concerts on the CBC in Canada and the ABC in Australia.
Kent holds a Doctorate of Music in Performance degree, which he completed under Marc Durand at the Université de Montréal. He studied in Poland with Andrzej Jasinski while researching the Polish folk elements in Chopin’s Mazurkas and Polonaises. Kent also earned an Artist Diploma under Oleg Maisenberg at the Stuttgart Musikhochschule in Germany, and completed Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in piano performance under Boris Lysenko at the University of Toronto.
Kent joined the faculty of St. Olaf College (Northfield, Minnesota) in 2001 after having previously taught at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. An experienced judge and clinician, Kent has presented performance and pedagogy workshops to teachers across North America. He was recently invited to judge the national finals of the US Music Teachers’ National Association (MTNA) competition, and has also adjudicated the senior piano category at the music festivals in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Ottawa. At the 2010 MTNA National Convention, Kent gave the opening session celebrating the 200th anniversary of Chopin’s birth. He currently resides in Northfield, Minnesota with his wife, Renata, and their two children, Patrick and Anna.
Premier Prix of the Conservatoire de musique de Québec and Grand Prize winner of the CBC National Radio Competition for Young Performers, mezzo-soprano Sonia Racine was the first recipient of the Prix Raoul-Jobin and a finalist in the Toulouse and Luciano Pavarotti international competitions. She has performed in several renowned opera houses in Canada, the United States, and Europe. Whether in concert or in recital, her vast repertoire spans baroque to contemporary music. She has sung under the direction of such renowned conductors as Charles Dutoit, performing also at the Canadian premier of Paul McCartney’s Liverpool Oratorio under the direction of Carl Davis for the Festival d’été de Québec and the Festival de Lanaudière. She has participated in several recordings for CBC television and radio, Radio Suisse Romande, and TV5, and took part in the 150th anniversary of Rideau Hall, the official residence of the Governor General of Canada. Sonia Racine is currently teaching at the Conservatoire de musique de Québec.
Canadian composer Elizabeth Raum has enjoyed a successful career as an oboist, playing first with the Boston Symphony and the Boston Pops Orchestras before becoming principal oboe with the Atlantic Symphony Orchestra in Halifax and later with the Regina Symphony Orchestra. A graduate of the Eastman School of Music and the University of Regina, in 2004 she was awarded an honorary doctorate in Humane Letters from Halifax’s Mount Saint Vincent University in 2004 and was awarded the Saskatchewan Order of Merit in 2010. An associate composer of the Canadian Music Centre, her works have been heard throughout the world, and have been broadcast extensively on the CBC. She has written for some of the world’s finest artists and ensembles including Canadian soprano Tracy Dahl, trombonist Christian Lindberg, tubist Roger Bobo, violinist Erika Raum, the percussion ensemble Nexus, the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, Symphony Nova Scotia, and the St. Lawrence String Quartet. Elizabeth. Raum is mentioned in numerous important music publications, notably the New Grove’s Dictionary of Music and Musicians.
Pierre Savoie has held the position of Solo Horn with the Orchestre Métropolitain since 1987. He studied at the École de musique Vincent d’Indy, and later at the Faculty of Music of the Université de Montréal, under the tutelage of Jean Gaudreault. He then furthered his training in Toronto with Eugène Ritich. A much sought-after musician, he also works often as a supernumerary with orchestras including the Montréal, Québec, Trois-Rivières, and Laval symphony orchestras, the National Arts Centre Orchestra, I Musici de Montréal, and the orchestra of Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal. He also recently took part in an Orchestre Métropolitain tour of the United States. Pierre Savoie teaches in the graduate program at the Université de Sherbrooke, as well as at various music schools in Montréal and its surrounding regions. He has been the Musical Director of the Harmonie de Mont-Bruno since 1989.
Since making her concerto debut at the age of seven, pianist Lisa Yui has performed throughout North America, Europe, and Asia as a recitalist and soloist with orchestra. She was the top prizewinner of the Senigallia International Piano Competition, Super Classics International Auditions, Toronto Symphony Concerto Competition, and the Canadian Consulate Women’s Club Piano Competition in New York and has twice been the recipient of a Canada Council Scholarship. Ms. Yui has worked with such prominent orchestras as the Tokyo Symphony, Polish National Radio, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and the Krakow State Philharmonic. In 2005, Ms. Yui was chosen from over 1000 applicants to participate in the World Exposition in Aichi, Japan. In 2011 Ms. Yui’s debut CD, of the music of Carl Maria von Weber and Jan Ladislav Dussek, was released on the Intégral label.
As a lecturer and performer, Ms. Yui has lectured at the Juilliard School, Kunitachi Music University, in Japan, and Washington and Lee University, among other colleges and venues. She originated The Lives of the Piano, Manhattan School of Music’s first piano lecture/concert series, now in its tenth season. Lisa Yui has worked extensively with the Yamaha Disklavier, having given numerous performances on the instrument, as well as long-distance “remote lessons.”
After having received her Performance Diploma at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, Ms. Yui completed her bachelor’s degree at the Juilliard School. She received her Master’s and Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the Manhattan School of Music, where she studied with Byron Janis and Marc Silverman. She was the recipient of both the Rubinstein Award, given to the most promising graduate, and the Helen Cohn DMA Award. Other principal teachers and mentors include Oxana Yablonskaya, Giovanni Valentini, Edna Golandsky, David Dubal, and Leonid Hambro.
Ms. Yui is the director of Ensemble 212’s Young Artist Competition Series. She has also served as the piano department chair of the Music Advancement Program at the Juilliard School and has taught a course on the social history of the piano at Marymount Manhattan College for many years. She is currently on faculty at the Manhattan School of Music and the John J. Cali School of Music at Montclair State University.
Ms. Yui is a Yamaha Artist.