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Born in Egypt to Armenian parents, Raffi Armenian was first introduced to music by studying piano. He furthered his education at the Vienna Music Academy, studying piano, conducting, and composition, and graduating in 1968. His teachers included Bruno Seidlhofer, Hans Swarowsky, Reinhold Schmid, Alfred Uhl, and Ferdinand Grossmann.
Since the beginning of his career, Raffi Armenian has dedicated himself to conducting orchestras, operas and chamber music. In 1971, he was appointed Music Director of the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, a position he held for twenty-two consecutive seasons. During his tenure, the symphony developed into one of the most prestigious orchestras in Canada. As a guest conductor, Mr Armenian has also led major orchestras—including the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal—at the national and international levels.
With a passion for opera, Armenian was the Music Director of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival (73-76) and of the Atelier lyrique de l’Opéra de Montréal (85-88). He has conducted opera and operetta performances in Toronto, for the Canadian Opera Company, as well as in the United States. As the Artistic Director of the Canadian Chamber Ensemble (CCE), he embarked on several tours that took him to Europe, Latin America, and the United States.
Raffi Armenian is also committed to training young conductors and musicians, and has taught conducting at the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal, where he also led the orchestra. His students have included Jacques Lacombe, Jean-Marie Zeitouni, Richard Lee, and Stéphane Laforest, among others. After eight years as the head of Orchestral Studies in the Faculty of Music at the University of Toronto, he took on the position of Director of the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal from 2008 to 2011.
Armenian recorded twenty-four albums for CBC/Radio-Canada, including The Threepenny Opera by Kurt Weill. In fact, Woody Allen selected excerpts conducted by Armenian for his film Shadows and Fog. Also active as a composer, Armenian completed his opera La Pitié dangereuse —based on a novel by Stefan Zweig—in February 2014.
Raffi Armenian has received two honourary Doctorates (from the University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University). In 1989, he was made a Member of the Order of Canada.
Cellist Marieve Bock has been acclaimed for the brilliance and sensitivity of her playing and is a highly esteemed chamber musician and soloist. She has collaborated with such artists as Jonathan Crow, Karen Kevra, Jean-Sébastien Roy and Pamela Franck and has played throughout Canada, Europe, the United States and Japan. As cellist of Musica Camerata Montréal, her concerts are broadcast regularly from coast to coast. In 2010, Ms. Bock was Artist in Residence at the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal as a member of the Mercure String Quartet.
A modern music advocate, Ms. Bock is a regular soloist with the Ensemble Contemporain de Montréal (ECM+) and guest soloist with the best new music ensembles. She recently presented world premieres of concertante works for cello from Canadian composers Gordon Fitzell, Kati Agocs, Chris Butterfield, Bruce Mather, Éric Champagne and Edward Top. During the 2014-2015 season, she will be playing recitals in French Polynesia and Denmark, as well as playing with Les Violons du Roy (Bernard Labadie) during the European concerts tour. In the spring, she was named as an official member of the McGill Chamber Orchestra (Boris Brott). In June 2014, she recorded as a soloist on Canadian Music Centre’s Centrediscs Recording Label with the ECM+.
Ms. Bock’s musical commitment also extends to teaching: she has taught at the McGill Conservatory Schulich School of Music, the École Marcel-Vaillancourt and the Camp musical des Laurentides.
Marieve Bock was awarded the Prix avec Grande Distinction à l’unanimité from the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal, where she studied with Professor Denis Brott. She pursued her studies with the renowned Norman Fischer at Rice University Shepherd School of Music (Houston, USA) and obtained the Master of Music Degree. She was named assistant to Mr Fisher during her studies at Rice.
A native of Howick, in Montérégie, Solange Bouchard began studying violin at the age of five with Lucille Johnson, followed by the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal as a student of Johanne Arel and Raymond Dessaints.
Following her graduation in 1992, she set out on a career as an orchestral musician, which led her to play under the baton of Marc David, Raymond Dessaints, Boris Brott, Raffi Armenian, Jean-François Rivest, Jean-Marie Zeitouni, Daniel Myssyk, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Jacques Lacombe, Kent Nagano and Frank Paul Séguin. Ms. Bouchard currently plays with the Orchestre des Grands Ballets Canadiens and the McGill Chamber Orchestra and is associate concertmaster of the Appassionata Chamber Orchestra and the Orchestre symphonique de Longueuil.
Solange Bouchard has taught violin at École de Musique Jocelyne Laberge, École de musique à la Portée, École Poly-Jeunesse and École de la Roselière, and is currently violin teacher at Bishop’s University in Lennoxville.
Trained in Montreal, Geneva, London and New York, pianist, chamber musician, accompanist and vocal coach Marc Bourdeau has performed in North and South America, Europe and Asia, including appearances at the Ravinia, Montpellier, Lanaudière, Bath, Maracaibo, Nagoya, Wallonie and Stuttgart festivals, and at venues such as the Châtelet (Paris), the Concertgebouw (Amsterdam), the Tonhalle (Zürich), Verdi Hall (Milan), Bridgewater Hall (Manchester), City Hall (Hong Kong), Kitara Hall (Sapporo), Weill Recital Hall (New York), Bradley Hall (Chicago), Royce Hall (Los Angeles), the Chan Centre (Vancouver) and the Glenn Gould Studio (Toronto).
Marc Bourdeau has held teaching positions in Canada, Switzerland and Qatar. He has given master classes at London’s Royal College of Music and Royal Academy of Music, as well as the Shanghai Conservatory and the Manhattan School of Music. Bourdeau has played a wide range of works spanning more than four centuries and has recorded for Naxos, Marquis, Brioso, Atma and SNE.
Chantal Dubois studied flute at the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal in the class of Jean-Paul Major. She obtained unanimous Premier Prix diplomas in both performance and chamber music. She went on to study with Robert Langevin, principal flute of the New York Philharmonic.
Her chamber music career led towards numerous concerts in many of the country’s cultural centres as well as recordings for radio and television and tours with Jeunesses Musicales du Canada. Furthermore, she has played concerts in France for the OFQJ and performed at the Toronto International Film Festival and the Lanaudière, Lachine and Fêtes de La Nouvelle-France festivals. Dubois is also part of several chamber music ensembles, including Duo Piazzolla, Duo Lyra and the Quatuor La Flûte enchantée, which she cofounded in 1985 and has played in a number of recordings with this quartet for ATMA Classique and XXI-21.
Chantal Dubois teaches at the préconservatoire of the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal and has been a flute teacher at Collège Regina Assumpta since 1992 as well as the UQAM’s École préparatoire de musique since 2009.
A Calgary native, Lana Henchell began her studies at the University of Calgary, where she received both her bachelor’s and master’s in music under the tutelage of Marilyn Engle. In 2010, she earned a doctorate in piano performance from McGill University with Richard Raymond.
In addition to winning the Calgary Kiwanis Music Festival (Rose Bowl), Lana has been a winner in competitions such as the CMC’s International Stepping Stone, the Women’s Musical Club of Toronto Piano Competition and the Stravinsky Awards International Piano Competition. Her first prize at the Eckhardt-Gramatté National Music Competition led to a concert tour across Canada. Furthermore, Lana has played in several music festivals, including the Alberta Scene Festival and the Contrasts Chamber Music Festival in Calgary. In recent years, she has been a performer and soloist with the Land’s End Chamber Ensemble for New Works Calgary and the Happening New Music Festival.
Lana currently teaches privately and at the University of Calgary. She also gives master classes and adjudicates music festivals across Alberta.
Holding a Ph.D in conducting from the Université de Montréal, Russian-Canadian Airat Ichmouratov has frequently appeared as a guest conductor with many prestigious orchestras and ensembles in Canada and Russia. He also served as the Conductor in Residence of Les Violons du Roy from 2007 to 2009. One of their concerts under Ichmouratov’s direction — Russian Impressions — in which he premiered his own Cello Concerto, won the 2008 Opus Prize for Concert of the Year in the Classical, Romantic, Post-Romantic, and Impressionist Music category.
Ichmouratov was appointed to the position of Resident Conductor of the Orchestre Symphonique de Québec for two consecutive seasons (2009-2011). During this same period, he conducted I Musici de Montréal on tour in USA, Brazil and Peru, while making his debut with the Tatar State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre in Russia. He was invited back by the renowned Russian company to conduct Puccini’s Turandot and Verdi’s Rigoletto during its 2012-13 European tour.
Trained as a clarinetist, Ichmouratov has also repeatedly enjoyed great success as a performer. In 2000, he founded the Muczynski Trio, which went on to win awards and honors in Canada, Europe, and Asia. Airat Ichmouratov is also a founding member of the world known klezmer group Kleztory. The ensemble is currently active on both the national and international scenes, and was the recipient of an Opus Prize in 2007.
As a well-established composer, Airat Ichmouratov has seen his music performed in countries around the world by a wide range of musicians and ensembles, including Maxim Vengerov, Stéphane Tétreault, André Moisan, Yegor Dyachkov, the New Orford Quartet, the Alcan Quartet, the Orchestre Symphonique de Québec, the Orchestre Métropolitain, Les Violons du Roy, Yuli Turovsky and I Musici de Montréal, the Thirteen Strings Chamber Orchestra, and the Tatarstan State Symphony Orchestra (Russia), among others. He was named summer composer at Centre d’arts Orford in 2013.
His work Fantastic Dances was recorded by I Musici in 2008 for the Analekta label. His String Quartet No. 2, performed by the Alcan Quartet, was released on the ATMA label in 2010. And Cadenzas for Beethoven Violin Concerto Op. 33 —recorded by Alexandre Da Costa with the Taipei Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Johannes Wildner—can be heard on the Warner Classics label.
A native of Germany, Sibylle Marquardt began her orchestral career at the age of 23, touring in Italy and Japan with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. She later held a principal flute position with the Freiburg Philharmonic Orchestra before going on to play with the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, the Gärtnerplatz Theater of Munich and the Bern and Biel Symphony Orchestras. In Canada, it was with the Windsor Symphony Orchestra, the Toronto Philharmonia Orchestra and the Oshawa Durham Symphony Orchestra, as well as in productions such as The Phantom of the Opera and Beauty and the Beast that Ms. Marquardt made her mark. She has also played in Switzerland, Austria and France, as well as in Radio-Canada and BR Munich broadcasts.
Sibylle Marquardt is a member of the ERGO ensemble, the Trio D’Argento and Duo Resonance, ensembles that perform regularly throughout Ontario.
Since 1998 Marquardt has been a faculty member of the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto and the College of Examiners.
Établi à Magog, au Québec, le guitariste Ian Murphy est titulaire d’un baccalauréat en interprétation du Département de musique de l’Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), où il a étudié avec le célèbre virtuose et pédagogue Alvaro Pierri et remporté la bourse Pierre-Jean Jeanniot décernée à l’étudiant le plus méritant. En 1996, il a obtenu une maîtrise en interprétation de la Faculté de musique de l’Université de Montréal. Il a également participé à plusieurs classes de maître, dispensées notamment par Léo Brouwer, David Russell et Roberto Aussel. Trois fois lauréat du Premier prix en musique de chambre au Concours provincial Guitare-Mauricie et finaliste au Concours de musique du Canada, il s’est fait entendre à plusieurs reprises à la radio de Radio-Canada. Ian Murphy pratique plusieurs styles musicaux, qui vont de la Renaissance jusqu’à la musique moderne, en passant par le tango et la musique contemporaine. En 2000, l’éditeur Hal Leonard a publié trente-six de ses transcriptions pour violon et guitare d’œuvres du compositeur argentin Astor Piazzolla. En 2009, il a fait paraître, sous étiquette Orfan, un disque solo constitué d’œuvres de Bach, d’Albéniz et de Carlo Domeniconi. Professeur au Département de musique du Cégep de Drummondville depuis 2001, il y enseigne la guitare classique, la formation auditive et les technologies musicales. Récemment, il a publié chez Apple, une série de volumes numériques dédiés à la formation auditive chez le musicien.
A Montreal native, mezzo-soprano Michelle Sutton has led a brilliant national career. Trained in piano, musical arrangement and voice, she is a former member of the apprenticeship program at the Atelier lyrique de l’Opéra de Montréal and earned a First Prize at the Canadian Music Competition in 1994.
Sutton has performed in Rossini’s Stabat Mater and Britten’s Spring Symphony with the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, in Mozart’s Requiem with the Orchestre symphonique de Québec, in Te Deum by Bruckner with the Orchestre Métropolitain, in Handel’s Messiah with the Orchestre symphonique de Trois-Rivières and in Von Suppé’s Requiem at the Festival de Lanaudière.
Michelle Sutton has sung numerous opera roles such as Hänsel in Hänsel und Gretel by Humperdinck at the Opéra de Québec, Fenena in Nabucco by Verdi at the Opéra de Montréal, Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro by Mozart at Opera Ontario, the Opéra de Montréal and the Opéra de Québec, Stephano in Roméo et Juliette by Gounod at Calgary Opera and Ceres in The Tempest by Lee Hoiby at Pacific Opera Victoria.
Dr. Jamie Syer is a Canadian pianist, teacher and arts entrepreneur. He is the recipient of an Alberta Government Achievement Award for outstanding musical performance, and is a first-place winner of the 1977 CBC Talent Competition. He completed his graduate degrees at the Yale University School of Music, studying with Ward Davenny and Claude Frank. He has taught at universities and colleges in Alberta, Saskatchewan, British Columbia and New Brunswick.
Dr. Syer is past Dean of the Victoria Conservatory of Music, where he was also Head of the Keyboard Department. He is the founding Artistic Director of the Conservatory’s Collegium Program for Young Musicians, and was on faculty at the University of Victoria School of Music. While in Victoria he performed frequently as soloist and chamber musician, and as concerto soloist with orchestras including the Victoria Symphony.
Jamie Syer has completed several concert tours in Europe, performing in Scotland, Ireland, Hungary, France, and England; he has performed in many recital venues across Canada, and for ten years was Artistic Director of New Works Calgary. He is Artistic co-Director of the Alberta Summer Music Workshop “Strings & Keys”. In the fall of 2014, he will be leading an educational tour to France, and performing in Avignon.
Dr. Syer is known for his imaginative recital programming, and his artistic, energetic playing. He is a popular adjudicator and workshop clinician, who enjoys working with keen students of all ages. He lives in the small Alberta community of Bergen, where he is also manager of the local public library.
Veronica Thomas studied violin with Hratchia Sevadjian. She has played with the Orchestre symphonique de Québec, the National Arts Centre Orchestra and has been a member of the Orchestre des Grands Ballets Canadiens for over two decades. She was also principal second violin of the Orchestre symphonique de Laval, where she worked with such conductors as Jacques Lacombe, Jean-François Rivest and Alain Trudel.
Veronica is also a highly respected chamber musician. She is principal second violin of the Appassionata Chamber Orchestra and has played with the renowned McGill Chamber Orchestra, the Thirteen Strings Chamber Orchestra of Ottawa and with Angèle Dubeau & La Pietà. Veronica was a founding member of the Ottawa String Quartet, which was quartet in residence at the first Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival. She is also a founding member of the Montreal Quartet.
Veronica has recorded and performed with many artists, including Céline Dion, Dave Brubeck and Barbra Streisand. She often does studio recording for TV and film.
Currently the vocal department coordinator, vocal coach and faculty member of the Glenn Gould School of the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, Jennifer Tung is one of the most sought after collaborative pianist, teacher and soprano in Ontario. Having received a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance and a Master of Music in Piano Accompanying and Chamber Music from the world renowned Eastman School of Music, Tung’s versatility has allowed her career to develop in very unique ways.
As a singer, Tung has collaborated with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, St. Paul’s Festival Orchestra, Rochester Chamber Orchestra, Toronto Sinfonietta, Mississauga Symphony Orchestra and Georgian Bay Symphony Orchestra, to name a few. She has also performed in Britten’s Ceremony of Carols, Handel’s Messiah, Mozart’s Requiem, Ravel’s Shéhérazad e, Stravinsky’s Mass and Vivaldi’s Gloria among others. Passionate for the art of recital as both a singer and a collaborative pianist, she has performed recitals across North America and around the world from Toronto, Chicago, Los Angeles, Malibu, Waimea (Hawaii) to Alderburgh, China and Hong Kong.
An advocate of contemporary music, Jennifer Tung has been a repetiteur and pianist of the Tapestry New Opera Studio, a unique internationally known music organization, since their inaugural season. She has also worked closely with renowned contemporary composers such as Tom Cipullo, Ricky Ian Gordon, John Harbison, Jake Heggie, Ben Moore and John Musto.
As a vocal coach, Tung has served as music director for Toronto’s Summer Opera Lyric Theatre for a few seasons and has directed Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Die Zauberflöte, Le nozze di Figaro, Verdi’s La Traviata and Offenbach’s La Vie parisienn e. She has also worked with world renowned collaborative pianists such as Margo Garrette, Graham Johnson, Martin Katz and Roger Vignoles.
A well-versed educator, Tung has presented master classes (voice and piano) in Toronto, Los Angeles, Riverside, Irvine and Suzhou, and has served on faculty in summer programs across North America and in Europe as well as at Hawaii Performing Arts Festival, and Liederfest in Suzhou, China. Jennifer Tung is currently the Director of the Intern Program for Songfest at Colburn in Los Angeles.
A Charlevoix native, Line Villeneuve has been active in the Estrie music community for more than twenty-five years as a pianist-accompanist, chamber musician and piano teacher. Following her studies with Frans Brouw and Robert Weisz at Université Laval, she continued her training at the Université de Montréal, receiving a master’s and a doctorate in piano under Marc Durand and Natalie Pépin respectively. Villeneuve received additional training experiences most notably in Europe with Pierre Sancan and Monique Deschaussée. She received scholarships from musical organizations such as the Fondation les Amis de l’art, Jeunesses Musicales du Canada, The Banff Centre and the Canada Council for the Arts. She has given many concerts, including performances at Domaine Forget and the Festival de Lanaudière.
Her musical experience has led her to be on the jury of numerous music competitions and she is regularly invited to give workshops and master classes. A passionate teacher, Line Villeneuve has taught piano at the Université de Montréal and the Université de Sherbrooke and has held a position at the Cégep de Sherbrooke since 1991.