The information contained on this page is related to an older edition of the competition. It is made available for archival purposes only. For the most current information, please go to Stepping Stone 2019.
Dr. Michael Donovan’s experience as a musician encompasses a wide range of styles and forms of expression. As a boy, he studied piano and pursued extensive studies in classical and jazz saxophone at the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal. As a teenager, he composed original music for the avant-garde bands with which he performed. He then went on to pursue vocal studies at McGill University, followed by graduate studies in opera at the Hochschule für Musik in Munich, Germany, with legendary mezzo-soprano Brigitte Fassbaender. Donovan was also a student of renowned baritone Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, who is acknowledged as the 20th century’s greatest master of lieder. Donovan has enjoyed a successful career as a performer of opera, oratorio, art song, chamber music, jazz, new music and improvisational music in Canada, Germany, Switzerland, France and the U.S. He has appeared in leading roles with the Bern State Opera, Stuttgart State Opera, Munich State Opera, Opera Vancouver and the Edmonton Opera. He has been a soloist with the Quebec Symphony, the Winnipeg Symphony and Symphony Nova Scotia as well as with many concert and new music presenters, including Numus in Waterloo, Queen of Puddings, Array Music, and New Music Concerts in Toronto, as well as BradyWorks and the Nouvel Ensemble Moderne (NEM), in Montréal. Donovan is also in demand as an educator. He teaches at York University and at The Randolph Academy for the Performing Arts. He has given master classes at York University, Brandon University, the Glenn Gould School, Chadron State College (Nebraska) and Concordia University. He is also an active adjudicator and consultant for music schools and festivals. As a composer, Donovan has written numerous settings of poems by living Canadian, German, French and Japanese poets. He has also written chamber music and film music. Donovan recently completed a PhD in musicology at York University in Toronto. His PhD dissertation was an inquiry into the deep-ecological significance of the poetic settings of Franz Schubert.
As a reputed concert pianist and very dynamic artistic director of the Club musical de Québec, Louise Forand-Samson has greatly enriched the musical scene of Québec and Canada for many years. Hailing from Granby, Québec, Forand-Samson holds a bachelor’s and a master’s from the École de musique Vincent-d’Indy. She also received training in piano and chamber music at the Conservatoire national de musique de Paris, the Mannes College of Music in New York along with other institutions. Forand-Samson first led a career as a concert pianist for close to 20 years. In addition to winning numerous awards and grants, she embarked on many tours both as a soloist and chamber musician in Canada, the States and several European countries. In parallel with her performance career, she also founded the Camp musical de Lanaudière in 1969. In 1974 she assumed the role of artistic director of the Club musical de Québec, where she accomplished remarkable work for 40 years, presenting the greatest artists of our era. Louise Forand-Samson has also taught at the Québec City and Montréal conservatories for 26 years. Furthermore, she has been international development consultant for Les Violons du Roy (2000-2003), co-artistic director of the Festival international de Lanaudière (1990-2000) and artistic agent for well-known artists (1989-1997). She also sits on the juries of the Canada Council for the Arts and the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec and acts as a multidisciplinary member for the bachelor’s and master’s programs of conservatories and several universities. She has also been on the board of directors of the Fondation du Conservatoire, the Fondation Fernand-Lindsay, Domaine Forget and the Orford Arts Centre. Her work has been acknowledged through various titles: Officière de l’Ordre national du Québecin 2010, Chevalière des Arts et des Lettres du Gouvernement français in 2011, Grande Québécoise du domaine artistique in 2012 and Member of the Order of Canada in 2013. The exceptional value of her commitment to arts and culture as well as her professional realizations have made Ms.Forand-Samson a personality who has distinctly marked the musical landscapes of Québec and Canada.
Marie-Catherine LaPointe founded Boulev’Art Artists’ Management in 1995 in Quebec City, Canada, and she has represented and worked for more than a hundred artists from Quebec, Canada and abroad since Boulev’Art’s inception. She studied music, literature, journalism and administration, and she has worked with many Canadian cultural organizations, such as the Carrefour international de théâtre de Québec, Compagnie Danse Partout, Ensemble Anonymus, the Sherbrooke Symphony Orchestra and Les Violons du Roy. She also worked at the French network of CBC (Radio-Canada) as assistant producer, researcher and host. Since 1992, Marie-Catherine has organized many national and international musical tours, and she has participated in more than 300 cultural missions and performing arts conferences in Canada and abroad. In 2006, Boulev’Art received the Prix du rayonnement international (International award), awarded by the City of Québec in recognition of its international work. Ms LaPointe was named “Businesswoman of the year — special international award” in 2009 by the Réseau des femmes d’affaires du Québec. In 2010, as part of les Prix d’excellence des Arts et de la Culture, Boulev’Art received the Prix de l’entreprise culturelle de l’année (best cultural company of the year), awarded by the Société des entreprises culturelles du Québec / SODEC. Marie-Catherine is a volunteer on many boards, such as the International Society for the Performing Arts/ISPA (New York, since 2010), as well as Le Fils d’Adrien Danse (Quebec City, since 2013) and the Conférence internationale des arts de la scène/ CINARS (Montréal, since 2013).
Born in Germany, Helmut Lipsky graduated in performance and pedagogy from the Zurich Conservatory in Switzerland where he studied with Abraham Comfort. With grants awarded through various competitions, he continued his studies in New York with the likes of Ivan Galamian and Itzhak Perlman. He went on to earn a master’s degree from the Brooklyn College Conservatory of Music under Mr. Perlman. He completed performance internships with teachers such as Paul Makanowitzky, David Cerone, Ora Shiran and Lorand Fenyves. Based in Montréal since 1980, Helmut Lipsky has led a national and international career in classical, contemporary and jazz music, as violinist, composer and teacher. As a soloist and member of numerous ensembles, he has performed at many festivals, including Montreux, Zurich, New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Berlin, Lanaudière, Orford and Québec City. He was awarded the Presidential Scholars Award from the Council of the City of New York and toured through the United States with The New York Players and The Masterplayers. He has also been a member and guest soloist of a number of orchestras in Switzerland, the United States and Canada, and winner of numerous grants from the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec and the Canada Council for the Arts. He has also won an Opus Award from the Conseil québécois de la musique. A sought-after composer, Lipsky has composed works for renowned artists, including Angèle Dubeau & La Pietà string orchestra, Répercussion and the Tudor Singers. More than a hundred of his compositions have been broadcast, some as premieres, on CBC and Radio-Canada. Helmut Lipsky has been a violin teacher at the École de musique Vincent-d’Indy, École Pierre-Laporte, Cégep de Trois-Rivières, Université du Québec, the Conservatoire de musique de Trois-Rivières, the Université de Montréal and Concordia University. He teaches violin, chamber music and improvisation at the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal. His students have received numerous awards, including several First Prizes at the Canadian Music Competition. During the summer, he gives internships at various music camps, not only in Québec but also in Germany and Italy. He has taught a number of performers who now play in major symphony orchestras worldwide, as well as jazz violin improvisers.
Peter Tiefenbach is a Toronto-based pianist, composer, conductor, writer and performer. A native of Regina, Saskatchewan, he holds degrees and diplomas from St Olaf College (Minnesota), Northwestern University (Illinois), the Royal Academy of Music and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama (both in London, England). Since 1997, he has been a member of the faculty of the Glenn Gould School of the Royal Conservatory of Music, where he coaches singers, lectures on orchestral literature, and serves as music director of the school’s fall opera production. A longtime collaborator with soprano-comedienne Mary Lou Fallis, he also appears frequently with piano duet partner Robert Kortgaard, as well as with Kimberly Barber and the cabaret group L’Accordéoniste. His latest CD is “Christmas at Casa Diva”, featuring sopranos Joni Henson and Virginia Hatfield and mezzo-soprano Megan Latham. His compositions and arrangements are featured on recordings by Jean Stilwell, Isabel Bayrakdarian, The Canadian Brass, Elmer Iseler Singers, Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, Elora Festival Singers, Monica Whicher & Judy Loman, and Laughton & Humphreys. His current commissions include a choral work for PEI’s Indian River Festival to celebrate the sesquicentennial of the Charlottetown Conference, and a set of comic songs for the Canadian Art Song Project. As a broadcaster for CBC Radio, Mr Tiefenbach presented acclaimed series on the music of Bruckner, Strauss, and Rachmaninoff, and interviewed major figures including Witold Lutoslawski, Luciano Berio, Henri Dutilleux, Isaac Stern, Andras Schiff and Krystian Zimerman.