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2017 artist full bios.

~ First-name Alphabetic ~


Carissa Klopoushak

Carissa Klopoushak has made a name for herself as a curious, creative, and versatile violinist. A charismatic and engaging performer, Carissa's playing has been described as the complete package of sensitive musicianship and effortless technique. Carissa proudly joined Canada's National Arts Centre Orchestra in September 2014, after having performed with the group for a number of years, including many of their national tours and their 2013 tour of China.

Carissa considers all of Canada to be her home. She has toured the country extensively, performing recitals for Debut Atlantic and as the winner of the 2009 Eckhardt-Grammatté National Music Competition with Canadian pianist Philip Chiu. Carissa has been featured at both the Ottawa Chamberfest, Montreal Chamber Music Festivals, and Toronto Summer Music. Carissa performs with many chamber groups in Ottawa and Montreal, including the newly-formed Ironwood Quartet, Ensemble Mooncrest, Warhol Dervish, and Portmantô. She spent much of 2014 performing with the Australian Chamber Orchestra, whom she joined for a series of tours and recordings, including a residency at The Banff Centre.

Carissa grew up in the small prairie city of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Still active in the prairie music scene today, Carissa is an Artistic Director of the Ritornello Chamber Music Festival, an annual event that aims to provide Saskatchewan audiences the opportunity to hear innovative, fresh concerts performed by young, engaging Canadian musicians who are currently pursuing professional careers across the country and around the globe.

Carissa is the lead singer and violinist in the Ukrainian band Tyr i Tam (pronounced Toot ee Tahm). Established in 2003, the band has recorded three albums, performed at the Toronto, Montreal, Dauphin, and Vegreville Ukrainian festivals as well as in Sydney, Australia. The band recently released their fourth full-length album, Obriad, in the summer of 2015.

Carissa has taught violin and chamber music at McGill University where she also recently completed a doctorate in violin performance, focusing on the little-known violin repertoire by Ukrainian composers. She now coaches chamber music at the University of Ottawa School of Music. Her recent recordings include chamber works of the Second Viennese school with Gruppo Montebello and Pierrot Lunaire with Ensemble Mooncrest. Her debut recording with pianist Philip Chiu, SOUNDWORLDS, was released in November 2016 A laureate of the 2012 Canada Council of the Arts Musical Instrument Bank Competition, Carissa performed on the 1869 Jean Baptiste Vuillaume violin (with Vuillaume model bow). She now plays on a 2009 violin by Mark Schnurr of Flesherton, Ontario. She also occasionally performs on the viola. When not performing, rehearsing, or traveling, Carissa can be found expanding her love of coffee in some little café, somewhere...


David Marks

In 2014, violist David Marks returned to Canada after 12 years in Amsterdam, to accept the position of Associate Principal with the NAC Orchestra. While in Europe, he was a member of the Dutch Radio Philharmonic, Principal Viola of Holland Symfonia and Associate Principal of Amsterdam Sinfonietta. During the season 2013-2014 he appeared as Principal Violist with the London Philharmonic Orchestra under the batons of Vladimir Jurowski, Christoph Eschenbach, Yannick Nezet-Seguin and Marin Alsop. He toured China and recorded over 40 works with the avant-garde Dutch contemporary group, Nieuw Ensemble and performed across Europe with the Asko/Schonberg Ensemble, Ensemble Modern, Mondriaan Quartet and Nieuw Amsterdamse Peil. Mr Marks is also a composer: his folk-opera The Odyssey was premiered at The Banff Centre in 2005.


David Pell

David Pell has been Bass Trombonist of the National Ballet of Canada Orchestra since 2006 and Principal Trombonist of the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra since 2002. He has also been a member of the Winnipeg Symphony, Orchestra London Canada, the Victoria Symphony and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet Touring Orchestra. He is a member of Toronto's Esprit Orchestra and performs regularly on trombone, bass trumpet and euphonium with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the National Arts Centre Orchestra, Canadian Opera Company and New Music Concerts. He has also performed with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, Calgary Philharmonic, the Windsor Symphony Orchestra and the Thunder Bay Symphony, with the Stockholm Chamber Brass and the True North Brass. He has taught for many years and is on faculty at the University of Toronto and Royal Conservatory of Music.

In 2015 David was honoured to join the Canadian National Brass Project comprised of principal players of Canada's best orchestras under the Artistic Direction of James Sommerville.

David appears on: the Canadian Brass recording Brahms on Brass; as Euphoniumist on the Toronto Symphony Orchestra's recording of Holst's The Planets , and as the Bass Trumpet on its recording of the Rite Of Spring ; and he has begun a new relationship with NAXOS recording Canadian music for brass. He was bass trumpet soloist in the Canadian Opera Company's acclaimed Ring Cycle .

David is Artistic Director of the renowned Hannaford Street Silver Band and co-founder of the multi-media based chamber ensemble ArtFarm. He has shared stage and recording studio with musicians such as Herbie Hancock, Supertramp's Roger Hodgeson, Broken Social Scene, Owen Pallet (Final Fantasy), Michael Bolton, Sheena Easton, David Foster, Holly Cole, Kenny G, and Dudley Moore, and has played and toured North America with productions of Wicked, Les Miserables, Showboat, Ragtime, Chicago, Urinetown, Phantom of the Opera, Annie Get Your Gun, My Fair Lady, Cats, and Evita.


Evan Mitchell

Evan Mitchell is proving to be one of the most able and imaginative young conductors in Canada. Having recently finished successful residencies as Assistant Conductor of the Vancouver and Kitchener-Waterloo symphony orchestras, Mr Mitchell has enjoyed two triumphant seasons as Music Director of the Kingston Symphony Association. He has garnered consistent praise for his programming, approach, execution, and musical results. Under Mr Mitchell's leadership, the 2015-2016 season was an unprecedented success for the Kingston Symphony, having sold out the Masterworks series and Special concerts.

During his various residencies, Mr Mitchell conducted over 200 concerts, acted as a Canadian ambassador during a historic two-week tour of China, Korea, and Macau, and served as an official consultant to the Vancouver Olympic Committee and Assistant Producer for the recording of the medal ceremony national anthems.

Equally comfortable in the realm of contemporary music as well as opera, Mr Mitchell has premiered over 20 new Canadian works and is a strong advocate for performing music by Canadian composers. He is also the Principal Conductor of Opera 5, an award-winning independent opera company based in Toronto, which is responsible for a popular web series entitled Opera Cheats.

Mr Mitchell is a champion of initiatives designed to enhance the live concert experience, such as insider videos, informational podcasts, pre-concert talks, and special concerts devoted to live, onstage insights into major orchestral works. His program SoundSync, which involves real-time updates delivered silently to mobile devices during the concert, was hailed as the greatest technological innovation in the concert hall of 2014 by the CBC.

Recent career highlights include Principal Conductorship of the World Harp Congress in which Mr Mitchell conducted eight harp concerti with some of the world's best harpists. He is a regular guest conductor with the Toronto Symphony and the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony. He has also led orchestral collaborations with the Barenaked Ladies, Judy Collins, and Pink Martini.


Fanny Bray

French/British cellist Fanny Marks (1974) entered the local music school at age 9, going on to earn her Bachelor of Music from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama (London), her postgraduate degree in music from the Royal Academy of Music (London) and her postgraduate Performance Diploma from the University of Indiana (USA) in the studio of Janos Starker.

Trained as a performing artist, most of her career has consisted in touring with orchestras (such as the Netherlands Kamerorkest and the Nederlands Philharmonisch Orkest) and chamber music groups in concert halls and theatres across Europe and the Americas. Concurrently she has developed a passion for working with kids- music theatre, children's operas, workshops for disabled kids or kids with special needs /low income families and youth music summer camps.

Five years ago alongside her freelance performance activities she was certified as a Kindermusik teacher. She then developed her own musical awakening curriculum and taught weekly classes to babies and children aged 6 months to 6 years in Splendor, a music center in the heart of Amsterdam, Holland.

Fanny moved to Wakefield, Quebec in September 2014 and started teaching music lessons to young children at the Centre Wakefield La Pêche in April 2015. Since summer 2015, she has been a regular substitute at the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa.


Jaeyoung Chong

Jaeyoung Chong began playing the cello at the age of 8 and in a short time, was playing at a skill level well beyond his years. He emigrated to Atlantic Canada from South Korea in 2005 and studied in Nova Scotia with cellist Shimon Walt. Jaeyoung subsequently won numerous prizes in provincial and national music festivals and played principal cello in the New Brunswick Youth Orchestra for four seasons. In 2011, he toured with the NBYO in Vienna, Austria and performed in the famed Musikverein Hall.

He has performed at prestigious Canadian summer music festivals including Domaine Forget, the National Arts Centre Pre-College program, Scotia Festival of Music, and the Orford Festival. His studies have included masterclasses with Carole Sirois, Steve Doane, Matt Haimovitz, Hans-Jorgen Jenson, Richard Aaron, Laurence Lesser, and Blair Lofgren. In 2012, Jaeyoung performed at Carnegie Hall with the High School Honors Performance Series Orchestra and played principal cello with the “National Youth Orchestra of Canada.” Most recently, he joined the New Brunswick Youth Orchestra as a featured guest soloist and toured throughout New Brunswick. He is currently studying cello at the University of Ottawa and is an active recording artist and chamber musician.


Jessica Linnebach

Violinist Jessica Linnebach has distinguished herself among the next generation of Canadian classical artists being lauded on concert stages nationally and around the world. Since her soloist debut at the age of seven, Jessica has appeared with major orchestras throughout North America, Europe and Asia. Jessica has been a member of the first violin section of the NACO since 2003 and was named their Associate Concertmaster in April 2010.

A passionate chamber musician, Jessica is a founding member of the Zukerman Chamber Players, a string quintet led by Pinchas Zukerman. Since the ensemble's inception in 2003, it has toured extensively to international acclaim appearing throughout North America, South America the Middle East, Europe, and Asia. Its recording of the Mozart Viola Quintet in G minor was nominated for a Juno Award in 2004 and its fifth and latest release, quintets by Mozart and Dvorak, was released in early 2008 on the Altara Label.

Accepted to the world-renowned Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia at the age of ten, Jessica remains one of the youngest ever Bachelor of Music graduates in the history of the school. At eighteen, she received her Master of Music degree from the Manhattan School of Music in New York City where she studied with Pinchas Zukerman and Patinka Kopec.

Jessica has also collaborated with some of the most illustrious artists of our day, including Emanuel Ax, Yefim Bronfman, Leon Fleisher, Joseph Kalichstein, Gary Graffman, Gary Hoffman, Lynn Harrell, Jaime Laredo, Yo-Yo Ma, Gil Shaham, and Michael Tree.

Jessica Linnebach plays a circa 1840 Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume (Guarnerius del Gésu 1737) violin.


Joanna G'froerer

Joanna G'froerer enjoys an exciting career as an orchestral player, chamber musician, soloist and educator. Joanna G'froerer has been principal flute of the NACO since 1992, after winning the audition for that position at the age of 20.

She studied flute in Vancouver with Kathleen Rudolph, graduating from the Vancouver Academy of Music, and spent summers at the Interlochen Arts Camp in Michigan, and with the National Youth Orchestra of Canada. Joanna studied at McGill University with Timothy Hutchins, earning a Licentiate in Music from McGill in 1993.

Ms G'froerer has appeared as concerto soloist in over thirty different programs since joining the NACO. She has also performed as flute soloist with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, the Victoria Symphony, the Kingston Symphony, the Quebec Symphony Orchestra, the former CBC Radio Orchestra and the Peterborough Symphony, as well as with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra after winning the wind division of the MSO Competition in 1990.

Joanna G'froerer has been featured in the chamber music festivals of Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver and Ottawa, and has been a guest artist with the Tokyo and Penderecki String Quartets. Joanna is a member of the NAC Wind Quintet, (the five principal winds of the NACO), and is half of the G'froerer & Gott Duo with harpist, Michelle Gott.

Joanna G'froerer's recordings include the Mozart Flute Quartets on CBC Records with violinist Martin Beaver, Pinchas Zukerman on viola, and cellist Amanda Forsyth -- named "best Canadian chamber music recording" of 2001 by Opus Magazine. In 2002, she recorded an all-Rodrigo disc as concerto soloist with Maestro Maximiano Valdes and the Asturias Symphony Orchestra for the Naxos label. Joanna's most recent Naxos recording is an all-Saint-Saëns chamber music disc, featuring the NAC Wind Quintet with pianist Stéphane Lemelin. Gramophone magazine named it an "Editor's Choice" shortly after its release in 2011.

As a teacher, Joanna has taught at McGill University and the UOttawa, and currently is a member of the faculty of the NAC Summer Music Institute. She has been on faculty at Domaine Forget, the Scotia Festival of Music, , and at the Campos do Jordao winter festival in Brazil.


Jon Kimura Parker

Known for his passionate artistry and engaging stage presence, pianist Jon Kimura Parker's brilliant and versatile career has taken him from Carnegie Hall and Berlin's Philharmonie to the Beijing Concert Hall and the Sydney Opera House. This season, Mr Parker performs as concerto soloist with the New York Philharmonic and Bramwell Tovey, the Chicago Symphony and the Philadelphia Orchestra with Marin Alsop, The Milwaukee Symphony with Lawrence Renes, the IRIS Orchestra with Michael Stern, the Naples Philharmonic with Andre Boreyko, and the Minnesota Orchestra with Gilbert Varga. He tours Off the Score with iconic Police drummer Stewart Copeland in the spring of 2016, and throughout the season gives twenty concerts with the newly formed Montrose Trio, featuring violinist Martin Beaver and cellist Clive Greensmith.

A committed educator, Jon Kimura Parker is Professor of Piano at The Shepherd School of Music at Rice University. Mr Parker is also Artistic Advisor of the Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival, where he has given world premieres of new works by Peter Schickele and Jake Heggie.

Jon Kimura Parker has recorded for Telarc and CBC, and on his own label. His new CD Fantasy features Fantasies of Schubert and Schumann, as well as the sensational Wizard of Oz Fantasy by William Hirtz, receiving this praise from Classical Candor: "The reading is riveting. Parker scores with another favorite recording of the year."

"Jackie" Parker studied with Edward Parker, Keiko Parker, Lee Kum-Sing, Robin Wood, Marek Jablonski and Adele Marcus. He won the Gold Medal at the 1984 Leeds International Piano Competition. He lives in Houston with his wife, violinist Aloysia Friedmann and their daughter Sophie.


Jonathan Krehm

Jonathan Krehm studied clarinet with Avram Galper, Yona Ettlinger and Harold Gomez. He is an avid supporter of musical culture and has been a director of Art of Time, the Arts and Letters Club of Toronto, and The Music Gallery. Along with Jacob Stoller, Jonathan has run the Canzona Chamber Players concert series in Toronto, now entering its 14th season. He performs regularly in Toronto.


Julia MacLaine

Assistant Principal Cello of the National Arts Centre Orchestra since 2014, Julia MacLaine performs worldwide as a soloist, chamber and orchestral musician in music ranging from classical to contemporary and from ‘world' to her own arrangements and compositions.

Ms. MacLaine has most recently performed in Montreal at the Salle Bourgie with the Quatuor Capitano for the SMCQ Festival, as well as at La Place des Arts and at Ottawa's Concerts By The Canal with the Trio Grand-Duc. Her string quartet, Ironwood, will collaborate in 2017 with pianist Jon Kimura Parker at the National Gallery's Music for a Sunday Afternoon series, at the Ritornello festival in Saskatoon, and at the Classical Unbound festival this summer in Prince Edward County.

During the ten years she spent living in New York City, Ms. MacLaine could often be heard on all three stages at Carnegie Hall. As a member of Ensemble Connect (previously ACJW), she performed numerous chamber music concerts at Weill and Zankel Halls, notably as the soloist in Tan Dun's concerto Elegy: Snow In June. She also played frequently in Stern Auditorium as a member of the Orchestra of St. Luke's and as principal cellist for Osvaldo Golijov's Pasion selun San Marcos. She has also performed with the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen and Les Violons du Roy, and her chamber music collaborators include Itzhak Perlman, Pinchas Zukerman, membres of the Orion String Quartet, Ani and Ida Kavafian, Inon Barnatan, and Cynthia Phelps.

From 2005 to 2014, she was a member of the Brooklyn-based chamber orchestra The Knights, with whom she performed the Schumann Cello Concerto in 2012 in Central Park and for live broadcast by WQXR. The Grammy-nominated ensemble collaborates regularly with artists such as Gil Shaham, Renée Fleming, and Yo-Yo Ma, and has recorded several albums, several of which for SONY Classical.

An entrepreneurial musician, Ms. MacLaine co-founded the New York group The Ikarus Chamber Players, an ensemble that married classical chamber music with other art forms in their own concert series in auction houses, art galeries, and other unique venues. With her colleagues in the Academy (Carnegie and Juilliard-led fellowship connected to Ensemble ACJW/Connect), she formed the chamber music collective Decoda to develop community chamber music residencies around the world. With Decoda, Julia has performed at the Mecklenberg-Vorpommern Festival in Germany, in Abu Dhabi, at Suntory Hall in Tokyo, and across the United States. She has also appeared at the Lanaudière, Bic, Mostly Mozart, Tanglewood, and Ravinia Festivals.

Originally from Prince Edward Island, Julia studied with Antonio Lysy at McGill University (BMus), and with Timothy Eddy at the Mannes College of Music (Artist Diploma) and at The Juilliard School (MMus).


Karen Donnelly

Following three successful seasons (1996-1999) as Acting Principal Trumpet of the National Arts Centre Orchestra, Karen Donnelly was unanimously appointed Principal Trumpet in October 1999, and continues to enjoy each year with this wonderful ensemble.

A native of Regina, Saskatchewan, Karen picked up a trumpet for the first time in her elementary school band program and she was hooked. Her formal training includes a Bachelor of Arts in Music program at the University of Regina and later a Master's of Music from McGill University.

Karen held the position of Principal Trumpet with Orchestra London (Canada) from 1994-1996, and performed with many ensembles in southwestern Ontario during her time there.

Since she burst on the Ottawa scene in 1996, Ms. Donnelly has done concerts and interviews for CBC (French and English), performances with the Ottawa Chamber Music Festival, Rideau Lakes Brass Quintet, and the large ensemble, Capital BrassWorks. In 2008, Capital Brass Works released its third album, "Gabriel's Sister" featuring Ms. Donnelly as soloist.

Karen has been featured with professional orchestras, community amateur orchestras, and many local school bands. These include the National Arts Centre Orchestra, Thirteen Strings Chamber Orchestra, Kington Symphony, Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra London, Hannaford Silver Street Band, Maple Leaf Brass Band, Parkdale Orchestra and the Regina Catholic Schools Honour Band.

Music education has always been, and continues to be, very close to Karen's heart. Her work with the Rideau Lakes Brass Quintet and Capital BrassWorks creates opportunities for educational concerts and workshops in schools. Through the NAC Music Education programs, Karen has given master classes in Switzerland, Mexico, China, United States, United Kingdom and Canada from coast to coast. Ms. Donnelly joined the teaching staff at the University of Ottawa in 2002, and since 2009, Karen has been assisting with the Leadingnote "Orchkidstra" program.


Krisztina Szabó

Hungarian-Canadian mezzo-soprano Krisztina Szabó has become highly sought-after in North America and Europe as an artist of supreme musicianship and stagecraft. The Globe and Mail exclaimed "Szabó's mezzo voice is a burnished joy, able to cut through both a 20-odd person chorus and a full orchestra with clarity and beauty, and her presence onstage was luminous…" after her performance of the world premiére of Pyramus and Thisbe with the Canadian Opera Company. And for her recent performance with Tapestry Opera, Toronto, the opera blog Schmopera proclaimed that "Her voice is a one-of-a-kind and she has cemented herself as a darling of Canadian experimental music and opera, and we really couldn't be luckier. Her sensibility and sensitivity to the material is truly inspiring".

In 2016-17, Krisztina Szabó appeared: as soloist and actor in Canadian Stage/Necessary Angel Theatre's All But Gone, an innovative new production featuring plays by Samuel Beckett and music by Kaija Saariaho and Garrett Sholdice; as soloist in Messiah with Tafelmusik; as the title role in Rossini's Cenerentola with Edmonton Opera; as soloist for a world premiere of From the Diary of Virginia Woolf by Gary Kulesha with the NAC Orchestra, Ottawa; as soloist in Mahler 2 with Ottawa Symphony Orchestra; as soloist with Music of the Baroque, Chicago; and as Sofiya in Tapestry Opera's Oksana G. Krisztina has also appeared in recitals and masterclasses at the: University of Victoria, University of Alberta, Mount Allison University, and Stratford Summer Music Vocal Academy.

Last-season highlights include appearances with the Canadian Opera Company in three leading roles (Thisbe/Arianna/Clorinda) in Pyramus and Thisbe, and reprising the role of Judith in Bartók's Bluebeard's Castle with Samuel Ramey for the Colorado Music Festival. In 2015, Krisztina was nominated twice for a Dora Award for Outstanding Female Performance for her work with the Canadian Opera Company and with Tapestry Opera. In the 2017-18 season, Ms Szabó will be making her Royal Opera début in George Benjamin's new opera, Lessons in Love and Violence. Ms. Szabó is a member of Voice Faculty at the University of Toronto.


Nicholas Hartman

'Nick' Hartman is fourth horn with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and former fourth horn of the National Arts Centre Orchestra. He has performed with orchestras and chamber ensembles throughout the United States and Canada, and has performed with various ensembles including the Pittsburgh Symphony, the Seattle Symphony, Houston Symphony, the San Antonio Symphony, the Richmond Symphony, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Houston Grand Opera, the New World Symphony, the Breckenridge Music Festival, the Sun Valley Summer Symphony, and the Louisiana Philharmonic. In 2012, Nicholas was invited to perform at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC as part of their ongoing Conservatory Project. He was a 2011 and 2012 Tanglewood Music Center fellow, a 2010 National Repertory Orchestra fellow, and in 2009 was invited to Quebec to record the complete Beethoven symphonies with l'Orchestra de la Francophonie Canadienne. He is a graduate of Rice University's Shepherd School of Music in Houston, where he studied with Houston Symphony principal horn William VerMeulen.


Rachel Krehm

Winner of the 2013 Capital City Critics Choice Award at the Ottawa Fringe for her solo performance in Poulenc's La Voix Humaine (Opera 5), Canadian soprano Rachel Krehm is establishing herself as a sophisticated performer in both the opera and theatre communities. A multi-faceted artist, Rachel is the co-founder and General Director of Opera 5, and the creator, co-writer and one of the performers of the children's educational show Tenors, Trumpets and La Traviata which debuted as part of the Kitchener Waterloo Symphony's Family Series in March of 2014 and was repeated with the Kingston Symphony in April 2016 along with an all new Opera Pop show called Opera at Warp Speed.

Praised for her "lovely, radiant voice" (Opera Canada), and her "excellent acting" (Capital City Critics), Rachel has most recently performed the roles of Rosalinde in Strauss' Die Fledermaus, Susanna in Wolf- Ferrari's Il segreto di Susanna, Elle in Poulenc's La voix humaine at the Ottawa Fringe Festival, El Trujama?n in De Falla's El retablo de Maese Pedro, He?le?ne in Hindemith's Hin und Zuru?ck, and Studio in Milton Granger's Talk Opera. Rachel has also been seen singing Spirit in Purcell's Dido and Aeneas with The Velvet Curtain, Suor Genovieffa in Puccini's Suor Angelica with Opera on the Avalon, Elettra in Mozart's Idomeneo with SOLT, Donna Anna in Mozart's Don Giovanni with C.O.S.I., Cleopatra in Handel's Giulio Cesare with both Opera by Request and Canzona Cocert Series, Bianca in Puccini's La Rondine with Opera McGill and the title role in Massenet's Cendrillon with Opera da Camera. She is also a regularly featured actor in the popular web-series, Opera Cheats (Opera 5).

Rachel is an accomplished concert soloist who specializes in 20th and 21st century music. In September 2014, she performed Pierrot Lunaire with Yosuke Kawasaki and his chamber ensemble. In 2012, she premiered Mother/Daughter by Canadian Composer Walter Buczynski in two concerts with Selene Concert Series in Toronto. Other recent concert performances have included Magnificent Mozart with the Kingston Chamber Choir, Mahler's Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen with the Las Vegas Young Artists Orchestra, Sempre Libera with John Morris Russell and the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, Soprano Soloist for Mahler's Symphony No. 2, Strauss' Opus 27, Berlioz's Les Nuits d'E?te?, Beethoven's Symphony No. 9, Mozart's Requiem and Bach's Christmas Oratorio all with various orchestras in Toronto.

In 2008, she attended The Franz Schubert Institute in Baden, bei Wien, Austria where she studied with Elly Ameling, Rudolph Jansen, Julius Drake and Michael McMahon. Inspired by this experience, she toured a program of Austrian Art Songs in Toronto and Montreal. Rachel holds a Masters of Music and a Bachelors of Music from the Schulich School of Music at McGill University.


Rachel Mercer

Described as a "pure chamber musician" (Globe and Mail) creating "moments of pure magic" (Toronto Star), Canadian cellist Rachel Mercer has appeared as a soloist and chamber musician across five continents.

Grand prize winner of the 2001 Vriendenkrans Competition in Amsterdam, Rachel is cellist of Ensemble Made In Canada, the Mercer-Park Duo, the Seiler Trio, the Art of Time Ensemble, and is Artistic Director of the "5 at the First" Chamber Music Series in Hamilton.

She has appeared as guest principal cello with the Canadian Opera Company, National Arts Centre, Group of 27 and Munich Chamber orchestras, and will join the NACO as Associate Principal Cello in January 2016. Rachel has given master-classes across North America, South Africa and in Israel and is currently Artist-in-Residence at Western University.

An advocate for new Canadian music, Rachel has commissioned and premiered works including a cello concerto by Kevin Lau, solo work by Andrew Downing and chamber music by Abigail Richardson-Schulte, William Rowson, John Burge and Omar Daniel.

Rachel can be heard on the Naxos, Naxos Canadian Classics, Centrediscs, Dalia Classics and EnT-T record labels, and released a critically acclaimed album of the Bach Suites on Pipistrelle in March 2014, recorded on the 1696 Bonjour Stradivarius Cello from the Canada Council for the Arts Musical Instrument Bank.

Winner in the 2015 Canada Council Instrument Bank competition, Rachel is grateful to have been awarded the 1730 Newland Joannes Franciscus Celoniatus cello for a 3 year loan.


Sasha Johnson

Sasha Johnson has been principal tuba of the National Ballet of Canada Orchestra since 2009. He has performed with such Canadian orchestras as the National Arts Centre Orchestra, the Canadian Opera Company and the Orchestre Symphonique de Montreal and was acting principal tuba of the Toronto Symphony for their 2009/2010 season.

In 1999, Sasha completed his musical training in the Orchestra Academy of the Berlin Philharmonic. Having begun his professional career in Berlin, Sasha went on to perform with many other European orchestras including the Berlin Philharmonic, the Berlin State Opera, the Radio Orchestra Berlin, the Orchestre Symphonique de Radio France, the Orchestre de Paris, the Ensemble Modern and the Orchestre Nationale de Bordeaux. He has performed in such music festivals and concert venues as the Lucerne Festival, the Festivale d'Aix en Provence, the Concertgebouw, the Konzerthaus Wien, the Theatre Champs-Elysée, the Schleswig-Holstein Festival, the Salzburg Festival and the BBC Proms, under such eminent conductors as Claudio Abbado, James Levine, Pierre Boulez, Kent Nagano, Essa-Pekka Salonen, Charles Dutoit, Kurt Masur and Seiji Ozawa.

In 2015 Sasha founded the Canadian National Brass Project, a symphonic brass ensemble comprised of Canada's finest brass players which tours and records together during the summer season. Sasha serves on the brass faculty of the Glenn Gould School of Music of the Royal Conservatory of Music, the Schulich School of Music of McGill University, and the National Youth Orchestra of Canada.


Steven van Gulik

Ottawa-born trumpet player Steven van Gulik became a member of the National Arts Centre Orchestra in 2009. He began playing the cornet at the age of eight studying with his uncle Kenneth Moore and performing with the local Salvation Army church band.

Having won the National Arts Centre Orchestra Bursary in 1993 and competing successfully at many regional, provincial and national music festivals, Steven decided to pursue studies at the Interlochen Arts Academy with John Lindenau and then at McGill University with former NAC Orchestra principal trumpet Douglas Sturdevant and Montreal Symphony principal trumpet Paul Merkelo. An active chamber musician, he has frequently performed in Ottawa's Music and Beyond festival as well as the Ottawa Chamber Music Festival and can be heard regularly performing with Capital BrassWorks, Rideau Lakes Brass Quintet and in the pit for many of the Broadway musicals that come to the National Arts Center. Steven has also been heard performing on CBC Radio as recital soloist, chamber musician and on stage with various orchestras across Canada. Steven held the position of principal trumpet of the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra, and has performed as a soloist with the Thunder Bay Symphony, the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra and the National Arts Centre Orchestra. Steven served as a member of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra from 2000-2007 and performed on international tours and recordings before moving west to become a member of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra from 2007 to 2009. He is happy to be living in his hometown with his wife Lianne and their kids, Maria and Jack.


Vadim Serebryany

International piano recitalist. '00 MMA '06 DMA Assistant Professor of Piano in the School of Music at Ithaca College. Vadim Serebryany has been acclaimed by audiences and critics on five continents for his sensitive and intelligent music making. He has been highly sought after as a recitalist, concerto soloist and chamber musician, and has performed in Europe, South America, Australia and throughout North America. In recent seasons Mr Serebryany has embarked on many interesting and challenging projects, including performing the complete Beethoven sonatas for piano and violin, as well as presenting various solo and chamber works of the Second Viennese School composers in creative programs. In recent seasons, he has been a guest soloist with the National Arts Center Orchestra, The Kingston Symphony, the Osaka Century Orchestra, and Montgomery Symphony Orchestra. Mr Serebryany has collaborated with such prominent artists as choreographer Mark Morris, Baritone Gary Reylea, cellists Suren Bagratuni and Eugene Osadchy, violinists Mayumi Seiler, Almita Vamos, and Yosuke Kawasaki, and members of the American String Quartet, the Enso Quartet, and the Glenn Gould String Quartet. In 2007 he and Mr Kawasaki made their recital debut at Carnegie Hall. An Honours graduate with Distinction from the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, where he was a student of Marina Geringas, Vadim went on to complete his Bachelor's and Master's degrees at The Juilliard School, under the tutelages of the legendary Russian pianist Oxana Yablonskaya and the esteemed American pianist Jacob Lateiner. The final leg of Mr Serebryany's formal education took him to Yale University, where he completed his studies in the prestigious Doctor of Musical Arts program under the brilliant Russian pianist and teacher Boris Berman. From 2005 to 2008 Mr Serebryany served as Artist in Residence at La Sierra University in Riverside, California, and has also served as a visiting professor at Lawrence University. From 2008 to 2016, Mr Serebryany was a member of the music department faculty at Huntingdon College, in Montgomery, Alabama. In 2015 he was named Huntingdon's first ever Belcher-Cheek Artist in Residence. In 2016, Mr Serebryany joined the piano faculty at the renowned School of Music at Ithaca College, in New York.


Yehonatan Berick

Prizewinner at the 1993 Naumburg competition and a recipient of the 1996-97 Prix Opus, Yehonatan Berick is in high demand internationally as soloist, recitalist, chamber musician, and pedagogue.

Performances as soloist include: Quebec, Winnipeg, Windsor, Ann Arbor, Jerusalem and Haifa Symphonies; the Israeli, Cincinnati, Montreal and Manitoba Chamber Orchestras; Thirteen Strings; and Ensemble Appassionata. Recital offerings include the complete Paganini Caprices, and the complete Solo Sonatas and Partitas by Bach.

He has collaborated with many world renowned artists. Festival and chamber series include Marlboro, Ravinia, Seattle, Ottawa, Great Lakes, and Music@Menlo. He tours extensively worldwide, and has been featured in many of the world's most important venues, including Carnegie Hall and Wigmore Hall.

On CD, Berick has recorded for the Acoma, Albany, Centaur, Equilibrium, XXI-21, Gasparo, Summit, and Helicon labels. On video, he can be seen on the BluRay DVD "Paganini: 24 Caprices". His recordings have won rave reviews in the press.

Equally sought after as violin teacher and chamber music mentor, Berick serves as Professor of Violin at the U of Ottawa and Visiting Professor at the U of Toronto. He has been invited as teacher and artist-in-residence at many festivals, and is featured in masterclasses worldwide. His students hold leading positions in major orchestras, ensembles, and music schools worldwide.

Yehonatan Berick currently plays a 1761 violin by Carlo Ferdinando Landolfi, generously on loan from the U of Ottawa, as well as violin by Honoré Derazey Père from 1852, and a viola by Stanley Kiernoziak from 2003.


Yosuke Kawasaki

Yosuke Kawasaki currently serves as Concertmaster of Canada's NACO. He is also a member and co-Concertmaster of the Mito Chamber Orchestra and Saito Kinen Orchestra in Japan both under the baton of Seiji Ozawa. Prior to his position in Ottawa, he served as Concertmaster of the Japan Century Orchestra and Montgomery Symphony Orchestra. Mr Kawasaki is currently on faculty with the UOttawa School of Music, Affinis Summer Music Festival and Ozawa International Chamber Music Academy.

Mr Kawasaki has made solo appearances with Aspen Chamber Symphony, Greenwich Village Orchestra, Hiroshima Symphony Orchestra, Idaho State-Civic Orchestra, Japan Century Orchestra, Kyushu Philharmonic, Mito Chamber Orchestra, Orquesta Filarmonica de Lima, Saito Kinen Orchestra, South Carolina Philharmonic, Thirteen Strings, Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, and Singapore National Youth Symphony.

As a chamber musician, Mr Kawasaki is a founding member of the Arkas String Quartet, a resident ensemble in Sasebo, Japan; the D'Amici String Quartet along with Federico Agostini, Sadao Harada, and James Creitz, touring the Americas; and the Trio Ink piano trio with Vadim Serebryany and Wolfram Koessel, also touring teh Americas.

His most recent recordings include chamber works by Beethoven, Mozart and Schumann on the TDK Core Label and Denon Label. He has also recorded Bach's Double Concerto and the Complete Brandenburg Concertos with Walter van Hauwe and the Saito Kinen Chamber Players, both on the King Label.

Mr Kawasaki began his violin studies at the age of six with his father Masao Kawasaki and continued with Setsu Goto. At the age of ten he was accepted into The Juilliard School Pre-College Division and further continued his education and graduated from The Juilliard School in 1998 under the tutorship of Dorothy DeLay, Hyo Kang, Felix Galimir and Joel Smirnoff.