Each artist has a biography which is linked from the page with concert details. Included is a small photo. If you click on the photo it will enlarge and you can then scroll through all enlarged photos.

TakeFive Ensemble

Formed in 2018, the TakeFive Ensemble comprises five of Canada's most established and sought-after concert artists. Founding members include acclaimed pianist Shoshana Telner and titled chair members of Toronto's top symphony orchestras: violinists Lynn Kuo and Csaba Koczó, violist Theresa Rudolph, and cellist Emmanuelle Beaulieu Bergeron.

lynn csaba shoshanna

Pianist Shoshana Telner -- performer, teacher, competition winner and new music champion -- has appeared as soloist and chamber musician in Canada, the United States, and Europe.

Violinist Lynn Kuo, Assistant Concertmaster of the National Ballet of Canada Orchestra, has appeared as recitalist, guest soloist, and chamber musician across North America, Europe, and Asia and has given the world premieres of numerous contemporary works composed for her and various ensembles.

Violinist Csaba Koczo, as founding member of the Banff International String Quartet Competition-prizewinning and Dora Award-nominated Tokai String Quartet, has toured across Canada and the United States, as well as holds a position with the National Ballet Orchestra of Canada and as Assistant Principal Second Violin of the Canadian Opera Company Orchestra.

Guest Artists

Carolyn LeannaViolist Carolyn Blackwell and Cellist Leana Rutt perform in place of Emmanuelle and Theresa for the performance on 21 September, 2024.

Originally from Calgary, Alberta, Carolyn Blackwell has shared the stage with Steven Dann, Geoff Nuttall, Martin Beaver, Anssi Karttunen, Renaud Capuçon, and Mayumi Seiler. She has been featured with The Art of Time Ensemble, The Via Salzburg Chamber Orchestra, the Mooredale Concerts series and the Artists of The Royal Conservatory (ARC) and is featured on the group's newest recording "Two Roads to Exile" from the RCA Sony Red Label. Carolyn performs regularly with the Canadian Opera Company and was the youngest instrumentalist invited to participate in the inaugural Wagner Ring Cycle Performances at the Four Season's Centre. Carolyn completed her music studies under the tutelage of Steven Dann and Nick Pulos and has been fortunate enough to work with Barry Shiffman, Henk Guittart, Mark Steinberg, and Peter Longworth who have all greatly influenced her musical development.  

During the summer months, Carolyn is a principal of the Verbier Festival Orchestra in Verbier, Switzerland and participates in the IMS Prussia Cove Open Chamber Music Seminar in Cornwall, England. She was recently awarded a chair in the Verbier Festival Chamber Orchestra under Gabor Takacs-Nagy and made her Amercian debut at The Spoleto Festival in May of 2011.

Leana Rutt holds the position of principal cellist of the Canadian Opera Company. After completing her studies at McGill University and the Juilliard School, she moved to Winnipeg and spent six years as the assistant principal cellist of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. Rutt has been a guest artist at the Ritornello Festival, Music by the Sea, Festival Pontiac Enchanté, Virtuosi Concerts, Kaimerata, and the Lunenburg Academy, and has mentored students of the National Academy Orchestra, the Lunenburg Academy, the Winnipeg Youth Symphony Orchestra, and Sistema Winnipeg.

 

CANTUS ANSAMBL

For two whole decades, contemporary music in Croatia, by both Croatian and international composers, has in most part been living through the activities of Cantus Ensemble that was founded with the purpose of exploring, discovering and presenting new and unexplored spheres of New Music.

cantusSoon after the leadership of Music Biennale Zagreb, led by Berislav Šipuš, founded the ensemble in 2001, it found its place and became an important, if not irreplaceable, participant in Croatian contemporary music scene. They have been the protagonists of national festival and cultural events and, since 2006, hosts of their own annual concert cycle. In 2008 they were the official ensemble of the ISCM World New Music Days in Vilnius, which increased the number of their future international appearances.

The important position of Cantus Ensemble inside Croatian and intrernational context can be observed through more than 130 first performances and more than 500 works performed, as well as over 40 international live performances (in most European countries, Mexico, Canada and China) and numerous renowned soloists and conductors they collaborated with. They have fostered their relationships with many outstanding ensembles for New Music and collaborated in international projects supported by the EYCS EU such as Re:New Music and New Music: New Audiences.

One of Cantus Ensemble's most important characteristics are live performances at leading contemporary music festivals, so it is no wonder they chose their live performances to be featured on their triple album, thus directing attention to the importance of capturing the moment in creating a contemporary piece. Long-term cooperation between ensembles Cantus and Icarus from Italy culminated at Music Biennale Zagreb in 2019 with a concert portrait of the Italian composer Ivan Fedele who wrote a new piece X-Tension II for a joint performance of these two ensembles on this occasion.

On the occasion of the ensemble's 20th anniversary, alongside their regular activities, Cantus Ensemble presented their "20 for 20" project - stunning audiovisual recordings of 20 selected pieces by Croatian composers performed by 20 members of the ensemble.

 

Berislav Šipuš 

Berislav Šipuš (Zagreb, 1958), composer and conductor, studied art history at the University of Zagreb, and composition at the Music Academy of the University of Zagreb in the class of Stanko Horvat (graduating in 1987). He continued further training under Gilbert Bosco in Udine, as well as under François Bernard Mâche and Iannis Xenakis at the UPIC Studio in Paris. He attended conducting courses held by Vladimir Kranjčević, Željko Brkanović and Krešimir Šipuš in Zagreb, as well as Milan Horvat at the Hochschule für Musik und darstellende Kunst in Graz.

berislavHe worked as an assistant-pianist at the Croatian National Theatre Ballet in Zagreb, and the Bermuda Civic Ballet. He taught theory at the Elly Bašić Music School in Zagreb, and held the posts of a producer at the Vatroslav Lisinski Concert Hall, and managing director of the Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra (2001-2005). Šipuš was a producer of the Music Biennale Zagreb (1987 and 1989), and he has been its artistic director from 1997 till 2011. From 2009 till 2012 he was the artistic director of the festival Osor Musical Evenings at the island of Cres, Croatia.

From 1989 untill 2001 he live din Milan, working at the Teatro alla Scala as a rehearsal coach, then orchestra conductor for ballet productions, as well as a pianist, rehearsal coach and conducting assistant in the opera. He is a full time professor at the Zagreb Academy of Music teaching Composition and the Analysis of New Music and, for the last 4 years, working as the Head of the First Department. In 2017 he was a guest professor at the Escuola Superior de Musica de Catalunya in Barcelona.

Šipuš is the founder and artistic director of the Cantus Ensemble since 2001; that ensemble and his art of conducting has led him through Croatia, Bulgaria, Albania, China, Canada, Austria, Turkey, France, United Kingdom, Chech Republic, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia, Mexico, Lithuania, Macedonia, Germany, Netherlands, Sweden and Italy, performing Croatian New Music, as well the wide international repertoire of the 20th Century music.

He received a number of prizes for his works: the University of Zagreb's Rector's Award in 1985, the "Seven Secretaries of SKOJ" award, the Udine International Contemporary Music Festival Prize, the "Josip Štolcer Slavenski" Award, the Croatian Composers Society award “Boris Papandopulo”, the Croatian Acadamy of Science  and Arts Award, and the State prize for the art, “Vladimir Nazor”.

In 2004 he was decorated Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of France, and in 2010 he was decorated by the President of the Republic of Croatia, for his achievement in culture. In 2013 he received, from the President of  the Italian Republic, the title of “Il Commendatore” and the medal of the “Star of Italy”. From 2012 till 2015 he was a Deputy Minister of Culture, and from 2015 till 2016 he was a Minster of Culture in the Government of Republic of Croatia.

 

St John, Mercer, Park Trio

Angela Park

Angela Park has established herself as one of Canada’s most sought-after pianists. Praised for her “stunningly beautiful pianism” (Grace Welsh Prize, Chicago), “beautiful tone and sensitivity” (American Record Guide), and for performing “with such brilliant clarity it took your breath away” (Chapala, Mexico), Angela’s versatility as both soloist and chamber musician has led to acclaimed performances across Canada, as well as in the United States, Europe, Japan, and Mexico. Angela has performed for such notable series as Montreal’s Pro Musica, Ottawa Chamberfest, Parry Sound’s Festival of the Sound, Interlochen Center for the Arts, Lyrica Baroque, Winnipeg Virtuosi, Debut Atlantic and Prairie Debut Tours, CBC Onstage, Orchestra London Canada, Sinfonia Toronto, Stratford Symphony, and the Northern Lights Music Festival in Mexico. She is a founding member of the award-winning Ensemble Made In Canada, the Mercer-Park Duo,  the Seiler Piano Trio, and the AYR Trio. Angela has recorded solo albums, as well as collaborative discs with cellist Rachel Mercer, oboist Linda Strommen, and Ensemble Made In Canada, for labels including NAXOS Canadian Classics, Centrediscs, and Enharmonic Records. In 2010 Angela earned her DMA in Performance from the Université de Montréal. From 2011-2014, Angela was Visiting Assistant Professor of Collaborative Piano-Woodwinds at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music. She is currently Artist-in-Residence with Ensemble Made In Canada and Assistant Professor of Piano at Western University. www.angelapark.com

Scott St. John

Violinist Scott St. John, from London Ontario, is known for his joyful style of music-making and inspiring chamber music coaching. Scott is ST JOHN MERCER PARK TRIOConcertmaster and Artistic Partner of the innovative ROCO Chamber Orchestra in Houston, Texas, and teaches Chamber Music at University of Toronto. He performs frequently with the St. John – Mercer – Park Piano Trio, and returns often to the summertime Marlboro Music Festival in Vermont. Recently Scott was appointed as “Chamber Music Artist-in-Residence” at Western University in London Ontario. Early violin success with teacher Richard Lawrence in London Ontario gave Scott a path to the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia and the chance to work with David Cerone, Arnold Steinhardt and Felix Galimir. After winning the Alexander Schneider Competition and playing a Carnegie Hall debut, NYC pulled Scott into its orbit, where Young Concert Artists gave him fabulous opportunities for performance. In addition to a magical year of working at the Disney Store in Times Square, Scott has been Associate Professor at the University of Toronto, and Artist-in-Residence at Stanford University as part of the St. Lawrence String Quartet. From 2018 to 2021 he was Director of Chamber Music at The Colburn School in Los Angeles. Scott has received an Avery Fisher Career Grant and won a Juno Award for recording Mozart with his sister Lara St. John. He founded the Felix Galimir Award for chamber music students at University of Toronto. Scott loves chamber music, Dvorak, new music, music by less-known composers, and a great espresso. He has been to all the Canadian provinces, 49 of the United States, and would prefer to travel by train when practical. He is married to violist Sharon Wei and they have a 11-year-old daughter named Julia. www.scottstjohn.com

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 currently Principal Cello of the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa and Artistic Director of the "5 at the First" Chamber Music Series in Hamilton. With a first love of chamber music, Rachel regularly collaborates with her longtime duo partner, pianist Angela Park, and was cellist of JUNO award-winning piano quartet Ensemble Made In Canada (2008-2020), the AYR Trio (2010-2020), and the Aviv Quartet (2002-2010). Rachel has given masterclasses across North America, South Africa and in Israel and has given talks on performance, careers and the music business. An advocate for new Canadian music, Rachel has commissioned and premiered works including cello concerti by Stewart Goodyear and Kevin Lau, as well as solo and chamber work by Vivian Fung, Andrew Downing, Alice Ho, Abigail Richardson-Schulte, John Burge and Jocelyn Morlock. Rachel can be heard on the Naxos, Naxos Canadian Classics, Centrediscs, Analekta, Atma, 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. Rachel plays a 17th century cello from Northern Italy. www.rachelmercercellist.com

Rachel @ www.rachelmercercellist.com

 

New Orford String Quartet

Four musicians with equally stellar pedigrees formed the New Orford String Quartet with the goal of developing a new model for a touring string quartet. Their concept – to bring four elite orchestral leaders and soloists together on a regular basis over many years to perform chamber music at the highest level – has resulted in a quartet that maintains a remarkably fresh perspective while bringing a palpable sense of joy to each performance. The Toronto Star has described this outcome as "nothing short of electrifying."

New Orford

The New Orford String Quartet has seen astonishing success, giving annual concerts for national CBC broadcast and receiving unanimous critical acclaim, including two Opus Awards for Concert of the Year, and a 2017 JUNO Award for Best Classical Album. Recent seasons have featured return engagements in Chicago, Montreal and Toronto, as well as their New York City debut on Lincoln Center's Great Performers series.

The original Orford String Quartet gave its first public concert in 1965, and became one of the best-known and most illustrious chamber music ensembles. After more than 2,000 concerts on six continents, the Orford String Quartet gave its last concert in 1991. Two decades later, in July 2009, the New Orford String Quartet took up this mantle, giving its first concert for a sold-out audience at the Orford Arts Centre. The New Orford has since gone on to perform concerts throughout North America and lead residencies at the University of Toronto, Schulich School of Music, Mount Royal University, and Syracuse University. In September 2017 the Quartet became Ensemble in Residence at the University of Toronto, and was recently named Artistic Directors of the Prince Edward County Music Festival, where they made their curatorial debut in September 2018.

In 2011, the Quartet recorded its debut album of the final quartets of Schubert and Beethoven, released by Bridge Records to international acclaim. The recording was hailed as one of the top CDs of 2011 by La Presse and CBC In Concert and nominated for a JUNO Award in 2012. Critics have described the recording as "…flawless… a match made in heaven!" (Classical Music Sentinel); "a performance of rare intensity" (Audiophile Audition); and "nothing short of electrifying… listen and weep." (The Toronto Star). Their follow-up album of the Brahms Op.51 Quartets was equally well-received, and received the 2017 JUNO for best chamber music album.

The New Orford is dedicated to promoting Canadian works, both new commissions and neglected repertoire from the previous century. New Orford String Quartet projects have included performances of major Canadian string quartets from the 20th century including works by Glenn Gould, Sir Ernest MacMillan, Jacques Hétu, R. Murray Schafer, and Claude Vivier, as well as commissions of new works from composers such as Francois Dompierre, Gary Kulesha, Airat Ichmouratov and Tim Brady. The Quartet thrives on exploring the rich chamber music repertoire; recent collaborations include those with pianists Marc-André Hamelin and Menahem Pressler.

The Quartet regularly tours in the major cities of North America, including Washington, D.C., Toronto, and Los Angeles; at the same time, the members feel strongly about bringing this music to areas that don't often hear it, and as a result perform frequently in remote rural locations and smaller Canadian communities. The New Orford String Quartet are Artists-in-Residence at Western University in London, ON.

 

Andrew Wan - Violin

andrew wanAndrew Wan was named concertmaster of the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal (OSM) in 2008. As soloist, he has performed worldwide under conductors such as Rafael Payare, Maxim Vengerov, Vasily Petrenko, Bernard Labadie, Carlo Rizzi, Peter Oundjian, Xian Zhang, Michael Stern and James DePreist, and has appeared in recitals with artists such as the Juilliard Quartet, Vadim Repin, Marc-André Hamelin, Daniil Trifonov, Menahem Pressler, Jörg Widmann, Emanuel Ax, James Ehnes, and Gil Shaham. His discography includes Grammy-nominated and Juno, Felix and Opus award-winning releases on the Onyx, Bridge, and Naxos labels with the Seattle Chamber Music Society, New York's Metropolis Ensemble, and the New Orford String Quartet. In the fall of 2015, he released a live recording of all three Saint-Saëns violin concerti with the OSM and Kent Nagano under the Analekta label to wide critical acclaim. His recent live album of works for violin and orchestra by Bernstein, Moussa and Ginastera with Nagano and the OSM won a 2021 Juno award for Classical Album of the Year – Large Ensemble. He enjoys a close collaborative relationship with Charles Richard-Hamelin, with whom he has recorded the entire Beethoven piano and violin sonata cycle. Mr. Wan graduated from The Juilliard School with a Bachelor of Music, Master of Music and Artist Diploma degrees, is currently Artistic Director of the Prince Edward County Chamber Music Festival and for the 2017-18 season was Artistic Partner of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra. Associate Professor of Violin at the Schulich School of Music at McGill University, he was the recipient of the Part-Time Teaching Award at the Schulich School in 2019.He has sat as guest concertmaster for the Pittsburgh, Houston, Indianapolis, National Arts Centre, Toronto and Vancouver Symphony orchestras.

Andrew Wan performs on a 1744 Michel'Angelo Bergonzi violin, and gratefully acknowledges its loan from the David Sela Collection. He also enjoys the use of an 1860 Dominique Peccatte bow from Canimex.

Photo by Elizabeth Delage

 

Jonathan Crow - Violin

jonathan crowJonathan Crow has been Concertmaster of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra since 2011. A native of Prince George, British Columbia, Jonathan earned his Bachelor of Music in Honours Performance from McGill University in 1998, at which time he joined the Montreal Symphony Orchestra as Associate Principal Second Violin. Between 2002 and 2006 Jonathan was the Concertmaster of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra; during this time he was the youngest concertmaster of any major North American orchestra. Jonathan continues to perform as guest concertmaster with orchestras around the world, including the National Arts Centre Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony, Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Filarmonia de Lanaudiere and Pernambuco Festival Orchestra (Brazil). Jonathan has also performed as a soloist with most major Canadian orchestras including the Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver Symphony Orchestras, the National Arts Centre and Calgary Philharmonic Orchestras, the Victoria, Nova Scotia and Kingston Symphonies, and Orchestra London, under the baton of such conductors as Charles Dutoit, Sir Yehudi Menuhin, Sir Andrew Davis, Peter Oundjian, Kent Nagano, Mario Bernardi and João Carlos Martins.

Jonathan joined the Schulich School of Music at McGill University as an Assistant Professor of Violin and was appointed Associate Professor of Violin in 2010. Current and former students of Mr. Crow have received prizes at competitions around the world, including the Menuhin International Violin Competition, Montreal Symphony Orchestra Competition, Shean Competition, CBC Radio's NEXT competition, Eckhardt-Grammatte Competition, Canadian Music Competition, and Stulberg International String Competition, and work regularly with orchestras such as the National Arts Centre Orchestra, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Montreal Symphony Orchestra, Camerata Salzburg, Konzerthausorchester Berlin, Verbier Chamber Orchestra, Vienna Kammerphilharmonie and Vienna Symphony Orchestra. Jonathan is currently Associate Professor of Violin at the University of Toronto.

In 2016 Jonathan was named Artistic Director of Toronto Summer Music, which recently announced record attendance in his first full season. An avid chamber musician, he has performed at chamber music festivals throughout North America, South America and Europe including the Banff, Ravinia, Orford, Domaine Forget, Seattle, Montreal, Ottawa, Incontri in Terra di Sienna, Alpenglow, Festival Vancouver, Pernambuco (Brazil), Giverny (France) and Strings in the Mountains festivals. He is a founding member of the Juno Award-winning New Orford String Quartet, a project-based new ensemble dedicated to the promotion of standard and Canadian string quartet repertoire throughout North America. As an advocate of contemporary music he has premiered works by Canadian composers Michael Conway Baker, Eldon Rathburn, Barrie Cabena, Gary Kulesha, Tim Brady, Francois Dompierre, Ana Sokolovic, Marjan Mozetich, Christos Hatzis, Ernest MacMillan and Healey Willan. He also includes in his repertoire major concerti by such modern composers as Ligeti, Schnittke, Bernstein, Brian Cherney, Rodney Sharman, Vivian Fung and Cameron Wilson.

Jonathan has recorded for ATMA, Bridge, CBC, Oxingale, Skylark, and XXI-21 labels and is heard frequently on Chaîne Culturelle of Radio-Canada, CBC Radio Two, and National Public Radio, along with Radio France, Deutsche Welle, Hessischer Rundfunk and the RAI in Europe.

Photo by Bo Huang

 

Sharon Wei - Viola

sharon weiCanadian violist Sharon Wei is a dynamic and multi-faceted musician, establishing herself as one of the most respected violists on the scene today. She has appeared as concerto soloist with orchestras such as Symphony of the Redwoods, Kingston Symphony, Sinfonia Toronto, Orchestra of Southern Utah, San Francisco Chamber Orchestra and Connecticut Valley Chamber Orchestra and in 2022 premieres Richard Mascall’s “Ziigwan” viola concerto with the London Symphonia. She has performed recital tours with pianist Angela Park under the auspices of Debut Atlantic and Prairie Debut.

As a chamber musician, she regularly takes part at international festivals such as Verbier, Marlboro, Prussia Cove, Banff, Seattle and Ravinia. Sharon has performed with renowned musicians including James Ehnes, Lynn Harrell, Peter Wiley, Gary Hoffman, Claude Frank, Joseph Silverstein, James Campbell, and the Amernet, New Orford and St. Lawrence String Quartets. Sharon co-founded Ensemble Made in Canada in 2006. Their Mosaïque Project won a 2021 JUNO for Classical Album of the Year and toured to every province and territory in Canada in both traditional venues and eclectic ones such as the seabed of Hopewell Rocks at low tide.

Sharon has been guest principal violist of the Cincinnati Symphony, Canadian Opera Company, and Ensemble Matheus in Paris. Recently she was a guest violist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic on their 2021 Grammy recording of Ives Symphonies. 

Sharon was on faculty at Yale and Stanford University and is currently Associate Professor of viola at Western University.  She has given masterclasses at the American Viola Society Festival, Beijing Conservatory and universities across Canada. In summers she is a regular faculty violist at Curtis Summerfest, Scotia Festival, Tuckamore Festival, and Orford Academy. At Western Sharon has created a course for performance majors in which students learn off-stage initiatives such as networking, grant writing, website design, and managing finances. Sharon won the viola prize at Yale University and has been the recipient of grants through the Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, FACTOR and Western University.

 

Brian Manker - Cello

brian mankerPrincipal Cellist of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra (OSM) since 1999, Brian Manker enjoys a diverse and varied musical career as a performer and teacher. In addition to being a frequent concerto soloist with the OSM, and his work with the New Orford String Quartet, Mr. Manker is a member of the Adorno Quartet.

Mr. Manker has performed throughout North America as a member of the Harrington String Quartet, the Cassatt Quartet, and the Atlanta Chamber Players, and performed chamber music with many distinguished artists including Walter Trampler, Laurence Lesser, Gary Graffman, Lee Luvisi and Jean- Philippe Collard. A Grand Prize winner as a member of the Harrington Quartet at the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, Mr. Manker also received a special commendation from Sir Yehudi Menuhin at the Portsmouth International String Quartet Competition.

Formerly the co-director of Festival Alexandria (Ontario), Mr. Manker has participated in many music festivals, including Norfolk, Blossom, Chamber Music East, Roundtop, Swannanoa, the Ottawa Chamber Music Festival, masterclasses at Orford, Domaine Forget, and at the Canton International Summer Music Academy in China. He has performed for radio, television, and internet broadcasts on the CBC, WFMT Chicago, and WQXR New York, and can be heard on his 2010 recording of the complete Bach Cello Suites on STORKCLASSICS, as well as numerous recordings of chamber music and of course with the OSM. Mr. Manker served on the jury of the prestigious and historic Prague Spring International Cello Competition in 2006.

Currently on the faculty of the Schulich School of Music of McGill University, Mr. Manker has also taught at West Texas State and Emory Universities. In 2007, Mr. Manker launched the Beethoven Project, which aims to perform all the quartets of Beethoven in their proper context, the private salon. As a companion to this project, Mr. Manker maintains a blog at http://bquartets.blogspot.com/. He also enjoys a critically acclaimed sonata recital partnership with the pianist André Laplante. Brian Manker plays on a cello made by Pietro Guarneri of Venice in 1729, and a bow by François Pecatte loaned by Canimex.

Photo by Sian Richards