Canadian pianist André Laplante has firmly established himself as one of the great romantic virtuosos. He garnered international attention after winning prizes at the Geneva and Sydney International Piano Competitions, then capturing the silver medal at the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow . Critics have compared him with Ashkenazy, Horowitz and Rudolph Serkin, placing him in the elite circle of virtuoso pianists who do not hesitate to take risks.
Laplante appears as orchestral soloist worldwide, and recently played with the Montréal and Chicago Symphony Orchestras, the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra at Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center, the Minnesota Orchestra conducted by Sir Neville Mariner, and on tour in Europe with the Toronto Symphony under Andrew Davis. In 2005, Mr. Laplante was honored to be named an Officer of the Order of Canada.
Praised for “chiming the most resonantly with the ideals of perfect quartet playing” (Calgary Herald), the Rolston String Quartet won First Prize at the 12th Banff International String Quartet Competition and is a winner of the 2016 Astral Artists National Auditions. They have also won First Prize at the 31st Chamber Music Yellow Springs Competition, Third Prize at the inaugural M-Prize Competition, and the Durosoir Prize at the 2016 Bordeaux International String Quartet Competition. Performances have taken them throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe in venues such as the Kennedy Center, Harris Hall, Koerner Hall, and the Auditorium de Bordeaux. Notable collaborations include performances with renowned artists Andrés Díaz, Gil Kalish, Mark Morris, Donald Palma, Jon Kimura Parker, and Miguel da Silva. Additionally they have worked closely with composers John Luther Adams and Brian Current.
Juno-award winners Nancy Dahn and Timothy Steeves are Canada’s premiere violin and piano duo. Their name, Duo Concertante, defines their artistic relationship – two performers as equal and dynamic voices. Together they have built an international career through outstanding performances in hundreds of recitals across North America, Europe, and China. They have released seven widely-acclaimed recordings, ranging from Bach to JUNO-award-winning Canadian repertoire and are recognized across the country for their outstanding work as musicians and educators. They recently received the designation of University Research Professors and were elected to the College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists Royal Society of Canada in November 2016. Professors Dahn and Steeves are currently on faculty at Memorial University of Newfoundland and serve as co-artistic directors of the Tuckamore Festival.
Scott St. John was a member of the St. Lawrence String Quartet and faculty member at Stanford University from 2006 – 2013. He recently won a Juno Award for his recording of Mozart’s Symphonia Concertante with his sister Lara St. John. Currently he coaches chamber music at Western University, plays chamber music at the Marlboro Music Festival (Vermont), and plays concertmaster of the ROCO Chamber Orchestra in Houston. Scott is a partner in the new Rebelheart Collective at Aeolian Hall, an innovative chamber orchestra and youth mentorship program connected with El Sistema.
Currently a professor of viola at Western University, Sharon Wei completed her studies at prestigious Curtis Institute of Music and Yale University. She has won awards from the Washington International Competition for Strings, Sinfonia Toronto’s International Concerto Competition, Elora Festival Competition and the grand prize at the London Music Foundation Competition. Sharon was nominated by Yale for the 2006 Harvard Musical Association Prize and was the recipient of a 2006 Rising Star Galaxie Award.
Christopher Hall is the former principal clarinet of the Orchestre Métropolitain de Montréal (Yannick Nézet-Seguin) who found work in the orchestra far too serious! So now, instead of joking around while sitting in the orchestra, he performs as a stand up comedian, and does various television and radio shows in both English and French. Claude Gingras of La Presse recently wrote: “The audience of 1300 laughed uproariously all evening. And the most surprising thing was that at the end of the program, Hall played the entire Mozart clarinet concerto like a first-rate soloist.”
Julia Halfyard has delighted audiences across Canada, in theatres, concert halls and cabarets, with music ranging from classical to contemporary, and in contexts from the ridiculous to the sublime. Her ever-popular solo show has played numerous engagements to rave reviews and her recent starring role performance in Sweeney Todd with Opera on the Avalon received great acclaim. She has worked with a variety of theatre companies throughout Canada including The Sunshine Festival, The Charlottetown Festival, Spirit of Newfoundland, TaDa Events, Stephenville Festival, Artistic Fraud, Atlantic Light Theatre, and also with the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra.
An artist equally at home in concert, opera and music theatre repertoire, soprano Caroline Schiller has performed at The Banff Centre, The Tanglewood Music Center, The Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival, The Dartington International Institute, and The Indian River Festival. Of her concert and theatre work, highlights include performances with L’Orchestre symphonique de Montréal; the American premiere of Alexander Goehr’s Sing Ariel with the Boston Symphony Chamber Players, and her performances in the role of Christine in the original Toronto cast of Phantom of the Opera. She has recently released the CD Voyage to Canada a recording of Canadian art song (Centrediscs). Dedicated to the training of young singers, she is Professor of Voice and Director of Opera at Memorial University of Newfoundland, one of the founding faculty members of the MUN Song Academy, frequent recitalist, adjudicator and clinician internationally.
A native of Winnipeg, cellist Vernon Regehr is an active recitalist, chamber and orchestral musician, conductor and teacher. Regehr has collaborated with the Shanghai, Afiara, Fitzwilliam and Lafayette string quartets, Andrew Burashko, Suzie Leblanc, and Leon Fleisher. He is a founding member of the Spectrolite Ensemble, a clarinet trio with Sean Rice and Patrick Cashin, set to release their first album in the fall. Full Spectrum, his first solo record recently released on the Centrediscs label, features previously unrecorded Canadian works for unaccompanied cello written in the past decade. Lamentations, by Clark Ross, was awarded the 2014 ECMA for Composition of the Year. He is currently on faculty at Memorial University School of Music where he teaches cello, bass and conducts the chamber orchestra.
Composer Andrew Staniland has firmly established himself as one of Canada’s most important and innovative musical voices. His music is regularly heard on CBC Radio 2 and has been performed and broadcast internationally in over 35 countries. As a leading composer of his generation, he has been recognized by election to the Inaugural Cohort of the College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists Royal Society of Canada in 2014. Andrew is the lead composer/educator with the Gryphon Trio’s Listen Up! education initiative, created and produced in collaboration with the Gryphon Trio and music educator Rob Kapilow. Andrew also performs himself, both as a guitarist and working with new media (computers and electronics). Andrew is currently on faculty at Memorial University of Newfoundland.