Belle Canto Women’s Choir
Edmonton’s Belle Canto Women’s Choir, founded in 1991 by conductor Heather Johnson, is regarded as one of Canada’s leading women’s choral ensembles. Originally a group of university students, the choir now consists of amateur singers from all walks of life. The women of the choir are committed to performing music specifically written for treble voices and they share a common interest in performing this music at the highest professional standards.
The choir is particularly well-known for their adventurous programming, their stunning ability to sing in a wide variety of languages, and their full use of the women’s vocal palette. Their two CD recordings – Sing! (2010) and Invocation (2006) – feature many of the works by Eastern European and Scandinavian composers that form the core of the choir’s repertoire. Much of this music has seldom been recorded or performed by choirs in North America, and it has been our sincere pleasure to share these works with our audiences.
Since its inception, Belle Canto has established a reputation rich in awards and national and international appearances. The choir has been invited to perform in numerous international choral competitions and festivals including the Seghizzi International Choral Competition (2nd place, Gorizia, Italy, 2010), the Cork International Choral Festival (2nd place, Cork, Ireland, 2007) and the 3rd Annual International Choral Olympics (2nd place, Bremen, Germany, 2003). Multiple first place awards in the biennial ACCC (formerly CBC) National Choral Competition Amateur Choirs have further solidified the choir’s place as a leader in the world of women’s voices.
Concerto Della Donna
Concerto Della Donna is a dynamic group of young singers based in Montreal. Its repertoire is drawn from both secular and liturgical sources, including madrigals, motets, Romantic lieder, spirituals, and avant-garde works. There is a strong emphasis on Canadian compositions and works by female composers. The ensemble's goal is to produce vibrant performances of both serious and light-hearted repertoire, while demonstrating the strength and beauty of young women’s voices through technical precision and emotional depth.
During the past eleven years their emotionally-driven and highly communicative performances have captivated audiences at home and abroad. The ensemble has gained recognition in the CBC Competition for Amateur Choirs, winning the category for the Best Performance of a Canadian Work in 2002, gaining 1st and 2nd place in the Contemporary and Women's Equal Voice categories respectively in 2004 and placing 2nd in both the Equal-voice female category and the Contemporary category in 2010. Internationally, the ensemble placed in the top three of each category in which they competed at the International Musical Eisteddfod in Llangollen, Wales in 2002. In addition to recording four albums, Concerto Della Donna, Sisters, Concerto Della Donna LIVE and Parlez-moi (released in October 2011), CDD has collaborated with many renowned organizations, including the European Broadcasting Union, the CBC, Radio Canada, the McGill Chamber Orchestra, the Montréal Symphony Orchestra under Maestros Charles Dutoit and Kent Nagano, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the St. Lawrence Choir, Choeur des enfants de Montréal, as well as several local community organizations. In 2008, CDD had the honor of participating in the Montréal premiere of Oratorio Terezin by Canadian composer Ruth Fazal. In June 2009, CDD toured Croatia and Serbia and the final concert was a performance at the Cantemus Festival in Zrenjanin. In 2010-11 the Choir celebrated it’s tenth anniversary season, participating in several memorable events including a concert of original jazz compositions and arrangements by Joel Miller. This concert, recorded by the CBC , also featured Joel Miller’s jazz group Mandela. In May 2011, in collaboration with the ‘Repurcussion’, the ensemble presented a program of music for women’s choir and percussion. Our season ended with guest appearances at Festival Classica in St. Lambert and at Choral Mondial in Laval. At Choral Mondial Concerto Della Donna, in collaboration with the Toronto’s Victoria Scholars, performed Victoria’s Requiem (1605) to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the composer’s death. During this past season, the choir has given numerous concerts in the Montreal area, in Bobcaygeon (Ontario) and Ottawa. In June, 2012, a new 25 minute work for women’s choir, solo violin and cello, narrators and dancers by Marie-Claire Saindon (a current member of the ensemble) will be premiered in Montreal. The event reflects the willingness of the ensemble to perform new compositions by young Canadian composers.
Elmer Iseler Singers
Based in Toronto, the Elmer Iseler Singers is considered to be Canada's foremost professional chamber choir with an enviable international reputation since its debut performance in 1979. Now conducted by Dr. Lydia Adams, the group was founded by and nurtured under the direction of the late Dr. Elmer Iseler, the "Dean of Canadian Choral Conductors."
The Elmer Iseler Singers organization is celebrating its 33rd season in 2011-2012. This 20-voice, fully professional choir has performed throughout Canada and the United States as well as internationally. With repertoire that spans 500 years of choral music, the Elmer Iseler Singers are known for their beauty of tone and wide interpretive range. The choir regularly commissions and performs new works, and is frequently involved in radio and television broadcasts and a variety of recording projects. The Elmer Iseler Singers have appeared at several national and international festivals, including the Canada in Holland Festival, the Joy of Singing International Choral Festival in Toronto, Festival 500 in Newfoundland, International Choral Kathaumixwin British Columbia, Colours of Music Fall Festival in Barrie, Chamberfest in Ottawa, the Festival of the Sound in Parry Sound, the Sixth World Symposium on Choral Music in Minneapolis, the Toronto International Bach Festival. In March of 2007, the choir appeared at the American Choral Directors Association National Conference in Miami, USA representing Canada and 8 Canadian composers in 3 showcases for 5,000 international delegates.
The Singers are highly valued for their contributions to master classes and workshops for schools and community choirs. For 10 years from 1997 to 2007 the Elmer Iseler Singers was the professional Choir-In-Residence at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Music, through the Elmer Iseler Chair in Conducting under the baton of Dr. Doreen Rao. Currently the Elmer Iseler Singers GET MUSIC!Educational Outreach Initiative in Memory of John C. Bird involves secondary schools and the local school boards as participants. It expands on the history of the Elmer Iseler Singers workshops with the expertise, unique approach and dedication of the now vibrant and inspiring Lydia Adams - clinician/conductor of GET MUSIC! together with the high digital recording hands-on student mentorship of professional recording engineers.
The Legacy of the Elmer Iseler Singers has set standards for all choirs. For 33 years the organization has been a leader, in Canada and internationally, of excellence in choral singing, in creation and performance of new works and has led the way in touring, broadcasting, recording and performing throughout the small and large centers of Ontario, Canada and U.S. They believe passionately that when they bring a programme to audiences in different regions, they will touch their lives in a meaningful way.
The Elmer Iseler Singers has recorded extensively and has had a profound impact on the international artistic field, with a discography of over 50 recordings. This has been the backbone of repertoire development for conductors and choirs throughout Ontario, Canada and worldwide.
Currently the choir self presents a 5-concert series in Toronto, mounts 40-60 other engagements annually through collaborations, networking and cross-promoting with Toronto, regional and national arts groups.
Hamilton Children’s Choir
If you’ve ever experienced a performance by the Hamilton Children’s Choir, you already know why they have a reputation for being one of the leading children’s choral programs. Going far beyond technical excellence, the choir consistently dazzles audiences with its focused sound, brilliant repertoire, and captivating stage presence. Guided by world-renowned artistic director Zimfira Poloz, you’d expect nothing less. Her character and passion shine through in the children’s performances; she and along with a talented Artistic Team serve not only as musical leaders, but also as wonderful and positive role models for the choristers.
Celebrating 35 years of choral singing, the Hamilton Children’s Choir has grown to include five choral groups and approximately 150 young singers aged four to 24. Offering the experience of musical training, vocal instruction, and world-class performances, HCC offers an unmatched opportunity for personal growth, challenging work, and rewarding experiences!
One of the highlights of the choir’s program is touring and performing, whether locally, nationally and internationally. From British Columbia to Newfoundland, and throughout Europe, the HCC has participated in numerous choral events & competitions over that past five years such as Festival 500 in St. John’s, Newfoundland (2005); and travelled to Spain where they won the ‘Audience Choice’ Award and 2nd Prize at the Tolosa Choral Competition (2006); they also won 1st place at the CBC National Radio Choral Competition for Amateur Choirs in the Children’s Category & for Best Canadian Performance by Youth (2008); and were awarded the Cantabile Grand Prize Award at CBC National Radio Gala Competition in Montreal, Quebec (2008). In addition, they participated in the Songbridge Choral Festival in Szczecin, Poland (2008); toured in Sweden as participants in the “Let the Future Sing” 70th Choral Festival; were the Grand Prize Winners of the Loto-Quebec World Choral Singing Competition in Montreal, Quebec (2009); and most recently earned 1st place via satellite from Glenn Gould Studio in the “Let the People Sing” Euroradio Choral Competition – Children’s Category (2009) staged by the European Broadcasting Union in Oslo, Norway.
As guest performers and members of a thriving local arts community, the HCC has enjoyed performing with the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra, the Hamilton Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, the Bach Elgar Choir, the Toronto Northern Lights, Chorus Niagara, the High Park Choirs and the Canadian Male Orpheus Male Choir .The HCC has also performed at the Choirs & Organ Concert at Roy Thomson Hall, with Celine Dion at the Juno Awards at Hamilton Place, enjoyed special performances at the Haida Celebration, Ontario Sings and at Hamilton TiCats games. Most recently the HCC performed with Metric, a popular Indie Rock Band, on CBC’s The HOUR 2009 Holiday Special with George Stroumboulopoulus.
The Hamilton Children's Choir has gathered children and youth together in song, enriching their lives and the lives of those touched by their magnificent music-making. Their gift of song lives on through their CDs, Listen and Brilliant being the two most recent, and the newly released 35th Anniversary CD!
High Park Choirs of Toronto
Not only is 2011/2012 the 25th anniversary of High Park Choirs, but it is also a celebration of Zimfira Poloz’s 10 years with the choirs. Founded as a girls choir in 1986 by Ann Cooper Gay, the choir quickly won provincial and national recognition for its unique sound and varied repertoire and by the time it welcomed boys in the early 90’s, it had firmly established itself as one of Toronto’s leading children’s choirs. With a mandate to introduce youngsters to the enriching benefits of choral music, it also extended a hand to the multi-cultural communities surrounding them, with students from 71 schools across the Greater Toronto Area being accepted as members. High Park Choirs has become renowned for constantly promoting a cultural harmony of inspiring vocal music, expanding on its international repertoire and highlighting Canadian composers. High Park Choirs made its symphonic debut with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra in 1994 and in 2005, was appointed the Children’s Choir in Residence at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Music, a position which it still is privileged to hold.
Rooted in the belief that everyone has a natural ability to sing, High Park Choirs provides a unique approach to musical training for young people. Through innovative techniques to harness breath flow, the use of vowels to focus vocal production, and style-specific movement, singers learn to use the whole body to produce a sound that is rich, clear and flexible. Singing music from classical and world cultures, encouraging improvisation and providing a foundation in music theory, the Choir builds self-esteem and confidence in an atmosphere of encouragement and fun. We are singers on a journey, exploring the boundaries of sound to find and share the inherent joy in all music.
L’Ensemble vocal Ganymède
The Ensemble Vocal Ganymède is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. Created in 1991 by Yvan Sabourin, its current music director, the choir's mission is to present the classical male-voice repertoire and to better raise awareness of this music. The Ensemble comes from the gay community and wishes to provide an image of openness and respect.
During these 20 years, Ganymède has distinguished itself by participating in numerous cultural events including the parade on St. Jean-Baptiste (1992) and several vigils in memory of those who have died of AIDS. On two occasions, Ganymède has hosted prestigious choral gatherings: the Choralies du Rallye des Arts du Centre-Sud de Montréal (1996) and thet Gala Choruses (2004), the largest cultural event in the gay world. In 2007, the Choir flew to France and gave concerts in Paris, Lyon and Vai-Sound-la-Romaine. In 2009, the choir was welcomed by the Maine Gay Men's Chorus in Portland for a joint concert.
L’Ensemble has featured on the mainstream musical scene by participating in several competitions: the Festival Choral de Montréal (Special Jury Prize, 1994, First Prize in the category “Advanced Choirs” in 1995 and 1997), the National Music Festival (official representatives of Québec on the jury’s rec-ommendation of the Festival Choral de Montréal, 1997), the Festival International du Chant Choral de Trois-Rivières (finalist, 1997; invited choir, 1998) and Podium, 1996 et 2002 editions. In 2006, Ganymède won the gold medal at the Festival of Choirs section of the Outgames in Montréal. In the summer of 2010, Ganymède was selected to compete in the International Choral Festival of Neuchâtel, Switzerland, where they received the special award for diversity to highlight their efforts in integrating minorities.
The Choir has made three recordings: one for Disques A Tempo (best recording from this record label, 1995), and two for ATMA (1996 and another in 2011)
L’Ensemble vocal Sainte-Anne Singers
The Sainte-Anne Singers is a chamber ensemble founded in 1987 in Sainte-Anne de Bellevue, Quebec, with the aim of exploring a wide range of a cappella repertoire. They are three-time winners of the former Montreal Choral Festival and have previously reached the quarter- and semi-finals of the CBC Radio Competition for Amateur Choirs. In May 2010, the group was awarded second place in the chamber choir category of the National Competition for Canadian Amateur Choirs.
Their eclectic repertoire ranges from pop, jazz and folk, to Renaissance and contemporary choral music, with an emphasis on Canadian composers and arrangers. Performances by quartets and quintets within the group further add to the diversity of styles and repertoire which have become the group's hallmark.
The Sainte-Anne Singers are known for their Christmas performances at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts as well as several classical collaborations with the Montreal Chamber Orchestra, including a presentation in 2003 of Fauré’s “Requiem” on Vermont Public Television in a concert commemorating the events of September 11, 2001. The ensemble has also performed numerous times at the Mondial choral de Laval and the Festival choral de musique religieuse in Montreal.
The Sainte-Anne Singers are delighted to mark their 25th year by performing at Podium.
The University of Toronto MacMillan Singers
The MacMillan Singers is the University of Toronto Faculty of Music’s premier auditioned choral ensemble. Founded by Doreen Rao in 1994 to honour the legacy of Sir Ernest MacMillan, the chorus has a history of advocating for Canadian choral repertoire. In addition, they have participated in the Toronto Bach Festival and sung major works with the Toronto Symphony, the most recent performance being in April 2010, when they sang the Bach B minor Mass with the TSO and Maestro Helmut Rilling. They have been winners in the CBC Choral Competition and in February 2010, were invited performers at the Eastern Division conference of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) in Philadelphia. Under the leadership of Hilary Apfelstadt, Director of Choral Activities since September 2010, the MacMillan Singers strive to develop lifelong musical skills and to explore a range of literature that challenges and enhances their musicianship, as well as to engage in partnerships with school and community ensembles. Their accompanist is Christopher Dawes, who also plays for the Toronto Children’s Chorus.
In the collaborative spirit of the Association of Canadian Choral Communities, singers from thirteen choirs of the National Capital region join forces to bring you Paul Winter’s “Missa Gaia”.
The “Missa Gaia” or “Earth Mass” was commissioned for performance at the Cathedral of St. John the Devine in New York City. Each year on the feast of St. Francis of Assisi animals are welcomed into the church for a blessing while this glorious work is performed.
This sometimes ethereal sometimes gospel mass brings together piano, organ, saxophone, oboe, bass, guitar and percussions with choirs and soloist. The Ottawa Children’s Choir will join in this performance as well as Julie Nesrallah, mezzo-soprano and host of CBC’s Tempo.
In the first half of the concert you will hear three of Ottawa’s best youth choirs. The Canterbury High School, École secondaire De La Salle and the Cantiamo Girls’ Choir combine forces to perform exciting upper voice repertoire. Join us for this exciting evening presenting the Ottawa choral community at its best.
National Youth Choir
The National Youth Choir of Canada, brings together some of Canada's finest young singers from across the country to work with some of Canada's outstanding choral leaders. A project of the Association of Canadian Choral Communities, the National Youth Choir encourages national understanding, excellence and cooperation through singing. Ranging in age from 18 to 25 years, these singers represent the kind of dedication, talent and passion that inspires. Every second year, up to four young people from each province and territory are accepted to this prestigious ensemble. Together they form a choir of professional calibre and vivacious enthusiasm that leaves audiences breathless.
This year the choir members of the National Youth Choir will spend ten memorable days together under the inspired leadership of internationally renowned conductor Ivars Taurins, founder and director of the Tafelmusik Chamber Choir since and Principal Baroque Conductor of the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra. They will rehearse on the beautiful campus of the University of Ottawa before embarking on a tour of Ontario and Quebec which will conclude in Ottawa, May 18, 2012 for the final performance at Podium 2012. Hear the future sing!
Ottawa Bach Choir
The Ottawa Bach Choir (OBC), founded in 2002 by Dr. Lisette Canton, offers audiences a wide range of choral music of the finest quality, performing music from all historical periods while keeping Bach's choral oeuvre as the focus of its repertoire. Through a combination of both a scholarly and emotional approach to choral music, the ensemble expands all aspects of the artistic spectrum. Joining some of Canada’s most accomplished artists and top choristers from the National Capital region and beyond, the professional choir has received national and international recognition.
Moving into its 10th season, the Ottawa Bach Choir performs a large subscription concert series in Ottawa and travels extensively in Canada and abroad. Performances in 2010-11 included a tour to New York City, highlighting critically acclaimed debut performances at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, the Arts at the Park concert series and the Consulate General of France in New York. The Choir also received its third invitation to sing at Roy Thomson Hall in the Choir and Organ Series, at Redpath Hall in Montreal, and in the Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival and Music and Beyond Festival in Ottawa. In 2008-09, performances included the Festival Música Santa Fe concert series in Mexico City, the Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival and a third tour to Europe, performing for the third time at Bach’s church, the Thomaskirche, in Lepizig, as well as at St. Paul’s Cathedral and the Foundling Museum in London, Cathédrale Notre-Dame, Église de la Madeleine and The American Church in Paris. Past appearances have included concerts at the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City, Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto, the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, Podium 2008 – the biannual conference of the Association of Canadian Choral Communities (ACCC) in New Brunswick, the Montreal Bach Festival, Montreal Chamber Music Festival and Festival de musique classique des Hautes-Laurentides in Quebec and Musique Saint-Bernard in Nova Scotia. It is the first Canadian choir that was invited to perform and take over the duties of the Thomanerchor in May 2005 at the Thomaskirche, in Leipzig, and again in 2007. The choir has also performed in Bayreuth, Prague, Salzburg, Stuttgart and Vienna.
In addition to its successful performances of all of Bach’s major works, the Choir has sung several works from the Baroque period by Buxtehude, Charpentier, Handel, Monteverdi, Purcell, Schütz, Telemann and others, as well as motets of the Renaissance, Romantic and Contemporary periods and French choral music.
The OBC has been broadcast nationwide on CBC Radio 1 and Radio 2, as well as on Radio-Canada, and has recorded four compact discs. Jesu, meine Freude, recorded in 2008, includes music by Bach with Canadian soloists Daniel Taylor, Agnes Zsigovics, Benjamin Butterfield and Daniel Lichti, and has received critical acclaim. In 2005, Festival Baroque, and A Christmas Story received four-star reviews in the Ottawa Citizen and were listed among the top recordings in 2005. The OBC has recorded its fifth CD, which includes some of its best-loved music from the Baroque period and beyond, due for release 2011-12. The choir’s most recent broadcasts have been heard across the nation on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s (CBC) Choral Concert and Tempo, and on Soirées Classiques on Radio-Canada’s Espace musique.
Quintessential Vocal Ensemble
For the past 19 years, the Quintessential Vocal Ensemble (QVE) has combined an exceptional standard of performance and a love of the choral art as one of Canada’s most distinguished amateur choirs. QVE brings together some 40 singers from the thriving choral community of St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, representing a range of trained and untrained voices, instrumentalists, music teachers, students, and professionals of diverse backgrounds. QVE is known especially for its a cappella repertoire of many styles and periods.
QVE is a three-time recipient of 1st Prize for mixed community choirs in the National Competition for Canadian Amateur Choirs. Overseas, QVE was the first Canadian choir to win the mixed choir category of the Llangollen International Eisteddfod in Wales, and the first Canadian choir to compete at the Florilège Vocal de Tours in France, where it won the Renaissance category and Prix du Ministère de la Culture; and was awarded 2nd Prize at the Cork International Choral Festival in Ireland.
The choir received accolades for its performance at ACCC’s Podium ’98 conference in Halifax, and in many appearances at Festival 500: Sharing the Voices, Newfoundland and Labrador’s own acclaimed international choral exhibition, including a performance for Queen Elizabeth II at the inaugural opening ceremonies. QVE has recorded three CDs: Ave Maris Stella, A Quintessential Christmas, and most recently, and if you close your eyes.
QVE’s emphasis on choral education includes engagement with younger singers through initiatives such as school workshops, and QVE’s annual bursary program. The choir is committed to promoting the province’s culture and choral singing through recurring performances in smaller communities around the province, as well as touring abroad, and commissioning of new work by Newfoundland and Labrador composers.
Siren – University of Guelph Women’s Chamber Choir
Siren is a diverse group of women from the University of Guelph community. The choir was founded by a student and often provides a teaching forum for young conductors. The choir has toured the Northeastern United States, recorded CDs, and regularly performs at community events. In the fall of 2004, Siren was featured at the National Conference of the Voice of Women for Peace and the Canadian Peace Alliance in Toronto. The choir won third place from 78 entries across Canada in the Contemporary category of the CBC Radio Amateur Choir Competition in 2006. Our repertoire, which includes chant to avant-garde, vocal jazz, world music, and Renaissance polyphony, tends to reflect our mutual interest in social justice and peace. We commissioned Sparrow by Leonard Enns in 2005. In 2008 and 2011, Siren performed at the Winter Conducting Symposium of the Ontario Vocal Festival, and acted as the ‘lab’ choir for Dr. Mark Sirett (2008).
Conductor, Dr. Marta McCarthy, directs the University of Guelph Symphonic Choir, Chamber Singers, Men’s Choir and Women’s Chamber Choir (Siren), in addition to an improvising vocal ensemble. The two chamber choirs perform at national events such as Podium (2002), University Voices (2002-2010), Festival 500 (2005) in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Kathaumixw International Choral Festival in Powell River, British Columbia (2006), and the Elora Festival (2006).
St. Michael’s Choir School
St. Michael’s Choir School was founded in 1937 by Monsignor John Edward Ronan to facilitate the education and training of a boys’ choir for St. Michael’s Cathedral. Providing service through sacred music remains at the heart of the Choir School’s mission, guiding and shaping all of its activities. During its remarkable 73 years, the school has earned an international reputation for its distinctive learning environment that integrates an enriched academic program with a lively ministry of sacred music.
St. Michael’s Choir School operates a unique collaboration between the Archdiocese of Toronto and the Toronto Catholic District School Board. With an enrolment of 270 boys, the school offers a complete curriculum of academic studies from Grades 3 to 12. The Choir School’s commitment to a high academic standard is regularly recognized by the Fraser Institute.
Liturgical music is at the centre of the Choir School – one of only six choir schools in the world affiliated with the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music in Rome. Each student participates in one of the school’s four choirs. Every weekend for ten months of the year, the Junior and Senior Choirs (Grades 5 through 12) provide music leadership at St. Michael’s Cathedral. Students are also required to study classical piano and theory, and many opt to study a secondary instrument (organ, strings, or guitar).
In addition to singing at St. Michael’s Cathedral every weekend, the students share their music with a wider audience through recordings, media appearances and annual concert tours. The Choir School has performed for dignitaries such as His Holiness Pope John Paul II, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and former Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien. The Choir School regularly champions Canadian composers in concert as well as on all of their latest recordings.
For over seven decades, countless numbers of successful graduates have found their calling in the fields of education, science, medicine, law, business and, of course, music. St. Michael’s Choir School has produced some of Canada’s most enduring vocalists and performers: from the Crew Cuts and Four Lads of the 1950s, to present-day musical artists Michael Burgess, Michael Colvin, Matt Dusk, Stewart Goodyear, Kevin Hearn (of The Barenaked Ladies), John McDermott, Claude Morrison (of The Nylons), Robert Pomakov, and Michael Schade.
Toronto Children’s Chorus Chamber Choir
The Toronto Children’s Chorus is recognized as one of the world’s leading treble choirs. Founded in 1978 by Jean Ashworth Bartle, C.M., O.Ont., the Toronto Children’s Chorus is now celebrating its fifth concert season under the leadership of Artistic Director, Elise Bradley.
Over the course of its history, the Chorus has won numerous competitions, including the International Eisteddfod in Wales and the CBC, Kathaumixw, and Let the Peoples Sing Competitions in Canada. The choir has also performed at such revered venues as the Musikverein, Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, and Royal Albert Hall, under the baton of such internationally celebrated conductors as Sir Simon Rattle, Helmuth Rilling, and Sir David Willcocks.
In addition to their demanding annual concert seasons, these young choral ambassadors have represented Canada on twenty-three international tours. This summer, the Chorus was honoured to perform at the 9th World Symposium on Choral Music in Puerto Madryn, Argentina. The Chorus was one of only twenty-five choirs invited to participate in the Symposium and one of only two choirs representing Canada.
The Toronto Children’s Chorus has enjoyed the opportunity to be a guest performer with distinguished orchestras and composers in Europe and North America. In June 2004, the Chorus was invited by Sir Simon Rattle to return to Birmingham to record Mahler’s Symphony No. 8, which the choir had performed in 2002 under his direction at the BBC Proms Concerts at Royal Albert Hall. During the 2009-2010 season, the Chorus performed with Krzysztof Penderecki and Soundstreams Canada. The Chorus is also a regular guest of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and is especially honoured this season to help celebrate the TSO's 90th Anniversary, performing in September with Christopher Plummer in Walton's Henry V and in the June concerts featuring Mahler's Symphony No. 8.
Tartu Ülikooli Akadeemiline Naiskoor
(The University of Tartu Academic Female Choir)
The University of Tartu Academic Female Choir, in spite of its ever-changing membership, has won renown not only in musically-blessed Estonia but also beyond.
In 1990, on the eve of Estonia’s second period of independence, at the crest of its “Singing Revolution”, the choir found itself in Italy at the first International Choir Competition in Riva del Garda. They won first place and the Grand Prix.
Recent years have also seen the choir on the podium of international success. At the 2009 Grieg Festival competition in Bergen, Norway it won third prize in both sacred and secular music, having been selected as part of the top five choirs vying for the Grand Prix. In 2011 it won first prize among women’s choirs in the annual international competition “Tallinn 2011” that drew a choir from as far away as Oregon.
During its 67 years of existence, the choir has been a part of Estonia’s continuing song festivals. Its achievements at home have been crowned by countless national prizes as well. In March 2012, at the national choral competition for women in Tallinn with 42 choirs participating, it won first prize in the top category.
Estonia’s national song festivals began 50 years before the birth of national independence in 1918 and have become entrenched in the country’s concept of hard-won freedom. The tradition of women as messengers of Estonia’s consciousness through folk-song over countless centuries is reflected in the current devotion of its women-singers to their art.
Founded by the composer Richard Ritsing, the choir was led beginning 1963 by the renowned Vaike Uibopuu. The current conductor, Triin Koch, took over the baton in 2005.On its first Canadian visit to a country that saw its first Estonians settle in 1899, the choir feels honoured to be invited to sing at the opening concert of Podium2102.
Formed in 2006 by conductor Michael Zaugg, voces boreales is an elite vocal ensemble performing to great acclaim in Montreal and its surrounds.
Now in its sixth season, voces boreales regularly performs in prestigious concert series such as the National Arts Centre eXpression, Musique Chez Nous at Bishop’s University, Mondial Choral Laval and the Montreal International Bach-Festival. The ensemble is produced by the Montreal Choral Institute, an umbrella organization for the advancement of choral education and choral performance.
Concerts by the group feature a cappella music mainly of Scandinavia and the Baltics. Music by composers such as Mäntyjäärvi, Rautavaara, Esenvalds, Sandström and Pärt are ideal showcases for the choir's lush and full sound. The artistic programming includes as well masterworks of choral history, such as compositions by Brahms, Mendelssohn, Martin, Whitacre and Britten. With a repertoire consisting of 8 to 18-part music, the 22 singers are mostly performing as soloists.
Recent performances include the Canadian Premiere of David Lang’s Little Match Girl Passion (Pulitzer Price 2008), The Ecstasies Above by Tarik O’Regan with the Bozzini String Quartet, Rautavaara’s Erste Elegie, as well as Talbot’s masterwork Path of Miracles for 17-part choir.
Youth Singers of Calgary - ONCUE
The Youth Singers of Calgary (YSC) a company of 500 performers spanning 14 divisions/levels is a remarkable success story and one of Canada’s largest not-for-profit volunteer based arts organizations. Founded in 1985, Shirley Penner had the vision of giving young people an opportunity to develop important and necessary life-skills: leadership, teamwork, confidence and camaraderie. More than 25 years later YSC has shaped the lives of thousands of young people providing them with passion, purpose and direction. Youth Singers is distinguished from other choral organizations in its addition of showmanship to a foundation of choral training. ONCUE, a semi-professional vocal ensemble, is representing YSC at Podium 2012 in Ottawa.
In 2004 an ensemble from ONCUE and ACT3, the college and career age members, presented at Sonora Borealis in Winnipeg, MB and again in 2006 at ChorPodium in Victoria, BC. In 2008 ONCUE performed at Podium Choral Waves in Sackville New Brunswick where they received rave reviews. They have won the Audience Favourite award at Edmonton’s Northern Harmony A Cappella Festival three consecutive times, most recently at the last festival in 2009.
Locally and internationally YSC has won numerous awards in festivals and competitions and they are widely recognized for their versatility as well as the caliber of their product. In its 25 years, YSC has produced more than forty mainstage shows, ten recordings, three made-for-television documentaries, toured 18 countries on five continents and performed at almost every Disney theme park in the world. They have represented Calgary and Canada at major international events such as the 1988 Winter Olympics, the World Police and Fire Games, and the World Petroleum Congress. YSC has appeared with celebrities including Kenny Rogers, Sarah Brightman, Reba McIntyre, Tom Jackson and Paul Brandt to name a few.