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.
Most recently, she has performed with her string quartet Ironwood in Mahone Bay (NS), at the Indian River Festival (PEI), and at their own Classical Unbound Festival in Prince Edward County. The quartet has appeared at the Wolfgang Sessions and MFASA series in Ottawa, at Ritornello Festival (SK), and in Paris. Their programs combine classical warhorses (Beethoven, Ravel, Debussy) with very new music (works by Ana Sokolovic, Nicole Lizée, Bryce Dessner, Philip Glass, Esa‐Pekka Salonen), and occasionally veer off into their own arrangements of original songs and folk music.
During the ten years she spent living in New York City, Julia collaborated frequently with composers, giving voice to new works for solo cello. Most notably, she has been a champion of Pedro Malpica’s Pachamama’s Catharsis. 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. 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 for, among others, 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 galleries, 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.
Julia has performed with the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen and Les Violons du Roy, and her chamber music collaborators include Itzhak Perlman, Jackie Parker, Pinchas Zukerman, membres of the Orion String Quartet, Ani and Ida Kavafian, Inon Barnatan, and Cynthia Phelps.
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).
Timothy McCoy started playing the cello at the age of six in Sudbury, Ontario, where he enrolled as a Suzuki student at Cambrian College, under the tutelage of Sylvia Thelen and Metro Kozak. Timothy’s family moved to Ottawa on Canada Day the year he turned eight; he remembers being enormously impressed with the parliamentary fireworks display his first night in a new city – so he stayed. Since that time, he has spent a great deal of his life at the National Arts Centre. His first Ottawa teacher was NACO Assistant Principal Cellist Marian Heller. When Ms. Heller relocated to New York City to accept a position in the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Timothy continued his studies with NAC Orchestra cellist Rosalind Sartori.
As a youngster, Timothy McCoy received intensive vocal training as a member of the Men and Boys’ Choir at St. Matthew’s Anglican Church in the Glebe (Ottawa). Appointed Head Chorister under Brian Law, he was a frequent treble soloist and sang the Pie Jesu in a performance of the FauréRequiem. As a boy, he also appeared at the National Arts Centre in performances of Britten’s War Requiem, Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius, and sang from the pit in the ballet score for Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. He managed to squeak in an appearance as a somewhat tall and hairy opera fairy in the NAC production of Britten’s rendering of A Midsummer Night’s Dream before his treble career abruptly came to an end.
A graduate of Indiana University, Mr. McCoy studied cello with Gary Hoffman and Janos Starker, and chamber repertoire with Menahem Pressler, James Buswell and George Janzer. He has studied the orchestral repertoire with the principal cellists of several of America’s leading orchestras, including Stephen Geber, Desmond Hoebig and Ron Leonard. He has also performed in masterclasses held by Aldo Parisot, Tsyoshi Tsutsumi, Raya Garbousova and Yehuda Hanani and has audited classes with Josef Gingold, Gyorgy Sebok, Frank Miller and Lynn Harrell.
Mr. McCoy has studied and performed at numerous summer programmes, including several seasons at the Banff Centre (where he began as a student in the Gifted Youth Programme), the National Music Camp (Interlochen, Michigan), the Brott Summer Festival (Hamilton, ON) and Festival of the Sound (Parry Sound, ON). He has held titled chairs with the National Youth Orchestra of Canada, the National Repertory Orchestra (Colorado) and the National Orchestral Institute (Maryland). He was a finalist at the Stulberg International String Competition and participated in the Third American Cello Congress convened in Bloomington, Indiana. During college, Mr. McCoy was under contract for two seasons to the Owensboro Symphony Orchestra (Kentucky) and performed with regional orchestras throughout Indiana.
Mr. McCoy spent his early professional years in Toronto as an active freelance cellist. They were formative times… He landed his first gig the second day after he arrived in town when he was asked to perform solo Bach Suites for John Steinberg’s 10th Anniversary Tea Party at the Rainbow Room, a tony Rosedale hair salon – he gained a free haircut and a pocketful of cash from the deal. After that, it was a stint with the Emperor Quartet, including a frosty autumn backyard wedding in Oakville for the filming of a CBS television pilot, Almost Grown. He claims to have performed string quartets atop every decent skyscraper in Toronto’s downtown core. He has played chamber music for Mila Mulroney and Nancy Reagan at a G7 Economic Summit as well as for prominent Canadian politicians and many of Europe’s heads-of-state. He was there for the rainy opening of SkyDome with Oscar Peterson and the Toronto Symphony. Mr. McCoy has performed with the Roy Thomson Hall Orchestra as well as with the celebrated Elmer Iseler Singers at the St. Lawrence Centre, and participated in a Krzysztof Penderecki world premiere with the composer at the helm. He has shared coffee and donuts with studio musicians at taping sessions for the legendary Tommy Hunter Show and, fresh out of college, he was a regular performer in the pit orchestra for Les Misérables at the Royal Alexandra Theatre. He also enjoyed performing with Toronto contemporary ensembles such as Robert Aitken’s New Music Concerts and the Esprit Orchestra, led by Alex Pauk.
As a musician on the Quebec scene, Mr. McCoy’s activities have included touring Spain and Morocco with Bernard Labadie and Les Violons du Roy and a five-season tenure as cellist with l’Orchestre symphonique de Québec. He has performed for live radio broadcasts from the Palais Montcalm with l’Orchestre de chambre de Radio-Canada à Québec; toured traditional Quebecois folksongs in the environs of Quebec City with his friend, the late violinist, Marc Gagnon and the Ensemble Arabesque; and collaborated as principal cellist on many choral events in Quebec, including the Festival des Musiques Sacrées de Québec. He has recorded with French chansonnier, Serge Lama and as a solo artist with the folk singer-songwriter, Connie Kaldor.
Timothy McCoy became a member of the National Arts Centre Orchestra at the beginning of the 2003-2004 season, after playing regularly in the orchestra for the previous three seasons.
In Ottawa, Mr. McCoy has been a member of Thirteen Strings and has performed at the Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival and on the NAC Music for a Sunday Afternoon series at the National Gallery of Canada. He has collaborated with pianists Angela Hewitt and Anton Kuerti. He has workshopped new compositions in the Canadian Music Centre’s New Music Reading Sessions at the NAC’s Fourth Stage and performed with the NACO New Music Ensemble, conducted by Oliver Knussen. His chamber performances have been broadcast on the national networks of CBC Radio and the Societé Radio-Canada. Mr. McCoy has served on the jury for the NACO Bursary and has been invited to adjudicate music festivals in Ottawa and Hamilton.
A versatile freelance artist, Mr. McCoy has performed at Bluesfest with Smokey Robinson; at the NAC with Diana Krall and Holly Cole; at the Corel Centre with Sarah Brightman; and at the Casino du Lac Leamy with Frank Sinatra Jr. He has appeared on the Canada Day stage for the midday CBC-TV show from Parliament Hill and has performed chamber music for numerous official ceremonies at Rideau Hall. He is Company Manager for Ottawa Music Company, a collective of local musicians that has collaborated in choral concerts with ensembles such as the Ottawa Choral Society, the Cathedral Choir of Men and Boys at Christ Church Cathedral, and the Ottawa Bach Choir.
Mr. McCoy has coached school and community youth orchestras both in Ottawa and while on tour with the NACO in Calgary, AB and the Saguenay, QC. He has been invited by Prof. Paul Marleyn to coach his cello students at the University of Ottawa and enjoys teaching a few regular students of his own.
Mr. McCoy performs on a rare copy (c. 1984) of a Carlo Giuseppe Testore cello; a gorgeous instrument made in New York for George Ricci by celebrated Argentinian luthier, Horacio Piñeiro.
Described as a “pure chamber musician” (The 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 was cellist of the Aviv String Quartet from 2002-2010. An active chamber musician, she currently plays with piano quartet Ensemble Made In Canada, the Mercer-Park Duo, and the AYR Piano Trio (with Yehonatan Berick, violin and Angela Park, piano). In 2010 she co-founded the “5 at the First” Chamber Music Series in Hamilton for which she is Artistic Director.
Rachel has given masterclasses across North America, South Africa and in Israel, as well as talks on topics from performance to self-management, and is Artist-in-Residence at Western University in London, ON. An advocate for new Canadian music, Rachel has commissioned and premiered works including a cello concerto by Kevin Lau, solo music by Vivian Fung and Andrew Downing, and chamber music by Nicole Lizée, Abigail Richardson-Schulte, Sarah Slean, Samy Moussa, and John Burge.
Her first article, on commissioning, was published in 2018 by the Association of Canadian Women Composers Journal. Rachel can be heard on the Naxos, Naxos Canadian Classics, Centrediscs, 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 joined the National Arts Centre Orchestra as Associate Principal Cello in 2016, winning the Principal Cello chair in 2017.
Though Marc-André Riberdy’s musical education began with the violin, he later changed his allegiance to the cello. He first studied with Father Rolland Brunelle and Sophie Coderre at the École de musique de Lanaudière, and then with Elizabeth Dolin at the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal. He did further studies in Jean-Guihen Queyras’s class at the Hochschule für Musik in Freiburg, Germany.
Riberdy made a name for himself in numerous music competitions, including the Lanaudière classical music festival and competition, the Canadian Music Competition and the Hélène-Roberge Music Competition. He was also awarded a special prize at the 2016 Domnick cello competion in Stuttgart, Germany.
During his studies, Riberdy performed as a soloist with various orchestras, including the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal’s string orchestra, its symphony orchestra and the Joliette Youth Orchestra. He became the Orchestre Métropolitain’s associate solo cello in 2016 before before joining the NAC Orchestra’s cello section in 2018. He plays a Giovanni Gagliano 1790–1800 cello with a Karl Hans Schmidt bow, both generously made available to him by Canimex.
Leah Wyber is a native of Medicine Hat, Alberta. Her introduction to the cello began in a school strings program at the age of eight. She received her advanced musical training at the University of British Columbia and the Banff Centre. Eric Wilson, Paula Kiffner, and George Kiraly are among her most influential teachers.
Leah is a former member of La Pieta of Montreal, Thirteen Strings of Ottawa, the Atlantic String Quartet, and Joe Trio of Vancouver. She was also principal cello of the Newfoundland Symphony for several years. Some of the many festivals and programs she participated in include the Ottawa Chamber Music Festival, the Scotia Festival, the Whistler Mozart Festival, the National Youth Orchestra of Canada, and the Jeunesses Musicales World Orchestra.
Leah has been a member of the National Arts Centre Orchestra since 1993. In addition to performing alongside the wonderful cellists in the orchestra, she enjoys playing chamber music and teaching. Other interests include gardening, hiking, cross-country skiing, and curling.
Violinist Marjolaine Lambert, a native of Joliette but self-proclaimed Montrealer, started her music studies at the age of four years old, following the footsteps of her brother, violist Frédéric Lambert. At a young age, her natural talent led her to join the studio of Johanne Arel and Raymond Dessaints at Conservatoire de musique de Montréal, which she graduated from in 2005. With a passion for learning and broadening her general knowledge, she went to McGill University in the class of Denise Lupien. Studying the rudiments of mandarin as a minor, it led her to tour through China as Principal Second violin of the Orchestre de la Francophonie Canadienne.
Upon completion of her Bachelor's degree with honour, she went to Yale University for her Master's degree to study with Ani Kavafian. There, she thrived as the concertmaster of the Yale Philharmonia and winner of the Woolsey Concerto Competition. Establishing strong collaborations with contemporary composers, maestro Julian Wachner and herself created Novus NYC, an orchestra devoted to new music, of which she acted as concertmaster. She had the opportunity to premiere works by David Lang, Bernard Rands and Christopher Theofanidis.
Her passion for new music led her to pursue a Doctorate of Music at McGill University, with the support of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, which focused on the hyper-violin created by Pierre Boulez in his Anthèmes. Her work with live electronics has brought her interesting and different kinds of projects, including the world premiere of Les Gestes, a creation of dance choreographer Isabelle Van Grimde.
Marjolaine has performed as a soloist under many conductors such as Yuli Turovsky, Peter Oundjian and Shinik Hahm. As a chambrist, she's been invited to perform often with Les Violons du Roy, I Musici and Arcos Chamber Orchestra.
In her rare spare time, Marjolaine enjoys watching an impressive amount of tv shows, discovering the depths of performance practice on her baroque violin or rocking out stadiums with Céline Dion.
She is thrilled to be a member of the National Arts Centre Orchestra, as of September 2016.