(Born in 1981)
Puerto Rican-born composer and multi-instrumentalist Angélica Negrón writes music for accordions, robotic instruments, toys and electronics as well as chamber ensembles and orchestras. Her music has been described as “wistfully idiosyncratic and contemplative” (WQXR/Q2) and “mesmerizing and affecting” (Feast of Music) while The New York Times noted her “capacity to surprise” and her “quirky approach to scoring”. Angélica has been commissioned by the Bang on a Can All-Stars, loadbang, MATA Festival, Brooklyn Youth Chorus, Sō Percussion, the American Composers Orchestra, and the New York Botanical Garden, among others. Her music has been performed at the Kennedy Center, the Ecstatic Music Festival, EMPAC, Bang on a Can Marathon and the 2016 New York Philharmonic Biennial and her film scores have been heard numerous times at the Tribeca Film Festival. She has collaborated with artists like Sō Percussion, The Knights, Face the Music, and NOVUS NY, among others and is a founding member of the tropical electronic band Balún. Angélica is currently a doctoral candidate at The Graduate Center (CUNY), where she studies composition with Tania León and focuses on the work of Meredith Monk for her dissertation. She's a teaching artist for New York Philharmonic's Very Young Composers Program working with young learners on creative composition projects. Upcoming premieres include works for the LA Philharmonic, Dallas Symphony Orchestra and National Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Girls Chorus, and NY Philharmonic Project 19 initiative. Negrón continues to perform and compose for film.
(Born in 1968)
The composer and performer Michael Oesterle was born in Ulm, Germany, in 1968. He immigrated to Canada in 1982, and since 1996 has been living in Montréal. He has received several awards, such as the Gaudeamus Prize, the Grand Prize at the 12th CBC Radio National Competition for Young Composers, and the Canada Council Jules Léger Prize. Oesterle’s works have been performed and commissioned by ensembles and soloists in Canada and throughout the world including Ensemble Modern (Frankfurt), the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, Nouvel Ensemble Moderne (NEM), cellist Yegor Dyachkov, the Ives Ensemble (Amsterdam), sopranos Karina Gauvin and Suzie Leblanc. He has produced projects in collaboration with composer Gerhard Staebler, violinist Clemens Merkel, painter Christine Unger, video/installation artist Wanda Koop and Bonnie Baxter and choreographer Isabelle Van Grimde. He composed the music for cNOTE, a film by animator Christopher Hinton, produced by the National Film Board of Canada (NFB). cNOTE won the 2005 GENIE award for best animated-short. In 1997 he founded the Montréal based Ensemble Kore with pianist Marc Couroux, and between 2001 and 2004 he was composer-in-residence with l’Orchestre Metropolitain du Grand Montréal.
Barbara Lally Pentland was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, in 1912. She began to study piano at age nine. Three years later she expressed a desire to become a professional composer, even though only a handful of composers were writing in Canada at that time and none of them were women.
Her parents hoped that she would focus on performance rather than composition, which they considered to be an inappropriate career choice for a woman.
Pentland was accepted at the Juilliard Graduate School in New York City in 1936 on full fellowship. She was exposed to many styles of music during her time in New York City.
In the early 1940s, Pentland taught theory and composition at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto and attended the Tanglewood Music Center where she studied with Aaron Copland and Paul Hindemith. In 1949 Pentland became a faculty member in the music department at the University of British Columbia.
The famed Canadian pianist Glenn Gould recorded her work Ombres (1964) — yet it was omitted from the album when it was released. The recording finally appeared on Sony’s re-release of the album 25 years later. The exclusion is symbolic of the composer’s ostracization that occurred throughout most of her career as she struggled to gain professional recognition. She found particular difficulty as a ‘woman’ composer writing contemporary music.
Toward the end of her career, Pentland finally received recognition and significant accolades. She became first composer to receive the Order of British Columbia, she was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada, became an Honorary Member of the Canadian Music Centre, and received honorary Doctorates from Winnipeg’s University of Manitoba, and Vancouver’s Simon Fraser University. In celebration of her 75th birthday the city of Vancouver announced “Barbara Pentland Day”.
© 2015-2018 Dr. Réa Beaumont
Bryn Lutek is a versatile Canadian percussionist who is quickly establishing himself in both contemporary and orchestral idioms. In the spring of 2020, after completing his Master's degree at the University of Toronto in the studios of Aiyun Huang and Charles Settle, Bryn was named Principal Percussionist of L'Orchestre Symphonique de Quebéc. As an orchestral percussionist he has also performed with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and L’Orchestre Métropolitain.
Bryn is passionate about collaborating with his peers to extend the percussion and chamber music repertoire; to that end he has recently given world premieres of two works for percussion trio and electronics - entasi iii by Joshua Biggs, and Layers by Hunter Brown - alongside fellow percussionists Louis Pino and Tyler Cunningham. Bryn has also given premieres of music by Kotoka Suzuki, Stephanie Orlando, Amy Thompson, and Ania Vu, and he is currently working with Louis Pino on a new piece for snare drum, interactive electronics, and video.
As a researcher Bryn was awarded a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Graduate Scholarship in 2019 and his work has been accepted to the TENOR International Conference on Technologies for Music Notation & Representation; his research interests centre around the history and aesthetics of electronic music and media.
Prior to attending the University of Toronto, Bryn received his Artist Diploma from the Glenn Gould School of the Royal Conservatory of Music Toronto and his Bachelor’s Degree from McGill University.
Olivia Yelim Cho is a Korean-Canadian cellist from Vancouver, BC. She is currently pursuing her undergraduate degree with Richard Aaron at the University of Michigan, where she is a James B. Angell Scholar. Formerly a student at the Vancouver Academy of Music (VAM) in the Young Artist Collegiate Program, Olivia began her musical studies at the age of five under the tutelage of Joseph Elworthy. Additional teachers include baroque and modern cellist Kristin von der Goltz, whom Olivia worked with during a study-abroad in early 2020, and Wolfgang Emanuel Schmidt, whom she studied with on fellowship at the 2019 Aspen Music Festival and School (AMFS).
Olivia is very interested in musical outreach and exploring the influence of music on society. She feels that musicians have a responsibility to use their voice in advocating for social justice. This past July, Olivia worked with her sister to organize a socially-distanced benefit concert, titled con moto, which raised funds for local groups supporting Black Lives Matter and Indigenous Lives. Olivia also enjoys performing in venues such as senior homes, hospitals, and churches, as well as working with younger musicians. She is currently a teaching assistant for the new VAM Aldo Parisot Cello Ensemble, and has previously mentored young musicians in the 2018 Vancouver Quiring Chamber Music Camp.
In 2020, Olivia was named by CBC Music as one of “30 hot Canadian classical musicians under 30.” She also received the Isabel Overton Bader Award at the 2020 Bader & Overton Canadian Cello Competition. In 2017, she attended the Orford Music Academy on full scholarship and the AMFS as a recipient of the Emerging Artist Grant from VAM. Further notable events include a recital for the Vancouver Women’s Musical Society (2017), her solo debut at Vancouver’s Orpheum Theatre with the VAM Symphony Orchestra (2014) as the youngest-ever winner of the Kay Meek Competition, and receiving first prize in the Canadian Music Competition (2013).
Alexander Shelley succeeded Pinchas Zukerman as Music Director of Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra in September 2015. The ensemble has since been praised as “an orchestra transformed … hungry, bold, and unleashed” (Ottawa Citizen) and Alexander’s programming credited for turning the orchestra “almost overnight … into one of the more audacious orchestras in North America.” (Maclean’s magazine).
Born in London in October 1979, Alexander, the son of celebrated concert pianists, studied cello and conducting in Germany and first gained widespread attention when he was unanimously awarded first prize at the 2005 Leeds Conductors' Competition, with the press describing him as "the most exciting and gifted young conductor to have taken this highly prestigious award. His conducting technique is immaculate, everything crystal clear and a tool to his inborn musicality”. In August 2017 Alexander concluded his tenure as Chief Conductor of the Nürnberger Symphoniker, a position he held since September 2009. The partnership was hailed by press and audience alike as a golden era for the orchestra, where he transformed the ensemble’s playing, education work and international touring activities. These have included concerts in Italy, Belgium, China and a re-invitation to the Musikverein in Vienna.
In January 2015 he assumed the role of Principal Associate Conductor of London’s Royal Philharmonic Orchestra with whom he curates an annual series of concerts at Cadogan Hall and tours both nationally and internationally.
Described as “a natural communicator both on and off the podium” (Daily Telegraph) Alexander works regularly with the leading orchestras of Europe, the Americas, Asia and Australasia, including the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Deutsche Symphonie-Orchester Berlin,, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Gothenburg Symphony, Stockholm Philharmonic, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Sao Paulo Symphony and the Melbourne and New Zealand Symphony Orchestras. This season’s collaborations include debuts with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre National de Belgique, Orchestre Metropolitain Montreal, Orquesta Sinfonica de Valencia, and Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra; alongside returns to MDR Sinfonieorchester Leipzig, Orchestre Philharmonique de Luxembourg and the Tasmanian symphony orchestras. He will also embark on an extensive tour of Europe with the National Arts Centre Orchestra performing in cities such as London, Paris, Stockholm and Copenhagen
Highlights of the previous season include debuts with the Helsinki and Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestras and Bamberg Symphony Orchestra, as well as at the Aspen Festival in Colorado. Re-invitations include Konzerthausorchester Berlin, RTE National Symphony Orchestra and a return to the Tivoli Festival with the Copenhagen Philharmonic.
Alexander’s operatic engagements have included The Merry Widow and Gounod’s Romeo and Juliet (Den Kongelige Opera); La Bohème (Opera Lyra/National Arts Centre), Iolanta (Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen), Così fan Tutte (Opéra National de Montpellier), The Marriage of Figaro (Opera North) in 2015 and he led a co-production of Harry Somers’ Louis Riel in 2017 with the NACO and Canadian Opera Company.
Alexander was awarded the ECHO prize in 2016 for his second Deutsche Grammophon recording, “Peter and the Wolf”, and both the ECHO and Deutsche Grunderpreis in his capacity as Artistic Director of the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen’s “Zukunftslabor”, a visionary project of grass-roots engagement, which uses music as a source for social cohesion and integration. Through his work as Founder and Artistic Director of the Schumann Camerata and their ground-breaking “440Hz” series in Dusseldorf, and through his leadership roles in Nuremberg, Bremen and Ottawa, inspiring future generations of classical musicians and listeners has always been central to Alexander’s work. He has led the German National Youth Orchestra on several tours of Germany and works with many thousands of young people a year in outreach projects. He regularly gives informed and passionate pre- and post-concert talks on his programmes, as well as numerous interviews and podcasts on the role of classical music in society. He has a wealth of experience conducting and presenting major open-air events - in Nuremberg alone he has, over the course of nine years, hosted more than half a million people at the annual Klassik Open Air concerts - Europe’s largest classical music event.
The Music Director role is supported by Elinor Gill Ratcliffe, C.M., O.N.L., LL.D. (hc)