Praised by critics for the beauty, clarity and fluidity of her sound, impeccable phrasing and consummate musicality, Joanna G’froerer enjoys an exciting career as an orchestral player, chamber musician, soloist and educator. Principal Flutist of Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra since 1992, she was appointed to that position at the age of 20, the youngest principal musician ever to be hired by the NACO.
A native of Vancouver, Canada, Ms. G’froerer comes from a family of professional musicians. She studied flute in Vancouver with Kathleen Rudolph, and in Montreal with Timothy Hutchins, earning a Licentiate in Music from McGill University in 1993. Her education also included orchestral training at the Interlochen Arts Camp and with the National Youth Orchestra of Canada.
Joanna performs regularly as a soloist with the NACO, having appeared as soloist in over thirty different programs since joining the orchestra. She has also performed concerti with many of Canada's other fine ensembles, including the symphony orchestras of Vancouver, Victoria, and Quebec City. Joanna G’froerer is a past first-prize winner of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra Competition.
Among Ms. G’froerer’s acclaimed recordings are a CBC disc of Mozart's Flute Quartets with Pinchas Zukerman, Martin Beaver and Amanda Forsyth, named Best Canadian Chamber Music Recording of 2002 by Opus Magazine. A Naxos recording of Rodrigo's Flute Concerto and Fantasia Para un Gentilhombre with the Asturias Symphony under Maestro Maximiano Valdes was “exquisitely played by the Canadian virtuoso Joanna G’froerer” (Anthony Holden, The Observer). Also for Naxos, “Saint-Saens, Music for Winds” was an Editor’s Pick for Gramophone Magazine in 2011. A new recording of Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 2, with Jens Lindemann, James Ehnes, Jon Kimura Parker and Charles Hamann, was nominated for a Juno Award in 2021.
Joanna G’froerer has been featured in the chamber music festivals of Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, and Ottawa, at the Scotia Festival and at Brazil’s Campos do Jordao Festival. She is a member of the National Arts Centre Wind Quintet, and the G’froerer Gott Duo, with harpist Michelle Gott.
Joanna was a co-founder of the Classical Unbound Festival in Prince Edward County, Ontario, and served as Co-Artistic Director during its first three seasons.
As an educator, Ms. G’froerer has taught flute at the NAC Summer Music Institute, at Domaine Forget and the National Youth Orchestra of Canada, and has presented masterclasses at universities and conservatories throughout Canada, as well as in the USA, Europe and Asia. Joanna is presently on faculty at the University of Ottawa and at McGill University in Montreal.
Joanna G’froerer is a Wm. S. Haynes Artist, playing a custom 19.5 K gold Haynes flute with lightweight silver mechanism and headjoints in 19.5K and 14K gold.
Heralded for the “exquisite liquid quality” of his solo playing (Gramophone), Charles "Chip" Hamann was appointed to the principal oboe chair of Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra in 1993 at the age of 22. Mr. Hamann has also served as guest principal oboe with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, London’s Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, and Quebec’s Les Violons du Roy.
Mr. Hamann’s solo debut album, the double CD collection Canadian Works for Oboe and Piano with pianist Frédéric Lacroix, was released in 2017 on the Centrediscs label and his playing was lauded for “well-rounded tone, sensitive phrasing and…breathtaking sustained tones” (The Whole Note) and “exquisite musicianship.” (The Double Reed) With the NAC Wind Quintet, his performances of music for wind instruments by Camille Saint-Saëns with pianist Stéphane Lemelin for the Naxos label, including the op. 166 Oboe Sonata, won Gramophone Magazine’s Editor’s Choice award in 2011. Mr. Hamann was also featured in J.S. Bach’s Concerto for violin and oboe BWV 1060 with Pinchas Zukerman on NACO’s 2016 Baroque Treasury album for Analekta that earned him praise as a “superb colleague” (Gramophone) and for “a gorgeous, expressive sound.” (Ludwig van Toronto) Mr. Hamann has commissioned numerous solo works from leading Canadian composers and continues to champion new repertoire. He will record a CD of newly commissioned music for oboe solo and oboe with piano in 2021 with pianist Frédéric Lacroix.
Charles Hamann has appeared as concerto soloist with Les Violons du Roy, the Alberta Baroque Ensemble, Lincoln’s Symphony Orchestra in Nebraska, the Yamagata Symphony Orchestra, and Ottawa’s Thirteen Strings. He has appeared many times with NACO, both in Ottawa and on tour, in major concertos including Mozart, Strauss, and Vaughan-Williams. He has been a featured recitalist at the International Double Reed Society conferences and has presented solo recitals across Canada and the US.
Mr. Hamann is Adjunct Professor of oboe at the University of Ottawa School of Music and was on the faculty of the NAC Summer Music Institute for twenty years. He is a frequent faculty member at the Canada’s National Academy Orchestra, National Youth Orchestra of Canada, and the Orchestre de la francophonie. Mr. Hamann has been a guest clinician throughout Canada and at leading conservatories in the US. Internationally, he has given clinics in Mexico, China and Japan, where he is a frequent guest artist at the Affinis Music Festival and has been a guest faculty member of the Hyogo Performing Arts Centre Orchestra, a prominent orchestral training institution.
Born in Lincoln, Nebraska, USA, Mr. Hamann pursued early study with Brian Ventura and William McMullen and later at the Interlochen Arts Camp and Interlochen Arts Academy with Daniel Stolper. He earned a Bachelor of Music and the prestigious Performer’s Certificate from the Eastman School of Music in 1993, where he was a student of Richard Killmer. Instagram: @hamannoboe
Kimball Sykes joined the National Arts Centre Orchestra as principal clarinet in 1985.
Born in Vancouver, he received a Bachelor of Music Degree from the University of British Columbia where he studied with Ronald deKant. In 1982 Mr. Sykes was a member of the National Youth Orchestra and was awarded the first of two Canada Council grants to study with Robert Marcellus in Chicago. He has participated in the Banff School of Fine Arts Festival, the Scotia Festival, the Orford Festival and the Ottawa Chamber Music Festival.
He has performed and toured with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and was a member of the Vancouver Opera Orchestra. While in Vancouver, he was a founding member of the Vancouver Wind Trio. From 1983 to 1985 he was principal clarinet of the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra.
Mr. Sykes has performed as a soloist with the NAC Orchestra on numerous occasions. In May 2000, he gave the premiere performance of Vagues immobiles, a clarinet concerto by Alain Perron commissioned for him by the NAC, and in November 2002, he performed the Copland Clarinet Concerto, both conducted by Pinchas Zukerman. Other groups he has appeared with as soloist include Thirteen Strings, the Honolulu Symphony and the Auckland Philharmonia.
Mr. Sykes has performed numerous solo and chamber music programs for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. He can be heard on the recent Chamber Players of Canada recording of Schubert’s Octet. He has also recorded the Mozart Clarinet Quintet with Pinchas Zukerman and NAC Orchestra principal musicians Donnie Deacon, Jane Logan and Amanda Forsyth which is included in the NAC Orchestra’s double Mozart CD for CBC Records which was nominated for a Juno Award in 2004.
Kimball Sykes is currently on faculty at the University of Ottawa.
Christopher Millard, one of Canada’s best known woodwind artists, joined the National Arts Centre Orchestra as principal bassoon in 2004 after serving with the Vancouver Symphony and the CBC Radio Orchestra for 28 years. He is also the principal bassoon for the Grand Teton Music Festival and has made five concert tours with Valery Gergiev and the World Orchestra for Peace.
A distinguished teacher, Mr. Millard served on the faculty of Northwestern University until 2014, and continues to give masterclasses at many of the foremost music schools: Curtis Institute, New World Symphony, Manhattan School, Rice University, Indiana University, the National Orchestral Institute as well as in Canada at Domaine Forget. For 20 years, Mr. Millard was the bassoon professor for the National Youth Orchestra where he helped nurture a new generation of Canadian wind players. His students now occupy numerous positions in American and Canadian orchestras. A student of Roland Small and the legendary Sol Schoenbach at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia, Mr. Millard also studied with the great French flutist Marcel Moyse.
A regular guest artist and teacher at the Scotia, Banff, Orford and Ottawa Chamber Music Festivals, Mr. Millard has also appeared in concert and recordings with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Marlboro Festival, Chamber Music Northwest, the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, the International Double Reed Society and as a soloist with numerous orchestras. He regularly performs at home and on tour with the National Arts Centre Wind Quintet, a highly acclaimed ensemble that has made a debut recording on the Naxos label.
Mr. Millard has received wide praise for his numerous recordings BIS, Naxos, Arabesque, CBC Records and Summit, including a disc in the prestigious “OrchestraPro” series. His recording of the Hétu Bassoon Concerto won a 2004 Juno Award. He is a recognized authority on the acoustics of reedmaking and a skilled woodwind technician.
Principal Horn with the National Arts Centre Orchestra since 2002, Lawrence Vine has also served as Principal Horn with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, and the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra.
A much sought-after chamber musician, Lawrence has performed with Andrew Dawes, Lynn Harrell, Joseph Kalichstein, Anton Kuerti, Malcolm Lowe, Menahem Pressler, Pascal Rogé, David Schifrin, Joseph Silverstein, and Pinchas Zukerman. He regularly performs at home and on tour with the National Arts Centre Wind Quintet, a highly acclaimed ensemble that has recorded for the Naxos label.
As a soloist, he has appeared with the National Arts Centre Orchestra, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, and Ottawa’s Thirteen Strings Chamber Orchestra. His festival credits include the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, the Banff Centre for Fine Arts, Cleveland’s Kent/Blossom Music, the Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival and Ottawa's Music and Beyond Festival.
An active teacher and clinician, Lawrence is proud to teach the horn studio at the University of Ottawa's School of Music. He previously taught at the University of Manitoba, and has presented masterclasses at the Manhattan School of Music, Baltimore’s Peabody Conservatory, Chicago’s Roosevelt University, Toronto’s Royal Conservatory of Music, Wilfrid Laurier University, and the Universities of Colorado, Toronto, British Columbia, Calgary and Victoria. He also serves on the faculty of the NAC Summer Music Institute.
The Toronto Globe and Mail has praised his “fine, burnished playing”; the Winnipeg Free Press commended his “delicate phrasing, rounded tone, and sense of poise”; the Ottawa Citizen enthused that his “playing was assured, and his clear sound was remarkably subtle”; and the Montreal Gazette described his playing as “radiant”.
Frédéric Lacroix has performed in Canada, the United States, Europe and Asia as a soloist, chamber musician and collaborative pianist. He is a frequent collaborator with members of the NAC Orchestra both in chamber music and recitals, having first performed in the Music for a Sunday Afternoon concert series in 2015. This past September, he curated, as fortepianist (and composer), the late-night concerts of the NAC Orchestra’s Beethoven Festival.
Following the University of Ottawa’s purchase of a fortepiano, he has devoted part of his time to the study and performance of music on period keyboard instruments, for which he was recognized as the Westfield Center Performing Scholar for 2008–2009. He has presented numerous concerts in Canada and the United States as harpsichordist and fortepianist.
Intrigued by the seemingly infinite diversity of new music, Lacroix has enjoyed collaborating with composers and performers in the premiere of a number of Canadian and American works. Also active as a composer, his song cycle, Nova Scotia Tartan (2004), is featured on Hail, a disc dedicated to Canadian Art Song.
Frédéric Lacroix teaches piano and composition at the University of Ottawa. He recently completed his doctorate degree in keyboard performance practice with Malcolm Bilson at Cornell University.
“The Carrefour residency is a one-of-a-kind orchestral training ground. As an emerging composer who aspires to write music for the orchestra, I am truly honoured and thrilled to be one of the Carrefour composers in residence. I look forward to my upcoming collaborations with the National Arts Centre Orchestra and its music director Alexander Shelley, and hope to create meaningful works by learning from and exchanging ideas with musicians of this amazing Canadian orchestra as a Canadian artist.”
Chinese-Canadian composer Alison Yun-Fei Jiang (b. 1992) explores the intersections of genres and cultural ideologies by drawing inspirations and influences from an array of sources such as Chinese traditional folk music, film music, popular music, literature, Canadian landscapes, and Buddhism, creating music with epic melodic gestures in a lyrical, dynamic and colourful nature.
She has collaborated with ensembles such as the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, National Youth Orchestra of Canada, Civic Orchestra of Chicago, Esprit Orchestra, JACK Quartet, the Wet Ink Ensemble, Imani Winds, Molinari Quartet, Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra, American String Quartet, Quartetto Apeiron and FearNoMusic. Her music has been broadcast on CBC Radio 2 and performed in venues including Symphony Center (Chicago), Koerner Hall (Toronto), and the DiMenna Center for Classical Music (New York), featured in the Royal Conservatory of Music 21C Festival and the University of Toronto New Music Festival. Awards and recognitions come from ASCAP, the SOCAN Foundation, the Graham Sommer Competition for Young Composers, the American Prize and International Alliance for Women in Music.
Alison is a current Ph.D. candidate and Division of Humanities Fellow at the University of Chicago. She holds degrees in music composition from Manhattan School of Music (B.M.) and New York University (M.M.).