James Ehnes has established himself as one of the most sought-after musicians on the international stage. Gifted with a rare combination of stunning virtuosity, serene lyricism, and an unfaltering musicality, Ehnes is a favourite guest at the world’s most celebrated concert halls.
Recent orchestral highlights include the MET Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, San Francisco Symphony, London Symphony Orchestra, NHK Symphony Orchestra, and the Munich Philharmonic. Throughout the 2023–2024 season, Ehnes continues as Artist in Residence with the NAC Orchestra and as Artistic Partner with Artis–Naples.
Alongside his concerto work, Ehnes maintains a busy recital schedule. He performs regularly at Wigmore Hall, Carnegie Hall, the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Verbier Festival, and Festival de Pâques in Aix-en-Provence. A devoted chamber musician, he is the leader of the Ehnes Quartet and the Artistic Director of the Seattle Chamber Music Society.
Ehnes has an extensive discography and has won many awards for his recordings, including two Grammys, three Gramophone Awards, and 11 Juno Awards. In June 2020 Ehnes launched a new online recital series entitled “Recitals from Home” in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent closure of concert halls. These recordings have been met with great critical acclaim by audiences worldwide and Ehnes was described by Le Devoir as being “at the absolute forefront of the streaming evolution.”
Ehnes studied with Sally Thomas at the Meadowmount School of Music and The Juilliard School, winning the Peter Mennin Prize for Outstanding Achievement and Leadership in Music upon his graduation in 1997. He is a Member of the Order of Canada and the Order of Manitoba, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, and an honorary fellow of the Royal Academy of Music in London, where he is a Visiting Professor.
Gabriela Montero’s visionary interpretations and unique compositional gifts have garnered her critical acclaim and a devoted following on the world stage. Anthony Tommasini remarked in The New York Times that “Montero’s playing had everything: crackling rhythmic brio, subtle shadings, steely power…soulful lyricism…unsentimental expressivity.”
Recipient of the prestigious 2018 Heidelberger Frühling Music Prize, Montero’s recent and forthcoming highlights include debuts with the New World Symphony (Michael Tilson Thomas), Yomiuri Nippon Symphony in Tokyo (Aziz Shokhakimov), Orquesta de Valencia (Pablo Heras-Casado), and the Bournemouth Symphony (Carlos Miguel Prieto), the latter of which featured her as Artist-in-Residence for the 2019–20 season. She made her debut with the NAC Orchestra in 2016.
A graduate and Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music in London, Montero is also a frequent recitalist and chamber musician, having given concerts at such distinguished venues as the Wigmore Hall, Kennedy Center, Vienna Konzerthaus, Amsterdam Concertgebouw, and the Leipzig Gewandhaus.
Montero is also an award-winning and bestselling recording artist. Her most recent album, released in autumn 2019 on the Orchid Classics label, features her own “Latin” Concerto and Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G Major, recorded with the Orchestra of the Americas in Frutillar, Chile.
Born in Venezuela, Montero made her concerto debut at age eight in her hometown of Caracas. She is a committed advocate for human rights, whose voice regularly reaches beyond the concert hall. She was named an Honorary Consul by Amnesty International in 2015, and recognized with Outstanding Work in the Field of Human Rights by the Human Rights Foundation for her ongoing commitment to human rights advocacy in Venezuela.
Bernard Labadie has established himself worldwide as one of the preeminent conductors of the Baroque and Classical repertoire, a reputation closely tied to his work with Les Violons du Roy (for which he served as Music Director from its inception until 2014) and La Chapelle de Québec. With these two ensembles he has regularly toured Canada, the US, and Europe, in major venues and festivals such as Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Kennedy Center, the Barbican, the Concertgebouw, and the Salzburg Festival, among others. He began a four-year term as Principal Conductor of the Orchestra of St. Luke’s in the 2018–19 season.
Bernard Labadie has become a regular presence on the podiums of the major North American orchestras, including the Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Toronto, Boston, Colorado, Houston, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, and San Francisco symphony orchestras; the Cleveland and Philadelphia orchestras; the Los Angeles and New York philharmonics; the Handel & Haydn Society; and Orchestre symphonique de Montréal. International audiences in past seasons have seen and heard him conduct the Bayerischen Rundfunks Symphony Orchestra, Academy of Ancient Music, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, BBC Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra of the Collegium Vocale Ghent, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Royal Northern Sinfonia, Swedish Chamber Orchestra, WDR Sinfonieorchester (Cologne), and Zurich Chamber Orchestra.
His extensive discography includes many critically acclaimed recordings on the Dorian, ATMA, and Virgin Classics labels, including Handel’s Apollo e Dafne and a collaborative recording of Mozart’s Requiem with Les Violons du Roy and La Chapelle de Québec, both of which received Canada’s JUNO Award. Other recordings include C.P.E. Bach’s complete cello concertos with Truls Mørk and Les Violons du Roy, and J.S. Bach’s complete piano concertos with Alexandre Tharaud, both on Virgin Classics; and Haydn’s piano concertos with Marc-Andre Hamelin as soloist, released by Hyperion. Bernard Labadie has received Paris’s Samuel de Champlain award, the Canadian government’s Officer of the Order of Canada, and his home province has named him Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Québec.
Composer and musician Barbara Assiginaak is Anishinaabekwe (Odawa, Ojibwe and Potawatomi; Mnidoo Mnissing, Giniw Dodem) and balances her time composing with performing and teaching music; spending time with elders in traditional ceremonies; and engaging in land-based environmental activities and teaching work rooted in traditional Anishinaabek teachings. Composing for the pipigwan (traditional wood flute), dewe’igan (drum), and voice in the oral/aural traditions of the Anishinaabe way since an early age, Barbara is also classically trained. She is a graduate of the University of Toronto (Bachelor of Music with Honours in Composition), Musikhochschule in München, Germany (Meisterklassendiplom in Komposition, Aufbaustudium), and Centre Acanthes, and aslo holds an ARCT Diploma (Piano Performance). Professionally active since 1995, Barbara has an extensive body of works that includes solo, chamber, art song, choir and orchestral (including concerti) compositions, and she has written for theatre, dance, film, opera, and multimedia and interdisciplinary projects. Barbara often performs in her own solo, chamber and orchestral works as a soloist (vocals, pipigwan, drums, and other Anishinaabe instruments).
As the direct descendant of hereditary chiefs who were signatories of treaties in Ontario, and as the child and grandchild of residential school survivors, many of her creative projects are centered on these histories and she has been active over many years in Truth and Reconciliation Commission activities. Already back in 1992 one of her chamber ensemble works honoured her own mother’s recollections of experiences at residential school, stories of which were disclosed to Barbara at a young age growing up.
Barbara’s awards and honours include the Glenn Gould Award in Composition (University of Toronto); a Dora nomination; shortlisted three times for the Hunter Award in the Arts; numerous scholarships at the Glenn Gould School/Royal Conservatory of Music and from the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation (1992-96); and a Visual and Expressive Arts Program Award from the National Museum of the American Indian. Barbara’s works have been broadcast on CBC Radio One and Radio Two, Bayerische Rundfunk (Bayern 3), Deutsche Radio Swiss (DRS-II), Radio France, Italian National Television, APTN, and other online streaming broadcasts. Barbara is Assistant Professor and Coordinator of Composition at the Faculty of Music, Wilfrid Laurier University.
Composer, vocalist, multidisciplinary artist
Gabriel Dharmoo is a composer, vocalist, improviser, interdisciplinary artist and researcher.
After studying with Éric Morin at Université Laval, he completed studies in composition and analysis at the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal with Serge Provost, graduating with two "Prix avec grande distinction", the highest honour to be awarded. His works have been performed in Canada, the USA, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Spain, Estonia, Poland, Australia, Singapore, and South Africa. He has received many awards for his compositions, including recently the Canada Council for the Arts Jules Léger Prize for his chamber work Wanmansho (2017) and the Conseil Québécois de la Musique Opus Award for his opera À chaque ventre son monstre (2018). He was also awarded the Canadian Music Centre’s Harry Freedman Recording Award (2018).
Having researched Carnatic music with four renowned masters in Chennai (India) in 2008 and 2011, his personal musical style encourages the fluidity of ideas between tradition and innovation. He has participated in many cross-cultural and inter-traditional musical projects, many being led by Sandeep Bhagwati in Montreal (Sound of Montreal, Ville étrange) and in Berlin (Zungenmusiken, Miyagi Haikus).
As a vocalist and interdisciplinary artist, his career has led him around the globe, notably with his solo show Anthropologies imaginaires, which was awarded at the Amsterdam Fringe Festival (2015) and the SummerWorks Performance Festival (2016). They also explore queer arts and drag artistry as Bijuriya (@bijuriya.drag).
He is an associate composer at the Canadian Music Centre as well as a member of SOCAN, the Canadian New Music Network and the Canadian League of Composers. Since 2015, Gabriel is a PhD candidate at Concordia University's PhD "Individualized Program" with Sandeep Bhagwati (Music), Noah Drew (Theatre) and David Howes (Anthropology).
Named the winner of CBC’s 2020 Searchlight talent competition, Shawnee Kish has been celebrated as one of North America’s Top Gender Bending Artists (MTV), named by Billboard as an Artist You Need To Know, and continuously uses her music to empower. An outspoken advocate for her Indigenous and LGBTQ2+ communities, she is a proud Two Spirit Mohawk who has shared the stage with some of the world’s biggest names—Lady Gaga, Madonna, and Alicia Keys, to name a few.
2021 will see Shawnee release a new EP that addresses her personal struggles over the past twelve months—“The main theme will be lighting up what used to be and getting on with what is now. The songs represent becoming yourself, finding out where you were was not where you wanted to be, and fully embracing that in order to let go. Light the Place up, even if it’s unintentional”—and hopefully, return to touring. She will also continue her work with the We Matter Campaign and Kids Help Phone in hopes of empowering youth, providing strength, and hope through music.
Adrian Anantawan performs, speaks, and teaches around the world as an advocate for disability and the arts. He holds degrees from the Curtis Institute of Music, Yale University, and Harvard Graduate School of Education. As a violinist, he has studied with Itzhak Perlman and Pinchas Zukerman, and Anne-Sophie Mutter; his academic work in education was supervised by Howard Gardner. Adrian has performed extensively in Canada as a soloist with the symphony orchestras of Toronto, Nova Scotia, Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Montreal, Edmonton, and Vancouver, and presented feature recitals at the Aspen Music Festival and Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall. He has also represented Canada as a cultural ambassador in the 2006 Athens Olympics and was a featured performer at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics Opening Ceremonies.
Adrian helped to create the Virtual Chamber Music Initiative at the Holland Bloorview Kids Rehab Centre. The cross-collaborative project brings researchers, musicians, doctors and educators together to develop adaptive musical instruments capable of being played by a young person with disabilities within a chamber music setting. He is also the founder of the Music Inclusion Program, aimed at having children with disabilities learn instrumental music with their typical peers.
From 2012–2016, he was the co-Director of Music at the Conservatory Lab Charter School, serving students from the Boston area, kindergarten through grade eight—his work was recognized by Mayor Marty Walsh as a ONEin3 Impact Award in 2015. Adrian is also a JUNO Award nominee, a member of the Terry Fox Hall of Fame, and was awarded a Diamond Jubilee Medal from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II for his contributions to the Commonwealth. He is the current Chair of Music at Milton Academy and on faculty at Boston University Tanglewood Institute during the summer.