Violin - Brock University
Vera Alekseeva first studied violin at the Perm Music School in Perm Russia, then at Moscow Gnessin High State College and finally at the M. Glinka Nizhny Novgorod State Conservatory where she received a Diploma of Orchestra Artist, Artist of Chamber Ensemble and Teacher, as well as Diploma of Quartet Performance Artist. She was assistant concertmaster of the State Academic Symphony Orchestra of Nizhny Novgorod Philharmonic and both principal second violin and resident soloist in the Moscow Chamber Orchestra, “The Seasons.” Vera has toured extensively throughout Europe as a soloist and chamber musician, was a member of the State Bolshoi Theatre of Russia Orchestra, and is currently a member of the Niagara Symphony Orchestra.
Musician/Broadcaster/Business of the Arts
Tom Allen hails from Montréal. He started playing trombone in high school and decided not to stop. He spent six years at three universities and got two degrees. He lived in New York City when there were still places you just didn’t go and stayed long enough to play a couple of gigs he still brags about. His brass quintet was getting hired where the snow was clean and the concert hall was downstairs from the bowling alley, so he moved to Toronto and eventually found work at the CBC. Now he’s an occasional trombonist, author, host of Shift, storyteller and pitchman for something called The Classical Goodtime Variety Show. He can’t imagine there’s anything else you’d like to know, but if there is you could visit his website, tomtomallen.com
Viola - Chamber Music Gallery
Born in the Ukraine, Anna Antropova graduated with a Master’s degree in Viola performance from Glinka State Conservatory of Nizhny Novgorod, Russia. She started her professional career with the National Opera and Ballet Theatre in Nizhny Novgorod (Russia) and the Ukrainian National Philharmonic Orchestra, touring throughout Russia, Ukraine, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Poland and France.
Ms Antropova has performed as soloist across Canada and the USA and works with numerous orchestras and chamber ensembles throughout Ontario, including the Toronto Philharmonia, the Toronto Concert Orchestra, Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra, Sinfonia Toronto and the Ontario Philharmonic Orchestra.
With over 19 years of international experience as a music educator for viola and violin, Ms Antropova is a devoted teacher whose students have performed and competed in music festivals and competitions across Canada.
Ms. Antropova is Artistic Director of Toronto-based Chamber Music Gallery, a music society featuring concerts in the city and throughout Canada.
Heather Bambrick is a JUNO-nominated vocalist who has collaborated with Phil Nimmons, Fred Hirsch, Gene DiNovi, Guido Basso, Lea Delaria, Rob McConnell, Peter Appleyard, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra, and others. Bambrick has released three solo recordings, including You’ll Never Know, which was nominated for Vocal Jazz Recording of the Year at the 2017 JUNO Awards and Jazz Recording of the Year at the 2018 East Coast Music Awards. Her new recording is set for release in 2019. Bambrick has been a featured guest on numerous projects, and has been awarded Canada’s National Jazz Award for Vocalist of the Year. Beyond singing, Bambrick is one of Canada’s top voice actors, voicing characters for commercial campaigns and several Emmy Award-winning animated series, including Wild Kratts, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, and Justin Time. For over 17 years she was an award-winning broadcaster on JAZZ.FM91, and has recently has co-founded JAZZCAST, a 24-hour internet-based Jazz station. She is also highly regarded music educator, working at schools and festivals across Canada.
Lithuanian born Canadian violinist extraordinaire Atis Bankas has performed as a soloist in Canada, Europe, the United States, Korea, Japan, the former Soviet Union, and with orchestras under the direction of Nejme Jarvi, Iona Brown, Andrew Davis, and JoAnn Falletta among many others. Chamber music collaborators include pianists A. Laplante, S. Goodyear, R. Silverman, R. McDonald, N. Kogan, among many others. Atis Bankas is dedicatee of numerous new works by composers such as G. Kulesha, H. Freedman, D. Varelas, M. Bronner, V. Bartulis, A. Navakas, G. Samsonas, D. Hyman, S. Burbi, A. Shenderovas, P. Tiefenbach, and many others.
On the international scene 2017-18 season highlights include solo and chamber music performances in the Czech Republic, Germany, Italy and Lithuania. Atis Bankas is the first violinist of the Gould String Quartet, a member of Potsdam Trio, leader of Ensemble CamerAtis and Leader and Artistic Director of of the Canadian Chamber Academy Orchestra.
Mr. Bankas is the Founder and Artistic Director of Music Niagara, a highly regarded annual international summer music festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario marking it’s 20th anniversary this 2018 season. Bankas’ solo and chamber music performances have been featured on CJRT, CFMX, CBC and NPR radio networks. He has recorded on Fidelis, Analekta, Radioservis and CBC labels.
Atis Bankas first came to national and international attention after winning the International Violin Competition in Tallinn, Estonia. After graduating from the Lithuanian State Conservatory with a summa cum laude Masters degree in solo violin performance, chamber music, pedagogy, and orchestral performance, Mr. Bankas continued his post- graduate work in violin performance at the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory. where he studied in David Oistrakh’s violin department. His principal teachers were Victor Radovich (in Vilnius, Lithuania) and Semyon Snitkovsky (in Moscow, Russia), both students of David Oistrakh.
Mr. Bankas shares his musical talents by teaching a large violin studio at the Glenn Gould School at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. For his extraodinary dedication and achievement in the field of teaching music Atis Bankas was awarded the Barenreiter Prize, Carnegie Hall’s American Protege and Enkor competition awards. He has adjudicated competitions and conducted master classes in Japan, Korea, Europe, the United States and Canada. Many of Mr. Bankas’ students have been prizewinners of international and national competitions, such as the Paganini International Violin Competition, Stradivarius International Violin Competition, J. Heifetz International Violin Competition, Kocian Violin Competitiona, Stulberg International Competition, the Toronto Symphony and Montreal Symphony competitions.
In recognition of his musical contributions he was inducted into the International Knightly Order of St. George and was honoured as an Honorary Doctor of Arts by the Azerbaijan Ministry of Education and the Academy of Fine Arts and most recently Mr. Bankas received the prestigious 2017 Spirit of Niagara Christopher Newton Award for Extraordinary Vision in Business.
Samuel Bisson, cello, originally from Ottawa, is quickly distinguishing himself in Canada as a versatile soloist, chamber musician and orchestral player. Currently based in Toronto, he performs frequently in the GTA and has performed and toured across Canada, the US, Australia and China. He has performed with renowned Canadian piano trio, the Gryphon Trio and performs regularly as part of the Passport Duo. Bisson currently holds the position of principal cellist with the Sneak Peek Orchestra (Toronto) and the Scarborough Philharmonic Orchestra (Scarborough) and has appeared as principal and section cellist with the Toronto Concert Orchestra (Toronto), Ottawa Symphnoy Orchestra (Ottawa), Brantford Symphony Orchestra (Brantford), Ontario Philharmonic (Oshawa) and l’Orchestre de la Francophonie Canadienne (Montreal). Over the years, Bisson has had the pleasure of working with many renowned cellists including Janos Starker, Roman Borys, Hans Jorgen Jensen, Paul Katz, Anthony Elliott, Paul Marleyn and Julian Armour. He has also had the privilege of playing with great chamber musicians and masters such as Pinchas Zuckerman, Mark Fewer, Jean Desmarais, Angela Hewitt and the St-Lawrence String Quartet. Bissonl has a special interest in new and unknown music and has an ease with a broad range of musical styles. Beyond the boundaries of classical performance, Bisson is an active studio session musician and performer/arranger in a variety of music genres. He has been involved with projects that stylistically range from jazz and broadway to metal and electronica, and has worked and collaborated with artists such as Drake, Sarah Brightman and members of Barenaked Ladies and Our Lady Peace. Bisson is also a composer and has had many works performed by ensembles across the country. He composed the score to the award-winning short film Nuit Blanche, as well as the soundtrack to the Mandarin language feature film Lovesick, released theatrically in China and Taiwan.
Timothy Chooi, violin, is a young Canadian musician and the first prize winner of the 2018 Joseph Joachim International Violin Competition in Hannover, Germany. He had already made a name for himself; awarded numerous prizes, among them the Michael Hill Violin Competition in New Zealand, Montreal Symphony Manulife Competition, and the “Prix Yves Paternot” of the Verbier Festival Academy as “Most Outstanding Young Musician”, earning him his debut as a solo artist in the upcoming season at the Verbier Festival. Chooi has performed worldwide with renowned orchestras, among them the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, the Malaysian Philharmonic, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and the NDR Philharmonie. Along with winning top international prizes, he has contributed his violin performances in global peace events such as the Asian Heritage Day Gala in collaboration with the government of Canada. With his older brother Nikki – also a violinist – he has founded the ensemble “The Chooi Brothers” which has been performing for over five years with a special dedication of brining performances across remote regions of the world where classical music is still rare. Most recently, they have completed a project of performing ten concerts in isolated communities across the Arctic. Chooi acknowledges the generous loan of his 1717 Windsor-Weinstein Stradivarius from the Canada Council for the Arts.
Drummer Terry Clarke was born on August 20, 1944 in Vancouver and was twelve years old when he began studying formally with drum teacher and author, Jim Blackley. In 1965, Clarke moved to San Francisco to work with the legendary saxophonist, John Handy III. He performed with Handy for the next two and a half years, during which time the GRAMMY-nominated recording, Live at The Monterey Jazz Festival (Columbia – 1966) was made. Following that, Clarke joined the world-famous, GRAMMY-winning pop vocal group, “The Fifth Dimension”. Clarke left “The Fifth” in 1970, and relocated to Toronto. For the next fifteen years, he played an abundance of jazz in all styles, often working with international jazz figures such as Frank Rossolino and Lenny Breau. During this time, Clarke also toured extensively with the late jazz guitar legend, Jim Hall and the late piano great, Oscar Peterson. Clarke is well known as an original member of the world-acclaimed, GRAMMY and JUNO-winning jazz big-band, “Rob McConnell and the Boss Brass”, with which he recorded and toured for twenty-five years. In 1985, Clarke moved to New York City, where he worked and recorded with The Toshiko Akiyoshi Jazz Orchestra, Helen Merrill, Toots Theilmans, Ann Hampton Callaway, Red Mitchell, Marvin Stamm, Jim Hall, Bill Mays, Roger Kellaway and the late Joe Roccisano (just to name a few). Clarke has recorded well over 300 albums with various jazz artists, and is a familiar face at Jazz Festivals throughout the world. He continues to perform and record with a number of international artists, such as Nancy Wilson, Bill Mays, Renee Rosnes and Helen Merrill, as well as with an exciting lineup of Canadian musicians including David Braid, Bruce Cassidy, Dave Young, Don Thompson, Neil Swainson and David Occhipinti. Clarke is also an adjunct professor in the Jazz Department of the Faculty of Music at the University of Toronto, and is also extremely proud to have been named as a Member of the Order of Canada. His recording on the BlueMusicGroup Label, It’s About Time, was the winner of “The Best Traditional Jazz Recording” at the 2010 JUNO Awards.
Pat Collins, bassist, composer and educator Pat Collins has been a mainstay on the Canadian jazz scene since moving to Toronto in 1988. Collins has performed with such jazz luminaries as Oscar Peterson, Diana Krall, Ed Bickert, Dizzy Gillespie, Joe Henderson, Peter Appleyard, and many more. Pat has taught at Humber College in Toronto, and in 2005, joined the full-time music faculty at Mohawk College, in Hamilton, ON. Collins is in demand as a clinician at universities and colleges all over North America. Pat maintains a busy performance schedule in the Toronto area, and leads his own quartet and trio. He released his first album, entitled “In the Moment” in 2006, and recently released a trio album in 2018. For more information, please visit www.patcollinsbass.com
Countermeasure features 13 of Canada’s top vocal talents, performing innovative arrangements of pop favourites, classic jazz standards, and original songs. Led by award-winning composer/arranger Aaron Jensen, the group has shared stages with a cappella giants including Naturally 7, The Swingle Singers, and top 40 stars like Corey Hart and Blue Rodeo. Their diverse songbook has equipped the group to headline international choral concerts and play the main stage at jazz festivals. Incorporating innovative live looping, instrument imitation, and vocal percussion, Countermeasure enthralls their audiences worldwide with their dramatically choreographed shows and flawless harmonies. They have won multiple awards from Contemporary A Capella Society of America, including Best CAL Album, best video, and an award for songwriting. They are founding artists of SING! the Toronto Vocal Arts Festival, Canada’s premiere a cappella festival. They have wowed audiences on two U.S. tours, several Canadian tours, and in the UK at London a Cappella Festival and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. They also performed the opening concert at the world-renowned Vocalmente Festival in Italy.