Pol Coussee born and raised in Belgium, became a staff musician at the Casino de Monte-Carlo in Monaco, backing up artists s.a. Sammy Davis Jnr., Shirley MacLaine, Liza Minelli, Jerry Lewis. Coussee moved to London, UK and toured and recorded with many artists including Dexys Midnight Runners, Barry White, Bashia, Carmel, The Temptations, The Four Tops, Sister Sledge, Aretha Franklin, Elton John, Martha Reeves, Harold Melvin, and Three Degrees. Coussee played with the BBC Jazz Orchestra, and worked in the West End theatre district on Cats, Blood Brothers, Fame, Chicago, Jesus Christ Superstar, and Starlight Express. As a studio musician, Coussee played on live TV/Radio broadcasts, commercial jingles, and records covering almost all styles of music ranging from Classical, Jazz, Folk, Latin, Funk, Klezmer to bubblegum-pop! Coussee moved to Toronto and played Guys & Dolls (Stratford), Dirty Dancing, Chicago, Beautiful, Book of Mormon (Mirvish Productions) Come fly with me, 9 to 5: The Musical, West Side Story, Jersey Boys, ( DanCap) Mary Poppins, Swing! (Drayton Productions) Motown, Love Train, Smoky Joe’s Cafe, Rocky Horror Show ( StageWest) Grease! ( Wintergarden) A Christmas Carol, Wizard of OZ ( Ross Petty Prod) and he plays regularly with the KW Symphony, and Hilario Duran Latin Jazz Orchestra.
Described by the Scene magazine as a “musical force to be reckoned with,” Cameron Crozman is quickly being hailed as one of Canada’s leading young cellists. Playing on the ca. 1696 “Bonjour” Stradivarius cello with the ca. 1830 “Shaw” Adam cello bow generously on loan from the Canada Council for the Arts Instrument Bank, he has been praised for his versatility, musical expressivity, and remarkable technique. Caeron maintainins an active performance schedule in North America and Europe. Engagements have taken him to such prestigious venues as the Shanghai Oriental Arts Center, the Berliner Philharmonie, the Paris Philharmonie, Philadelphia’s Mann Centre, Montreal’s Maison Symphonique, and Canada’s National Arts Centre. He has performed concerti with the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, Hamilton Philharmonic, Orchestre des Lauréats du Conservatoire, and Orchestra London. In 2012, he toured Canada and the United States playing Dvorak Cello Concerto with the National Youth Orchestra of Canada under the direction of Alain Trudel.
Hilario Duran, piano, is one of the premier exponents of Latin Jazz, and winner of the Louis Applebaum Composer Award. Cuban born, Maestro Duran, grew up in Havana in a musical family surrounded by a variety of diverse musical influences. He began working as a professional musician in Cuba’s Los Papa Cun-Cun Ensemble and later on, in the 70s; Duran was Chucho Valdés’ chosen successor in Cuba’s most modern band, ‘Orquesta Cubana de Música Moderna’. In the 90s, as a part of the Arturo Sandoval band, Hilario toured worldwide and had the opportunity to perform with the likes of Dizzy Gillespie and Michel Legrand, among many others. Duran’s formal music training, combined with a deep understanding of traditional Cuban music, as well as a love for jazz, allowed him to play a key role in the integration of Afro-Cuban music and jazz; he represents an important aspect in contemporary Cuban music as well as in Cuban music history; he is a virtuoso player, arranger, composer, and bandleader in his own right. After making his mark in Cuba, Duran continued to essay his skills as pianist, composer, arranger and musical director of remarkable virtuosity. Since arriving in Canada, Duran has established himself in his own name; he is a multi-Canadian Juno Award winner and nominee; an American Grammy nominee; a multi-Canadian National Jazz Award winner and nominee; and the proud recipient of the 2007 Chico O’Farrill Lifetime Achievement Award, from Latin Jazz USA, for his outstanding contributions to Afro-Cuban jazz and Latin jazz. Hilario was also named Best Artist of the Year 2013 by the Toronto Musicians’ Association and also as 2014 Best Vision Award Winner (Premio a la Trayectoria) for his work as entrepreneur leading his company Es Musica Productions. Duran is also an adjunct piano professor and ensemble director in the jazz faculty at Humber College in Toronto.
Mark Edwards, harpsichord, is the first prize winner in the 2012 Musica Antiqua Bruges International Harpsichord Competition. Canadian harpsichordist and organist, Edwards is recognized for his captivating performances, bringing the listener “to new and unpredictable regions, using all of the resources of his instrument, […] of his virtuosity, and of his imagination” (La Libre Belgique). Since 2016, he is Assistant Professor of Harpsichord at Oberlin Conservatory. He has given solo recitals at a number of prominent festival and concert series, including the Utrecht Early Music Festival, Bozar (Brussels), the Montreal Baroque Festival, and Clavecin en concert (Montreal). He is the artistic director of Poiesis, and as an active chamber musician, he collaborates regularly with Les Boréades de Montréal and Les Délices. His début solo CD, Orpheus Descending, was released in 2017 on the early-music.com label and was reviewed warmly. Passaggi (ATMA 2013), his first CD with the Canadian recorder player Vincent Lauzer, was nominated for an ADISQ award. His performances have been broadcast by American Public Media, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Klara (Belgium), and Radio 4 (Netherlands). He is currently a PhD candidate at Leiden University and the Orpheus Instituut, Ghent, where his research examines the intersection of memory, improvisation, and the musical work in seventeenth-century.
The Elmer Iseler Singers (EIS), conducted by artistic director Lydia Adams, enters its 39th Anniversary Season in 2017/18. This 20-voice fully-professional choral ensemble, founded by the late Dr. Elmer Iseler in 1979, has built an enviable reputation throughout Canada, the United States and internationally through concerts, broadcasts and recordings — performing repertoire that spans 500 years, with a focus on Canadian composers.
EIS present a five-concert series in Toronto each season, and are featured at concerts, workshops, and festivals throughout Canada. Touring is also a major component of EIS activities, with two multi-city tours in the 2016/2017 season – one to Western Canada and one to Atlantic Canada.
Annually, EIS sponsors choral workshops through their GET MUSIC! Educational Outreach Initiative for secondary school conductors and choirs, concluding with a joint public performance.
In addition to her work with EIS, Lydia Adams is conductor and artistic director of the Amadeus Choir. In September 2016 the women from both EIS and Amadeus Choir, along with the Toronto Children’s Chorus, joined with the TSO to perform Mahler’s Symphony No. 3. Then in February 2017, EIS and Amadeus Choir joined with the TSO (Stéphane Denève, conductor) for the Fauré Requiem.
The Elmer Iseler Singers are a 2014 National Choral Award recipient and a 2017 Juno Nominee in the “Classical Album of the Year: Vocal or Choral Performance” category.
Janina Fialkowska, piano is a world-renowned Juno Award winning pianist whose distinguished career spans more than 40 years. The Montreal born artist’s professional career was launched in 1974 by the legendary Arthur Rubinstein, after her prize-winning performances at the first piano competition held in his name. Rubinstein famously declared that in her, he had found “a born Chopin interpreter.” Blending her vast experience with her refreshingly natural approach “Fialkowska has become an artist of rare distinction as well as retaining all the virtuosity of her youth” (La Presse, Montreal). Born to a Canadian mother and a Polish father in Montreal, Fialkowska started to study the piano with her mother at the age of five. Later she studied with Yvonne Hubert in Montreal and Yvonne Lefebure in Paris. The University of Montreal awarded her both advanced degrees of “Baccalaureat” and “Maitrise” by the time she was only 17. In 1970 she entered the Juilliard School of Music in New York, where she first studied with Sascha Gorodnitzki and later became his assistant for five years. Fialkowska is an “Officer of the Order of Canada” and holds three honorary doctorates (Acadia, Queen’s and Wilfrid Laurier). Among her many awards and honors, she is the recipient of the “2012 Governor General’s Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Achievement in Classical Music”, being the first female instrumentalist to be so honored. Beyond the demands of the concert stage, Fialkowska is committed to inspiring the next generation of pianists. Her International Piano Academy was founded in 2010 and is held annually in Bavaria, Germany, where she resides. The academy provides an opportunity for Fialkowska to mentor emerging pianists and pass on the traditions of her own teachers from the Russian and French schools. Fialkowska is also the founder of the award-winning “Piano Six” project and its successor “Piano Plus,” an initiative that saw a group of internationally renowned Canadian pianists give recitals and master-classes each year in the smaller, more remote communities across the country.
Inga Filippova Williams (soprano) is an award-winning and internationally known Opera Singer. Some roles include Cio Cio San in Madama Butterfly with Voice Afire Pocket Opera; Nedda in Pagliacci with Opera Lyra; and Fiordiligi in Cosi fan tutte. Inga was a finalist in such prestigious competitions as Louis Quilico Voice Competition 2008; Julian Gayarre International Singing Competition in Pamplona, Spain; Laureate of Jeunes Ambassadeurs Lyriques Voice Competitions 2008, 2011, 2013; Czech and Slovak Voice Competition 2009; Pavarotti International Voice Competition in Modena, Italy; Riccardo Zandonai Opera Competition in Riva del Garda, Italy.
Hailed by critics “Very musical and an intelligent singer, vocally secure and expressive’’, Ukrainian Soprano Inga Filippova Williams already started her vibrant music career Engagements for 2011 include Cio Cio San in Madama Butterfly with Voice Afire Pocket Opera; First Lady in Die Zauberflöte, Nedda in Pagliacci with Opera Lyra , Vanessa in Vanessa with SOLT Messiah – Soprano with OntarioPhilharmonic Orchestra conducted by Marco Parisotto Florida Concert Tour 2012, Germany Audition Tour 2012 The winner of Prix Lyrique Allemand Bourse Sebyllas Hesse Annee 2011 from Jeunes Ambassadeurs LyriquesInga Filippova has proven herself to be an exceptional talented opera singerwhere ”Her beautiful and flexible full lyric voice, even from top to bottom, istailor made for this most exacting of Mozart heroines, with excellent florituraand huge high Cs” in Cosi Fan Tutte – Fiordiligi, Le Nozzie di Figaro”-Coutessa conducted by Mario Bernardi , Die Zauberflöte- First Ladyconducted by Tyrone Paterson, Beethoven Ninth Symphony conducted byPeter Oundjian, Gabriel Faure Requiem conducted by Woloschuk William.Mrs. Filippova as a laureate of Jeunes Ambassadeure Lyriques 2011 was representing Canada on the 7 Klaudia Taev International Voice Competitionin Estonia, 2011Finalist of many local and International competitions like: Riccardo Zandonai , Italy 2016 . Louis Quilico Voice Competition 2008, Laureate of Jeunes Ambassadeurs Lyriques Voice Competitions 2008, 2011, 2013. National Association Teacher of Singing competition where she received a Scholarship and Award as “The Most Promising Young Artist…” in 2008 she was a Finalist and prizewinner at the 12 Julian Gayarre International SingingCompetition in Pamplona, Spain. Finalist of Czech and Slovak Voice Competition 2009, Ben Steinberg Musical Legacy Award 2009 .First place at Ukraine: Musical Tribute Competition As well she participated in the Pavarotti International Voice Competition in Modena, Italy . Mrs. Filippova Williams graduated from the Artist Diploma Program at the Glenn GouldSchool, Toronto .
Elinor Frey, cello, is fascinated by the cello’s origins and the creative process of new music. Frey plays both period and modern instruments. Her recent release on the Belgian label Passacaille, Berlin Sonatas with Lorenzo Ghielmi on fortepiano, was nominated for a Juno award for Best Classical CD, Solo & Chamber Music and won the 2015 Québec Opus Prize for Early Music CD of the year. Her performance of this program was the winner of the public prize at the 2013 Utrecht Early Music Festival Fringe. In Summer 2017, she released Fiorè, the world premiere recording of the sonatas of Angelo Maria Fiorè and various unknown Italian arias the, performed alongside Lorenzo Ghielmi and Suzie LeBlanc. She also recently performed Lutoslawski’s cello concerto and a new concerto by Colin Labadie with the Laurier Symphony, as well as a concerto by Keiko Devaux with Ensemble Arkea and conductor Dina Gilbert. Frey’s honours include a US-Italy Fulbright Fellowship where she studied baroque cello with Paolo Beschi, the SSHRC Canada Graduate Scholarship, American Musicological Society, and Canada Council for the Arts grants facilitating her work on Italian cello music. In recent seasons she has performed with Il Gardellino, Ensemble Caprice, Studio de musique ancienne de Montréal, Les Idées heureuses, Arion, Constantinople, Clavecin en concert, and Theatre of Early Music, as well as with her quartet, Pallade Musica, grand prize winners of the 2012 Early Music America Baroque Performance Competition and second prize winners in the 2014 International Van Wassenaer Competition in Utrecht. Frey holds degrees from McGill, Mannes, and Juilliard.
“A string and brass band playing really old dance-music from New Orleans”
Formed in New Orleans as a collective of several street performing groups, Frog & Henry perform and record old dance and jazz music from the early 1900’s on brass and string instruments, with several singers and vocal harmony. Most of our repertoire was obtained by digging up forgotten songs from the dawn of recorded music, in the form of early dance tunes, and from even earlier 19thc sheet music.
We’ve borrowed the phrase ‘string and brass band’ from the descriptions of the earliest dance and jazz bands. And in that tradition we feature violin and mandolin-banjo as melody instruments along with clarinet and baritone saxophone. We’ve also designed a foot-operated tuba that allows one person to play tuba and six-string banjo simultaneously. Our typical 5 members can be increased to 8 or 10 if requested.
2018’s concert series in W.Europe represents the result of active playing, traveling, and research over the past ten years – of living, partying, and performing in New Orleans – and finally arriving at an ensemble sound that comes as close as we’ve ever been able to achieve to that of the earliest New Orleans jazz and dance bands.