Edwin Outwater, Music Director
Edwin Outwater is Music Director of Ontario’s Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony (KWS), Director of Summer Concerts at the San Francisco Symphony (SFS), and a regular guest conductor of the Chicago, San Francisco and New World Symphonies. Equally adept at interpreting canonical masterworks, premiering new commissions, and creating outside-the-box audience-building initiatives the American conductor is, as San Francisco Classical Voice recently observed, “headed for a top-tier future.”
In the 2014-15 season, his eighth as Music Director of the KWS, Outwater leads the orchestra in a characteristically diverse array of programs. These include “The Mozart Phenomenon”; a collaboration with Time for Three; a program focusing on Stravinsky and another of works inspired by Shakespeare; music and comedy from composers including Rossini and PDQ Bach; and works by contemporary Canadian composers. He also continues the orchestra’s groundbreaking “Intersections” series of cross-cultural and interdisciplinary collaborations. In 2011, Outwater directed the KWS in its first commercial CD release in over a decade, From Here On Out on Analekta, with music by Nico Muhly, Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood, and Arcade Fire’s Richard Reed Parry, the last piece a KWS commission. This summer, in his inaugural season as Director of Summer Concerts at the SFS, Outwater directed jazz-inflected works by Bernstein, Gershwin, and Ravel; an all-Beethoven program; and collaborations with pianist Makoto Ozone and Broadway star Cheyenne Jackson, among others. His work with the SFS continues later this season when Outwater conducts the orchestra’s New Year’s Eve Masquerade Ball and family concerts, as well as collaborating with Nathaniel Stookey at the SFS’s new alternative performance space, SoundBox. He also conducts the Milwaukee Symphony, and returns to lead the Chicago Symphony and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales.
A native of Santa Monica, California, Edwin Outwater attended Harvard University, graduating with a degree in English; he received his master’s degree in conducting from UC Santa Barbara. Outwater was Resident Conductor of the San Francisco Symphony from 2001-2006 where he worked closely with Michael Tilson Thomas, toured with the orchestra, and conducted numerous concerts. In 2004, his education programs at the San Francisco Symphony were given the Leonard Bernstein Award for Excellence in Educational Programming and his Chinese New Year Program was given the MET LIFE award for community outreach. In the United States, Outwater has also conducted the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestras, as well as the symphony orchestras of Baltimore, Houston, Detroit, and Seattle, and the San Francisco and Cincinnati Operas. In Canada, he has conducted the National Arts Centre Orchestra, as well as the symphonies of Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, and Victoria. International appearances include the Tokyo Metropolitan Orchestra, the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, the New Zealand Symphony, the Adelaide Symphony, the Malmö Symphony, the Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie, the Mexico City Philharmonic, the Orquesta Sinfónica de Xalapa, and the Hong Kong Sinfonietta.
Raffi Armenian, Music Director Laureate
Canadian conductor Raffi Armenian became Director of Orchestral Studies at the University of Toronto in 1999, a position he continues to hold at Montreal's Conservatoire de Musique, and which he held for two years at the Hochschule fur Musik und Darstellende Kunst, in Graz, Austria.
Having debuted at Fresno International Grand Opera conducting Il Trovatore, he has since returned for their productions of Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Rigoletto, and in spring 2002 he will return to conduct La Traviata. Highlights of the 2001-2002 season includes return guest conducting engagements with Michigan Opera Theater for the premiere of Anoush (a new Armenian opera). Maestro Armenian will return to guest conduct the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Orchestra (Ontario) in two concerts. In May the orchestra will record for Canteloube's Chants D'Auvergne for a cd release on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation label. In addition, he will guest conduct the Victoria Symphony (British Columbia).
One of Canada's most prominent conductors, he was Music Director of the Kitchener- Waterloo Symphony for 22 years. Long-term appointments also include Music Director of the Stratford Festival, Music Director of the Canadian Chamber Ensemble, and Interim Music Director of the Nova Scotia Symphony. As a guest conductor he has led the Belgian Radio Orchestra, Enescu Philharmonic of Bucharest at the Ravenna International Music Festival, Winnipeg Symphony, Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, L'Orchestre Symphonique de Québec, Edmonton Symphony, and Hamilton Philharmonic.
Maestro Armenian is passionate about the human voice, and has conducted numerous productions at such illustrious companies as the Canadian Opera Company (Toronto), L'Opéra de Montréal, Opera Hamilton, and Opera Columbus. The Armenian legacy is secured by his highly acclaimed performance of Wagner's PARSIFAL in which tenor Jon Vickers made his final public appearance in 1989.
Maestro Armenian has garnered numerous awards for his work including an Emmy Award for Menotti's MEDIUM, a Juno nomination for a recording of Ravel and Schoenberg with Maureen Forrester and the Canadian Chamber Ensemble (CCE), and the Grand Prix du Disque from the Canadian Music Council for the CCE's Serenades, which subsequently was nominated for a Juno Award. His discography includes some 24 discs with the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony. Maestro Armenian is a member of the elite Order of Canada awarded by the Canadian government in 1991.
Daniel Bartholomew Poyser, Assistant Conductor
Born in Montréal, Quèbec, Daniel has primarily been a resident of Calgary, Alberta. While in Calgary, Daniel has been Artistic Director of Players Chamber Ensemble, Assistant Conductor of the Calgary Civic Symphony, Director of the University of Calgary All-City Wind Ensemble, Orchestral Director of Ambrose University College and teacher of music at Glenmore Christian Academy. Daniel’s conducting career has seen him study with some of the foremost conductors of this generation, among them Dr. Glenn Price of the University of Calgary, Mark Hopkins of Acadia University, Clark Rundell of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Baldur Bronnimann of the National Symphony Orchestra of Colombia, Rolf Bertsch of the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra and Arthur Post, of the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra. His studies at the University of Calgary earned him the Faculty of Fine Arts Gold Medal from which he went on to complete a Bachelor of Education and a Diploma of Fine Arts in Advanced Wind Conducting. After teaching for four years, Daniel studied at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester England, where he earned the Royal Northern College’s James Kershaw Memorial Scholarship, Brierley Conducting Prize, David Frederick-Baker Memorial Prize and the degree, Master of Philosophy in Music Performance. While at the RNCM, Daniel completed a thesis on the compositional aesthetics of the Second Viennese School, studying with Dr. Douglas Jarman, Urtext Editor of the Berg Violin Concerto. His conducting journey has seen him guest conduct both the Calgary and Rochester Philharmonics. Upon returning to Calgary, Daniel was appointed Assistant Conductor of the Calgary Civic Symphony, Director of Orchestra at Ambrose University College and re-appointed Artistic Director of Players Ensemble. In addition to conducting and guest conducting, Daniel also regularly performs on Tuba as a member of both Brass Northwest and the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra, where he was Resident and Associate conductor from 2011-2014.
In the 2013-2014 season Dan was awarded the Canada Council Jean-Marie Beaudet Award for Orchestra Conducting, and received an RBC Royal Bank Emerging Young Artist grant.
Bénédicte Lauzière, Concertmaster
Described as "beautiful to watch and breathtaking to hear" by the Guelph Mercury, Ms Lauzière began learning the violin at the age of five and then attended Conservatoire de Musique de Montréal from 2001 to 2009 with Helmut Lipsky. Ms Lauzière completed her Bachelor of Music degree with Jonathan Crow at the Schulich School of Music of McGill University in 2012, with the aid of the Lloyd Carr-Harris scholarship. Ms Lauzière holds a Master of Music degree from the Juilliard School where she studied with Masao Kawasaki, with the support of the Karl H. Kraeuter and the H. & E. Kivekas Scholarships. Miss Lauziere has also been a recipient of the Grants to Professional Musicians - Individuals from the Canada Council for the Arts.
Ms Lauzière is the winner of the 2014 Prix d’Europe, a prestigious prize which supports her continuing development as a violinist. Newly arrived in the US, Ms Lauzière was delighted to play in New York’s legendary Carnegie Hall for the first time as a member of the Juilliard Orchestra under the baton of Alan Gilbert in October 2013. Bénédicte is equally committed to her performances as soloist, recitalist, chamber musician and orchestra player. She performed Mendelssohn’s Concerto No. 1 in D minor in October 2012 as guest soloist of the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony series Baroque and Beyond. During her studies at McGill, Ms Lauzière had the opportunity of performing Tchaikovsky Concerto op. 35 in D major in February 2012 and Mendelssohn Concerto No. 2 op. 64 in E minor in February 2011 with the McGill Sinfonietta. In the summer of 2011, Ms Lauzière was announced the first winner of the Michael Measures Prize from the Canada Council for the Arts. In February 2010, Ms. Lauzière won the silver medal of the Stulberg International String Competition, which gave her the chance to perform as a soloist in the Korngold Concerto op. 35 in D major with the Western Michigan University Orchestra. Also in 2010, she won the Peter Mendell award, which is given every year to the most promising musician attending a Montreal university. Bénédicte was awarded first prize in her age category at the Canadian Music Competition in 2006, 2007 and 2008. In 2008, she was played as soloist in Prokofiev’s Concerto No. 1 in A minor with the Quebec Symphony Orchestra and maestro Yoav Talmi. In addition to the solo repertoire, Ms Lauzière also cherishes the chamber music repertoire, collaborating with Jonathan Crow, Mark Fewer, and Andrés Dìas, to only name a few. Smitten with the orchestral repertoire, she is delighted to have been appointed concertmaster of the KW Symphony in January 2015.
Lance Ouellette, 2nd Associate Concertmaster
Lance Ouellette grew up in Saint John, NB, where he began studying the violin, piano, and voice from the age of 5 years old. While attending the University of Toronto and Wilfrid Laurier University, Lance was awarded top prizes in the Canadian Music Competition and the FCMF national music festival. As a soloist and chamber musician, Lance has performed on stages across Canada and has been featured on Showtime/Showcase Television, CBC Radio, CTV, NPR, as well as music festivals ranging from northern Ontario to southern Mexico. Career highlights include concert tours of Canada and Japan with the NYOC, performing in Carnegie hall with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and an upcoming European concert tour in the summer of 2014.
Lance joined the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony in 2003 as the 2nd Associate Concertmaster. His versatility as an orchestral musician has enabled him to perform in various positions with orchestras such as the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Orchestra, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestra London Canada, G27, Regina Symphony, Symphony NB, PEI Symphony, Esprit Orchestra, and several freelance orchestras throughout Ontario.
Along side private instruction, Lance has enjoyed working for the University of Waterloo, Wilfrid Laurier University, York University, the RCM, the National Youth Orchestra of Canada, the National Academy Orchestra, IMC, and the KWS Youth Orchestra Program.
As an adjudicator, Lance has toured Canada from coast to coast through his work with the Canadian Music Competition and the Federation of Canadian Music Festivals.
Lance is an avid golfer, and enjoys playing table tennis, cycling, and windsurfing.
Peter has been with the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony since 1987. A native of Sarnia, Ontario he began his studies at the age of seven under Richard Lawrence. Peter obtained his degree in Violin Performance from The University of Western Ontario in 1986 studying with Lorand Fenyves. He attended the Royal Conservatory of Toronto's Orchestral Training Program in 1987 under the tutelage of Steven Staryk and in the same year won the audition for the KWS.
Peter maintains a full time private studio in Kitchener and has coached the Kitchener-Waterloo Youth Orchestra for nine years. This summer will be his sixth year teaching at The Kincardine Festival of Music. Peter and his wife are members of the Amarone String Quartet.
A native of British Columbia, violinist Allene Chomyn holds a Master of Music degree from the University of Toronto (2007), and a Bachelor of Music with Distinction from the University of Victoria (2005). In addition to the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, of which she has been a member since 2007, Allene maintains a busy freelance career with various ensembles in Southern Ontario, and is the conductor of the KWS Youth Sinfonia, the Youth Orchestra Program's senior string ensemble. Allene is also an Early Music enthusiast. She has attended the Tafelmusik Summer Institute (2011,2013), the Tafelmusik Winter Institute (2013, 2014), and studies privately with Jeanne Lamon in Toronto.
Allene has been a featured soloist with the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony (2011) and the Kitchener-Waterloo Community Orchestra (2012) and performs chamber music recitals frequently on both Baroque and modern violin. Besides music, which keeps her quite busy, Allene is a bridal/special event hair stylist with a mobile styling business, and loves to draw, bake, and attend dance classes.
Angela Cox-Daly has been a member of the KW symphony since 1988 as second associate concertmaster until 2003. After a playing related injury and almost three years off, Angela gratefully returned as a section first violinist. She is an active chamber music performer in Canada and the United States and has appeared as soloist with various chamber and symphony orchestras including the Kitchener Waterloo Symphony, KW Community Orchestra, Scarborough Philharmonic and the North York Symphony. Angela was on scholarship on both violin and piano at the Royal Conservatory of Music (Toronto) in the Course for gifted students for seven years and was a recipient of over one hundred awards and scholarships in both piano and violin prior to graduating from the University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Music in Performance degree.
Angela enjoys a versatile career including teaching, coaching, adjudicating, summer music festivals etc. In partnership with her musician-husband, Ross, they manage Daly Live Music & Entertainment which provides live music for all types of engagements. Their three children have been members of all levels of the wonderful Kitchener-Waterloo Youth Orchestra programme. Angela is also an avid trick water-skier!
Julia Dixon joined the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony in 1988 after graduating from the University of Western Ontario. Her principal teachers were Steven Staryk and Lorand Fenyves. Julia also teaches violin privately and performs chamber music regularly in the Kitchener area.
A native of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Anna's violin studies began at the age of 8 in the elementary school system. Having won a major local competition at the age of 14, she began seriously to consider a future in music. Being chosen to participate in the National Youth Orchestra of Canada in 1972 proved to be a turning point in her profession.
A position in the Winnipeg Symphony was offered to her in her final year of university as part of a scholarship development programme. Upon graduating from the University of Manitoba with a Bachelor of Music degree in 1973, she moved east and soon discovered Raffi Armenian and the KWS the following year.
One of her proudest accomplishments has been the creation and production of the infamous KWS calendars for the years '95 and '96. Highlights of her career would have to be performing the inaugural performance of Mahler's 2nd Symphony at the opening of the Centre in the Square, and the exciting tour with the CCE to South America.
In her spare time Anna enjoys fitness training, and has a passion for movies.
Anita Walsh, Principal
Currently Principal Second Violinist with the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, Anita enjoys a varied career, displaying versatility in a wide range of musical styles. As an orchestral player, she has performed with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, National Arts Centre Orchestra, Thirteen Strings Ensemble, and as guest Principal with the Winnipeg and London (Ont.) Symphony Orchestras.
Equally at home as a chamber musician, Anita is a founding member of the Bremen String Quartet, and has appeared in concert with distinguished colleagues at the Ottawa Chamber Music Festival, MusicFest Vancouver, the Glenn Gould Studio, Colorado Springs Summer Music Festival, Le Domaine Forget, Festival of the Sound, Scotia Festival of Music, Banff Centre for the Performing Arts, Perimeter Institute, Blackcreek Festival, and the Westben Arts Festival. She has recorded for CBC records, and has been broadcasted on CBC Radio’s “Take Five” and “In Performance”.
Originally from Ottawa, Anita studied formatively with David Zafer, Lorand Fenyves, and David Stewart, earning her M.Mus. She received additional training from Pinchas Zukerman, Midori, Kyoko Takezawa, Cho-Liang Lin, and members of the St. Lawrence, Orford, Ying, and Tokyo string quartets.
Aside from her affinity for performing, Anita is deeply committed to volunteerism in the Waterloo Region. She enjoys working with various groups, including the National Service Dogs of Canada who train Labrador and Golden Retrievers for families living with autism and post traumatic stress disorder.
Roxolana Toews, Associate Principal
Roxolana has been with the KWS since 1989. She has also played with the Thunder Bay and Windsor Symphony as Principal Second Violin. Roxolana has performed solo recitals in Montreal and New York. In her spare time, you may find her playing bridge.
Leslie Ting, Assistant Principal
Currently based in Toronto, violinist Leslie Ting has appeared in a wide range of settings including performing Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 1 with Quebecois conductor Jean-François Rivest, touring across Southern Ontario with the Bicycle Opera Project, and acting as Assistant Principal Second Violin of the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Orchestra.
An avid chamber musician, Leslie has performed in London, England as a member of the Adoch Trio with Hiro Takenouchi, piano and Dongkyun An, cello. Strad magazine praised the ensemble for creating "fire without smoke." She has since shared the stage with Paul Neubauer, Scott St John and Paul Watkins. In Toronto, she has appeared in the Pocket Concerts chamber music series.
With a special curiosity for other genres, Leslie recently produced, created and performed in SPECULATION: how absence can change and experience. This multi-disciplinary work about how we prioritize sight and hearing in our relationships premiered in Kitchener, Ontario in affiliation with the Open Ears Festival and as a co-production with the MT Space theatre company. Creation was generously supported by the Ontario Arts Council, the Region of Waterloo Arts Fund, and a successful Kickstarter campaign.
Other collaborations have included composing and performing the original music for the short film Knife by Montreal-based filmmaker Nancy Baric which has screened in the US, Canada and Russia, appearing in the multi-media event The Shift at the Drake Underground in Toronto with the Music in the Barns ensemble, and working on sound creation for the inaugural installation An Act of Timing by Nestor Kruger at the Fort York Museum.
Leslie is an alumna of the University of Waterloo where she obtained Bachelor of Honours Science and Doctor of Optometry degrees. During her studies she was the recipient of a National Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada grant for research in vision sciences. Leslie was a practicing optometrist from 2005-2007 and traveled to Anna Regina, Guyana as a volunteer optometrist with Canadian Vision Care.
She holds a Master of Music degree and an Artist Diploma from Université de Montréal, and has worked with various artists at the Banff Centre for the Arts, the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria, the Kayaleh Academy in Switzerland and the Toronto Summer Music Festival.
Michael has been playing with the KWS since 1983. Michael grew up in Montreal, QC and studied at McGill University.
After graduating from the Quebec Conservatoire with a coveted Premier Prix in 1989, Sophie Drouin completed her studies in Toronto and Banff with, among others Liliane Garnier-LeSage and Lorand Fenyves. She has been a member of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra (1991-97), the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, and the Musick Barok Ensemble (Winnipeg). She is currently a violinist in the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony.
Vicky, a native of Toronto, completed her Bachelor of Music degree in Performance at the University of Toronto under Lorand Fenyves. She continued her violin studies at McGill University with Mauricio Fuks and joined the KWS as a member of the 2nd violin section in 1992. Vicky also enjoys playing chamber music and teaching violin.
A native of Ottawa, Elspeth Durward holds a Bachelor of Music from the University of Toronto and a Masters of Music from the Hartt School of Music. Prior to joining the KW Symphony, Elspeth spent three years performing with the New World Symphony in Miami Beach, Florida under the direction of Michael Tilson Thomas. Highlights of her time with the NWS include residencies with MTT at Rome's National Academy of Saint Cecilia and New York's Carnegie Hall.
As an orchestral performer, Elspeth has appeared with the Pacific Music Festival in Japan, Spoleto Festival USA, the Britt Festival Orchestra, the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and the Toronto Symphony. She has been featured in concert with the Emerson String Quartet, participated in masterclasses and chamber music at the American Conservatory in Fontainebleau, France, and attended the Pinchas Zukerman Young Artists Program in Ottawa.
Elspeth is a faculty member of the Suzuki String School of Guelph. Prior to pursuing a musical career, she earned a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from Queen's University in 1997.
Natasha Sharko, Principal
A long-time member of the Gould String Quartet, the quartet-in-residence at the Niagara International Chamber Music Festival, Natasha has delighted audiences with her talent, charm and dedication to her music. Born in Sudbury, Natasha began her violin lessons at the age of four. First-place winner of numerous Kiwanis Competitions, she was concertmistress of the Sudbury Youth Orchestra, played in the Sudbury Symphony from the age of 12, and soon after joined the National Youth Orchestra. Initially studying science at McGill University, Natasha missed having music as a part of her life and ended up graduating with a triple major – Violin Performance, Viola Performance, and Music History. It was at McGill where she was first invited to try the viola and she felt an immediate personal connection to its deeper voice. Natasha went on to earn a Master of Music degree from the University of Toronto. Her career has included performances with Opera Hamilton, the Festival dei due mondi in Spoleto, Italy, three seasons with the Boris Brott National Academy Orchestra, freelancing with orchestras across Southern Ontario, and teacher and chamber music coach on faculty at the Toronto School for Strings. 2011/12 marks Natasha’s first season as Principal Viola for the KWS.
Judith Davenport, Associate Principal
Judith Davenport, a native of St.John's NF, began her studies on the violin when she was five years old. In a desperate attempt to get into the Newfoundland Symphony Youth Orchestra at the age of ten, she decided to switch to viola and has never looked back.
Judith studied with members of the Atlantic String Quartet and moved to Kitchener in 1992 to continue her education at Wilfrid Laurier University with members of the Penderecki String Quartet. During her studies, Judith won the Wilfrid Laurier Concerto Competition as well as the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra's Concerto Competition. She has been a member of the National Youth Orchestra, continuing her summer studies in Banff, at the Orford Arts Centre and has participated in a number of QuartetFests at Wilfrid Laurier University.
Judith's primary teachers have been Laura Wilcox, Yariv Aloni and Dov Scheindlin.
She has performed in masterclasses with many of today's most prominent musicians including Karen Tuttle, Paul Coletti, and Lorand Fenyves.
She is an active freelance musician playing with such orchestras as the Elora Festival Orchestra, Festival of the Sound Orchestra, Grand River Baroque Festival, the Aradia Ensemble and the Westben Festival Orchestra.
Judith is an avid chamber musician and a founding member of the Bremen String Quartet, a dynamic new quartet in the region which is in high demand to perform at venues such as PI Bistro series, KWMS, First United, WLU and Conrad Grebel. She has been featured with the 4tet on the KWS's Baroque and Beyond series, will be performing at the Leith Summer Festival in July 2011, and will present a chamber music seminar and a series of masterclasses at the National Academy Orchestra 's chamber music festival. a solo concerto with the KW Community Orchestra and the Oakville Chamber Orchestra.
As an educator, Judith is very active in the Kitchener-Waterloo community. She has taught at University of Waterloo (Conrad Grebel), University of Toronto, Eastwood Collegiate as well as maintaining a small private studio and giving masterclasses at Wilfrid Laurier. She is regularly called upon to coach the string sections of the KWS Youth Orchestra and the WLU orchestra. She is also in high demand as a clinician across southern Ontario. In 2008 the Bremen String Quartet established a highly successful chamber music program for young musicians under the auspices of the KWS.
Judith has held the position of Associate Principal Viola with the KWS since October, 2002.
Violist Martha Kalyniak is a long time member of the Kitchener Waterloo Symphony.She began her musical studies at the tender age of six.She first started playing with the orchestra as an extra player in 1977, and became a full time member of the viola section in 1982.
Martha is currently on faculty of the Kitchener Waterloo Community String School, and has enjoyed teaching both violin and viola to children and adults for over thirty years.
Martha is also a member of the Leith Quartet and enjoys performing concerts, and weddings in Southern Ontario throughout the year.
During her spare time, Martha likes to work in her garden, and enjoys looking after her two cats, Max and Jack, and her two dogs, Oliver and Bailey Quarters Malleck.
Margaret Metcalfe was born in Winnipeg and studied piano and violin there, and later in Ottawa during high-school years. She served as concertmaster of her high school orchestra and the Ottawa Youth Orchestra, and joined the AFM at the age of 17 in order to play with the CBC Orchestra in Ottawa.
After graduating from McGill University with a Bachelor of Music in Performance, she played in l'Orchestre Symphonique de Quebec, the North Carolina Symphony (assistant principal second violin), the Edmonton Symphony, and the KWS; before taking up the viola in 1980 and joining the viola section of the KWS that year. She has also freelanced in many other areas, and served as Principal Violist of the Woodstock Strings from 1987until its recent fold in May of 2003, as well as performing many solo and chamber music recitals.
She has been teaching violin, viola, and theory; privately since coming to this area in 1978, and coaching the viola section of the KWS Youth Orchestra since 1988. She also coached at the Music at the Boyne programme of the Toronto Board of Education from 1994 until 2002, its last session. From 1994-2007, she directed Viola Camp in Waterloo, a lively party for motivated students. For her work with the camp, she received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Canadian Viola Society.
David Wadley joined the viola section of the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony in 1984. His chair is generously sponsored by Joanne and John Bender. In addition to teaching and coaching violin and viola students, he arranges and composes. David has been spending his summers at the Banff Centre as Orchestra Manager since 2007.
John Helmers, Principal
John Helmers joined the KWS in 1986. He studied at Queen's and Indiana University. John has played with the National Ballet of Canada Orchestra, and the Calgary Philharmonic. He appears regularly as a chamber musician at various summer festivals, including the Elora Festival, and the Sharon Festival.
Christopher Sharpe, Associate Principal
Chris Sharpe has been a member of the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony since coming to WLU as a student in 1979. His early studies were with Mary Evens and Gisela Depkat (former Principal Cello, KWS). After graduating from WLU with a B. Mus. degree in 1982 Chris became a full-time member of the KWS and continued studies with George Neikrug in Boston.
In addition to being a member of the cello section, Chris has enjoyed a variety of KWS administration roles. He is currently the Interim Director of Development.
Anthony Christie, Assistant Principal
Tony joined the KWS in 1994. Previously, he played with the Thunder Bay Symphony, and the Houston Symphony. Tony studied at the University of Houston, and the University of Cincinnati. In his spare time, Tony enjoys sailing and canoeing.
A native of Guelph, Ontario, Cathy Anderson holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Wilfrid Laurier University, where she studied cello with Paul Pulford and members of the Penderecki String Quartet. She earned a Master of Music degree at Yale University under the tutelage of Aldo Parisot, where she received regular coachings from members of the Tokyo String Quartet. Cathy has had the opportunity to perform in concert with the St. Lawrence, Penderecki and Borealis String Quartets, and has been heard as a soloist and chamber musician on CBC Radio. Cathy, along with three other members of the KWS, now plays in the Bremen String Quartet which performs frequently in the area and runs the KWS Youth Chamber Program. Before joining the KWS in 2007, Cathy played in the Thunder Bay Symphony and taught the cello studio at Lakehead University. She recently taught a semester at Wilfrid Laurier University, and played for the Drayton Entertainment productions of Evita and Annie.
A native of Kitchener, Nancy studied in Vancouver, and at the Royal College of Music in London, England. This season marks Nancy’s 37th as a member of the cello section of the KWS. Over the years she has been very active in the Players' and Negotiating Committees, as well as serving for several years as the KWS representative to the Organization of Canadian Symphonic Musicians. Nancy was also the President of Local 226 of the American Federation of Musicians from 1997 to 2000. In September of 2001, Nancy joined the KWS staff as the Education and Outreach Coordinator and in 2009 she took on the position of Orchestra Personnel Manager. Recent empty nesters, Nancy lives with her husband Dennis in their home on the outskirts of Kitchener. Nancy’s various activities include pie baking, never-ending home renovations, sampling sunshine in various parts of the globe, making hand thrown pottery, and she is a recipient of a Bronze Proficiency Award from the British Fencing Association.
Nancy’s chair in the orchestra is generously sponsored by Abby Goodrum.
Ian Whitman, Principal
A native of Edmonton, Ian Whitman was introduced to the bass at age 17 and spent 2 years studying jazz music at Grant MacEwan College. He went on to receive his Bachelor’s of Music degree at McGill University and completed his Master's of Music from the Yale University School of Music. After a year at the New England Conservatory in Boston, Ian joined the KWS in 2008.
Ian was a member of the National Youth Orchestra, the Banff Festival Orchestra, and served as Principal Bass of L'orchestre de la francophonie canadienne. He has performed with Canadian orchestras including l'Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Hamilton Philharmonic, and the Calgary Philharmonic. In 2009, Ian became a member of the very first “YouTube Symphony Orchestra,” for which 90 musicians from 27 countries were selected from thousands of entries to perform at Carnegie Hall, under Michael Tilson Thomas
During his time in the region, Ian has appeared as soloist with the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony and Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber Orchestra, performed with the Penderecki String Quartet, the Numus Ensemble. He has also appeared on the KW Chamber Music Society in Waterloo, the InnerChamber Series in Stratford, and the Colours of Music Festival in Barrie as well participated in Tafelmusik's Summer Baroque Institute. In 2012, he joined the faculty at Wilfrid Laurier University
Ian is an avid reader and takes particular interest in history and science. He keeps active through Yoga and playing Squash with fellow KWS musicians.
His chair in the orchestra is generously sponsored by Margaret McCreery and Ron Craigen.
George Greer, Associate Principal
George Greer, Associate Principal Double Bass, joined the KWS in 1978, after playing principal bass with the City of Birmingham Symphony in England for six years. While in England he freelanced with the London Symphony Orchestra, making recordings with Andre Previn and Claudio Abbado.
George was principal bass for the Gilbert and Sullivan productions of the 80's in Stratford. He did a MusBach Performance degree at University of Toronto, where his principal teacher was the late Thomas Monohan. Later he studied with the late Stuart Knussen.
In addition to serving as principal bass of the KWS from time to time over the years, George teaches at Wilfrid Laurier University, where he has performed often with the Penderecki Quartet. He is principal bass of the Sinfonia Mississauga Chamber Orchestra, and Elora Festival Orchestra. George's solo bass recitals in Waterloo, Barrie, Orillia and Simcoe have been acclaimed.
Bird watching has been an interest for some 20 years. His son Julian, his wife Heather and cat named Gryffin complete the family.
Milos Petrak, Assistant Principal
Born in Prague, Czech Republic, Milos Petrak began his musical training at age six, taking violin lessons from his father, a member of Czech Philharmonic. At age fifteen he switched to the double bass and continued his training at the Prague Conservatory of Music, where he studied under Frantisek Posta, principal double bass player of Czech Philharmonic, where, for seven years, he played under the direction of Vaclav Neumann. In 1981, he emigrated via Japan to Canada, settling in Toronto. In 1988 he joined the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony. For the last eleven summers, he has participated in the Colorado Music Festival in Boulder.
In his spare time, Milos enjoys cooking and is an avid photographer.
Bruce has been playing with the KWS since 1976. He has played with the St. Catherine's Symphony, and Symphony Canada. Bruce developed a children's solo show for Double Bass, which he has performed in schools across Canada. When not busy performing, Bruce enjoys photography, gardening, and listening to music.
Thomas Kay, Principal
Thomas Kay has been the principal flutist with the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony and Canadian Chamber Ensemble since 1974. Tom grew up on Long Island, New York in a musical family. His father was a jazz guitarist who played with Paul Whiteman and the legendary Dorsey Brothers and for over 20 years was on the staff at ABC television. His mother studied to be an opera singer. Tom studied flute with Jack Fulton (a member of the NBC Symphony under Arturo Toscanini), Gretchen Kander (former piccolo player in the Montreal Symphony), and at Boston University with James Pappoutsakis (who was a member of the Boston Symphony and for 40 seasons principal flutist of the Boston Pops). Upon graduation Tom received a Fulbright Scholarship for study with the principal flutist of the Berlin Philharmonic. In 1971, while attending the Berkshire Music Festival at Tanglewood, Tom was asked by Leonard Bernstein to play the premiere of his MASS for the opening of the Kennedy Center in Washington DC. Tom also performed MASS at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia, the Metropolitan Opera House in New York and the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles.
Tom came to Canada in 1974 to play chamber concerts and operas with the Stratford Festival Ensemble. At the urging of Raffi Armenian, Tom was then asked to join the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony. Over these many seasons Tom has played concertos by Mozart, Nielsen, and Vivaldi (including several of his piccolo concertos). He also gave the Canadian premiere of Bernstein's Halil. One of his most memorable performances was given in the great hall of the Leipzig Gewandhaus where he performed Bach's Suite in b minor with the Canadian Chamber Ensemble.
Carolyn has held the 2nd flute position with of the KW symphony since 1979. After graduating with a music degree from Wilfrid Laurier she spent her summers playing with the National Youth Orchestra and the Canadian Chamber Institute.
Carolyn studied with Jeanne Baxtresser, Nora Shulman and Tom Kay.
She has performed and recorded with the Canadian Chamber Ensemble.
Carolyn and her husband Stephen have 3 children all studying at U of W.
Some of Carolyn's interests are travelling, hiking, gardening and designing Christmas planters and centrepieces.
James Mason, Principal
Highly regarded as one of Canada’s most prominent oboists, James Mason is the Principal Oboe of the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony. He came to Canada in 1975, accepting the Principal Oboe position with the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra, moving to Kitchener in 1979. He has appeared as a soloist, chamber musician and teacher in Germany, Holland, Spain, South America and Japan as well as the United States and Canada. He has appeared as a soloist with the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Association a total of 73 times, more than any musician in its history.
Throughout his career, Jim has regularly recorded for live broadcast on CBC radio. He has been recorded as a soloist with the KWS a total of 8 times and has recorded most of the standard chamber music and solo oboe repertoire, along with several new works for oboe and orchestra written specifically for him. In January of 2007 the Gallery Players of Niagara released a CD of works for oboe and strings commissioned for and recorded with Jim, entitled Canadian Oboe Quartets.
In the summer months, Jim is active in festivals across North America. He performs regularly in the Elora Festival (Elora, Ontario) and Festival of the Sound (Parry Sound, Ontario). Jim and his wife, violinist Julie Baumgartel, were founding Co-Artistic Directors of the Grand River Baroque Festival. From 2008 until 2012 Jim was on the faculty of the Orford Music Academy as a performer and coach. He has been invited to be on the faculty of Canada’s National Youth Orchestra and the Banff Summer Festival. Jim has appeared as guest Principal Oboe with the Boston Symphony, Toronto Symphony and Montreal Symphony Orchestra, along with the National Arts Centre Orchestra.
Jim is on the faculty at Wilfrid Laurier University. A dedicated teacher, in May of 2008 he was the recipient of the WLU Alumni Association’s Faculty Mentor of the Year Award. Jim’s former students started a scholarship fund at WLU in his honor, the James Mason Oboe Scholarship. His students are active in orchestras and musical organizations across the US and Canada as both performers and administrators.
In 1999 Jim Mason was awarded the Kitchener-Waterloo Arts Award for Music. He performs on a Yamaha oboe and is a Yamaha Artist.
Faith joined the KWS in 1974 after studying with Lois Wann at both Sarah Lawrence College and The Juilliard School from where she graduated. One of her interests is teaching grade school students how to create and conduct their own compositions using techniques developed by the London Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
Faith has become a practicing homeopath in recent years and studies Tai chi and Qigong. But really, she says, nothing beats camping and whitewater canoeing on Ontario's rivers.
Ross Edwards, Principal
Ross joined the KWS and Canadian Chamber Ensemble in 1994 after spending time as Principal clarinet with the National Arts Centre Orchestra, and the Vancouver Symphony, to name a few. In addition to his duties with the Symphony Ross teaches at Wilfrid Laurier University. He enjoys listening to music, spending time at the library, and beer from microbreweries.
Barbara Hankins has been a member of the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony since 1980 and performs regularly with the Licorice Allsorts Clarinet Quartet, the K-W Woodwind Quintet, and as a freelance performer.
Since 1972 she has taught clarinet, theory, and chamber music privately, in the public school system, and at the University of Toronto, McMaster University, and Wilfrid Laurier University. Barbara regularly coaches the wind sectionals for the KWS Youth Orchestra.
Ms. Hankins holds a Bachelor of Music degree (performance, with Distinction) and a Bachelor of Education degree from the University of Calgary, a Master of Music degree (performance) from the University of Toronto, and an Associateship Diploma from the Royal Conservatory of Music, Toronto. She is a member of the Board of Examiners of the RCM and the Canadian Music Festival Adjudicators' Association.
Barbara is married to WLU Press computer technician Steve Izma and they have two daughters, Amelia and Gabrielle. She is a volunteer YMCA fitness instructor, sings with the Renaissance Singers and Madrigalia, and enjoys gardening, cycling, cross-country skiing, yoga, and hiking.
Ian Hopkin, Principal
Ian Hopkin joined the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Orchestra as principal bassoonist in September 2012 after completing his Masters of Music at the University of Ottawa, where he was a student of Christopher Millard. He completed his Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience at Dalhousie University in 2009 before making the decision to change career paths. Since that decision, Mr. Hopkin has performed with the National Arts Centre Orchestra of Canada, the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra, has performed and toured with summer festival orchestras including the National Youth Orchestra of Canada, the National Academy Orchestra, L’Orchestre de la Francophonie, and has recorded with CBC on numerous occasions. He has participated in summer festivals including the National Arts Centre Orchestra’s Youth Artist Program, Domaine Forget, Scotiafestival, and has received five awards from the Nova Scotia Talent Trust to support his studies.
Calgary native Michael Macaulay joined the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony in 2013, having previously served as principal bassoon of the Niagara Symphony and Red Deer Symphony. Aside from performing with the KWS he is active as a freelance and chamber musician, and has performed with frequently with the Toronto Symphony, the Calgary Philharmonic, and the National Youth Orchestra of Canada.
Michael’s career as a professional musician began at the age of 18, when he joined the Red Deer Symphony while pursuing his Bachelor of Music at the University of Calgary. During his undergraduate studies he appeared as a soloist in concerti by Mozart and Hindemith with the Calgary Philharmonic, Red Deer Symphony, and University of Calgary orchestras. After graduating with distinction, Michael completed his Master of Music degree with an outside area in arts administration at Indiana University, where he performed with many world-renowned musicians including Leonard Slatkin and Franz Welser-Möst.
Michael is a passionate supporter of new music, and is proud to have taken part in many premiere performances ranging in scale from fully staged opera to works for solo bassoon. He loves exploring new and unfamiliar things. In his spare time Michael most enjoys quiet reflection, a good book, and an excellent cup of coffee.
Martin Limoges, Principal
A native of Montréal, Martin attended the Montréal Conservatory and was awarded First Prize in French Horn Performance and in Chamber Music. In 1988, Martin was a finalist in the Reims International Horn Competition, (Reims,France) as well as the American International Horn Competition (Tuscaloosa, Alabama) in 1991, the latter in the Natural Horn Division.
Solo performances have included engagements with Orchestre de Chambre de Toulouse, I Musici de Montréal, Orchestre des Jeunes du Québec, Orchestre Baroque de Montréal, Amati Chamber Orchestra, the Windsor Symphony Orchestra and with the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Orchestra.
Martin has performed all of the Mozart Horn Concerti, the Mozart Symphony Concertante, the first Concerto of Haydn, the Quantz Horn Concerto, the Michael Haydn Concerto for Horn and Alto Trombone and the Joseph Haydn Concerto for two Horns, with renown solists Alain Trudel and Lowell Greer respectively, as well as the Telemann Horn Concerto and Schumann’s Konzertstuck. Martin was also invited to performed on baroque and natural horn at the Festival de Musique Baroque de Lamèque in New-Brunswick, the Smithsonian Chamber Players (Washington, D.C.), the Lyra Chamber Ensemble (St. Paul Minn.), the Handel and Haydn Society in Boston, the Boston Bach Festival and l’Ensemble Arion in Québec.
In Febuary 2001, Martin played the Carl Maria von Weber Concerto in E Major with the Windsor Symphony Orchestra, marking his eighth solo performance recorded live by the CBC for national broadcast. In October 1998, the composer Gilles Tremblay chose Martin to perform « Le Signe du Lion » (written for horn and tam-tam) at the prestigious « Governor General`s Arts Awards » broadcast from the National Arts Centre in Ottawa.
Martin has been Principal Horn of the Windsor Symphony Orchestra since 1990, and has recently joined the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Orchestra and the Canadian Chamber Ensemble, as Principal Horn in September of 2002.
Martin can be heard on CD on the Eclectra label performing the Brahms Trio for Violin, Horn and Piano with violinist Darren Lowe, (Concertmaster of the Quebec Symphony Orchestra) and Suzanne Beaubien on Piano. "Limoges is a splendid horn player, at once solid and lyrical of tone, with consummate breath control, sweet and true intonation…… this is worthy to be ranked among the best modern versions of the work." Bernard Jacobs, FANFARE Magazine, March 2002.
Katherine Robertson has been a member of the Kitchener Waterloo Symphony since 2005. Previously, she was with the Orchestre Smphonique de Quebec, the Philharmonisches Orchester Freiburg (Germany), the Winnipeg Symphony, and has worked extensively for the National Arts Centre Orchestra.
Katherine received her Bachelor of Music in Performance from the University of Toronto, studying with Eugene Rittich and a Postgraduate Diploma in Performance from the Hochshule fur Music in Freiburg, studying with Ifor James. Katherine is currently a faculty member at Wilfrid Laurier University.
Jessie joined the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony in 2011 as third French Horn after an eight month run of the Mirvish production of “Billy Elliot” the musical, in Toronto.
Originally from Toronto, Jessie completed a Bachelor of Music degree from McGill University where she studied with James Sommerville. She went on to receive a Master of Music degree from the University of Illinois.
Previously, Jessie held the position of Principal Horn with the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra from 2003 to 2009 and was a featured soloist with the orchestra on several occasions.
As a freelance musician, Jessie has performed with numerous orchestras across Canada, including The Toronto Symphony Orchestra, The National Ballet of Canada, The Winnipeg Symphony among others. She has also played in many popular musicals in Toronto including Monthy Python’s “Spamalot”, “Little House on the Prairie” and “Cats”. As a substitute, she has played in “Sound of Music”, “Wizard of Oz”, and “Les Miserables”.
Jessie completed her first full run of the 2014 Stratford Production of “Man of La Mancha”. Other Stratford Festival Productions she has played as a substitute musician include “Jesus Christ Super Star”, “Tommy” and “Crazy for You”.
Currently, Jessie lives in Toronto with her husband Philip and their three children Evan, Kate and Andrew.
Born and raised in Kitchener-Waterloo, Debbie comes from a very musical family. Music lessons started early and by age 11 she was playing the piano, violin, accordian and guitar. However, none of these instruments were available in her high school music program so almost by default she ended up learning to play the French Horn at age 15.
After high school she went on to earn her Honours Bachelor of Music in Performance from Wilfrid Laurier University with a double major in Violin and French horn. Summers during her undergrad years were spent focusing on the French Horn at both the Banff Centre of Fine Arts and as a member of the National Youth Orchestra of Canada where she received training from several well renowned teachers from both North America and Europe. Debbie went on to do a year of post grad work at McGill University and ended up staying in Montreal for the next 3 years after winning the position of Principal Horn with L'Orchestre des Jeunes du Quebec. She returned in the summer of 1989 to work at the Stratford Festival then in the fall of that year, moved to Toronto to play in the orchestra for The Phantom of the Opera where she met her husband Ernest Pattison, a Bass Trombone player.
During the (ten year!) run of Phantom, Debbie continued a very active freelance career playing with many different groups including The Toronto Symphony, The National Arts Centre Orchestra, The Canadian Opera Company, The National Ballet of Canada, The Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Toronto's Esprit Orchestra, Orchestra London, The Hamilton Philharmonic and The K-W Symphony. Also during this time Debbie was busy in the studio scene playing on soundtracks for numerous movies, TV shows and jingles as well as playing for the shows of popular artists as they toured through the Toronto area. She was also a regular member of Rob McConnell's Boss Brass from 1999 onwards.
After The Phantom closed in 1999 Debbie won a position in the Canadian Opera Company Orchestra and stayed there for 3 more years until she came to join the K-W Symphony. Glad to be home, Debbie now lives here in Kitchener with her husband Ernest Pattison and their two wonderful children Russell and Joelle. Debbie likes to keep up on her violin by playing occasionally in church where she also shares the job of Organist. Summers are spent up in the Bancroft Area where she and Ernest own a 150-acre farm and run The Old Schoolhouse Tea Room in their restored early 1900's one-room-schoolhouse, complete with a bell tower, antique woodstove, vintage oil lamps and a delicious menu!
Larry Larson, Principal
Larry Larson has been Principal Trumpet of the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony since 1993. He is a graduate of DePaul University of Chicago and was a student of Adolph Herseth, legendary Principal Trumpet of the Chicago Symphony. As a soloist, Larry has been featured with the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, Orchestra London, and the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra, and has been featured on CBC Radio in performances of trumpet concertos by Malcolm Forsyth, Johnny Cowell and R. Murray Schafer. In May, 2009, Larry performed the world premiere of Scott Good’s “between the rooms: Concerto for Trumpet and Orchestra” with the KWS. In 2010, he released his first solo CD of music for trumpet and harp, “Divertissement,” with harpist Lori Gemmell.
In addition to performances of the classical repertoire, Larry has developed nine critically-acclaimed Pops programmes for orchestra with conductor/trombonist David Martin. Larry is in much demand by Toronto recording studios for his work on motion picture soundtracks and commercial jingles. You can hear him every night fanfaring Lisa LaFlamme onto the CTV National News. He has had the great pleasure to work in back-up orchestras for Herbie Hancock, Diana Krall, Brian Wilson, Jann Arden, Holly Cole, Anne Murray, Dennis DeYoung, Roger Hodgson, and Yes.
After a dormancy of about 20 years, and with great encouragement from pianist and composer Glenn Buhr, Larry has enjoyed re-awakening the sleeping giant that was his jazz playing with his own combo, “Larry’s Jazz Guys.” LJG has headlined the series “Jazz At The Registry” for the past 7 years at the Registry Theatre (Kitchener), has opened the first two seasons at The JAZZ ROOM in the Huether Hotel (Waterloo, ON), and performs on the Night Music series for the Stratford Festival.
Larry has been the trumpet and brass ensemble coach of the National Youth Orchestra of Canada for the past 7 years, sharing his knowledge and experiences with the next generation of orchestral trumpet players. He has also recently joined Guy Few on the trumpet faculty at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario. Performances at the Stratford Festival and the Elora Festival round out his summer playing.
Mr. Warren started his musical career as a trumpet player, joining the trumpet section of The Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony in 1983. During his tenure with the KWS, he has been featured soloist on tour, performing the Phil Nimmons Concerto for Trumpet and Orchestra, a work written especially for him. This was subsequently recorded on a CBC SM5000 compact disc. Daniel was also the soloist for a national television broadcast performance of Johnny Cowell’s Concerto for Trumpet with the KWS.
Daniel Warren has toured extensively with the Canadian Chamber Ensemble and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra throughout North, Central and South America, Spain, Holland, Switzerland, Germany and Great Britain. He has competed in solo trumpet competitions in Paris, Geneva and Munich, and was a finalist at the International Trumpet Guild’s "Ellsworth-Smith Trumpet Competition". He resides in his owner-built home in a rural setting with his wife and two children.
Jay Castello, Principal
Joseph Castello was appointed principal trombonist with the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony and Canadian Chamber Ensemble in 1983, after playing eight seasons as principal trombonist with Orchestra London. He has performed with the New Hampshire Music Festival Orchestra, Hamilton Philharmonic, Civic Orchestra of Chicago and was trombonist with the United States Military Academy Band at West Point for three years. Mr. Castello has taught at the University of Western Ontario, National Music Camp of Canada, and the New Mexico Music Festival of Taos. He is currently a faculty member at Wilfrid Laurier University. Mr. Castello holds degrees from Hartt School of Music (University of Hartford) and Northwestern University School of Music.
Raised in a musical family, Toronto-born Rachel Thomas has been playing trombone since the early age of nine. At thirteen, she studied and attended master classes with the renowned Canadian Brass. During high school, Rachel earned a position with the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra. She then began her studies at the Faculty of Music at the University of Toronto, studying with Gordon Sweeney, Principal Trombone of the Toronto Symphony. Her summers were spent either with the National Youth Orchestra of Canada or at the Banff Centre for the Arts where she was exposed to top international brass teachers and coaches.
Upon graduation from UofT in 1988, Rachel was immediately immersed into a busy freelance career. She joined the Great lakes Brass Quintet, a highly acclaimed, full time touring ensemble and performed as principal trombone with Orchestra London, Hamilton Philharmonic, Symphony Nova Scotia and toured with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet.
In 1992, she was awarded a Canada Council grant to study with Joseph Alessi, Principal Trombone of the New York Philharmonic. Shortly after her return, Rachel won her position with the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony as second trombone.
During her tenure with the KW Symphony, Rachel continues to be a highly sought after freelancer. She was a regular extra with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra for over twenty years, joining them on two European Tours, one of which she had the privilege of performing as Acting Principal. In addition, Rachel joined the TS on two trips to Carnegie Hall and can be heard on two Finlandia recordings. More recently, Rachel performed with the Canadian Opera Company Orchestra as Acting Principal and participated in the International Women’s Brass Conference performing with the Monarch Brass Ensemble.
Also a member of the Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty of Music since 2002, Rachel brings energy, enthusiasm and many years of experience to her teaching studio. She lives in Toronto with her partner and 2 daughters.
Doug joined the KWS in 1979 while completing his Bachelor of Music at the University of Toronto having arrived from the West Coast two years earlier.
Raised in Caulfeild he began at 10 to play euphonium with the West Vancouver Band, adding trombone in his teens then devoting himself to the bass trombone, inspired by backgrounds in a Neil Diamond song. Formative dues paying years followed with two ARCT diplomas and a year of college with Roy Cornick (a Salvation Army euphonium/trombone virtuoso) and Doug's first professional job, a strip club band.
Serious orchestral study followed with Douglas Sparkes of the VSO, American soloist Donald Knaub and later in the east with Donald Miller, Frank Harmantas and Murray Crewe. A resident of Toronto, Doug has an active freelance career working with the opera and ballet orchestras, National Arts Centre Orchestra, Toronto Symphony, and various musicals.
While recently on leave from the KWS he studied with trombone jazz great Ian McDougall attaining a Master of Music from the University of Victoria.
Jane Maness, Principal
Jane Maness received a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Toronto, where she studied tuba with Charles Daellenbach of the Canadian Brass. She has been a member of the National Youth Orchestra and the Canadian Opera Company Orchestra.
Jane joined the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony in 1975 and the Canadian Chamber Ensemble in 1978. She is the tuba and euphonium instructor at Wilfrid Laurier University, the University of Waterloo and the University of Guelph.
Every year Jane organizes a Tuba Christmas ensemble consisting of high school, university and local tuba, euphonium and trombone players. This fun group performs in the CITS lobby before the KWS Yuletide Spectacular Pops concerts in December. All low brass players of all ages are welcome to join!
Lori Gemmell has been a musician all her life. Growing up in Montreal, as the child of a Presbyterian minister and a musically passionate mother, singing, and playing music were her natural state of being. She taught herself the flute in high school, played trumpet in the band, and spent her weekend mornings at harp lessons at L’ecole Vincent D’Indy.
University studies in Toronto with the renowned teacher and harpist Judy Loman were the obvious next step. Between an undergraduate and Masters’ degree from the University of Toronto, Lori played summers with the National Youth Orchestra of Canada, studying with the octogenarian Alice Chalifoux, and a year in Paris, studying with Catherine Michel.
When she returned to Canada, Lori played on the only stage that was immediately available: the street corner. Busking in Toronto and Montreal, Lori gradually began building a career that took her to harp positions with Orchestra London, The Calgary Philharmonic, a chamber music residency at the Banff International Festival, on the frontlines of new music at the Darmstadt Festival in Germany and touring Europe and Japan with Montreal’s Nouvelle Ensemble Moderne.
In 1999, Lori won the position of Principal Harpist with the KWS, where she still plays today. One year later she was a prize-winner at the Canadian Concerto Competition. She also has been a teacher for many years, both with a private studio and a faculty position at Wilfrid Laurier University.
Lori has earned a strong reputation among Canadian Composers for her passion and dedication to their music. Over the years she has worked closely with R. Murray Schafer, Srul Irving Glick, John Weinzweig, Alexina Louie, Glenn Buhr, Marjan Mozetich, Jeff Ryan and many others.
In addition to all of that, Lori also makes time for playing and creating with others in small groups. In recent years she has made chamber music with Yo-Yo Ma, Joseph Silverstein, Sara Sant’Ambrogio, Jamie Parker, Joe Macerollo, Oliver Schroer, Mark Fewer, Robert Cram, Etsuko Kimura, Camille Watts, with singers Patricia O’Callaghan, Monica Wicher and Julie Nesrallah and Feist. She also plays in the Four Seasons Harp Quartet, and in her duo with Jennifer Swartz.
Lori has one solo recording, Prelude, and a harp duo recording, The Garden of Peacocks. She is married and lives in Toronto.
Lori West, Associate Principal
Lori has been a member of the orchestra for 24 years and in addition to playing percussion, also does property management part-time, for her own properties as well as for a small investment company. She plans to begin courses this fall in order to become accredited in this field.
Lori also enjoys gardening and has a certificate in gardening and landscaping. Her husband, Peter, is now the Vice-Principal at Chalmers Public School in Cambridge and is also the music director for the Cambridge Girls Choir, and is organist for St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Guelph.
Ron Brown, Principal
Born in New York City in 1950, Ron Brown moved to Canada in 1975 to begin his present tenure as timpanist of the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Orchestra and principal percussionist of the Canadian Chamber Ensemble (at that time known as The Stratford Festival Ensemble).
Ron's early education included percussion lessons with Ronald Gould of The New York City Ballet Orchestra. In 1972, Ron received his Bachelor of Music degree in Applied Percussion from The New England Conservatory of Music, where he studied with Vic Firth, timpanist of The Boston Symphony.
Ron received a Fellowship to attend the Berkshire Music Center at Tanglewood, Massachusetts in 1971 and 1972 where he performed under such conductors as Leonard Bernstein, Seiji Ozawa, Colin Davis, Michael Tilson Thomas and James Levine.
Ron was director of percussion studies at Wilfrid Laurier University from1975-1984. His musical compositions include Membrana for percussion quintet, published by Shirmer Music.
In addition to performing many recordings and broadcasts locally with the KWS and the CCE, Ron has performed throughout the US, Canada, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, Japan, Spain, Mexico, Panama, Venezuela, Columbia, Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Puerto Rico.
Ron is also the publisher and author of The Body Fat Guide, distributed in bookstores throughout North America. He has a background as a Registered Massage Therapist.
Ron has received an MBA and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Wilfred Laurier University, a Computer Science diploma from the University of Waterloo, a Ph.D in nutrition, management, and organizational behavior from Northcentral University, Arizona, and a Bachelor of Science degree in dietetics from Kansas State University in 2014.