Meet the 2017-2018 Prairie Debut Touring Artists:
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The Chooi Brothers, violin duo with piano
Timothy & Nikki Chooi, violins with Philip Chiu, piano
Brothers Nikki and Timothy Chooi are united by a profound understanding and genuine passion for the violin, which renders their musical union extraordinarily rich. Together, they have an intrinsic musical partnership that makes their duo artistry unique and interesting. The Edmonton Journal describes their performance as a “beauty of colour and tone… the Chooi brothers certainly provided that.”
Nikki Chooi was recently appointed one of the world’s most prestigious violin posts, Concertmaster of The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, a position he began in August 2016. His playing has been described as “richly expressive and technically assured” (Calgary Herald) and “vigorous and colorful” (New York Times). As First Prize Winner of the 2013 Michael Hill International Violin Competition, Nikki completed an extensive tour with Chamber Music New Zealand, performed with Giordano Bellincampi and the Auckland Philharmonia, recorded his debut album with the Atoll Label, and was featured at Australia’s Musica Viva Recital Series. He is also a winner of the 2013 Astral Artists’ Auditions and Laureate of the 2012 Queen Elisabeth Violin Competition.
As a concerto soloist, Nikki has performed with international orchestras like Malaysian Philharmonic, St. Petersburg State Symphony, National Orchestra of Belgium, Orchestre Royal de Chambre de Wallonie, to name a few. At home, his concerto appearances include Victoria Symphony, Edmonton Symphony, Winnipeg Symphony, and Calgary Philharmonic. Nikki has been invited to prestigious concert series including Vancouver Recital Series, Debut Atlantic Tour, Canadian National Arts Debut Series, Caramoor Rising Stars Series in New York, Chamber Music Tulsa, Dame Myra Hess Series in Chicago, La Monnai “Concertini” in Belgium, Chicago’s Harris Theatre, and Carnegie’s Zankel Hall.
Timothy Chooi captured the 2010 Grand Prix of the 71st l’Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal Standard Life Competition at the age of sixteen, bringing him numerous concert engagements. Timothy had his concerto debut with the l’Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal under the baton of Maestro Jean-François Rivest. Montréal’s esteemed music critic Claude Gingras of La Presse said of his debut “such complete artistry Timothy Chooi has accomplished in just 16 years, I dare say that what we heard last night was miraculous.” Timothy was recently awarded the Bronze Medal at the 2015 Michael Hill International Violin Competition in New Zealand.
Timothy has performed with major orchestras across the world including Santa Barbara Symphony, National Symphony of Costa Rica, Auckland Philharmonia, Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, and in Canada with Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, Edmonton Symphony, Vancouver Symphony, and National Arts Centre Orchestra. Some of the conductors that he has worked with include Pinchas Zukerman, Benjamin Zander, Carlos Miguel Prieto, Kent Nagano and Yoav Talmi. Timothy has been heard many times on CBC Radio and his performances are regularly recorded and broadcasted across the world. Timothy acknowledges the generous loan of his 1717 Windsor-Weinstein Stradivarius from The Canada Council for the Arts.
Inaugural winner of the 2015 Prix Goyer, pianist Philip Chiu is more than a summation of technical and musical abilities, he has become one of Canada’s leading musicians through his infectious love of music and his passion for communication and collaboration. Noted by La Presse as “a pianist-painter who turns every musical idea into a beautiful array of colours,” Philip is lauded for the brilliance, colour and sensitivity of his playing, and is particularly noted for his ability to connect with audiences on and off stage. He concertizes extensively as one of Canada’s most sought-after chamber musicians. He has appeared in recitals with leading musicians of the world stage, including James Ehnes, Raphael Wallfisch, Patrice Fontanarosa, Regis Pasquier and Stefan Dohr. He performs regularly with Jonathan Crow, concertmaster of the Toronto Symphony as well as Andrew Wan, co-concertmaster of Orchestre symphonique de Montréal.
Offering audiences with a fresh twist to the typical classical concert, violinists and brothers Nikki and Timothy Chooi, along with their pianist, will perform in many configurations. The program will highlight significant points in history, showcased through the music of such composers as Grieg, Prokofiev, Ravel, and Canadian composer Arcuri. The melodies will span from jazz-influenced classical, to the nationalistic and political commentary of its time. The works selected will simply display the outstanding musicality and technical abilities of this great duo. Brothers Nikki and Timothy are united by a profound understanding and genuine passion for the violin, which renders their musical union extraordinarily rich. They are both talented soloists but their duo playing is special and unique. As the Edmonton Journal states of them, a “beauty of colour and tone, and the Chooi brothers certainly provided that.”
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Henderson – Kolk Duo, guitar duo
Drew Henderson and Michael Kolk, guitars
Canada’s own Henderson-Kolk Duo has built their audience’s loyalty with their choice of repertoire, stage charisma and what Wholenote Magazine describes as “a warm and intimate sound.” Since their formation in 2004, they have quickly become one of North America’s premier guitar duos.
Drew Henderson and Michael Kolk first met at the University of Toronto where they studied with Jeffrey McFadden. They quickly cultivated a musical chemistry that has resulted in a dynamic and exciting performance style. As soloists, they have a combined nine international competition prizes. As a duo, they have performed throughout Canada and the United States, and made their international debut at the Mediterranean Guitar Festival in Cervo, Italy in 2006. In 2011, they performed and adjudicated at the prestigious Guitar Foundation of America convention in Columbus, Georgia.
Active transcribers, the Henderson-Kolk Duo are consistently reimagining symphonic and piano works into the guitar duo medium. The added range of Drew’s 8 string guitar has opened up possibilities not normally available to guitar duos. This has resulted in wonderful arrangements of Mozart, Bach, and Schubert, among others. Some of these arrangements can be heard on the duo’s two albums, which have received airplay on CBC Radio 2 in Canada, as well as the Classical Guitar Alive! radio program broadcast throughout the USA. Their recording continue to receive numerous glowing reviews, the second album “Henderson Kolk duo play Bach, Ravel, Castelnuovo-Tedesco, and Lhoyer” was recently featured on Classical Guitar Alive! as a Best New Release.
Renowned Canadian classical guitarist Drew Henderson is known for his sensitive performances and virtuosic technique. He has earned the highest praise from audience and critics, and is often cited as one Canada’s best young classical guitarists. His solo performances have taken him throughout Canada, the United States and Italy. He has adjudicated local and international competitions, conducted master classes at universities, and is often invited to perform at international guitar festivals. Drew studied at the University of Toronto and furthered his studies in Milan, Italy. Most influential of his teachers were Eli Kassner, Jeffrey McFadden, and the great Italian virtuosi Lorenzo Micheli and Matteo Mela. Drew’s studies in Italy were made possible by a generous grant from The Canada Council for the Arts. Drew was heavily involved in the competition circuit and was awarded six international prizes. Drew has one solo album titled “Nocturne – Guitar Music of the 19th Century”. This album is filled with virtuosic masterpieces by Regondi, Paganini, Coste and Legnani.
Michael Kolk has performed at music festivals and concert halls throughout Europe and North America and has been called “one of the most musical guitarists performing and recording today” (ThisisClassicalGuitar.com). Liona Boyd has described him as “one of the most brilliant and expressive classical guitarists I have heard in my life.” A winner of numerous guitar competitions, he has released two solo albums to date. Michael has collaborated with musicians in both classical and popular genres and made his orchestral debut as soloist with the Toronto Philharmonia. His most recent solo album, Mosaic, released by Alma Records in February 2014, was praised as “playing and musicianship of the highest order” by WholeNote Magazine. Originally from Vancouver, Michael currently lives and teaches in Toronto. He holds a Performer’s ARCT from The Royal Conservatory of Music, and a Masters of Music in Guitar Performance from the University of Toronto where he studied with Jeffrey McFadden.
The Henderson-Kolk Duo is currently preparing a selection of their arrangements for publication through Productions d’Oz. They are also planning the recording of their next album, featuring music of Mozart, never before heard on guitar.
Since forming in 2004, the Henderson-Kolk Duo has established themselves as one of North America’s premier classical guitar duos. Drew Henderson and Michael Kolk met at the University of Toronto and after their first performance together, quickly cultivated a musical chemistry that has resulted in a dynamic and exciting performance style. Their program will feature an exciting array of music with an emphasis on the duo’s original arrangements. Of interest are the transcriptions that take familiar works into the new sonorities of the two guitar medium, creating a fresh and intricate sound delivered by the sensitive playing of the Henderson-Kolk Duo. Their program will feature arrangements of Schubert’s piano works, an oboe concerto by Alessandro Marcello, the opening movement of a Mozart symphony or selections de Falla’s La Vida Breve. They will also feature works specifically written for two guitars, such as the beautiful pieces by Canadian Patrick Roux. This is definitely a concert not to be missed.
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Proteus Saxophone Quartet
Michael Morimoto, Holly De Caigny, Mark Michalak & Tommy Davis; saxophones
The Proteus Saxophone Quartet is redefining the traditional saxophone chamber music experience with their high energy, intense, and diverse performances. Named after the god of the sea, modular and versatile, the Proteus Quartet explores the numerous instrumental combinations of the saxophone family through the creation and performance of chamber music. Since forming in 2011 in Paris where they were each studying, these four Canadian saxophonists developed an immediate artistic bond and vision and upon their return, have committed themselves to presenting energetic, diverse, and beautiful concerts. The Proteus Saxophone Quartet has performed throughout Canada, France, and more recently, into the United States. Highlights of their performances include the North American Saxophone Alliance Conference in Chicago, the World Saxophone Congress in Strasbourg, and Saskatoon’s Strata New Music Festival.
Without adhering to a singular aesthetic or stylistic genre, Proteus promotes collaboration with diverse guest artists in an attempt to advance new works for saxophone quartet. They are interested in working together with composers or performers throughout the creation process, currently having worked with composers Justin Boechler, John Celona, Robert Lemay, Denis Levaillant and Alex Loewen; as well performers/improvisers Mark DeJong, Sean Perrin and François Rossé.
As educators, Proteus has performed school concerts and university master classes as part of their ongoing commitment to work with and promote chamber music to students. Often changing saxophones or staging during concerts, they benefit from these pauses by speaking to and connecting with their audiences by explaining concepts, ideas and working relationships which contribute to the compositions and aimed at enhancing the concert experience.
Tommy Davis completed his Masters of Music from Université de Montréal under Jean-François Guay. His other teachers include Jean-Michel Goury in Paris and in Canada, Glen Gillis, William Street, Mark DeJong, and Jason Caslor. Holly De Caigny divides her time between Edmonton, where she is currently pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts in Saxophone Performance at the University of Alberta, and performing in Calgary. Her principal teachers include Julia Nolan, Jeremy Brown, and in Paris, Jean-Michel Goury. Mark Michalak, upon completion of his Masters of Music degree from the University of Calgary, now resides in that city. He studied with Jeremy Brown and further studies in Paris, were with Jean-Michel Goury. Michael Morimoto completed his Masters of Music under Julia Nolan and continued his studies at the Conservatoire de Cergy-Pontoise with Jean-Yves Fourmeau. His other teachers include Vincent David, Marie-Bernadette Charrier, William Street and Po-Yuan Ku.
Proteus Quartet performs high energy concerts that illustrate the flexibility, diversity and dynamism of the saxophone through repertoire which includes classical saxophone quartets, Classical and Romantic music transcriptions, popular music and commissioned pieces. Originally a hybrid instrument whose purpose was to bridge the gap between the woodwind and brass families, Proteus strives to highlight this by performing from many styles, and feature the saxophone and its diverse personas. Proteus will include works from the classical saxophone canon, popular tunes, and transcriptions and arrangements of music written for other genres. By programming interesting and eclectic concerts, they aim to entertain and share with the public about the history of the saxophone and the saxophone quartet repertoire. Proteus Quartet’s programs are inspired by the saxophone’s capabilities and diversity, drawing from its early acceptance into popular and jazz music, as well as into the mainstream of the classical music genre.
For information regarding these tours occurring in 2017/2018 , please contact Po Yeh, Prairie Debut at 403.862.2954 or firstname.lastname@example.org.