MEET THE PRAIRIE DEBUT 2019-2020 TOURING ARTISTS:
Plus a special Pan-Canadian tour for 2019-2020:
PRAIRIE DEBUT’S SHOWCASE LINEUP:
OSAC Showcase 2018:
meagan&amy, piano & violin duo
October 13, 2018 – afternoon showcase
Regina Performing Arts Centre, Regina SK
ATAA Showcase 2018:
OKAN, world music
October 19, 2018 – evening showcase
Dow Centennial Centre, Fort Saskatchewan AB
MAN Showcase 2018:
VC2 Cello Duo
October 27, 2018 – afternoon showcase
The William Glesby Centre, Portage la Prairie MB
VC2, cello duo
VC2 is an innovative cello duo committed to captivating audiences through its performances of classical masterworks, unknown gems, and boundary pushing music. Comprised of cellists Amahl Arulanandam and Bryan Holt, the Toronto-based duo presents artistically challenging yet accessible programs and have performed in venues ranging from intimate cabarets to Roy Thomson Hall.
The pair met in 2008 while attending the University of Toronto where they both studied under Shauna Rolston. They both chose to continue their studies at the Schulich School of Music at McGill University where they completed their Master’s Degrees with Matt Haimovitz. In 2015 they both found themselves back in Toronto and their musical partnership was born.
Respected individuals, both Messrs. Holt and Arulanandam wear many musical hats. Collectively, they have performed as part of leading arts organizations including the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Canadian Opera Company Orchestra, National Ballet of Canada Orchestra, Soundstreams, Art of Time Ensemble, Continuum Contemporary Music, New Music Concerts, Music in the Barns, Thin Edge New Music Collective, Caution Tape Sound Collective, Contact Contemporary Music, and Tapestry Opera. The duo has been featured artists at Ottawa Chamberfest, Ottawa New Music Creators, Koerner Hall’s 21C Music Festival, Ritornello Festival, and the Prairie Cello Institute.
The promotion and performance of works by current composers is a priority to VC2. They strongly believe in the support and creation of new works by living composers, especially those from their home country of Canada. To this end, VC2 commissioned five Canadian composers to create works based on the Beethoven Cello Sonatas. They have premiered these works through performances in the 2016 and 2017 seasons and culminated in the recording of the album, Beethoven’s Cellists, which was released in July 2018. The recording was made possible by the generous support of the Ontario Arts Council. Future commissions and collaborations are in the works for VC2.
Bryan and Amahl seek to redefine chamber music making with this duo VC2. Their unique brand of cello-fueled music adds a new sonority to the traditional presentation of cello performances. In February 2018, VC2 embarked on a tour of the East Coast of Canada, presented by Debut Atlantic. The duo also spent time this past summer at the soundSCAPE performance and composition exchange in Maccagno, Italy and brought home a number of new works by emerging international composers. VC2 is thrilled to be one of Prairie Debut’s 2019-20 Touring Artists.
Trio Saint-Laurent, clarinet, viola, & piano
Three of Canada’s most respected chamber musicians, clarinetist Jean-François Normand, violist Marina Thibeault, and pianist Philip Chiu, gather in this unique and compelling formation to form Trio Saint-Laurent. The trio’s outstanding programs have been curated to highlight the poetic, intimate, and mysterious nature of their instruments – in solo, duo, and trio form – to deliver an incomparable concert experience. Complementing the warm and hauntingly beautiful colours from the existing repertoire for this formation, Trio Saint-Laurent reveals their fiery and passionate personalities with original transcriptions and new commissions. Trio St. Laurent is strongly committed to engaging new audiences, and bringing classical music to those with limited access. Each member has had the opportunity to work with incredible organizations, including El Sistema, La Société pour les arts en milieux de santé, and ArtStarts.
In 2015, Marina, Jean-François, and Philip first played together in a concert at CAMMAC, followed by a canoe ride together, and Trio Saint-Laurent was born. Since then, the trio has appeared at the Festival Classica, ARAMusique, the Salle J.-Antonio-Thompson, Domaine Forget, the Chapelle Historique du Bon Pasteur, as well as at numerous venues in Eastern Canada on tour with Debut Atlantic. Upcoming engagements include performances with Concerts Lachine in summer 2018 and a 10-concert tour in Montreal neighborhoods with the Conseil des Arts de Montreal, as well as across Quebec throughout the 2018-19 season.
Lauded as “…a pianist-painter who turns every musical idea into a beautiful array of colors” (La Presse), Philip Chiu is acclaimed for his brilliant and sensitive playing, as well as his particular ability to connect with audiences on and off stage. Inaugural winner of the Prix Goyer, he is more than a summation of technical and musical abilities and has become one of Canada’s leading musicians through his infectious love of music and his passion for communication and collaboration. He concertizes extensively as soloist and chamber musician, appearing in recitals with leading international musicians and is a veteran touring artist with Prairie Debut, Jeunesses Musicales Canada, and Debut Atlantic.
Violist Marina Thibeault holds numerous honours and distinctions, including prizes from the Père-Lindsay Foundation (2017), “Révélation Radio-Canada” (2016-2017), CBC’s “30 hot classical musicians under 30” (2016), and the Sylva Gelber Foundation (2016). She won first prize in the string category of Prix d’Europe (2015), the McGill Concerto Competition (2015), the Radio-Canada “Young Artist” prize (2007) as well a special prize at the Beethoven Hradec International Viola Competition (2008). She holds a bachelor’s degree from the Curtis Institute of Music and a Master’s degree from McGill University, where she is currently a doctoral candidate, as well as viola and chamber music instructor. Marina plays on an 1767 Carlo Ferdinand Landolfi, with a W.E Hill Sons bow, generously loaned by Canimex.
Praised by the press for his “completely natural playing, flawless technique, supple phrasing, beautiful and controlled tone quality, intonation, style, and imaginative use of improvised ornamentation” (La Presse), clarinetist Jean-François Normand is a much sought-after performer in the Quebec and Canadian music scene. He has appeared as a soloist with Montreal, Sherbrooke, Quebec, Toronto, Texarkanas Symphony Orchestras and the Montreal Metropolitan Orchestra. An alumni of the Juilliard School, Jean-François is currently clarinet teacher at the Conservatoire de Musique de Montréal, McGill University, the Domaine Forget Music Academy. His students have won numerous competitions including the “Stepping Stone” of the Canadian Music Competition, the Montreal Symphony Concerto Competition and the Grand Prize of the Prix d’Europe.
OKAN, Afro-Cuban jazz quartet
Blending jazz, Afro-Cuban, and world rhythms, OKAN takes inspiration from the roots of Cuban music and contributes to the contemporary evolution of these powerful traditions in the global context. Embracing musical genres and roles that have historically been dominated by men, co-leaders Elizabeth Rodriguez and Magdelys Savigne share the vocals, and are the core composers and multi-instrumentalists who bring a fresh perspective to this Latin and world jazz fusion through their powerful vocals, incredible musicianship and potent lyrical content.
Born in Havana, Cuba, Elizabeth Rodriguez is a classically trained violinist and served as concertmaster for Havana’s Youth Orchestra. Since moving to Canada in 2013, she has redirected her musical focus and has performed with some of Toronto’s top timba and salsa ensembles. Hailing from Santiago de Cuba, drummer/percussionist Magdelys Savigne graduated with honours in orchestral percussion from Havana’s University of the Arts. They are both involved with the JUNO-winning and GRAMMY nominated ensemble, Jane Bunnett & Maqueque, as well as the Battle of Santiago band.
OKAN’s extensive tours have included stops at Birdland, The Blue Note, Lincoln Center, The Kennedy Center and San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Gardens in as well as the Miami, Montreal, San Jose Jazz Festivals, among others. Living and collaborating in the intensely multicultural city of Toronto has enriched OKAN’s composition and performances with influences from Turkey, Brazil and New Orleans. Having performed as OKAN at the Beaches Jazz Festival and Canada’s first Women in Percussion Festival, Elizabeth and Magdelys are ready to take their highly original and impactful project to the world.
Backed by some of the country’s finest Jazz and Latin players, such as Bill King, Danae Olano, Roberto Riveron, Eric St. Laurent, Jeremy Ledbetter, Pablosky Rosales, Alexis Baro and Reimundo Sosa and with ample experience on both large and intimate stages, OKAN will tour Western Canada in 2019-2020 under the auspices of Prairie Debut as a quartet.
meagan&amy, violin & piano
With an intense passion for innovative programming and fearless music-making, piano and violin duo meagan&amy are praised for their energy, sensitivity, and musical maturity. Pianist Meagan Milatz and violinist Amy Hillis began their partnership in 2011 at the Schulich School of Music of McGill University, even though both hail from Saskatchewan. From the very beginning, the natural chemistry between their two artistic styles lead to this musical union. Drawing from their individual strengths – Milatz’s affinity for the fortepiano repertoire and Hillis’s aptitudes for contemporary music – their artistic acumen combines to create programs of interest, intrigue, and informative concert experience for all audiences. meagan&amy were awarded the first ever “Pan-Canadian Partnership” tour by Jeunesses Musicales Canada, Debut Atlantic and Prairie Debut. As a result, they will tour to over 40 different Canadian cities during the 2019-2020 season.
Pianist Meagan Milatz has appeared as soloist with several Canadian orchestras including Sherbrooke Symphony Orchestra, McGill Symphony Orchestra, and most recently, Edmonton Symphony Orchestra. Top prizewinner at the 2014 Shean Piano Competition and the 2011 CFMTA National Piano Competition, her performance endeavours have brought her to international stages, including Hilton Head Island, South Carolina; Bruges, Belgium; Gijón, Spain; and Gda?sk, Poland. Equally passionate as a collaborative pianist, Milatz is currently based in Montreal where she collaborates frequently with Andrew Wan, concertmaster of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra. She received her master’s degree from McGill University where she studied modern piano with Ilya Poletaev and fortepiano with Tom Beghin. In 2017, Milatz was a participant in the famed Kneisel Hall Young Artist Program, and is currently studying collaborative piano with Philip Chiu. She is a 2017 Sylva Gelber Music Foundation Award recipient.
LudwigVanMontréal.org states of Amy Hillis that she possesses “a rich, warm sound and has mastered the violin with such ease, that it is impossible to ignore her passion in performance.” Originally from Regina, Saskatchewan, Hillis collaborates with musicians from around the world in order to explore new approaches to classical and contemporary music. Her list of accolades at such a young age is most impressive. In 2018, she was the prizewinner of the Canada’s Eckhardt-Gramatté Competition. The previous year, she was the 2017 Artist-in-Residence at La Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris, a residency awarded by the Conseils des Arts et des Lettres du Québec. That same year, she won the 2017 McGill Concerto Competition, and was awarded the Sylva Gelber Foundation Music Award, and a doctoral fellowship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. In 2015, Hillis was awarded the loan of the 1820 Joannes Franciscus Pressenda from the Canada Council for the Arts Musical Instrument Bank. Her principal teachers have been Axel Strauss, Ian Swensen, Denise Lupien, and Eduard Minevich.
For more information about these artists please contact Po Yeh (firstname.lastname@example.org)