Amanda Forsyth, cello
Agata Szymczewska, violin
Powerful and finely nuanced interpretations, sumptuous sonorities, and a compelling stage presence are just a few of the hallmarks of internationally acclaimed violinist Timothy Chooi. A popular soloist and recitalist, he is sought after as much for his passionate performances as for his wide-ranging repertoire. Recent honors include Second Prize, Belgium’s world-renowned 2019 Queen Elisabeth Competition, First Prize, the 2018 Joseph Joachim International Violin Competition in Germany, and the First Prize, the 2018 Schadt Violin Competition in the USA, In 2018 Chooi also won the ‘Prix Yves Paternot’ of Switzerland's Verbier Festival, a prize which recognizes the most promising and accomplished musician of the annual Academy for young professional musicians, earning Chooi his future debut as a solo artist in the 2022 Verbier Festival.
Future engagements include returns to the Toronto Symphony Orchestra with Peter Oundjian, Montreal Symphony Orchestra, National Arts Centre Orchestra Ottawa, and the Belgian National Orchestra, as well as his debuts with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Russian National Orchestra and Mikhail Pletnev, DSO Berlin, Brandenburgisches Staatsorchester Frankfurt, Saarländisches Staatsorchester, and the Sichuan Symphony Orchestra. Upcoming recitals see Chooi performing in cities worldwide, including a European tour with Anne-Sophie Mutter.
Recent performances include engagement with The Belgian National Orchestra, Luxembourg Chamber Orchestra, and l'Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal; a live on-air recital on New York City’s WQXR classical radio station; and recital tours of Belgium and the United States. In addition to having already performed with every major orchestra in his home country of Canada, Timothy Chooi has also played with the Brussels Philharmonic under Stéphane Denève, with Santa Barbara Symphony, Orchestre Philharmonique de Liége, Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, and the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra. He has also made an extensive recital tour with Jeunesses Musicales du Canada, appeared at the Ravinia Festival, and made his Carnegie Hall debut.
In addition to his 2019 and 2018 awards, Timothy Chooi’s numerous honors include the third prize at the 2015 Michael Hill Violin Competition in New Zealand and Grand Prize at the 2010 Montreal Symphony Manulife Competition in Canada. He also won the EMCY Prize at the 2014 Yehudi Menuhin International Competition. and the Vadim Repin Scholarship Award in New York.
As a founding member of The VISION Collective, a three-year-old ensemble of musicians and composers that utilizes music to highlight refugee and immigrant voices and stories, raising awareness for the global refugee crisis, and brings together individuals from all walks of life together to create diverse and meaningful art, he is also a recipient of the 2020 Harold W. McGraw Family Foundation's The Robert Sherman Award for Music Education and Community Outreach.
Chooi studied at the Juilliard School under the tutelage of Catherine Cho. His mentors include Ida Kavafian, Pamela Frank, Pinchas Zukerman, and Patinka Kopec. He currently is enrolled in Juilliard’s prestigious Artist Diploma program studying with Catherine Cho and a Professional Studies candidate at the Kronberg Academy with Christian Tetzlaff and lives in Philadelphia, USA.
Timothy Chooi is a Professor of Violin at the University of Ottawa. He performs on the 1717 Windsor-Weinstein Stradivarius on a generous loan from the Canada Council for the Arts and is a recipient of the Nippon Music Foundation Rare Instrument Project from the Government of Japan.
Praised for his passionate and poetic performances, acclaimed violinist Nikki Chooi has established himself as an artist of rare versatility. Described as “expressive, enchanting, and transcendent,” he has been featured at many international festivals with performances at the Marlboro Festival, Ravinia Festival, Rockport Chamber Music Festival, La Jolla Summerfest, Vancouver Recital Series, Moritzburg Festival, Kammermusik Utrecht, Dresden Music Festival, Olympus Festival in Russia, Musica Viva in Australia, Chamber Music New Zealand, and Fundación Beethoven in Chile.
Nikki has received critical acclaim in recent engagements at the Harris Theatre in Chicago, Kimmel Center in Philadelphia, Carnegie Hall and Kauffman Center in New York, Koerner Hall in Toronto, Place des Arts in Montreal, as well as appearing as soloist with orchestras across Canada and internationally with the St. Petersburg State Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra of Wallonie, National Orchestra of Belgium, Auckland Philharmonia, Malaysian Philharmonic, and Hong Kong Philharmonic.
Nikki is currently Concertmaster of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and has previously served as Concertmaster of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. He has appeared as Guest Concertmaster with the Houston Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, and Sydney Symphony. A former member of the multi-genre ensemble, Time for Three, the group collaborated with From the Top and Universal Music releasing an arrangement of Taylor Swift’s “Shake it Off” to record-breaking views on YouTube.
A passionate educator, Nikki has presented masterclasses at the San Francisco Conservatory, Morningside Music Program at the New England Conservatory, Orchestra of the Americas Academy, Sphinx Academy at the Curtis Institute of Music, Hong Kong Cultural Center, and the University of Auckland. A recipient of prizes at the Queen Elizabeth and Tchaikovsky Competitions, Nikki was the 1st Prize Winner of the Montreal Symphony's ManuLife Competition, the Klein International Strings Competition, and the Michael Hill International Violin Competition.
An alum of Curtis Institute of Music, The Juilliard School, and The Mount Royal Conservatory, Nikki’s mentors included Ida Kavafian, Joseph Silverstein, Donald Weilerstein, and William van der Sloot.
He released his debut album of works by Prokofiev, Ravel, and Gershwin on the Atoll Label.
Kelly Parkins-Lindstrom is an accomplished violinist who actively pursues her passion for stringed instruments as a teacher and adjudicator exploring the link between pedagogy and performance.
As a violin and chamber teacher, she has supported students who have been recipients of the highest marks awarded at the Federation of Canadian Music Festivals, the Canadian Music Competition - Stepping Stone and Rising Star Award and the prestigious Gold Medal Awards from The Royal Conservatory of Music (RCM), in addition to having performed with numerous orchestras including the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and National Arts Orchestra of Canada. Her students have studied and performed internationally for masterclass clinicians, including Martin Beaver, Nikki Chooi, James Ehnes, Miriam Fried, Augustin Hadelich, Brian Lewis, Rachel Barton Pine, Kurt Sassmannshaus, William van der Sloot and Mimi Zweig.
She has had a multi-faceted connection with the Royal Conservatory uniquely teaching in The Glenn Gould School, Phil and Eli Taylor Academy and Oscar Peterson School of Music where she is a recognized pedagogical leader with over thirty years of expertise in music education. Most recently, she compiled the Violin Series, 2021 Edition: a comprehensive collection of nine Repertoire books, two Orchestral Excerpts books, three Technique, Etudes and Musicianship books and corresponding Syllabus.
Ms. Parkins-Lindstrom played an integral role in the creation of a new curriculum for The RCM Associate Diploma (ARCT) in Violin, Pedagogy, which comprises three levels: Elementary, Intermediate, and Advanced. Presently she is a subject-matter expert in the new creation of the Royal Conservatory Online Strings Teacher Course.
In addition to being a masterclass clinician and member of The RCM College of Examiners, Ms. Parkins- Lindstrom shares her passion for music by presenting lectures, workshops and teacher development on many topics including violin repertoire, pedagogy and music study across North America.
Ms. Parkins-Lindstrom is a member of the Ontario Suzuki Association, the Suzuki Association of the Americas, the American Federation of Musicians and American String Teachers Association.
Michael van der Sloot's first twelve years of study on the violin and then on the viola were with his brother William at the Medicine Hat College. He then completed his Bachelor and Masters of Music degrees on the viola at the University of British Columbia studying with Gerald Stanick. Other instructors include internationally renowned musicians such as Martha Katz, Karen Tuttle, Bernard Zaslav, Andrew Dawes and Donald McInnes Michael van der Sloot has had success at various solo and chamber competitions and toured throughout Western Canada as a soloist and chamber musician. In addition, van der Sloot was awarded the Johann Strauss Foundation Scholarship for study in Austria, where he pursued doctoral studies at the Mozarteum in Salzburg with Thomas Riebl. Michael van der Sloot played in various orchestras across Western Canada. While in Europe, he continued to perform with the Salzburg Chamber Soloists throughout Switzerland, Austria, Italy and France including a performance at the Theatre Rue Champs Ellysee in Paris and the Musikverein in Vienna. In addition to his performing, van der Sloot is a passionate teacher. He taught on faculty at the Medicine Hat College as Academy Director for 11 years; instructing violin, viola, chamber music, and chamber orchestra. Under his guidance, the institution gained international recognition through the success of its students at National and International competitions. van der Sloot then moved to Victoria, BC to take become Professor of Viola at Camosun College and String Department Head at the Victoria Conservatory of Music from 2010-2017. He also became Artistic Director of the Collegium Program for gifted young musicians. This program progressed to a standard receiving and international recognition. Many of his former students can now be found in music schools, symphonies and chamber groups throughout North America. Michael van der Sloot has had the pleasure of being a guest instructor at various institutions across Canada, the Cleveland Institute of Music, and the Central Conservatory in Beijing. He has instructed at summer camps and festivals, and enjoys adjudicating festivals at various cities throughout Canada. Michael joined the faculty of the University of Ottawa in 2017.
Cellist Paul Marleyn tours regularly in North America, Europe and Asia. As a frequent participant in summer festivals including the Prussia Cove, Busan, Festival of the Sound, Domaine Forget, Casalmaggiore, Leicester and Ottawa international festivals, he collaborates with artists such as Boris Berman, Miriam Fried, James Somerville, Paul Neubauer, Marc-André Hamelin, Steven Dann, Joshua Bell, and with members of the Tokyo, Vermeer, New Zealand, St. Lawrence and Hagen quartets. He has appeared as soloist with the London Philharmonia, Belgrade Philharmonic, European Chamber, Winnipeg Symphony, Vancouver Symphony, Symphony Nova Scotia, Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, Thunder Bay Symphony and Manitoba Chamber orchestras. The Artistic Director of Winnipeg’s Agassiz Chamber Music Festival since 2000, and the International Cello Festival of Canada since 2011, Paul was the cellist in Trio Hochelaga from 2006-2012. He has made several compact disc recordings on the United Records, CALA, ATMA, Signum Classics, CBC and RCA Victor labels. From 1993-7, Paul was principal cellist of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, and has served at professor of cello at the University of Manitoba, and more recently at the University of Ottawa, where he now mentors an award-winning studio of young cellists.
Born in Toronto, Canada, Travis Harrison is a graduate of Montreal's McGill University. His post-graduate work was with the National Arts Centre's Institute for Orchestral Studies while he concurrently completed a Master's degree in performance at the University of Ottawa in 2012 under the guidance of Joel Quarrington. Travis has happily ended a 6-year tenure with Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, having joined in Fall of 2013, and most recently has been engaged as a freelance orchestral and chamber musician in his home town of Toronto, as well as professor of double bass at the University of Ottawa. Travis has also been serving the bass community as a board member of the International Society of Bassists since 2017.
He makes regular appearances as an extra musician with the National Arts Centre Orchestra, an institution to which he owes many of his most memorable artistic experiences; the Canadian Opera Company Orchestra, where he served as both principal and section player; and as principal bass for numerous productions across Canada. Recently, Travis’ artistic endeavours have been generously supported by the Canada Council for the Arts, the Manitoba Arts Council, and the Winnipeg Arts Council, for which he is very grateful.
As a teacher, Travis has served as a faculty member of the Manitoba Conservatory of Music and Art, Carleton University, the University of Manitoba, and Sistema Winnipeg. Travis currently maintains a private studio based out of Toronto, and also offers lessons taught online. He has given masterclasses at the University of Toronto, Brandon University, and University of Ottawa; and acted as a mentor to students at the National Academy Orchestra of Canada, the Belfountain Festival, and the Lunenburg Academy of Music Performance. He jointly published a first-of-it's-kind eBook with Joel Quarrington, called the Canadian School of Double Bass. It is an in-depth study of Maestro Quarrington’s modernized approach to playing the double bass, complete with video and audio examples, making it a truly cutting-edge technique book.
Travis is the proud owner of two very fine double basses: an old English bass attributed to Vincenzo Panormo, circa 1810; and a bass he commissioned from contemporary Canadian master luthier Mario Lamarre, completed in December 2018. Travis makes music on these instruments with the fine bows of Canadian bow maker Bernard Walke.
While not playing music, the art of beer making, wood working, and audio/video production take up much of Travis' time.
Frédéric Lacroix has performed in Canada, the United States, Europe, and Asia as a soloist, chamber musician, and collaborative pianist. As such, he has performed with many important musicians, including Branford Marsalis, Johannes Moser, Kathleen Battle, Alexander Rudin and some of Canada’s most noted musicians. He has made regular radio appearances on the Canadian CBC and SRC or the American NPR. Following the University of Ottawa’s purchase of a fortepiano in 1997, Frédéric has devoted part of his time to the study and performance of music on period keyboard instruments, for which he was recognized as the Westfield Center Performing Scholar for the 2008-09 and has presented numerous concerts (solo, chamber music, with orchestra) in Canada and the United States as harpsichordist and fortepianist. Recently, he curated, as fortepianist (and composer), the late night concerts of the National Arts Center Focus Beethoven Festival. Although Frédéric performs most frequently in chamber music settings, he performs regularly as soloist, with orchestra or in recital.
Intrigued by the seemingly infinite diversity of new music, Frédéric has enjoyed collaborating with composers and performers in the premiere of a number of Canadian and American works. Frédéric is also active as a composer, having composed for the Ottawa Chamber Music Festival, the Society of American Music, the Canadian University Music Society, the Choeur Classique de l’Outaouais and other noted Canadian musicians. One of his latest works, a sonatina for oboe and piano is featured on a collection of Canadian of music for oboe and piano with Chip Hamann that was released in June 2017. He is since performed and composed on a few other more recording projects, mostly devoted to the works of Canadian composers.
Much in demand as collaborative artist, teacher, adjudicator and composer, he currently teaches piano and composition at the University of Ottawa. He holds degrees from the University of Montreal, the University of Ottawa, and Cornell University, where he completed his Doctorate degree in keyboard performance practice with Malcolm Bilson. His other teachers include Marc Durand, Cynthia Floyd, Andrew Tunis, Jean-Paul Sévilla and Monique Collet-Samyn.
Canadian pianist Carson Becke has performed worldwide. He holds a doctorate in musicology from the University of Oxford, and is the director of Pontiac Enchanté, a concert series in Quebec. His recordings can be heard on Spotify, iTunes, and YouTube. He forms one half of Duo Octavian, a two-piano ensemble that he co-founded with fellow pianist Suren Barry in 2016. Duo Octavian seeks to expand the two-piano repertoire with their own arrangements of various works and with arrangements/commissions by other performers/composers. Carson is committed to raising awareness about climate change and other environmental challenges through music. He is enacting those ideas through his directorship of the Pontiac Enchanté concert series: environmental sustainability is one of the cornerstones of its mission. Carson lived in the United Kingdom for fifteen years: first in London, and then in Oxford. In 2019 he moved home to Ottawa, Canada, where he currently lives with his partner Madeline, and their dog Jerry.
Amanda Forsyth, cello
Agata Szymczewska, violin