Michael Bloss has developed a celebrated reputation for animated performances, sensitive collaborative playing, and illuminative coaching. In an enviable career of touring, performing and recording throughout the world, he was the first Canadian to be awarded the designation of Preisträger at the International Bach Competition in Leipzig, Germany playing in Bach’s own church. J.S. Bach remains his first and best love. Currently, Michael leads the music at Christ’s Church Cathedral, Hamilton ON following respected tenures at the Cathedral Church of St. James in Toronto, Park Congregational Church in Grand Rapids and Timothy Eaton Memorial Church in Toronto. Recent appearances include a tour through Germany and Austria with the Chapel Choir of Royal St. George’s College, Toronto, and recitals in Germany and Denmark. Before the COVID pandemic began, he also served as a CRJ 100/200 Training Captain at Air Canada Express flying to a variety of US destinations and was type rated on the B767 for Air Canada Rouge.
With playing described as having “bracing virtuosity” (Chicago Classical Review) and being “fearless and extraordinary” (Amarillo-Globe News), Isabelle Demers has enraptured critics, presenters, and audience members around the globe. Her 2010 recital for the International Society of Organbuilders-American Institute of Organbuilders convention “left the entire congress in an atmosphere of ‘Demers fever’”. That same year, her performance at the Washington D.C. national convention of the American Guild of Organists was described as “one of the most outstanding events of the convention” (The American Organist). The standing-room-only audience there called her back to the stage five times.
She has appeared worldwide in recital in Europe, Oman, Australia, New Zealand, and coast to coast in the United States and her home country of Canada. Highlights of her 2018-2019 season include performances at the Maison Symphonique (Montreal, Québec), the Elbphilharmonie (Hamburg, Germany), City Hall (Stockholm, Sweden), the Forbidden City Concert Hall (Beijing, China), and Westminster Abbey (London, UK), in addition to numerous other engagements in North America, Europe, and Asia.
Dr. Demers is in continual demand by her fellow colleagues as witnessed by performances for regional and national conventions of the American Guild of Organists, the Institute of Organ Builders and International Society of Organbuilders, the Royal Canadian College of Organists, and the Organ Historical Society.
Her first recording on the Acis label, The Old and the New, was met with critical acclaim. Fanfare Magazine called it “superbly produced”, a “clear, tightly focused recording”, and a “brilliantly played program.” Her second disc, featuring the organ works of Rachel Laurin, was released in June 2011, and her recording of Max Reger’s Seven Chorale-Fantasias in November 2012. Her fourth CD, Bach, Bull, and Bombardes (Pro Organo), was released in May 2013. In 2018, she appeared as solo organ accompanist in a recording of Maurice Duruflé’s Requiem with the Baylor University Choir, recorded at Duruflé’s church, St. Étienne-du-Mont, in Paris, also on the Acis label.
A native of Québec and a doctoral graduate of the Juilliard School, Dr. Demers is Organ Professor and Head of the Organ Program at Baylor University in Texas.
David Enlow is a “commanding” organist (The New Yorker), teacher, and conductor based in New York, who is active in North America and Europe. Credited with “immense virtuosity” (Stuttgarter Zeitung) and “performances full of color, passion, invention, and power” (The American Record Guide), David works in concert music and church music. His solo recordings include Pater Seraphicus, the complete major organ works of César Franck; Piano à l’Orgue, an album of piano transcriptions; and Bach on Park Avenue, recorded on the Mander organ at the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola in New York.
David has taught church music, service playing, improvisation, and organ repertoire master classes for local, regional, and national events of the American Guild of Organists (AGO), the Royal Canadian College of Organists, and at the Juilliard School, from which he received two degrees. David also received the Fellowship diploma, with both prizes for highest marks, from the AGO, which resulted in his joining the committee on professional certification, which sets the standards for the national organist examinations and grades them. David then served two terms as Dean of the New York City Chapter AGO.
In national organ performance competitions, he received the first prizes of the Albert Schweitzer Organ Festival (USA) and the Arthur Poister Competition, and has recently served as a judge for several others including the Albert Schweitzer festival and the AGO’s improvisation competition. David studied the organ with Paul Jacobs, John Weaver, and John Tuttle, and improvisation with Gerre Hancock.
David’s work at the Church of the Resurrection on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, where he arrived in 2001 while still a student, has included directing performances of over fifty different settings of the mass each year, sung by the church’s professional choir. The music program places special emphasis on the great works of Mozart, Haydn and their contemporaries, often offered with chamber orchestra, but also includes plainsong, Renaissance polyphony, Baroque music, and 20th-century works. For two years, the church offered choral evensong, featuring the 19th and 20th century cathedral repertory.
Conductor, Pianist and Organist Shawn Grenke is Director of Music at Eglinton St. George’s United Church in Toronto, Associate Conductor and Accompanist for the Amadeus Choir of Toronto, Accompanist to the Elmer Iseler Singers of Toronto, and Artistic Director of the 80-voice Achill Choral Society in Orangeville, Ontario. Shawn began his musical training as a chorister and pianist with the Hastings County Board of Education Concert Choir under the Direction of Rudolf Heijdens in his hometown of Belleville.
He has a Bachelor of Music degree (2000) from Mount Allison University (New Brunswick), and a Master of Music degree (2002) from the University of Toronto. Shawn has made international appearances in concerts in Poland, at the ‘Let the Future Sing’ Choral Festival in Sweden, the ‘Le Mondial Choral Loto-Québec World Choral Competition’ in Laval, Québec, ‘Xinghai Choral Competition’ in China, Seoul, Roy Thomson Hall, CBC Radio, and other various festivals, concert series, and recitals throughout Canada, the United States, and Europe.
Photo credit: James Katz
One of the world’s leading pianists, Angela Hewitt appears in recital and as soloist with major orchestras throughout Europe, the Americas, Australia, and Asia. Her interpretations of the music of J.S. Bach have established her as one of the composer’s foremost interpreters of our time. She was a prizewinner in numerous piano competitions in Europe, Canada, and the USA, but it was her triumph in the 1985 Toronto International Bach Piano Competition, held in memory of Glenn Gould, that truly launched her international career.
Angela’s award-winning cycle for Hyperion Records of all the major keyboard works of Bach has been described as “one of the record glories of our age” (The Sunday Times). She has won four Juno Awards, including one for her album of Mozart Concertos with Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra. In 2020 she was awarded two prestigious prizes: the City of Leipzig Bach Medal (being the first woman in its 17-year history to receive the award), and the Wigmore Hall Gold Medal in recognition of some 80 performances over the past 35 years in London’s most prestigious chamber music venue.
Described as “one of the busiest pianists on earth” by London’s Evening Standard (2005), Angela also devotes herself to nurturing new talent. Her masterclasses, both around the world and online, are hugely appreciated, and every few years she gives a week-long masterclass in Italy for gifted pianists. She was also part of Piano Six from 1994-2004: a project which took live music into the remote communities of Canada—giving concerts, masterclasses, and playing for school children across the country. Her writings on music include all the liner notes for her CD recordings as well as several book reviews for the Times Literary Supplement.
In 2005, Angela launched the Trasimeno Music Festival in the heart of Umbria, Italy of which she is Artistic Director. An annual event, it draws an international audience to stunning venues including the Castle of the Knights of Malta in Magione (near Perugia) on the shores of Lake Trasimeno. Seven concerts in seven days feature Hewitt as recitalist, chamber musician, song accompanist, and conductor, working with both established and young artists of her choosing.
As an Ambassador for “Orkidstra”– a Sistema-inspired social development program in Ottawa’s inner city, she brings attention to how music can bring children and young adults together through the joy of making music and learning an instrument, as well as how it teaches valuable skills such as commitment, teamwork and tolerance.
In March of 2020, when all concert activity and travelling abruptly stopped due to the coronavirus pandemic, Angela went online to share daily offerings of short pieces—many of which form the basis of teaching material.
In 2006 Angela was awarded an OBE from Queen Elizabeth II, and in 2015 she was promoted to a Companion of the Order of Canada. She was “Artist of the Year” at the 2006 Gramophone Awards, “Instrumentalist of the Year” at the 2010 MIDEM Classical Awards at Cannes, and in 2018 received the Governor General’s Lifetime Achievement Award in Ottawa. She is a member of the Royal Society of Canada, has seven honorary doctorates, and is a Visiting Fellow of Peterhouse College, Cambridge.
Martin Jongsma (b.1986) began his organ studies after participating in a Hamilton POW (Pipe Organ Week) initiative in 2001. Martin completed a Bachelor of Music degree in 2008 from Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, and a Master of Music degree in 2011 from McGill University’s Schulich School of Music. He became an associate of the Royal Canadian College of Organists in 2012. Martin manages a private music studio, directs the “Uplifted Voices” choir and regularly accompanies church services in the Hamilton-area Reformed churches. Martin is in the final phase of his doctoral program in organ performance at the University of Toronto under the mentorship of Kevin Komisaruk. Martin’s dissertation is titled: “The History and Practice of Congregational Organ Accompaniment in the Dutch Reformed Churches of the Seventeenth- and Eighteenth Centuries.”
Matthew Larkin was born in Oxford, England, and came to Canada shortly before his sixth birthday. He was educated at Lord Strathcona School in Kingston, Ontario, and received his early musical training as a chorister at St. George’s Cathedral, later serving as assistant organist. He attended the University of Toronto as organ scholar of Trinity College, where he was a student of John Tuttle, and subsequently the Royal College of Music. One of Canada’s most influential liturgical musicians, he has held appointments in Toronto, Ottawa, and Victoria, and was director of music at Christ Church Cathedral, Ottawa, for fifteen years. Active as a choral director and conductor, he founded the Caelis Academy Ensemble and has served as musical director of a number of other noteworthy Canadian ensembles. His recital work has taken him worldwide, and his collaborative projects have produced commercially successful recordings on several labels, including his most recent release on the ATMA Classique label. He is conversant in a number of musical genres, and is well-known as a composer, arranger, and educator. Matthew is a Fellow of the Royal Canadian College of Organists and has served as a member of its Examinations Committee. He is a resident of Ottawa and Toronto, dividing his time between choral, conducting, recital, recording, and live-streaming projects. Matthew Larkin is represented by Domoney Artists Management, Toronto.
Sarah MacDonald is a Canadian-born organist, conductor, and composer, living in the UK, and currently holds the positions of Fellow and Director of Music at Selwyn College, Cambridge, and Director of the girl choristers at Ely Cathedral. She has been at Selwyn since 1999, and is the first woman to hold such a post in an Oxbridge Chapel. In 2018 MacDonald was given the honorary award of Associate of the Royal School of Church Music (ARSCM).
MacDonald moved to the United Kingdom from Canada in 1992 as Organ Scholar of Robinson College, Cambridge after studying piano, organ, and conducting at The Royal Conservatory of Music’s Glenn Gould School in Toronto with Leon Fleisher, Marek Jablonski, and John Tuttle. At Cambridge she read for a degree in Music, and studied the organ with David Sanger. Her early musical studies as a pianist took place at the Victoria Conservatory of Music on the west coast of British Columbia.
MacDonald has played numerous recitals and conducted choirs throughout the UK, North America, the Middle East, New Zealand, and much of mainland Europe. She has made over 35 recordings as pianist, organist, conductor, and producer, and currently works most frequently with Regent Records. MacDonald is a winner of the Royal College of Organists’ (RCO) coveted Limpus Prize, and has taught organ and conducting for Eton Choral Courses, Oundle for Organists, the Jennifer Bate Organ Academy, and courses run by the RCO. For its first ten years, she was a regular director of the Girl Chorister Course at St Thomas’ Church Fifth Avenue, in New York City, and is a guest conductor of international RSCM residential courses (Charlotte NC 2016, Rhode Island 2017, Pacific Northwest 2018, Australia 2020). MacDonald holds the Royal College of Organists’ Fellowship Diploma (FRCO), is Examiner for the RCO and the Cambridge University Music Faculty, and also spent many years as a member of the Academic Board of the RCO and as a Trustee. She is an Honorary Patron of the Herbert Howells Society and of the Society of Women Organists.
MacDonald is active as a composer, and has had works published by Encore Publications the Royal School of Church Music, August Press, and St James Music Press. MacDonald also writes a popular monthly column for the American Guild of Organists’ magazine ‘The American Organist’, called “UK Report”.
In January 2020, the ‘Sarah MacDonald Choral Series’ with Selah Publishing was launched.
Ottawa Bach Choir
The JUNO Award-winning Ottawa Bach Choir (OBC), founded in 2002 by Dr. Lisette Canton, offers audiences a wide range of choral music of the finest quality, performing music from all historical periods while keeping Bach’s choral oeuvre as the focus of its repertoire. Through a combination of both a scholarly and emotional approach to choral music, the professional chamber ensemble expands all aspects of the artistic spectrum. Joining some of Canada’s most accomplished artists and top choristers from the National Capital region and beyond, the choir has received national and international recognition.
The Ottawa Bach Choir, now in its 19th season, performs a large subscription concert series in Ottawa and travels extensively in Canada and abroad. In 2022, the choir has been invited to return to Bachfest Leipzig as one of a select number of ensembles worldwide (and the only Canadian ensemble) to present Bach’s entire chorale cantata cycle. In 2016, the OBC toured China, where it was invited to represent Canada at the festival, Meet in Beijing, in Beijing and Shanghai. In 2014, the choir received an invitation to perform in the prestigious international festival, Bachfest Leipzig 2014, the first Canadian choir to receive such an invitation. The choir made its debut at Carnegie Hall in New York City in 2011, and has performed in London, Paris, Venice, Amsterdam, Bayreuth, Leipzig, Stuttgart, Prague, Vienna, and more. Past appearances have also included concerts at the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City, Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto, the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, and numerous cities and festivals across Canada. The OBC was invited as the first Canadian choir to perform and take over the duties of the Thomanerchor in May 2005 at the Thomaskirche, in Leipzig, and again in 2007 and 2009.
In addition to its successful performances of all of Bach’s major works, the OBC has sung sacred and secular works from all musical periods, and collaborated with numerous national and international artists and ensembles. The choir also engages in an educational outreach program each season and has performed in over 50 schools in the Ottawa-Carleton region.
The OBC has been broadcast nationwide on CBC Radio 1 and Radio 2, as well as on Radio-Canada. The choir has recorded seven compact discs to critical acclaim, including the JUNO Award-winning album, Handel, Bach & Schütz on the ATMA Classique label (2019), exclaimed as “among the very best” (American Record Guide) and “staggering and movingly performed” (Gramophone Magazine), ‘Twas But Pure Love (2016), Cantate Domino (2011), Jesu, meine Freude (2008), A Christmas Story (2005) and Festival Baroque (2005). The choir’s most recent broadcasts have been heard across the nation on CBC Radio Two and on Radio-Canada’s ICI musique. For more information, please visit the Ottawa Bach Choir’s web site, www.ottawabachchoir.ca.
Norman Reintamm’s undergraduate studies in music were done at the University of Toronto and McMaster University, with his postgraduate work being accomplished at the Royal College of Music (London, ENGLAND). While at the Royal College of Music, Norman had the great fortune to study with Sir David Willcocks, Sir Norman del Mar, and Sir Richard Popplewell. He has served as Senior Conductor at the Estonian National Opera, Head of the Opera Department at the Estonian Academy of Music, Tutor in the Opera Department at the Sibelius Academy, and Principal Conductor and Music Director for the Cathedral Bluffs Symphony Orchestra.
Norman has given organ recitals in Canada, the United States, and Europe, including the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine in New York City and Roy Thompson Hall in Toronto. He is now semi- retired, holding the position of Music Director at Saint Joseph’s RC Church in Hamilton (Ontario), Artistic Advisor to the Barbados Classical Music Festival, and Flight Instructor at the Brantford Flight Centre in Brantford.
David Simon enjoys a diverse career as an organ recitalist, improviser, instructor, and liturgical musician. He has performed across North America, Europe, the UK, and Russia and has played with the Toronto and New Haven Symphony Orchestras as an organ soloist. First studying music as a chorister at St. Michael’s Cathedral-Basilica in Toronto, David continues to play organ at weekly masses in the Cathedral-Basilica and he instructs piano and organ for St. Michael’s Choir School. Fully embracing digital media for teaching, his studio includes students from across Canada and the United States.
David is the recipient of prestigious national prizes for organ repertoire interpretation and improvisation. In 2018, David won First Prize and Audience Prize in the University of Michigan organ improvisation competition and in 2019 won First Prize in the Royal Canadian College of Organists national competition. He is a doctoral candidate at Yale University in the studios of Thomas Murray and Jeff Brillhart, and is a Fellow of the Royal Canadian College of Organists (FRCCO), winning the Willan Scholarship for top national achievement.