ARC Ensemble
The Royal Conservatory of Music
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Biographies
 

All of ARC's members are either faculty members of the Glenn Gould School
or distinguished Royal Conservatory alumni.

 


Marie Bérard, violin

Best known as the concertmaster of the Canadian Opera Company Orchestra (COC), Marie Bérard is also a sought-after chamber musician, soloist, recording artist and teacher. She is a former member of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and has performed with a variety of smaller ensembles such as Amici, Array Music and New Music Concerts. She is a member of Trio Arkel and the ARC Ensemble which has toured in Europe, China and the United States and was twice nominated for a Grammy.

Highly regarded as an interpreter of contemporary music, Ms. Bérard has released a recording of a concerto by Henry Kucharzyk for violin and brass ensemble on the Opening Day label and can be heard on numerous CBC Records including the Meditation from Thais with the COC orchestra.

Ms. Bérard is a regular performer at numerous chamber music festivals, notably the Domaine Forget International Festival, the Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival, The Blair Atholl Festival in Scotland, and holds the position of Associate Concertmaster of the Mainly Mozart Festival in San Diego.

Ms. Bérard joined the faculty of the Glenn Gould School in the fall of 2000 and plays a 1767 Pietro Landolfi violin.

 

Benjamin Bowman, violin
One of Canada's most dynamic and versatile musicians, Canadian-American violinist Benjamin Bowman has performed to critical acclaim throughout North America, Europe and Asia. Benjamin performs regularly as a soloist, and is a member or frequent guest artist for some of the country's best chamber music ensembles, including the twice Grammy-nominated ARC (Artists of the Royal Conservatory), Art of Time, and Amici. Most recently, Benjamin was featured on the 2013 Juno-winning album 'Levant'. Other collaborative work includes extensive immersion in contemporary/new music, improvisation, and performance with singer/songwriters. Benjamin appears regularly as guest Concertmaster with major orchestras internationally, most recently with the American Ballet Theatre, the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic and the National Arts Centre Orchestra (Canada).

Bowman's performances have been recorded for radio broadcast in Canada with the CBC, in the USA, the UK, Poland, Hungary, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Denmark and Korea. His discography includes recent solo and chamber-music releases on the Sony Masterworks/RCA Red Seal, ATMA Classique, and Innova labels. Bowman received his Bachelor of Music degree from the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. In his spare time, he also composes and arranges music, and writes electronic music as a hobby.

 

Steven Dann, viola
Steven Dann's career has covered a wealth of violistic possibilities. As principal viola of some of the world's leading orchestras, as a veteran of the string quartet and chamber music world, as soloist and recitalist and as a dedicated teacher.

Mr. Dann was born in Vancouver, Canada. His foremost teacher and mentor was the late Lorand Fenyves. Other influences include William Primrose, Robert Pikler, Bruno Giuranna and five summers spent studying the string quartet repertoire with Zoltan Szekely and members of the Hungarian String Quartet.

Upon graduation from university he was named Principal Viola of the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa, Canada, a position he has subsequently held with the Tonhalle Orchestra in Zurich, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam, the Vancouver Symphony and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. He has also served as guest principal of the Luzern Festival Orchestra, the Boston Symphony Orchestra under Seiji Ozawa, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra under Sir Simon Rattle and, in both performance and recordings, with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe under Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Paavo Berglund and Pierre Boulez and the Canadian Opera Company in performances of Wagner's Ring Cycle.

Steven Dann has collaborated as a soloist with such Maestri as Sir Andrew Davis, Rudolph Barshai, Jiri Belohlavek, Sir John Elliott Gardiner, Jukka-Pekka Saraste and Vladimir Ashkenazy.

Since 1990 Mr. Dann has been a member of the Smithsonian Chamber Players in Washington D.C. and was a founding member of the Axelrod String Quartet. He is currently violist of both the Zebra Trio (with violinist Ernst Kovacic and cellist Anssi Karttunen) and Toronto's twice Grammy-nominated ARC Ensemble.

Mr. Dann has recorded for Sony, Naxos, CBC Records, Marquis Classics, Centrediscs, RCA Red Seal, Ondine, Kairos, Chandos and ATMA Classique. The Stereo Record Review described his 2006 recording of the viola works of Brahms (ATMA CLASSIQUE) as "without doubt, one of the most beautiful viola recordings I have ever heard". A second CD for ATMA of French repertoire was released in March of 2013.

Recent performances include solo works/concerti by Peter Lieberson, Giya Kancheli, W.A. Mozart, Alexina Louie, Christos Hatzis (world premiere), Mark- Anthony Turnage, Jonathan Harvey, Peter Oesterle (world premiere), William Walton and Morton Feldman. Mr. Dann has himself commissioned and premiered many new works from such composers as Alexina Louie, Peter Lieberson, R. Murray Shafer, Frederick Schipitsky, Walter Buczyinski, Christos Hatzis and Michael Oesterle.

As both a performer and teacher, Mr. Dann is a regular guest at many international festivals and arts schools. He teaches viola and chamber music at the Glenn Gould School in Toronto's Royal Conservatory of Music and is the Coordinator of the chamber music program at the Domaine Forget in Quebec.

Mr. Dann plays a viola of Joseph Gagliano, circa 1780.

 

Bryan Epperson, cello
One of Canada’s most charismatic chamber musicians, Bryan Epperson is principal cellist of both the orchestra of the Canadian Opera Company and, during the summer, that of the Santa Fé Opera. He made debuts in Milan, Venice, Siena and Florence at the recommendation of Claudio Abbado and, since then, has received regular invitations to perform throughout Europe and North America. Collaborations include performances with such legendary musicians as David and Igor Oistrakh, Christian Ferras and Tibor Varga. Bryan has recorded on the Naxos and Musica Viva labels and broadcast on NPR, BBC and the CBC. A graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, Bryan’s initial studies were with Leonard Rose, André Navarra and George Neikrug. He subsequently served as an assistant to Antonio Janigro at the Salzburg Mozarteum. Bryan is devoted to both a 1752 Paulo Antonio Testore cello and a 928S Porsche of almost equivalent vintage.

 

David Louie, piano
The pianist and harpsichordist David Louie, described as “A pianistic sensation” (Rhein Zeitung, Germany), was born in British Columbia. A winner of several international piano competitions (CBC Radio; Santander, and Sydney) he made his New York debut with the venerable Peoples’ Symphony Concerts and since then has performed at major series in Chicago (the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts), Mose Festwochen, Germany, and the National Auditorium, Madrid. He has appeared with the Vancouver Symphony, the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa, the Gulbenkian Chamber Orchestra in Lisbon and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Louie has collaborated with many distinguished artists, including the Takács Quartet. He completed graduate studies at the University of Southern California. His principal teachers include Boris Zarankin and John Perry whom he now assists at The Glenn Gould School of The Royal Conservatory of Music. Away from the keyboard, he enjoys languages, literature, art, film and the great outdoors.

 

Erika Raum, violin
Erika has played the violin professionally since the age of 12. Since winning the Joseph Szigeti International Violin Competition in 1992, she has been invited to Europe on many occasions, most recently to Portugal, Austria, Germany, England, Italy, France and Hungary, where she appeared with the Budapest Radio Orchestra, the Austro-Hungarian Orchestra, and the Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra. Erika has performed throughout Canada and the US: at the Parry Sound, Ottawa, Vancouver and Caramoor chamber festivals and regularly at the Banff Centre. In Europe she has appeared at festivals in Budapest and Prussia Cove. She is much in demand as a chamber musician and performs regularly with the distinguished pianist Anton Kuerti, with whom she recorded a landmark CD of Czerny’s piano and violin works (on CBC’s Musica Viva label). She teaches at The Royal Conservatory of Music’s Glenn Gould school.

 

Joaquin Valdepeñas, clarinet
Joaquin Valdepeñas a prolific recording artist has recently won a second Juno Award for his recording "Levant" with his Amici Chamber Ensemble. As well, his latest CD with the ARC Ensemble on the Chandos Label was released in June and features the Clarinet Quintet of Paul Ben-Haim. Mr. Valdepeñas was a Grammy Award nominee two years in a row in the chamber music category—both on the Sony BMG label as part of his collaboration with the ARC Ensemble. He has also won a Juno award for best classical recording (for the Jacques Hetu Concerto). Mr. Valdepeñas was appointed principal clarinetist of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra upon graduation from Yale University and makes international appearances as a soloist, chamber musician, and conductor and is considered one of the most distinguished clarinetists of his generation. Mr. Valdepeñas has made over three dozen recordings, including a recording of the Mozart clarinet concerto with the English Chamber Orchestra.

He has performed with many distinguished artists such as Leif Ove Andsnes, Kathleen Battle, Isabel Bayrakdarian, Barbara Bonney, Joshua Bell, Vladimir Feltsman, Steven Isserlis, Cho Liang Lin, Yo Yo Ma, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, John O'Connor and Pinchas Zuckerman. He has also collaborated with some of the world's finest string quartets such as the American, Calder, Emerson, Muir, Orion, Takacs, St. Lawrence, Ying and Zemlinsky, as well as the Kalichstein, Laredo Robinson Trio at the Y in New York City, the international Sejong Soloists in Korea and The Chamber Society of Lincoln Center. Commissioning many works by Canadian composers, Mr. Valdepeñas gave the American première of Arias for Clarinet and Orchestra by Michael Colgrass with the Buffalo Philharmonic. His European début, a performance with the BBC Welsh Symphony, was broadcast on BBC Television conducted by Sir Andrew Davis.

In addition to his duties as principal clarinet of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and a former conductor of the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra, he has conducted the TSO on many occasions. He has participated in music festivals including the Banff, Casals, Evian France, Mostly Mozart in New York as well as in Nagano Japan, Marlboro, Curitiba Brazil, Sedona and most recently the Great Mountain Music festival in Korea.

Mr. Valdepeñas has been a member of the faculty of the Aspen Music Festival and school for over 25 years and is currently on the faculty of the Glenn Gould School at the Royal Conservatory of Music. Today many of his former students hold positions in orchestras around the world including The Cleveland Orchestra, The New York Philharmonic, The Minnesota Orchestra, The Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, The Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra and the Osaka Philharmonic. As an exclusive Yamaha artist he was instrumental in the design of the new CSG Yamaha clarinet combining the French and German traditions into one unique voice.

 

Dianne Werner, piano
After initial training at The Royal Conservatory with Margaret Parsons-Poole, Dianne Werner continued her studies with Peter Katin, György Sebök and Alicia de Larrocha. She went on to win a number of major prizes in the Young Keyboard Artists Association Competition in the United States and the Silver Medal at the prestigious Viotti-Valsesia International Piano Competition in Italy. Dianne also received a number of major awards in Canada, including three Canada Council Grants and a Floyd Chalmers award from the Ontario Arts Council. An exceptional soloist, accompanist and chamber musician, her collaborations include a national tour and recordings with soprano Nancy Argenta and a wide array of performances with the principal players of the Toronto Symphony, the New York Philharmonic, and the Canadian Opera Company Orchestra. Acclaimed for her lyrical and poetic style she has given solo and concerto performances across Canada. She is a faculty member of The Royal Conservatory of Music.

 

Simon Wynberg, Artistic Director — ARC
Simon Wynberg enjoys a diverse career as a guitarist, chamber musician and artistic director. He has programmed chamber-music festivals in Scotland and the Caribbean and was artistic director of Music at Speedside and the Guelph Spring Festival in Canada from 1994 to 2002. His entry in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians describes him as “not only a virtuoso performer of distinction but one of the guitar’s foremost scholars”. He has edited over 60 volumes of hitherto unknown guitar music and his many recordings (on Chandos, ASV, Hyperion, Narada, Stradivari, Vox and Naxos) have received glowing reviews and awards, including a Penguin CD Guide Rosette, a Gramophone Critics’ Choice, and a Diapason Award. He has performed at the Newport, Bermuda, Sitka, Ann Arbor, Santa Fé and Ottawa chamber music festivals, as well as at New York's Bargemusic and throughout Europe. His collaborations with many celebrated artists include the English Chamber Orchestra, the flautist William Bennett, the Gabrieli String Quartet and the violinists Mark Peskanov and Martin Beaver. He is the curator of ARC’s musical projects, including the “Music in Exile” series, and is the Executive Producer of ARC's recordings.