We need to close the gap

There is something magical about the rare few artists who really make music.  In an era when the classical “superstars” of our day got famous on their ability to impress, nothing feels better than to see an artist of great integrity truly make music.

While sitting backstage watching Timothy Chooi play beautifully crafted Mozart, it reminded me of last season’s star Jan Lisiecki.  Both young men are certified virtuosos, but both are sensitive to the needs of the music, and both play with such beautiful phrasing that the art is more important than impressing the crowd.

Last year when Jan Lisiecki finished the final notes of Beethoven’s epic 4th concerto, our sold-out crowd gave him the longest standing ovation in SSO history at 9 minutes.

Jan is doing a handful of recitals across Canada this month, and spends two nights in Saskatoon at Convocation Hall.  The concert, in one of the most intimate venues he plays in all year, features the music of Bach, Schubert, and Chopin.  I am fortunate to have seen this recital recently, and I can tell you that the Bach and Schubert were both surprising and thrilling…a young man who has something beautiful and unique to say, and it shook me.  I see many recitals across the continent each year, and I can say with certainty that Jan is the ultimate recital pianist – an artist who wants the audience to experience the music as deeply as he does.  I always think that someday he’ll fail to impress me, and I’m thrilled that each time he proves me wrong.

This concert is important for the SSO, and not just because we should be presenting world class artists to our audience.

Its hard to believe I’ve been with the SSO for three years – its amazing to look back at how far the organization has come in that time.  I am incredibly proud of the organization’s many accomplishments in that time.  In that short time we’ve retired our debt, restructured the organization and ushered in new fiscal responsibility, and achieved a new artistic standard for the orchestra.  We’ve welcomed Eric Paetkau to our stage, increased our programming, fostered the careers of many Saskatchewan artists, and shared the stage with some of the world’s finest musicians.  While we’ve achieved so much, keeping the SSO afloat is still hard work.

The SSO is underfunded.

When compared to other orchestras our size, we receive roughly anywhere from $60,000 to $200,000 less in funding. That gap that large stifles the organization.  It leaves us unstable and, more importantly, unsustainable.

We need more staff before our current staff burn out; we need to invest in our musicians, in our guests, in our audience, and in new education initiatives.  We are working with our funders and dialoguing with them about how we need addressing our funding gap.  The reality is, that may take years.

We want to bring performances like Jan Lisiecki’s recital to Saskatoon in hopes to do a few things – new revenues streams help stabilize the SSO, music lovers get the chance to hear world class artists, and it means we’re not going to ask you to buy tickets to a “rubber chicken dinner”.   We have exceptional respect for our supporters, and a concert like Jan’s shows that we want to offer you something special in return for your support of the SSO.

I promise that this is a performance you cannot miss.  Something special is going to happen on stage…real artistry up close and personal.

I hope to see you at Jan’s recital,

Mark Turner

Mozart’s last violin concerto

Mozart composed the majority of his concertos for string instruments from 1773 to 1779, but it is unknown for whom, or for what occasion, he wrote them.[1] Similarly, the dating of these works is unclear. Analysis of the handwriting, papers and watermarks has proved that all five violin concertos were re-dated several times. The year of composition of the fifth concerto “1775” was scratched out and replaced by “1780”, and later changed again to “1775”.[1] Mozart would not use the key of A major for a concerto again until the Piano Concerto No. 12 (K. 414).[2]

The autograph score is preserved in the Library of Congress, Washington D.C.[1]

The concerto is scored for two oboes, two horns and strings.

The movements are as follows:

  1. Allegro aperto – Adagio – Allegro aperto
  2. Adagio (E major)
  3. Rondeau – Tempo di minuetto

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The aperto marking on the first movement is rare in Mozart’s instrumental music (two of his piano concerti, Piano Concerto No. 6 in B-flat Major and Piano Concerto No. 8 in C Major, have this marking, as does his Oboe Concerto in C Major are two other examples), but appears much more frequently in his operas. It implies that the piece should be played in a broader, more majestic way than might be indicated simply by allegro. The first movement opens with the orchestra playing the main theme, a typical Mozartian tune. The solo violin comes in with a short but sweet dolce adagio passage in A Major with a simple accompaniment by the orchestra. (This is the only instance in Mozart’s concerto repertoire in which an adagio interlude of this sort occurs at the first soloist entry of the concerto.) It then transitions back to the main theme with the solo violin playing a different melody on top of the orchestra. The first movement is 10–11 minutes long.

The rondo Finale is based on a Minuet theme which recurs several times. In the middle of the movement the meter changes from 3/4 to 2/4 and a section of “Turkish music” is played. This is characterised by the shift to A minor (from the original A major), and by the use of grotesque elements, such as unison chromatic crescendos, repetition of very short musical elements and col legno playing in the cellos and double basses. This section gave the concerto the nickname “The Turkish Concerto”. The famous Rondo alla Turca from Mozart’s piano sonata in A major features the same key and similar elements.

Mozart later composed the Adagio in E for Violin and Orchestra, K. 261, as a substitute slow movement for this concerto.

The entire piece is about 28 minutes long.

Introducing Timothy Chooi

Canadian Violinist, Timothy Chooi has been described as “the miracle (Montreal Lapresse)”.

Regarded as one of Canada’s most promising and exciting young artist, Timothy Chooi has recently won the Bronze Medal Winner of the 2015 Michael Hill International Violin Competition, completed an extensive recital tour with Jeunesses Musicales Canada, performed with Pinchas Zukerman and the National Arts Centre Orchestra, record his debut album, and was featured at Ravinia Festival in Chicago. He is also a recipient of the 2013 Vadim Repin International Scholarship, Sylva Gelber Award, Canada Council for the Arts Musical Instrument Bank and was the Grand Prize Winner of the Montreal Symphony Manulife Competition.  Timothy continues to have an engaging role in the promotion of the arts and education for the youth in communites across Canada and the USA helping raise over one million dollars in the past two years.

Timothy regularly appears with his brother, Nikki in the violin duo the Chooi Brothers where they perform themed based programs which have proven to be successful across audiences around the world.

He looks to expand the classical music audience by increasing its appeal to the young generation via all available social media platforms. In particular his series of self- made online videos in non traditional locations broadening the reach of classical music through videography.

Timothy was born in 1993 in Victoria, British Columbia. He began his studies at the Victoria Conservatory of Music where at age 3. He is a graduate of the Mount Royal Conservatory received his undergraduate degree at the Curtis Institute of Music.

Timothy gratefully acknowledges the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, CBC Radio, the Sylva Gelber Foundation, and the Victoria Foundation. He also acknowledges the generous loan of his 1717 Windsor-Weinstein Stradivarius from the Canada Council for the Arts.

Mozart’s Jupiter

Symphony No. 41 is the last of a set of three that Mozart composed in rapid succession during the summer of 1788. No. 39 was completed on 26 June and the No. 40 on 25 July.[1] Nikolaus Harnoncourt argues that Mozart composed the three symphonies as a unified work, pointing, among other things, to the fact that the Symphony No. 41, as the final work, has no introduction (unlike No. 39) but has a grand finale.[3]

Around the same time as he composed the three symphonies, Mozart was writing his piano trios in E major (K. 542), and C major (K. 548), his piano sonata No. 16 in C (K. 545) – the so-called Sonata facile – and a violin sonatina K. 547.

It is not known whether Symphony No. 41 was ever performed in the composer’s lifetime. According to Otto Erich Deutsch, around this time Mozart was preparing to hold a series of “Concerts in the Casino” in a new casino in the Spiegelgasse owned by Philipp Otto. Mozart even sent a pair of tickets for this series to his friend Michael Puchberg. But it seems impossible to determine whether the concert series was held, or was cancelled for lack of interest.[1]


The four movements are arranged in the traditional symphonic form of the Classical era:

  1. Allegro vivace, 4 4
  2. Andante cantabile, 3 4 in F major
  3. Menuetto: Allegretto — Trio, 3 4
  4. Molto allegro, 2 2

The symphony typically has a duration of about 33 minutes.

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The sonata form first movement’s main theme begins with contrasting motifs: a threefold tutti outburst on the fundamental tone (respectively, by an ascending motion leading in a triplet from the dominant tone underneath to the fundamental one), followed by a more lyrical response.

This exchange is heard twice and then followed by an extended series of fanfares. What follows is a transitional passage where the two contrasting motifs are expanded and developed. From there, the second theme group begins with a lyrical section in G major which ends suspended on a seventh chord and is followed by a stormy section in C minor. Following a full stop, the expositional coda begins which quotes Mozart’s insertion aria “Un bacio di mano”, K. 541 and then ends the exposition on a series of fanfares.[4] The development begins with a modulation from G major to E♭ major where the insertion-aria theme is then repeated and extensively developed. A false recapitulation then occurs where the movement’s opening theme returns, but softly and in F major. The first theme group’s final flourishes then are extensively developed against a chromatically falling bass followed by a restatement of the end of the insertion aria then leading to C major for the recapitulation.[4] With the exception of the usual key transpositions and some expansion of the minor key sections, the recapitulation proceeds in a regular fashion.[4]

The second movement, also in sonata form, is a sarabande of the French type in F major (the subdominant key of C major) similar to those found in the keyboard suites of Johann Sebastian Bach.[4]

The third movement, a Menuetto marked allegretto is similar to a Ländler, a popular Austrian folk dance form. Midway through the movement there is a chromatic progression in which sparse imitative textures are presented by the woodwinds (bars 43–51) before the full orchestra returns. In the trio section of the movement, the four-note figure that will form the main theme of the last movement appears prominently (bars 68–71), but on the seventh degree of the scale rather than the first, and in a minor key rather than a major, giving it a very different character.

Finally, a remarkable characteristic of this symphony is the five-voice fugato (representing the five major themes) at the end of the fourth movement. But there are fugal sections throughout the movement either by developing one specific theme or by combining two or more themes together, as seen in the interplay between the woodwinds. The main theme consists of four notes:

Four additional themes are heard in the “Jupiter’s” finale, which is in sonata form, and all five motifs are combined in the fugal coda.

In an article about the Jupiter Symphony, Sir George Grove wrote that “it is for the finale that Mozart has reserved all the resources of his science, and all the power, which no one seems to have possessed to the same degree with himself, of concealing that science, and making it the vehicle for music as pleasing as it is learned. Nowhere has he achieved more.” Of the piece as a whole, he wrote that “It is the greatest orchestral work of the world which preceded the French Revolution.”[5]

The four-note theme is a common plainchant motif which can be traced back at least as far as Josquin des Prez‘s Missa Pange lingua from the sixteenth century. It was very popular with Mozart. It makes a brief appearance as early as his Symphony No. 1 in 1764. Later, he used it in the Credo of an early Missa Brevis in F major, the first movement of his Symphony No. 33 and trio of the minuet of this symphony.[6]

Scholars are certain Mozart studied Michael Haydn‘s Symphony No. 28 in C major, which also has a fugato in its finale and whose coda he very closely paraphrases for his own coda. Charles Sherman speculates that Mozart also studied Michael Haydn’s Symphony No. 23 in D major because he “often requested his father Leopold to send him the latest fugue that Haydn had written.”[7] The Michael Haydn No. 39, written only a few weeks before Mozart’s, also has a fugato in the finale, the theme of which begins with two whole notes. Sherman has pointed out other similarities between the two almost perfectly contemporaneous works. The four-note motif is also the main theme of the contrapuntal finale of Michael’s elder brother Joseph’s Symphony No. 13 in D major (1764).

A New Era – SSO and U of S to sign partnership agreement

The University of Saskatchewan (U of S) and the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra (SSO) will sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on Jan. 28th to enhance and extend joint initiatives that benefit the cultural interests of the province of Saskatchewan and beyond.

“This partnership will advance the wonderful collaborations between two of the province’s most influential cultural institutions,” said Peter Stoicheff, U of S president and vice-chancellor. “It will build upon the longstanding connections between the community and our university’s diverse range of departments, colleges and schools.”

Stoicheff said that the agreement is intended to provide a starting point “for a variety of future research and artistic collaborations between the two institutions” that could include shared artist-in-residence programs, research chairs,  and development of joint online programs, such as e-lectures, that would expand the reach and impact of music education locally and across the province.  

SSO Executive Director Mark Turner noted that the U of S and the SSO are natural partners as they both have large impact upon the social, cultural and economic development of the province.

We have a long, rich history of collaboration that dates back to 1931, the inaugural year of both the symphony and the U of S Department of Music, when Arthur Collingwood, the first head of the Department of Music, founded Saskatoon’s orchestra,” he said.  

Turner noted the MOU will encourage wider community engagement through joint educational programs aimed at involving elementary and secondary-level students in music and orchestral training.

The partnership also promotes engagement with the U of S instrument collections, such as the Amati string instruments, a rare quartet of 17th century instruments, and the growing Kaplan Collection of Instruments, comprised of historical and indigenous instruments from around the world.

Initiatives featuring these collections, such as collaborations with other orchestras and visiting performer programs, will connect the U of S and the SSO to wider audiences locally, nationally and internationally through music.

“This partnership will allow us to build on our successful music-centered programming, while creating new opportunities to explore points of connection that extend throughout our campus and into the wider community,” said music department head Gregory Marion.  

Marion noted that innovative collaborations are already well underway and that the MOU provides a framework for encouraging wider engagement among the SSO members, the university and the community. 

The signing takes place at the SSO’s Masters Series concert, Saturday January 28th at 7:30pm at TCU Place.

The first 87 years…SSO and U of S have long history

The First 86 Years…

The Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra’s partnership with the University of Saskatchewan stems back to the founding of both the orchestra and the Department of Music.

1931 was a pivotal year for music in Saskatoon – that year, the Carnegie Corporation awarded the University a three year grant to establish a school of music. With the appointment of Professor Arthur Collingwood, the U of S became the only university west of Toronto and Montreal to have a music chair.  That same fall, Collingwood officially founded Saskatoon’s orchestra.

Over the years the SSO was conducted by a number of prominent professors at the University including Maestros J.R. Macrae (‘47-’50), Murray Adaskin (‘57-60), David Kaplan (‘63-’71), and Dwaine Nelson (‘71-’76).

The University served as the performance home for many decades, first at Convocation Hall and later at the Gymnasium.

The SSO has a long tradition of collaboration with the choirs of the University and have been fortunate to work with Robert Solem, Gerald Langner, Duff Warkentin, Garry Gullikson, and Jennifer Lang.

The SSO has performed or collaborated with U of S faculty including Gyula Csapo, Neil Currie, Garry Gable, Kathleen Gable, Glenn Gillis, Robin Harrison, Dorothy Howard, Chris Kelly, Robert Klose, Gregory Marion, Dean McNeill, Isabelle Mills, Bonnie Nicholson, David Parkinson, Janice Patterson, Monte Pishney-Floyd, Kathleen Solose, and many many more!

The musicians of the SSO have had a lasting impact on the education of generations of musicians – while the list of musicians who have taught at the University would be far to long to list, the current sessionals include Erin Brophey, Darrell Bueckert, Richard Carnegie, Terry Heckman, Dawn McLean Belyk, Sarah Yunji Moon, Randi Nelson, Arlene Schiplet, Don Schmidt, Marie Sellar, and Margaret Wilson.

Many graduates of the University have gone on to be guest artists with the orchestra such as honoured alumni mezzo soprano Lisa Hornung, dentist Thomas Yu, composer Paul Suchan, and recent graduates Katya Khartova, Carissa Klopoushak, Chelsea Mahan, Whitney Mather, and Gerard Weber.

The future is bright – while the first 87 years have showcased a wonderfully vibrant relationship, the years ahead hold exceptional opportunities for the SSO and the U of S to connect, celebrate, research, explore, and create!


The Happiest Birthday of All

Even though the days are finally getting longer, January is still a dark, cold time. Thankfully there is a special day a the end of the month to bring us all hope. That day is January 27th.

There are many fantastic figures born on this auspicious day, some notable people include actor Alan Cumming (1965), astronomer Beatrice Tinsley (1941), musician Hot Lips Page (1908), author Lewis Caroll (1832), and on a very cold day in 1989, our very own Director of Communications.

As wonderful as all of us Jan 27 babies are, the SSO is paying tribute to one in particular.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born on January 27th in 1756. Christened as Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theopilus Mozart it’s understandable that this prolific composer went with the shortened name.

Having an incredibly musical family father Leopold, sister Nannerl (a nickname for young Maria Anna), and Wolfgang would tour across Europe.Composing and performing before european royalty by age 5, it is no surprise that young Mozart was engaged as a musician in the Salzburg court by age 17.

Sadly Mozart passed away at age 35, leaving behind his wife Constanze, two children, and an amazing amount of music. You can see a list of his works here. One can only image what masterful works Mozart would have created had he lived longer!

In honour of the 225th anniversary of Mozart’s death, and his 261st birthday, we have partnered with Saskatoon Opera and the University of Saskatchewan to present Mozart week.

Mozart Week events include:

Music of Mozart
Sunday Chamber
Sunday, January 22, 2pm
Delta Bessborough Hotel

The Genius of Mozart
Music Talk at McNally Robinson
With Guest Panellists
Tuesday, January 24, 7pm

Special one time screening
Wednesday, January 25, 7:30pm
Roxy Theatre

Saskatoon Opera Performance
January 26 & 27, 8pm

Mozart’s Violin
With the University of Saskatchewan
Friday, January 27, 12:30pm
Quance Theatre, UofS

Mozart Festival
With Timothy Chooi
Saturday, January 28, 7:30pm
TCU Place

Mozart Festival with Timothy Chooi is the jewel to top the crown of Mozart Week. Timothy is an incredibly talented (and young!) violinist who is swiftly carving out a career for himself that rivals older bother Nikki. Described as “Le miracle”, Timothy has performed with symphonies across North America. He makes a conscious effort to make music more accessible through social media and by promoting causes that further music education.

Timothy will treat us to Mozart’s Concerto for Violin No. 5 in A Major, and then Eric Paetkau will masterfully take the SSO on a wonderful musical journey to Mozart’s Jupiter.

After our Saturday concert for Mozart Festival please join us for a birthday party across the street at the Hub! There will be a chance to visit with other patrons, our guest artist, musicians, and best of all, birthday cake.

So come help us celebrate the life and sounds of Mozart (and all the other excellent people that happen to share his birthday).



Top 5 SSO Gift Ideas

Christmas time is here! Happiness and cheer don’t necessarily go hand in hand with gift buying this season, so we’ve put together our top 5 SSO gift ideas. You can shop from the comfort of your own home, support the SSO, and give the gift of music to your loved ones.

Number 5: Brahms’ Violin Concerto in Feburary

Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s Concertmaster Jonathan Crow will be joining the SSO on February 25th to play Brahms’ Violin Concerto in D Major. It has been ages since the SSO has played this piece! We were certainly overdue and we found a fantastic soloist to join us. Jonathan Crow is an incredible musician and teacher. Since 2011 Jonathan has been the Concertmaster for the TSO and was at one time the youngest Concertmaster in North America (between 2002 and 2006 he was Concertmaster of the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal). He is currently an Associate Professor of Violin at the University of Toronto and is a founding member of the New Orford String Quartet.

Also on the program is Valse très lente – Massanet, and Sybelius Symphony no. 5.  You can find out more and buy tickets here!


Number 4: Careless Whisper – the SSO does the 80s

Feel like your best years in fashion are behind you? Do you miss the glory days of the 80s? It’s Alright, we Feel For You. We are Head Over Heels for this pops concert. Jeans ‘n Classics returns to the SSO for big hair, parachute pants, and neon to spare. On Saturday, March 11 wear your Diamonds and Pearls and your favourite 80s inspired outfit to the Symphony as you Walk Like an Egyptian over to TCU for this fun night! (Just make sure to look both ways before you cross the street).

The program includes one of the our favourite numbers for 2 o’clock dance party. How can you sit still to Earth, Wind, & Fire?

Tickets and a full list of songs that make These Dreams come true are available here!


Number 3: Mozart Fest 

A whole week of Mozart is coming your way in January (January 22-28 to be exact). Beginning with our Chamber Concert on Sunday, a music talk Tuesday, Amadeus screening Wednesday, LovePlay with Saskatoon Opera, and a lecture from Mozart Project’s founder and Artistic Director David Bowser, it already seems like a full week. The cherry on top of this fantastic week is our Mozart Fest Concert on Saturday with violinist Timothy Chooi. Known as “le miracle” this young artist will blow you away with his performance with the SSO. Timothy will be treating us with Mozart’s Concerto for Violin No. 5 in A Major, K 219, on his 1717 Windsor-Weinstein Stradivarius (on loan from the Canada Council for the Arts). At age 23, Timothy uses social media as a tool to reach out to his audiences across the globe. He shares bits of music and humour across facebook, instagram, twitter, and youtube.


Tickets for this amazing concert are available here.

Number 2: Star Wars – The music of John Williams

Joined onstage by the Saskatoon Youth Orchestra we will be a mighty force, of sound that is.

It’s no big secret that we are all music nerds at the SSO, but not just for classical. John Williams has composed music for over 120 films, several tv shows, and important events including a presidential inauguration, royal weddings, and fanfares for many a celebration including Leonard Bernstein’s 70th birthday. In his spare time, Williams also composes concertos for Boston Pops and his friend Yo-Yo Ma. With such an exceptional array of works, it would be impossible to do the complete works of John Williams in one concert.


We decided to focus on the music of Star Wars. It will be 40 years since the release of A New Hope, and what better way to celebrate than dressing up in our best Jedi outfit, and have a concert filled with selections from all the Star Wars films!

Tickets are available here. Join us April 22nd for a concert fit for a young Jedi (and those that are young at heart).


Number 1: Jan Lisiecki – An Encore

Described by the New York Times as “a pianist who makes every note count”, Jan Lisiecki is no stranger to Saskatoon. He is a true virtuosi and plays with maturity and talent that seem well beyond his 20 years. It’s exciting to know that Jan is just at the beginning of what we hope is a long life and incredible career!

The concert Jan played with the SSO was one that our audiences still talk about. This time we thought it would be wonderful to have Jan on his own in a more intimate setting. For two nights, February 21 and 22, Jan will fill Convocation Hall with the music of Bach, Schubert, and more. As there are only 350 seats available in Convo, we thought it was only fair to have Jan give two recitals (with the same program) so more people could enjoy what is certain to be a magical night! This recital is sure to be a much needed mini staycation in the middle of winter, as Jan will warm our hearts and distract us from our winter woes.

Jan says his aim is to always perform in a way that carries forward the beauty and brilliance of the original work. He has demonstrated that he is capable of rendering compositions remarkably close to the way they were intended. “Going into a concert hall should be like going into a sanctuary. You’re there to have a moment of reflection, hopefully leaving feeling different, refreshed and inspired.”

Just take a listen to Jan now and let him soothe your holiday stress away.

Tickets for this amazing recital are available here.

There are several other great concerts this season so take a look at what the SSO has to offer. There is certainly something for everyone!

We hope this holiday season is full of good food, family, friends, and most of all, good music.

From all of us at the SSO – Merry Christmas

Messiah soloists – soprano Danika Loren


Were you at our 85th Anniversary Share in the Future gala last November?  If you were, you’ll remember the soprano that stopped the show with her acrobatic stratospheric performance of a Bellini aria.  We are thrilled to have Danika Loren returning home to sing her very first Messiah.

It’s been a year of firsts for the Toronto-based soprano – her Collectif project has wrapped up their first season, she’s a new member of the Canadian Opera Company’s prestigious Young Artist Ensemble, she sang her first Rosina (here with Saskatoon Opera), her first Carmina Burana, her first Messiah, and in February she’ll be making her COC debut.

A “tour de force…with ringing high notes and gorgeous mid-range expression” (Opera Canada), hot off the heals of her Tedx Toronto performance, we’re excited to see what’s next for this rising star!

gala2Current member of the Canadian Opera Company’s Ensemble Studio, Danika Lorèn is known for her dramatic sensitivity and instinctive musicality. Ever versatile, Danika’s past roles include: Monica (The Medium), Lady with a Hand Mirror (Postcard from Morocco), Mimì (La Bohème), Lauretta (Gianni Schicchi), Frasquita (Carmen), Pamina/2nd Lady (Die Zauberflöte) and Susanna (Le Nozze di Figaro). Most recently, Danika wowed audiences as Rosina (Il Barbiere di Siviglia) with the Saskatoon Opera Company. In 2017, Danika will be making her Canadian Opera Company debut as Woglinde the rhinemaiden in Götterdämmerung.

After winning the University of Toronto Concerto Competition in 2014/15, Danika performed Richard Strauss’ Op. 27, Vier Lieder with the University of Toronto Symphony Orchestra in October 2015. In the summer of 2016, Danika will make her debut at the Indian River Festival singing Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana. Other orchestral appearances include Faure’s Requiem with acclaimed baritone Nathan Berg, conductor Eric Paetkau and the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra, and Mozart’s Coronation Mass with conductor David Holler and the London Fanshawe Chorus.

Danika’s finesse with song repertoire has afforded her opportunities to share the stage in recital with internationally recognised singers such as Stephanie Blythe, Adrianne Pieczonka and Catherine Wyn-Rogers. She is also a founding member of Collectìf, an artist collective dedicated to exploring art song as theatre.

Hailing from Saskatoon, Danika pursued a BFA in acting at the University of Saskatchewan while studying voice with Marilyn Whitehead. She has since completed her bachelor’s degree in vocal performance at the University of Toronto under the instruction of J. Patrick Raftery, and has completed her master’s degree at the University of Toronto with Wendy Nielsen.

Messiah soloists – bass Matthew Pauls

matt-paulsBaritone Matthew Pauls has been praised for his on-stage poise and magnificent singing (Opera Canada). Matthew’s stage credits include, Figaro in Le Nozze di Figaro, the Speaker and 2nd Armoured Man in Die Zauberflöte, Dr. Falke in Die Fledermaus, Don Inigo Gomez in L’Heure Espagnole, Benoit in La Bohème, Marullo in Rigoletto, the Mysterious Man in Sondheim’s Into the Woods, Frank Maurant in Street Scene, and Masetto in Don Giovanni, which he performed with UWOpera and La Musica Lirica in Italy. On the concert stage, Matthew has performed numerous works such as Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Verdi’s Requiem, Handel’s Alexander’s Feast and Messiah, Haydn’s Creation, Mozart’s Requiem andVesperae solennes de confessore, Fauré’s Requiem, Grieg’s Four Psalms, J. S. Bach’s cantata Gottes Zeit is die allerbeste Zeit(BWV 106), and Vaughan Williams’ Dona Nobis Pacem and Five Mystical Songs.

Matthew has been delighted to perform as a featured soloist with ensembles such as the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional del Paraguay, Windsor Symphony, Canadian Chamber Choir, Pro Coro Canada, Winnipeg Singers, Guelph Chamber Choir, Windsor Classic Chorale, Windsor Symphony Chorus, Saskatoon Opera, and Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra.

Matthew holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Vocal Performance at the University of Western Ontario. The focus of his doctoral research is Argentine art song; a body of repertoire that is virtually unknown in the greater performance and scholarly communities.  Presently he teaches at Canadian Mennonite University.