Composer Beth Denisch

Beth Denisch’s music has been performed at Moscow’s Concert Studio of Radio “Kultura,” in Russia, at Jordan Hall in Boston, and Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in New York, across the U.S., and in Canada, China, Ecuador, Finland, Greece, Japan, and Scotland. Her music receives radio play and tracks are available online; CDs from Albany, Juxtab, Odyssey, and Interval record labels. Scores are published/distributed by Juxtab Music, ClearNote Publications, and TrevCo Music.

“…fierce rhythmic patterns,”  Bernard Holland, New York Times

“… brimmed with personality and drive …” Anthony Tommasini, The Boston Globe

“… wonderfully evocative … simply splendid,”  David Cleary, New Music Connoisseur

Originally from Baltimore, MD, Beth Denisch earned her Doctor of Musical Arts and Master of Music degrees in Composition from Boston University and Bachelor of Music degree from North Texas State University.

Denisch’s orchestral pieces include Fire Mountain Intermezzo, which was premiered in Moscow, Russia by Chamber Orchestra Kremlin, Misha Rachlevsky, Music Director.  FMI was selected as a finalist in the orchestra’s International Blitz-Competition for Composers Homage to Mozart. The orchestra has performed it multiple times, including at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall.  Another piece, Golden Fanfare, Julius Williams, conductor, was recorded with the Dvorak Symphony Orchestra in Prague (Albany Records, The New American Romanticism).

Chamber commissions include Women: the Power and the Journey for the Equinox Chamber Players with multiple performances in St. Louis and Boston. The CD Jordan and the Dog Woman (Juxtab Records) includes this and other chamber works by Denisch.

Choral commissions include “The Tree House,” commissioned by The Concord Women’s Chorus, Jane Ring Frank, conductor. The chorus selected poems by the Scottish poet Kathleen Jamie who writes about nature and Denisch set these poems for chorus, oboe, cello, and piano. The world premiere is this May by the Concord Women’s Chorus in the US and they will tour the piece with multiple performances in Scotland this summer.

Denisch frequently draws inspiration from nature and art works in other mediums. Her instrumental suite Jordan and the Dog Woman is based on the Jeanette Winterson novel Sexing the Cherry; and the Forth Project, for solo piano, was inspired by the paintings of Mark Forth.  The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and Philadelphia Classical Symphony awarded Denisch for The Singing Tree, inspired by Maxfield Parrish’s painting Princess Parizade Bringing Home the Singing Tree as part of PAFA’s Parrish retrospective and was followed by a commission from PCS for Goblins Night Out! for orchestra and narrator.

Additional awards and grants include ASCAP, Meet The Composer, American Composers Forum, Composers Guild, and the American Music Center.  Other commissions include the Handel & Haydn Society for Sorrow & Tenderness for period orchestra and chorus, the PianOVo Trio (Weimar, Germany) for Suite for Israel, the Boston Composers String Quartet for Phantasmagoria, and the Cambridge Madrigal Singers for Constantly Risking Absurdity.

Denisch is Professor at Berklee College of Music and has taught at Boston University, Northeastern University, and the University of Massachusetts.  She is a member of the International Alliance of Women in Music; an ASCAP composer and publisher member; and was the founding director of the American Composers Forum New England.

Read more about Beth Denisch on Wikipedia

Composer Jessie Montgomery

Jessie Montgomery is an acclaimed composer, violinist, and educator. She is the recipient of the Leonard Bernstein Award from the ASCAP Foundation, and her works are performed frequently around the world by leading musicians and ensembles. Her music interweaves classical music with elements of vernacular music, improvisation, language, and social justice, placing her squarely as one of the most relevant interpreters of 21st-century American sound and experience. Her profoundly felt works have been described as “turbulent, wildly colorful and exploding with life” (The Washington Post).

Jessie was born and raised in Manhattan’s Lower East Side in the 1980s during a time when the neighborhood was at a major turning point in its history. Artists gravitated to the hotbed of artistic experimentation and community development. Her parents – her father a musician, her mother a theater artist and storyteller – were engaged in the activities of the neighborhood and regularly brought Jessie to rallies, performances, and parties where neighbors, activists, and artists gathered to celebrate and support the movements of the time. It is from this unique experience that Jessie has created a life that merges composing, performance, education, and advocacy.

Since 1999, Jessie has been affiliated with The Sphinx Organization, which supports young African-American and Latinx string players. She currently serves as composer-in-residence for the Sphinx Virtuosi, the Organization’s flagship professional touring ensemble. She was a two-time laureate of the annual Sphinx Competition and was awarded a generous MPower grant to assist in the development of her debut album, Strum: Music for Strings (Azica Records). She has received additional grants and awards from the ASCAP Foundation, Chamber Music America, American Composers Orchestra, the Joyce Foundation, and the Sorel Organization.

Her growing body of work includes solo, chamber, vocal, and orchestral works. Some recent highlights include Five Slave Songs (2018) commissioned for soprano Julia Bullock by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Records from a Vanishing City (2016) for the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Caught by the Wind (2016) for the Albany Symphony and the American Music Festival, and Banner (2014) – written to mark the

200th anniversary of The Star-Spangled Banner – for The Sphinx Organization and the Joyce Foundation.

In the 2019-20 season, new commissioned works will be premiered by the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, the National Choral Society, and ASCAP Foundation. Jessie is also teaming up with composer-violinist Jannina Norpoth to reimagine Scott Joplin’s opera Treemonisha; it is being produced by Volcano Theatre and co-commissioned by Washington Performing Arts, Stanford University, Southbank Centre (London), National Arts Centre (Ottawa), and the Banff Centre for the Arts. Additionally, the Philharmonia Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony, Dallas Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, and San Francisco Symphony will all perform Montgomery’s works this season.

The New York Philharmonic has selected Jessie as one of the featured composers for their Project 19, which marks the centennial of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, granting equal voting rights in the United States to women. Other forthcoming works include a nonet inspired by the Great Migration, told from the perspective of Montgomery’s great-grandfather William McCauley and to be performed by Imani Winds and the Catalyst Quartet; a cello concerto for Thomas Mesa jointly commissioned by Carnegie Hall, New World Symphony, and The Sphinx Organization; and a new orchestral work for the National Symphony.

Jessie began her violin studies, at the Third Street Music School Settlement, one of the oldest community organizations in the country. A founding member of PUBLIQuartet and currently a member of the Catalyst Quartet, she continues to maintain an active performance career as a violinist appearing regularly with her own ensembles, as well as with the Silkroad Ensemble and Sphinx Virtuosi.

Jessie’s teachers and mentors include Sally Thomas, Ann Setzer, Alice Kanack, Joan Tower, Derek Bermel, Mark Suozzo, Ira Newborn, and Laura Kaminsky. She holds degrees from the Juilliard School and New York University and is currently a Graduate Fellow in Music Composition at Princeton University.

Dr. Ingrid Pickering

Dr. Ingrid Pickering is introducing our concert, The [Uncertain] Four Seasons. She is a professor at the University of Saskatchewan and Canada Research Chair (Tier 1) in Molecular Environmental Science.

Dr. Pickering’s area of research includes the use and development of synchrotron light techniques to investigate the roles of metals and other elements in living systems, cross-disciplinary research that encompasses both environmental and biomedical interests. Her work includes synchrotron studies of metals and other elements of concern to determine chemical speciation and microscopic distribution; including both environmental studies and vertebrate and human toxicology. So who better to help us understand how climate change will affect our environment but also our personal health.

Dr. Pickering is also helping foster the next generation of scientists in her role as the program director of the  NSERC CREATE to INSPIRE program — INSPIRE is short for Interdisciplinary Network for the Synchrotron: Promoting Innovation, Research, and Enrichment. Not only is she training students on how to work with Canada’s only synchrotron at USask’s Canadian Light Source, but Dr. Pickering is also teaching essential interpersonal and professional skills to thrive in a fast-paced, high-tech, team environment.

While we know that our hometown is home to Canada’s Synchrotron what happens inside is often a mystery. Dr. Pickering gave us all a sneak peek of the inner workings of the Synchrotron when she chatted with the Saskatchewanderer back in 2014.

All things Eekwol

We knew we wanted to give the Four Seasons poetry the same [Uncertain] update that the music received, and we knew that we were not the ones to do so. This poetry needed a storyteller, an activist, someone who would take the message where it needed to go and deliver it in a fashion that would make audiences stop and truly listen to the words and their meaning.

Enter Eekwol. Eekwol (Lindsay Knight) is an award-winning hip hop artist in Saskatoon, Treaty Six Territory, originally from Muskoday First Nation. Eekwol has been making music for many years. Her 5th full-length album titled “Good Kill” was released in 2017, and the single “Pitiful feat. 2oolman” made it to the #1 spot on the National Aboriginal Music Countdown and charted in Sirius Radio and numerous college and community stations and streaming site playlists. For 2019, she successfully received a Canada Council grant and completed a concept project with fellow lyricist, T-Rhyme titled “For Women By Women.”

Eekwol uses her music and words to spread messages of resistance, revolution and keeping the language, land and culture alive for the next generations. Through her original sound she displays her activist roots by living and creating as a supporter of both hip hop and Indigenous culture and rights. She is currently working towards her PhD Degree at University of Saskatchewan, which she has taken along with her many years of dedication to hip hop and created something unique and astounding to give back to the community.
Along with motherhood, music, and academic work, Eekwol frequently works with young people across the country as a mentor and helper. She achieves this through performances, workshops, speaking events, conferences and programs.
Earlier this year Eekwol was chosen as the inaugural Indigenous Storyteller-in-Residence at the University of Saskatchewan. She spent six weeks presenting and talking about her work, held virtual “coffee shops” and shared stories with others that are to be incorporated into a final project.
We can’t wait to hear what she has to tell us next.

Our Part to Play

We all have a part to play when it comes to the future of climate change. As individuals, we can make changes around our homes and workplaces. Changes like, washing our laundry in cold water and hanging to dry, walking instead of driving, and replacing our appliances to be energy efficient.

The Saskatchewan Environmental has a great list of things you can do to make a difference.

Here are some examples they give:

Add insulation to roof, walls, and basement

The more insulation a building has, the less heat it loses in the winter, and the less heat it gains in the summer.  Insulation reduces both your heating bill in the winter and your air conditioning bill in the summer.  Plus, a well-insulated building is more comfortable.

Switch light bulbs from incandescent to LED

Incandescent lighting is very inefficient, plus LED lighting lasts much longer, so you don’t have to replace bulbs nearly as often.

LED lights use approximately 1/6 the energy of incandescent lights and last 15-40 times as long as incandescent. Lighting accounts for nearly 20% of home electricity use. If an incandescent light is on only 3 hours/day, you can save $9/year for each bulb you upgrade to LED.

Switch off electrical devices when not in use (i.e. computers, printers, monitors, TVs, etc.)

Home electronics account for 14% of home electricity use.  On average, that means $14 of your monthly electricity bill ($170 per year) is for home electronics.  If you want to get control of your electricity bill, start by turning off televisions, computers, video games etc. when you are not using them.

Select native plants for landscaping

Native plants can provide a beautiful variety of colors and textures that bloom at various times of the year.  And, once established, the plants should not need mowing, fertilizing or watering.

Check out the Native Plant Society of Saskatchewan website for more information on how to plant a native garden.


While there are steps that we can take as individuals, there’s also a lot we can do collectively. Groups like the Saskatchewan Environmental society advocate for policy changes that will help reduce greenhouse gas emitions, lowering the use of fossil fuels and replacing them with renewable energy, among other efforts.

The [Uncetain] Four Seasons was written as a call for world leaders to sign the Leaders Pledge for Nature and commit to reversing biodiversity loss by 2030.

Who is doing the work in your community? How can you help out? Do a search! Find out how you can support local groups that are making waves about climate change.

All about Kerry DuWors

Hailed for her “soaring cantilena” (Gramophone Magazine), violinist Kerry DuWors has performed across Canada, the United States, Europe, Mexico, Japan and New Zealand. In demand as a versatile chamber musician, Kerry champions collaboration across an array of ensembles from her duo work to leading chamber orchestras. Highlights include performances with duo526, James Ehnes, Yo-Yo Ma, Dame Evelyn Glennie and NYC-based The Knights. Praised for “always finding the music behind the notes” and her “fearless competence” (Winnipeg Free Press), she has been soloist with the National Arts Centre Orchestra, Winnipeg Symphony, Saskatoon Symphony, and Manitoba Chamber Orchestra. In 2014, Kerry released her debut duo526 CD Ballade for PARMA Recordings with pianist Futaba Niekawa.  Her sophomore album DUO FANTASY was released May 2019 featuring works by Villa-Lobos, Arnold Bax, and William Bolcom. “DuWors and Niekawa are a beautifully balanced duo, with exceptional intonation and a tangible empathy” (Gramophone Magazine).

Kerry has won prestigious awards including Grand Prize at the 26th Eckhardt-Gramatté National Music Competition, Felix Galimir Award for Chamber Music Excellence, and two Canada Council Career Development Grants. She is a four-time laureate of the Canada Council for the Arts’ Musical Instrument Bank and played on Gagliano, Pressenda and Rocca violins between 2003-2015. She currently plays on a modern instrument by Felix Krafft modeled after the 1735 “Plowden” Guarneri.

Curiosity drives Kerry’s dedicated academic and musical study through creative projects, artist residencies (Banff Centre, Avaloch Farm, Indiana University), commissions, premières, masterclasses, and community outreach. Her mentors include Lorand Fenyves, Charles Castleman, Scott St. John, Jean Barr, and the Lafayette String Quartet. Committed to pedagogy and mentorship, Kerry has been Associate Professor at Canada’s Brandon University since 2003. She created the annual duo526 Sonata Seminar in 2018 to mentor the next generation of collaborative duo players.


Prof. Kerry DuWors was appointed to Brandon University’s School of Music in 2003 as the youngest tenure-track music professor in Canada.  She is currently Associate Professor of Violin & Chamber Music. Prof. DuWors has recruited students to Brandon University from across Canada, the United States, Mexico, China, South Korea, Belize, and Brazil at both undergraduate and graduate levels.

Students from Prof. DuWors’ studio have gone to graduate programs at Berklee College of Music (MA), Aaron Copland School of Music – CUNY Queen’s College (NY), University of Limerick (Ireland), University of British Columbia, Ottawa University, Memorial University, University of Victoria, University of Missouri-Kansas City, University of Sydney (Australia), Queen’s University, University of North Texas, University of Oklahoma, and the Fellowship Program at Community MusicWorks (Providence, RI).

Many are also employed as professional orchestral players and educators: Vancouver Opera Orchestra, Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra, Symphony New Brunswick, National Academy Orchestra of Canada, Saint John String Quartet, Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Ottawa Symphony Orchestra, Kingston Symphony Orchestra, Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra, Regina Symphony Orchestra, KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra (South Africa), Edward Said National Conservatory of Music (Palestine), Education and Outreach – Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Vancouver Academy of Music, St. James Academy of Music – Sistema Vancouver, Sistema New Brunswick, Sistema Newfoundland and Labrador, Suzuki Charter School (Edmonton), Suzuki Music Winnipeg, Prince George Conservatory of Music), Wentworth Music Education Centre (Kelowna).

Prof. DuWors’ students have been accepted into internationally respected programs: National Youth Orchestra of Canada, Aspen Music Festival, Domaine Forget International Festival, the Orford Summer Academy, Pacific Region International Summer Music Academy, the String Program at the Centre for Opera Studies in Italy, Rosamunde Summer Music Academy, and Burton Kaplan’s Magic Mountain Music Farm (NY). Her students have competed and won prizes at the National Music Festival as representatives from Manitoba in the String and Chamber Music categories, Saskatchewan Shurniak Concerto Competition, as well as the finals for the Shumiatcher Scholarship Competition (Regina) and Women’s Musical Club of Winnipeg McClellan Competition.

Prof. DuWors is also in demand as an adjudicator and competition juror across Canada: the 2018 National Music Festival (NB), festivals in Saskatchewan (Saskatoon, Regina, Moose Jaw), Alberta (Edmonton, Calgary, Provincial Finals), British Columbia (Vancouver Kiwanis, Provincial Finals), Ontario (Provincial Finals), and Manitoba (WMC McLellan Competition, RMTA Scholarship Competition, Eckhardt-Gramatté Conservatory Scholarship Competition, Saskatchewan Orchestral Association.

She regularly gives studio classes at Brandon University and has been invited to give masterclasses internationally: University of Victoria, University of Calgary, Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, Wilfrid Laurier University, Schulich School of Music – McGill University, Mount Allison University, Regina Conservatory of Music, Ohio State University, University of Dayton  (OH), University of Tennessee (Knoxville), University of Northern Colorado (Greeley), University of Oklahoma, Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, University of Canterbury (Christchurch, New Zealand).

Introducing Geneviève Leclair

Geneviève Leclair is Assistant Professor at Berklee College of Music where she has been teaching since 2016 and an active guest conductor with organizations across Canada, the United States and the U.K.

Highlights of the 2021-22 season include guest appearances with Oakville SymphonyGuelph Symphony and Concord Orchestra.

Equally at home in symphony, ballet and opera, she was a recurring guest conductor with The National Ballet of Canada and Northern Ballet (UK), Music Director of Parkway Concert Orchestra from 2013 to 2019, as well as Assistant Conductor and Guest Conductor of the Boston Ballet Orchestra from 2010 to 2017, and a member of the Board of Directors of the International Conductors Guild from 2017 to 2020.

In recent years, she has had the opportunity to work with orchestras, such as  Winnipeg  Symphony, Symphony New Hampshire, Symphony New Brunswick, Orchestre symphonique du Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean, Guelph Symphony, Boston University Chamber Orchestra, Syracuse University Symphony Orchestra and New England Conservatory Chamber and Youth Philharmonic Orchestras. In 2020, she conducted the Québec premiere of Laura Kaminsky’s opera As One in a live stream that has since been broadcast on OuTV to rave reviews.

Geneviève was awarded the 2017 American Prize in orchestral conducting, college/university division and took 2nd place in the professional orchestra division. In 2010, she was honored to receive the Sir Ernest MacMillan Memorial Foundation Award in orchestral conducting. Her performances have been hailed as «impeccable» (Boston Phoenix), «ravishing» and of «exemplary pacing and reading» (Hugh Fraser) while her conducting style has been praised for its «verve and precision», «confident dynamics and tempos, crisp rhythms, and crystalline phrasing creat[ing] powerful forward momentum» (Carla DeFord).

Geneviève holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Orchestral Conducting from Boston University under the tutelage of Maestro David Hoose. She had previously obtained Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in flute performance at Université de Montréal, the latter under the supervision of Mr. Denis Bluteau, former associate principal flutist of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra. She also studied choral conducting with Dr. Ann Howard Jones and perfected her art through public and private master classes led by Boris Brott, Kenneth Kiesler, Carl Topilow, Susan Hoeppner, Camille Churchfield, André Papillon, Lise Daoust and Jeanne Baxtresser. In November 2010, she was invited by the National Arts Center Orchestra (Ottawa) to attend the first edition of their Canadian Conductors Workshop.

In addition to her career as a performer and teacher, Ms. Leclair is also a published author of music literature and theory exercise books, Les Devoirs du Prof. Rémi / Prof. Solfa’s Workbooks through Les Éditions École de musique Vincent-d’Indy.

How the [Uncertain] Four Seasons was written

In 2019 the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra performed a work called The For Seasons.  It was a concept developed by Jung von Matt that used an algorithm that took climate data gathered from 1725 until 2019 to rewrite Vivaldi’s well-known Four Seasons. 

Building on that concept by using data from The Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5) RCP 8.5 scenario, the [Uncertain] Four Seasons project was born. Using localized data and projections from the present to 2050 orchestras from across the globe have received rewritten versions of Vivaldi’s work.

The aim of this project is to get more countries and organizations to sign the Leaders’ Pledge for Nature and commit to reversing biodiversity loss by 2030. While our performance is on October 9th, we are submitting a recording that will be a part of a 24 hour performance of [Uncertain] Four Season variations from around the globe.

Read more about the project on the [Uncertain] Four Seasons website:

Opening Night Watch Party Ideas

We’re back!
Last year more than 130,000 people around the world joined us to stream our concerts. And now with a brand new season and a brand new streaming platform, we’re ready to get your plans underway for making the most out of your watching from home!

This weekend’s concert is all about celebrating the return to having the full SSO on stage; the performance is jam-packed with bubbly exciting music…so obviously its time for a champagne watch party.

Here’s the deal – bubbles come in all sorts of ways, not just champagne…so we’re going to give our tips on what to look for.

If you’re wanting to go economical, we highly recommend a prosecco. Italy’s answer to sparkling wine, prosecco is fruity, flavourful, and affordable (for the most part!). So those who want to spend a little bit more, a good champagne goes a long way – take a look at Veuve Clicquot! It’s more money, but its worth it if you want to treat yourself to something special!

Since our concert features Bizet’s Carmen, we highly recommend taking a leap and trying Cava. Cava is a sparkling wine from Spain that comes in either blanco (white) or rosado (rosé) – and it’s incredibly delicious! Just like all wines, when it comes to sparkling its all about the grapes. Cava wines have that sunny Spanish grape flavour, and will bring a little taste of Spain to the palette.

Not a bubbles person? Ok, fair! Since Carmen is a big part of the concert, why not try a Carmenere red wine (typically from France or Chile, but Carmenere grapes are now grown around the globe!). Or if you want to enjoy the warm weather we’re having, grab some fruit and make a sangria!

And since we’re taking on a Spanish flare, we think the ideal plan for your watch party is tapas.

In pre-19th-century Spain tapas were served by posadas, albergues or bodegas, offering meals and rooms for travelers. Since few innkeepers could write and few travellers read, inns offered their guests a sample of the dishes available, on a “tapa” (the word for pot cover in Spanish).

According to The Joy of Cooking, the original tapas were thin slices of bread or meat which sherry drinkers in Andalusian taverns used to cover their glasses between sips. This was a practical measure meant to prevent fruit flies from hovering over the sweet sherry. The meat used to cover the sherry was normally ham or chorizo, which are both very salty and activate thirst. Because of this, bartenders and restaurant owners created a variety of snacks to serve with sherry, thus increasing their alcohol sales. The tapas eventually became as important as the sherry.

In some bars and restaurants in Spain and across the globe, tapas have evolved into a more sophisticated cuisine. Tapas can be combined to make a full meal.

For suggestions on ingredients, making, and enjoying Tapas we turn to Food & Wine for their Best Tapas Recipes

However you enjoy the Opening Night Celebration from home, we just want you to make sure its a celebration. Orchestras often get to play joyous music, but this time the joy is the fact that we get to make it together again!

Music Talk from McNally – Opening Night

One of our favourite things about Music Talks from McNally is that it gives us an opportunity to dive into all the pieces being performed at the upcoming concert. Not only do we get to hear about the musicality of the works, but also the composers’ lives and some of the circumstances around the creation of the music. It also gives us further insight into our conductors and guests. It’s two music enthusiasts talking about what they love most.

Maestro Leslie Dala and Executive Director Mark Turner had a wonderful chat about all things opening night!


You can read the program and get your tickets here.