Artists (2011)

Hinrich Alpers


Photo - Hinrich Alpers

German pianist, Hinrich Alpers, studied with Bernd Goetzke at the Hannover Hochschule für Musik und Theater and earned his Graduate Diploma from The Juilliard School, studying with Jerome Lowenthal.

Mr. Alpers has performed in recital, as soloist with orchestra, and as collaborator in chamber music and lieder throughout Europe, the United States and Canada. He has many awards and accolades. Notably, he was recipient of the 2008 Juilliard William Petschek and Piano Debut Recital Award winner of the 2007 Banff International String Quartet Competition. In addition to winning the Beethoven Competition, Alpers was awarded both special prizes for best performance of chamber music (sonatas with cellist Misha Maisky) and best performance of the commissioned work in addition to becoming Laureate of the Honens Competition (for best ensemble performance and for best performance of a newly commissioned work). In 2007, he was named a Steinway Artist.

Mr. Alpers made his acclaimed Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall debut in March 2008. His first solo CD, recorded at The Banff Centre, was released in fall 2008 and he made his recital debuts at the Berlin Philharmonie and Munich Gasteig in spring 2009.

Mr. Alpers splits his time between Berlin and Hanover where he teaches piano at the University of Music and Drama of Hanover.

Nathaniel Anderson-Frank


Photo - Nathaniel Anderson-Frank

Nathaniel Anderson-Frank, violinist, is a native of Toronto who now lives in the United Kingdom. He performs as soloist, chamber musician, and orchestral leader in North America and Europe.

Mr. Anderson-Frank studied at the Royal Conservatory of Music, Université de Paris-Sorbonne and Salzburg’s Mozarteum. He holds a Bachelor of Music degree with academic honours from the Cleveland Institute of Music and a Masters of Music degree, obtained with distinction on full scholarship at the Royal Academy of Music in London.
Mr. Anderson-Frank was recently named the Meaker Fellow at the Royal Academy of Music in London, and was the recipient of Canada’s Sylva Gelber Music Foundation 2009-10 career development award. Recently he has performanced at the Toronto Centre for the Arts, and Orillia Opera House, at the Spanish festival Encuentro de Musica de Santander, at the Festival Pablo Casals in France.
He regularly leads orchestras, including the Orion Symphony and City Side Sinfonia of London and was a member of the London Symphony Orchestra’s String Experience Scheme. In February 2011, Mr. Anderson-Frank was appointed No. 4 First Violin of the Philharmonia Orchestra.

Mr. Anderson-Frank plays a violin by Spiritus Sorsana, 1731, courtesy of the Royal Academy of Music.

Carson Becke

(piano, co-artistic director)

Photo - Carson Becke

Carson Becke was born in Ottawa and began learning the piano at the age of five with his Great Grandmother, Mary Mackey.  At 15, he moved to London, England to study at the Purcell School of Music, under Ilana Davids for piano and Jonothan Cole for composition.  He has recently completed his Bachelor of Music degree at the Royal Academy of Music, where he studied with Tatiana Sarkissova.

Since moving to London, Mr. Becke has won the top prizes in the S.V. Rachmaninov Piano Competition (2006, Russia), the BBC young composers of the year competition (2007), and the Harold Craxton Chamber Music Competition. He was the recipient of the Francis Earle and Dorothy Bryant awards at the Royal Academy of Music, as well as a BBC performing arts fund bursary scholarship in 2007. 

Mr. Becke has performed extensively as a soloist and chamber musician in the UK, Europe and Canada. Most recently, he performed Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto no. 1 with the Ottawa Chamber Orchestra, and played two pre-concert recitals at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa.

As a composer, his composition “Three Nocturnes for Orchestra” has been performed by the Purcell Symphony Orchestra in the UK, and the Ottawa Chamber Orchestra in Canada, and has also been heard on BBC Radio Three.  A smaller composition, “John Keats: On Death” was recorded by members of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, and has been performed in the BBC Proms. 

Tait Becke


Photo - Tait Becke

Tait Becke was born in Ottawa and is currently studying violin with Igor Petrushevski at the Royal Academy of Music, in London, England.

He began his studies as a Suzuki violin student of Leslie Wade in Ottawa, and furthered his studies with Donnie Deacon, Principal Second Violin of the National Arts Centre Orchestra.

Mr. Becke spent three summers at the Summer String Academy of Indiana University under the direction of famed Suzuki pedagogue Mimi Zweig. He has won many competitions and scholarships in Ottawa, and performs regularly at Festival Pontiac Enchante. 

Recently, he has performed a number of duo concerts with his brother Carson Becke, including performances in Gartow (Germany), Cambridge, London (UK) and Ottawa. 

Donnie Deacon

(violin, co-artistic director)

Photo - Donnie Deacon

Born in Glasgow, Scotland, Donnie Deacon studied at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music. He continued his studies at the Yehudi Menuhin School in London under the tutelage of Natasha Boyarskaya and Lord Menuhin. He finished his schooling at the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia with Jaime Laredo and Ida Kavafian.

Mr. Deacon has performed all over the world with such distinguished orchestras as the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Ulster Orchestra, BT Scottish Ensemble, London Soloists, Concerto Soloists of Philadelphia, Pablo de Sarasate Orchestra, and the Orchestra of the Curtis Institute of Music. He has sat as principle second violin with the National Arts Centre Orchestra since 2001, the youngest player to do so in the history of the Orchestra.

Mr. Deacon plays a Giovanni Dollenz violin from 1824 on loan to him through the Zukerman Musical Instruments Foundation for the National Arts Centre Orchestra.

Carissa Klopoushak


Photo - Carissa Klopoushak

Known for her sensitive and powerful musicianship and her charismatic and engaging stage presence, violinist Carissa Klopoushak is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Violin Performance at McGill University, a student of Jonathan Crow.

Winner of the 32nd annual Eckhardt-Grammatté National Music Competition for the performance of Canadian Music, Carissa completed a Canada-wide début recital tour with pianist Philip Chiu in 2009.  Together, they have also been featured in recital at the Ottawa Chamber Music Festival and on the waves of the CBC.

Originally from Saskatoon, Carissa earned a B.Mus at the University of Saskatchewan.  In her fourth year, Carissa won the position of Principal Second Violin with the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra, a position she held for three years.

Now based in Montreal, Carissa is a member of the ensemble Mooncrest – Crête de lune, Ensemble Portmantô, and enjoys many other chamber music collaborations in Montreal and across Canada.  She often performs with the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa.

Still active in the prairie music scene, Carissa is an artistic director for the Ritornello Chamber Music Festival, which features performers from Saskatchewan and their friends currently pursuing careers in performance across the country and around the world.

Carissa is the lead singer and violinist in the Ukrainian band Tyt i Tam.  Established in 2003, the band has recorded 3 albums, performed far and wide across the Canadian west, and is set to perform at the Montreal and Toronto Ukrainian Festivals this fall.  Carissa contributes vocal harmonies as well as violin, mandolin, and accordion to the roster of David Martel and The Acquaintances.

Robert Pomakov

(operatic bass)

Photo - Robert Pomakov

Born and living in Toronto, Robert Pomakov studied at the world-renowned St. Michael's Choir School in Toronto and later at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. He made his professional concert debut in 1998 and his Canadian Opera Company debut in a concert with baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky in 1999. Since then, he has astounded crowds and critics around the world with his unique bass voice and musicianship in operas, concert halls and recitals in Canada and around the world.

Recently, Mr. Pomakov appeared with Houston Grand Opera as Hobson in Peter Grimes and the Bonze in Michael Grandage’s new production of Madama Butterfly -- both to rave reviews. He also performed most recently in Ottawa’s Opera Lyra in Lucia di Lammermoor (Raimondo). Highlights of the past season include performances of Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 with the National Arts Centre Orchestra and Orchestre Métropolitain under the direction of Yannick Nézet-Séguin, and covers of the title role in a new production of Verdi’s Attila at the Metropolitan Opera conducted by Riccardo Muti.

Mr. Pomakov is a prize-winner of the Queen Elisabeth, Belvedere, and Operalia competitions, among others. He has also been decorated with the Simeon, the First Honorary Medal from the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Bulgaria.

Lauren Steel


Photo - Lauren Steel

Lauren Steel grew up on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides and began playing the cello at the age of eight, later studying at Aberdeen City Music School with Ken McLeod. During this time she performed widely in Aberdeen, Scotland and on two occasions in the presence of Her Majesty the Queen.

Ms. Steel was a member of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain for two years and at the age of 16 was awarded a scholarship to study with David Strange at the Royal Academy of Music, London.

Currently studying at the Royal Academy of Music as a postgraduate student with Felix Schmidt, Ms. Steel plays in the Jubilee Quartet and has won several prizes at the Academy (including the Sir John Barbirolli Memorial Prize and the Harold Craxton Prize). She has also given several duo recitals with the Scottish guitarist, Ian Watt and was the cellist in the Royal Academy of Music’s Manson ensemble, performing works by Knussen and Elliot-Carter at the Aldeburgh Festival, where both composers were present. Lauren recently performed with the Royal Academy of Music Soloists, directed by Clio Gould.

Ms Steel has performed overseas in countries such as Norway, Denmark, France, Belgium, the Czech Republic, the Kingdom of Bahrain, and last year was selected to be one of three ambassadors representing the Aberdeen International Youth Festival.
Last June she performed Dvorak’s cello concerto with Aberdeen Chamber Orchestra.

Lauren plays on a Betts (English) cello on loan from the Royal Academy of Music. 

David Thies-Thompson

(violin and viola)

Photo - David Thies-Thompson

David Thies-Thompson was born in Kenya, moved to Victoria B.C. at age five and now lives in Ottawa. His first professional foray as an orchestral musician was with the Victoria Symphony at the age of 15.

During and shortly after his years of study, he was a member of a number of conservatory symphonies in Canada and the US, and is an alumnus of the National Youth Orchestra of Canada.

Mr. Thies-Thompson has performed with the National Arts Centre Orchestra since 1990. He performs with Thirteen Strings and as part of the National Arts Centre Chamber Music series. Additionally, he finds great fulfillment working as a teacher, coach and conductor with committed amateurs, students and semi-professionals as Music Director of the Ottawa Chamber Orchestra, one of Ottawa’s premier community orchestras.

David Thies-Thompson plays a 1997 Inokuchi viola on loan to him from the Pinchas Zukerman Musical Instruments Foundation for the NAC Orchestra. He also plays a Didier Nicholas violin from 1877 donated to the Foundation by Pinchas Zukerman.