Artists (2013)

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.

Carson Becke

PIANO (Artistic Director)

Photo - Carson Becke

Carson Becke (b. 1989) has performed extensively as a soloist and chamber musician, including performances in Canada, England, Scotland, Ireland, Germany, Switzerland, Poland, Latvia, and Trinidad and Tobago. For the past five years he has been artist in residence and then artistic director of Festival Pontiac Enchante, a concert series in Luskville, Quebec.

Carson was born in Ottawa, Canada, and began learning the piano at the age of five with his Great Grandmother, Mary Mackey. In 2005, he moved to the UK in order to study at the Purcell School of Music, where he studied piano with Ilana Davids and composition with Jonathan Cole. After graduating from the Purcell School, he studied on scholarship at the Royal Academy of Music in London with Tatiana Sarkissova. He completed his Bachelors degree in June 2011.

Since moving to the UK, Carson has won a number of awards and prizes, including the top prize in the S.V. Rachmaninov International Piano Competition (2006, Russia), 1st Prize in the BBC young composers of the year competition (2007), and the Harold Craxton Chamber Music Competition, Francis Earle, and Dorothy Bryant awards at the Royal Academy of Music. He was also the recipient of a BBC performing arts fund bursary scholarship in 2007.

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.

Currently, Carson is living in London, England. He will be commencing his Master’s Degree studies at the University of Oxford in October 2013, with the generous support of the Sylva Gelber Music Foundation of Canada.

Tait Becke


Photo - Tait Becke

Tait Beck (21) calls the Pontiac home. He is currently studying violin at the Royal Academy of Music, with professor Igor Petrushevski. Before moving to London in 2010, he studied privately in Ottawa first with Leslie Wade, and then with Donnie Deacon, principal second violinist of the National Arts Centre Orchestra.

Tait has performed a number of solo and chamber concerts in Canada, England and Germany, including recent performances at Schloss Gartow, Germany, and with the Phoenix Trio in Wiez, Austria. He also performs as a regular duo partner with his brother Carson Becke. Most recently, they performed together in Cambridge.

Tait is also an active performer on the Erhu, a traditional Chinese instrument. He studies it as his second instrument at the Royal Academy of Music with professor Colin Huens.

Tait plays a 2003 Cormier violin.

Nathaniel Anderson-Frank


Photo - Nathaniel Anderson-Frank

A native of Toronto now living in the United Kingdom, Nathaniel received his Masters of Music degree from the Royal Academy of Music as a full-scholarship pupil of Maurice Hasson.  He also holds a Bachelor of Music degree with academic honours from the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he studied with Paul Kantor. In February 2011 Nathaniel was appointed to the No. 4 chair of the Philharmonia Orchestra first violin section.  He has lead the Orchestra on occasion, and is also a regular leader of the Orion Symphony and Paradisal Players.  Other recent work includes international tours with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields and the Aurora Orchestra.

Highlights of recent seasons include solo and chamber music concerts at the Wigmore Hall, Dartington Summer Music Festival, the Brighton Festival Fringe, and the Toronto Centre for the Arts. As an avid chamber musician, he is a member of the Azalea ensemble and has also led the Piatti Quartet; past performances have been broadcast on SDR radio (Germany) and PBS television (USA). He has also held multi- year Fellowships at both the Aspen Music Festival and the Perlman Music Program, and was the 2010 String Fellow at the Royal Academy of Music. His career has been further supported by Canada's Sylva Gelber Music Foundation.

Nathaniel plays a violin by G. Cappa, Saluzzo, 1682, generously made available to him on long-term loan by a consortium of investors.

Jay Gupta


Photo - Jay Gupta

A native of Calgary, Canada, violist Jay Gupta completed his bachelor degree at the Vancouver Academy of Music under Gerald Stanick, and his master’s degree at the Juilliard School in New York, studying with Samuel Rhodes and Michael Tree. He has held positions with the New World Symphony in Miami Florida, the Quebec Symphony and the Calgary Philharmonic, was a member of the string quartet in residence at the Hart School of Music in Hartford Connecticut, and performs regularly with the Montreal Symphony, and the National Arts Centre Orchestra. 

Jay has been invited to attend the Ravinia Steans Institute in Chicago, the Lucerne Festival, in Lucerne, Switzerland, Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, California, Kent Blossom music festival in Cleveland, Ohio, the New York String Orchestra Seminar, the Banff Center for the performing arts, and the National Arts Center Young Artist’s Program in Ottawa. 

His pedagogues have included Steven Dann, Roberto Diaz, Robert Vernon, Donald McInnes, and Pinchas Zukerman. As a chamber and orchestral musician, Jay has concertized extensively throughout Canada, the United States, Mexico, Scandinavia, the United Kingdom, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and China.

Ella Rundle


Photo - Ella Rundle

Cellist, Ella Rundle performs as a soloist and chamber musician through out the UK and Europe. She studied at the Yehudi Menuhin School and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama with Louise Hopkins and is now completing her Masters degree at the Universität der Künste, Berlin with Konstantin Heidrich.

Ella has won prizes in several competitions including the Israeli International Music Competition (2012), and the concerto competition at the ISA festival, Vienna (2009). Most recently she was chosen for the Tillet Trust Young Artist Scheme (2013) and will be giving her solo Wigmore Hall Debut in November this year. She is grateful to hold scholarships from the Countess of Munster, DAAD, Martin Musical Scholarship Fund, Drapers' Company and the Worshipful Company of Musicians.

As a soloist and chamber musician Ella has performed in venues such as the Barbican, Fairfield Halls, Purcell Room, Snape Maltings and Wigmore Hall. She has also toured extensively throughout Europe including France, Denmark and Istanbul and played on BBC Radio 3’s In Tune, Portuguese radio RTP and on SWR Germany. She has been invited to play in festivals such as Thy (Denmark), Aurora (Sweden), Viana (Portugal) festivals where she has performed alongside artists such as Peter Donohoe and Jean-Guihen Queyras. This year she was also given a scholarship from the ESU to attend the IMS Prussia Cove masterclasses with Ralph Kirschbaum. As a concerto soloist Ella has appeared with Orchestras such as the New English Concert Orchestra, the Spirit of Europe Orchestra and the Chichester Camerata.

As a passionate chamber musician Ella is also a member of the cello octet “Cellophony” which was established in 2007 in London. Cellophony were Park Lane Group Young Artists and they appeared at London’s Purcell Room in the opening concert of the New Year Series, to universal critical acclaim, “Just blows you away… thrown off with terrific panache” – The Daily Telegraph. Future engagements include appearances at festivals in the Germany, Korea and the UK.

Ella plays a Rapheal and Antonio Gagliano cello c.1830.

Magdalena Risberg

Soprano, Jenny Lind Scholarship winner for 2013

Photo - Magdalena Risberg

Soprano Magdalena Risberg has been chosen as the Jenny Lind Scholarship winner for 2013, based on a voice that is natural and simple, yet rich and moving, showing great musicality.

Magdalena was born and raised in Stockholm, growing up in a musical family. At the age of four she began playing the violin, which remained her main interest until her teens, when she shifted to singing. She attended Adolf Fredrik´s music classes, and the Södra Latin Highschool of Stockholm. After graduation, she went to Vadstena Folk High School, concentrating on romantic song, then Birkagården School and the Royal College of Music, and is now in her last year of the University College of Opera in Stockholm.

Magdalena has returned regularly to Vadstena, as a scholarship winner at the Vadstena Academy´s Lieder Artists in Residence Program, then sang in the highly-acclaimed opera “Pride and Prejudice” composed by Daniel Nelson, in the summer of 2011.

At the Royal Opera School, she has sung, among others, the role of Lauretta in Puccini´s opera “Gianni Schicchi,” in cooperation with the Symphony Orchestra of Gävle. Magdalena was recognized especially for her singing of the well-known aria “O mio babbino caro,” in her leading role of Lauretta. At the Royal Opera, she met with great success in 2012 during the School´s annual festival. There, she sang very demanding soprano works from Verdi´s “La Traviata.”

David Huang

Accompanist scholar on Jenny Lind Tour 2013

Photo of David and Magdalena

David Huang is a Chinese-born Swedish pianist. He followed his parents to Sweden at the age of 3, and grew up in Trosa, Sweden.

He began playing piano at the age of 11, and moved to Stockholm for studies at the Södra Latin Gymnasiet´s Special Music Department.

After receiving his high school diploma there, he began studies at both the Stockholm School of Economics and at the Royal Academy of Music in Stockholm. After two years, he took up piano studies completely.

After receiving his Bachelors Degree at the Royal Academy of Music, he secured his Masters Degree in Oslo. He will complete studies for his Soloist´s Diploma at the Edsbergs Castle program of the Royal Academy of Music.

David performs actively as both soloist and chamber musician. He has, for some years, been a member of Sweden´s Young Chamber Soloists.

He has received many scholarships, including a number from the Royal Academy of Music.

In 2012 he won a prestigious piano competition in Russia, playing piano concerts by Mozart and Liszt with the Ural Philharmonic Orchestra.

He anticipates a tour in France in 2014 as soloist, and expects to return to Russia for concerts with the Ural Philharmonic Orchestra.

Donnie Deacon


Photo - Donnie Deacon

Donnie Deacon joined the National Arts Centre Orchestra as principal second violin in September 2001, having just turned 22 the same week.

Born in Glasgow, Scotland, he began to study the violin at age 10 and was invited to join the Royal Scottish Academy of Music at age 11. As a student of Jerre Gibson, Mr. Deacon won all of the Academy competitions and performed as soloist many times with its orchestra, of which he was concertmaster at age 13.

Mr. Deacon continued his studies at the Yehudi Menuhin School in London with Natasha Boyarskaya, and Lord Menuhin himself. He finished his schooling at the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia with Jaime Laredo and Ida Kavafian.

As soloist, 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 premiered the Violin Concerto by the young Canadian composer William Rowson with the Curtis Institute Orchestra in 2001. He performed the Canadian premiere of the same piece as guest soloist with the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra in May 2002.

Donnie Deacon has performed as violin soloist with the National Arts Centre Orchestra on several occasions including the world premiere in July 2003 of Violin Concerto No. 2 commissioned by the NAC from NAC Award Composer Gary Kulesha. Other concerts in Ottawa include performing as soloist with Thirteen Strings, and in recital on the CBC Radio Classical Encounters series. Donnie Deacon toured to prestigious festivals in Canada, the U.S. and Europe in the summers of 2003 and 2004 as a founding member of the Zukerman ChamberPlayers.

Mr. Deacon performs on both violin and viola in two Mozart quintets which are part of the NAC Orchestra’s double Mozart CD released by CBC Records and nominated for a Juno Award in 2004.

Donnie Deacon plays a Giovanni Dollenz violin from 1824 on loan to him through the Zukerman Musical Instruments Foundation for the National Arts Centre Orchestra. The violin was donated to the Foundation by longtime Ottawa resident Frederick Bende.

David Goldblatt


Photo - David Goldblatt

Violist David Goldblatt is a graduate of the Juilliard School, where he received both his Bachelor's and Master's Degrees. His teachers have included James Dunham, Lillian Fuchs, William Lincer and chamber music coaches from the Guarneri, Juilliard, Sequoia and American string quartets.

David has been a member of La Orquesta Sinfonica de Galicia (Spain) and was the assistant principal violist of L'Orchestra Sinfonica DellEmilia Romagna (Italy) during the 1987 Toscanini International Conducting Competition. In New York, he performed with the New Jersey Symphony and the New York City Ballet Orchestra. Formerly the principal violist of the Hamilton Philharmonic, David joined the NAC Orchestra in 1996 as assistant principal viola.

Timothy McCoy


Photo - Timothy McCoy

Timothy McCoy started playing the cello at the age of six in Sudbury, Ontario, where he enrolled as a Suzuki student at Cambrian College, under the tutelage of Sylvia Thelen and Metro Kozak. Timothy’s family moved to Ottawa on Canada Day the year he turned eight; he remembers being enormously impressed with the parliamentary fireworks display his first night in a new city – so he stayed. Since that time, he has spent a great deal of his life at the National Arts Centre. His first Ottawa teacher was NACO Assistant Principal Cellist Marian Heller. When Ms. Heller relocated to New York City to accept a position in the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Timothy continued his studies with NAC Orchestra cellist Rosalind Sartori.

As a youngster, Timothy McCoy received intensive vocal training as a member of the Men and Boys’ Choir at St. Matthew’s Anglican Church in the Glebe (Ottawa). Appointed Head Chorister under Brian Law, he was a frequent treble soloist and sang the Pie Jesu in a performance of the FauréRequiem. As a boy, he also appeared at the National Arts Centre in performances of Britten’s War Requiem, Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius, and sang from the pit in the ballet score for Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. He managed to squeak in an appearance as a somewhat tall and hairy opera fairy in the NAC production of Britten’s rendering of A Midsummer Night’s Dream before his treble career abruptly came to an end.

A graduate of Indiana University, Mr. McCoy studied cello with Gary Hoffman and Janos Starker, and chamber repertoire with Menahem Pressler, James Buswell and George Janzer. He has studied the orchestral repertoire with the principal cellists of several of America’s leading orchestras, including Stephen Geber, Desmond Hoebig and Ron Leonard. He has also performed in masterclasses held by Aldo Parisot, Tsyoshi Tsutsumi, Raya Garbousova and Yehuda Hanani and has audited classes with Josef Gingold, Gyorgy Sebok, Frank Miller and Lynn Harrell.

Mr. McCoy has studied and performed at numerous summer programmes, including several seasons at the Banff Centre (where he began as a student in the Gifted Youth Programme), the National Music Camp (Interlochen, Michigan), the Brott Summer Festival (Hamilton, ON) and Festival of the Sound (Parry Sound, ON). He has held titled chairs with the National Youth Orchestra of Canada, the National Repertory Orchestra (Colorado) and the National Orchestral Institute (Maryland). He was a finalist at the Stulberg International String Competition and participated in the Third American Cello Congress convened in Bloomington, Indiana. During college, Mr. McCoy was under contract for two seasons to the Owensboro Symphony Orchestra (Kentucky) and performed with regional orchestras throughout Indiana.

Mr. McCoy spent his early professional years in Toronto as an active freelance cellist. They were formative times… He landed his first gig the second day after he arrived in town when he was asked to perform solo Bach Suites for John Steinberg’s 10th Anniversary Tea Party at the Rainbow Room, a tony Rosedale hair salon – he gained a free haircut and a pocketful of cash from the deal. After that, it was a stint with the Emperor Quartet, including a frosty autumn backyard wedding in Oakville for the filming of a CBS television pilot, Almost Grown. He claims to have performed string quartets atop every decent skyscraper in Toronto’s downtown core. He has played chamber music for Mila Mulroney and Nancy Reagan at a G7 Economic Summit as well as for prominent Canadian politicians and many of Europe’s heads-of-state. He was there for the rainy opening of SkyDome with Oscar Peterson and the Toronto Symphony. Mr. McCoy has performed with the Roy Thomson Hall Orchestra as well as with the celebrated Elmer Iseler Singers at the St. Lawrence Centre, and participated in a Krzysztof Penderecki world premiere with the composer at the helm. He has shared coffee and donuts with studio musicians at taping sessions for the legendary Tommy Hunter Show and, fresh out of college, he was a regular performer in the pit orchestra for Les Misérables at the Royal Alexandra Theatre. He also enjoyed performing with Toronto contemporary ensembles such as Robert Aitken’s New Music Concerts and the Esprit Orchestra, led by Alex Pauk.

As a musician on the Quebec scene, Mr. McCoy’s activities have included touring Spain and Morocco with Bernard Labadie and Les Violons du Roy and a five-season tenure as cellist with l’Orchestre symphonique de Québec. He has performed for live radio broadcasts from the Palais Montcalm with l’Orchestre de chambre de Radio-Canada à Québec; toured traditional Quebecois folksongs in the environs of Quebec City with his friend, the late violinist, Marc Gagnon and the Ensemble Arabesque; and collaborated as principal cellist on many choral events in Quebec, including the Festival des Musiques Sacrées de Québec. He has recorded with French chansonnier, Serge Lama and as a solo artist with the folk singer-songwriter, Connie Kaldor.

Timothy McCoy became a member of the National Arts Centre Orchestra at the beginning of the 2003-2004 season, after playing regularly in the orchestra for the previous three seasons.

In Ottawa, Mr. McCoy has been a member of Thirteen Strings and has performed at the Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival and on the NAC Music for a Sunday Afternoon series at the National Gallery of Canada. He has collaborated with pianists Angela Hewitt and Anton Kuerti. He has workshopped new compositions in the Canadian Music Centre’s New Music Reading Sessions at the NAC’s Fourth Stage and performed with the NACO New Music Ensemble, conducted by Oliver Knussen. His chamber performances have been broadcast on the national networks of CBC Radio and the Societé Radio-Canada. Mr. McCoy has served on the jury for the NACO Bursary and has been invited to adjudicate music festivals in Ottawa and Hamilton.

A versatile freelance artist, Mr. McCoy has performed at Bluesfest with Smokey Robinson; at the NAC with Diana Krall and Holly Cole; at the Corel Centre with Sarah Brightman; and at the Casino du Lac Leamy with Frank Sinatra Jr. He has appeared on the Canada Day stage for the midday CBC-TV show from Parliament Hill and has performed chamber music for numerous official ceremonies at Rideau Hall. He is Company Manager for Ottawa Music Company, a collective of local musicians that has collaborated in choral concerts with ensembles such as the Ottawa Choral Society, the Cathedral Choir of Men and Boys at Christ Church Cathedral, and the Ottawa Bach Choir.

Mr. McCoy has coached school and community youth orchestras both in Ottawa and while on tour with the NACO in Calgary, AB and the Saguenay, QC. He has been invited by Prof. Paul Marleyn to coach his cello students at the University of Ottawa and enjoys teaching a few regular students of his own.

Mr. McCoy performs on a rare copy (c. 1984) of a Carlo Giuseppe Testore cello; a gorgeous instrument made in New York for George Ricci by celebrated Argentinian luthier, Horacio Piñeiro.

David Thies-Thompson


Photo - David Thies-Thompson

Born to Canadian parents serving as medical missionaries in Kenya, David Thies-Thompson moved to Victoria B.C. at age 5. He joined the National Arts Centre Orchestra as a violinist in 1990. In July 2008, he became a full-time member of the NAC Orchestra viola section after playing in that section for the previous year.

David has performed as concertmaster for Thirteen Strings, Ottawa Symphony Orchestra, and the Opera Lyra Ottawa Orchestra and has been heard in recital on CBC Radio. He has performed chamber music in the National Arts Centre Music for a Sunday Afternoon series and New Music concerts, as well as at the Ottawa Chamber Music Festival.

An active teacher, coach and conductor he finds great fulfillment working with committed amateurs, students and semi-professionals as Music Director of the Ottawa Chamber Orchestra, one of Ottawa’s premier community orchestras.

David was previously a member of Symphony Nova Scotia and began playing professionally as an extra violinist with the Victoria Symphony at age 15. He is an Associate of the Royal Conservatory and the Victoria Conservatory of Music, and furthered his studies at the Eastman School of Music, McGill University and the Banff Centre. He is an alumnus of the Greater Victoria Youth Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic Institute and the National Youth Orchestra of Canada.

He has been married to Jenifir since 1990, and they can often be seen shuttling their four children to their many activities.

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.