Consortium Aurora Borealis

Elizabeth Ganiatsos, Artistic Director
Northwestern Ontario's Chamber Music Group ~ Baroque and Beyond

Anthony Bacon


Anthony Bacon, assistant principal cellist in the Thunder Bay Symphony, is a soloist, chamber musician, freelance player and teacher. Born inEdmonton, he studied at the University of Alberta, and continues training with David Hetherington, Roman Borys, and Shauna Rolston in Toronto. Winner of several competitions and awards, including the Yo-Yo Ma scholarship for cello at University of Toronto, the Winspear Foundation scholarship, and the Anne Burrows foundation scholarship for advanced performance studies, Anthony also completed intensive studies atAustria’s Mozarteum from cellists Tsuoshi Tsutsumi and Julius Berger. Active in the contemporary music scene, Anthony has performed contemporary cello compositions for Canadian composers, and has showcased a variety of new music with Edmonton’s Orchesis ballet. He was also a member of Edmonton’s Contempo ensemble from 2004 to 2007. In addition, he is keenly interested in baroque performance practice, and studied and performed at the Tafelmusik Baroque Summer Institute with Christina Mahler. He teaches cello at Lakehead University, and plays a rare 1962 Curletto Anslemo cello, which was made in Torino.

Christine Vlajk


Christine Vlajk has graced major concert stages around the world with her dynamic performance style – New York’s Weill Concert Hall at Carnegie Hall, 92nd Street Y and Kennedy Center, Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw to name a few.

She has held the positions of violist of the Penderecki String Quartet and Artist-in-Residence in viola and chamber music at Wilfrid Laurier University, Canada, since 1997. Previous to that she was a member of the acclaimed Montclaire String Quartet with whom she received first prizes in the Banff International String Quartet Competition, the Chamber Music Yellow Springs Competition, the Coleman Chamber Music Competition and the Carmel Chamber Music Competition as well as Prize for Best Contemporary Performance in the Evian International String Quartet Competition. She was granted the Friedlander Fellowship from the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory.

Originally from Denver, Colorado, Ms. Vlajk holds degrees in Viola Performance and Music Education from the University of Colorado (Boulder) and a Masters degree in Viola Performance from the University of Wisconsin (Milwaukee). Teachers and coaches have included Oswald Lehnert, Masao Kawasaki, Jerry Horner, Denes Koromzay, and the Cleveland, Julliard, LaSalle, Takacs, Emerson and Fine Arts String Quartets.

She has been guest soloist with the Hamilton Philharmonic and the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Orchestra and has performed recitals in Canada, the United States and Germany, premiering viola concertos by Piotr Grella-Mozejko and Karol Gostynski in recent years. As an orchestral player she has held the positions of Principal Violist of the West Virginia Symphony and Assistant Principal of the New Hampshire Music Festival Orchestra as well as participating in the New Brunswick Summer Music Festival. Dedicated to the education of young people, she performed an extensive series of childrens concerts in numerous small communities across Canada and the United States and has given master classes at Yale University, Indiana University, Florida State University and the Glenn Gould Professional School.

As a member of the Penderecki String Quartet and the Montclaire Quartet Ms. Vlajk has recorded for the Koch, Leonarda, Eclectra, Marquis Classics and EMI labels.

Dean Jobin-Bevans


Derek Oger


Doris Dungan


Doris Dungan is currently enjoying her 31st season playing flute and piccolo with the TBSO. Originally from Pennsylvania, she earned her B.Mus. and M. Mus. degrees from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor before becoming Assistant Professor of flute at the University of Southern Mississippi, where she was honoured with the Excellence in Teaching Award. Doris performed extensively as Principal Flutist of orchestras in Mississippi, Florida, and Alabama, as well as in recital and as a member of the Southern Arts Baroque Trio. Since moving to Thunder Bay,Ms. Dungan has appeared as soloist with the TBSO on both flute and piccolo, was heard nationally in recital on CBC Radio, and has regularly appeared as recitalist and with Consortium Aurora Borealis. She has taught flute, music history and music lit. at Lakehead University.

Elizabeth Ganiatsos

harpsichord, organ, violin, viola, recorder

Elizabeth has been Music Director/Artistic Director of Thunder Bay’s Consortium Aurora Borealis, which she co-founded, since 1979. She holds an Honour B.A. in Music History from the University of Toronto, and a Master of Arts from Harvard University, where she also completed Ph.D. coursework in Musicology, receiving numerous awards and scholarships throughout her academic career. From 1967 to 1974, she was a musician, and then, music director for the Poculi Ludique Societas, a University of Toronto mediaeval drama group. She has performed in early music groups, chamber ensembles, and orchestras in Toronto, Boston, New Haven, Kitchener, Sudbury and Thunder Bay. As a Sessional Lecturer in Music History at Lakehead University from 1976-88, Elizabeth specialized in the Mediaeval, Renaissance and Baroque periods. As a musician Elizabeth concentrates on harpsichord and organ, as well as viola and several mediaeval and Renaissance instruments. For 22 years she taught strings with the local Separate School Board. She studied with Winnipeg’s virtuoso harpsichordist Eric Lussier, with whom she has given several duo performances, most recently performing two J.S. Bach double harpsichord concerti. She is particularly interested in discovering and delving into lesser-known repertoire from the Renaissance and the Baroque, and in researching and assembling historically-themed programmes. Elizabeth has enjoyed exploring the organs and music of Venice, under the guidance of the organist of the Basilica of San Marco, Roberto Micconi, whose Canadian concert tour she organized in 2003. In July 2007 she gave an organ concert of 17th and 18th-century Venetian organ music on a historic instrument from 1765 at the Church of San Trovaso in Venice, joined by Canadian virtuoso violinist Jeremy Bell. She played two concerts at San Trovaso in May and June 2009, including a Purcell-Handel-Haydn-Mendelssohn Celebratory Concert, and returns to Venice for more performances in 2011.

Erik Hongisto


George Holborn


Heather Morrison


Pianist Heather Morrison has held the position of Principal Keyboard
with the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra for over three decades, and is
a lecturer in the Department of Music at Lakehead University, where she
teaches Piano Performance, Keyboard Literature, and coaches an
Instrumental Ensembles class. She also maintains the position of Concert
Co-ordinator and Faculty Pianist for Interprovincial Music Camp, held
annually in the Muskokas. Chamber music has always been central to her
life and she has enjoyed many collaborations with local, national and
international artists. Heather is a founding member of the trio “MuSiC in
Common” with clarinetist Peter Shackleton and hornist Derek Conrod,
appearing regularly in concert at the Stratford Festival and in Lakehead’s
“Lumina” concerts. In recent years engagements have included series
concerts at the Winnipeg Art Gallery and the Perimeter Institute in
Waterloo. Heather is also an active clinician and adjudicator, having been
engaged by music festivals stretching from Vancouver to Toronto.

Isabelle Lavoie


Jacob Braun


A native of lincoln, Massachusetts, Jacob Braun has been recognized for his expressive, lyrical performances in The United States and abroad. His performances have taken him on concert tours of Italy, France, Korea and China. This past season, Jacob played concerts in Merkin Hall, Roosevelt University with the Chamber Chamber Musicians and Calgary, CA for a UNICEF benefit concert with Canadian prodigy, Jan Lisiecki?. Jacob joined the Penderecki String Quartet in 2009 and is Artist in residence at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Canada. He will begin teaching privately in the fall of 2010. With this ensemble, his schedule is saturated with the great string quartet literature, as well as collaborations with The David Earle Dance Group and multi-media electronic music.

Mr. Braun was a founding member of the Biava Quartet for nine years, winning The 2003 Naumburg Chamber Music Award and becoming the youngest ensemble to win this prestigious award. With Jacob, the quartet won top prizes at The 2003 London String Quartet Competition, The 2005 Premio Paolo Borciani String Quartet Competition, The Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition and The Coleman Chamber Music Competition. As a member of the Formosa Quartet he performed a three week tour of the UK including Wigmore Hall and performed at the Library of Congress (Stradivari Anniversary Concert), Wigmore Hall and La Jolla’s Summerfest. Jacob has collaborated with members of the Brentano, Calder, Enso, Jupiter, Miami, Shanghai, Tokyo and Vermeer String Quartets.

James Langridge


Jennifer Bryan


Originally from Brandon, Manitoba, violinist Jennifer Bryan is currently enjoying her eighth season with the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra. After one year at the University of Western Ontario, Jennifer high-tailed it back to the prairies to complete her degree in Music Performance under the tutelage of Dr. Guillaume Tardif at her hometown university. In recent years Jennifer has had the pleasure to become a frequent performer with Consortium Aurora Borealis and to participate in various projects and events offered by Thunder Bay’s rich artistic community. She has appeared several times as duo partner to violinist Jeremy Bell.

Jeremy Bell


Anative of Toronto, violinist Jeremy Bell earned a B. Mus degree from the University of Toronto, and from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, he received his Masters and Doctor of Music. Dr. Bell is a recipient of numerous grants from the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts and is a prize winner of the Eckhardt Grammatté National competition and the Conseil Québécois’ Prix Opus. He has studied with David Zafer, George Neikrug, Joyce Robbins, Metro Kozak and with members of the Orford, Juilliard, Tokyo, and Orion string quartets.  Joining  the Penderecki String Quartet in 1999, Dr. Bell is Artist in Residence at Wilfrid Laurier University where he teaches violin and chamber music.

Described by The Toronto Star as a violinist who “agitates in the most intelligent and persuasive manner,” Bell has performed recently with the Penderecki Quartet at Wieczory Arsenale Festival in Poland, Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Is Arti Festival in Lithuania, MBZ Zagreb, State Museum of Music in St. Petersburg, REDCAT/Disney Centre in Los Angeles, Roxy/NOD in Prague, Fundacion Juan March in Madrid, Jane Mallet Theatre in Toronto, Paris University 8, Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall in New York City, Indiana University in Bloomington, Casalmaggiore and Rive-Gauche Festivals in Italy, Tovar Festival Venezuela, the Hong Kong Academy, the Shanghai Conservatory, the Banff Centre in Alberta, and the Chan Centre in Vancouver.

With the Penderecki String Quartet, Bell has recorded over 25 discs including the premiere Canadian recording of the Béla Bartók string quartet cycle and Marjan Mozetich’s ‘Lament in the Trampled Garden’ (winner of the 2010 JUNO Award for composition). From 2000-2007, Bell was the artistic director of NUMUS Concerts where he created several multi-media events at the Perimeter Institute and with Dancetheatre David Earle. He has performed a wide range of music, performing baroque with Consortium Aurora Borealis and Les Violons du Roy, Cuban jazz with Hilario Duran, as well as collaborating with pipa virtuoso Ching Wong, NYC’s DJ Spooky, and pop stars Jay-Z and Diana Ross.  In addition, Bell has performed as soloist with the Toronto Symphony, the Kitchener Waterloo Symphony, the CBC Vancouver Orchestra, and as guest concertmaster with the Kitchener  Waterloo Symphony, the New Zealand National Symphony, and the Canadian Opera Company.

Dr. Bell plays an A.S. Bernadel violin (1854).

Jerzy Kaplanek


Jerzy Kaplanek has been a member of the Penderecki String Quartet since 1987. With the quartet, and also as a soloist and chamber musician, he performs throughout Europe, Asia, and North and South America. His discography includes a dozen CD’s with the Penderecki Quartet, and Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire with the Blue Rider Ensemble. His chamber music partners have been pianists Vladimir Feltsman, Lev Natochenny, Jamie Parker, Janina Fialkowska, Francine Kay, cellist Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi, clarinetist James Campbell, and others. He is frequently heard on CBC Radio and in the fall of 1997 was featured soloist at a concert held in the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, as a tribute to Karol Szymanowski.

Jerzy Kaplanek was born in Poland in 1965. His music education started at the age of six on piano; at the age of ten he began his violin studies. In 1984, he received a Bachelor of Music degree at the Conservatory in Bytom, Poland. He graduated with a Masters Degree in Arts from the Karol Szymanowski Academy of Music, where he studied with Janusz Skramlik, Stanislaw Lewandowski, and Aureli Blaszczok.

In 1987, Mr. Kaplanek left Poland to continue his music education in the United States. In 1987-88 he was assistant to Efim Boico of the Fine Arts Quartet at the Chamber Music Institute in Milwaukee. In 1989-90, he was a student of Sylvia Rosenberg in New York City. In 1990-91 he studied at the University of Maryland, where his teachers included Daniel Heifetz, the Guarneri String Quartet and its violinists, Arnold Steinhardt and John Dalley. Pursuing his interest in Baroque performance practice, Mr. Kaplanek has also worked with the Custodian of Period Instruments at the Smithsonian Museum, Jaap Schroeder.

Jerzy Kaplanek is presently an associate professor at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, where he teaches violin and chamber music. He plays a copy of the “Kreisler”, Joseph Guarnerius del Gesù 1733, made by Luiz B. Bellini (New York 1997).

Jessie Brooks


Marc Palmquist


Marc Palmquist, Principal Cellist of the TBSO, has performed throughout the United States, Canada, Europe and Central America. He has been broadcast on NPR, CBC, and other networks. As a featured TBSO soloist, Marc has performed concerti by Bach, Boccherini, Bloch, Brahms, Dvorák, Fauré, Ginastera, Glazunov, Haydn, Ibert, Saint-Saëns, and others. Prior to joining the TBSO in 1985, he performed with the Queens Philharmonic in New York, the Florida Festival Orchestra in Boca Raton, performed on Broadway, and was on-call as a cellist with the historic Radio City Music Hall.

A native Minnesotan, Marc studied at St. John’s University, the University of Minnesota, the Juilliard, and Manhattan Schools of Music. In 1987, Marc and Deb (wife & clarinetist) toured Italy with members of the Metropolitan Opera in conjunction with the Teatro alla Scala. While on sabbatical from the TBSO in 1989-1991, Marc performed with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, one of the world’s finest. He has worked with one of the top ten orchestras in North America, the Minnesota Orchestra.

During the 1990′s, he summered in the majestic Rocky Mountains of Colorado where he was Assistant Principal Cellist in the Colorado Music Festival Orchestra, collaborating with such brilliant performers as Gil Shaham, Yo-Yo Ma, Isaac Stern, Lynn Harrell, and others.

Marc is a founding member of the local musical phenomenon ‘Musically Inclined’. This varied ensemble performs a wide variety of repertoire in many different settings. Often considered the ensemble of choice for local entertainment functions, it is unequalled in its level of polish, professionalism, and repertoire:

Palmquist is an active chamber musician and teacher in Thunder Bay, has served as a sessional lecturer for Lakehead University’s Department of Music, and has appeared regularly with Consortium Aurora Borealis.

Martin Blanchet


Quebec-born Martin Blanchet learned violin and piano at an early age, and later studied at the Conservatoire de Musique de Québec, completing a double bass minor degree in Jazz and Pop music, a master’s degree in Classical Interpretation, and a second master’s degree in Chamber Music. Currently Principal Bass of the TBSO, Martin has also held the chair of Assistant Principal Bass in Orquestra do Algarve in Portugal. He has performed with La Orquesta de Extremadura de Badajoz in Spain, L’Orchestre Symphonique de Québec, and also at the Opéra de Québec. In the summer of 2009, he was invited to perform the Dittersdorf Double Bass Concerto in Pommersfelden, Germany. Martin has taught double bass at the Campus Notre-Dame-de-Foy in Québec and is presently a double bass instructor at Lakehead University. He enjoys playing Salsa and Bluegrass music with friends and colleagues.

Merrie Klazek


A native of Calgary, Merrie Klazek began playing the trumpet at age twelve and went on to complete a Bachelor of Music with Distinction from the University of Calgary and a Master of Music in Trumpet Performance from Northwestern University, where she studied with the late Vincent Cichowicz. Merrie is active as a performer and recording artist in orchestral, chamber, solo, traditional and popular music.

Her musical travels have taken her around the globe. Highlights include performing with Pavarotti at the Spoleto Festival, Italy, a production at the Festival Contemporaire in Strasbourg, France, a performance of Mahler’s 5 Symphony in Tokyo’s Bunka Kaikan Hall, a CBC broadcast of Shostakovich’s Concerto for piano and trumpet with Marc-Andre Hamelin and the TBSO, performances at the Stratford Festival, Hungary’s Niyrbator Festival, ITG 2008 “A Night of Principals”, the International Women’s Brass Conference 2010 and 2012, where she won 2nd place in the solo competition, over 30 solo appearances with various Canadian orchestras, as well as a variety of other solo performances.

Merrie has been principal trumpet with the Thunder Bay Symphony since 1999 and has held the same position with the Victoria Symphony (2005/06) and Orchestra London Canada (1996-99.) She has performed in the trumpet sections of over 10 of Canada’s top orchestras and teaches trumpet, performance skills and conducts the Wind Ensemble, at Lakehead University.

Merrie’s solo recording entitled “Songs to the Moon” with pianist Jennifer Snow has been featured on TVO’s Studio 2 and CBC Radio. She appears on numerous other recordings including four JUNO nominated CDs. Merrie enjoys the excitement of juggling motherhood and career, and performs around the continent with her husband, renowned Canadian Celtic fiddler Pierre Schryer.

Michelle Zapf-Bélanger


Canadian violinist Michelle Zapf-Bélanger is a performer and music teacher based in Thunder Bay, Ontario. This is her fourth season performing as a section violinist with the Thunder Bay Symphony.

Born in Montréal, Ms. Zapf-Bélanger grew up in Toronto, and is a graduate of the Etobicoke School of the Arts and the Young Artist’s Performance Academy at the Royal Conservatory of Music. She holds a Performance Diploma from the Glenn Gould School in Toronto.

An enthusiastic chamber musician, Ms. Zapf-Bélanger performs frequently with Consortium Aurora Borealis. She has toured internationally with Quartetto Constanze, an all-female string quartet praised in the press for having “a maturity beyond their years, with most impressive, tight ensemble playing.” On a recital tour of Iceland in 2006, the group premiered String Quartet No. 1 by Thordur Swineburne on Icelandic radio.

Ms. Zapf-Bélanger plays on a beautiful English violin from the workshops of W. E. Hill & Sons. She is celebrating her violin’s centennial anniversary this 2011.

Misako Sotozaki


Natalia Lerner


Patrick Horn


Patrick Horn is a violinist, violist, teacher, composer and arranger. He began his musical studies in Lafayette, California where he was a soloist with the Oakland and Diablo Youth Orchestras. He completed his Bachelor of Music at Rice University, studying violin with Camilla Wicks, viola with Csaba Erdelyi, and composition with Paul Cooper, Samuel Jones and George Burt. He earned his Master of Music in Viola Performance and Pedagogy under Peter Slowik at Northwestern University. Patrick’s compositions have received many public performances. He has also received numerous commissions from various performers, including such as the Halcyon Trio Oregon (Linfield College) and the Orion Ensemble (Chicago). His Black Tango was broadcast live by the Orion Ensemble on WFMT Chicago in May of 2006. Patrick is a private teacher of violin and viola and has taught at Merit Music and Upbeat Music in Chicago. He is currently a member of the music faculty at the Young Musicians and Artists in Salem, Oregon as well as maintaining a private studio in Thunder Bay. Patrick plays viola with the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra and with the Britt Festival Orchestra in Jacksonville, Oregon.

Robert Van Wyck

flute, recorders

Robert Van Wyck was born in Hamilton, Ontario and began his music studies on the piano and recorder. He received a B.Mus. (History and Theory) from McMaster University in 1975 and a Licentiate in Flute Performance from McGill University in 1981. He extended his studies on modern flute with Robert Aitken and Marcel Moyse and on baroque flute and recorder with Hans-Olav Grosset, Stephen Preston and Bart Kuijken. He has performed in orchestras and chamber groups in Montreal, Toronto, Hamilton and Thunder Bay. Since retiring from school teaching he develops young flutists through the Suzuki Flute Program, sings in local choirs, performs in chamber music concerts and instructs at the LU Faculty of Education. When time allows he enjoys making lumber on his sawmill at camp, and then figuring out what he’s going to make it into. He has appeared with Consortium Aurora Borealis for the past 18 years, performing on various recorders, as well as on modern and baroque flute.

Susan Korstanje


Susan Korstanje is active in the Thunder Bay musical community as a conductor, violinist, and vocalist. She currently conducts the Vocal Ensemble at Lakehead University, and is in her 19th season as conductor of the Lakehead Choral Group. She plays violin in the trio Women in Black, sings soprano in the To•ne quartet, and performs regularly with the Consortium Aurora Borealis. Over the years she has had the pleasure of participating in numerous choirs, orchestras (including the TBSO), early music ensembles, and dramatic productions, including the roles of Mary Magdalene in a 14th century liturgical drama (Toronto’s Poculi Ludique Societas) and Ceres in The Tempest (Cambrian). She has degrees in musicology (M.A., U of Toronto), and music and secondary education (Honours B.A., Calvin). She has taught school and conducted choirs and instrumental ensembles in Michigan, Indiana, New York, and Ontario, and currently teaches for the Lakehead Board of Education.

To•ne, Thunder Bay’s professional vocal quartet, delights in singing music from the Renaissance and beyond. Based on the Latin word for thunder and an obvious musical allusion, the name To•ne reflects the quartet’s goal of bringing high quality vocal music to the people of Northern Ontario. The quartet was founded in 2010, after the original members had enjoyed singing together in a Consortium Aurora Borealis concert. To•ne presented its inaugural concert in April of 2011, followed by several more performances in Thunder Bay. In 2012 the quartet went “on the road,” presenting a concert on St. Joseph Island. Founding members Susan Korstanje and Nancy Berglund welcome Don Nixon and Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser for tonight’s concert.

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