Concert Date: November 24, 2019Concert Time: 3:00pm
Jennifer Cyr is excited to be performing with The London Singers for their Beethoven Bash concert! Jennifer recently completed a Doctorate of Musical Arts in Vocal Performance at Western University. She is an avid performer who was selected as one of eight Canadian singers to embark on a concert tour of China. While in China, Jennifer performed Western opera arias and ensembles aswell as traditional Chinese folk songs in ten cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Harbin, and Kunming. Jennifer also recently performed in Western Opera's production of Le Nozze di Figaro as Contessa Almaviva.
Jennifer's past operatic roles include Donna Anna from Don Giovanni by Mozart, Suor Angelica from Suor Angelica by Puccini, the Governess in The Turn of the Screw by Britten, Musetta from La Bohème by Puccini, Antonia from Les Contes D'Hoffmann by Offenbach, Micaela from Carmen by Bizet, and Pamina from Die Zauberflöte by Mozart. Jennifer has been fortunate to work with many wonderful opera programs and companies including Vancouver Opera, La Musica Lirica, the Accademia Europea dell'Opera, the Canadian Operatic Arts Academy, ViVace, the Centre for Opera Studies in Italy, Opera Nuova, and Opera on the Avalon.
Carmen Specht is a German/Canadian mezzo-soprano from Lacombe, AB and is currently in her fourth year of the Doctor of Musical Arts program at Western University, under the tutelage of Dr. Sophie Louise Roland and Simone Luti. During her years of study, Carmen has also had the pleasure of studying with Christiane Riel, Elizabeth Turnbull, Dr. Blaine Hendsbee and Dr. Anthony P. Radford.
Ms. Specht's stage experiences have included: the title Role in Puccini's Suor Angelica (UWOpera), Mimì in Puccini's La Bohème (UWOpera); Countess in Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro (AEDO – Accademia dell'Opera); Foreign Woman in Menotti's The Consul (UWOpera); Lady Billows in Britten's Albert Herring (Opera NUOVA); Venus in Offenbach's Orphée aux Enfers and Miss Pinkerton in Menotti's The Old Maid and the Thief (UofA Opera Workshop); and others. Ms. Specht has also enjoyed learning and singing in many summer programs including AEDO (Accademia Europea dell'Opera), St. Andrew's By the Sea Opera Workshop, COAA (Canadian Operatic Arts Academy), Opera NUOVA and the Franz Schubert Institute, after receiving The Johann Strauss Foundation Music Award for Advanced Study in Austria. Ms. Specht is looking forward to sing as a soloist with The London Singers in November and joining Windsor Symphony Orchestra as Suzuki in their production of Madama Butterfly in January 2020.
Tenor Conlan Gassi is quickly becoming recognized as a gifted performer on the concert and operatic stages. A graduate of the Masters of Music Program at Western University, Mr. Gassi made his operatic debut in 2010 in Mozart's Don Giovanni. In May 2010, he worked with Orchestra London in Handel's Giulio Cesare. The following month, Mr. Gassi made his international debut as the title character in Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro, in Sulmona, Italy.
Mr. Gassi spent many summers performing abroad, with roles including Masetto in Don Giovanni, Belcore in L'élisir d'Amore, Sid in Albert Herring, Demetrius in A Midsummer Night's Dream, Escamillo in Carmen, Marcello in La Bohème and the title role in Gianni Schicchi. Mr. Gassi has been an active performer in southern Ontario, performing the roles of Ferrando in Così Fan Tutte, Tamino in The Magic Flute, and Fritz in L'Amico Fritz, all with Abridged Opera. He has also recently performed as Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni with Opera by Request and as Sam in Susannah with Peck Productions. Music theatre engagements include Archibald Craven in The Secret Garden with London Community Players, and Larry in Company with Music Theatre on the Thames.
Upcoming engagements include the role of Johnathan Harker in the world premiere of Dracula, an opera by Dylan Langan, with Vera Causa Opera, as well as the Tenor Soloist in the Schönberg & Sondheim concert with the Karen Schuessler Singers.
Mr. Gassi has taught as the head Voice instructor at D&S Voice Studios as well as the Montessori Academy of London. He is excited to offer his expertise to the singers of the Gassi Voice Studio, and help them achieve their musical and artistic goals.
Canadian Bass-Baritone Chad Louwerse was singled out in Chabrier's l'étoile by Claude Gingras of La Presse who wrote, "for pure comedy, first distinction goes to Chad Louwerse." Chad made his European debut with l'Opéra National du Rhin in Strasbourg as Bernadino in Berlioz' Benvenuto Cellini and in Canada he has been heard from British Columbia to Quebec. Most recently he performed the role of the British Major in Montreal Opera's production of Silent Night by Kevin Puts and the Friar in Vancouver Opera's production if Verdi's Don Carlo.
In past seasons Mr. Louwerse has sung Alidoro in Rossini's La Cenerentola and Palémon in Thaïs for Pacific Opera Victoria, Capulet in Roméo et Juliette and Talpa in Il Tabarro with Montreal Opera, and Hortensius in Edmonton Opera's La Fille De Régiment. He has appeared with Vancouver Opera as The Nazarene in Salome, The Bailiff in Werther, Zaretsky and Captain Petrovich in Eugene Onegin, and as Monterone in Rigoletto. He was also featured in the Lanaudière Festival's Der Vampyr conducted by Jean Marie Zeitouni.
He is a winner of both the CBC Westcoast Performance Pacific Spotlight competition and the Début competition and has given recitals broadcast on CBC Radio Two. On CD, he can be heard in excerpts of Robert Turner's opera Vile Shadows and Sylvia Rickard's song-cycle Three Chinese Songs Of Autumn for the Canadian Music Centre. He was a member of Montreal Opera's Atelier Lyrique for two seasons and was also named to the Jeunes Ambassadeurs Lyriques. An active oratorio singer and recitalist, Mr. Louwerse's concert repertoire includes Handel's Messiah, the Bach Mass in B-minor, the Brahms and Mozart Requiem and Mendelssohn's Elijah.
Mr. Louwerse is also pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree at Western University where he studies with baritone Ted Baerg. His research focuses on the songs of Czech composer Victor Ullmann. While at Western he has sung the roles of Falstaff in Verdi's Falstaff, Marcello in Puccini's La Bohème, Don Iñigo Gomez in Ravel's L'Heure Espagñole, and Don Magnifico in Rossini's La Cenerentola with conductor Alain Trudel and director Michael Cavanaugh. He is also on the voice faculty of Wilfred Laurier University.
Mr. Hugo Russell is a concert pianist who, at the age of 15, has amassed outstanding successes at piano competitions and festivals. He won first place at the Ontario Music Festivals Association Provincial Championships for four consecutive years at the highest senior grades: 2016, 2017, 2018 & 2019, represented Ontario at the Canadian Federation of Music Festivals National Championships in Saskatoon and achieved First Class Honours with Distinction from the Royal Conservatory of Music for every practical examination. Without exception, judges have recognized his remarkable talent as a performer. As a gifted young composer, he has also won national awards in 2017 and 2019. In 2018, Mr. Russell received a scholarship and won second place at the Canadian Music Competition. He was a Semi-finalist at the prestigious Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal Manulife Competition, received a scholarship and was featured at McGill University in a masterclass with Christopher Elton (Emeritus Head of Piano, Royal Academy of Music, UK), playing Mozart's Sonata in D Major, K.311. In December 2018, he performed Mendelssohn's Opus 25 Concerto in G Minor with the London Community Orchestra under the baton of Maestro Leonard Ingrao.
In 2019, Mr. Russell studied Beethoven's Sonata in B-flat Major, Op.22, with Angela Hewitt in her masterclass at The University of Ottawa, and performed Liszt's Transcendental Etude in F Minor, S.139/10, in the London Kiwanis "Stars of the Festival" concert at Centennial Hall which was televised on Rogers TV. He played Chopin's Scherzo in E Major, Op.54, in a masterclass with Christina Petrowska-Quilico (York University), at the International Music Festival and Competition where he won first place in all 4 categories: Piano Performance (Classical and Romantic), Concerto and Original Composition. Mr. Russell was awarded a scholarship to study with Juno Award nominee David Jalbert at the Orford Music Academy in Quebec and also won the 2019 Forest City London Music Award for Best Solo Classical Instrumental Performance. Mr. Russell's piano studies have been directed by Dr. Marnie Van Weelden (Laurier University), and Professor Emeritus John-Paul Bracey (Western University). He is currently studying with Dr. Benjamin Smith (Stony Brook University, The Juilliard School, The Glenn Gould School & The Royal Conservatory of Music) and is looking forward to future studies in one of Canada's leading Universities or Conservatories. Mr. Russell is well on his way to becoming an artist, composer, and chamber musician of distinction. We are delighted to have Mr. Russell performing the piano solo for the Beethoven Choral Fantasy on November 24, 2019 in our Beethoven Bash Celebration Concert with The London Singers, H.B. Beal Singers, London Symphonia, and soloists from Western University Faculty of Music.
Welcome to the 20th Anniversary Season of The London Singers! We are thrilled to return to historic Dundas Centre Church where we had our first concert with the Beal Singers in 2000. Our purpose is to make a meaningful artistic contribution to our community and nurture the spirit of the people of London through the joy and gift of music. The London Singers were recently named "2019 Best Choir in London" by the London Forest City Music Awards! Our chief aim is to place young people in the midst of great music. It is a delight for us to present today's Beethoven Bash with the H. B. Beal Singers, Soloists from Western University, Beal Student Soloists, Paul Merritt, organ, Hugo Russell, concert pianist & London Symphonia. It was 35 years ago that I had the privilege to sing the Beethoven Mass in C for the first time as a chorister in "Choirs in Contact", a combined choir of 500 from all over Ontario singing with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra at the just-opened, sparkling new, Roy Thomson Hall in the heart of downtown Toronto. That experience had a lasting impact on me and introduced me to the wonder and overwhelming joy of great choral/orchestral masterworks. Never did I realize that one day I would be bringing Beethoven's brilliant music to a new generation many years later right here in London, Ontario! What a legacy of beauty Beethoven has left us to enjoy.
The London Singers is a registered charitable organization by the Canada Revenue Agency. (Reg. Charity No. 84522 9269 RR0001).
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London Singers 2019/2020
Poster coming soon!