Joe Carere, organist,began his musical studies at the age of four and has spent thirty-two years with the Dioceses of Hamilton. Mr. Carere is the organist and choir master at the Basilica of Our Lady. Last season, he gave a thrilling performance of the Saint Saens Organ Symphony with the GSO! We look forward to having this wonderful musician join us again!
Andras Molnar, trumpeter, was born in Hungary. Since Kindergarten, he was educated in special Kodaly music schools (ask him to sing any songs with “sol fa”). During his university years, at the famous Franz Liszt Academy of Music, Andras was the principal trumpet player of the Hungarian Symphony orchestra. After a tour to West Germany rather going back to Hungary he took a “wrong” turn and ended up playing with the Stuttgart Philharmoniker Orchestra, then coming to Canada played with the Hamilton Symphony, the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, and Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra. We are thrilled to have Andras as our principal trumpet player.
Lida Szkwarek, soprano,is quickly establishing herself as a prominent young artist on the Canadian opera scene. Ms. Szkwarek is a graduate of Calgary Opera’s Emerging Artist Program and debuted last season in Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 with the Niagara Symphony Orchestra. Lida has performed the title role of Canadian composer John Estacio’s Filumena with Calgary Opera, and debuted with Edmonton Opera singing Micaëla in their new production of Carmen. Recently, Ms. Szkwarek had the honour of competing as a semi- finalist with the Metropolitan Opera’s National Council Auditions in New York. Other recent performances include Pamina (Die Zauberflöte) Micaëla (Carmen) with Saskatoon Opera, and Gretel (Hansel & Gretel) with Edmonton Opera.
Ms. Szkwarek completed her studies at the University of Western Ontario under the tutelage of Theodore Baerg where she achieved her Bachelor of Music Education as well as her Masters of Music Performance and Literature.
Pascale Spinney, Mezzo-Soprano, is acclaimed for her “relaxed, natural stage presence” and her “rich, plummy voice”. Pascale is a second-year Resident Artist at the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia, PA. Originally from Montréal, Québec, she earned both a B.M. and M.M. both from McGill University. After graduating, she joined the Atelier Lyrique of the Opéra de Montréal.
She was a 2017 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions National Semi-Finalist, a winner of the Mrs. Edgar Tobin National Award and of the Vancouver Opera Foundation Kurt Sickert Scholarship. Previous roles include Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro and Hansel in Hansel and Gretel with Vancouver Opera. Pascale has appeared recently as Turnspit in Rusalka with the AVA and looks forward to her role as Mercédès in Carmen with L’Opéra de Montréal, this May.
Ryan Downey, tenoris quickly gaining nationwide recognition for his “nimbleness of voice” (Bachtrack) and “attractive lyric tenor colour” (Edmonton Journal). Last season Ryan charmed our audience as the Gingerbread Witch in Hansel and Gretel with the GSO!
Ryan was invited to join the Yulanda M. Faris Young Artist Program with Vancouver Opera for the 2016-2017 season, where he made his company debut in the company’s 2016 production of Hansel and Gretel as the Gingerbread Witch, in which critics praised him for his “excellent comic timing,” as well as for “[stealing] just about the entire third act” (Review Vancouver). Ryan also sang the roles of Don Basilio and Don Curzio in Vancouver Opera’s 2017 production of Le Nozze di Figaro. Other recent roles include Danilo (Merry Widow), Howard Boucher (Dead Man Walking), and Prince Charming (Cendrillon).
In addition to his impressive opera career, Ryan is also an eager concert artist; recently making his Winspear Centre debut with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra in Messiah and with the Windsor Symphony Orchestra in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. Other recent and upcoming engagements include Mozart’s Requiem, Scriabin’s First Symphony, Vaughan Williams Serenade to Music, Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy, Schubert’s Mass in G, and Orff’s Carmina Burana.
Zachary Read, Bass,continues to impress audiences and critics in performances of a wide-ranging repertoire. A recent member of the Yulanda M. Faris Young Artist Program at the Vancouver Opera, Zachary was seen as Morales in the mainstage production of Bizet’s Carmen, Ivan in Die Fledermaus, and Jonas Fogg in Sweeny Todd.Zachary was featured in Handel’s Messiah with the Vancouver Symphony, as well as with the Victoria Symphony.
Zachary was a regional finalist for the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in both 2015 and 2016. Zachary completed his Masters in Operatic Performance at the University of Toronto and was a recipient of the Richard Bradshaw Fellowship in Opera.
Dr. Marta McCarthy, Conductor, is an Associate Professor at the University of Guelph, where she has been directing the choirs and teaching pedagogy and musicianship since 1995. A graduate of Westminster Choir College of Princeton (M.Mus), the Royal Conservatory of Music (ARCT, piano performance) and of the University of Toronto (B.Mus, B.Ed., Ph.D.), Marta was awarded the 1999 Elmer Iseler Conducting Fellowship. She also received an Ontario Volunteer Service Award, was named a member of the June Callwood Circle of Caring and, in 2005, was named a Woman of Distinction for Arts & Culture in Guelph. She led the UG Chamber Singers to 1st place in the 2011 ACCC National Amateur Choir Competition (Collegiate category) and, in 2012, to 3rd place in the Mosbach International Chamber Choir Competition in Germany. The Women’s Chamber Choir has also received national acclaim, performing at national conferences such as Podium 2012 and winning 3rdplace out of 78 entries in the Contemporary category of the 2006 CBC National Choral Competition. Dr. McCarthy was chosen to conduct the 2014 Ontario Youth Choir, and the 2015 Ontario Youth Choir Alumni. She was elected President of Choral Canada in 2014.