Soloists for the 2019 – 2020 Season
Agnes Zsigovics – soprano
Agnes Zsigovics is a Canadian soprano soloist. She sings internationally, records on major labels, and specializes in Early Music repertoire. The Early Music Review (UK) wrote she is “icily perfect”, and “among the best ever”. The New York Times praised her ardent lines and style at Carnegie Hall. A recent write-up in theWholeNote recognizes Agnes as “one of today’s finest sopranos specializing in Early Music”. Agnes is featured on several acclaimed albums, including Juno-nominated The Heart’s Refuge and The Voice of Bach with Daniel Taylor, and OPUS-nominated Bach Johannes-Passion with Alexander Weimann. Her most recent feature is on The Vale of Tears, released in 2015.
Most recently, Agnes sang Bach’s St. Mark Passion at Festival d’Ambronay in France with the Paris based Early Music ensemble Le Concert Ã‰tranger, Bach’s Mass in B Minor with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, Monteverdi’s Vespers with Music of the Baroque (Chicago) under the direction of Jane Glover, Dido and Aeneas (Theatre of Early Music), Bach’s Mass in B minor (King’s Chapel Choir), Bach’s St. Matthew Passion (Grand Philharmonic Choir).
Other engagements last season include solos in Bach’s Magnificat & Motets with Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra in Toronto and Edmonton, Handel’s Messiah with the Oriana Singers, Faure’s Requiem, and a recital exploring various renditions of the Stabat Mater text with the Vesuvius Ensemble in Toronto.
Agnes career highlights include Carnegie Hall, Washington Bach Consort, The National Ballet, The Oregon Bach Festival, I Musici, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and tours to Peru, Brazil and Germany.
This season, concerts include Mozart’s Requiem with the Grand River Chorus, solo recitals for oboe and soprano exploring works by Lotti, Handel, and Mancini, Bach’s Motets with Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, Messiah with the Bethlehem Bach Choir and her 8th appearance as guest soloist at the Bethlehem Bach Festival.
Claudia Lemcke – mezzo soprano
Claudia Lemcke studied Piano and Voice in her native Germany. With her ‘warm and clear voice and a reliable sense of style’ (Rheinische Post) and ‘her charming sound and directness of interpretation’ (Brantford Expositor) she has established herself as a versatile Mezzo Soprano equally at home in art song and oratorio. Claudia has been a frequent soloist in Toronto and the GTA and has extensive choral and solo experience with several of Toronto’s finest ensembles. Claudia also sings and travels in MontrÃ©al, QuÃ©bec City and the US with La Chapelle de QuÃ©bec under Bernard Labadie. When she is not performing she can either be found in her own private studio, teaching Piano and Voice or working on some imaginative felt jewellery.
Joshua Wales – tenor
Tenor Joshua Wales has most recently been seen on stage as OrphÃ©e in La Descente d’OrphÃ©e (Orford Arts Centre), Almaviva in The Barber of Seville (SOLT), Ferrando in Cosi Fan Tutte (Toronto Summer Opera Workshop), Anthony in Sweeney Todd, Edwin in Trial by Jury (Alexander Showcase Theatre), and Spirit of the Masque in Gloriana (Voicebox). He was also a principal in Against the Grain’s Messiah (Dora Award for Best Ensemble, Opera). As a tenor soloist, past credits include Messiah (Grand River Chorus, Arcady Ensemble), Handel’s Athalia (Victoria Conservatory), and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony (Corktown Chamber Orchestra). He has performed with Opera Atelier, Opera Five, and Tapestry New Opera, while also singing regularly in the Canadian Opera Company chorus. He holds a BMus from McGill University, and an MD from McMaster University.
Max van Wyck – baritone
A native Vancouverite, Baritone Max van Wyck’s love for performing and his passion for music has led him across Canada, from the University of British Columbia, through the Master’s Degree Program at the University of Toronto, to a two-year contract with the L’OpÃ©ra de MontrÃ©al, where he was thrilled to continue maturing as an artist before moving to Germany.
While with L’OpÃ©ra de MontrÃ©al Max was pleased with the many opportunities that the company provided before last summer where he performed five operas back to back, starting with Gregorio in Romeo et Juliette, then as The Sacristan in Tosca with Opera on the Avalon, his first of hopefully many Papagenos in Mozart’s The Magic Flute with Brott Opera, Marcello with Highlands Opera, before being rehired by Opera de Montreal perform Marullo in the Opera de Montreal’s production of Verdi’s Rigoletto. After the honour of returning to Montreal, he made the decision to move to Germany to study with renowned voice teacher John Norris.
While in Berlin Max has been fortunate to continue performing on both sides of the Atlantic. Operatic contracts include Verdis Un Ballo in Maschera with the Eutin Festspiel in Germany, before traveling to North America for September and October to sing Baron Douphol in La Traviata with Opera de Quebec.
In between operatic contracts Max is happy to be in Ontario to sing a Mozart Requiem with the Grand River Chorus in Ontario, before returning to Berlin for a FaurÃ© Requiem with Max Reger Choir.
Ariel Harwood-Jones – soprano
Winnipeg born soprano, Ariel Harwood-Jones, maintains a busy schedule of concert and recital engagements. She has sung with such organizations as Tafelmusik Chamber Choir, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Canadian Brass, the Elora Festival Singers, the Elmer Iseler Singers, Nexus, and Toronto Consort.
Ariel’s most recent appearance was with Masterworks of Oakville in their presentation of Mozart’s Mass in C minor. A few of her other appearances include Handel’s Messiah with the Mississauga Choral Society, Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610 with the Grand River Chorus, Bach’s Magnificat with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Mozart’s Requiem with the Elora Festival Singers, and Handel’s Dixit Dominus with Tafelmusik Chamber Choir. She also appeared as guest soloist with the Pax Christi Chorale in their performance of Bach’s Cantatas 80 and 147, she performed Baroque Opera Excerpts with the Toronto Continuo Collective, and the roles of First Woman and Queen of Sheba in the concert presentation of Handel’s Solomon by Masterworks of Oakville. She also has appeared with the Kitchener based Nota Bene Baroque Players in their production of Bach’s Magnificat. Since 2016, Ariel has been putting her hand to developing a new Early Music group, Kammerchor London, where she performs, manages, and directs in London Ontario. She also functions as a piano technician, currently on contract to Western University.
Ms. Harwood-Jones’ solo voice can be heard on many recordings, including “Gloria in Excelsis” with Tafelmusik Chamber Choir, “Sacred Brass” with Canadian Brass, and “Welcome my Lord Sir ChristÃ¨mas” with the Toronto Chamber Choir.
Hollie Dunkley – mezzo soprano
Mezzo-soprano Hollie Dunkley has been performing as a chorister and soloist throughout southern Ontario since 1994, with ensembles including Arcady, John Laing Singers, Ensemble Lyrica, Voces Animae, and others.
Hollie is currently the soprano lead at Trinity Anglican Church in Cambridge, and first alto with St. Ann’s Chamber Choir in Ancaster.
She can often be heard in recital singing repertoire ranging from plainsong to opera to Broadway musicals, with a particular interest in traditional spirituals. Stage roles include Dido and The Sorceress in Dido and Aeneas, Lady Thiang in The King and I, Lady Sangazure in Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Sorcerer, and Fantine in Les Miserables.
Ms. Dunkley has performed as the alto soloist for Handel’s Messiah with many choirs in Ontario and Whitehorse, Yukon, and is delighted to appear this season with the Grand River Chorus.
John Van Maanen – bass
John Van Maanen has been a member of Arcady since its founding and for about a decade he has also been a member of the Grand River Chorus. Both ensembles make use of his talents as a baritone soloist. In addition, John sings in the choir of his home congregation and sometimes serves as a substitute organist in local churches.
John’s first hymn tune, (CHRISTUS) PARADOX (1984), is in three Canadian denominational hymnals: Voices United (1996), The Book of Praise (1997) and Common Praise (1998). Common Praise (1998) also has his tune, PHOS HILARON, written in 1990.
John’s arrangement of the hymn Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence was published by Oxford University Press in 2007. He continues to enjoy composing: most of his works are for choir with organ accompaniment. Several have been performed by Arcady, the Grand River Chorus and the choir of his home church. On January 1st of 2016, his Trumpet Tune, which began as an organ improvisation, was premiered at the Anglican Cathedral of St James, Toronto, Ontario, by Paul Sanvidotti, trumpet, and Tom Fitches, organ.
Gerald Smink – bass
Gerald Smink was appointed director of music and organist at MacNab Presbyterian Church in Hamilton in 2016
He was Head of the Music Department at Delta Secondary School for 17 years until he retired from teaching in 2017.
He has studied organ with Brent Fifield, Christian Teeuwsen and Jan Overduin.
He has an Honours music degree from McMaster University and a B.Ed. from the University of Toronto.
He has sung with many choirs in the area and is presently singing with Ensemble Lyrica , COMC and the Grand River Chorus.