LSM Newswire

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Pax Christi Chorale Performs Bach Christmas Oratorio with Guest Conductor Howard Dyck

Pax Christi Chorale Performs Bach Christmas Oratorio

with Guest Conductor Howard Dyck

TORONTO – November 24, 2010 -- Under the direction of Stephanie Martin, Pax Christi Chorale is one of Canada’s leading oratorio choirs, praised by our guest soloists, musicians and audience members alike for the choir’s sincere and passionate performances. In 2009, we welcomed the Pax Christi Youth Choir to our ‘family of choirs’, led by Lynn Janes. These exceptional young choristers have enriched our musical experience and that of our audience and we look forward to our second season together!

Stephanie Martin will be on leave during the 2010-2011 season, and in her absence, we will be joined by a stellar line-up of guest conductors.

Listing information

Christmas Splendour II

Saturday, December 4, 7:30 pm

Sunday, December 5, 3:00 pm

Grace Church on-the-Hill, 300 Lonsdale Rd, Toronto

Tickets: $30 / 25 / 22 / 5 (children under 12) For tickets, call

(416) 491-8542

Guest conductor Howard Dyck; Pax Christi Youth Choir Conductor Lynn Janes

Soprano Agnes Zsigovics, mezzo-soprano Iasmina Pataca,

tenor Cory Knight and baritone Matthew Zadow

Pax Christi Chorale's friend and much-loved conductor Howard Dyck will join Pax Christi Chorale and the Pax

Christi Youth Choir on December 4th and 5th for two performances of parts I and VI of Bach's magnificent Christmas Oratorio and Bach's Cantata 140, "Wachet Auf". Christmas motets by Darke, Rutter and others will complete the program.

For biographical information about Howard Dyck and our soloists, please see pages 2-5.


Howard Dyck is the founding Artistic Director and Conductor of Consort Caritatis as well as Artistic Director Emeritus of the Grand Philharmonic Choir (Kitchener-Waterloo) and Conductor Emeritus of the Bach Elgar Choir (Hamilton). Mr. Dyck is known across Canada as the former programme host of Choral Concert and Saturday Afternoon at the Opera on CBC Radio.

Howard Dyck’s international conducting career has taken him to seventeen countries on three continents where he has conducted, among others, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Arnold Schoenberg Choir of Vienna, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, the Mozarteum Orchestra (Salzburg), the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra and Obretenov Choir (Bulgaria), the Bach Collegium Stuttgart and Gaechinger Kantorei (Germany), the Kunming Symphony Orchestra (China), the State Symphony Orchestra of St. Petersburg (Russia), and the Orquestra Do Norte (Portugal).

His discography includes: Bach – Missa Brevis in g; Handel – Messiah Highlights (SONY Classical); Verdi – Requiem; Beethoven – Missa Solemnis (EMI); Brahms – Ein deutsches Requiem. Under Howard Dyck’s direction, the Grand Philharmonic Choir and Consort Caritatis have been broadcast nationally on CBC Radio and Television as well as on Vision TV and throughout the People’s Republic of China.

Singers of international distinction who have performed under Howard Dyck’s baton include: Sondra Radvanovsky, Nathalie Paulin, Measha Brueggergosman, Suzie Leblanc, Laura Whalen, Karina Gauvin, Marie-Nicole Lemieux, Maureen Forrester, Catherine Robbin, Susan Platts, Ben Heppner, Richard Margison, Paul Frey, Michael Schade, Gary Relyea, Russell Braun, Phillip Ens, James Westman, Brett Polegato, and Nathan Berg.

Educated in Canada, the United States and Germany, Howard Dyck has received numerous honours for his contributions to musical culture, both nationally and internationally. Listed in Canadian Who’s Who, he holds honorary Doctor of Laws degrees from the University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University, and is an Honorary Professor of Music at the Yunnan Arts Institute (Kunming, China). He has received the Distinguished Service Award from both the Association of Canadian Choral Conductors and Choirs Ontario. Howard Dyck is a member of the Order of Canada, and a recipient of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal.

Young Canadian soprano Agnes Zsigovics, "whose crystal-clear singing and musical manner are everything that one could ask of a Bach soprano" (Ottawa Citizen, 2008) appears with leading orchestras and choirs across Canada.

A master's graduate of the University of Toronto, Ms. Zsigovics has toured internationally, singing in Europe and South America. She made her debut with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra in Bach's St. John Passion under the direction of Maestro Helmuth Rilling in 2007.

The Sony Classical/BMG CD: The Voice of Bach on which Ms. Zsigovics appears in duet with Daniel Taylor was nominated for a Juno award in 2009. She also appears on The Ottawa Bach Choir's most recent CD entitled Jesu meine Freude, which was given the following review: “Soprano Agnes Zsigovics owns a limpid, emotionally naked instrument; her exquisite Den Tod duet with Taylor in the first cantata just about reduced me to tears."(American Record Guide, July/August 2009)

She has also recently performed Bach's St. John Passion with the Toronto Bach Consort under the direction of Yannick Nezet-Seguin and Handel's Dixit Dominus and Salve Regina with the Toronto Chamber Choir under the direction of Mark Vourinen.

Some other of her most recent engagements include Bach's Mass in B minor with the Cellar Singers, Charptentier's Messe de Minuit and Bach's Mass in A major with the Ottawa Bach Choir, as well as Mendelssohn's Lobgesang with the Grand Philharmonic Choir.

Born in the beautiful town of Timisoara, Romania, mezzo-soprano Iasmina Pataca has completed her Hons B Mus in Voice Performance at The West University of Timisoara after 16 years of studying piano and a Diploma in Piano Performance. She also holds an Opera Diploma from Wilfrid Laurier University.

Performances from the past seasons include Imant Raminsh’s Magnificat, All-Night Vigil by Serghei Rachmaninoff and Duruflé’s Requiem with The Grand Philharmonic Choir conducted by Howard Dyck, and Mozart’s Requiem with Wilfrid Laurier Symphony Orchestra and Choir. With Bach-Elgar Choir she performed Vesperae solennes de Dominica K321 by W. A. Mozart, Missa in honorem Sanctae Ursulae by J. M. Haydn and Mass in A flat by F. Schubert. With London Orchestra conducted by Maestro Timothy Vernon she performed Bach Cantatas No. 80, 110, 159. On the opera stage, Iasmina sang the role of La Zia Principessa in Suor Angelica by Puccini, the role of Mrs. Olsen in Kurt Weill’s Street scene, the role of Rosina in The Barber of Seville in Toronto Summer Music Festival and recently the role of Cindarella in La Cenerentola by Rossini with Opera Nuova. Iasmina is a laureate of the Orchestre de Montreal Competition and the winner of the 2009 Rose Bowl London.

Iasmina holds a Master Degree from the University of Western Ontario and she resides in Kitchener with her beloved husband and their 2 sons.

Described as the quintessential light lyric tenor (Opera Canada), tenor Cory Knight most recently returned from Germany where he was studying at the Internationale Bachakademie Stuttgart under the direction of Maestro Helmuth Rilling.

A versatile artist, Mr. Knight has been seen in such roles as Lucano and Telemaco in Monteverdi’s L’INCORNAZIONE DI POPPEA and IL RITORNO D’UILISSE IN PATRIA respectively, Aeneas in Purcell’s DIDO AND AENEAS, Count Almaviva in Rossini’s IL BARBIERE DI SIVIGLIA, Gastone in Verdi's LA TRAVIATA, Lysander in Britten’s A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM, and Charlie in Weil’s MAHOGONNY SONGSPIEL. As a frequent performer of concert works he has sung several of Bach's cantatas, ST. JOHN PASSION and MASS IN B MINOR, Handel's MESSIAH, Mendelssohn's HYMN OF PRAISE, and Orff's CARMINA BURANA.

Mr. Knight has worked with such groups as Chorus Niagara, Pacific Opera Victoria, Opera Atelier, Orchestra London Canada, Tapestry New Opera, Toronto Chamber Choir, and Toronto Classical Singers.

Highlights for the 2010/2011 season include Bach's CHRISTMAS ORATORIO with Pax Christi Chorale, Handel's Messiah with Mississauga Choral Society, and Mozart's REQUIUM with Toronto Classical Singers.

A graduate of the Glenn Gould School and York University, Mr. Knight has also studied at the Accademia Rossiniana in Pesaro, Italy under the direction of Maestro Alberto Zedda.


Canadian baritone Matthew Zadow, graduate of Queen’s University and protégé of baritone Bruce Kelly, is fast developing an international singing career. Since moving to Brussels, he has debuted in Belgium, Ireland and Holland while maintaining his Canadian career in recital, oratorio and on stage.

His recent opera roles include “Almaviva” (Le Nozze di Figaro), "Dancaïre” and “Morales” (Carmen), “Baron Douphol” (La Traviata), and “Cristiano” and “Il Giudice” in Verdi’s Un ballo in maschera. Contemporary opera roles include “Fellowship" (The Summoning of Everyman), "Hans Scholl" (Die Weiße Rose), and “Ben” (Night-Blooming Cereus) and he created of the role of "Jack Worthing" in The Importance of Being Earnest for Stratford Summer Music. Matthew appears on the Naxos CD release of Rameau’s Castor et Pollux and Toreador Records’ art song release Magic Breath. Operetta roles of note include “Danilo” (The Merry Widow), "Bob Beckett" (H.M.S. Pinafore) and "Pish-Tush" (Mikado).

Concert works include Messiah, the Brahms, Mozart, Fauré, and Duruflé Requiem masses, Vaughan Williams’ Five Mystical Songs, and Mendelssohn's Elijah, Bach's solo cantata Ich will den Kreutzstab gerne tragen, Magnificat, Mass in B-minor, and Himmelfahrts-Oratorium, Vaughan Williams’ A Sea Symphony, Elgar’s Coronation Ode, and most recently Bach’s Weihnachts-Oratorium and Johannes-Passion. He also has debuted in Holland and Belgium with the Flemish ensemble BL!NDMAN in concert performances of contemporary music.

Matthew’s 2010-2011 season begins with a BL!NDMAN performance for the Festival of Flanders in Ghent in September, a Belgium/Luxembourg tour of the music of César Franck including the Messe à trois voix, and Bach’s Hunting Cantata in Antwerp’s Sint-Carolus Borromeuskerk with the Flanders Baroque Academy in October. In November he presents a concert celebrating the 1944 liberation of Merksem by Canadian forces, followed by a tour of the Côte d'Azur, including opera recitals in Menton and Monte Carlo, before returning to Canada for Bach’s Weihnachts-Oratorium in December. In 2011 he gives another BL!NDMAN performance at Amsterdam’s Muziekgebouw aant’IJ

in February, performs Messiah in Bornem and Willebroek in April 2011, and in May sings a Canadian tour of Schubert’s Die Schöne Müllerin with the American pianist Dina Namer.

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