In 2019, Les Violons du Roy, led by new conductor Jonathan Cohen, earned a Grammy nomination for their disc dedicated to Handel and Philip Glass featuring Anthony Roth Costanzo. The ensemble is delighted to dive back into the world of the renowned U.S. composer again, this time in the company of two of Canada’s most talented young artists: Kerson Leong and Nicolas Ellis.
Conductors and soloists
Nicolas Ellis is the Artistic Director and Founder of the Orchestre de l’Agora and currently serves as Artistic Partner to the Orchestre Métropolitain and Yannick Nézet-Séguin.
Mr. Ellis has been invited as guest conductor with Les Violons du Roy, the National Arts Centre Orchestra, the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, the Orchestre symphonique de Longueuil, the Orchestre symphonique de Québec, the Orchestre Métropolitain, Symphony Nova Scotia, the McGill Chamber Orchestra, the Ottawa Symphony and the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto and has had the opportunity to perform with artists such as cellist Jean-Guihen Queyras, countertenor Anthony Roth Constanzo and pianist Charles Richard-Hamelin.
He completed his Master’s Degree at the McGill University in conducting with Alexis Hauser and was a conducting fellow at the Aspen Music Festival where he studied with Robert Spano. During the summer of 2019, he was part of the Verbier Festival Academy where he acted as assistant conductor to Music Director Valery Gergiev on a production of Die Frau ohne Schatten.
In 2013, he founded the Orchestre de l’Agora, an orchestra whose mission is to position the classical musician as an agent of social change within the community. The ensemble has built collaborations with the music program of the Share the Warmth Foundation and Les Porteurs de musique, giving workshops to kids coming from underprivileged neighbourhoods and to people who don’t have access to music such as psychiatric centres, prisons and shelters for women. Their recent production of Britten’s The Turn of the Screw in collaboration with the Atelier lyrique de l’Opéra de Montréal was recorded by ICI Musique and CBC Music and has been broadcasted nationally. During the 2019-2020 season, the orchestra underwent its first tour across Québec, presenting 16 concerts as a string ensemble. On April 22nd 2020, the Orchestre de l’Agora donated $138,000 to Earth Day Canada, the Sierra Club Canada and Nature Conservancy of Canada through the Gala de la Terre, an important fundraising event to protect the St-Laurent River’s estuary. In February 2020, the Orchestre de l’Agora was also the resident orchestra of the Atelier lyrique de l’Opéra de Montréal during a two week intensive clinic on Bel canto repertoire.
Nicolas Ellis is the recipient of the 2017 Bourse de carrière Fernand-Lindsay and the Heinz Unger Award 2015 delivered by the Ontario Arts Council and was recently named Revelation of the year 2018-2019 by Radio-Canada.
Kerson Leong first took the music world by storm in 2010 by winning the coveted Junior First Prize at the prestigious Menuhin Competition. Ever since, the young Canadian violinist has astonished and won over both fellow musicians and audiences alike the world over with his rare and innovative mastery of his instrument, his natural ability to convey the subtlest of emotions, and the colossal scope of his live performances. Having been called “Canada’s next great violinist” (Ludwig van Toronto), he has distinguished himself with his unique approach as one of the most brilliant musicians of his generation.
Kerson has played in some of the most prestigious concert venues around the world from Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium and the Auditorium du Louvre to Wigmore Hall and the National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing. In the 2020/2021 season, Kerson will perform with the Quebec Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestre Royale de Chamber de Wallonie in Belgium, Orchestre Symphonique de Sherbrooke, the Toledo Symphony, and new compositions by Samy Moussa under his direction with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. In the 2018/2019 season, Kerson was named Artist-in-Residence with the Orchestre Métropolitain de Montreal under Yannick Nezet-Seguin.
Le harfang et le loup for String Orchestra
Sonata for String Orchestra
Concerto for Violin No.2 “The American Four Seasons”