Last season, a bond was forged between Les Violons du Roy, Nicolas Ellis, and Kerson Leong. It is therefore a joy to see them together again to perform works that draw on poetry and the passage of time in a program delicately built around Schubert’s heart-wrenching quartet “Death and the Maiden.”
Conductors and soloists
Nicolas Ellis is the Artistic Director, Conductor and Founder of the Orchestre de l’Agora and currently serves as Artistic Partner to the Orchestre Métropolitain and Yannick Nézet-Séguin. He was recently named Principal Guest Conductor for Les Violons du Roy, starting in the 2023-2024 season.
Mr. Ellis appeared as guest conductor with numerous Canadian orchestras including Les Violons du Roy, the Vancouver Symphony, the National Arts Centre Orchestra, the Orchestre de chambre I Musici de Montréal, the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, the Orchestre symphonique de Québec, the Orchestre Métropolitain, Symphony Nova Scotia, the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto and Les Grands Ballets Canadiens. He also regularly collaborates with the Opéra de Montréal’s Atelier lyrique.
During the 2022-2023 season, he is invited to conduct performances of Britten’s War Requiem at the Oper Graz in Austria and returns as a guest conductor to the Orchestre National de Bretagne. He has also collaborated as Assistant conductor to conductor Raphaël Pichon and his Ensemble Pygmalion on productions of Fidelio (Opéra comique de Paris) and Idomeneo (Festival d’Aix-en-Provence).
Mr. Ellis founded the Orchestre de l’Agora in 2013. The orchestra uses music as a tool for sustainable social change and has established itself on the Montreal scene for its creative programming and bold projects. Its repertoire ranges from Bach’s six Brandenburg Concertos, to Britten’s Turn of the Screw, to new works by Canadian composers, and more recently the ensemble presented Mahler’s 3rd symphony for its Gala de la Terre, a fundraising concert for environmental organizations. The orchestra has developed projects involving youth with mental health challenges, educational music workshops for children and a monthly concert series at the Prison de Bordeaux in Montreal.
Nicolas Ellis is the recipient of the 2017 Bourse de carrière Fernand-Lindsay and was named Revelation of the Year 2018-2019 by Radio-Canada. More recently, he won the Prix Goyer Mécénat Musica 2021.
Kerson Leong first took the music world by storm in 2010 by winning the coveted Junior First Prize at the prestigious Menuhin Competition. 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. During the 2018/2019 season, he was Artist in Residence with Orchestre Métropolitain de Montreal under Yannick Nezet-Seguin.
Kerson Leong has played in some of the world’ most prestigious concert venues, from Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium and Auditorium du Louvre to Wigmore Hall and the National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing. He is in regular demand as a soloist, having performed with such ensembles as the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Oslo Philharmonic, the Vienna Chamber Orchestra, the Stavanger Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre National de Lorraine, the Kansai Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestra Gulbenkian, the Stockton Symphony Orchestra, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, Orchestre Métropolitain de Montreal, Orchestre symphonique de Québec, and the National Arts Centre Orchestra of Canada, as well as numerous other orchestras in his home country.
He is also an avid and passionate chamber musician. Since his debut at the Gstaad Menuhin Festival in Switzerland in 2011, he has been featured at many renowned international festivals and concert series, including the Verbier Festival, Rheingau Musik Festival, Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Fraenkische Musiktage, Flâneries musicales de Reims, Bergen International Festival, Trasimeno Music Festival, Schiermonnikoog Chamber Music Festival, Toronto Summer Music Festival, Ottawa International Chamberfest, Music and Beyond, Orchestre symphonique de Montréal’s Virée classique, and Domaine Forget International Music Festival among others.
Kerson Leong released Bis, his first album for Analekta showcasing a collection of encore pieces, to critical acclaim. He recorded John Rutter’s Visions with the composer himself and the Aurora Chamber Orchestra for Collegium Records, after giving its world premiere in London, UK. He has also been invited by Canadian composer Francois Dompierre to record his piece Les Diableries.
Kerson Leong performs on a 1741 Guarneri del Gesu courtesy of Canimex Inc, Drummondville (Quebec), Canada.
A Letter from the Afterlife from Two Pop Songs on Antique Poems
Langsamer Satz (version for string orchestra)
Concerto funebre for Violin and String Orchestra
Quartet No. 14 in D Minor, D. 810 “Death and the Maiden” (version for string orchestra)