Schubert’s stirring “Death and the Maiden” quartet is the focal point for this deftly woven program by Nicolas Ellis featuring works rich in poetry and marked by the passage of time. Violist Marina Thibeault, a Quebec City native who used to performed on occasion with the orchestra, makes her debut as a soloist in Britten’s poignant Lachrymae.
The concert will be preceded by a talk about the evening’s musical program, including what to listen for. The talk will take place onstage starting at 6:40 p.m.
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.
Violist Marina Thibeault’s “plangent tone and expressive phrasing” (The Strad) foreground a great richness in her playing that is on display across various styles. Named Radio-Canada's classical "Revelation" for 2016-2017, she has delighted audiences across Canada, the United States, and Europe with her elegant, spellbinding performances and engaging presence.
An accomplished soloist, Marina Thibeault’s has performed with the North Czech Philharmonic, Mariánské Lázně Symphony Orchestra, the Santiago Chamber Orchestra, the Verbier Festival, the Orchestre Métropolitain, the Sinfonia Toronto, to mention a few. An avid chamber musician, she has collaborated with members of the Guarneri Quartet, the Cleveland Quartet, Charles-Richard Hamelin, Marie-Nicole Lemieux, and Johannes Moser, amongst other renowned chamber musicians. Her interest in new music has led her to work with composers such as John Corigliano, Joan Tower, and Krzysztof Penderecki.
Marina Thibeault’s first album, Toquade, was released in April 2017 on the Atma label, and was nominated by the ADISQ and Prix Opus for Album of the Year. Her 2020 Juno Award-nominated album Elles honours groundbreaking women composers from Clara Schumann to the present day. A passionate advocate for women’s rights, Marina Thibeault has utilized the broad-ranging Elles project in various iterations to reach out to at-risk women and raise awareness for organizations that support this important cause. The concert adaptation of Elles presents a wide-ranging program of works for solo viola by Ana Sokolović, Dorothy Chang, and Melody McKiver.
Marina Thibeault holds numerous honours and distinctions, including prizes from the Père-Lindsay Foundation (2017), "Révélation Radio-Canada" (2016-2017), CBC’s “30 hot classical musicians under 30” (2016), and the Sylva Gelber Foundation (2016). She won first prize in the string category of Prix d’Europe (2015), the McGill Concerto Competition (2015), the Radio-Canada “Young Artist” prize (2007) as well as a special prize at the Beethoven Hradec International Viola Competition (2008).
A Letter from the Afterlife from Two Pop Songs on Antique Poems
Langsamer Satz (version for string orchestra)
Lachrymae, op. 48a
Quartet No. 14 in D Minor, D. 810 “Death and the Maiden” (version for string orchestra)