ENSEMBLE POLARIS, Toronto
ENSEMBLE POLARIS was founded to create a multifaceted Canadian voice for the ‘idea of North’ in music. Their innovative and genre-bending artistry has won them international rave reviews plus Best New Disc of 2012 from KMUW-FM’s award-winning show Global Village.
Comprised of eight expert performers from a variety of musical traditions and backgrounds, Polaris incorporates an eclectic palette of influences in their music, and performs on traditional instruments from Scandinavia, percussion from Asia, Africa and the Middle East, and other instruments from the folk, classical and early music worlds. Their repertoire is created by a mixture of individual and collaborative arrangement, improvisation, and composition.
The band members are Marco Cera (guitar, banjo, mandolin); Margaret Gay (cello); Kirk Elliott (violin, accordion, mandolin, Swedish pipes, bouzouki and more); Katherine Hill (nyckelharpa, voice); Colin Savage (clarinet, bass clarinet, recorders); Debashis Sinha (percussion); Alison Melville (traverso, recorders, seljefløyte); and Jeff Wilson (percussion, musical saw).
Since their first performance at the 1997 Northern Encounters Festival, Ensemble Polaris has performed at the Salle Pierre Mercure, Luminato Festival, Music at Sharon, River Run Centre, Barrie Colours of Music, Chamber Music Mississauga, Gallery Players of Niagara and others, and on tour to audiences in Western and Atlantic Canada. They present occasional evening and school concerts in their home base of Toronto, and perform in conjunction with silent film, traditional dance and other art forms. Polaris has worked collaboratively with diverse groups including the Canadian Children’s Dance Theatre, Viva! Youth Choir, the University of Toronto’s Jackman Series and the Association for the Advancement of Scandinavian Studies. Polaris’s five CDs have received national and international rave reviews from critics and public alike. Regularly heard on radio in North America, Europe (BBC, NRK, RUV), Australia and New Zealand, Polaris’s music has also been included in compilations and film/TV soundtracks in Turkey, Canada and Germany.
TANIA GILL, TorontoTania Gill is a Toronto-based pianist and composer. Her work is centred in jazz and improvised music, and is influenced by earlier classical training and performance of diverse genres. “All aboard for first-class and fanciful Toronto pianist!” (Globe and Mail). Over the past ten years, she has accompanied several silent films for TIFF, Revue Silent Sundays, and with Andrew Downing’s Melodeon Ensemble. She leads the Tania Gill Quartet, with current members Lina Allemano, Rob Clutton and Nico Dann. Her ensemble recorded the “quirky, wonderfully listenable” CD Bolger Station and has toured Canadian jazz festivals and clubs. Tania is also a regular member of the Brodie West Quintet, Rebecca Hennessy’s FOG Brass Band, the Woodshed Orchestra, and former member of The Flying Bulgar Klezmer Band, Deep Dark United, The See Through Trio, Charles Spearin and the Happiness Project among many other projects. She has performed with numerous other world class musicians including Steve Reich, Anthony Braxton and Mary Margaret O’Hara. Tania teaches at her home and Humber College.
JORDAN KLAPMAN, Toronto
Jordan Klapman is a multi-talented pianist, accompanist, bandleader, popular music lecturer, arranger, composer and music producer. He has over thirty years’ worth of experience performing multiple genres of music including jazz and swing standards, The American Popular Songbook, Broadway, Latin, R&B, Klezmer, and Jewish music of all kinds. He also regularily performs with the Wintergarten Orchestra. He is equally at home in festivals, clubs, concert halls and theatres, and has appeared throughout the Toronto area and internationally, on CBC national television and radio, and JazzFM as a guest co-host with the late Jeff Healey.
Jordan leads several of his own bands and performs and records with many award-winning jazz, cabaret, and pop musicians including Adi Braun, Julie Michels, Judy Marshak, Sharon Smith, Donna Greenberg, Tony Quarrington, Richard Underhill, Jon Seiger, Henry Heillig, Tom Skublics, Glenn Anderson, and many others.
He has recently added silent film accompaniment to his repertoire. He is the regular pianist for the Toronto Jewish Film Society, the Toronto Jewish Film Festival, Silent Revue, and the Vintage Film Festival. He made his debut with the Silent Film Festival in 2014 and was a key member of the team of musical accompanists for the 2014 Canadian premiere of the Hitchcock 9. www.jordanklapman.com
Marilyn Lerner –Toronto
Genre defying pianist/composer/improviser Marilyn Lerner performs to acclaim internationally, from her native Montreal to Havana, from Jerusalem to Amsterdam and the Ukraine. Her intimate knowledge of the piano, combined with a fearless experimental and passionate spirit, renders her a true original. Lerner’s work spans the worlds of jazz, creative improvisation, Klezmer, and 20th century classical music. Her ground breaking recordings have garnered much recognition, including 3 solo CDs: Miss Overboard, Luminance, Romanian Fantasy, a duo with guitar legend Sonny Greenwich called Special Angel, and most recently, Lerner/Filiano/Grassi, Live at Edgefest, ( 2016, NoBusiness Records), Strange Attractors (2017, Ugly Beauties Trio (Matt Brubeck and Nick Fraser) and Réunion, the Queen Mab Trio (2017, Lori Freedman, Ig Henneman, Microclimat). She regularly accompanies silent film in Toronto at the Silent Revue and at TIFF. Website: marilynlerner.com/
WILLIAM O’MEARA, Toronto
Bill is well known in Toronto as the co-artistic director for the annual Organix Concert Festival, and as staff cathedral organist at St. Michael’s Cathedral. He has worked on hundreds of silent films here in Toronto on behalf of the Toronto Silent Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), Cinematheque Ontario, Nuit Blanche, the Toronto Film Society, and is a sought-after performer at the National Gallery, Pacific Cinematheque, and at the world’s largest silent film festival, Le Giornate del Cinema Muto, in Pordenone, Italy. Bill’s busy freelance career as a soloist and choral and silent film accompanist has taken him to festivals and concert series throughout North and South America, Great Britain, and Europe, for over 30 years. www.williamomeara.com
CLARK WILSON - East Liverpool, Ohio
Clark is internationally recognized as a recording artist for silent films, accompanying them on theatre organs across North America. He has performed in this fashion at the Fox Theatre in Atlantis, LA’s Disney Hall and UCLA and in New York City. Clark’s skills as a toner and finisher of theatre and classical organs are in high demand, as is his creativity and virtuosity as a performer. Clark is one of a small number of skilled touring accompanists on the theatre organ and as such has become a regular favourite for Toronto Silent Film Festival & Toronto Theatre Organ Society (TTOS) silent screenings Clark’s knowledge base extends beyond accompaniment, as his pre-screening talks on silent film are both informative and entertaining.
As one of the most prominent and recognized scorers of silent photoplays on the theatre organ in North America, Clark has researched and developed accurate and historic musical accompaniments as they were originally performed in movie palaces during the heyday of the silent film.Heavily influenced by one of the original masters of film accompaniment, Chicago native John Muri, Clark’s style was that of utilizing fine music as a basis for developing a score. If the original score is no longer extant, a new one is prepared from the organist’s library and is transferred to a cue sheet – somewhat of a “road map” of suggested themes and notated screen actions that keep the organist fully on course and the musical style of the time remains intact. Most important of all, the film remains the focus and star of the performance. www.clarkwilson.net