VIOLIN



            

Heather Kao

Concertmaster BIO

Heather Kao

Concertmaster

When did you join the NSO?

09/17/2012

Who inspired you to learn how to play?

My brother Andy

What’s your favourite piece of classical/orchestral music?

 

If you could pick one artist to collaborate with, who would it be?

Boston Pops

What other non-musical creative outlets do you have

Who has time?

Dominic Greene

Asst. Concertmaster BIO

Dominic Greene

Asst. Concertmaster

When did you join the NSO?

2010

Who inspired you to learn how to play?

My Mother

What’s your favourite piece of classical/orchestral music?

It’s so hard to choose just one, but Beethoven Symphony No. 9 and Scherherazade are among my favourite orchestral works.

If you could pick one artist to collaborate with, who would it be?

George Benson

What other non-musical creative outlets do you have?

I love the outdoors- running, hiking, golfing, gardening and basketball are among my favourite non musical activities.

Read Dominic’s Full Bio

Nancy Case-Oates

Principal Violin 2 BIO

Nancy Case-Oates

Principal Violin 2

When did you join the NSO?

09/01/1993

Who inspired you to learn how to play?

My school music teacher

What’s your favourite piece of classical/orchestral music?

 

If you could pick one artist to collaborate with, who would it be?

Sting

What other non-musical creative outlets do you have?

Sewing (embroidery and quilting)

Carole Bestvater

Asst. Principal Violin 2 BIO

Carole Bestvater

Asst. Principal Violin 2

When did you join the NSO?

09/05/2011

Who inspired you to learn how to play?

My parents started me and all my siblings in the Suzuki method when we were very, very young. My parents were always the ones keeping us going when we were young.

What’s your favourite piece of classical/orchestral music?

 

If you could pick one artist to collaborate with, who would it be?

That’s a REALLY good question, there are so many incredible artists out there! Although, if given the chance to play with anyone, I’m the type of person who would rather disappear into the Appalachian mountains or the rural villages of Eastern Europe and find old fiddlers to learn from old fiddlers.

What other non-musical creative outlets do you have?

So many! Being outside, generally — hiking, swimming, sitting and reading in the park.

Cathy Anstey

Section BIO

Cathy Anstey

Section

When did you join the NSO?

09/08/2006

Who inspired you to learn how to play?

My Dad

What’s your favourite piece of classical/orchestral music?

Elgar Cello Concerto (But that’s a very difficult question!!)

If you could pick one artist to collaborate with, who would it be?

Too hard to answer!

What other non-musical creative outlets do you have?

Hiking, Gardening, Cooking, Entertaining

Read Cathy’s Full Bio

Jennifer Johnson

Section BIO

Jennifer Johnson

Section

When did you join the NSO?

1993

Who inspired you to learn how to play?

My mother

What’s your favourite piece of classical/orchestral music?

Beethoven string quartet, op. 132

If you could pick one artist to collaborate with, who would it be?

Carlos Kleiber

What other non-musical creative outlets do you have?

Writing, filmmaking

Read Jennifer’s Full Bio

Gabriel Brodeur

Section BIO

Gabriel Brodeur

Section

When did you join the NSO?

09/01/2017

Who inspired you to learn how to play?

Family influence mostly, at first. Then friends, teachers, youth orchestra opportunities.

What’s your favourite piece of classical/orchestral music?

 

If you could pick one artist to collaborate with, who would it be?

Yo-Yo Ma

What other non-musical creative outlets do you have?

Keeping my 3 creative and bright daughters challenged and entertained!

Natalie Finn

Section BIO

Natalie Finn

Section

When did you join the NSO?

09/01/2014

Who inspired you to learn how to play?

Nancy Case-Oates, my first teacher!

What’s your favourite piece of classical/orchestral music?

 

If you could pick one artist to collaborate with, who would it be?

Brett and Eddy from TwoSet Violin

What other non-musical creative outlets do you have?

I love hiking and sailing when the weather is good! And if not, I like to bake

Daniel Fuchs

Section BIO

Daniel Fuchs

Section

When did you join the NSO?

09/01/2016

Who inspired you to learn how to play?

A violinist from a concert at a summer music camp I attended as a child.

What’s your favourite piece of classical/orchestral music?

 

If you could pick one artist to collaborate with, who would it be?

Chris Thile

What other non-musical creative outlets do you have?

Bread and dessert baking, beginner sock knitter.

Peter Gardner

Concertmaster Emeritus BIO

Peter Gardner

Concertmaster Emeritus

When did you join the NSO?

01/01/1972

Who inspired you to learn how to play?

My parents. Very supportive. My teacher at age 12

What’s your favourite piece of classical/orchestral music?

 

If you could pick one artist to collaborate with, who would it be?

James Ehnes or Michael Legrand

What other non-musical creative outlets do you have?

Musical composition, gardening, construction, antiques

Stewart Gillies

Section BIO

Stewart Gillies

Section

When did you join the NSO?

03/01/2005

Who inspired you to learn how to play?

Joy of music

What’s your favourite piece of classical/orchestral music?

 

If you could pick one artist to collaborate with, who would it be?

James Ehnes

What other non-musical creative outlets do you have?

Woodworking, sailing, skiing

Karen Hawkin

Section BIO

Karen Hawkin

Section

When did you join the NSO?

09/17/2015

Who inspired you to learn how to play?

Going to a NSO concert when I was 6 and watching the violins shifting all over the place. I thought that was the coolest thing ever and I wanted to learn how to do that.

What’s your favourite piece of classical/orchestral music?

 

If you could pick one artist to collaborate with, who would it be?

Eminem. I’m sure that’s not an answer you were expecting, but it would be an incredibly unique collaboration and no matter what you think of his material, you have to admit he’s a one in a million talent.

What other non-musical creative outlets do you have?

I love writing, watching bad TV, talking to people, and I loved cuddling with my recently-deceased guinea pig Gilbert (passed at age 6).

Valerie Hewson

Section BIO

Valerie Hewson

Section

When did you join the NSO?

09/01/2016

Who inspired you to learn how to play?

My family!

What’s your favourite piece of classical/orchestral music?

 

If you could pick one artist to collaborate with, who would it be?

Classical Music – Hilary Hahn, Popular Music – Lauryn Hill

What other non-musical creative outlets do you have?

Journaling, meditation, exercise

Andy Kao

Section BIO

Andy Kao

Section

When did you join the NSO?

09/01/1989

Who inspired you to learn how to play?

Dr. Andrea Rose

What’s your favourite piece of classical/orchestral music?

 

If you could pick one artist to collaborate with, who would it be?

Roger Waters

What other non-musical creative outlets do you have?

Reading, Video Games

Lauren Smee

Section BIO

Lauren Smee

Section

When did you join the NSO?

09/01/2010

Who inspired you to learn how to play?

I don’t really remember! My parents were both musicians so it was just always a part of my life.

What’s your favourite piece of classical/orchestral music?

I really love the Bach Chaconne. For orchestral music – it’s the pieces I have the greatest memories of playing- Mahler 1, Beethoven 5, and Scheherazade.

If you could pick one artist to collaborate with, who would it be?

In a dream world? Joni Mitchell. Or maybe Feist. Or early 2000s Broken Social Scene.

What other non-musical creative outlets do you have?

These days, so many. I am a personal trainer and I find the process of figuring out how to help people feel better in their bodies to be kind of creative. I love learning new things – last year I took some swing dance classes and this year I’m hoping to take tap dance. I love running and hiking and crochet and reading novels and playing with my kid. 🙂

Read Lauren’s Full Bio



VIOLA



            

Kate Read

Principal BIO

Kate Read

Principal

When did you join the NSO?

09/01/2013

Who inspired you to learn how to play?

Many people along the way!

If you could pick one artist to collaborate with, who would it be?

Kim Kashkashian

What other non-musical creative outlets do you have?

Hiking, cycling, swimming, gardening, cooking

Read Kate’s Full Bio

Duane Andrews

Section BIO

Duane Andrews

Section

When did you join the NSO?

09/01/2019

Who inspired you to learn how to play?

Emile Benoit, James Ehnes and Django Reinhardt stand out among many.

What’s your favourite piece of classical/orchestral music?

 

If you could pick one artist to collaborate with, who would it be?

Margaret Atwood

What other non-musical creative outlets do you have?

I’ve recently been exploring making my own clothes!

Chantelle Jubenville

Section BIO

Chantelle Jubenville

Section

When did you join the NSO?

09/01/2011

Who inspired you to learn how to play?

I have no clear memory of any one person who inspired me to learn the violin. I do remember the only violinist I saw growing up was a man who played violin at church. Later in life I can definitely say that I was inspired to continue to play by the other young musicians and faculty I met at the Kincardine Summer Music Festival.

What’s your favourite piece of classical/orchestral music?

 

If you could pick one artist to collaborate with, who would it be?

My Dad, who claims he can only play the radio, but we all know he plays harmonica every chance he can get.

What other non-musical creative outlets do you have?

Oh my, I love so many things! Thankfully my husband never gets upset when I bring home more plants, canvases, or yarn.

Ema Shiroma-Chao

Section BIO

Ema Shiroma-Chao

Section

When did you join the NSO?

Fall 2018.

Who inspired you to learn how to play?

My parents forced me! … But I would say besides my initial teachers, James Ehnes was a major inspiration.

What’s your favourite piece of classical/orchestral music?

It’s hard to pick favourites, but I gravitate towards pieces like Debussy’s “La plus que lente.”

If you could pick one artist to collaborate with, who would it be?

Patrick Watson (although I’ve technically been on stage with him already)!

What other non-musical creative outlets do you have?

I enjoy hiking, spending time with my dog, dragon boating, and, once upon a time, dabbled in quadball (formerly quidditch). Yes – it’s a thing, no – we don’t fly (yet), and yes – World Cup exists.

Read Ema’s Full Bio

Norma Noseworthy

Section BIO

Norma Noseworthy

Section

When did you join the NSO?

09/01/2016

Who inspired you to learn how to play?

Mother; pianist and music teacher

What’s your favourite piece of classical/orchestral music?

 

If you could pick one artist to collaborate with, who would it be?

Yo Yo Ma

What other non-musical creative outlets do you have?

Academic writing, gardening, officiating competitive swimming, travelling

Mahina Graham-Laidlaw

Section BIO

Mahina Graham-Laidlaw

Section

When did you join the NSO?

2017.

Who inspired you to learn how to play?

My older sisters whose music lessons I would shadow when I was a baby.

What’s your favourite piece of classical/orchestral music?

My favourite piece is Scheherazade by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov! I performed it in the Calgary Youth Orchestra and it was one of the first times I really fell in love with orchestral music.

If you could pick one artist to collaborate with, who would it be?

The list is too long to write out! but if I picked one now it would be Laufey.

What other non-musical creative outlets do you have?

I craft bits and bobs, I swim and hike, and I bake goodies.

Read Mahina’s Full Bio

Jonathan Stevenson

Section BIO

Jonathan Stevenson

Section

When did you join the NSO?

April 1982

Who inspired you to learn how to play?

My father (Carl Stevenson)

What’s your favourite piece of classical/orchestral music?

Dvorak’s 9th Symphony “The New World” 

If you could pick one artist to collaborate with, who would it be?

John Williams

What other non-musical creative outlets do you have?

Model Railroading, Model Building, R/C Aircraft, Gaming, Winemaking

Read Jonathan’s Full Bio



CELLO



            

Nathan Cook

Principal cello BIO

Nathan Cook

Principal cello

When did you join the NSO?

Since 2008 I played occasionally in the cello section or as it’s leader, but I was appointed full-time principal cellist and joined the ASQ in 2022.

Who inspired you to learn how to play?

Gotta be my parents. Both are fantastic musicians, but not professionally. I think they instilled a love of music, probably because they didn’t do it for a living, but did it and enjoyed it anyway.

What’s your favourite piece of classical/orchestral music?

Sorry. It’s impossible to choose, because one of the beauties of classical music is its variety. Sometimes I’m in the mood for Brahms, sometimes its Bartok. Sometimes Dvorak or Copland is just the thing, but sometimes it’s a newer work I haven’t heard before by Morlock or Staniland. Honestly, as a player, usually my favourite piece is simply the one I’m currently working on.

If you could pick one artist to collaborate with, who would it be?

Yo Yo Ma. What a fantastic human being, and musician too of course.

What other non-musical creative outlets do you have?

Believe it or not, I like to “create” a clean kitchen after dinner. It’s more than just “doing the dishes” and wiping the counters. Yeah… you might think that’s weird, but there’s a science (even a creativity?) to how you organize the process. Those who know what I mean, know what I mean! 🙂

Read Nathan’s full bio

Nancy Bannister

Section BIO

Nancy Bannister

Section

When did you join the NSO?

02/13/2009

Who inspired you to learn how to play?

My first music teacher. Mrs. Murray

What’s your favourite piece of classical/orchestral music?

 

If you could pick one artist to collaborate with, who would it be?

Two Cellos

What other non-musical creative outlets do you have?

I enjoy gardening, drawing animals, collecting rocks, and painting rocks

Amy Collyer-Holmes

Section BIO

Amy Collyer-Holmes

Section

When did you join the NSO?

2016

Who inspired you to learn how to play?

A childhood friend who started playing cello a year before me

What’s your favourite piece of classical/orchestral music?

Symphonie Fantastique – Berlioz

If you could pick one artist to collaborate with, who would it be?

The Goat Rodeo

What other non-musical creative outlets do you have?

Renovating my house

Read Amy’s Full Bio

Laura Wakeman

Section BIO

Laura Wakeman

Section

When did you join the NSO?

I joined the NSO in September of 2022.

Who inspired you to learn how to play?

My first teacher gave me a CD recording made by Shauna Rolston and the Calgary Philharmonic. On the CD was Rolston’s Elgar’s cello concerto which I listened to for hours on repeat, imagining myself sounding like that. My teacher let me keep the CD, and I still have it and listen to it, and I continue to find inspiration in it this present day.

What’s your favourite piece of classical/orchestral music?

Gustav Mahler’s Second Symphony, “The Resurrection”. There has never been, nor will there ever be, a musical work as monumental as this masterpiece.

If you could pick one artist to collaborate with, who would it be?

I would love to work with Joe Hisaishi. My hope would be to create a cinematic movie soundtrack theme with solo cello presenting the melody!

What other non-musical creative outlets do you have?

I love to read, go on hikes, and trying out new cooking recipes! I used to do a lot of equestrian showjumping, but gave that up when I decided to pursue a career as a cellist.

Read Laura’s Full Bio

Pierre Kusters

Section BIO

Pierre Kusters

Section

When did you join the NSO?

I joined the NSO from 1987 to 1999 then came back for my retirement in 2021.

Who inspired you to learn how to play?

My older sister played the violin.

What’s your favourite piece of classical/orchestral music?

Dvorák New World Symphony.

If you could pick one artist to collaborate with, who would it be?

YoYo Ma.

What other non-musical creative outlets do you have?

I help my wife with the gardening.

Read Pierre’s Full Bio

Nulibeth Ortiz

Section BIO

Nulibeth Ortiz

Section

When did you join the NSO?

2022.

Who inspired you to learn how to play?

My very first cello teacher, Ariadna Perez. She is the most elegant cellist and the most adorable and patient teacher there is.

What’s your favourite piece of classical/orchestral music?

My list of favorites is pretty long, but I would say that for my #1 there is a tight between Jupiter from The Planets by Gustav Holst and the Intermezzo from Cavalleria Rusticana by Prieto Mascagni.

If you could pick one artist to collaborate with, who would it be?

Abel Selaocoe!

What other non-musical creative outlets do you have?

I have a master’s degree in architecture (lots of creativity there), I am a professional Christmas gift wrapper, and I love to make flower arrangements.

Read Nulibeth’s Full Bio

Laura Ivany

Section BIO

Laura Ivany

Section

When did you join the NSO?

10/10/2005

Who inspired you to learn how to play?

Theo Weber

What’s your favourite piece of classical/orchestral music?

 

If you could pick one artist to collaborate with, who would it be?

David Pomeroy

What other non-musical creative outlets do you have?

Web design, gardening, baking cakes

Sandra R. Pope

Section BIO

Sandra R. Pope

Section

When did you join the NSO?

09/01/1984

Who inspired you to learn how to play?

Joan Woodrow. She was my piano teacher at the time but also taught cello. Her cello students would perform during our studio recitals and I loved it!

What’s your favourite piece of classical/orchestral music?

 

If you could pick one artist to collaborate with, who would it be?

Martha Argerich – she is a BRILLIANT pianist and accompanist

What other non-musical creative outlets do you have?

I love to cook and am making my way through a new cookbook, “Run Fast. Eat Slow”. My other passion is running, hence the cookbook. Running clears my mind. My most creative ideas come when I’m running

Katherine Shipley

Section BIO

Katherine Shipley

Section

When did you join the NSO?

09/01/2009

Who inspired you to learn how to play?

I just always wanted to play…

What’s your favourite piece of classical/orchestral music?

 

If you could pick one artist to collaborate with, who would it be?

Owen Pallett

What other non-musical creative outlets do you have?

Hiking, skiing, anything outdoors.



BASS



            

Frank Fusari

Principal BIO

Frank Fusari

Principal

When did you join the NSO?

09/01/1993

Who inspired you to learn how to play?

My high school music teacher, Mike Bergauer

What’s your favourite piece of classical/orchestral music?

 

If you could pick one artist to collaborate with, who would it be?

Natalie Noseworthy

What other non-musical creative outlets do you have?

Photography

Audrey Dawe-Sheppard

Section BIO

Audrey Dawe-Sheppard

Section

When did you join the NSO?

09/07/1979

Who inspired you to learn how to play?

Ewald Hajek (former NSO violinist) was my first teacher – he was the string teacher at St.Patrick’s. Up until that point I didn’t know what a double bass was.

What’s your favourite piece of classical/orchestral music?

 

If you could pick one living artist to collaborate with, who would it be?

Unsure

What other non-musical creative outlets do you have?

Knitting

Denise Lear

Assistant Principal BIO

Denise Lear

Assistant Principal

When did you join the NSO?

09/01/1989

Who inspired you to learn how to play?

My Parents

What’s your favourite piece of classical/orchestral music?

 

If you could pick one artist to collaborate with, who would it be?

Adam Ben Ezra or Esperanza Spalding

What other non-musical creative outlets do you have?

Yoga, Feldenkrais, Doggie Mom, Pet Sitting, Trail Walking, Baking, Reading, Golf, Jewelry Crafting, Karate, Painting Watercolour

Matthew Hardy

Section BIO

Matthew Hardy

Section

When did you join the NSO?

I joined the NSO in 2015.

Who inspired you to learn how to play?

The desire to make the change from electric to upright to join the orchestra was my inspiration to learn. However, Frank Fusari my first bass teacher made it happen. Also thanks to Grant Etchegary and the Newfoundland Symphony Youth Orchestra that supported my musical development as a young musician.

What’s your favourite piece of classical/orchestral music?

My favourite piece has to be Sheherazade by Rimsky-Korsakov. I played this with the NSO for the first time back in 2016!

If you could pick one artist to collaborate with, who would it be?

Billie Joe Armstrong.

What other non-musical creative outlets do you have?

I’m a big fan of nintendo and retro gaming, I organized Mario Kart Live! at the Black Sheep bringing my love of music and gaming together.

Read Matthew’s Full Bio

Jim Vivian

Section BIO

Jim Vivian

Section

When did you join the NSO?

That’s a complicated question. I actually joined the orchestra in June 1976 when it was still the St. John’s Symphony, and played until the end of the 1977-78 season. Then I returned as principal bass for most of the 1982-83 season before moving back to Toronto to persue a career as a jazz bassist. Then returned to the orchestra in the spring of 2022 upon moving back to St. John’s.

Who inspired you to learn how to play?

My two older siblings, and a lot of records.

What’s your favourite piece of classical/orchestral music?

Which ever one I’m playing at any given time.

If you could pick one artist to collaborate with, who would it be?

Wayne Shorter.

What other non-musical creative outlets do you have?

I love food, wine and coffee.

Read Jim’s Full Bio



HARP



            

Sarah Veber

Principal BIO

Sarah Veber

Principal

When did you join the NSO?

11/01/2016

Who inspired you to learn how to play?

I can barely remember when I started playing! But it was my teacher, Carla Furlong, who fostered my love for the instrument

What’s your favourite piece of classical/orchestral music?

 

If you could pick one artist to collaborate with, who would it be?

I would love to collab with harpist Emmanuel Ceysson, his performance energy is inspiring

What other non-musical creative outlets do you have?

I enjoy being outside and doing adventurous things like hiking and biking