Improviser-in-Residence 2019 -2020 Marianne Trudel

On February 24,  IICSI and Musagetes co-presented “At the Heart of Silence: Light/Au cœur du silence : la lumière”, concert in ten movements by our 2019-2020 Improviser-in-Residence, Marianne Trudel  at the 2020 ArtsEverywhere Festival.

program insert aefest trudel

ArtsEverywhere Festival 2020 program insert

Trudel’s one-hour performance was a unique piece composed and arranged in 10 movements, each of which involved a degree of improvisation on the part of the players and singers of the Guelph glitterati she performed in collaboration with: the Guelph Symphony Orchestra under guest conductor Judith Yan, the Gryphon Singers under the direction of Marta McCarthy, the Guelph Youth Jazz Ensemble under the direction of Brent Rowan, and soloists Ben Finley (bass, IICSI graduate student), and Philip Mayer (percussion) from New York.

This performance was the culmination of the 2019-20 Improviser-in-Residence program, a joint initiative of IICSI and Musagetes at The Guelph Lecture that included a Keynote: Eric Fischl in conversation with Robert Enright, and Literary Guest: Taqralik Partridge reading from her debut book of poetry curved against the hull of a peterhead.

A composer of national renown, Trudel took on an unusual topic for someone in love with sound :  Silence.  As she explained,

With this piece, I was aiming for something luminous, that fills the soul, brimming over, radiant, like the Laurentides Park in the middle of winter, under the sun, the evergreens draped in snow.

In the middle of this forest, suddenly: silence. The silence that takes hold, and fills the soul with profound joy. Suddenly, completely: we let down our guard.

Body, heart, and spirit are reunited. With both feet planted in the silence, we can breathe again. At long last .

Experiencing silence has become a rarity. Yet, as much as oxygen and water, human beings need silence. Why so much noise? What is hiding behind this wall of sound?

A musician in love with silence: contradiction? A seeker of silence in love with music: contradiction? How is it possible to still want to compose in a world where the sonic landscape is so saturated?

Click on the image below to view a slideshow of images form the “At the Heart of Silence: Light/Au cœur du silence : la lumière” – Manifesto for a quieter soundtrack performance at the 2020 ArtsEverywhere Festival.


Marianne Trudel

Guelph Symphony Orchestra, with guest conductor Judith Yan
Gryphon Singers, directed by Marta McCarthy
Guelph Youth Jazz Ensemble, directed by Brent Rowan

Invited Guests:
Ben Finley, bass
Philip Mayer, percussion

About the Artists

Marianne Trudel

Marianne Trudel

Marianne Trudel

Marianne Trudel is a multi-talented pianist, composer, improvisor, and arranger. At once energetic and passionate, her music cross-cuts a wide swath of musical interests. As a performer, she pursues an active career in a variety of settings ranging from solo performance to duo (Karen Young), Trifolia, Marianne Trudel 4 + Ingrid Jensen, septet, and large ensembles. She has presented her music in various countries: Canada, United States, Mexico, France, Spain, Germany, the Netherlands, England, Scotland, Italy, Hungary, Lituania, and China.

She has published 7 recordings as a leader, all having garnered rave reviews:

  • Portraits : songs of Joni Mitchell- Marianne Trudel & Karen Young (Productions Marianne Trudel 2018)
  • La vie commence iciMarianne Trudel featuring Ingrid Jensen (Justin Time Records 2014) — Nomination at Juno Awards, Nomination ADISQ 2015
  • Le Refuge, Trifolia (2013) — Prix Opus 2013 & Nomination at Juno Awards
  • Espoir et autres pouvoirs, Marianne Trudel Septet (Effendi Records 2011) — Nomination at ADISQ 2011 & Finalist at Opus 2010-11
  • L’embarquée, Duo Trudel-Bourbonnais (2009)
  • Sands of Time (Live), Quintette Marianne Trudel (2007)
  • Espaces libres, solo piano (2005)

Recipient of the Prix Étoiles Galaxie de Radio-Canada (Montréal Jazz Festival 2007), Marianne Trudel has presented multiple artistic projects that not only bring her considerable skills to the fore but also her keen sense of creativity.

She has shared the stage with many international artists, among others, in jazz and improvised music: Chucho Valdes, Kenny Wheeler, Ingrid Jensen, Mark Feldman, Tony Malaby, David Liebman, Mark Dresser, John Hollenbeck, Hamid Drake, William Parker, Mark Helias, George Lewis, Muhal Richard Abrams, Jean Derome, René Lussier, Karen Young and Ranee Lee. In “chanson française” and world / traditional music: Charles Aznavour, Lena Chamamyan, Farida, Naseer Shamma, Charbel Rouhana, Juan Carlos Caceres and Laura Risk. Marianne Trudel also presented concerts with the Montréal Symphony Orchestra, the Quebec Symphony Orchestra and the Violons du Roy (Quebec). She has accompanied many poets such as Joséphine Bacon, Patrice Desbiens, José Acquelin, and Louise Dupré. She has composed and arranged for: Violons du Roy (Quebec), the American composers Orchestra (NYC), the Henri Mancini Institute Orchestra (Los Angeles), the Orchestre national de jazz de Montréal, the chamber music ensemble Arkea (Montréal), Oktoecho (Montréal) and for Radio-Canada (Première Chaîne).

Her previous studies have included a Masters in Ethnomusicology (Université de Montréal), a Bachelor in Jazz Performance (McGill University), and numerous workshops in North America and Europe (Banff Centre for the Arts, Henri Mancini Institute, Vancouver Creative Music workshop, Jazz Orchestra – NYC). Marianne Trudel currently teaches at McGill University (Schulich school of Music) and at Cegep de Saint-Laurent.

Guelph Symphony Orchestra, with guest conductor Judith Yan

Judith Yan

Judith Yan

Judith Yan is a Canadian conductor. Equally adept at conducting opera, ballet, and symphony, her career has taken her internationally, conducting for major companies in Europe, Asia, and North America. She has held Staff Conductor positions at San Francisco Opera, Canadian Opera Company, and National Ballet of Canada.

Her recent debuts were celebrated with critical acclaim: “In her Vancouver Opera debut, Canadian Conductor Judith Yan really shone in the pit, bringing extraordinarily lyrical and expressive playing from the Vancouver Opera Orchestra.” (Opera Canada 2018) “The Edmonton Symphony played splendidly under Judith Yan…coaxed many vivid, dramatically transparent moments from the players.” (Opera Canada 2019) “Judith Yan, her Seattle Opera debut, conducted the orchestra with vigorous and deep symphony for the score.” (Classical Voice America, 2017). “Under the direction of Canadian conductor Judith Yan, the West Australian Symphony Orchestra is simply wonderful.” (Greg Ross, 2018)

While with the San Francisco Opera, she served as Staff Conductor, assistant to Maestro Donald Runnicles, where her performances of Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress for San Francisco Opera was included in the San Francisco Chronicle’s Top Ten Classical Performances of the Year. Prior to San Francisco Opera, she served as the first Conductor-in-Residence of the Canadian Opera Company. As the Principal Conductor of Opera on the Avalon since 2010, she has lead numerous productions including Tosca, La Boheme, Tosca, Suor Angelica, Gianni Schicchi, La Traviata, Albert Herring, and Dead Man Walking.

As a conductor of ballet, she has conducted over 90 performances at the Four Season’s Centre for the National Ballet of Canada, working with the world’s foremost choreographers including John Neumeier, Ronald Hynd, and James Kuldelka.  With National Ballet of Canada and as a guest internationally, she has conducted the ballets of Balanchine, Cranko, Aldous, Bart, Harvey, Kiliàn, Lander, Stowell, Wright, and Grigorovich. Since 2010, she has had a close association with several ballet companies, including Hong Kong Ballet, conducting the company’s production of Swan Lake as well as premiering all four of the company’s most recent productions of Cynthia Harvey’s Sleeping Beauty, Terence Kohler’s The Nutcracker, Nina Ananiashvili’s Don Quixote and the Asian world-premiere of Anna-Marie Holme’s Le Corsaire.

In 2014, she made her Seoul conducting debut with Korean National Ballet, conducting the Korean Symphony in Yury Grigorovich’s La Bayadère, returning in 2015, 2016, and 2018 to conduct Patrice Bart’s Giselle, Grigorovich’s Swan Lake, and a revival of La Bayadère.  She made her Australian conducting debut in 2017 with West Australian Ballet, conducting the West Australian Symphony Orchestra in Lucette Aldous’s Don Quixote, returning in 2018 for the world-premiere of Krzysztof Pastor’s Dracula. She looks forward to Greg Horsman’s La Bayadère in 2019.

Recent performances include 3 critically acclaimed world-premieres: Jack Perla’s An American Dream for Seattle Opera and John Estacio’s Ours for Opera on the Avalon, Krzysztof Pastor’s Dracula for West Australian Ballet; and company debuts with National Arts Centre Orchestra for Cynthia Harvey’s Sleeping Beauty, Teatr Wielki in Warsaw for Cranko’s The Taming of the Shrew, West Australian Ballet and West Australian Symphony for Lucette Aldous’s Don Quixote, and Yury Grigorovich’s La Bayadère for Korean National Ballet and Korean Symphony.

2018/19 season included debuts with Vancouver Opera with La Boheme and Edmonton Opera with La Traviata, the season-opening gala concert for the Elora Festival, a revival of the opera Ours at Opera on the Avalon, Dvorak’s Symphony No. 8 and Beethoven’s Mass in C with Guelph Symphony Orchestra, productions of Greg Horsman’s La Bayadère and the world-première of Krzysztof Pastor’s Dracula for West Australian Ballet.

For 2019/20, she looks forward to opening Korean National Ballet’s season with Yury Grigorovich’s Swan Lake and Edmonton Opera’s with Verdi’s Rigoletto, two productions with West Australian Ballet; the revival of Dracula and a new production of Sleeping Beauty, and a return to the National Arts Centre Orchestra for Opera on the Avalon’s critically acclaimed opera, Ours.

Judith is fluent in English and Cantonese. 

Guelph Symphony Orchestra

Guelph Symphony Orchestra

Guelph Symphony Orchestra

Guelph Symphony Orchestra was founded as the Guelph Chamber Orchestra in 2001, through the passion and vision of Simon Irving, and the commitment of dedicated Guelph Community arts supporters. The GSO gave its first concert in March 2001 under the baton of Simon Irving. The name of the orchestra was changed to Guelph Symphony Orchestra in May 2003 to reflect the symphonic repertoire performed.

Judith Yan served as GSO’s Artistic Director from the 2011-12 season until 2018-19. “We have benefitted greatly from Judith’s skill, energy, commanding stage presence and profound musicality,” General Manager Catherine Molina said. “She has transformed the orchestra. Virtually every guest artist and conductor who comes here expresses that they are astounded to hear an orchestra of this quality, in a relatively small community, and we have Judith to thank for that.”

Our 2019-20 Season will be A Season of Celebration to honour all that Maestro Yan has brought to GSO! There will be four guest conductors and Ms. Yan will return to conduct our annual Jan. 1 New Year’s Day concert and the 2019/20 Season Finale.  A conductor’s search will be launched in February of 2020, and musicians and audiences alike will have the opportunity to provide feedback on all of the candidates.

GSO provides performances of major symphonic repertoire to audiences in the City of Guelph and surrounding area. Comprised of musicians from the city and region, the orchestra performs regularly in the superb Mainstage Concert Hall of Guelph’s River Run Centre.

The orchestra is a strong supporter of Canadian Artists and has developed creative partnerships with Canadian performing arts organizations, as well. The GSO has also engaged in important partnerships with musical organizations within the community and regularly engages in Community Outreach events.

Since the inception of the orchestra, GSO has always placed a significant focus on youth. The annual GSO Under-23 Concerto Competition was initiated in 2002, and in 2011 a partnership with GYMC established the Guelph Youth Symphony Orchestra. Other youth initiatives include:

  • the popular GSOKIds “symphony club” for children between the ages of 6 and 13
  • our participation in River Run Centre’s Kinderconcert Series, three 30-minute, interactive concerts, created especially for audiences aged 5 and under.
  • our new School Music program at Sacred Heart Elementary School
  • participation in the Linamar School Series
  • Free,family-friendly  Outreach Concerts through our Pop Up Orchestra Festival

For more information about this IICSI partner please visit their website:

 Marta McCarthy and the Gryphon Singers

Marta McCarthy

Marta McCarthy

Dr. Marta McCarthy, Conductor, is an Associate Professor at the University of Guelph, where she has been directing the choirs and teaching musicianship, pedagogy, and research since 1995. She is a graduate of Westminster Choir College of Princeton (M.Mus), the Royal Conservatory of Music (ARCT, piano performance) and of the University of Toronto (B.Mus, B.Ed., Ph.D.). Honours include the 1999 Elmer Iseler Conducting Fellowship, an Ontario Volunteer Service Award, and being named a member of the June Callwood Circle of Caring. In

Gryphon Singers

The Gryphon Singers

2005, she was awarded the Guelph Woman of Distinction for Arts & Culture. In 2011 she led the Chamber Singers to first place in the ACCC National Amateur Choir Competition (Collegiate category) and in 2012, the same choir won 3rd place in the Mosbach International Chamber Choir Competition in Germany. In 2012, Marta conducted the Women’s Chamber Choir at Podium in Ottawa, and in 2018 led the Gryphon Singers in performance at Podium in St. John’s, Newfoundland.  In 2019, Gryphon Singers won 2nd nationally among college and university choirs. Marta is a Past President of Choral Canada, through which she served the national choral community for 6 years. In 2014 she conducted the prestigious Ontario Youth Choir, in 2015 the Ontario Youth Choir Alumni, and in 2017 the New Brunswick Youth Choir. Dr. McCarthy’s contributions to research in choral performance include presentations at the 2017 World Choral Symposium in Barcelona and the 2019 World Choral Expo in Lisbon.


Brent Rowan and the Guelph Youth Jazz Ensemble

Brent Rowan

Brent is a professional community musician. As a Guelph-based saxophonist, he performs in a wide variety of musical

Brent Rowan

Brent Rowan

collaborations, including 2009 and 2015 Juno-nominated Eccodek, Big Bands, smaller jazz combos, and creative music ensembles. He has performed and recorded all across Canada, the UK and Germany, at music festivals in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and London England to name a few.

He has released three recordings of his own compositions:  “It’s About Time” in 2006, “IZ” in 2012 and “Where is Local” in 2016.  He composes and arranges music for many of the groups he directs.  He is the founding director of the Guelph Youth Jazz Ensemble and the New Horizons Band for Guelph. He teaches courses in the Bachelor of Music in Community Music at Wilfrid Laurier University and woodwind and jazz improvisation techniques at his private music studio.

Brent is a clinician and adjudicator at music camps and festivals throughout southern Ontario, specializing in saxophone and improvisation concepts. He holds a Master of Arts in Community Music from Wilfrid Laurier University, a Bachelor of Music from Humber College, and a Bachelor of Mathematics from the University of Waterloo.

 Guelph Youth Jazz Ensemble.

Guelph Youth Jazz Ensemble

The Guelph Youth Jazz Ensemble.

Based in Guelph, Ontario, the Guelph Youth Jazz Ensemble (GYJE) provides young musicians with the opportunity to learn about and explore the world of jazz and improvised music.  The program was started in 2001 by the director Brent Rowan as a place for his private saxophone students to play together in a jazz quartet.  From there it grew to become an ensemble for youth in the community to learn about jazz styles and improvised music.  In 2006, it became the GYJE, obtaining Not For Profit status in 2018.

There are varying levels of ensembles based on the experience of the members.  Currently, band 1 is for the beginner improvising musician who has little or no experience playing jazz.  Band 2 is for youth with some experience in jazz and improvised music. Band 3 is for those students who have a good deal of experience and want to have a deeper and more serious study of the music known as jazz.  The program will soon be expanding to offer a big band as well.

Under the direction of Brent Rowan, original and standard jazz music is written and arranged specifically for the ensemble.  From Ellington-Herman-Davis-Gillespie-Elias-Coltrane and Derome, many styles of jazz and improvised music are explored.

Members are given ample opportunities to expand their ability to read music, improvise and understand the jazz language.

Players participating in the concert at Arts Everywhere Festival:

  1. Liam Newsom – trumpet
  2. Marly White – trumpet
  3. Logan Fell – Alto Saxophone
  4. Jakob Durst – Tenor Saxophone
  5. Caleb Holley – Baritone Saxophone
  6. Eric Liebster – Guitar
  7. Josh Colleso – Electric Bass
  8. Glenn Fletcher – Drums
  9. Brent Rowan

Ben Finley

Ben Finley

Ben Finley

Ben Finley is a performer-composer specializing in acoustic bass and electric bass (in multiple tunings and with effects). He grew up on a music festival farm, witnessing many ecosystems of music making. The seeds of co-creative agency were sewn; Ben aims to cultivate music that embraces the unique individual life experiences of its participants. This often manifests through improvisation, text, the human voice, electro-acoustic worlds, learning from the biosphere, and exploring multi-stylistic compositional frameworks. Ben founded and facilitates the Westben Centre for Connection & Creativity’s international/multi-generational Performer-Composer Residency. He is a graduate of the Performer-Composer program at CalArts, and is a current PhD candidate of Critical Studies in Improvisation at the University of Guelph, studying music festivals as sites of environmental and existential stewardship.

Philip Mayer

Philip Mayer

Philip Mayer

Philip Mayer is a New York City based percussionist.

With a background in jazz and American popular music, Philip’s interest in drumming traditions from around the world has led him to travel to and study extensively in India, Turkey, Israel, Spain and Italy. These immersive experiences abroad combined with an already ingrained improvisational sensibility has given Philip a versatility that enables him to be equally at home in a wide variety of musical styles from classical Arabic to indie rock. He has a degree in jazz performance from Florida State University. Notable teachers include: Leon Anderson Jr., Pandit Samir Chaterjee, Zohar Fresco, Yshai Afterman, Mehmet Akatay, Bünyamin Olguncan, and Aleix Tobias.

Philip Mayer has performed, toured, and/or recorded with Natalie Merchant, Kishi Bashi, of Montreal, David Wax Museum, Coleman Barks, Lonnie Holley, Moira Smiley, Seamus Egan, Hazmat Modine, Pillar Point, Tall Tall Trees, Parijat Desai, Charlotte Kate Fox, The New York Arabic Orchestra, Addi & Jacq, Jai Jagdeesh and many more.

Philip is the drummer and percussionist for the award winning musical ‘The Band’s Visit’ on Broadway which won 10 Tony Awards and a Grammy.

The Improviser-in-Residence Program is a collaborative partnership of Musagetes and the International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation (IICSI). The program brings improvising musicians into meaningful, sustained contact with local residents of all ages and musical persuasions in Guelph and the surrounding areas.