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ARC Ensemble

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ARC Ensemble

ARC Ensemble
(Artists of The Royal Conservatory)

Recovering Suppressed Music

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About the ARC Ensemble

Nominated for its third Grammy Award in 2016, the ARC Ensemble is among Canada's most distinguished cultural ambassadors. Performing a wide range of music, its focus remains the research and recovery of works that were suppressed and marginalized under the 20th century's repressive regimes. A growing number of hitherto unknown masterworks are rejoining the repertoire as a result of the ARC Ensemble's work.

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    The ARC Ensemble has appeared at major festivals and series, including the Budapest Spring Festival, the Enescu Festival (Bucharest), New York's Lincoln Center Festival, Canada's Stratford Festival, Amsterdam's Concertgebouw, London's Wigmore and Cadogan Halls and Washington's Kennedy Center. The ARC Ensemble's “Music in Exile” series has been presented in Tel Aviv, Warsaw, Toronto, New York and London, and its performances and recordings (on Sony's RCA Red Seal and Chandos labels) continue to earn unanimous critical acclaim and frequent broadcasts on stations around the world.
    Comprised of the senior faculty of The Royal Conservatory's Glenn Gould School, with special guests drawn from the organization's most accomplished students and alumni, the ARC Ensemble's core group consists of piano, string quartet and clarinet with additional forces as repertoire demands. The ARC Ensemble has collaborated with a range of artists, including the late Leon Fleisher, piano, the novelist Yann Martel, actors Saul Rubinek and R.H. Thompson, and composers R. Murray Schafer, Omar Daniel and Vincent Ho.
    EXIT: MUSIC, a documentary exploring the ensemble's work, premiered in November 2016 at Toronto’s Hot Docs Cinema. Subsequent screenings at international festivals led to distribution deals with First Run Features for the USA and EuroArts for the rest of the world. The ARC Ensemble's most recent release is devoted to the music of the Auschwitz survivor and onetime conductor of the camp's orchestra, Szymon Laks. The recording was nominated for a 2018 Juno Award. Highlights of ARC's 2019 season included concerts at Amsterdam's Concertgebouw, Ferrara Musica, and UCLA's Schoenberg Hall. Its seventh recording, of premieres by the Czech / American composer Walter Kaufmann will be released in August 2020.
    James Conlon, Music Director of the Los Angeles Opera and a pioneer in the recovery of lost twentieth century repertoire, is the ARC Ensemble's Honorary Chairman, its Artistic Director is Simon Wynberg.


A compelling Canadian documentary [...] offers generous segments of music, beautifully played by musicians from the Royal Conservatory in Toronto.
Musical Quarterly – Leon Botstein
As a point of departure, I would recommend a superb disc of Weinberg’s Clarinet Sonata, “Jewish Songs,” and Piano Quintet, with members of the Arc Ensemble.
The New Yorker – Alex Ross

The ARC Ensemble combines teachers and students of the prestigious Canadian Music School and has worked for many years on the commendable task of saving the music of ostracized and banned composers from oblivion.

The international reputation of the ensemble has spread through its artistic skill as well as the quality of the repertoire and its work with renowned musicians. But above all there is the joy of discovery[...]
Der Spiegel – Werner Theurich

It is the ARC Ensemble's hope that these sublime works, works that transcend their own time and place, find their way into the concert hall, and that they join 'the canon of 20th century masterworks'. The ensemble achieved this goal on Saturday night. And through this, Dachau became a musical place of learning.

Süddeutsche Zeitung – Karl Adolf Gottwald

Thanks to the ARC Ensemble for retrieving another forgotten modern voice. In these premiere recordings, one discovers the piquant and surprisingly distinctive sound world of Fitelberg, showing once more how many worthy scores remain to be excavated from a century’s rubble.

The Boston Globe – Jeremy Eichler: The Best Albums of 2015: Classical Music

The ARC players gave a reading of febrile intensity to Walter Braunfels's extraordinary F-sharp-minor String Quintet [...] an enthralling mix of Straussian tumult, Shostakovich-like bleakness and extreme, Mahlerian mood swings that riveted the audience's attention.

The Washington Post – Joe Banno

We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts. 
Canada Council