The ARC Ensemble (Artists of The Royal Conservatory) was established in 2002 as The Conservatory’s ensemble-in-residence and is now among Canada's most distinguished cultural ambassadors, with Juno, OPUS Klassik, and multiple Grammy nominations as well as glowing international reviews.
ARC‘s repertoire is largely dedicated to music suppressed and marginalized under the 20th century's repressive regimes. ARC believes that there is a moral obligation to recover works that have been forgotten because of political or racial discrimination, and that their omission sustains the aims of perpetrators, and leaves us with a distorted appreciation of cultural history. A growing number of extraordinary works are joining the repertoire as a result of ARC’s work.
The ARC Ensemble has appeared at major festivals and series, including the Budapest Spring Festival, the George 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 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 disciplines as repertoire demands. The ARC Ensemble has collaborated with a range of artists, including the late pianist Leon Fleisher, the novelist Yann Martel, actors Saul Rubinek and R.H. Thompson, and composers R. Murray Schafer, Omar Daniel and Vincent Ho.
The Toronto-based ARC Ensemble appears to be going from strength to strength in their quest to bring to our attention a whole roster of composers whose careers were unjustly blighted by political suppression.
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.
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. ARC’s core members are Erika Raum and Marie Bérard, violins; Steven Dann, viola; Tom Wiebe, cello; Joaquin Valdepeñas, clarinet and Kevin Ahfat, piano.
ARC’s Artistic Director is Simon Wynberg and its General Manager is Alan Macdonald.