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ARC Ensemble Members

ARC Ensemble Members
ARC Ensemble

Artist Biographies

  • Kevin Ahfat, Piano
    Canadian pianist Kevin Ahfat was named one of CBC Music’s 30 hot Canadian classical musicians under 30 in 2018 and subsequently released a live recording of Brahms from CBC’s Studio 211.
    Highlights of recent seasons include engagements throughout North America and abroad, including at the Maison symphonique in Montreal, at the Harbourfront Centre in Toronto, Merkin Hall in New York, and with the Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra in Los Angeles. He continues performances and recordings with the ARC Ensemble, one of Canada’s foremost cultural forces.

  • Marie Bérard, Violin

    Best known as the concertmaster of the Canadian Opera Company Orchestra (COC), Marie Bérard is also a sought-after chamber musician, soloist, recording artist and teacher. She is a former member of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and has performed with a variety of smaller ensembles such as Amici, Array Music and New Music Concerts and is also a member of Trio Arkel as well as the ARC Ensemble which has toured in Europe, China and the United States and was twice nominated for a Grammy Award for their Sony recordings.

    Highly regarded as an interpreter of contemporary music, Ms. Bérard has released a recording of a concerto by Henry Kucharzyk for violin and brass ensemble on the Opening Day label and can be heard on numerous  CBC Records including the Meditation from Thais on with the COC orchestra.
    Ms. Bérard is a regular performer at numerous chamber music festivals, notably the Domaine Forget International Festival, the Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival, The Blair Atholl Festival in Scotland, and holds the position of Associate Concertmaster of the Mainly Mozart Festival in San Diego.


  • Steven Dann, Viola

    Steven Dann's career has covered a wealth of violistic possibilities. As principal viola of some of the world's leading orchestras, as a veteran of the string quartet and chamber music world, as soloist and recitalist and as a dedicated teacher.

    Mr. Dann was born in Vancouver, Canada. His foremost teacher and mentor was the late Lorand Fenyves. Other influences include William Primrose, Robert Pikler, Bruno Giuranna and five summers spent studying the string quartet repertoire with Zoltan Szekely and members of the Hungarian String Quartet.

    Upon graduation from university he was named Principal Viola of the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa, Canada, a position he has subsequently held with the Tonhalle Orchestra in Zurich, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam, the Vancouver Symphony and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. He has also served as guest principal of the Luzern Festival Orchestra, the Boston Symphony Orchestra under Seiji Ozawa, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra under Sir Simon Rattle and, in both performance and recordings, with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe under Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Paavo Berglund and Pierre Boulez and the Canadian Opera Company in performances of Wagner's Ring Cycle.

    Steven Dann has collaborated as a soloist with such Maestri as Sir Andrew Davis, Rudolph Barshai, Jiri Belohlavek, Sir John Elliott Gardiner, Jukka-Pekka Saraste and Vladimir Ashkenazy.

    Since 1990 Mr. Dann has been a member of the Smithsonian Chamber Players in Washington D.C. and was a founding member of the Axelrod String Quartet. He is currently violist of both the Zebra Trio (with violinist Ernst Kovacic and cellist Anssi Karttunen) and Toronto's twice Grammy-nominated ARC Ensemble.


  • David Louie, Piano

    Hailed as a “pianistic sensation” (Rhein-Zeitung, Germany), David Louie ranks among the foremost Canadian musicians, a distinguished soloist on piano and harpsichord. His playing has been described as “far from ordinary … enormous pianistic tonal variety for purely musical ends and the kind of animal magnetism only a few artists in each generation generate” (Ottawa Citizen). He is a laureate of the CBC Radio Competition and the prestigious international competitions at Santander and Sydney.

    Among the few keyboard artists to traverse traditional boundaries between modern and period performance, David Louie plays historical instruments and writes historically-informed arrangements. His extensive repertoire includes the principal keyboard works of Johann Sebastian Bach, and he has presented recitals of the complete Well-Tempered Clavier, Musical Offering, and Goldberg Variations on harpsichord. His arrangements include solo keyboard versions of Bach’s Violin Sonatas & Partitas and Rameau’s Pièces de clavecin en concerts. With violinist Benjamin Bowman, Louie premiered his critically-acclaimed completion of Mendelssohn’s unfinished Violin Sonata in D minor at Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw and at London’s Wigmore Hall.

    David Louie made his New York debut under the auspices of the city’s venerable Peoples’ Symphony Concerts. He has appeared as soloist with the Vancouver Symphony, National Arts Centre Orchestra of Canada, Gulbenkian Chamber Orchestra of Lisbon, and Royal Philharmonic Orchestra of London. A respected chamber musician, he has collaborated with the Takacs Quartet, the Smithsonian Chamber Players, and the ARC Ensemble (Artists of the Royal Conservatory) with whom he has toured widely, performing at the Kennedy Center in Washington and at major venues in Rome, Warsaw, Budapest, Bucharest, Stockholm and Tel Aviv. His recordings with the ARC Ensemble include Grammy-nominated releases on Sony BMG Masterworks. The Ensemble's latest disc on the Chandos label, Chamber Works of Szymon Laks (nominated for a 2018 JUNO Award), includes Mr. Louie's world-premiere recording of the exiled Polish composer's Sonatine.


  • Erika Raum, Violin

    Known for her "lively temperament, energetic individuality and warm and communicative tone" (Muzsika, Budapest), violinist Erika Raum continues developing a following here in her native country and internationally. Playing professionally since the age of twelve, Ms. Raum quickly rose through the ranks by taking first place at the 1992 Joseph Szigeti International Violin Competition in Budapest as well as the award for best interpretation of a Mozart concerto. She has returned on many occasions to perform in Hungary, Portugal, Sweden, Austria, Germany, England, Italy and France. She has appeared as guest artist with orchestras including the Budapest Radio Orchestra, the Szombathely Symphony Orchestra, the Austro-Hungarian Orchestra, and the Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra.

    A distinguished musician abroad, Erika also performs frequently throughout her homeland with orchestral appearances in cities such as Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver, Ottawa, Victoria, Halifax, Laval and Edmonton. This season, Erika will return to her hometown, Regina SK, to perform a recital with pianist Lydia Wong. This program will also be featured in Toronto. Both a recitalist and chamber musician, some of her recent international highlights include the Beethoven Festival in Warsaw, the BargeMusic Festival in New York, and the Seattle Chamber Music Festival and most recently, the Festival Pablo Casals de Prades, France and the Clandeboye Festival, Ireland. Past invitations include the Budapest Spring Festival, Szombathely Festival in Hungary, Carnegie Hall as well as the Caramoor and Prussia Cove festivals. Her performances are often heard on an array of radio networks like CBC across Canada and the NPR in the USA.

    ARC Ensemble is a chamber group specializing in the rediscovery of great 20th century composers and their music, with an emphasis on those whose lives were interrupted or even lost during the Holocaust. So far, they have released four CDs on the RCA Red Seal label, two of which were nominated for Grammy Awards. The Strad Magazine even gave Erika special mention for her performance noting that she had them “hanging on to her every note”. Erika's other recordings include a partnership with internationally renowned pianist Anton Kuerti for a world premiere recording of Carl Czerny's piano and violin works on the CBC Musica Viva label. She also recorded the Brahms Horn Trio and premiered Pantheon, a piece by esteemed composer (and mother), Elizabeth Raum, on the Arktos label.


  • Joaquin Valdepeñas, Clarinet

    Joaquin Valdepeñas a prolific recording artist has recently won a second Juno Award for his recording "Levant" with his Amici Chamber Ensemble and his latest CD with the ARC Ensemble on the Chandos Label was released in June and features the Clarinet Quintet of Paul Ben-Haim. Mr. Valdepeñas was a Grammy Award nominee two years in a row in the chamber music category—both on the on Sony BMG label as part of his collaboration with the ARC Ensemble. He has also won a Juno award for best classical recording (for the Jacques Hetu Concerto). Mr. Valdepeñas was appointed principal clarinetist of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra upon graduation from Yale University and makes international appearances as a soloist, chamber musician, and conductor and is considered one of the most distinguished clarinetists of his generation. Mr. Valdepeñas has made over three dozen recordings including a recording of the Mozart clarinet concerto with the English Chamber Orchestra.

    He has performed with many distinguished artists such as Leif Ove Andsnes, Kathleen Battle, Isabel Bayrakdarian, Barbara Bonney, Joshua Bell, Vladimir Feltsman, Steven Isserlis, Cho Liang Lin, Yo Yo Ma, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, John O'Connor and Pinchas Zuckerman as well as collaborating with some of the world's finest string quartets such as the American, Calder, Emerson, Muir, Orion, Takacs, St. Lawrence, Ying and Zemlinsky, as well he has collaborated with the Kalichstein, Laredo Robinson Trio at the Y in New York City, The international Sejong Soloists in korea and The Chamber Society of Lincoln Center. Commissioning many works by Canadian composers, Mr. Valdepeñas gave the American première of Arias for Clarinet and Orchestra by Michael Colgrass with the Buffalo Philharmonic. His European début, a performance with the BBC Welsh Symphony, was broadcast on BBC Television conducted by Sir Andrew Davis.


  • Dianne Werner, Piano

    Acclaimed for her lyrical and poetic style Dianne Werner has performed as soloist, chamber musician and collaborative pianist in most major cities throughout the world including New York, London, Beijing, Amsterdam, Rome, Budapest, Jerusalem, Warsaw, Bucharest, Stockholm, and Los Angeles.  Nominated for three Grammy Awards with the ARC Ensemble, Dianne Werner has also been heard frequently on radio broadcasts with the CBC in Canada and internationally.  

    After foundational training at The Royal Conservatory with celebrated teacher Margaret Parsons-Poole, Dianne Werner continued her studies with three internationally acclaimed pianists Peter Katin, György Sebök and Alicia de Larrocha.  She subsequently went on to win a number of major prizes including in the Young Keyboard Artists Association Competition in the United States and the Silver Medal at the prestigious Viotti-Valsesia International Piano Competition in Italy.  

    Dianne Werner is a member of the faculty of The Royal Conservatory.

  • Thomas Wiebe, Cello
    Cellist Thomas Wiebe is an Associate Professor of Violoncello at the Don Wright Faculty of Music at Western University in London, Ontario. He is also on the faculty of the Domaine Forget Summer Music Academy in Quebec. He has appeared with the ARC Ensemble at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, in Ferraro, Italy, Schoenberg Hall in Los Angeles, the Rockport Festival in Massachusetts, as well as in Toronto and Calgary. He also performed with Toronto’s Art of Time Ensemble, and the Domaine Forget International Festival in Quebec.
    Thomas studied cello in his native Winnipeg with the Julie Banton. He later studied at the Eastman School of Music with Robert Sylvester and Steven Doane, and at Yale University and the Juilliard School with the late Aldo Parisot. He holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Yale.

Alumni and Special Guests

James Anagnoson, piano
Peter Barrett, baritone
Carolyn Blackwell, viola
Benjamin Bowman, violin
Peter Cosbey, cello
Ian Deakin, narrator
Bryan Epperson, cello
Mark Fewer, violin
Carmen Flores, viola
Robert Gleadow, bass
Kara Huber, piano and celeste
Sarah Jeffrey, oboe
Kimberly Jeong, cello
Cherry Kim, cello
Leslie Kinton, piano
Emily Kruspe, violin
Jamie Kruspe, violin
David Hetherington, cello
David Louis, piano
Richard Margison, tenor
Frank Morelli, bassoon
Alon Nashman, narrator
Se-Doo Park, cello
Robert Pomakov, bass
Joel Quarrington, double bass
Barry Shiffman, violin
Olenka Slywynska, mezzo-soprano
Cynthia Steljes, oboe
R.H. Thomson, narrator
Chris Pedro Trakas, baritone
Monica Whicher, soprano
Winona Zelenka, cello

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

Canada Council