Band Members

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MARCO CERA (guitar, mandolin, banjo) studied at the Padua Conservatory of Music (Italy) and at the Musikhochschule der Stadt Basel (Switzerland). In 1996 he was chosen as first oboe for the European Union Baroque Orchestra, with which he performed in Denmark, Portugal, Germany, Great Britain and South Africa. He has collaborated as a soloist with many leading baroque orchestras including Il Giardino Armonico, Concerto Italiano, I Sonatori della Gioiosa Marca, les Talens Lyriques, Europa Galante and many others, and has worked with conductors Jordi Savall, Gustav Leonhardt, Sigiswald Kuijken, Robert King, Jesper Christensen, Jaap ter Linden and Barthold Kuijken. He is currently an oboist with the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, with whom he has appeared in concert in Canada and throughout the world, and with whom he has recorded numerous CDs, radio broadcasts and DVDs. As a guitarist, composer and arranger, Marco played with various jazz and folk groups in Italy, and is delighted to be part of Ensemble Polaris. In 2010 Marco co-founded the Vesuvius Ensemble, a band dedicated to the performance and preservation of traditional folk music from Naples and Southern Italy.

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KIRK ELLIOTT is a musician, arranger and composer from Toronto. With Polaris he composes and plays fiddle, bass, mandolin, bouzouki, accordion, balalaika and an assortment of bagpipes. He has a Bachelor of Music degree from Queen’s University in Kingston, where he studied violin, electronic and early music. After graduating, Kirk formed an acoustic trio called Short Turn. This eclectic trio performed on national radio and television and recorded two albums, one of which won a Juno Award. At that time, Kirk also placed in the top ten at the Canadian Open Fiddle Contest in Shelburne, Ontario. He has since travelled throughout Canada and the United States for over 25 years performing with Sharon, Lois & Bram’s Elephant Show, appearing at such venues as Carnegie Hall, the Palace Theatre on Broadway, and Paramount Studios in Los Angeles. Additional musical studies have included master classes on Renaissance and baroque violin with Jeanne Lamon (Tafelmusik), David Douglas (The King’s Noyse), and Monica Huggett, and traditional Scottish fiddle repertoire with Sandy McIntyre (Cape Breton Symphony), as well as lute and lute song classes with Paul O’Dette and Julianne Baird. Kirk’s nine CDs of instrumental music include elements of medieval, Renaissance, Celtic, bluegrass, classical, Oriental, and pop music, with guest artists Don Ross, Erica Goodman, Rebecca Campbell, Carlos del Junco and Don Rooke. Kirk and Magoo, children’s music creators, have recorded four albums, one winning an Indie award and another selling over 50,000 copies. As a composer, Kirk works in his recording studio with over 60 musical instruments, and has created scores for CBC, CTV, YTV, the National Film Board, the National Ballet, Toronto Dance Theatre, and Oscar winning animated film director Chris Landreth. http://www.kirkelliott.net

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Toronto based ‘cellist MARGARET GAY leads a very active freelance career performing on both modern and period instruments. Margaret performs regularly with Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, the Toronto Symphony, Opera Atelier, the Eybler Quartet (www.eyblerquartet.com), as well as Ensemble Polaris. She is Artistic Director of The Gallery Players of Niagara (www.galleryplayers.ca), an organization presenting chamber music. She performs on cellos made by Andrea Castagnieri (1730). Margaret can be heard on CD recordings with Ensemble Polaris, the Eybler Quartet and the Gallery Players of Niagara. Her most recent Eybler Quartet CD release is Haydn’s Op. 33 complete, released by Analekta. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6o1tnZrT60E  Margaret spends her summers performing at the Carmel Bach Festival in California. 

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Singer and nyckelharpa player KATHERINE HILL has travelled far and wide in pursuit of study and work in both early music and Swedish traditional music, most recently through a year’s study at the Eric Sahlström Institute of Folk Music and Dance in Tobo, Sweden (2011-2012). While living in Amsterdam from 2000-2006, Katherine worked with some of the most renowned ensembles in her field, including the sequentia ensemble for medieval music, Ars Choralis Coeln, Collegium Vocale Ghent, Ensemble Elyma and Cappella Amsterdam, and appeared in concerts, festivals, recordings and radio broadcasts in the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Switzerland, Germany, Portugal, Italy and Poland. Katherine has directed projects of music of medieval women’s communities in Amsterdam, Toronto and Calgary, and has also been involved with early music crossover projects, including her 2013 Swedish Folk Baroque with the Toronto Consort. Katherine holds an M.A. in Medieval Studies from the University of Toronto’s Centre for Medieval Studies, and is currently the cantor and choir director at St Bartholomew’s Anglican Church in Regent Park, Toronto.

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ALISON MELVILLE’s career has taken her across Canada and to the USA, Iceland, Japan, New Zealand and Europe. A member of Toronto Consort and a frequent orchestral player and soloist with Tafelmusik, she has appeared with many other ensembles and festivals across North America including Opera Atelier, Boston Early Music Festival, la Nouvele Sinfonie, Toronto Symphony, Early Music Vancouver, Canadian Opera Company, Festival of the Sound, Festival Vancouver and others. She has played new music concerts for Soundstreams, New Music Concerts and ArrayMusic; and can be heard on over 55 CDs, including several criticallyacclaimed solo recordings. Her work in music for film and television includes CBC’s Friendly Giant, films by Atom Egoyan, Amnon Buchbinder and Ang Lee, and the TV series The Tudors and The Borgias. As a creator of original music her work has been heard in 999 Years of Music (dir. Peter Hannan), the Post-Medieval Syndrome project, Amherst Early Music (CT and VT) and at the Oberlin Conservatory (OH). She is also Artistic Director of the mixed media Bird Project which blends new music, video and text by Canadian artists. Alison taught at the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music from 1999 to 2010, and teaches for the University of Toronto. www.alisonmelville.com

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COLIN SAVAGE has performed on recorder and clarinet with ensembles in Canada, the USA and Japan, including Artek, New York Collegium, Tafelmusik, Canadian Opera Company, Opera Atelier, la Nouvele Sinfonie, Aradia Ensemble, Apollo’s Fire and the Toronto Consort. In 2006 he appeared as soloist in Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto with the American Virtuosi for their collaboration with the Jose Limon Dance Company in “Concerto Six Twenty-two.” Colin is principal clarinetist in the Mississauga Symphony Orchestra and frequently performs chamber and orchestral music on period clarinets and basset horn. Regularly heard on CBC Radio, he has recorded for Sony Classical, ebs, Naxos, Atma, Analekta and Dorian. He has taught for the Young Artists Performance Academy at the Glenn Gould Professional School of the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto.

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JEFF WILSON has worked extensively as a percussionist/ multi-instrumentalist in a variety of genres. Presently co-leading a “new world music” project known as The Liquidaires, he also has also worked with Maza Meze, David Buchbinder’s Brass Band, Autorickshaw, Sultans of String and numerous others. Jeff’s proficiency with a variety of instruments has also made him a popular accompanist for ballet and modern dance classes at the National Ballet School, Dancemakers, School of Toronto Dance Theatre, Toronto Dance Theatre Company, Claude Watson School and Etobicoke School of the Arts. His extensive experience and ‘down home’ array of instruments have made him a favourite of teachers across Toronto and Ontario. Jeff has written music for modern dance, composed songs and written arrangements for projects he co-leads and is currently working on a series of percussion pieces and pieces for solo saw. He is also active engineering, editing and mixing recordings of his own and by other artists.

And sometimes also:

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DEBASHIS SINHA (percussion)  http://debsinha.com

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BEN GROSSMAN (hurdy gurdy, percussion) http://macrophone.org/

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DAVID WOODHEAD (guitars, banjo)

 Photos: Paul Orenstein

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