Sounding Board Music Series: Angela Park, Rachel Mercer with Susan Hoeppner and Kathleen Gahagan
Thanks to the support of Canadian Heritage, the Aeolian is able to provide a unique opportunity for a series of free concerts. With people still finding their feet since isolation during the Pandemic, many have not resumed normal routines including attending events. The current economic conditions also prevent many from attending events due to high costs. This series provides an opportunity to change these challenges and welcome the public in to a warm and inviting array of concerts; from classical and folk to Indigenous and songwriter, this series will feature music that can offer inspiration for most.
Come join us during the dark winter days, into the warm, welcoming arms of Aeolian Hall!
Pianist Angela Park has established herself as one of Canada’s most sought-after pianists. Praised for her “stunningly beautiful pianism” (Grace Welsh Prize, Chicago), “beautiful tone and sensitivity” (American Record Guide), and for performing “with such brilliant clarity it took your breath away” (Chapala, Mexico), Angela’s versatility as both soloist and chamber musician has led to performances across Canada, as well as in the United States, Europe, Japan and Mexico. Angela is a founding member of the JUNO Award-winning Ensemble Made In Canada, and was a member of the AYR Trio with violinist Yehonatan Berick and cellist Rachel Mercer from 2010-2020. Angela and Rachel perform extensively as the Mercer-Park Duo, the St. John-Mercer-Park Trio with violinist Scott St. John, and with Mayumi Seiler (Seiler Trio). Other projects this season include solo recitals and performances in Thunder Bay, Toronto, Parry Sound, and Elora, duos with violist Sharon Wei, piano duo concerts with Stéphan Sylvestre, performances with flutist Susan Hoeppner, and trio concerts with clarinetist James Campbell and soprano Leslie Fagan. From 2011-2014, Angela was Visiting Assistant Professor of Collaborative Piano-Woodwinds at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music. Angela has been Assistant Professor of Piano and Collaborative Piano at Western University since 2019. Born and raised in London, Ontario, Angela is thrilled to be back in her hometown with her husband, Darren, and son, Alfie.
Described as a “pure chamber musician” (Globe and Mail) creating “moments of pure magic” (Toronto Star), Canadian cellist Rachel Mercer has appeared as a soloist and chamber musician across five continents. Grand prize winner of the 2001 Vriendenkrans Competition in Amsterdam, Rachel is Principal Cello of the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa and Co-Artistic Director of the “5 at the First” Chamber Music Series in Hamilton. With a first love of chamber music, Rachel regularly collaborates with her longtime duo partner, pianist Angela Park, and was cellist of JUNO award-winning piano quartet Ensemble Made In Canada (2008-2020), the AYR Trio (2010-2020), and the Aviv Quartet (2002-2010). Rachel has given masterclasses across North America, South Africa and in Israel and has given talks on performance, careers and the music business. An advocate for new Canadian music, Rachel has commissioned and premiered works including cello concerti by Stewart Goodyear and Kevin Lau, as well as solo and chamber work by Vivian Fung, Andrew Downing, Alice Ho, Abigail Richardson-Schulte, John Burge and Jocelyn Morlock. Rachel can be heard on the Naxos, Naxos Canadian Classics, Centrediscs, Analekta, Atma, Dalia Classics and EnT-T record labels, and released a critically acclaimed album of the Bach Suites on Pipistrelle in March 2014, recorded on the 1696 Bonjour Stradivarius Cello from the Canada Council for the Arts Musical Instrument Bank. Rachel plays a 17th century cello from Northern Italy.
Canadian-born flutist Susan Hoeppner is highly regarded for her deeply lyrical phrasing, dazzling virtuosity and a “no holds barred” approach in her performances. She is an established international soloist, recitalist and chamber musician, with appearances that include numerous venues spanning the continents of North America, South America, throughout Europe, Japan and China. Ms. Hoeppner has inspired Canadian composers such as Christos Hatzis, Alice Ping Yee Ho and Gary Kulesha among others to write music for her and was nominated for a JUNO, Canada’s highest musical award, for Classical Album of the Year. Her numerous recordings are available digitally on iTunes, Spotify, Amazon, and on labels including Marquis Classics, EMI, Centrediscs/Naxos and Grammophon BIS. Ms. Hoeppner enjoys giving masterclasses far and wide and is a Member of Faculty at the Glenn Gould School, The Taylor Academy for young gifted artists at the Royal Conservatory of Music, and at the University of Toronto. Every summer she joins the woodwind faculty at the International Music and Dance Academy at Domaine Forget de Charlevoix in Canada and the Campus Internazionale della Musica d’Arte in Italy. Susan is a founding member of the new annual online CanAmerican Flute Symposium and Young Artist Competition, as well as hosting an online Insightful Performer Masterclass Series. Susan Hoeppner has been appointed a Wm.S.Haynes Artist by the Boston-based flute company. She resides in Toronto.
Kathleen began her studies of the harp with Nora Bumanis, harpist of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, and completed her music degree with a focus on harp performance at McGill University, studying under Jennifer Swartz, of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra. She has also taken lessons with highly respected performers Judy Loman and Lori Gemmell.
Beyond her university training, she has over 20 years of experience as a freelance harpist, contributing to the vibrant musical communities of southwestern Ontario, through performances in orchestral settings, chamber music, church music, musical theatre productions, and accompaniment of vocalists and choral ensembles. Kathleen has a special love for choral and vocal accompaniment, and performs regularly with choirs in London Ontario and surrounding centres. She has collaborated with dozens of choral groups over the course of her career, including Amabile choirs, Chor Amica, Fanshawe Chorus London, Karen Schuessler Singers, choirs associated with Western University, and many church choirs.
Outside of her performance and teaching work, she enjoys helping musicians prevent and overcome playing related injuries, and assists other individuals regaining functional skills, in the context of her work as an occupational therapist.
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