Pioneering piano chamber music sensation Ensemble Vivant, “Canada’s Chamber Music Treasure” (John Terauds, Toronto Star), burst onto the international concert and recording scene over 30 years ago with exciting, innovative genre-diverse programming including Classical, the syncopated rhythms of Ragtime, The Great American Songbook, Latin and other Jazz-related styles. Veteran Jazz Icon, musician, composer, arranger Rick Wilkins, C.M. commented: “This is the highest-level chamber music-making. No matter the genre, there is magic in Ensemble Vivant’s music-making.” A favourite among audiences, Ensemble Vivant is also known for its warm and engaging rapport and its passionate, deeply communicative playing that touches the hearts and souls of listeners of all ages, bringing them lasting joy. As Opening Day Entertainment Group (ODEG) recording artists, Ensemble Vivant has 14 internationally acclaimed CDs that are heard regularly on radio and digital platforms around the world.
The core quintet is Catherine Wilson, piano/artistic director; Corey Gemmell, violin; Norman Hathaway, viola; Tom Mueller, cello; George Koller, bass. Regular collaborators include Kevin Turcotte, trumpet; Mike Murley, sax; Nick Fraser, drums; Juan Carlos Medrano, Latin percussion; and many others, including Adrian Bent (drummer from Drake’s band).
Through the well-established registered not-for-profit charity, EUTERPE: MUSIC for HEALTH CANADA, ENSEMBLE VIVANT has created and conducted live, interactive, fun, educational performance programs of Classical, Jazz and related musical styles for CHILDREN, particularly those in underserved communities. Ensemble Vivant’s unique, life-enhancing, evidence-based performance programs have been endorsed by the scientific community, and in 2020 Euterpe was awarded a 3-year Ontario Trillium Foundation Grant. Through EUTERPE, SENIORS are also among those whose lives have been significantly enriched by wonderful stylistically diverse performance programs provided by Ensemble Vivant, whose fun and engaging rapport with the residents accompanies the superb music making. The benefits of these opportunities are well-documented, and EV’s unique performance programs richly fulfill the tremendous need for live musical stimulation for seniors.
Ensemble Vivant is dedicated to Euterpe’s mission and has been enriching the lives of children, seniors and their respective families and communities for over a dozen years. Euterpe’s invaluable musical initiatives are supported by Dr. Catherine Wilson’s research on Music and Healing and have been endorsed by the scientific community.
“Ensemble Vivant’s music-making is absolutely stirring and heart achingly beautiful… Catherine Wilson and her merry band of fellow world-class musician sparkle, pulsate, yearn, beckon, move, tango and haunt in gorgeous (and often sexy) pieces by Piazzolla, Jobim, Lecuona, Guarnieri, Nazareth, Albeniz, Anderson, Dwyer, Burke…this is chamber music at its evocative best!” – The WholeNote Magazine, Sharna Searle (For the complete March 2020 review – Click Here)
“(Latin Romance)…wonderful collection by Ensemble Vivant. The music leaps off the page in these performances, which are joyful, attentive to detail, and interpretively clairvoyant. The musicians in the ensemble are individually brilliant and, collectively, greater than the sum of their parts. Thank you Catherine Wilson and Ensemble Vivant…” – Phil Dwyer C.M. (noted Canadian Jazz Musician)
“Catherine Wilson and her stalwart band of Ensemble Vivantists have ‘hit it out of the park’ again. Combining incisive, emotional playing with challenging material, they strike a compelling tone that never lets up. A grand success!” – Rick Wilkins, C.M., Jazz Icon – musician, composer, arranger
“Ensemble Vivant…what you get is absolute magic… familiarity of old friends…yet their playing always retains a sense of gracious etiquette associated with the noble chamber ballroom… sincere and poised… great warmth and swing.” – The WholeNote Magazine
“To my heart, your rendition of Piazzolla’s ‘OBLIVION’ is the most touching I have ever heard: Bravo!” – François Paré, Radio Classique, Montréal
“Ensemble Vivant does a fantastic job with the nuevo tango of Astor Piazzolla… captures the passion as well as the verve… Catherine Wilson’s piano gives this music unerring drive and plenty of sparkle… beautiful, poised performances…reveal the deep musicianship and light interpretive touch of these Toronto-based musicians.” – John Terauds, Toronto Star
“…precisions of sonority, dynamics and rhythm that Ensemble Vivant, led by pianist Catherine Wilson, fully deliver…Burke’s intricate ensemble writing is performed magnificently…a moving experience…Wilson’s playing is evocative.” – Roger Knox, The WholeNote Magazine
“Ensemble Vivant, one of the best small chamber groups out there…is led by pianist extraordinaire Catherine Wilson… (Homage to Astor Piazzolla) is an exciting and vibrant album that is a sure-fire hit.” – Maxwell Fletcher, Amazon.com (USA)
“Catherine Wilson’s affinity for Anderson’s music is much in evidence in this delightful recording…her sensitive piano playing shines.” – (re: CD ‘The Music of Leroy Anderson’) Joseph So, La Scena Musicale
“A thoroughly enjoyable album.” – (re: CD ‘The Music of Leroy Anderson’) Boston Herald, USA
“Thanks again for a great performance and wonderful program…molti bravi to Ensemble Vivant… please have Ensemble Vivant return very soon!” – David Bullard, Artistic Director, de Blasiis Chamber Music Series at the Hyde, Glens Falls, NY, USA
“Led by a remarkable pianist, Catherine Wilson, Ensemble Vivant boasts a collection of musicians whose abilities and qualifications are second to none…a diversity of beautifully played music and sound (with vibes…Don Thompson, O.C.) from Bach to Piazzolla to Widor… wonderful interpretations… highlight of the Kelowna Community Concert Association series. I had the pleasure of spending time with the group after the concert and they are a fun, humble and inspiring group of musicians…such tremendous mutual talent and respect within the ensemble…Merci Ensemble Vivant!” – Neville Bowman, musician, composer for BC Arts