Acclaim for Ensemble Vivant
Ensemble Vivant’s Latin Romance CD is absolutely stirring and heart-achingly beautiful. Catherine Wilson and her merry band of fellow world-class musicians… sparkle, shimmer, pulsate, yearn, beckon, move, tango and haunt in gorgeous (and often sexy) pieces. Wilson’s opening solo on Gismonti’s Memoria Y Fado is especially poignant. Don Thompson’s vibe work on Gismonti’s Loro is an exhilarating tour de force… this is chamber music at its evocative best! Read the complete review in the March, 2020 edition of The WholeNote Magazine.
The WholeNote Magazine
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!
Jazz Icon – musician, composer, arranger
(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…
noted Canadian Jazz Musician
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. (re Ensemble Vivant’s Live in Concert Tribute to Rick Wilkins CD)
This is the highest-level chamber music making. No matter the genre, there is magic in Ensemble Vivant’s music-making
musician, composer, arranger
To my heart, your rendition of Piazzolla’s ‘OBLIVION’ is the most touching I have ever heard: Bravo!” (re Catherine Wilson’s performance of OBLIVION on Ensemble Vivant’s Homage to Astor Piazzolla CD, ODEG)
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.
…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.
WholeNote Magazine, Canada
Pianist extraordinaire Catherine Wilson and this wonderful group of musicians have totally captured the romance and passion of Astor Piazzolla’s music… This is a truly beautiful CD!
musician, composer, arranger
Canada’s chamber music treasure!
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.
Wonderful performance… congratulations to Ensemble Vivant for uncovering these works and presenting them with their usual flare.
WholeNote Magazine, Canada
Catherine Wilson brings great technical virtuosity and an understanding of the ‘American’ sound of the Leroy Anderson Piano concerto… she possesses rare depth combined with highly sensitive artistry that is tremendously refreshing.
Founder & Music Director
New York Pops
There were bravos, a standing ovation and an encore … the concert revealed the full sweep of Catherine Wilson’s artistic personality, her youthful idealism and openness, her willingness to express emotion, her authority at the piano, and her command of the concert’s direction … Ensemble Vivant cruised the whisking currents of Leroy Anderson’s musical imagination with skill and zest … Anderson would have enjoyed every minute of it.
A thoroughly enjoyable album (re The Music of Leroy Anderson, ODEG)
The greatest selling point of the ensemble was the players’ masterful interpretative style. Whether playing a lyrical ballad, a spirited rag, or a sensuous tango, Ensemble Vivant captured the appropriate style instantly. The sense of ensemble was likewise impeccable, with entrances, articulations and dynamics mirrored precisely … an overwhelming success. The trio was equally at home with traditional classics and original compositions.
New Brunswick, Canada
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!
musician, composer for B.C. Arts
What the critics have to say about the members of Ensemble Vivant
…pianist Catherine Wilson, the pride of Canada…
(Re: Pianist Catherine Wilson) I have not heard exquisite Chopin playing like this since last hearing Artur Rubinstein…
Concert Pianist and Broadcaster, including as chairman of the
BBC’s long-running television panel game Face the Music
Kudos to violinist Corey Gemmell for his beautiful solos… (re his performance of Der Rosenkavalier by Richard Strauss)
I was deeply touched by Norman Hathaway’s viola playing…poignant and rich with expression.
Professor of Violin, University of Toronto
Cellist Tom Mueller produced many moments of gorgeously lyrical music and showed a deep understanding of both the style and essence of the work…the phrasing was spacious and songful, the whole brought off with admirable style and musicality. His playing was a joy.
(Re: Cellist Tom Mueller) A rich, throbbing sound.
New York Times
George Koller a genre crossing bass powerhouse!