Catherine Wilson, Piano & Artistic Director
Virtuoso pianist and recording artist CATHERINE WILSON “the pride of Canada” (Burlington Standard Press, USA), has won the hearts of fans and critics alike for her inspired passionate, soulful artistry, sensitive musicality, and innovative, imaginative programming. Her renditions of Chopin (described as “exquisite” by the Toronto Star) have been compared to the great Artur Rubenstein. For over 30 years Catherine’s celebrated ENSEMBLE VIVANT, hailed as “Canada’s chamber music treasure” (Toronto Star), has been a pioneer in the piano chamber music world, championing a genre-diverse repertoire including classical, the syncopated rhythms of Ragtime, The Great American Song Book, Latin and other jazz-related styles. The group has 14 internationally acclaimed CDs on the Opening Day Label (ODEG) that are broadcast on radio worldwide and available on several streaming services.
Legendary composer/arranger & jazz great Rick Wilkins, C.M. commented: “No matter the genre, there is magic in Catherine Wilson and Ensemble Vivant’s music-making.” Catherine has been equally applauded for her renditions of Ragtime, Latin and other jazz-related styles: “Catherine Wilson’s Ragtime playing is second to none…virtuoso technique and beautiful touch with the right feel and grove combined with a rich musical imagination.” – William Albright, American Ragtime composer and pianist.
Catherine has been the invited soloist with many prominent North American symphony orchestras and her concerts have consistently been triumphant successes. She was the invited featured soloist with the New York Pops’ main stage series under the baton of Skitch Henderson for a sold-out concert at Carnegie Hall. Her performance of Leroy Anderson’s Piano Concerto with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra was filmed by PBS and appears in the documentary on Anderson’s life, Once Upon a Sleigh Ride. This along with other Catherine Wilson and Ensemble Vivant videos is frequently broadcast on Classic Arts Showcase (classicartsshowcase.org).
Catherine is the founder of EUTERPE: Music for Health Canada, a well-established registered non-profit charity whose mandate includes providing live, high-calibre, performance programs of classical, jazz and related musical styles to those who might not otherwise be exposed to these life-enhancing experiences. These invaluable musical opportunities are known to enhance overall health and well-being for people of all ages throughout one’s life. With a principal focus on children, these unique, free-of-charge programs involve children’s participation throughout in a variety of creative, fun, educational ways. Catherine’s research on Music and Healing, for which she received her PhD, supports Euterpe’s mandate, and the scientific community has endorsed these invaluable musical initiatives. www.musicforhealthcanada.org
“Catherine Wilson is a magnificent, passionate concert pianist/artist. A joy to listen to and lovely to watch. Her playing and that of her group Ensemble Vivant is wonderfully warm and heartfelt and at the same time vibrant and exciting. Catherine and the artists in Ensemble Vivant are among the finest anywhere, with brilliant musicianship and artistry. These are among that rare breed of world-class performers whose artistry is truly in the groove no matter the genre they are playing. – Guido Basso, O.C. jazz legend (trumpet/flugelhorn)
“The passion and beauty of Catherine Wilson’s piano playing is overwhelming. She is a beautifully gifted pianist and musician with a depth of feeling that separates her from the rest and makes her a real standout…she is an inspiration to everyone who knows her.” – Don Thompson, O.C., composer/arranger/jazz musician
“Ensemble Vivant’s music-making is absolutely stirring and heart achingly beautiful; Wilson’s opening solo on Gismonti’s Memoria Y Fado is especially poignant… Catherine Wilson and her merry band of fellow world-class musicians sparkle, pulsate, yearn, beckon, move, tango and haunt in gorgeous (and often sexy) pieces by Piazzolla, Jobim, Lecuona, Guarnieri, Gismonti, Nazareth, Albeniz, Anderson, Dwyer, Burke…this is chamber music at its evocative best!” – The WholeNote Magazine, Sharna Searle
“Ensemble Vivant does a fantastic job with the nuevo tango of Astor Piazzolla… captures the passion as well as the verve… Wilson’s piano gives this music unerring drive and plenty of sparkle.” – John Terauds, Toronto Star
“To my heart, your rendition of OBLIVION is the most touching I have ever heard: Bravo!” – François Paré, Radio-Classique, Montreal
“…precisions of sonority, dynamics and rhythm that Ensemble Vivant, led by pianist Catherine Wilson, fully deliver….the intricate ensemble writing is performed magnificently…a moving experience… Wilson’s playing is evocative.” (re: Mysterium, Music for the Labyrinth) – Richard Knox, WholeNote Magazine