Spiritus Ensemble

Since its founding by Artistic Director Kenneth Hull in 2009, Spiritus Ensemble has performed over 20 of Bach’s cantatas, as well as motets and other works by J.S. Bach, Johann Christoph Bach, Vivaldi, Schütz, Buxtehude, Homilius, Bruhns, Kuhnau, Rheinberger, Benjamin Britten, James MacMillan, and Morten Lauridsen.

Many of Spiritus Ensemble’s Bach cantata performances take place within a liturgical context, accompanied by the readings on which they were intended as commentary as well as congregational chorales and hymns. These events form an ongoing series of ‘Bach Vespers’–free admission performances at which donations are welcomed.

Other performances are more like traditional concerts, though often with an underlying liturgical or ritual shape. The performances in this series are our ‘In Concert’ events. Admission to these is by purchased ticket.

Kenneth Hull, Artistic Director

Kenneth Hull is a conductor, pianist, teacher and musicologist with a special interest in the music of J.S. Bach and music in liturgy and ritual.  He is Director of the Church Music and Worship program at Conrad Grebel University College at the University of Waterloo, where he also teaches courses in music, liturgy and the sacred choral music of J.S. Bach.  He was Director of Music at St George’s of Forest Hill Anglican Church in Kitchener for 22 years, until 2008.

As a pianist, Ken has performed widely as both solo and chamber musician in music by Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Chopin, Mendelssohn, Schumann, Brahms, Debussy, Shostakovich, Bartok, Poulenc, Copland, and many others.  His scholarly work has been published in Liturgy, Anglican and Episcopal History, Brahms Studies, The Hymn, Reformed Liturgy and Music, and The Canterbury Dictionary of Hymns and Hymnology.  His edition of Brahms’s Fourth Symphony is published in the series of Norton Critical Scores.

2017 – 2018 Guest Artists

Sheila Dietrich, soprano

Sheila_Dietrich_SopranoCanadian soprano Sheila Dietrich is a versatile and in-demand young performer whose style and vocal technique shine in both concert and operatic roles.

A Kitchener-Waterloo native, Ms. Dietrich received her Bachelor of Music Performance and Opera Diploma from Wilfrid Laurier University where she studied with Victor Martens.  Ms. Dietrich has appeared as a soloist with ensembles across Canada including Les Violons du Roy, Capella Intima, Nota Bene Baroque Players, The Elora Festival Singers, The Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, The Guelph Chamber Choir, and The Bach Elgar Choir.

Last season, Ms. Dietrich made her Carnegie Hall debut as a featured soloist in an evening devoted to the music of Purcell under the direction of Richard Egarr. She was also a finalist in the 2015 New York Oratorio Society Solo Competition and received the Johannes Somary Award. For more information about Ms. Dietrich, including her 2017 – 2018 season, please visit www.sheiladietrich.com.

Jennifer Enns-Modolo, mezzo-soprano

Jennifer_Enns_MezzoCanadian mezzo-soprano Jennifer Enns Modolo has delighted audiences across the country with her clear, unaffected voice and meaningful singing. An accomplished concert soloist, she has performed with numerous groups throughout Ontario and across Canada including the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, the Elmer Iseler Singers, the Elora Festival Singers, the Grand Philharmonic Choir, the Richard Eaton Singers and the Vancouver Bach Choir. She is also a member of the Hamilton-based chamber group Capella Intima.

Equally at home on the opera stage, Jennifer has sung the title role in Rossini’s La Cenerentola, Dido in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, Juno in Eccles’ The Judgement of Paris, Florence Pike in Britten’s Albert Herring, Third Lady in Mozart’s The Magic Flute, Jennie Hildebrand in Weill’s Street Scene and Jean in Le Portrait de Manon.

Jennifer is featured on several Aradia Ensemble recordings, including Handel’s Israel in Egypt (Naxos, 2008), Vivaldi Sacred Music, Volume 3 (Naxos, 2008) and singing the role of Eustazio in Handel’s Rinaldo (NAXOS 2005), all under the baton of Kevin Mallon.

Daniel Cabena, counter-tenor

Canadian countertenor Daniel Cabena is highly regarded in both Canada and Europe for prize-winning performances ranging from baroque to contemporary repertoire.

As Lydie-Anne in the world premiere of Les Feluettes (March/Bouchard) with Opera de Montreal, critic Richard Turp declared his performance “both profoundly touching and utterly compelling, his vocal poise and theatrical aplomb constantly rewarding”. Daniel reprised his role with Pacific Opera Victoria in May 2017.

Daniel begins his 2017/18 season in Montreal with “A Sanctuary in Song”, a captivating recital of 20th Century English and Canadian song with pianist Stephen Runge, and debuts with Edmonton Opera as Lydie-Anne in their production of Les Feluettes. Upcoming concert highlights for Daniel include Messiah with Thunder Bay Symphony and his 2018 debut as a soloist at National Arts Centre with Les Violons du Roy, in a programme of Handel and Bach with Bernard Labadie, Conductor.

European engagements for this exceptional artist include performances with Musica Fiorita, Ensemble Diapsalma, Le Concert Spirituel and the Schlossmediale Festival. In Canada, Daniel has appeared as a soloist with Guelph Chamber Choir, Nota Bene Period Orchestra, Lameque Baroque Festival and Prince Edward Island’s Indian River Festival. Recent oratorio performances for Daniel include his debut with Newfoundland Symphony in Handel’s Messiah and Handel’s Dixit Dominus with Grand Philharmonic Choir, as well as Messiah with Victoria Symphony.

At the forefront of Canada’s contemporary music scene, Daniel premiered “L’horreur de constater qu’on nous oubliera”, a song cycle for countertenor and orchestra (Stacey Brown/Bertrand Laverdure) with l’Orchestre de la Francophonie, and in 2016 starred in Air India:Name Redacted with Vancouver’s Turning Point Ensemble, based on the poetry of Renee Sarojini Saklikar, with Irish composer Jurgen Simpson.

Daniel holds an Honours Bachelor of Music from Wilfrid Laurier University and a Doctorate of Music from l’Université de Montréal. He was the 2012 recipient of the Virginia Parker Prize by the Canada Council for the Arts and recently completed a Master in Specialized Early Music Performance at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis, Switzerland.

Christopher Fischer, tenor

Chris_Fischer_TenorChris is well known throughout southwestern Ontario as an expressive and versatile interpreter of concert repertoire from Bach to Zelenka. Highlights of the past season include Haydn’s Mass in a Time of War and Mozart’s Requiem, both with the Guelph Chamber Choir, Handel’s Messiah with the Guelph Chamber Choir, Arcady and the Elora Festival Singers, and Schubert’s Mass in G with Choral Connection of St. Thomas.

Chris has recorded with Arcady, Masterworks of Oakville, and the Elora Festival Singers (with whom he made his debut at New York City’s Carnegie Hall in 2015). In 2015/16, Chris performs Messiah with the Milton Choristers; Camille Saint-Saëns’ Christmas Oratorio and Vaughan Williams’ Mass in G Minor with the Guelph Chamber Choir; the role of Pilate in Arvo Pärt’s Passio with the Grand Philharmonic Chamber Singers; Obadiah in Mendelssohn’s Elijah with Masterworks of Oakville; and the swan in Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana with the Guelph Chamber Choir and the choirs of the University of Guelph.

Bud Roach, tenor

Bud_Roach_TenorDescribed by the Toronto Star as a “must-hear lyric tenor”, Hamilton-based Bud Roach has performed frequently with many of Canada’s finest ensembles. He has consistently produced highly regarded programmes with his ensemble Capella Intima, performing on both the baroque guitar and theorbo. Recent concert highlights include a programme entitled Canzonettas from the House of Vincenti at the Venice Opera Project, Cavalli opera performances in Venice, as well as appearances with the Toronto Consort, Bach’s St. John Passion with the Grand River Chorus, Monteverdi Vespers with Soundstreams, the role of the Sailor in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas with Les Violons du Roy (Richard Egarr, conductor) in Montreal, Quebec City, and Carnegie Hall; programmes of Noel Coward, Cole Porter, and Irving Berlin with the Talisker Players, and Capella Intima collaborations with the Toronto Continuo Collective and the Gallery Players of Niagara.

Bud’s recordings for the Musica Omnia label (Grandi arias, 2013; Sances arias, 2014) have been recognized internationally as groundbreaking achievements in historically-informed performance practice. “Roach is marvellous throughout….Five stars” (Early Music Today, UK). Recital performances last season included Toronto (Early Music Centre), Hammer Baroque (Hamilton), the Midtown Concert Series (New York), and the Boston Early Music Festival Fringe Series (“revelatory concerts”- Early Music America, 2013).


Steve Surian, tenor


After finishing a voice degree at Wilfrid Laurier University (BMus 1996), Steve completed his Bachelor of Education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. He has been teaching at the secondary level with the Waterloo Region District School Board for the past 15 years. Currently at Kitchener-Waterloo Collegiate and Vocational School, Steve teaches courses in instrumental music, mathematics, and directs extra-curricular bands and choirs. In addition to his involvement in school music programs, Steve pursues a variety of professional performing engagements.

As a chorister and soloist with the Elora Festival Singers since 2008, he has performed an extensive repertoire of choral music and has recorded a variety of choral works for the Naxos label as well as independent labels. Recordings include Eric Whitacre: Choral Music (nominated for a 2011 Grammy “Best Small Ensemble Performance”) and I Saw Eternity (nominated for a 2013 Juno “Best Small Ensemble Performance”). Steve has also appeared as a soloist and chorister with the Spiritus Ensemble, Grand River Chorus, Note Bene Baroque Singers, Kitchener-Waterloo Philharmonic Chamber Singers, Choral Connection, and the Guelph Chamber Singers.

Daniel Lichti, bass-baritone

Since his operatic debut at the 1974 Stratford Festival, Daniel Lichti has established himself as one of Canada’s finest bass-baritones, performing with many of North America’s finest Orchestras (both modern and baroque) and with most of its Choral organizations. He has achieved renown at major Bach and summer Festivals, performed Oratorio and Opera internationally, gained acclaim as a recitalist and recording artist, and taken the stage with many of Canada’s leading opera companies. In 2014-15, he celebrated 40 years of singing for audiences around the world, and ongoing critical commentary indicates that his artistry continues to inspire admiration for the beauty, warmth and richness of his voice, and respect for the dignity and sincerity of his interpretations.

Mr. Lichti, Associate Professor of Voice for the Faculty of Music at Wilfrid Laurier University since 1998, is frequently invited to teach and conduct Master Classes internationally. Recently he gave masterclasses at Baldwin- Wallace University Conservatory in Berea, Ohio, at Tapei’s University for the Arts, and for the Music Department at Tunghai University in Taiwan. This summer he returned to teach and perform at the 2016 Académie de Fourvière in Lyon, France, where he has been a guest artist/teacher for the past three years.

Performance highlights of this concert season include the title role in Elijah with the Grand Philharmonic Choir and Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Orchestra, performances of Schubert’s epic Winterreise in Hagen, Germany with pianist Roland Pröll, in Winnipeg, Victoria, Abottsford, Langley and Edmonton with pianist Sandra Mogensen, in Lyon, France with pianist Laetitia Bougnol, and in Quebec City with Leslie De’Ath, his partner on the Analekta release of this cycle. He also returned to sing at the 109th annual Bach Festival in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and was invited to perform Verdi’s Requiem at Maison Symphonique in Montreal under Louis Lavigueur. Very recently, he stepped in at the 11th hour to perform Elijah for conductor Noel Edison’s 20th anniversary with the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir at Koerner Hall.

Richard Hrytzak, baritone

Rich-Hrytzak- HeadshotRichard most recently has appeared in Opera Atelier Toronto’s productions of Purcell’s Dido & Aeneas, Handel’s Alcina, Mozart’s Abduction from the Seraglio, and The Magic Flute. Other recent appearances have been with Nota Bene Baroque Players, Arcady Ensemble, Elora Festival Singers, Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, Toronto Mendelssohn Singers, Boris Brott and the National Academy Orchestra. Richard studied voice at the University of Ottawa, in Kitchener with Victor Martens, and at the Tafelmusik Summer Baroque Institute.