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.
2015 – 2016 Guest Artists
Sheila Dietrich, soprano
Canadian 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 2015 – 2016 season, please visit www.sheiladietrich.com.
Stephanie Kramer, soprano
Stephanie is a graduate of Wilfrid Laurier University with an Honours Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance. As a soloist she has performed locally with groups such as Menno Singers, Da Capo Chamber Choir, The Renaissance Singers and Nota Bene Period Orchestra.
In a career that has spanned over 25 years. she has been a frequent soloist with The Elora Festival Singers performing music from Bach to Gilbert and Sullivan. She has also appeared in concert in Toronto with Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir, in Germany and Austria as a guest soloist with the Grand Philharmonic Choir, and in New York City with the late Robert Shaw.
In addition to her performing career, Stephanie has been active as a teacher both privately and within the school system. She is currently the voice instructor at Conrad Grebel University College at the University of Waterloo, a position she has held since 1998.
Jennifer Enns-Modolo, mezzo-soprano
Canadian 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.
Recent and upcoming engagements include Dido in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas with Capella Intima and the Gallery Players, Copeland’s In the Beginning and Gwyneth Walker’s A Heart in Hiding with the DaCapo Chamber Choir, Bach’s Cantata 177 “Ich ruf zu dich, Herr Jesu Christ” and the Christmas Oratorio with Spiritus Ensemble, Handel’s Messiah with the Grand Philharmonic Choir and the Guelph Chamber Choir, Bach’s Magnificat and Cantata 110 “Unser Mund sei voll Lachens” with the Nota Bene Baroque Players, Bach’s St. John Passion with the Peterborough Singers and several solo recitals with lutenist Magdalena Tomsinska.
Christopher Fischer, tenor
Chris 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
Described 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).
Highlights for the 2015-16 season include concert appearances with the Toronto Consort (Monteverdi Vespers), National Academy Orchestra (Carmina Burana), Messiah (Elmer Iseler Singers and Amadeus Choir; Guelph Chamber Choir; Choralis Camerata), Talisker Players (Pergolesi’s Orpheo), Burning River Baroque (Cleveland); the Menno Singers (Zelenka); and the church of Trinity St. Paul’s (St. John Passion- Evangelist). With Capella Intima, Bud leads programmes of Banchieri in Hamilton, Toronto, and New York (Midtown Concert Series), and English madrigals for the Toronto Early Music Fair at Fort York. The ensemble will release its debut CD recording on the Musica Omnia label in early 2016. Last season, Bud founded the Hammer Baroque concert series at the Rock on Locke, presenting some of Canada’s finest early music performers. www.budroach.com
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.
Richard Hrytzak, baritone
Richard 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.