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the performers

Dawn Bruch-Wiens completed her Bachelors of Music in voice at McGill University. The singer returned to Winnipeg and graduated with her Post-Baccalaureate and Masters of Music degree at The University of Manitoba where she studied with Tracy Dahl. As a “mesmerizing” singer with “effervescent vocal agility” (Opera Canada), Dawn has appeared with Manitoba Opera (Ines in Il Trovatore, Mrs. Gleaton in Susannah and Countess Ceprano and Giovanna in Rigoletto), Manitoba Underground Opera (Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni), Lyric Opera Studio Weimar (Countess Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro) and Opera on the Avalon (Lady Billows in Albert Herring).

Dawn has appeared in concert with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Groundswell, and Flipside Opera and Art Song Collective. She has taught private voice lessons for over 14 years and is also a voice instructor at Canadian Mennonite University. As a co- founder and Executive Director of Flipside Opera and Art Song Collective she believes that opera is for everyone whether it is performed in a bar, a home or a concert hall.

Praised for expressivity, virtuosity, and committed playing, Canadian collaborative pianist Laura Loewen has appeared in concerts throughout North America and in Europe, Asia and South America. Dedicated to sharing her passion for ensemble playing and coaching, she is a professor of Collaborative Piano and the Vocal Coach and the Associate Dean (undergraduate) of the University of Manitoba's Desautels Faculty of Music. She was a founding faculty artist of VISI (Vancouver International Song Institute), and is a long-time member of the faculty of the NUOVA opera training program in Edmonton, Alberta.

An extremely versatile pianist, Dr. Loewen has performed extensively with singers, instrumentalists and chamber ensembles, and is equally comfortable in traditional and contemporary idioms. She has appeared in concert with artists such as Charles Castleman, Tracy Dahl, Monica Huisman, Mel Braun, Wendy Nielsen, Kimberly Barber, Jasper Wood, Eugene Rousseau, and William Bennett. She is proud to perform regularly with many of her fellow University of Manitoba faculty members.

Loewen and duo partner, saxophonist Allen Harrington, have been performing together for more than a decade and are acclaimed for their virtuosic, musical, and electrifying performances. Loewen is also a founding member of The Galileo Trio with Kerry duWors, violin and Mark Rudoff, cello ("an enlightened idea" - Winnipeg Free Press) and Emerado with Rosemarie van der Hooft, mezzo-soprano, and Mel Braun, baritone ("true camaraderie and rapport" - Winnipeg Free Press).

Teaching and mentoring is an important element of Dr. Loewen's career. She shares her love of ensemble playing through teaching at the university, and at summer festivals and masterclasses. Her work as a vocal coach with both professionals and students is characterized by her philosophy of "Passionate Diction." 

Dr. Loewen holds a Doctorate of Musical Arts degree in Accompanying/Coaching from the University of Minnesota, where she was a fellowship student of Margo Garrett and Karl Paulnack. She is a member of the Royal Society of Canada's College of New Scholars, Artists, and Scientists.

the director & videographer

Aidan Ritchie is a local artist and storyteller who has worked in film, television, music, art, and theatre for close to a decade. Aidan's portfolio ranges from acting in film across the globe to painting commission artwork for local establishments to singing back up for rock and roll hall of famers, Heart, as well as working on set for award winning film maker Guy Madden.

In the past four years he has produced seven films, five being funded by juries and two being funded independently. Within these productions he has done budgeting, pitching, writing, directing, editing and producing. Productions supporters including ACTRA, Manitoba Film and Music and the Winnipeg Arts Council.

On top of being an independent Producer he is also involved in the music industry as a music video director. He has worked for the Little Opera Company, Winnipeg Studio Theatre and Manitoba Choral Association as a performer, videographer and projectionist.

the historian

Kristen Treusch is an avid historian and researcher of Winnipeg's darker side of life. She is the owner/operator of SquarePeg Tours in Winnipeg where she conducts less traditional historical tours of the city such as crime, cemeteries, local oddities and escapades as well as exploring the world of the paranormal. When not conducting tours, Kristen can be found running tours once a year at the former Vaughan St. Jail during the Doors Open Winnipeg weekend revealing tales of execution, famous criminals and Manitoba firsts from that site. Aside from historical and paranormal tours, Kristen teaches art workshops where she combines history of art with technical skills for the student. Kristen is also an accomplished author and has self published her first book called Forgotten History: The Untold Stories of Manitoba's First Provincial Jail: 1881-1930. Kristen holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts Honours, Bachelor of Arts (Art History) Honours and a Masters Degree in Canadian History.

the creators

Inspired by the worlds of literature and nature, Michael Matthews creates music that encourages the listener to step beyond the everyday, to dwell for a while in images of paradox, to consider the ever-changing tapestry of life.

Michael Matthews completed a Ph.D. in composition at North Texas State University in 1985. In 2012 Matthews retired from twenty-seven years of full-time teaching at the Marcel A. Desautels Faculty of music, University of Manitoba; he is now Professor Emeritus there. Matthews is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and currently lives and works in Berlin.

Matthews is also active as a photographer, and his abstract images were recently exhibited in Germany and the US. Canadian publisher At Bay Press will shortly be releasing The Gibbous Moon, a book of photography and poetry created in collaboration with poet Dennis Cooley.

Dennis Cooley, who lives in Winnipeg, has for decades been active in prairie literature as teacher, editor, anthologist, publisher, critic, workshopper, reviewer, theses advisor, theorist, mentor, and teacher of creative writing. A founding editor of Turnstone Press; an organizer of literary conferences at St. John's College, University of Manitoba; a founding member of the Manitoba Writers' Guild, of which on three occasions he was President. Author of thirty books, guest professor in Germany on three occasions, three times poetry workshop leader at Sage Hill Writing Experience, recipient of the Manitoba Writers' Guild Lifetime Achievement Award and of the League of Canadian Poets' lifetime member award.

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