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Stephanie Martin: Bio



Canadian composer and conductor Stephanie Martin is an Associate Professor in the Department of Music of the Faculty of Arts, artistic director of Pax Christi Chorale, director of Schola Magdalena (a women's ensemble specializing in the performance of chant and medieval polyphony), and past director of music at the historic Church of Saint Mary Magdalene.

Martin was appointed as an Assistant Professor in July 2004 and teaches music history and performance, harpsichord, and organ, and coaches historical ensembles. Please visit her website and blog.

Stephanie Martin is widely recognized as an accomplished composer of works for both voices and instruments. Recent awards include first prize in the Exultate Chamber Singers' composition competition (2009), and first prize in the Association of Anglican Musicians composer's competition (2010). She was accepted as an Associate Composer of the Canadian Music Centre in 2011, and was named Composer in Residence for the Barrie Music Festival in 2012.

Martin's cantata Winter Nights was performed in December 2012 by the Grand Philharmonic Choirs of Kitchener, Ontario. A new choral work commissioned by the British choir Ex Cathedra, The Portinari Nativity, on a text by Cori Martin, received seven performances in England in December 2012, including a performance at St. John's Smith Square, London. Christ Church Cathedral, Victoria B.C. also performed a newly commissioned work The Legend of the Bird on Dec 23, 2012. Martin's string quartet From a distant island received its second performance by Windermere String Quartet in April 2013. Other commissions include works for Voces Capituli, Antwerp, Belgium; the Canadian Men's Chorus and the Summer Institute of Church Music.

As harpsichordist and organist, Martin can be heard on the Naxos, Marquis and Dorian labels, as well as several self-produced recordings. Her love of historically informed performance was fostered over 15 years of activity with Arbor Oak Trio, who performed hundreds of chamber music concerts and several fully staged dramatic works, including Arne's rarely heard Love in a Village, Locke's Cupid and Death and Gay's Beggar's Opera.

Stephanie Martin holds degrees from the University of Toronto and Wilfrid Laurier University, and she is an Associate of the Royal Canadian College of Organists.

Pax Christi Chorale

Appointed as Artistic Director of Pax Christi Chorale in 1996, Stephanie Martin has conducted many memorable oratorios and commissioned several new Canadian compositions. The choir performs masterworks with full orchestra and professional soloists. Performance highlights include Elgar's The Kingdom, The Music Makers, and The Dream of Gerontius; Britten's Saint Nicolas, A Ceremony of Carols, and Rejoice in the Lamb; Bach's Saint John Passion, Mass in B Minor, Christmas Oratorio, and several cantatas; Mozart's Requiem; Schubert's German Mass; Handel's Israel in Egypt and Messiah; Brahms' A German Requiem; Mendelssohn's Elijah and Saint Paul; Poulenc's Gloria; Finzi's In Terra Pax; and Vaughan Williams' Hodie and Dona Nobis Pacem. In 2005 the choir commissioned a new Mass from veteran Canadian composer Derek Holman. The choir has been broadcast on CBC radio, and has recorded two CDs, including Seasons of the Spirit. In 2006-07 the choir celebrated its 20th anniversary.

Schola Magdalena

Martin also directs Schola Magdalena, a group of five women from the Church of St. Mary Magdalene who are dedicated to performing the music of the medieval liturgical tradition – from Gregorian chant to Hildegard of Bingen to the polyphonic masterpieces of Dufay.

The five talented singers made their concert debut at the Church of St. Theresa in Ottawa in July 2007 as part of the colloquium of the Gregorian Institute of Canada. Their performance garnered a standing ovation. The audience was captivated by the ethereal and sublime unison singing as well as the striking harmonies of the medieval tradition.

Engagements of Schola Magdalena included Nuit Blanche 2007 at St. Thomas’s Anglican Church, a recital at the Laurier University Chapel, Waterloo, in October 2007 and a performance at the Church of St. Mary Magdalene’s annual Festival of Chant in November 2007 and a concert at Toronto’s Nuit Blanche 2008 at St. Thomas’ Church. Future engagements include an evening concert at the Church of St. Mary Magdalene January 17th, 2009, and the 2009 Montreal Chant Symposium.

The Church of Saint Mary Magdalene, 2007-12

In January 2007, Martin was appointed Director of Music at the Church of Saint Mary Magdalene, an historic Anglican church in downtown Toronto. She oversaw a music programme which includes Gregorian Chant, the accomplished Gallery Choir, the SMM singers, Schola Magdalena, a resident brass ensemble and consort of viols.  On February 16th 2008, SMM hosted a “Willan Weekend” honouring the 40th anniversary of the death of “the Dean of Canadian composers”. At the end of November 2012, Martin resigned from the position to focus more on her composing.

The Gallery Choir of the Church of Saint Mary Magdalene competed in the CBC Radio National Competition for Amateur Choirs. In a live-to-air broadcast on April 30th, 2008, the choir won first prize in the Church Choir category.  This allowed them to travel to Laval in May to participate in the Mondial Choral Gala concert with top choirs from across Canada. One of the highlights of the weekend’s festivities was an invitation from CBC host Gregory Charles to sing Mass at St. Rose Church.


SMM Gallery Choir at the Mondial Choral Gala Concert, May 18th, 2008

PHOTO Courtesy of  www.doublelightproductions.com


Earlier Activities


Calvin Choir For eleven years, Stephanie Martin was Director of Music at Toronto's Calvin Presbyterian Church. The award-winning Calvin Choir undertook several concert tours including a Scottish odyssey with moving performances in St. Giles’ Cathedral and isolated Iona Abbey. The choir produced two CDs, including Reformation and Renaissance Psalms, Motets and Dances. In 2004 the choir was a semi-finalist in the CBC Radio Amateur Choir Competition, and in 2000 Calvin Choir was awarded second prize.

Martin was harpsichordist of Arbor Oak Trio for fifteen years, spearheading rare performances of early English operas such as Love in a Village, The Beggar’s Opera, Cupid and Death, and Dido and Aeneas. Arbor Oak was Ensemble in Residence at Massey College, U of T for several years. On the NAXOS label she performed on several CDs including a disc of modern harpsichord and guitar duets by Ponce, and with Aradia baroque ensemble. She toured universities performing with Recordare ensemble, a renaissance wind trio. She was a frequent guest continuo player with I FURIOSI baroque ensemble and performs on one of their CDs. With Toronto Consort and conductor David Fallis, she performed on the popular Christmas recording with Marquis records, reconstructing a Vesper service in the time of Praetorius. She also planned to record the harpsichord music of Dietrich Buxtehude on the York record label.

With her late husband, Bruce Kirkpatrick Hill (d. 2012), Stephanie Martin performed duet programmes on organ and harpsichord. Performance and study took them to Paris, Amsterdam, Gibraltar and London, as well as local Toronto recital series.

Winner of the Lillian Forsythe Award for Church Music and Leslie Bell Choral Conducting Prize, Stephanie also studied musical in Paris, London, Venice and the USA. In addition, she toured Eastern Europe and China as assistant conductor to Howard Dyck with Consort Caritatis. Ms. Martin is also a fan of theatre and visual art, and dabbles in Celtic harp, baseball, chess, yoga and Scottish Country Dancing.





Last updated: December 2012