The Orchestre Métropolitain and its conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin are thrilled to announce the next-generation conductors who will take part in the first edition of the Academy of Orchestral Conducting.
The young conductors will be immersed in the symphonic milieu and enjoy backstage access to rehearsals and concerts of the OM’s 2021-2022 season.
They will also have a unique mentoring experience alongside Yannick Nézet-Séguin and, for training purposes, regular interaction with the Orchestre’s team members and musicians. Additionally, they will take part in the OM’s educational and artistic activities.
The call for applications was open to orchestral conductors between 18 and 35 who are at the beginning of their career and considered a member of the next generation of artists.
To document this first edition of the Academy, the OM is pleased to partner with Télé-Québec’s La Fabrique culturelle, which will produce a video highlighting the young conductors’ experience and the learning required to become an orchestral conductor.
The initiative is part of the OM’s 40th anniversary celebrations.
A native of Vancouver, Monica Chen is the Assistant Conductor of the University of British Columbia Symphony Orchestra and the Debut Orchestra conductor for the Vancouver Youth Symphony Orchestra. Recent conducting engagements include participating at the Domaine Forget International Summer Academy, Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, the UBC Chamber Music Festival, and the University of Oregon Conducting Institute, working closely with maestros including Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Bramwell Tovey and Neil Varon. She was one of three finalists at Domaine Forget chosen to perform in concert with the Orchestre symphonique de Québec.
Monica also has extensive experience in violin and pedagogy, having graduated from Indiana University with a MMus in Violin Performance studying under Mimi Zweig, and led her own studio as a member of the IU Pre-College String Academy. Monica is currently pursuing her Master’s in Orchestral Conducting with Dr. Jonathan Girard, and continuing her violin studies with Prof. Jasper Wood. She maintains a busy performance schedule, while teaching violin both locally and internationally online.
Benoit Gauthier got his start at the École de musique du Côte-Nord, where he studied classical singing, guitar, saxophone, flute, violin, viola and cello. Taken with musical instruments from an early age, he was fascinated by the multitude of possibilities they offer.
In January 2012, sensing the musical potential of his region, he founded the Orchestre symphonique de la Côte-Nord, whose mission is to introduce audiences to the symphonic repertoire and make it accessible to all.
Benoît completed his flute studies with Jacinthe Forand and Richard Lapointe and, under Gilles Auger, obtained a certificate in orchestral conducting from the Conservatoire de musique de Québec. At the Conservatoire, he received several scholarships and prizes for his outstanding academic results and involvement in the cultural community. Besides being the music and artistic director of the Orchestre symphonique de la Côte-Nord, he performs as an extra with other ensembles, including the Orchestre symphonique de Québec and La Musique du Royal 22e Régiment.
As an orchestral conductor, Benoît has studied under Yannick Nézet-Séguin and Bramwell Tovey. In the summer of 2021, he made his debut with the Orchestre symphonique de Québec, as part of an internship at the Académie du Domaine Forget.
A Sherbrooke native, Félix Ste-Marie first conducted in public when he was 14. The experience sparked a passion that has motivated him throughout his career. He began his studies at the CÉGEP de Sherbrooke, where he won the prize for academic excellence in music. He then continued at the Université de Sherbrooke, studying piano with Carmen Picard and conducting with François Bernier. In 2015, he began his master’s under Gilles Auger at the Conservatoire de musique du Québec, where he was unanimously awarded the jury prize for orchestral conducting.
He has acquired additional conducting experience with, among others, the Orchestre de chambre étudiant de Sherbrooke, which he founded in 2013, the Ensemble à vents de Sherbrooke, in which he plays clarinet, and the Orchestre symphonique de Lévis, of which he has been assistant conductor since 2017.
He is also enrolled in the business and career development program of the Fondation Père Lindsay and has honed his art at the Miami Music Festival under Maestro David Effron and Domaine Forget under Maestro Yoav Talmi, who selected Félix from among the interns to conduct the Orchestre symphonique de Québec at a concert at the Domaine Forget International Festival in the summer of 2019. More recently, Félix was appointed musical director and conductor of the Orchestre symphonique des jeunes de Sherbrooke. It is with pride and gratitude that he now has the opportunity to give back to the cultural community that has given so much to him.
Félix is a versatile musician and young conductor appreciated by his peers for his attentiveness, humanism and contagious energy on the podium. What drives him most in living his passion is sharing moments of musical grace in all their beauty and authenticity.
Trevor Wilson is an Ottawa-born conductor who in recent times has performed with the Eastern Festival Orchestra as well as the University of Ottawa Orchestra after having taken over the role of University Conductor for the latter part of the 2021 winter semester. Trevor is Conductor Emeritus of the Ottawa Pops Orchestra, having founded the organization in 2017 and served as Music Director until 2019. In summer 2019, he also served as the Assistant Conductor of the National Academy Orchestra of Canada under Boris Brott. Having attended several other masterclasses and festivals, Trevor has had the opportunity to study under internationally recognized conductors such as David Zinman, Gerard Schwarz, Neil Varon, David Effron, and Markus Stenz, and in 2018 he performed with the Budafok Dohnányi Orchestra in Budapest, Hungary. Trevor completed his graduate studies in orchestral conducting under Marin Alsop at the Peabody Conservatory, where he also served as assistant conductor to the Peabody Choruses under Edward Polochick.
An active member of the Ottawa musical community, Trevor completed his Bachelor and Master of Music degrees at the University of Ottawa where he studied violin and composition, and has performed extensively as a member of the violin section of the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra.
Assistant Conductor of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Naomi Woo is a prominent young Canadian conductor and pianist, notable not only as a performer across Canada and Europe but also as a socially engaged interdisciplinary artist and educator.
In frequent demand as an opera conductor and music director, Naomi recently directed Indigenous composer-playwright Tomson
Highway’s The (Post)Mistress for the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre and has upcoming engagements with the Little Opera Company and re:Naissance Opera. Her passion for new work has led to prizes at the Eckhardt-Grammatté Competition and performances at new music and arts festivals across Europe, including at Darmstadt, Klangspuren Schwaz, and Tête-à-Tête Opera.
With the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, she conducts masterworks, pops, and family concerts, and serves as a leader in the community as the first Music Director of Sistema Winnipeg. She studied at Yale University and Université de Montréal, and holds a PhD from Cambridge University.