Concert Organizer


Elizabeth Turnbull, mezzo-soprano

Elizabeth Turnbull has been hailed by the critics as ‘a revelation’, with ‘controlled passion, acute timing and glistening presence’. Her many and varied credits include appearances with major orchestras and opera companies across North America (Victoria, Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec, New York, Florida, Chicago, Dallas and San Francisco).


Concert Host

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Shannon Hiebert, piano

Shannon Hiebert is highly regarded as a collaborative pianist, vocal coach, conductor and music director. A native of Winnipeg, she began her studies at the University of Manitoba and went on to train at the Banff Centre with Martin Isepp and the University of Michigan, in the prestigious studio of world renowned pianist, Martin Katz.

Much in demand as a collaborative artist, she has worked with such celebrated singers as Tracy Dahl, Measha Brueggergosman and Andriana Chuchman and has been heard in recital and broadcast across Canada and the United States as well as Europe, Taiwan and Japan.

A diverse performer, Shannon has performed with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, Edmonton Opera, Groundswell and the Winnipeg Singers, Citadel Theatre and several musical theatre productions. Shannon has toured with Broadway Across Canada in productions of Mamma Mia, Spamalot and Wicked. In 2009, she joined the Toronto Company of Jersey Boys.

Ms Hiebert has acted as Music Director for Grant MacEwan University’s Theatre Arts productions of Spring Awakening and A Little NIght Music.


She has also provided musical direction for the Plain Jane Theatre Company’s Sterling Award nominated productions of Fiorello, Little Fish, Mack and Mabel and A New Brain. In 2013 Shannon received a Sterling Award nomination for outstanding musical direction.

A passionate teacher, Ms Hiebert has served on the faculties of the University of Manitoba, University of Toronto and the University of Alberta, Opera NUOVA, Calgary Opera’s Artist Program and the Centre for Opera Studies in Italy (COSI). Her students have gone on to universities and programs around the world including, Opera Merola, Chicago Lyric Opera (LOCA), Canadian Opera Company, Calgary Opera, Vancouver Opera, Opera Atelier, The Britten­Pears School, The Banff Centre, The Franz Schubert Institute, Tanglewood and Netherlands Opera Theatre. Many of her students now enjoy international performing careers.

Shannon currently resides in her beloved home city of Edmonton where she maintains a busy performing and coaching schedule.


Speakers & Performers

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Nora Bumanis, harp

Nora Bumanis has been Principal Harpist of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra since 1980. She is a graduate of the University of Toronto, where she studied with Judy Loman. In addition to her busy orchestral schedule, Ms. Bumanis is much in demand as a soloist, recitalist and teacher. She has performed with most of the leading Canadian symphony orchestras. Nora has given recitals in Edmonton, Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa, Seattle, Prague, and Mexico City. She is also in great demand as a chamber musician and has frequently been broadcast on CBC radio and television.

Ms. Bumanis teaches at the University of Alberta and Alberta College Conservatory. She was Managing Director of the Jasper Festival of Music and Wine from 2000 – 2003, and frequently performs at the Festival of the Sound in Parry Sound, Ontario. Nora Bumanis and Julia Shaw began their collaboration as Canada's first professional harp duo in 1988. They have recorded five CDs and performed extensively throughout Canada. She was Global TV's Woman of Vision in February 2009 and is an member of the Edmonton Glenora Rotary Club. She has been President of the Edmonton Recital Society since 2009.


Cantilon Chamber Choir
Director: Heather Johnson

The Cantilon Chamber Choir is widely recognized as one of Canada’s leading children’s choral ensembles.  Founded in 1999 by conductor, Heather Johnson, this choir maintains a rigorous national and international touring schedule.

Since its inception, the Cantilon Chamber Choir has been honoured with numerous awards in national and international competitions. Most recently, they were awarded 2nd  place in the Youth Choir Category in the prestigious, National Choral Competition for Amateur Choirs presented by Choral Canada and the CBC.  In the summer of 2018, the choir was honoured to win the Youth Choir Category at the Béla Bartók International Choral Competition in Debrecen, Hungary.  The Cantilon Chamber Choir performs regularly with the ESO, Edmonton Opera and Alberta Ballet.

This year, Cantilon is celebrating its 20th Anniversary! Now a family of six choirs, this amazing organization has played a vital role in the arts community in Edmonton and St. Albert, and in the lives of thousands of singers. Learn more

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Adam Fisher, tenor

Equally versatile in Opera, Musicals and contemporary music, Adam Fisher is known for his charismatic stage presence and wide range of repertoire. A graduate of Santa Barbara's Music Academy of the West, Adam has sung in several contemporary and classic operas, including Julius Caesar with Industry Opera and LA Phil's Young Caesar,  Edward, a troubled young soldier in Opera on the Avalon’s premiere of“OURS”, and Father Alexander in Tapestry Opera’s powerful 2017 production about sex trafficking, Oksana G, Paris in Boston with Odyssey Opera’s “sparkling” production of La Belle Helene.

His musical credits include, Jesus in Jesus Christ Superstar and  Joseph in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat both with the Westben Music Festival, Joe Cable in South Pacific with Calgary Opera and numerous Broadway review concerts across North America. 

Upcoming highlights for Adam include a tour across the United States with the America’s Wonders 3D cinematic experience, the title role of Candide with Edmonton Opera, and a 5 song EP of classical arrangements of Pop songs with renowned Canadian Composer Brian Finley. 

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Daniel Gervais, violin (fiddle)

Daniel has been playing the violin since the age of five. He completed a Master of Music degree in classical performance at the University of Alberta with Dr. Guillaume Tardif in 2014. In 2011 and 2016, Daniel won the Canadian Grand Masters Fiddling Championship. He is the only Albertan to win this national title to date. He has had the opportunity to perform at many prestigious events including the 2012 London Olympics and the 100th Anniversary Grey Cup in Toronto, as well as tours in Canada, the United States, and Europe. He has eight albums to his name. His gypsy jazz group, Hot Club Edmonton, won Instrumental Album of the Year at the 2010 Western Canadian Music Awards. He lives in Edmonton with his wife and three young children. Learn more

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Marnie Giesbrecht, harpsichord

A passionate and versatile keyboard artist Marnie Giesbrecht performs in major cities and universities as well as at festivals throughout Canada, the United States, South Africa, Europe and Asia.  She studied at the University of Alberta (BMus piano with Ernesto Lejano); the Eastman School of Music, Rochester, N.Y (MMus piano with Barry Snyder); the Mozarteum, Salzburg, Austria (Performance Diploma, piano with Kurt Neumüller); with Jacobus Kloppers (organ); and DMus organ with Gerhard Krapf).

Marnie Giesbrecht performs as organ soloist, collaborative musician (organ, piano, harpsichord) and with Joachim Segger as Duo Majoya.  The duo are honorary fellows of the RCCO (Royal Canadian College of Organists) and in the Edmonton Cultural Hall of Fame.  CD recordings include solo organ, duets for piano and for organ as well as for the combination of organ and piano. Learn more


Dr. Giesbrecht is Professor Emerita at the University of Alberta (1988 to 2014) and Adjunct Professor of Music at The King’s University, Edmonton. Her teaching embraces a broad range of students at all levels of study. Dr. Giesbrecht is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and commissions, performs and records solo, duo and collaborative keyboard works by Canadian and international composers. For more information on Giesbrecht, Duo Majoya, YouTube videos and upcoming concerts please visit

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Subash Giri, guitar

Subash Giri is a Ph.D. student of Ethnomusicology at the Department of Music, University of Alberta, Canada. He holds three master’s degrees in Hindustani Classical Voice (M. MUS), Sociology (M.A). from University of Nepal, and Music Management (M. MUS MGMT) from University of Agder, Norway. He is a voice instructor of the Indian Music Ensemble (IME) at the Department of Music, University of Alberta.

In performance, Subash specializes in Hindustani classical voice. He has expertise in singing Hindustani raga, Bollywood music, Ghazal, Sufi, Bhajan, Chants, Ginan, and Nepalese classical and traditional music. He is also well-versed in playing the harmonium, Nepalese cylindrical hand drum ‘madal, guitar, and keyboard. He is an accomplished classical music performer, composer, and songwriter. He has extensively performed numerous national and international music concerts and festivals in Norway, Canada, and Nepal. 

His research focuses on South Asia, particularly on Nepal and India. His main areas of research interest are applied ethnomusicology; traditional music of South Asia; music and diaspora, music sustainability and cultural continuity; music and community well-being; music and gender; music and identity, music business, music industry, copyright.

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Mara Grunau, speaker

Mara Grunau is the Executive Director of the Centre for Suicide Prevention, a branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association in Alberta. Established in 1981, Centre for Suicide Prevention equips Canadians to respond to people at risk of suicide. She holds a Bachelor of Education and a Master’s of Public Administration.

Upwards of 4000 Canadians die by suicide annually. Each year around the world, more people die by suicide than by homicide and war combined. Yet there are few best practices. People are complex, therefore suicide is complex. No two people’s journeys to suicide crisis are the same; each person needs to be considered as the individual s/he is. Because of this complexity, there are few best practices that exist can be grouped in to 4 broad categories: easy, open access to mental health care, responsible media reporting, restriction of lethal means and education (including surveillance and further research). Centre for Suicide Prevention provides the education through secondary research. By collecting all available literature on suicide prevention, CSP boasts the largest English-language library on suicide in the world. We work to continually translate this research into a variety of usable, readily accessible media including webinars, workshops, articles, toolkits and Twitter. Suicide prevention is everyone’s responsibility and once we are equipped with knowledge and skills, we are better prepared to support someone in crisis.

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Sharmila Mathur, sitar

Born in Jaipur, Sharmila Mathur received her Master of Music degree and was honored with a Gold Medal by the University of Rajasthan, India, for her outstanding achievements in Sitar. Being the foremost disciple of Grammy Award winner Pt. Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, Sharmila has been able to learn unique techniques of Bhatt's beautiful style. She has been an Assistant Professor in the University of Rajasthan, teaching Music to graduate and post-graduate students. Along with her stage performances Sharmila played for All India Radio and Television. While living in in Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, United Arab Emirates, and Canada she taught music and performed with many musicians. This exposure allowed her to learn different stylistic elements from local cultures. Since 2005, she has been in Edmonton, teaching and Directing the Indian Music Ensemble at the University of Alberta which was brought to life by Dr. Regula Qureshi many years ago.

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Her recent performances include Raga Mala Edmonton Concert, University of Alberta World Music Sampler, Concert of Afro Canadian Association, Concert for Ankur Association, Edmonton's Capital EX, Explorations Concerts Series by Glen Halls, Raga Mala Calgary, GWG Piece by Piece Series by Maria Dunn, World Music Concert at Winspear (a joint venture between the University of Alberta and the Ragamala Society of Edmonton).

Sharmila’s Guru, Pt. Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, is a disciple of the Late Pt. Ravi Shankar, who pioneered the popularization of Indian Music in the West. It is with this inspiration and heritage that in 2014 she started the Indian Music Academy, which teaches Voice, Tabla, and Sitar in and around the city.

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Bhuyash Neupane, tabla

Bhuyash Neupane is a multi-instrumentalist, singer, and rhythmic ensemble composer hailing from Nepal. He has had his Tabla training under Pt. Nishikant Barodekar (Punjab Gharana) and Eastern Classical Vocal training under Smt. Kumudini Mundkur of Bhendibazaar Gharana. Bhuyash has performed at numerous music venues in India, Nepal and abroad with various musical groups. He has worked with international musicians from different background and is thus student of different music styles too; something he wishes to pursue academically. As a performer of eastern classical music and a student of Nepalese Folk-music, Bhuyash’s attempt has always been to have music-lovers witness cross-pollination of Pure Traditional Performance art with electronica, and ambient music. Bhuyash has been involved in experimental music collaborations happening in and the city of Edmonton, which he believes will help in popularizing Electro-Folk experimentation. You can find him performing with his band “Holy Drone Travellers” and also featuring regularly in Flamenco, Hip-Hop and Rock performances around the city.

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Elise Noyes, soprano

Edmonton Soprano Elise Noyes' extensive background in musical theatre and choral singing has given rise to her budding career on the operatic stage.

This summer, Elise will be making her role and company debut performing Micaela in Mercury Opera’s production of Carmen. She also performed in Manhattan Opera Studio's highly regarded Summer Festival offerings as Marcellina in Le nozze di Figaro at the National Opera Centre and as a featured soloist at Carnegie Hall in New York City. Other roles she has performed include Nancy in Britten’s Albert Herring and Second Lady in selections from Mozart's Die Zauberflöte in concert with UAlberta Opera Workshop. In addition to numerous awards at music festivals and competitions within Canada, she was awarded first prizes in both 2016 and 2019 at the Alberta Provincial Music Festival.


A finalist in 2018's Alberta Concerto Competition Miss Noyes performed Ravel’s Shéhérazade under conductor Michael Massey with the Edmonton Youth Orchestra at the Francis Winspear Centre. A recent graduate of the University of Alberta where she completed her Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance, Miss Noyes continues to be active in performing with a view to pursuing graduate studies here and abroad.

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Leanne Regehr, piano

Leanne Regehr is a versatile and sensitive pianist who is widely recognized for her intuitive ability to collaborate with other musicians across an extensive range of repertoire. She is the featured soloist in a live recording of Victor Davies; Mennonite Piano Concerto with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, and is currently based in Edmonton where she serves on the faculties of the University of Alberta and The King’s University.

Leanne’s reputation in opera has grown through engagements as a répétiteur with Shreveport Opera, Mercury Opera, and Edmonton Opera. Her dedication to the development of young singers has been shown through her work as a faculty member with Opera NUOVA and Cowtown Opera Summer Academy, as a staff pianist for Sherrill Milnes; VoicExperience Program in Florida, and as a Coaching Fellow at the Aspen Music Festival. She has performed with many organizations including the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra, Pro Coro Canada, Da Camera Singers, Luminous Voices, and the Academy Concert Series in Toronto.

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Leanne completed her Doctor of Music in Piano Performance at Northwestern University and explored further studies at the Banff School of Fine Arts, the Universitat Mozarteum in Salzburg and the Aspen Music Festival. She has enjoyed playing the masterworks of the choral repertoire during her seventeen seasons as accompanist with the Richard Eaton Singers, and freelances as a soloist, vocal coach, recital partner, and adjudicator.


Elizabeth Turnbull, mezzo soprano

See biography above under “Concert Organizer”

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Josephine van Lier, cello

A versatile musician and educator, Josephine van Lier is equally at ease on a historic instruments - such as baroque cello, a 5 string violoncello piccolo, a 7 string bass viola da gamba, a violone and tenor and treble gamba -  as on their contemporary counterparts, using instruments and bows whose designs, construction and material span over 400 years in origin; from her 1725 baroque cello, to her 1870 modern cello and the space-age material of her carbon-fibre cello, from gut strings on her historic instruments, to steel strings on the modern ones.

She therefore covers a wide variety of repertoire utilizing the endless possibilities that this range of instruments, string set-ups and bows allow her.

She recently found “the cello of her dreams”, a baroque cello built by John Sexton in 1725. Learn more


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Thank you to University of Alberta: Office of the Dean of Students and Information Services & Technology for their continued support and encouragement.

We respectfully acknowledge the Traditional Territory on which this concert is being held, a welcoming place for peoples from around the world. We would like to acknowledge and thank the diverse Indigenous peoples whose footsteps have marked this territory for centuries such as: Cree, Saulteaux, Niisitapi (Blackfoot), Métis, Nakota Sioux.