Claude brings a unique blend of focused intensity and lighthearted enthusiasm to his work and his winning combination of passion and good humour inspires music lovers of all ages. Since founding the NSCE alongside Jay Knutson in 1998, Claude's artistic vision has been our organization's guiding light. It springs from an innate quest for excellence, a desire to connect with community, a willingness to explore and interact with all aspects of music. With now six CDs, a dozen original compositions and multiple performances across BC each year, the NSCE is going strong and continues to expand under his expert leadership. For this accomplishment, Claude was the recipient of the 2016 Outstanding Supporter of Youth Award by the City of North Vancouver.
A consummate artist himself, and a graduate of the Vancouver Academy of Music, Claude's music experience is varied and explorative. As a professional violinist, Claude has a drive for excellence and a passion for bringing out the best in others through music. He is a founding member of the Babayaga String Quartet with whom he recorded an album and played at both the Vancouver and Montréal International Jazz Festivals. He has played with the Vancouver Symphony, the Vancouver Opera Orchestra and CBC Orchestra, toured western Canada with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and performed at the Queen Elizabeth Playhouse as the co-creator of a musical-theatre production called ‘Timesteps – The Story of Music”. Claude was also the musical director of Les Danseurs du Pacifique during their tour of France and Italy and has played in back-up orchestras for big production shows in Vancouver such as Page and Plant, Rod Steward and Smokey Robinson. Prior to this, he studied at the Conservatoire de Musique du Québec and was a member of the National Youth Orchestra.
Immersed in Celtic music since childhood, Kirin brings a passion for and deep knowledge of the folk tradition into the classroom. She began her musical journey with the Coast String Fiddlers of Roberts Creek, BC and went on to acquire a Diploma in Jazz Piano from Capilano University. The NSCE met Kirin backstage in a theatre at the 2013 Aberdeen International Youth Festival, and since then she has been a regular composer, arranger, and performer for the group. She also performs locally with guitarist William Chernoff in their duo, Black Sheep.
Kirin is also a passionate environmental educator and hobby beekeeper. In 2016, she received an Award of Excellence from Interpretation Canada for her work in educational musical theatre. Presently, she guides field trips in Metro Vancouver's mountain watersheds, helping children to discover where their tap water comes from.
Jodie Nowell joined the Junior Ensemble in 2007 and spent four years playing in the Senior Ensemble. She travelled to Québec and Scotland with the group, making hundreds of wonderful memories along the way. She is delighted to be back with the ensemble and can't wait to share the magic of fiddle tunes and performance with them.
Annie is a theatre maker, musician, and aspiring goatherd working in a variety of creative capacities through North Vancouver and beyond. She grew up as a foot-tapping and bow-swinging member of the North Shore Celtic Ensemble (2003-2010), where she discovered a passion for performance, tune-sharing, and Scandinavian fiddle styles. Since then she has extended her artistry to include theatrical practises such as directing, clowning, and devised creation work, and completed her BFA at SFU. All the while, Annie has fiddled up a storm and gathered as many tunes as possible into her repertoire. She is thrilled to be working with the NSCE once more, whose teachings have made such a strong imprint on her heart.