Claude brings a unique blend of focused intensity and lighthearted enthusiasm to his work as Artistic Director of the North Shore Celtic Ensemble. Motivated always to encourage and to connect with others, Claude and Jay developed an alternative music program that has continued to evolve over the past 16 years. With six CDs, a dozen original compositions and multiple performances across BC yearly, the organization is going strong and continues to expand under his expert leadership.
A consummate artist himself and a graduate of the Vancouver Academy of Music, Claude's music experience is explorative and varied. As a professional violinist Claude has a passion for excellence and for bringing out the best in others through music. He is a founding member of the Babayaga string quartet and with them recorded a CD and played the Vancouver and Montreal 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”.
He was 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.
Claude’s vision for the NSCE springs from an innate quest for excellence, a desire to connect in community and a willingness to explore and to interact with all aspects of music. In 2016, Claude was the recipient of the Outstanding Supporter of Youth Award by the City of North Vancouver.
- Artistic Director for Strings & Things
Assistant Artistic Director for the Intro Group
Trained in Celtic and classical violin, Brienne joined the NSCE at the age of 10 and she hasn't left yet! During her time as a member of the NSCE, she participated in the Ensemble's first three studio recordings and was part of the first appearance of the NSCE at the Aberdeen Youth Festival, as well as many other NSCE tours. In 2009, Brienne transitioned from student to teacher to head the NSCE's newly created novice programs. Since then she and Noah Gauthier have developed the Strings & Things novice program and the Intro Group for the NSCE, where they balance fun with a desire to learn and excel. Drawing on her dramatic and choral background, Brienne also integrates voice and a strong performance foundation into the program.
Outside of the NSCE, Brienne holds a Bachelors of Kinesiology and is the founder and Director of RISE Youth Society, a non-profit dedicated to using movement programs to empower teen girls to improve their lives and connect with others. She also works as a lifeguard and Red Cross Teacher Trainer.
- Artistic Director for the Intro Group
Assistant Artistic Director for Strings & ThingsAndrew first joined the Junior Ensemble back in 2010 at the ripe age of 14. He then spent three years playing in the Senior group; getting the chance to tour both Quebec and Scotland, which became highlights of his high school years. After graduating, he casually played with his band Still Water and took some time to travel Asia. Upon coming home from his travels, he realized that he missed the NSCE and wanted to try his hand at teaching. This is his second year as the Artistic Director of the Intro group, and he is excited to push the group to higher levels while continuing to create a fun and social environment.Andrew is currently completing his Undergraduate in Applied Biology at UBC. He tries to spend most of his free time in the forest or on a mountain, doing anything that involves mud or snow. He spent the summer instructing outdoor adventure camps on Seymour Mountain.
Kirin has been immersed in Celtic music since childhood, getting her start with the Coast String Fiddlers of Roberts Creek, BC. She loves to blend folk traditions with other styles and holds a Diploma in Jazz Piano from Capilano University. Beyond the NSCE, she also performs with Elsay, a lively quartet that has twice graced the stages of CelticFest Vancouver.
Kirin is also a passionate outdoor and environmental educator. She presents sustainability programs for schools across the Lower Mainland and coaches youth rock climbing. Previously, she has written and performed ecology-themed musical amphitheatre shows for Alberta Parks, and snowshoe guided in the beautiful North Shore Mountains.
Will has set his eclectic bass style in the NSCE while adding jazz sensibility to "West Coast Celtic" since 2014. He is known for combining quiet, scholarly discipline in rehearsal with joyful movement on stage. Proudly from New Westminster, he traverses the region as a performing contractor / private instructor.Will's passions include hockey, fiction, physics, and sociology; he also gradually transcribes the complete works of his favourite musicians.