Hailed by CBC Music as the top 10 emerging music act to watch in 2017, Halifax-based Fifth Wind is a woodwind quintet whose genuine enjoyment of their intimate musical connection has inspired many adventurous collaborations and educational initiatives. United in their commitment to both embrace the traditions of the woodwind quintet genre and break new ground via collaborations, founding members Jack Chen (flute), Suzanne Lemieux (oboe), Eileen Walsh (clarinet), Ivor Rothwell (bassoon) and Mary Lee (horn) are established musicians in the Canadian music scene whose love of chamber music is contagious and inspiring. 

Fifth Wind has performed extensively throughout the Maritimes, on professional music series and in schools and universities. Their collaborators have included storytellers, choral and wind ensembles, a DJ/Beatboxer, a harpist, participatory audience, Apple’s Siri, and even an owl! Their enthusiasm in encouraging the growth and performance of the wind quintet repertoire has led them to collaborate with established composers and nurture young emerging talents. 

Beginning in the 2017/2018 season, Fifth Wind has established Wind Quintet International (WQI), an organization whose goal is to serve as a hub of creativity for all things wind quintet! Spearheaded by Fifth Wind who are recipients of the prestigious Canada Council New Chapter grant, WQI’s debut collaborative project “Our Canada: Forecasting the Canadian Wind,” will bring together five professional Canadian wind quintets to premiere five new commissions from composers across Canada in the fall of 2018. 

Additional highlights of Fifth Wind’s 2018/2019 season include a ‘Saturday Morning Cartoons’ screening with live music with percussionist Erin Donovan by Christopher Palmer for Inner Space Concerts, Musique Royale’s Cookie Concert, Dartmouth Community Concert Association and Acadia University Noon Hour Series.

DSC 0054

Having shared the stage and camera with Amy Grant, Sir James Galway, Michael Giacchino, Bobby McFerrin and Doc Severinsen, Canadian flutist Jack Chen appeared in 13 PBS television music specials and toured with Tim Janis, Finnouala Gill, EMI artist Giorgia Fumanti, Ryland Angel and “Siren.” Having earned his masters degree in flute and early music performance from Indiana University, Jack has studied with flutists Jeanne Baxtresser, William Bennet, Robert Dick, Patrick Gallois, Sarah Jackson, Bart Kuijken, Robert Langevin and Emmanuel Pahud. Jack can be heard on the recent orchestral and cinematic albums “Horizons,” “Awakening” and “Unconditional.”  Appointed Instructor of Flute and Flute Methods at Acadia University, Jack also coaches several high-energy flute ensembles and teaches flute throughout the Maritime.

DSC 0034

Suzanne Lemieux became Principal Oboe of Symphony Nova Scotia in 1986, following three years in the same capacity with the Victoria Symphony. She has performed as soloist with SNS on more than twenty programmes. She has premiered and commissioned works by many Canadian composers including Christos Hatzis, Marjan Mozetich, Steve Tittle, Bob Bauer, Dennis Farrell, Jerome Blais. She also performed the Canadian premieres of pieces for oboe by British composers H.Birtwhistle, S. North and O.Knusssen among others. Suzanne has recorded Hatzis' Telluric Dances for Oboe and Orchestra for CBC records and gave the US premiere of this work at Avery Fisher Hall. Suzanne returns to Scotia Festival of Music annually, and has been invited to most of the Atlantic Canada summer festivals where she has played with the Penderecki Quartet and the Quatuor Arthur Leblanc. She has performed chamber music at the National Arts Centre's Salon and Fourth Stage and was a guest at the Picton County Chamber Music Festival.  (photo by Perry Jackson)

DSC 0022

Clarinetist Eileen Walsh has been Second Clarinet and Bass Clarinet with Symphony Nova Scotia since October 2007. Formerly the Associate Principal and E-flat Clarinet with the South Bend Symphony, Eileen earned her master of music degree and performer diploma from Indiana University in the studio of Eli Eban. Eileen completed her Bachelor’s degree in Vancouver, Canada at UBC in the studio of Wesley Foster, and she was the recipient of the Aspen Music Scholarship and Mathilda Heck Woodwind Award at the WAMSO Young Artist Competition in 2006. She has been a semifinalist at the International Clarinet Association’s Young Artist Competition twice.  Eileen has attended many festivals and masterclasses, including summers at the National Youth Orchestra of Canada, Aspen Music Festival, National Academy Orchestra of Canada, Orford Arts Centre, and Domaine Forget Academy of Music and Dance. Her solo performances with orchestra include the Nielsen and Copland Clarinet Concertos.  (photo by Perry Jackson)

Hornist Mary Lee is originally from Toronto, and completed her musical training at the University of Toronto, and the Utrecht Conservatory in the Netherlands. During her undergraduate years she spent two summers at the Banff Centre and participated in masterclasses in Freiburg, Germany.  Mary’s first orchestral job took her to Israel to play with the Israel Sinfonietta. Shortly after that, in 1989, she won the position of second horn with Symphony Nova Scotia, and has been there ever since.  Mary is active as a chamber musician, horn instructor, coach and adjudicator and is on the faculty at Acadia University and the Maritime Conservatory of the Performing Arts. She greatly enjoys her work with horn students of all ages and abilities and continues her learning through teaching.

DSC 0040

Ivor Rothwell is a Canadian bassoonist. For the last 28 years, he has been Principal Bassoonist of Symphony Nova Scotia. Before this, he had been a member of the Calgary Philharmonic, the KW Symphony. He is an active teacher and chamber musician in Nova Scotia, founding member, recorder player and baroque bassoonist of the period-instrument early music ensemble Rejouissance and Fifth Wind quintet.

© Fifth Wind 2019