Biographies

Biographies

Potrait of Edette Gagné Edette Gagné Photo credit: Michelle Doherty Photography

Our Artistic Director

Edette Gagné was appointed Artistic Director and Conductor of the Vivaldi Chamber Choir in June 2015 and joins the Board of Directors of the Society ex officio. Edette's biography appears below. In addition many other fine musicians have contributed their leadership skills, special knowledge and brilliance as composer or arranger, enabling the Vivaldi Chamber Choir to develop its performance of a broad range of musical styles and excellence in languages from worlds old and new and from all periods.

Edette Gagné

A charismatic and dynamic conductor, Edette Gagné has built a reputation for excellence in musical performance in her work. Presently, the Canadian West Coast is her home, where in addition to her position of Artistic Director of the Vivaldi Chamber Choir she is currently the Music Director and Conductor of the Coast Symphony Orchestra, the newly appointed Artistic Director of the British Columbia Boys Choir, the Stage Director and Conductor for the North Shore Light Opera Society and the Choir Director for Kids Sing Chorus. Edette also volunteers with the Vancouver Womens' Musical Society, where she supports emerging professional musicians in her position as President. Her passion for music is fuelled by intense musicianship and attention to detail, and Edette’s performances reflect both careful adherence to performance practice and the high standards she sets for both herself and her ensembles.

Her passion for music is infectious. Fuelled by intense musicianship and attention to detail, Edette’s performances reflect both careful adherence to performance practice and the high standards she sets for both herself and her ensembles. Edette approaches every endeavour with zeal, energy and dedication. Her conducting experiences have now circumnavigated the globe, with shows conducted across Canada, in Sydney Australia, Bulgaria, the Ukraine, Los Angeles and New York City. She is in great demand as a guest conductor, adjudicator, vocal coach and lyric soprano. A strong proponent of new and rarely performed works, Edette has conducted several World, North American and Canadian premières.

Edette holds a Master of Music degree in conducting from the University of Calgary, Bachelor degrees in arts and education from the University of Alberta, as well as Associate Performance Diplomas in piano and voice from the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. She has studied conducting with Helmut Rilling, Toshi Shimada, Paula Holcombe, Allan McMurray, Frank Klassen, Diane Wittry, Kenneth Woods, David Hoose and Christopher Zimmerman.

Past Artistic Directors


Rita Radzikowski


Rita studied conducting with Martin Stefani in Germany, and in Vancouver with Steve Morgan and Leslie Dala. Rita conducted and directed the Vancouver Mennonite Children's Choir for eleven years, and the Coquitlam Canzonets, a district school choir, for seven years. As a soprano Rita has been active as a recitalist and guest performer. She has studied in Germany with Professor William Reimer as well as Luigi Wood and Gary Zeller in Vancouver.

Peter Dent


For much of his early life Peter Dent worked as an adult educator and arts administrator, maintaining music as a recreational activity. His developing amateur career as baritone lead him to consider music more seriously. Peter studied conducting with James Fankhauser and Phil Mattson. He conducted Jazz Etc. for many years, led the a capella group Home Made Jam and until 2002 Peter was the conductor of The Pacific Singers. He has composed several choral works and studied composition with Fred Stride. Mr Dent is also active as a jazz pianist.

Click here for a current profile of Peter Dent and his activities.

Earle Peach


For several seasons Earle Peach sang in the Vivaldi Chamber Choir as section leader for the basses. His involvment with the local music scene is extensive and the choir is always pleased when he is able to make a guest appearance or act as our relief rehearsal conductor.

In the broader world Earle is a composer, conductor, musician and organizer. He has written extensively for film, theatre and choir. Earle currently conducts four choirs, including a labour choir, a mental health choir, a regular community choir and a drop-in choir in the Downtown East Side of Vancouver. Also in the Downtown East Side, he teaches a stage band at the Carnegie Centre at Main and Hastings. Earle also plays in a trio called Songtree with his partner Barbara and fiddler Merryn Edwards; in a Sudanese band built around the music of oudh player and singer Ala'aEldin Abdalla; in an a cappella quartet (named, appropriately enough, Quatro) with Barbara, Ieva Wool and Elliott Dainow; and in a labour history trio. Earle tells us that in his spare time he makes up trashy dance music on the computer, and grows vegetables (when they cooperate).

Some of Earle's film work has been catalogued by the New York Times. You can find out more about Earle and his current activities, including his latest CD, "By The Flood" on Earle's Web Site or his MySpace page

David Millard


David Millard was born in Vancouver in 1959. A mild childhood interest in classical music became an obsession when, at the age of thirteen (in Helsinki-but that's another story), he watched a televised Bach organ recital. Upon his return to Canada he sought out recordings of Bach, but studiously avoided the family piano until one day he heard his brother fooling around at the keyboard and sibling rivalry kicked in. He found that he had a talent for improvisation, and formal piano lessons soon followed. An impromptu visit to a church near his piano teacher's house resulted in meeting William Bourns, who became his first organ teacher, and who guided him to two silver medals in Toronto Conservatory organ exams. A rash offer of serving as assistant organist at St. Catherine's Church in North Vancouver sealed his fate; a Church musician was born.

David proceeded from there to the University of Victoria to study music history, organ and harpsichord. While at UVic, David took an introductory course in Linguistics which led him (after a brief excursus in Anthropology) to an MA in that discipline. He combined the two interests with research into historical and regional pronunciations of Latin in music performance (fifteen years before the subject became fashionable in the Early Music world). After his return to North Vancouver, David took up organist posts at St. Clement's, St. John's, and Holy Trinity Cathedral. He is now Director of Music at St. Martin's Anglican Church in North Vancouver-the very church where he met his first organ teacher.

In 1989, he heard that a new choir was looking for singers, and told a friend about it. A month later, the friend talked David into joining the choir-the Vivaldi Chamber Choir-then under the direction of Rita Radzikowski. Ten years later, when Rita retired, David took over as Artistic Director. He also directs the Vancouver Jewish Folk Choir, and periodically serves as musical director for the North Shore Light Opera Society. After 14 years as a very successful leader David retired to enjoy more fully other aspects of his life.

Sarit Aloni


Sarit Aloni is recognized as a conductor, singer, pianist, choral arranger and educator. Sarit attended the Perugia Conservatory of Music (Italy) for graduate studies in Opera performance and holds an undergraduate degree in vocal performance from Tel Aviv Academy of Music, where she studied conducting with Dr. Noam Sheriff and Avner Etai. She taught voice and piano, and performed regularly in Israel and Italy, including as a soloist at the Vatican in Rome. She founded the Anashim choir, a women's choir in Italy and currently conducts the International Choir at the University of British Columbia where she is a Master of Music candidate in choral conducting at the School of Music. She was appointed Atistic Director of the Vivaldi Chamber Choir in June 2014.