Catherine Robbin graces the stage in a rare public performance at York

Internationally recognized mezzo-soprano Catherine Robbin, a York music professor, makes a rare public performance at the Music Department’s Faculty Concert Series on Feb. 21.

Right: Catherine Robbin

This concert also marks Robbin’s first recital since retiring as an active performer in 2003. She will share the stage with colleagues Colin Ainsworth, tenor, and Raisa Nakhmanovich, pianist. The concert takes place at 7:30pm in the Tribute Communities Recital Hall, 112 Accolade East Building, Keele campus.

Robbin’s solo program will feature a selection of songs by Mendelssohn and Brahms, including Auf Flügeln des Gesanges, Nachtlied, Venetianisches Gondellied, Die Mainacht, Sonntag and Von ewiger Liebe, as well as Debussy’s Chansons de Bilitis, and Britten’s song cycle A Charm of Lullabies. Ainsworth will join her in Britten’s canticle Abraham and Isaac and some of Britten’s folksong arrangements.

One of Canada’s best-known classical singers, Robbin earned an international reputation during her 30-year career as a performing and recording artist. Noted especially for her interpretation of Baroque and Romantic repertoire, she has appeared with leading conductors and orchestras in recital, concert and opera performances across North America and Europe, with broadcasts on the BBC, CBC and Radio France. Her discography features more than 30 CDs ranging from Vivaldi and Pergolesi cantatas to Mozart and Handel operas, on labels such as Deutsche Grammophon, EMI, Philips, Teldec, CBC, Marquis and Decca.

Left: Colin Ainsworth

Music Magazine has hailed Robbin as "one of the most naturally beautiful voices in Canada [with] a warmly expressive palette of subtle nuance and shading". Robbin’s honours include a Juno Award, Gramophone Record of the Year, Grand Prix de Disque and a Grammy nomination.

She joined York’s Music Department in 2000, and retired from her active performance career three years later to dedicate herself to teaching full time. She currently coordinates the classical vocal performance program at York.

Toronto-based tenor Ainsworth, an instructor in York’s Music Department, has been praised for his "magnetic stage presence" (Toronto Star) and his "rock-solid technique, excellent diction, and…virile tone" (Globe and Mail). His dramatic range encompasses operas ranging from Monteverdi to MacRae and Britten. He has performed with London’s Royal Opera, the Greek National Opera, Opera Atelier and L’Opéra Français de New York among others. This season sees him performing across Canada with the Manitoba Opera, Opera Ontario, Edmonton Opera, Vancouver Opera, Winnipeg Symphony, Vancouver Bach Choir and the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra.

Right: Raisa Nakhmanovich

Nakhmanovich, a well-known accompanist and music director, teaches piano, piano accompaniment and piano pedagogy at York. She has worked as a pianist and coach with Toronto Opera Repertoire, Opera Mississauga and Toronto Operetta Theatre, and as a musical director with such companies as Opera in Concert, Summer Opera Lyric Theatre, Opera Buffa, Premiere Opera Company and Creative Artist Productions among others.

Admission is $15, students $5. For tickets, order online at the Box Office or phone 416-736-5888.