The Ensemble Vivant Latin Project was born from pianist and artistic director Catherine Wilson’s interest in the music of Astor Piazzolla and many of his lesser known contemporaries. The result was the critically acclaimed CD Homage to Astor Piazzolla (2011). John Terauds of the Toronto Star wrote, “Ensemble Vivant does a fantastic job with the nuevo tango of Piazzolla … these musicians capture the passion and the verve … Wilson’s piano gives this music unerring drive and plenty of sparkle.”
And there was more praise, “This disc sings with heartfelt passion, tenderness, elegance and originality … precious contribution to the roster of existing Piazzolla recordings … destined to become a classic.” (Julien Labro, accordionist, bandoneonist, arranger); “To my heart, your rendition of ‘Oblivion’ is the most touching I have ever heard: Bravo!” (François Paré, Radio-Classique, Montréal); “Ensemble Vivant live up to their name with this lively, spirited, affecting production … flawlessly executed … Ensemble Vivant’s heartbreakingly beautiful rendition of ‘Adios Nonino’ alone is reason enough to add this disc to the collection – but it’s hardly the only one.” (Chris Morgan, Scene Magazine, London, Ontario).
The musicians for the Ensemble Vivant Latin Project are: Catherine Wilson, piano; Rebekah Wolkstein, violin; Norman Hathaway, viola; Sybil Shanahan, cello; Jim Vivian, bass; Juan Carlos Medrano, percussion. Juan Barbou, percussionist of Capilano University’s Jazz Program raved about a recent Ensemble Vivant concert, “absolutely great performance of Aldemaro Romero’s ‘Fuga con Pajarillo’. I am from Venezuela and have been listening to this piece my entire life ... terrific energy, passion and feeling.”
Ensemble Vivant (ensemblevivant.com) has 12 recordings with Opening Day (distributed by E1). Jazz great Rick Wilkins, C.M. commented, “No matter the genre, there is magic in Ensemble Vivant's music-making". Ensemble Vivant is dedicated to fostering a love of great music among our youth through the charitable organization EUTERPE (euterpemusicarts.com), whose invaluable work was endorsed by neuroscientist Dr. Laurel Trainor of MIMM, McMaster University.