Kathleen Allan is a soprano, composer, and conductor from St. John’s, NL. Her compositions have been commissioned by ensembles throughout Canada, and performed across North America, the UK, and in Argentina, where her work was featured at the World Symposium on Choral Music. In 2012, she was awarded an Emerging Composer Residency by the Canadian Music Centre and Canadian League of Composers. She has received two NL Arts and Letters Awards for her compositions.
Equally in demand as a soprano soloist and professional choral singer, she has appeared as a soloist with National Broadcast Orchestra of Canada and Berkshire Choral Festival Choir, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and Vancouver Bach Choir, and UBC combined ensembles. In addition to freelancing regularly in Canada and the US, she is a member of the Atlanta-based Skylark Vocal Ensemble, was a member of the Yale Schola Cantorum from 2012-13, and was a member of the Vancouver Chamber Choir from 2010-12. A passionate interpreter of new vocal music, she has premiered over two dozen works for the voice, and her 2011 recital of original vocal music received national media attention on CBC.
In 2013-14, Ms. Allan Roark was the assistant conductor of the Yale Glee Club, director of the Yale Glee Club Chamber Singers, and assistant conductor of the New Haven All-City Honor Choir. During her time in Vancouver, she directed the Vancouver Bach Children’s Chorales and was director of choirs at the Vancouver Academy of Music Summer Institute. In 2013, she was appointed Conducting Fellow of the Canadian Chamber Choir.
Upcoming engagements include a premiere of an original work for tenor and string quartet and performances as guest conductor for Handel’s Messiah and Bach’s Christmas Oratorio in Japan. She holds a degree in composition from the University of British Columbia, a Masters of Choral Conducting from Yale University.
Benton Roark’s music has been described as “ardent and soaring” (The National Post), “divergent” and “trippy” (The Vancouver Observer), and a “mysterious landscape of instrumental timbre”, (WholeNote Magazine). His work has been presented by companies and ensembles such as Tapestry Opera, Triplepoint Trio, the Bozzini Quartet, Ear Heart Music, retheatre, Redshift Music, and the Erasmus Foundation. Roark has also enjoyed critical acclaim as a performer of his own music as a bandleader and solo artist (“a crafty folk experimentalist”, Creative Loafing Atlanta).
Over the past few years Roark has worked increasingly in the experimental music theatre realm with projects such as Shadow Catch (“an evocative score”, The Bulletin), Songs from the Rainshadow’s Edge (“simply beautiful”, New Music Buff), The Whisky Opera (“best piece of the evening”, NOW Toronto), and Off Leash (“one of the most unique theatrical experiences currently on Vancouver stages”, Vancity Buzz). Ever imbued with a passion for the strange and formidable, he also recently spearheaded a new instrument design project in collaboration with Redshift Music, This Is It Design Inc, and Fringe Percussion (City of Water, Sea of Glass), resulting in him building the Lumiphone, a glass marimba in 31-tone equal temperament.
Roark’s work can be heard on a number of recordings, including the Bozzini Quartet’s À chacun sa miniature, Mark Takeshi McGregor’s Sins and Fantasies, Arkora’s Songs from the Rainshadow’s Edge (nominated for Composition of the Year by the 2016 Western Canadian Music Awards), and three records of original work with Rollaway and The Benton Roark Band (“dirty-southern-gothic-rock-country-folk”, Discorder Magazine). Roark holds degrees from Oberlin College and Conservatory and the University of British Columbia, and he has been a resident artist at the Banff Centre, The Atlantic Center for the Arts, Avaloch Farm, and the American Conservatory at Fontainebleau, where he was co-recipient of the Tournon Branley Prize for collaborative work in architecture and music. A tireless arts advocate, Roark has served as past President of Vancouver Pro Musica and is currently Associate Artistic Director of Redshift Music Society and Co-Artistic Director of Arkora Music.