Catherine Gardner’s performance of “Donna Elvira” in Opera Kitchener’s Don Giovanni was greeted with critical praise; “Donna (Elvira) is sung & acted by Catherine Gardner and her contribution to the success of this rendering is immeasurable. She IS a Donna Elvira…a fearless woman of spirit and indomitability” (Danny Gaisin, Ontario Arts Review, 2012). Highlights of recent performances include singing Strauss' Four Last Songs in a collaborative program at Gallery 345 in Toronto, premiering Canadian one-woman opera The Rival with Orpheus Productions, singing Villa Lobos’ Bachianas Brasileiras at the Arts & Letters Club with the University of Toronto Cello Ensemble, as well as performing Craig Bohmler’s Songs of Stone in its Canadian premiere with the Stratford Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of Judith Yan.
Catherine Gardner is very fond of recital, concert and chamber repertoire and has performed with numerous groups such as the Oslo String Quartet and Stratford-based trio “The Poet Sings,” with whom she performed at the Glenn Gould Studio in Toronto. Her recent first place win at the Andrews University International Vocal Competition allowed her the opportunity to perform Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915 with the Andrews University Orchestra, and under the baton of Claudio Gonzalez. Other solo concert repertoire includes Mozart’s Mass in C Minor (Stratford Summer Music), Rutter’s Magnificat (Baltimore, Maryland), Handel’s Messiah and Fauré’s Requiem.
As well as concert work, Catherine has performed in various operas and opera galas. Highlights include “The Countess” in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro (with the University of Western Ontario and The Centre for Opera Studies in Italy), “Gertrude” in Mark Richard’s Hamlet (Stratford Summer Music), as well as “Pamina” (Die Zauberflöte), “Teresa” (The Reunion; Daniel Crozier) and “Ophelia” (Ophelia Forever; Amy Kirsten) with the Peabody Conservatory of Music Opera Department. Ms. Gardner has also appeared as a soloist at the Bel Canto Foundation’s Annual Gala, Stratford Symphony Orchestra’s “Five Star Gala”, and the Performing Arts Lodge Opera Gala fundraiser with James Westman, Roger Honeywell and Phillip Addis.
Catherine has earned several awards and honours, most recently an Ontario Graduate Scholarship (University of Toronto), two Peabody Career Grants, Finalist at the Christine and Louis Quilico Awards (Toronto), Finalist at the Sylvia Green Voice Competition (Peabody Conservatory), First place in the Baltimore Music Club’s Voice Competition (Professional Division), the George Castelle Memorial Award (Peabody Conservatory), the Gold Medal for highest performance marks among graduates at the University of Western Ontario, and Young artist of the Year Award (London Arts Plus).
As well as performing, Catherine has maintained a busy voice studio since 2004. She is an examiner for Conservatory Canada and recently led two of the Conservatory’s Masterclass Youth Series Weekends in conjunction with The Canadian Music Centre. She also served as guest masterclass clinician at the Vocal Techniques Workshop for undergraduate classical singers in St. Andrews, New Brunswick. In demand as an adjudicator, Catherine has recently adjudicated vocal classes at the Ottawa, Midland, Guelph, Midland and St. John's music festivals. Catherine is currently a Doctor of Music candidate (Vocal Performance) at the University of Toronto where she studies with soprano Wendy Nielsen.