Lauded as “a wizard of the accordion,” Michael Bridge is internationally-renowned for his warm stage personality, stereotype-smashing versatility, and blazing virtuosity. Named one of CBC’s “30 Hot Classical Musicians Under 30”, he made his solo orchestral debut with the Boston Pops and gives over 100 concerts per year in Europe and the Americas. His debut solo album, Overture”, was named CBC Album of the Week.
More than a classical musician, Michael simply describes his repertoire as ‘concert music’ – encompassing baroque, classical, and contemporary works, plus many of his own concert arrangements of folk music. Prolific in working with composers, Michael has given over 40 world premieres. He performs solo or with orchestra, and with his two ensembles – Bridge+Wolak and Ladom Ensemble – and has toured Poland, France, Italy, the U.K., Ecuador, the USA and in every Canadian province.
Michael is pursuing doctoral studies in accordion performance at the University of Toronto, with Joseph Macerollo. His first accordion was purchased at a garage sale for $5 when he was five, and two decades later, he is redefining the perception of his traditional instrument.
Joseph Johnson has been heard throughout the world as a soloist, chamber musician and educator. His festival appearances include performances in all classical genres at the American festivals of Santa Fe, Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society, Bard, Cactus Pear, Grand Teton, and Music in the Vineyards as well as the Pacific Music Festival in Sapporo, Japan, and the Virtuosi Festival in Brazil.
Principal cellist of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra since the 2009/2010 season, Mr. Johnson previously held the same position with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. He also serves as principal cellist of the Santa Fe Opera, and during the 2008-2009 season, was acting principal cellist of the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra. Prior to his Milwaukee appointment, Joseph Johnson was a member of The Minnesota Orchestra cello section for eleven years, during which time he performed numerous chamber music works during the orchestra’s Sommerfest, both as cellist and pianist. He was a founding member of both the Prospect Park Players and the Minneapolis Quartet, the latter of which was honoured with The McKnight Foundation Award in 2005.
A gifted and inspiring teacher, Mr. Johnson is Assistant Professor of Cello at the University of Toronto, the cello coach for the Toronto Youth Symphony, and regular coach and teacher at the New World Symphony in Miami. He has conducted numerous master classes for a wide range of institutions and ensembles, including The Shepherd School of Music at Rice University, Eastman School of Music, Manhattan School of Music, Northwestern University, the youth orchestras of the Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Chicago, and Toronto symphonies, as well as The Glenn Gould School of The Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto.
A graduate of the Eastman School of Music, Joseph Johnson earned his master’s degree from Northwestern University. Awards and honours include a performer’s certificate from the Eastman School of Music and first prize from the American String Teachers Association National Solo Competition.
Mr. Johnson performs on a magnificent Paolo Castello cello crafted in Genoa in 1780. He uses Jarger Superior brand strings exclusively.