Reaching new audiences and engaging them in the musical experience has always been at the heart of Gertrude Létourneau’s career. Originally from St-Césaire, Québec, she completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Music at the University of Ottawa and her Master’s Degree in Performance at the University of Montreal. She was involved in two innovative programs: the “Musical Performance and Communication Program” in Toronto and the “Performance and Communication Skills Program” at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, England. These courses focused on connecting with the audience and finding new venues to perform.
In January 2023, she participated in a workshop at Orford Music on musical outreach: “Formation de médiation par la musique” and will lead two workshops on performance and communication skills`, Building Bridges for the same organization in April. She has presented music-theatre performances across Canada and has taught children of all ages, including those with learning disabilities. She also studied flute with Geoffrey Gilbert in Florida and has received the National Arts Centre Orchestra Bursary.
Since 2000, Gertrude has been a therapeutic musician at Perley Health in Ottawa. She is a member of the Music and Health Research Institute at the University of Ottawa. At the same time, she continues her performing career. Gertrude is a member of Duo Cecilia with Catherine Donkin, pianist. She released two CDs: “Habanera” for flute and guitar with Garry Elliott and “histoires d’amour…” for voice and piano. She was a finalist in the singing competition Ma Première Place des Arts 2017 in Montreal. Gertrude has presented concerts in various venues in the Ottawa area including the National Arts Centre and Almonte in Concert with the internationally acclaimed traditional music group “The Chris Norman Ensemble”.
Catherine Donkin is an active piano teacher and performer in Ottawa. She holds a Bachelor of Music Degree with Distinction from the University of Alberta, and a Master’s Degree from the University of Ottawa, both in Piano Performance.
Career highlights include a duet performance at Carnegie Hall after placing first in the Bradshaw and Buono International Piano Competition, and another at the Grieg International Piano Competition, where she performed in the Duo Rideau piano duet. She has also performed with orchestra at the University of Alberta, the University of Ottawa, and in a piano duet concerto written by Canadian composer Christine Donkin with the Ottawa Chamber Orchestra. Other groups Catherine has played in include the Ottawa Chamber Players and the Donkin Trépanier Piano Guitar Duet.
She currently performs with Gertrude Létourneau in a flute and piano ensemble called Duo Cecilia which focuses on French Romantic and Impressionist music. She maintains a busy private teaching studio, with students of all ages and levels, and some students attaining recognition nationally and internationally. Catherine is the current president of the Suzuki Association of Ottawa-Gatineau, and is also a founding member of both the uOttawa Summer Music Academy’s piano course, and the Ottawa Piano Festival.