The Blue Engine String Quartet was formed in 1997 as the core ensemble of the Nova Scotia chamber music series, Blue Engine Music. The Quartet (Jennifer Jones, Anne Simons, Margot Aldrich, Hilary Brown) are all members of Symphony Nova Scotia.
Blue Engine holds true to classical roots, performing many of the masterworks of the string quartet repertoire, as well as contemporary and popular music. The Quartet has worked closely with important Canadian composers Christos Hatzis, Peter Togni, Tony Genge and Brian Current. The members of the BESQ are proud to champion works by women composers: Amy Beach, Fanny Mendelssohn, Rebecca Clarke and Germaine Tailleferre among them.
They are frequently broadcast on CBC Radio and CBC Television, and have appeared with artists like Michael Bublé, Jill Barber, Meaghan Smith, and Jenn Grant. They have performed for the Governor General of Canada and the Duchess of York.
Women’s Podium Leadership • Aug 9
Dr. Hilary Apfelstadt recently retired from her position as Director of Choral Activities and Professor of Conducting at the University of Toronto. Raised in Nova Scotia, she earned degrees from the University of Toronto, the University of Illinois, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Formerly Director of Choral Activities and Associate Director of the School of Music at the Ohio State University (1993 – 2010), she has conducted choirs at divisional and national conferences of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA), and conducted the University of Toronto MacMillan Singers at Podium 2012, the national conference of Choral Canada. She has directed all-state choruses in 35 states and led the 2011 Ontario Youth Choir.
Her research interests include choral pedagogy; repertoire, particularly of Canadian composers; and leadership styles among conductors. She is currently preparing a book on the life and work of Canadian composer, Ruth Watson Henderson. She is a frequent conference presenter and often does conducting master classes at various levels, including several university residencies.