Cindy Koistinen, soprano

Praised for her pure, clear tone and beautiful voice, soprano Cindy Koistinen’s performances have been described as “so compelling that it simply shuts off any critical thinking. Seldom can you hear such a lovely voice carried from such genuine musical feeling, that you just close your eyes and listen.” A singer of great intelligence, sensitivity and sincerity, Ms. Koistinen engages her audiences in performances of opera, oratorio and concert repertoire.

After completing a B.A. in Women’s Studies at the University of Alberta, Ms. Koistinen decided to pursue full-time studies in music at UBC. At her audition she was offered a place in the Master’s program and the role of the Countess in The Marriage of Figaro, and went on to perform several roles during her studies including Ann Putnam from The Crucible and Belinda from Dido and Aeneas. She was also chosen to work with distinguished guests such as Dr. Irving Guttman, Rudolf Jansen, Stuart Hamilton and Edith Wiens.

Ms. Koistinen has toured internationally, performing in the Czech Republic in the lead role of Sandrina in Mozart’s Die Gärtnerin Aus Liebe. Other operatic roles she has performed include the role of Eurydice in Offenbach’s Orpheé aux Enfers, Donna Anna from Mozart’s Don Giovanni and Violetta from Verdi’s La Traviata.

Ms. Koistinen’s concert experience includes the soprano solos from Handel’s Messiah and Fauré’s Requiem, Schubert’s Mass in G, as well as Sibelius’ Luonnotar for soprano and orchestra, and most recently the Brahms Requiem and Vaughan Williams Dona Nobis Pacem with the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir.

Heidi Saario, piano

Heidi Saario is a versatile musician as a soloist, a collaborative pianist, and a piano instructor. Her playing has been praised having “a dynamic range of expression that runs from rippling fine sounds of a brook to the thunderous chords of a storm”. A native of Finland, Ms. Saario currently lives in Toronto. She has performed as a soloist and a chamber musician internationally. Recently she has added a Scandinavian focus in her repertoire. Heidi Saario’s debut CD “Jean Sibelius - Compositions for Piano” was released in March 2008. The CD includes a selection of Sibelius’s solo piano pieces. It was recorded at the CBC studios in Toronto and has been warmly welcomed by audiences in Europe and North America. In addition to playing the solo piano repertoire, Ms. Saario actively collaborates with soprano Cindy Koistinen. This duo focuses on promoting and performing Finnish and Scandinavian art song repertoire. Heidi Saario’s solo and collaborative performances take her continuously into many communities across Ontario as well as other provinces in Canada.

Aside from performance, Ms. Saario maintains a busy private studio in Toronto teaching students of all ages and levels. She is a member of the College of Examiners of the Royal Conservatory of Music as well as the Ontario Registered Music Teachers’ Association. She also works as an adjudicator for music festivals and recently adjudicated a Queens County Music festival in Charlottetown, PEI. In addition, she works as a coordinator for the Contemporary Showcase Music festival in Toronto. It is an annual festival promoting music of contemporary Canadian composers.

Heidi Saario started taking piano lessons at the age of four and her professional studies took place at the Helsinki Conservatory. She studied with Anne Kuusanmäki and graduated with a Bachelor of Music Degree. At the Glenn Gould School of The Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, she studied with Leslie Kinton, earning a Masters Degree in Performance and Pedagogy. In Finland, Ms. Saario complemented her studies in Master Classes with Liisa Pohjola, Matti Raekallio, and Teppo Koivisto and in Canada with Jane Coop, Marc Durand, Robert McDonald, and John Perry. She is a recipient of several awards and scholarships including the Women’s Art Association of Canada - Barbara Wilkes Scholarship and Hilda Dorothy Borman Scholarship.