Dr. Rachel Rensink-Hoff is Director of Choral Activities and Assistant Professor of Music at McMaster University, where she teaches courses in conducting and choral pedagogy. Prior to her appointment at McMaster, she taught at The University of Western Ontario where she completed both her Doctorate in Music and Masters in Choral Conducting, with additional choral studies at the Eastman School of Music Conducting Institute, the Voice Care Network of St. Johns University, Minnesota, and the University of Toronto. She has engaged in masterclasses under conductors Anton Armstrong, Helmuth Rilling, Joseph Flummerfelt, Dale Warland and the late Sir David Willcocks.
Under her direction, the McMaster choral program has steadily gained recognition in the Hamilton arts community and beyond for its inspired performances. The choirs have been featured on CBC Radio and have enjoyed collaborations with the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra, the McMaster for Music and the Mind, Chorus Niagara, Vancouver Chamber Choir, Royal Hamilton Light Infantry, Momentum Choir of Niagara, Toronto Mass Choir and (the former) Opera Hamilton.
Past-President of Choirs Ontario and Vice-President of Programming for Choral Canada, Rachel is the 2014 winner of the prestigious Leslie Bell Prize for Choral Conducting awarded by the Ontario Arts Council. In 2015, her McMaster Women’s Choir was awarded first prize in the 2015 National Canadian Choral Competition for Amateur Choirs of the CBC and Choral Canada. That same year she was also nominated for the Excellence in Teaching Award at McMaster University. An active member of the McMaster Institute of Music and the Mind, she publishes regularly in the Choral Journal of the American Choral Directors’ Association as well as in Choral Canada’s Anacrusis and The Canadian Music Educator. She works frequently across Canada as guest conductor, adjudicator, conference presenter and workshop clinician.
In March of 2017 she co-presented a session on Canadian and American women choral composers at the national conference of the American Choral Director’s Association in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She will also be co-presenting a session on Canadian choral music at the World Choral Symposium of the International Federation for Choral Music this summer in Barcelona, Spain and has been invited to serve as guest conductor of the 2017 Nova Scotia Provincial Youth Choir.
Karen Lam has been accompanying the McMaster University Choir since 2009. Prior to that, Karen was accompanist for the Richmond-Hill based Vocal Horizons Chamber choir under the direction of Vincent Cheng. Karen received her ARCT diploma in Piano Performance at the age of 15, under the tutelage of her mother and prominent Chinese-Canadian composer, Mr. An-Lun Huang, shortly after which she studied with critically-acclaimed pianist and chamber musician, Peter Longworth, who continues to be her longtime mentor. She had previously been a student at the Young Artists’ Performance Academy of the Royal Conservatory of Music, where she had performed in masterclasses with internationally renowned artists including Marc Durand, Claude Frank, André Laplante, Stéphane Lemelin, Andrew Burashko and Leslie Kinton. Today, Karen currently maintains a busy schedule as an avid accompanist, performer and piano teacher in Hamilton, Burlington, Oakville and in the Greater Toronto Area, in which she has recently performed in Hamilton’s Live Chamber Music Series, served as accompanist for the Alata Harmonia Chorus of Canada led by Lillian Sit and is currently collaborating with the Emmanuel Chamber Choir led by Dr. Daphne Su. In December, Karen will be giving an invited solo performance as part of the Noon Hour Concert Series at the Hamilton Public Central Library at Jackson Square.