Two pianists, Gentiane MG and Florian Hoefner, and two vocalists, Ellen Doty and Amanda Martinez, will headline the jazz concerts to be presented next spring at the National Arts Centre.
Their concerts were announced Tuesday as part of 30 new shows in the centre's NAC Presents series. Also included in the series is a tribute to calypso singer Harry Belafonte on February 22 including Canadian jazz singers Florence K and Alex Cuba.
Florian Hoefner is an accomplished composer and pianist, whose fluent and interlaced music has consistently evoked standing ovations and sold-out shows in his Ottawa concerts. He was born and educated in Germany, and worked for years in NYC, where he collaborated with guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel.
In 2014, he moved to St. John's, Newfoundland when his wife was appointed a professor at Memorial University. He has made many connections here and toured several times across Canada. In 2015, he was awarded the Stingray Rising Star Award by the Montreal Jazz Festival for his compositions.
In Ottawa, he's played solo, with his international quintet, and with the German jazz group Subtone. For his NAC Fourth Stage show on February 19, he's bringing his new Canadian trio, with drummer Nick Fraser and bassist Andrew Downing.
Both Fraser and Downing are major figures in Toronto's jazz scene: highly versatile musicians who have often played together. Fraser's music ranges from free jazz to mainstream, including playing with pianists David Braid and Nancy Walker, while Downing has played everything from creative music to chamber music to mainstream jazz to world music.
At the NAC, the trio will perform “a completely new repertoire of his originals and arrangements of folk songs from different parts of the world”.
Gentiane MG is an up-and-coming Montreal jazz pianist who has played in Ottawa at GigSpace and Record Runner. Classically trained, she won multiple scholarships to study jazz at McGill University, including with internationally renowned pianist Jean-Michel Pilc, and has worked with many well-known musicians in Montreal's jazz scene.
This year, she received the signal honour of being named the 2018-19 Révélations jazz choice by Radio-Canada. Each year, the NAC showcases the Révélations choices. OttawaJazzScene.ca has consistently been impressed with their musicality, as we were with Gentiane in her first show in Ottawa.
For her NAC Fourth Stage concert on March 28, she'll perform with her long-standing trio with bassist Levi Dover and drummer Louis-Vincent Hamel. In 2017, they released their first CD together, Eternal Cycle, with music combining lyricism with unpredictability and openness.
Ellen Doty is a jazz vocalist from Calgary whose music also incorporates soul, folk, pop and indie music elements, and a storytelling ethos. In 2017, she was named one of the top 35 under 35 jazz artists in Canada by CBC Music: their listing said “her voice is soft, sweet, confident and assured, and combines her deep love of jazz with the influences of the great singer-songwriters of our time.”
Doty performed at GigSpace last April, shortly after her second album, Come Fall, was released on Alma Records. It's a stripped-down album: just piano, voice, and drums. She'll perform at the NAC Fourth Stage on April 12.
Amanda Martinez is a Toronto vocalist whose music blends jazz, Latin, and world music, including evoking her roots from her Mexican father and South African mother and creating an upbeat, sultry sound. She's performed at the NAC several times, most recently in 2016. She currently hosts PANAMANIA, a TV series she produces with CBC Sports that highlights Toronto's cultural scene.
At her NAC Studio show on April 5, she'll be performing music from her most recent CD, Mañana .
Tickets for all the concerts (with the exception of Martinez, which was announced earlier) will go on sale on Friday, October 26, at 10 a.m. Next time you’re at the NAC you can save $17.50 in Ticketmaster service charges per pair of tickets by buying them in-person at the NAC Box office.
Read previous reporting about NAC Presents by OttawaJazzScene.ca
- NAC Presents Diana Panton, Michael Kaeshammer, Petr Cancura's Generation NOW 
- Diana Krall headlines the jazz in NAC Presents this fall
- Will Halifax Jazz Festival's Heather Gibson put jazz on NAC stages as the new NAC Presents producer?
- NAC Presents mixes jazz with folk and pop in its 2015-16 season
- David Braid, Jill Barber, Mike Rud, and John Geggie featured in NAC concerts in 2015
- NAC Presents instrumental jazz in its 2013-14 program
- NAC Presents - an all-vocal jazz lineup for 2012-13
- An in-depth tour and peek behind the scenes of the new Fourth Stage in Canada's National Arts Centre