THE IRONWOOD QUARTET is made up of four dynamic and passionate Canadian musicians: Jessica Linnebach and Carissa Klopoushak (violins), David Marks (viola), and Julia MacLaine (cello), a quartet of curious musicians whose home base is Canada’s National Arts Centre. During the short years since their debut in 2014, Ironwood has become one of Canada’s premiere chamber music ensembles. Originally from Edmonton, Saskatoon, Vancouver, and PEI and with musical interests ranging from Beethoven and Ravel to Philip Glass, Ukrainian and American folk music, Tango and Radiohead, their programming reflects a belief in the power of great music to unite.
They first performed together in the inaugural NAC's WolfGANG Sessions at Ottawa’s Mercury Lounge (a series devoted to contemporary chamber music) and immediately felt the strength of their musical connection and their common passion for the tremendous and extensive repertoire for string quartet. Ironwood has achieved critical acclaim for their “take no prisoners” approach to performances and has appeared in Ottawa at the NAC’s Music for a Sunday Afternoon series, at the Steinway Gallery and at the Ritornello Chamber Music Festival in Saskatoon, collaborating with pianists Jon Kimura Parker and Inon Barnatan.
This season has included a residency at Avaloch Music Farm Institute, performances of three Beethoven String Quartets at the NAC's Beethoven Festival, and a program of French and Canadian Music in Paris. Upcoming quartet concerts include a residency at Avaloch, and performances in Nova Scotia (Musique Royale), Prince Edward Island (Indian River Festival), in Winnipeg (GroundSwell), and in Quebec (Pontiac Enchanté).
Beginning July 2019, the quartet are directors of the Classical Unbound Festival which will take place July 26-28 in Prince Edward County, Ontario.
updated June 2019 - please discard earlier biographies
Violinist Jessica Linnebach has distinguished herself among the next generation of Canadian classical artists being lauded on concert stages nationally and around the world. Since her soloist debut at the age of seven, Jessica has appeared with major orchestras throughout North America, Europe and Asia. Jessica has been a member of the National Arts Centre Orchestra (NACO) since 2003 and was named their Associate Concertmaster in April 2010.
Acknowledging the importance of versatility in today’s world, Jessica has developed a reputation as one of those rare artists who has successfully built a multi-faceted career that encompasses solo, chamber and orchestral performances. A passionate chamber musician, Jessica was a founding member of the Zukerman ChamberPlayers, a string quintet led by Pinchas Zukerman. During the 8 years they performed together, they toured extensively to international acclaim appearing throughout North America, South America the Middle East, Europe, and Asia. Their recording of the Mozart Viola Quintet in G minor was nominated for a Juno Award and its fifth release, Quintets by Mozart and Dvorak, is on the Altara Label. Chamber music collaborations have included some of the most illustrious artists of a generation - Emanuel Ax, Yefim Bronfman, James Ehnes, Leon Fleisher, Lynn Harrell, Yo-Yo Ma, Jon Kimura Parker, Itzhak Perlman, Gil Shaham, and Michael Tree.
In 2014, Jessica and three of her NACO colleagues formed the Ironwood String Quartet, and they are frequent performers at various chamber music series and festivals, including the WolfGANG and MFASA series, as well as the Pontiac Enchanté, Ritornello, and Classical Unbound festivals.
As her schedule permits, she is also a solo artist in demand across North America. Over the past couple of years she performed with orchestras in the United States, as well as in Canada, including the Edmonton and Thunder Bay Symphonies, and the National Arts Centre Orchestra.
Jessica is also the Artistic Director of the ‘Classical Unbound Festival’, a chamber music festival in Prince Edward County.
Accepted to the world-renowned Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia at the age of ten, Jessica remains one of the youngest ever Bachelor of Music graduates in the history of the school. While there, Jessica’s primary teachers were Aaron Rosand, Jaime Laredo and Ida Kavafian. At eighteen, she received her Master of Music degree from the Manhattan School of Music in New York City where she studied with Pinchas Zukerman and Patinka Kopec.
Jessica Linnebach plays a circa 1840 Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume (Guarnerius del Gésu 1737) violin. Her bows are crafted by Ron Forrester and Michael Vann.
CARISSA KLOPOUSHAK has made a name for herself as a curious, creative, and versatile violinist. A charismatic and engaging performer, Carissa's playing has been described as the complete package of sensitive musicianship and effortless technique. Carissa proudly joined Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra in September 2014, after having performed with the group for a number of years. Her debut recording with Philip Chiu, SOUNDWORLDS, was released in November 2016.
Carissa considers all of Canada to be her home. She has toured the country extensively, performing recitals for Debut Atlantic and as the winner of the 2009 Eckhardt-Grammatté National Music Competition with Canadian pianist Philip Chiu. Carissa has been featured at Ottawa Chamberfest, Montreal Chamber Music Festivals, and Toronto Summer Music. Carissa is a passionate collaborator, performing with many chamber groups including the newly-formed Ironwood Quartet. She spent much of 2014 performing with the Australian Chamber Orchestra, whom she joined for a series of tours and recordings, including a residency at The Banff Centre.
Carissa grew up in the beautiful prairie city of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Still active in the prairie music scene today, Carissa is an Artistic Director of the Ritornello Chamber Music Festival, an annual event that aims to provide Saskatchewan audiences the opportunity to hear innovative concerts performed by young, engaging Canadian musicians who are currently pursuing professional careers across the country and around the globe.
Carissa is the lead singer and violinist in the Ukrainian band Тут і Там (pronounced Toot ee Tahm). Established in 2003, the band has released four albums, performed at every major Ukrainian festival across Canada, in Sydney, Australia, and recently toured Ukraine, playing major festivals and small pubs.
Carissa holds a doctorate in violin performance from McGill University. Her dissertation focuses on the little-known violin repertoire by Ukrainian composers. A laureate of the 2012 Canada Council of the Arts Musical Instrument Bank Competition, Carissa performed on the 1869 Jean Baptiste Vuillaume violin (with Vuillaume model bow); she now plays on a 2009 violin by Mark Schnurr of Flesherton, Ontario. When not performing, rehearsing, or traveling, Carissa can be found expanding her love of coffee in some little café, somewhere…
Assistant Principal Cello of the National Arts Centre Orchestra since 2014, JULIA MACLAINE performs worldwide as a soloist, chamber and orchestral musician in music ranging from classical to contemporary and from ‘world’ to her own arrangements and compositions.
Ms. MacLaine has most recently performed in Montreal at the Salle Bourgie with the Quatuor Capitano for the SMCQ Festival, as well as at La Place des Arts and at Ottawa’s Concerts By The Canal with the Trio Grand-Duc. Her string quartet, Ironwood, will collaborate later this year with pianist Jon Kimura Parker at the National Gallery’s Music for a Sunday Afternoon series, at the Ritornello festival in Saskatoon, and at the Classical Unbound festival this summer in Prince Edward County.
During the ten years she spent living in New York City, Ms. MacLaine could often be heard on all three stages at Carnegie Hall. As a member of Ensemble Connect (previously ACJW), she performed numerous chamber music concerts at Weill and Zankel Halls, notably as the soloist in Tan Dun’s concerto Elegy: Snow In June. She also played frequently in Stern Auditorium as a member of the Orchestra of St. Luke’s and as principal cellist for Osvaldo Golijov’s Pasion selun San Marcos. She has also performed with the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen and Les Violons du Roy, and her chamber music collaborators include Itzhak Perlman, Pinchas Zukerman, membres of the Orion String Quartet, Ani and Ida Kavafian, Inon Barnatan, and Cynthia Phelps.
From 2005 to 2014, she was a member of the Brooklyn-based chamber orchestra The Knights, with whom she performed the Schumann Cello Concerto in 2012 in Central Park and for live broadcast by WQXR. The Grammy-nominated ensemble collaborates regularly with artists such as Gil Shaham, Renée Fleming, and Yo-Yo Ma, and has recorded several albums, several of which for SONY Classical.
An entrepreneurial musician, Ms. MacLaine co-founded the New York group The Ikarus Chamber Players, an ensemble that married classical chamber music with other art forms in their own concert series in auction houses, art galeries, and other unique venues. With her colleagues in the Academy (Carnegie and Juilliard-led fellowship connected to Ensemble ACJW/Connect), she formed the chamber music collective Decoda to develop community chamber music residencies around the world. With Decoda, Julia has performed at the Mecklenberg-Vorpommern Festival in Germany, in Abu Dhabi, at Suntory Hall in Tokyo, and across the United States. She has also appeared at the Lanaudière, Bic, Mostly Mozart, Tanglewood, and Ravinia Festivals.
Originally from Prince Edward Island, Julia studied with Antonio Lysy at McGill University (BMus), and with Timothy Eddy at the Mannes College of Music (Artist Diploma) and at The Juilliard School (MMus).
Canadian violist DAVID MARKS has recently returned to Canada after 12 years in Amsterdam, to accept the position of Associate Principal with the NAC Orchestra. In Europe, he was a member of the Dutch Radio Philharmonic, Principal Viola of Holland Symfonia and Associate Principal of Amsterdam Sinfonietta. He was also a regular player with the Nieuw Ensemble and a guest with Ensemble Modern, touring Germany with works of John Cage. Mr. Marks is also a composer: his folk-opera The Odyssey was premiered at The Banff Centre in 2005.