Ensemble Allure (formerly Phase Ensemble) is an interprovincial presenter of contemporary classical and experimental music. Our group was established in Ottawa in 2020 while we (the original 'core' members) collectively studied at the University of Ottawa in the Master of Music program. Disheartened by the diminishing availability of live performance opportunities caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, we decided to take matters into our own hands and form our own ensemble, creating online livestreamed concerts using both live and pre-recorded methods.
As fate would have it, we each completed our M.Mus degrees and several of us left Ottawa to pursue new opportunities to advance our individual careers. We were saddened by the prospect of disbanding the ensemble in the wake of our members' departures. However, Stephen and Hayden (the co-founders of the ensemble) decided to devise an alternative structure to the traditional classical 'ensemble' in order to keep the group together despite the distance between us. From the ashes of the original 'Phase Ensemble' was born 'Ensemble Allure', an interprovincial conception of the classical ensemble consisting of separate 'chapters' established in several cities—Ottawa, Montreal, Halifax, and Toronto. Each chapter bears its own unique character and is led by 'chapter leads', organizing their own concerts guided by the centralized Ensemble Allure project managers and resources.
Looking ahead toward a post-pandemic future, the chapters will convene annually for the 'Ensemble Allure Contemporary Music Festival', hosted in rotation by different chapters in their respective cities. These annual festivals will feature commissioned works, composition competitions, interdisciplinary pieces/installations, community music collaboration opportunities, and other exciting happenings.
CORE ENSEMBLE MEMBERS:
Stephen Eckert—piano (Co-founder, Project Manager, Ottawa Chapter Lead)
Ben Borg—guitar (Ottawa Chapter Lead)
H. P. McGowan—multi, electronics (Co-founder, Project Manager, Toronto Chapter Lead)
Esmée Gilbert—piano (Halifax Chapter Lead)
Connor Cornick—cello, violin (Halifax Chapter Lead)
Martine Jomphe—piano (Montreal Chapter Lead)