Biography

Biography

for Catherine’s full Curriculum Vitae, click here.

An ambassador and active exponent of the professional new music and art scene in Canada since 1974, versatile and experimental soprano/voice artist Catherine Fern Lewis graduated from the University of Victoria, B.C. where she specialized in contemporary music. Lewis spent a further three years in Europe, predominantly in Paris, studying French song with the noted Peirre Bernac, Madame Chereau and Winifred Radford.

Lewis is frequently heard in traditional repertoire as well as contemporary. She has been in demand for her children’s presentations as well as her pop concerts. She has performed with such groups as the Steve Reich Ensemble, Toronto-based Arraymusic, Vancouver New Music and held invitations to such festivals and conferences as the International Voice Festival in Montreal, Tuning of the World Conference in Banff, the Parry Sound Festival, Sound Symposium in St. John’s Newfoundland and Voice ++ in Victoria, B.C. Catherine has premiered numerous works by Canadian composers, including Murray Adaskin, MIchael Baker, Christopher Butterfield, Kirk Elliott, Nicholas Fairbank, Susan Frykberg, Anna Hostman, Kathy Kennedy, Rudolph Komorous, John Oliver, Tina Pearson, Sylvia Rickard, Robert Rosen, Rodney Sharman, Linda C. Smith, Jeremy Owen Turner, Owen Underhill, John Weinsweig and collaborated with many of the nation’s prominent artists, choreographers, composers and conductors.

In 1986 Lewis began creating her own works and in 2002 she was commissioned to create an interdisciplinary installation at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, resulting in the seven-week interdisciplinary exhibition entitled Sanctuary, an opera menagerie in 3 acts, a filmic, audio, and physical installation exploring sacredness from the point of view of myself as a modern troubador. Inspired from chosen artifacts from the archives of the art gallery and influenced by the history of chant, voice and harmony in sacred space through time.

 In 2006 she was a  recipient of The Canadian Music Centre’s New Music in New Places initiative which took place at the NRC Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics. The centre piece for this concert was Linda Catlin Smith’s Her Harbour, a work written specially for Lewis and Hexaphone, the six voice a capella group of which she was a founding member.

Catherine was recently heard in performance and on the National and regional CBC radio with conductor Tania Miller and the Victoria Symphony Orchestra in a concert honouring renowned poet PK Page. Lewis performed Page’s libretti in the virtuosic role of the Narrator/Soprano in The Traveling Musicians by Murray Adaskin and the lead role of the Old Lady in Anna Hostman’s opera What Time Is It Now?  

Lewis is a founding member of experimental improvisational group LaSaM, currently working on the ‘Beethoven Project’. Lewis has explored Second Life and is a member of the Avatar Orchestra Metaverse. Her SL avatar name is Fernsing Llewellyn. In a mixed reality setting, Lewis with AOM  has premiered pieces by Pauline Oliveros, Jeremy Owen Turner and Tina Pearson at the 2008 Voice ++  Festival.

At this same festival, Lewis premiered her new work entitled, ‘medicinAL LullabYE‘, scripted and scored for herself, computer, amplified chinese medicine cabinet, music boxes, gongs, singing bowls, bells and ukelele. This marks the seventh installment of the interdisciplinary work of Lewis’ on going creations entitled ‘Ma(er)ry Is-land Tales‘.

 Spearheaded by Potter.Mael, in June of 2009, Lewis traveled to Italy where she met Biagio Francia, and together  collaborated in the creation of an interdisciplinary interactive performance piece entitled ‘the gardens sing and speak through us’. This was premiered in the medievale medicinal Giardino della Minerva, in Salerno. This marks the third collaboration with visual artist Brigitte Potter-Mael.

Lewis also presents educational children’s shows. Mother of three, grandmother of two, she currently lives and teaches at the Victoria Conservatory of Music.