The Aldeburgh Connection congratulates the Artistic Directors, Stephen Ralls, C.M., and Bruce Ubukata, C.M., who, in the 2013 New Year’s Honours List, were named Members of the Order of Canada “for their distinguished contributions to classical music, as instrumentalists and founders of the Aldeburgh Connection.” We can all share in this national recognition of artistic achievements over a period of more than 30 years.
Stephen Ralls (right) began his musical career in England, following his degree at Merton College, Oxford, and further studies at the Royal Academy of Music. He was soon involved in frequent recitals throughout England and in regular broadcasts for the BBC. His work with the English Opera Group led to participation in the premiere of Britten’s Death in Venice, to recital appearances with Sir Peter Pears and to Stephen’s appointment to the staff of the Britten-Pears School in Aldeburgh. In 1978 he emigrated to Canada to take up a post in the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Music, finally becoming Musical Director of the Opera School for more than a decade. He has accompanied many of Canada’s finest singers in concerts, broadcasts and on recordings. In October 2010 he and Bruce Ubukata were joint recipients of an Opera Canada “Ruby” Award for their work in opera and with young Canadian singers. In the 2013 New Year’s honours list, they were named Members of the Order of Canada.
Bruce Ubukata (left) has established a reputation as one of Canada’s leading vocal accompanists, working closely with Mary Lou Fallis in her successful one-woman shows, with Catherine Robbin, Donna Brown, Nathalie Paulin, Susan Platts and many other singers. His musical activities have included work with the Canadian Children’s Opera Chorus, as well as engagements with Festival Ottawa, the Toronto Symphony and the Canadian Opera Company and regular engagements at the Britten-Pears School, Aldeburgh. Bruce is a noted organist, assisting Derek Holman for many years at Grace Church on-the-Hill and St. Simon the Apostle, Toronto, and has been harpsichordist with various baroque groups. He and Stephen Ralls were jointly awarded an Opera Canada “Ruby” Award in 2010 and in the 2013 New Year’s honours list were named Members of the Order of Canada for their work in opera and with young Canadian singers.