About the Musicians

Day OFF is violinist Simon Claude, cellist Alexandre Castonguay from Montreal and pianist/composer Njo Kong Kie from Toronto.

Alexandre Castonguay, cellist

Cellist Alexandre Castonguay was born in Sherbrooke, Quebec and studied cello with Carol Sirois. he continued his studies at the Université de Montréal with Thérése Motard and Yuli Turovsky, graduating with a diploma in Musical Interpretation Studies. He pursued further training at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester under the direction of Emma Ferrand.

In 1997, he was first cello of the Musical Youth World Orchestra and later the Sherbrooke Symphony Orchestra. He has played with various orchestras including the Hallé Orchestra (UK), L'Ensemble Contemporain de Montréal, the Ensemble Instrumental Appassionata.

He joined La La La Human Steps in 2002 and has performed with the company across Europe, Asia and North America in over 100 performances.

In the fall of 2004, he will be playing with the orchestra of Opera Lyra in Ottawa as well as giving a series of recitals under the auspices of the Maison de la Culture de Montreal.

Simon Claude, violinist

Violinist Simon Claude received his formal musical training at L'ecole Vincent díIndy and Université de Montréal (with Vladimir Lansman).

In 1995, he founded the tango group Intakto with Alejandro Venegas. After more than 300 concerts given in the Americas, Europe and Asia, they released their first album in 2002, which features three of his own compositions and is a critical as well as popular success. The band is winning over audience wherever they play, and the album won the 2003 Album of the Year ADISQ Félix Award for world music and garnered a Juno award nomination in the same category.

Known for his lyrical and passionate playing, Simon Claude has collaborated on stage and on discs with many artists from very diverse horizons such as pop singers Mitsou, Chloé Ste-Marie, rap group Loco Locass, French legend Salvatore Adamo (with the honour of leading the string section), DJ Mark Anthony, jazz pianist Omar Sosa, and guitarist Mario Chénart.

He toured Europe, North America and Asia with La La La Human Steps in …douard Lockís Amelia for 2 years., and performed and contributed compositionally to the soundtrack of the dance film of the same name.

Simon Claude can be heard on the Radio Canada series Chartrand et Simone, as solo violinist, as well as a variety of films, televisions and commercials.

Njo Kong Kie, pianist and composer of the group, full bio here.

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