Michael Schulte and Abigail Richardson-Schulte
Michael Schulte has been described as ”This elegantly accomplished violinist [with] smooth virtuosity,” by Hamilton music critic Hugh Fraser. Pursuing his early interest in orchestral music, he held the position of concertmaster with nine orchestras. Michael has played as soloist with orchestras from Toronto Philharmonia to Winnipeg Symphony. Also a professional violist and conductor, Michael’s main focus is chamber music performance, presentation and education, inspired by his first string quartet experience as a twelve year old boy playing Haydn Op.76, No.3 “Emperor.” Michael teaches for McMaster University, directs the Schulte Strings Chamber Music Camp and his collegium musicum of string players, the Schulte Chamber Players, which was numerously awarded Ontario’s best by the OMFA. Michael commissioned the construction of two ancient string instruments and has done two tours of Ontario and Quebec with his rare and popular violoncello piccolo da spalla. He has played and conducted much of his wife Abigail Richardson-Schulte’s music for national CBC broadcast and has performed her violin concerto with five orchestras across the country. Michael plays with the Turini, Schulte, Domb trio and other groups on an occasional basis. Via Chamber Music Hamilton, Michael is happy to present a rich history of fine chamber music pieces, write and talk of their significance, and bring interesting ensembles to town to perform them.
Abigail Richardson-Schulte was born in Oxford, England and moved to Canada as a child. Ironically, she was diagnosed completely and incurably deaf at the age of five. Upon moving to Canada, her hearing was fully intact within months. After growing up in Calgary and studying composition there, she received a Doctorate degree from U. of T. Her music has been commissioned and performed by major orchestras, presenters and music festivals, including a Radio France string quartet commission. Abigail won the first Karen Kieser Prize for Canadian music and the CMC Prairie Region award. Most significantly, she won a first at the prestigious UNESCO International Rostrum of Composers, after which her music was broadcast in 35 countries. Abigail’s opera Sanctuary Song won the “Best New Opera” Dora in 2009. She frequently collaborates with her husband, violinist Michael Schulte, for whom she likes to write and who has played and conducted much of her work for national broadcast. Abigail was Affiliate Composer of TSO from 2006-2009 and remains Festival Coordinator of their New Creations Festival. She is now Composer in Residence with the HPO. Her very popular “Hockey Sweater”, with text and narration by Roch Carrier, was the country’s first and still single triple co-commission (Toronto Symphony, National Arts Centre Orchestra, Calgary Philharmonic). It is regularly performed by orchestras across Canada, often hosted by Abigail from the stage, and has been seen by over thirty thousand audience members since it’s premiere in 2102.