Morag Northey’s 35 year career in classical performance, string pedagogy, passion for creating unique multi-genre art, and transformative instructional philosophies have shaped the artistic development of generations of young Canadian cellists. Her uncanny ability to unlock blocks in her students’ connections with expression and the service of Art comes from an impeccably honest, non-judgmental, caring and safe place. This philosophy and method is shared equally with beginning, conservatory track, professional and avocational players.
Morag Northey began her cello studies at the age of twelve, with Judith Fraser and Ian Hampton at the Vancouver Academy of Music. She then attended the Banff Centre with artists that include Zara Nelsova, Aldo Parisot and Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi, and has since participated as a cross-over multi-genre music, sound, theatre and film artist. Morag holds an Associate of Arts in Pedagogy and Performance from the Victoria Conservatory of Music and Camosun College studying with James Hunter. She earned a Toronto Professional Orchestral Training Program certificate where she performed in masterclass for Janos Starker and has a BA in Performance from the University of Texas at Austin with teacher and pedagogue Phyllis Young. Morag taught cello lessons, theory, ensemble classes and conducted youth orchestras in the UT at Austin’s ground-breaking String Project, from 1985 to 1989.
Morag has maintained a large cello studio over the last 35 years in Vancouver, Texas and Calgary including individual and group lessons from early childhood, through teen and adult levels. Training in the Suzuki and Kodaly Methods, brought her to teach at the Calgary Suzuki Talent Education Society. Morag teaches Early Childhood Cello on faculty at Calgary’s Mount Royal University Conservatory and has been invited for three years to teach and perform at Marilyn Rummel and the Island Mountain Arts Harp and Cello Music Camp in Wells B.C. For fifteen years, she has conducted summer Cello and String Boot Camps, drawing from her wide range of experience to help students develop both classically and experimentally. From young students, learning their first bow hold at age three, to university entrance and advanced career counselling, the philosophy of love based, uncompromising nurturing is her constant goal. Her student, Elizabeth Jones, was recently accepted into the studio of Andreas Diaz at the Dallas TX, Southern Methodist University, and her student, Lizzy Munson is now one of Cirque Du Soleil’s youngest talents performing in Las Vegas as a Singer and Cellist in the show KA.
Morag’s 2009 Album ‘This is the Life’ is a testament to her own, experience-based expressions as a singer, songwriter, cellist and pianist. She was awarded the Calgary 2015 Betty Mitchell Award for “Outstanding Theatrical Composition” for work in Butcher, Alberta Theatre Projects, and has performed as soloist, and orchestral cellist, singer, songwriter, poet and listening ear, for athletes and coaches at the 2010 Olympics. As part of the games she played for the Governor General of Canada Michaëlle Jean , and at the 2015 Canada Winter Games – performed her classical concert ‘Unstoppable Love’ with commentary about the multi-dimensional realities and characteristics of Love. Morag was honoured to play and sing the Opening Blessing of the Canada Winter Games in collaboration with a Lheidli T’enneh, First Nation Elder and Drummer.
Morag’s ‘Red Venus Blue Tango’ were a closing band for the Dalai Lama ‘Now’ tour and her work as composer, arranger, cellist, singer and co-producer on Kristoph Franz’s theologically inspired ‘Lilies of the Field’ album resulted in a nomination for “Outstanding Inspirational Album of the Year” Gospel Music Association of Canada’s 29th annual Covenant Awards, 2007.
As a way to give back to her community, Morag created a series of solo concerts called ‘Together Calgary’ which offered healing release and sound therapy through uninterrupted hours of improvised cello and voice. She performed a year cycle of ‘Full Moon Walks’ in Calgary’s Fish Creek Park encouraging audiences to reconnect with Nature through guided tours accompanied by cello, song and motivational discussions. Together Calgary and the Full Moon Series lead to Morag’s 2014, 720 kilometre Camino de Santiago Pilgrimage across France and Spain, carrying her cello and playing and singing everywhere and anytime invited. With her first Camino step she spawned a “Walk On” project, encouraging those troubled, to move healthfully through and out of difficulties.
Morag added Playwrite to her description as she performed the world premiere of her play “17” as part of the Sunset Theatre 2017 Exploration Series in Wells B.C. “When Emptiness Turns Inside Out” ~ 17 tells a dramatic story with inseparable connection between cello, voice, words and worlds.
“A distinguished virtuoso, her playing enraptures our mind with an artistry that brings blissful pleasures to the soul.”
— The Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean
“One of the most passionate, unique, sensitive and expressive musicians I have ever encountered in all my years. I came to her to study the cello and my eyes were opened up to new worlds of possibilities in music practice and performance born first from inner peace. When you hear her cello voice, you will be truly touched.”
— Bruce Hildesheim, B. Mus., Juilliard School