“a funky, well oiled machine”
Percussionist Zac Pulak’s infectious enthusiasm for his work and the music he brings to audiences of all ages is boundless. The Ottawa-based performer has gathered awards, accolades, and a steady stream of invitations and commissions, with the CBC declaring Zac one of Canada’s “30 Hot Canadian Classical Musicians Under 30” in 2018.
As a student and emerging young professional, Zac was already performing with the National Arts Centre Orchestra, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, the Thirteen Strings Chamber Orchestra, and more, as well as alongside the Gryphon Trio, Jonathan Crow, Thorwald Jorgensen and Ben Reimer as a chamber musician. He was chosen to perform with selected National Arts Centre artists in the world premiere of “Après Maman” by American composer Rob Kapilow (of NPR’s “What Makes it Great” fame), and in 2020 he was shortlisted for the Ottawa Arts Council’s “RBC Emerging Artists of the Year” award. As “one of Ottawa’s most dynamic musicians” (CBC), Zac’s participation in nation-wide festivals and series such as the Tuckamore Festival (NL), Ottawa Chamberfest, Scotiafest, Music & Beyond, Bluesfest and countless other presentations, makes it no surprise that Toronto Confluence Concerts deemed him “truly virtuosic and intense”.
In late 2020, Zac was named co-Artistic Director of the Ottawa New Music Creators, an organization which presents concerts and develops creative partnerships to enlarge and diversify the scope and numbers of its audiences. His co-Artistic Director, pianist Edana Higham, is the other half of SHHH!! Ensemble, a duo which Zac & Edana founded in 2017 to perform and commission new contemporary repertoire. SHHH!! Ensemble has since toured and performed widely, with concerts in Quebec, Newfoundland and Ontario, and including a Toronto live-for-broadcast recital for the CBC’s “In Concert” program with Paolo Pietropaolo, and for Toronto’s Arts & Letters Club. SHHH!! Ensemble is the featured commissioner/performer in the Canadian Music Centre’s monthly “Nightcaps” online series, and its popular interactive “SHHHuffle” program has been presented at universities across Canada. Upcoming performances include several shows in the Ottawa Chamberfest’s 2021 summer festival, and a world premiere of Kelly-Marie Murphy’s Double Concerto with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra.
SHHH!! Ensemble’s first CD, “Meanwhile” will be released in 2022 on the Analekta label.
For more information about SHHH!! Ensemble, visit https://shhhensemble.com