The Esther Ondrack Chair
A native of Poland, Joanna received her Master’s degree in Music Performance (1989) from Academy of Music in Poznan where she studied violin with Bartosz Bryla. After graduation Joanna toured throughout Europe and Egypt performing with various Polish orchestras including the State Philharmonic Orchestra in Poznan; Baltic State Symphony Orchestra in Gdansk; Pagart Polish Performing Arts Agency in Warsaw and Polska Filharmonia Kameralna Chamber Orchestra in Sopot. During this time she performed with such renowned conductors as Jerzy Maksymiuk, Wojciech Michniewski, Wojciech Rajski and Krzysztof Penderecki.
In 1992 Joanna relocated to Edmonton, becoming a faculty member of the Society for Talent Education and of various orchestras. Joanna joined the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra as a core player in 1994 after winning a 1st violin chair at the international audition. In 1995 she also became a member of the Alberta Baroque Ensemble. She has been a member of numerous other ensembles including The Arden Ensemble; ECHO; Pro Coro Orchestra; the Polish Folk Arts Ensemble “Polonez” and La Belle Epoque Trio.
As a soloist, Joanna has performed with the ESO and the Concordia University Orchestra.
Her first love is playing in chamber groups and in 2005, together with her husband jazz composer and saxophonist Kent Sangster, founded the Kent Sangster’s Obsessions Octet . In 2006 the octet released its debut CD Obsession to rave reviews. Obsession was nominated for a 2007 JUNO Award in the Contemporary Jazz Category and was awarded the Western Canadian Music Outstanding Jazz Recording of the Year award. In the fall of 2009 the Obsessions Octet recorded their second CD Melodia which was released on March 7, 2010. That sophomore recording was nominated for the Western Canadian Music Award 2010. In October of 2012 the Obsessions Octet made its
Carnegie Hall debut in NYC to absolutely outstanding reviews. In the fall of 2013 the group received the City of Edmonton Arts and Culture Performance Award. Joanna also plays in the Obsessions String Quartet.
Over the years, Joanna has been part of many recording projects with artists such as Tommy Banks, P.J. Perry, Dianne Donovan and the ESO.
For many years she has been very active in Polish Culture Society of Edmonton (TKP). In 2008 Joanna joined the TKP Board of Directors and in 2010 she became the Society’s President. The Society elected Joanna as the Artistic Director of Chopin 2010 Celebration Committee in Alberta.
Since 2004 Joanna has hosted Music Corner on CJSR 88.5 FM’s Polish radio program Katedra Klasyki. She also enjoys gardening, traveling and spending time with Kent, their two kids Adam and Kaja, and a wonderful black lab — Jaxx.