Maryem Hassan Tollar
Over the last decade and more, Maryem has built a reputation as a singer who can live and thrive in a variety of musical milieus. She was born in Egypt and raised in Canada with frequent sojourns in the Middle East. Maryem premiered a new piece written by Christos Hatzis for her ensemble Mystical Visitations in December 2006 at Toronto’s Isabel Bader Theatre. Earlier in the fall she performed in Le Festival du Monde Arabe in Montreal in the opening concert in collaboration with master musician Kudsi Erguner (ney player – Turkish end-blown flute) among others. She had several performances across Canada over the summer of 2006 with rumba-flamenco guitarist Jesse Cook in the Montreal Jazz Festival; with poet/photographer/activist Ehab Lotayef and Ernie Tollar (flutes & sax) in a Peace conference in Vancouver, B.C.; with Chris Church and Nicholas Hernandez at the Atlantic Jazz Festival in Halifax; and with her own ensemble with guest master musician Bassam Bishara (oud player – Arabic lute, and vocalist) in Toronto and Collingwood, ON. Maryem released her second CD Book of Life in December 2004. She composed music (which was nominated for a 2005 Dora Award) for the play Le Collier d’Hélène (Helen’s necklace) with husband, Ernie Tollar, produced by Théâtre français de Toronto. Maryem has been touring across Canada and internationally to perform two of Christos Hatzis’ works: Sepulcher of Life and Constantinople. Maryem was nominated for a 2005 Dora Award for “outstanding performance” for Constantinople in the opera category.