John Lowry has been Associate Concertmaster of the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra since 1987 and has also served as guest concertmaster of orchestras in Edmonton, Halifax, Winnipeg, Kitchener-Waterloo, and Red Deer, as well as the Adelaide Symphony of South Australia. He was formerly Concertmaster of the New Hampshire Philharmonic, Opera New England, and Yale Philharmonia, and has performed extensively with the Toronto Symphony, National Arts Centre Orchestra, Boston Pops, Canadian Opera Company, Opera Company of Boston, Amadeus Ensemble, National Ballet, Esprit, and New Haven Symphony.
Lowry was the founder and first artistic director of the Kensington Sinfonia in Calgary, and has appeared as soloist with orchestras in Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, Halifax, and Red Deer, with such conductors as Hans Graf, Mario Bernardi, James Judd, Jean-François Rivest, Timothy Vernon, Ivars Taurins, Pierre Hétu, and Claude Lapalme.
A native of Edmonton, Lowry began his studies with Ranald Shean, going on to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in music from the University of Toronto and a master’s in music from Yale University. His principal teachers included George Neikrug, David Zafer, and Oscar Shumsky. He also participated in master classes and received extensive coaching from Steven Staryk, Orford Quartet, Tokyo Quartet, Rafael Hillyer, Joseph Silverstein, Szymon Goldberg, Lorand Fenyves, Sidney Harth, Zoltan Székely, Gábor Magyar, Anthony Newman, Jose Luis Garcia, Henri Temianka, and Shmuel Ashkenazi.
Lowry is a founding member of Calgary’s Land’s End Ensemble, which specializes in 20th and 21st century music, and its recordings have won the Western Canadian Music Award for Outstanding Classical Recording in 2005 and 2006, as well as the Juno Award for Classical Composition of the Year in 2014. The ensemble has performed at important festivals throughout Canada, most recently at the International Society for Contemporary Music World Music Days in Vancouver, and has premiered works by many landmark Canadian composers, including R. Murray Schafer, Alexina Louie, Allan Gordon Bell, Vincent Ho, and Omar Daniel.
As a chamber musician, Lowry has collaborated with such luminaries as James Campbell, Evelyn Glennie, Barry Shiffman, Robert Aitken, Jeff Nelson, Joel Sachs, Bernadene Blaha, Rivka Golani, Kevin Fitz-Gerald, Eliot Fisk, Robert Silverman, Angela Cheng, and Miriam Fried, and has performed with Aventa Ensemble, the Athabasca String Quartet, Rosa Selvatica, Trio Haydn de Montréal, and Yale Contemporary Ensemble.
Lowry is an instructor at MRU Conservatory, and was previously on the faculty of the University of Manitoba and University of Lowell, Massachusetts, and has also taught at the University of Calgary, as well as through summer programs at the Banff Centre, Comox Valley Youth Music Centre, Langley Community Music School, SUNY Potsdam, JVL Summer School for the Performing Arts, and Spencer Brook String Program in Concord, Massachusetts. He is an expert in the Dounis violin method and a frequent audition coach. Several recipients of his coaching have won positions in professional orchestras, and his students have earned top prizes in local and national festivals and competitions.
Lowry’s violins were made by Christopher Sandvoss in 2015, and Carlo Ferdinando Landolfi in 1769.