Who's Who

Biglake Team

Johannes Debus

Co-founder and Artistic Director

Debus has been the music director of the Canadian Opera Company in Toronto since 2009. He is attracted to the city’s diversity and openness, and finds artistic stimulation in the company’s curiosity and willingness to take risks, which has allowed him to expand his repertoire further. Under his leadership, the Canadian Opera Company, the largest opera house in Canada, has continuously grown in international reputation and visibility.

In North America, Debus is a guest conductor with major symphony orchestras such as the Cleveland Orchestra and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. In 2016, he made his debut at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, conducting “Salome”. In Europe, Debus conducts the ORF Radio Symphony Orchestra Vienna, the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, and the Hallé Orchestra. He has also conducted at prestigious opera houses, including the Bavarian State Opera in Munich, the Berlin State Opera (Staatsoper Unter den Linden), the Frankfurt Opera, the English National Opera, and the Opéra National de Lyon.

Off the podium, Johannes enjoys long bike rides, especially the cold beer after the ride, He is also incurably addicted to gummy bears and has actually read every single book in his expansive book library.

Elissa Lee

Co-founder and Executive Director

Juno award winner and First Prize winner of the 23rd Eckhardt-Gramatté Strings Competition, Elissa Lee has appeared as a soloist with top orchestras across Canada. She has held positions as second concertmaster in both the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra and the WDR Sinfonie Orchester. Now enjoying a busy freelance career, Elissa tours frequently the greatest concert halls and festivals in Europe. She has performed as Concertmaster with the Rundfunk Orchester München, the Swedish Radio Orchestra, the KlangVerwaltung Orchestra in Munich, and Festival Strings Luzern, and in leading positions with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, the Komische Oper Berlin, the Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra and Luxembourg Philharmonic and the Canadian Opera Company. She has also been a guest of the world renowned Chamber of Orchestra of Europe, and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and has worked under the baton of Claudio Abbado, Simon Rattle, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Bernard Haitink and Daniel Harding.

As a chamber musician she has performed with Louis Lortie, Augustin Dumay, Anton Kuerti, Pascal Devoyon, Kevin Fitzgerald, Lawrence Lesser, and Shauna Rolston and has been a frequent participant in Open Chamber Music in Prussia Cove, England. Elissa Lee joined Ensemble Made In Canada in 2010, which performs concerts and tours throughout Canada and the United States.

Elissa enjoys sleeping. When she is not sleeping, playing the violin, or on her computer, she enjoys cooking, baking, reading cookbooks, going to restaurants and thinking about what she wants to eat for her next meal.

Miquel Serrano-Martin

General Manager

Miquel Serrano-Martin has called Prince Edward County home since 2019. Originally from Barcelona, Miquel has been involved in the events industry in Europe, the Middle East, and the Americas since 2008.

Miquel is honoured to be the new General Manager of BIGLAKE Arts, a classic music festival that celebrates the best of the genre in a stunning natural setting of Prince Edward County. Miquel has a wealth of experience in creating and managing successful events across different industries and regions, from healthcare to fashion, from Europe to the Caribbean. He is an expert in integrated marketing, business repositioning, and strategic partnerships, with a strong track record of delivering profitable results. He is also a multilingual communicator who can work effectively with diverse stakeholders and audiences.

Miquel started his career at Fira Barcelona, one of Europe’s largest venues, where he was the show director for several major events worldwide. He has since then expanded his portfolio to include virtual, corporate, and hybrid events, as well as trade shows in various sectors. He has a passion for working with brand identities and connecting with creative people.

As the General Manager of BIGLAKE Arts, Miquel is excited to bring his vision and expertise to this unique festival that showcases the beauty and diversity of classic music. He is looking forward to collaborating with the talented artists, sponsors, staff, and volunteers who make this event possible. He is also eager to engage with the loyal fans and new visitors who come to enjoy this unforgettable musical experience.

Kelly Anglin

Manager of Artistic Operations

Kelly joins the BIGLAKE team with over 28 years in the music industry. Her incredible career at Warner Music in Toronto saw her excel in the role of Senior Manager, Artist & Repertoire/International Artist Marketing. She actively worked with a diverse roster of Canadian artists and songwriters signed to Warner Music, including Billy Talent, Blue Rodeo, Great Big Sea, Brett Kissel, Chantal Kreviazuk, The Sheepdogs and Sarah Slean, to name just a few, promoting their new releases in Canada and internationally.

Kelly was instrumental in managing the creation of artist assets and worked closely with the artists and their managers, photographers, video directors, producers, designers, music publishers, publicists and more to support their music releases. Kelly also travelled extensively and worked with international affiliates to help artists gain support in other markets around the world during the promotion of an artist’s new release and concert tours. She served as the Chair and Co-Chair for 6 years on the JUNO Awards Music Advisory Committee, working closely with the organization on behalf of Warner artists.

Kelly is proud to call Prince Edward County home, and in her spare time, along with her partner Chris, she has been focusing on her creative passion for interior design, while demoing, designing & overseeing the renos on their home. Kelly loves the community and is a strong advocate for supporting local and helping it grow, and experiencing what makes The County a beautiful place to live or visit!

BIGLAKE BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Cathy Spoel

Board Chair Ms Spoel is a retired lawyer and former member of the Ontario Energy Board. She has been a member of and chaired several non-profit Boards, primarily serving educational, cultural and environmental communities. At present, she is a member of the Royal Ontario Museum Board of Governors, where she served as chair of the governance and nominating committee for a three-year term. Ms Spoel divides her time between Prince Edward County and Toronto.

Susannah Robinson

Treasurer

Ms Robinson is an energy executive with over 30 years of experience She has served on several industry, profit and non-profit boards. She currently serves on the Board of the Electricity Distributors Association and is a Trustee of the Utility of the Future Fund. Ms. Robinson was appointed to the TSSA in October of 2020 and is a member of the Governance and Human Resources Committee. A strong believer in community involvement, she also serves on the Board of the Toronto Public Library Foundation, where she Chairs the Human Resources Committee and sits on the Governance and Nomination Committee. She is a resident of Prince Edward County, where she serves as Treasurer and Board Member for BigLake Arts. In 2017, she was certified by the Institute of Corporate Directors at Rotman School of Business.

John Fraser

Past Chair Mr Fraser is the Executive Chair of the National NewsMedia Council of Canada and the Founding President of The Institute for the Study of the Crown in Canada. He is the former Master of Massey College and a long-time established journalist, having written for most of the leading English-language publications in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom. He is the author of 12 books and a recipient of the Order of Canada.

Craig Alexander

A passionate, highly energetic and motivated “people” person with over 40 years of proven project management skills. Founder of Craig Alexander Casting C.D.C., The Sybil Frank Gallery and Glickman-Alexander Talent Management. Educated at the University of Western Ontario, Northridge University, “CSUN’ in California for Deaf Studies, ASL, George Brown College for ASL Pre-Interpreter Program and Ryerson University for Hotel Management. He currently sits on the Board of Directors for Big Lake Arts and has sat on the Board of Directors for The Festival Players in Prince Edward County and for the National Advisory Committee for the Dream Foundation in Los Angeles and New York, Event and Fundraising Committees for Casey House, was a Founding Member of the C.D.C. (Casting Director Society of Canada) and is a member of both ACTRA and Actor’s Equity. Mr Alexander lives in and currently owns and operates an Art Gallery in Wellington, Ontario, and a Talent Agency in Toronto.

Scott Hart

Chief Operation Officer, Drake Hotel Properties. Mr. Hart lives with his family in Wellington, Prince Edward County.

James Miller

James is a partner at Oliver Wyman, a global leader in management consulting with offices in 30 countries where he is a trusted senior advisor to Private Capital and Transportation clients in corporate strategy, mergers and acquisitions, and business transformations. Prior to joining OW, James was a partner in the Financial Advisory M&A practice of Deloitte LLP and held various corporate development executive roles. James has sat on a number of corporate boards, trade associations, and not-for-profit boards. He holds an MBA from Queen’s University; an undergraduate degree from Simon Fraser University; and has studied cooperative economics at the University of Bologna. In addition, he has taught finance at the British Columbia Institute of Technology. James has lived in Prince Edward County since 2019, having bought and restored one of the oldest houses in the county and is passionate about the things offered in Prince Edward County, including architecture, history, wine and food.

Rardi van Heest

As a recently retired surgeon and hospital executive, Rardi and her husband have moved to the County to enjoy the natural vistas, the people and the music scene. And wow, is there a music scene. As a supporter of the arts, including the Canadian Opera Company in Toronto, Rardi has been blown away by the quality of music available in the county and she wants to support the growth of excellent organizations such as BIGLAKE Arts. Now that she has extra time on her hands, she has started taking piano lessons for the first time and promises never to give a recital. She is also active with community-focused organizations to help support the fundamentals of a safe society in Prince Edward County.

Susan Smythe-Bishop

Susan Smythe-Bishop is a highly accomplished Marketing/Communications professional with over 25 years of expertise within the Canadian arts and screen-based industries. In her most recent role as VP of Promotions at Touchwood PR, Susan led impactful publicity and promotional campaigns for notable clients such as Culture Days (a pan-Canadian celebration of the arts), Cineplex Event Cinema (included live broadcasts from The Metropolitan Opera and The National Ballet) and more recently, Netflix Canada, both film and series. During her impressive 15-year tenure at Alliance Atlantis Films followed by a three-year stint at Maple Pictures, Susan successfully managed the Canadian publicity and promotional strategies for blockbuster releases from New Line Cinema, Miramax, The Weinstein Company and Lionsgate films to name a few. She also worked closely with several prolific Canadian producers and filmmakers on award-winning classics such as Atom Egoyan’s THE SWEET HEREAFTER, David Cronenberg’s A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE and Paul Gross’s MEN WITH BROOMS. Throughout her career – she elevated the Canadian publicity and promotional activities from a local media focus to comprehensive national events and promotional-partnership campaigns across all media. In 2018, Susan played a key role in the launch of “Wellington Water Week” in Prince Edward County, a new music/arts festival that laid the foundation for the establishment of the groundbreaking BIGLAKE Arts. Beyond her professional achievements, Susan is the co-founder of Pioneering Women (www.pioneeringwomen.com), a mentorship association dedicated to supporting women primarily in, but not exclusive to, the Canadian film distribution business and is a visual artist (www.countycharacters.com) whose current focus is on celebrating local inspirational individuals residing in Prince Edward County.