Since 2002, Maria Lesniak has established herself as Music Director and Choir Conductor for Agnus Dei (adult) and Jubilee 2000 (children) Choirs at St. Maximilian Kolbe Parish in Mississauga, Ontario up to 2013. She is currently the director of Cantabile Choir.
Maria completed a Masters Degree in Polish Philology (with a Teaching Specialty) from the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland (1992) as well as a Masters Degree (Majoring in Organ) from The Liturgical Music Institute at the Papal Theological Academy in Krakow, Poland (1995). In July 2011, Maria attended professional choir conductors’ Workshops in Koszalin, Poland to continue enhancing her choir conducting skills. At these workshops, Maria enjoyed collaborating with other experienced international professional choir conductors on concerts and singing with them in a Music Director’s Choir at the 45th International Festival of Organ Music accompanied by the Koszalin Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra to perform “Beatus Vir”, a monumental masterpiece of Henryk Mikolaj Gorecki.
Since her graduation from University, Maria has been very involved in the music teaching profession in both Poland and Canada for many years. Currently, Maria is a Music Teacher at the Oakville Academy of Music (since 2009) and is Music Co-ordinator at the Maria Konopnicka Polish School in Oakville (since 2002). Also, Maria was the Music Co-ordinator at a Polish School in Toronto (from 1997 to 2002) and currently operates her own music studio, StudioForte, in Mississauga.
From 1999 to 2002, Maria sang with the Sacred Music Society Chamber Choir directed by Uwe Lieflander. This choir performed in many concerts specializing in Palastrina music in the greater Toronto area. Some memorable events were the Vivaldi Gloria in a Jubilee Concert, the Mozart Requiem, Handel’s Messiah (Hallelujah) , the Lieflander St. Joseph’s Mass and a Gala concert at the Molson Amphitheatre in honour of Pope John Paul II (summer 2002).
With Maria’s devotion and passion for choral music, Agnus Dei has had some memorable concert performances in Toronto such as their 2005 Concert for Tsunami Relief, and their 2006 Concerts: “A LITTLE BIT OF JAZZ /ZADUSZKI JAZZOWE” and “IN THE SPIRIT OF THE SEASON” in support of the Armed Forces Personnel, at the Metropolitan United Church.
Other special Agnus Dei concerts at St. Maximilian Kolbe Parish included “JESUS I TRUST IN YOU” POP ORATORIUM composed by Wojtek Bochenek in 2009 and SPRING RHAPSODY Concert in 2011.
Most recently, on January 6, 2013 Agnus Dei performed with the Toronto Sinfonietta orchestra in a God Is Born/Bog Sie Rodzi Concert at Our Lady of Sorrows Church in Toronto. Also, on January 8, 2012 Agnus Dei performed together with Oakham House Choir of Ryerson University and the Toronto Sinfonietta orchestra at the same church. These two beautiful celebrations of Polish and English Christmas Carols took place under the joint musical direction of Matthew Jaskiewicz and Maria Lesniak.
Agnus Dei Choir’s achievements include a first prize award in 2007 at the International Christmas Carols Competition in Brampton, 1st Runner-Up Awards at the “VOICES FOR CHRIST” Competitions in 2006 and 2009 and 2nd Runner-Up in the 2008 competition in Mississauga.
Maria loves to work with children to develop their choral singing abilities. The Jubilee 2000 Choir’s achievements include 1st Prize in 2005 at the 16th International Festival of Religious Song, the Audience Award in 2011 at the 22nd International Festival of Religious Song and the Audience Award in 2012 at the 23rd International Festival of Religious Song (all held in Mississauga).
With the musical direction of Maria Lesniak, Agnus Dei Choir released its first Double-Disc CD of memorable Christmas Carols called “W ubogim zlobie” (In A Lowly Manger) in 2007 while the Jubilee 2000 Choir released its first CD of religious songs called “Droga do Nieba” (Road To Heaven) in 2006. The Jubilee 2000 Choir is currently preparing to record its second CD.