Sesquisharp Productions

About Us

Megan and Jacob, Sesquisharp's slightly unhinged co-founders

Jacob Caines, Co-founder and Artistic Director

Born in Truro NS, Jacob completed his undergraduate degree in Music Education and Conducting at Acadia University in Wolfville NS, before moving to Ottawa in 2010 to begin a Masters in Musicology. While in Ottawa, Jacob's research interests have been focussed on 20th century American wind music. This research took him to the Eastman School of Music several times to complete archival work on the life of Frederick Fennell. Jacob has been conducting ensembles in Nova Scotia and Ottawa since 2008, working with various groups to perform works for the stage and concert hall. Recent performances include: Gilbert and Sullivan's The Mikado, Lully's ballet Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme, Rogers and Hammerstein's The Sound of Music, as well as the music of Chen Yi, Eric Whitacre, David Maslanka and Morten Lauridsen. Jacob is also co-founder and conductor of Sesquisharp Productions, and has studied conducting with Dr. Mark Hopkins, Ardith Haley, and has taken part in masterclasses and courses with Dr. Colleen Richardson, Dr.Elroy Freisen, and Dr. Hilary Apfelstadt.

As a performer and clarinetist, Jacob has performed with the Atlantic Wind Orchestra and the National Concert Band. He has also held the post of concertmaster and apprentice conductor with the Acadia University Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Band. Jacob has also been on the clarinet/woodwinds faculty of the Acadia Summer Academies and the University of New Brunswick Summer Music Camps. As a clarinetist and bass clarinetist, he has performed works by Oswaldo Golijov, Paul Hindemith, Johannes Brahms, Talivaldis Kenins and Robert Starer.

Jacob is the Music Director at First Unitarian Church in Ottawa and has worked with the Canadian Unitarian Council to plan the Annual National Conference. Jacob serves as the co-founder, webmaster, and editor for the Canadian Collective of Unitarian Universalist Musicians.He has also been a lecturer and presenter with Leslie University, CAMMAC, and various High Schools and honour bands and choirs across Ontario, Nova Scotia, and new Brunswick. Jacob is an advocate for lifelong music education, community through art, and cultivating a love of all art forms and music genres in performers and audiences.

Megan Johnson, Co-founder and Executive Director

Megan’s musical life is diverse and wide-ranging. A classically-trained mezzo-soprano, she maintains a fluidity between musical genres in her singing, delving into opera, operetta, art song, music theatre, jazz and contemporary music. In addition to her extensive recital work, a selection of Megan’s previous staged roles include Little Buttercup in HMS Pinafore with the Gilbert and Sullivan Society of Nova Scotia, Yu Xianji in Vocalypse's world premiere staging of the opera Trudeau: Long March/ Shining Path, written by D.D. Jackson and libretto by George Elliot Clarke, as well as Katisha in Gilbert and Sullivan's The Mikado and the Witch in Humperdink's Hansel and Gretel with the Acadia University Singing Theatre Ensemble. As the Witch in Hansel and Gretel Megan was described as "dynamic [and] exciting" by Opera Canada Magazine, who also noted that she "completely took over the stage while on or near it."

Megan has also performed with the Bedford Baptist Singers and the King's Chorale as the alto soloist in Karl Jenkins' The Armed Man under the direction of Bill Perrot. She debuted with Symphony Nova Scotia in 2009 singing the alto duet "How Beautiful Are the Feet" with Marion Newman in the Dublin version of Handel's Messiah, conducted by Kevin Mallon. Megan also maintains a love for choral music, having represented Nova Scotia in the National Youth Choir of Canada and singing with the Halifax Camerata Singers, winners of the top prize in the 2010 National Competition for Canadian Amateur Choirs, under the direction of Jeff Jodrey.

Megan’s graduate work in Musicology at the University of Ottawa served as a compliment to her performance work. Her research interests lie in the area of performance studies, musical meaning and embodiment, and her master's thesis examined the singer’s embodied experience in performances of Luciano Berio’s seminal work for voice, Sequenza III. In recent years Megan has turned to Performance as Research (PaR) methodologies to serve her interest in both academic inquiry and live performance.

Megan currently lives in Alberta, where she works in the Music department at The Banff Centre.

Carolyn Watts, Ensemble Manager and Administrator Extraordinaire

Carolyn Watts completed an HB Music degree from Lakehead University in her hometown, Thunder Bay ON, and is currently working towards a M.A. in Musicology at the University of Ottawa. Carolyn's primary research area is early twentieth century music. She is currently researching cultural transfer between America and Europe during the 1920s with particular interest in ballet productions by the Ballet Russes and Ballet Suédois.

Carolyn's studies at the University of Ottawa have provided her with the opportunity to travel to Washington DC to research archival material at the Library of Congress, and has been the recipient of SSHRC and the Nicole Sénécal Scholarship.

Carolyn's compositions have been performed by student and professional ensembles, most notably her work Under the Influence of a Giant (2012) for piano and clarinet was performed in Thunder Bay December 2012 by New Music North. In addition, Carolyn has performed as part of an electric guitar ensemble with the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra for the performance of Amplify, Multiply, Remix and Redefine: in memory of Les Paul (2009) by Tim Brady, as well as joining the TBSO choir for works including Beethoven's Symphony No.9, Orffs Carmena Burana and Handel's Messiah.