The New Music Collective of St. John’s is dedicated to exploring as many different aspects of the performance of contemporary music as is possible. The name reflects the group’s mission: to ensure all members have the opportunity to be involved in all aspects of music-making, from composing new works for the group to collaborating with interdisciplinary performance artists; from conducting the ensemble to producing new concerts – there are endless possibilities when utilizing the diverse skills of the musicians living and working in Newfoundland and Labrador. The ensemble performers of the New Music Collective of St. John’s are veteran St. John’s-based musicians with extensive playing experience in a wide variety of genres, each of whom contributes to making a unique, boundary-crossing collaboration.

The collective started as a performance venue for local composers, arrangers and performers who are all graduates of Memorial University School of Music to showcase experimental music. We are always open to collaborating with new members – if you are interested in becoming involved send us an email at stjohnsnewmusic@gmail.com.

Contact us


Maggie Burton, co-artistic director

Chris McGee, co-artistic director


St. John’s New Music Collective, C/O Maggie Burton

111 Forest Road

St. John’s, Newfoundland

A1A 1E4

Our Artists


Greg Bruce, saxophones, clarinets

Greg Bruce is an award-winning woodwind player and composer based in his home town of St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador. He is best known for his work in world-beat- sax-machine, Ouroboros. Greg is also an active music educator teaching out of his home studio, leading his Horn Jam! sessions around the city, and lecturing at Memorial University as a per-course instructor. He has his Masters in classical performance and is President of the Newfoundland and Labrador Musicians’ Association, Canadian Federation of Musicians Local 820.


Paddy Byrne, bass

A native of Grand Falls-Windsor, Paddy Byrne began playing bass in various local bands before moving to St. John’s in 2005 to pursue a degree in music at Memorial University of Newfoundland. Paddy has been privileged to play with many names in St. John’s including Steve Maloney & the Wandering Kind, AE Bridger, Repartee, Brianna Gosse, Chris Kirby & the Marquee, Brad Jefford Trio Plus, and Matthew Hornell & the Diamond Minds; the latter of which won four Music NL awards in 2010. In 2014, Paddy was nominated for Music NL’s Side Musician of the Year. Paddy has also been fortunate to perform with the Wonderbolt Circus, Spirit of NL, and the Jazz East Big Band.


Maggie Burton, violin, viola

Maggie Burton is a violinist and writer from Brigus, Newfoundland. Currently living and working in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, Maggie is the Co-Artistic Director of the Suzuki Talent Education Program and maintains an active violin studio. She completed a Bachelor of Music degree at Memorial University in 2013, where she studied violin with Dr. Nancy Dahn and specialized in music history and literature with Dr. Jane Gosine. Maggie plays violin with the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra and the Avalonia Duo, with her partner Chris McGee. She enjoys playing viola and flute in experimental band AE Bridger. Her poetry has been featured in Petal Journal and is forthcoming in untethered.  


Andrew McCarthy, percussion

Andrew McCarthy is a native of St. John’s Newfoundland and has been an active member of the music scene of his hometown for the past 8 years as percussionist, drummer, composer, and educator. Andrew holds a B. Mus from Memorial University where he majored in performance. He has studied with the finest percussionists in Newfoundland such as Rob Power, Bill Brennan, Curtis Andrews, and Sonny Hogan. Also, Andrew has studied the music of the Ewe ethnic group in the village of Dzogadze in Ghana. His teachers there include master drummers Sammy Agudzemegah, Ledzi Agudzemegah, and Oliver Torgboh. With wide musical interests ranging from Classical music to World music, Andrew plays in a variety of groups including: The Scruncheons Percussion Ensemble, Dzolali West African Dance and Drum ensemble, Dunungbe Malinke Drum Ensemble, Skank, The Discounts, Mallory Johnson, The Brad Jefford Trio+  and Ouroboros Sax Quartet and Drumset. Andrew’s current primary creative outlet, Ouroboros, has been garnering attention across the country with the completion of their first Canadian tour in 2015.


Chris McGee

Chris McGee is a freelance saxophonist, pianist and composer from St. John’s, Newfoundland. He holds a Bachelor of Music degree at Memorial University, where he studied saxophone with Professor Paul Bendzsa. Chris plays piano as one half of the Avalonia Duo with Maggie Burton and enjoys playing saxophone and keyboards in experimental band, AE Bridger and is the organist at St. Mary the Virgin Anglican Church.


Etienne Pemberton-Renaud, violin and viola

Originally from Montreal, Etienne Pemberton-Renaud now lives in St. John’s, where he is completing his Masters in Violin Performance at Memorial University, studying with Dr. Nancy Dahn. Etienne plays with the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra and is a Teaching Artist at the Strong Harbour Strings, a community-based music education program at the Buckmaster Circle Community Centre. Before moving to Newfoundland, Etienne completed his Bachelor of Music at McGill University, under the guidance of Mark Fewer. He has attended numerous summer programs including the Banff Center Masterclasses, the Domaine Forget Violin Seminar, the Tafelmusik Baroque Summer Institute, and the Martina Sanchez Dalcroze Training Center. Passionate about chamber music, Etienne was a founding member of the Newfoundland-based Strataphoria Str ing Quartet, and has toured extensively with the Crimson String Quartet.


Gillian Sheppard, flute and piccolo 

Born and raised in St. John’s Newfoundland, Gillian Sheppard is a piccoloist and flutist who specializes in contemporary and orchestral playing. She has played as second flutist in the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra, and Opera on the Avalon Chamber Orchestra. Ms. Sheppard is now in the Doctorate of Musical Arts program at the University of Toronto where she is studying with Camille Watts. A graduate of the Royal College of Music, London UK, Gillian completed her Artist Diploma in Piccolo under the tutelage of Stewart McIlwham, Kathleen Stevenson, and Carla Rees. Ms. Sheppard has a Master of Music from Memorial University and Bachelor of Music from the University of Ottawa, where she has been privileged to study with Dr. Michelle Cheramy, Camille Churchfield, Robert Cram, and Joanna G’froerer. Gillian is specialized in contemporary solo repertoire for both flute and piccolo. She has commissioned and premiered multiple works in both Canada and the United Kingdom. Ms. Sheppard is also passionate about music education and social justice, and is the founder and executive director of the El Sistema-inspired program, Project Grace. Gillian currently lives in St. John’s where she freelances and maintains an active teaching studio.