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About Us

Variante (Vah-ree-auntay), Italian: to make variations on a theme.

One warm summer afternoon 25 years ago, fate brought harpist Nathalie Younglai and flutist Catherine Richardson together for a wedding – not theirs! Since then, they’ve performed at countless nuptial celebrations, corporate shindigs and have been featured guests artists at numerous concerts.

Through their music, they have donated thousands of hours of community service to MS Society, local food banks, and the Canadian Cancer Society, just to name a few.  Nathalie and Catherine sponsor the Variante Harp & Flute Duo Scholarship for the Burlington Rotary Music Festival. And once, they even ran a 5k race in support of the Halton Trauma Centre - but the instruments stayed in the car! Each Christmas season, the duo performs a concert with the entire proceeds going to the local food bank. 

The Variante Harp & Flute Duo is renowned for their dazzling variety of musical styles – from classical and jazz, to rock and beyond. In 2017, Nathalie and Catherine are celebrating 25 year together as a duo. They have 4 CDs to their credit. Reunion and Celtic Charms are collaborations with musical friends - violin, percussion, and voice. Their CDs can be heard on CBC, and Classical 96.3FM.

The duo has been featured guest artists for Les Concerts Ponticello in Gatineau,  the Different Drummer Concert series in Burlington, and special guests at a Musical Gala held a St. James United Church in Toronto. 

Weddings and corporate gigs are their bread and butter. Concerts are their crème brulée.

harpNathalie Youglai

Nathalie started playing Suzuki violin at the age of 4. When she was 12, she decided 4 strings just weren’t enough, so she took the challenge of 44 more and studied Suzuki harp under the tutelage of Marie Lorcini. With the harp, she earned awards including the Toronto Kiwanis Scholarship and the Lee Hepner Award for musical excellence. Nathalie has soloed with the Hamilton Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, and the Guelph Chamber Orchestra; and has played with the Te Deum Chamber Orchestra, the Hamilton Philharmonic, Symphony Hamilton, the Toronto Youth Wind Ensemble, and the Guelph Concert Band. She created the soundtrack for a documentary about the Young Offender's Act.

Nathalie has taught music at the Hamilton Suzuki school of Music, the Halton Waldorf School, as well as privately.

Nathalie’s writing has been published in the Globe and Mail, the Hamilton Spectator and Amöi magazine. When she isn’t harping, she enjoys calling the shots as a television director for the Gemini Award-winning series, “Til Debt Do Us Part” and encouraging her teenage daughter’s own creativity.

fluteCatherine Richardson

Catherine has been playing flute and piano since the age of 7. She attended the University of Toronto where she received a B.A., B.Ed., and an ARCT in Flute Performance. Aside from her many collaborations with Nathalie over the past 25 years, Catherine is also a music teacher with the Halton District School Board, where she is the director of the 85-voice, award-winning C.H. Norton Primary Choir.  In 2007, Catherine produced If You Should Meet a Crocodile, a CD featuring the Norton choir. In 2012 and 2014 Catherine was invited to direct the Halton District School Board Massed Choir of 400 students at Hamilton Place.  She will have this honour once again in 2017. 

In 2012, Catherine founded the Enchorus Children's Choir. She is the conductor/treasurer/artistic director/media liaison and chef for the choir!!! The choir is comprised of a cheerful, talented group of children from Burlington in Grade 4 to 7. They love to eat almost as much as they love to sing! Enchorus has performed with the Burlington Concert Band, Halton Regional Police Chorus, Tempus Choral Society, Burlington Civic Choral, Circle of Harmony, Burlington Male Welsh Chorus, and the Brock University Wind Ensemble. www.enchorus.ca

Catherine has served on the executive of the Ontario Registered Music Teachers’ Association for Hamilton-Halton, is on the music committee for the Rotary Burlington Music Festival, is a member of the Ontario Music Educators’ Association and is the coordinator for the Don Banks Music Awards competition. She is an active community volunteer with many charity organizations, and continues to enjoy her involvement in church activities. Along with her husband, she spends treasured time with their three grown sons.