Dr. Daniel Mehdizadeh
Harmony | Counterpoint | Composition | Orchestration
There is something vividly distinct about Mehdizadeh's music. This Canadian composer is revered for his intricate, unpredictable and haunting works. The sound and gesture of his pieces bury themselves deep in complex imagination, participating you in an exploration of uncertain visceral implications. His unique musical language is perceived as complex yet engaging, bringing together a hybrid of musical expression including contrapuntal textures and the Mehdizadeh Modes.
Dr. Daniel Mehdizadeh (DMA, University of Toronto) is currently based in the GTA and is the Composer-in-Residence for the Scarborough Philharmonic Orchestra (SPO). He has been involved in both national and international festival series including the latest commission from the Collingwood Music Festival in collaboration with the Penderecki String Quartet. He is regularly commissioned and holds numerous performances in Europe and North America. His works have had global exposure and have been broadcasted across Canada and the US including appearance as guest composer on CBC and Classical Jukebox Radio.
To read more, visit https://www.danielmehdizadeh.com
Dr. Bekah Simms
Composer Bekah Simms hails from St. John's, Newfoundland and is currently based in Glasgow after nine years living and working in Toronto. Her varied musical output has been heralded as “cacophonous, jarring, oppressive — and totally engrossing!” (CBC Music), “visceral contemporary music that enfolds external inspirations with dazzling rigor and logic” (Peter Margasak), and lauded for its "sheer range of ingenious material, expressive range and sonic complexity" (The Journal of Music.) Propelled equally by fascination and terror toward the universe, her work is often filtered through the personal lens of her anxiety, resulting in nervous, messy, and frequently heavy electroacoustic musical landscapes. Recent interests in just intonation and virtual instruments have resulted in increasingly lush and strange harmonic environments.
Bekah's music has been widely performed across North America and Europe. She has worked with some of the top interpreters of contemporary music internationally, including Crash Ensemble - with whom she is currently an artist-in-residence - Riot Ensemble, Eighth Blackbird, and l’Ensemble Contemporain de Montréal. Bekah has also been the recipient of over 35 awards, competitive selections, nominations, and prizes, including the 2019 Barlow Prize. The resulting work, "metamold," was nominated for the 2022 Gaudeamus Award. Works from her debut album “impurity chains” were nominated in both 2019 and 2020 for the JUNO Award for Classical Composition of the Year. Her music has thrice been included in the Canadian Section's official submission to World Music Days (2016, 2019, & 2021), and in 2016 the CBC included her among their annual 30 hot classical musicians under 30.
Bekah is a Lecturer at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, following previous academic positions at the University of Toronto and University of Western Ontario. She holds a D.M.A. and M.Mus in music composition from the University of Toronto, and a B.Mus.Ed. and B.Mus in theory/composition from Memorial University of Newfoundland. Her principal teachers during academic studies were Gary Kulesha and Andrew Staniland, alongside significant private study with Clara Iannotta and Martin Bédard.
Dr. Vincent Ho
Has taught at the International School of Geneva, the University of Ottawa, Carleton University, the Manitoba Conservatory of Music and Art, and Haileybury Astana.
Vincent Ho is a multi-award winning composer of orchestral, chamber, vocal, and theatre music. His works have been described as “brilliant and compelling” by The New York Times and hailed for their profound expressiveness and textural beauty, leaving audiences talking about them with great enthusiasm. His many awards and recognitions have included three Juno Award nominations, Harvard University’s Fromm Music Commission, The Canada Council for the Arts’ “Robert Fleming Prize”, ASCAP’s “Morton Gould Young Composer Award”, four SOCAN Young Composers Awards, and CBC Radio’s Audience Choice Award (2009 Young Composers’ Competition).
During the period of 2007-2014, Dr. Ho has served as the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra’s composer-in-residence and had presented a number of large-scale works that have generated much excitement and critical praise. His Arctic Symphony has been described “as a beautiful work that evokes the Far North in a very special way” (John Corigliano), and “a mature and atmospheric work that firmly establishes Ho among North American composers of note” (Winnipeg Free Press). His percussion concerto, titled The Shaman, composed for Dame Evelyn Glennie was hailed as a triumph, receiving unanimous acclaim and declared by critics as “Spectacular” (The New York Classical Review), “A powerhouse work” (The Winnipeg Free Press), and “Rocking/mesmerizing…downright gorgeous” (The Pittsburgh Gazette). His second concerto for Glennie titled From Darkness To Light, Ho’s musical response to the cancer illness, was lauded as “a lasting masterpiece of sensitivity and perception” (Winnipeg Free Press). His cello concerto, City Suite, composed for Canadian cellist Shauna Rolston, has received similar praise with critics calling it “Thrilling” (Windsor Star) and “Overflowing with striking ideas…The most successful piece heard at this year’s Festival” (Classical Voice America).
Born in Ottawa, Ontario in 1975, Vincent Ho began his musical training through Canada’s Royal Conservatory of Music where he earned his Associate Diploma in Piano Performance. He gained his Bachelor of Music from the University of Calgary, his Master of Music from the University of Toronto, and his Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Southern California. His mentors have included Allan Bell, David Eagle, Christos Hatzis, Walter Buczynski, and Stephen Hartke. In 1997, he was awarded a scholarship to attend the Schola Cantorum Summer Composition Program in Paris, where he received further training in analysis, composition, counterpoint, and harmony, supervised by David Diamond, Philip Lasser, and Narcis Bonet.
In his free time, he enjoys running, reading, traveling, dancing, hiking, playing chess, and learning the keyboard works of Bach, Beethoven, Ravel, and Ligeti (among many others). He is also an enthusiast of old-time radio shows, photography, crime noir, Zen art, jazz, Jimi Hendrix, graphic novels, and Stanley Kubrick films.
Dr. Ho has taught at the University of Calgary and currently serves as Artistic Director to Land’s End Ensemble and New Music Advisor to the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra. His works are published and managed by Promethean Editions Ltd and Peters Edition.
With numerous performances, commissions and commercial recordings, Ronald Royer is a prominent Canadian composer who strives to connect with audiences. Justin O’Dell of The Clarinet magazine writes: “Ronald Royer’s music is beautifully appealing and communicative”, while Stanley Fefferman of Showtimemagazine.ca contributes, “These masterful and witty pieces live up to Royer’s reputation for music that is both entertaining and imaginative.”
His concert music has been performed by more than 70 orchestras, including the international iPalpiti Orchestra in Disney Concert Hall (Los Angeles, USA), Sinfonia Finlandia (Finland), Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic Orchestra (Czech Republic), Athens La Camerata (Greece), Joensuu City Orchestra (Finland), and Members of the Wurttemberg Chamber Orchestra (Germany). Canadian performances have included the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, Victoria Symphony, Hamilton Philharmonic, Orchestra London, Niagara Symphony, Thunder Bay Symphony and Symphony New Brunswick. The Ontario Festival Symphony Orchestra performed his composition Exuberance on tour in China (available on YouTube). He has served as the composer-in-residence for Sinfonia Toronto, Mississauga Symphony (supported by the Canada Council for the Arts), Toronto Sinfonietta, Scarborough Philharmonic and the Brantford Symphony.
Born in Los Angeles into a family of professional musicians, he began his career as a cellist, performing with such ensembles as the Toronto Symphony, Utah Symphony, Pacific Symphony, and American Ballet Theatre Orchestra, as well as working in the Motion Picture and Television Industry in Los Angeles during the 1980’s. Having been inspired by working with a number of concert and film composers, Mr. Royer began serious studies in composition in the 1990’s, receiving a master’s degree in composition from the University of Toronto in 1997. His principal composition teachers were Alexander Rapoport, Walter Buczynski and Lothar Klein. Mr. Royer has received commissioning grants from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, the Toronto Arts Council, the Laidlaw Foundation and more. He is an associate composer of the Canadian Music Centre.
In addition to composing, Mr. Royer is presently serving as the music director and conductor of the Scarborough Philharmonic and has guest conducted a number of orchestras. For 21 years, he worked as an Instructor of Music for the University of Toronto Schools. He continues to teach private lessons and be an advocate for music education. Mr. Royer is married to clarinetist Kaye Royer and has composed several works for her.
Thorwald Jørgensen is known as one of the leading classical theremin players in the world. After graduating from the conservatory he quickly established himself as one of the most prominent players of the instrument and made full time career of playing the instrument. Since the playing technique also resembles that of a string instrument, Thorwald was coached by Saskia Boon, former cellist with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.
Having a busy concert schedule, Thorwald has played to great reviews as a chamber musician, soloist and orchestral thereminist in Europe, both North and South America, Asia, Australia, Canada and Russia. A remarkable highlight was the Dutch premiere of the theremin concertino by Anis Fuleihan.
Besides these concerts Thorwald also performed for radio and television and played at festivals, like Ravinia Festival (USA) Festival Classique (NL), Bach Festival (NL), Without Touch (DE) Hands Off (UK), Klassifest (NL), Node (CH), Music and Beyond (CA), Festival Electromagnética Santiago (CL), Klarafestival (BE), Fête de la Musique (CH), MAGFestival (HRV), Lunigiana International Music Festival (IT) International Film Festival Rotterdam / IFFR (NL) Gaudeamus Music Week (NL), November Music (NL), Wonderfeel (NL), Ars Musica (BE), Albury Chamber Music Festival (AU) New Music Festival Montréal (CA) and the Thereminology Festival in Moscow and St Petersburg (RU). He was also invited as a guest teacher/lecturer/performer at renowned institutions like the Conservatory of Amsterdam, Rotterdam, St. Petersburg (RU), Nizhny Novgorod (RU), Stanford University (USA) and Harvard University (USA) and the University of Havana (CU)
Thorwald played as a soloist with numerous orchestras around the world, like Philharmonie Zuid-Nederland, Brussels Philharmonic, Cyprus Symphony Orchestra, Norrköping Symphony Orchestra, Opera2Day, kammerphilharmonie bremen, Eskişehir Symphony Orchestra, Dutch Theatre Orchestra, Antalya Symphony Orchestra, Ottawa Chamber Players, Antwerp Symphony Orchestra, Boston Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Chamber Orchestra of Wallonie, Bursa State Symphony Orchestra, KODA Chamber Orchestra, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Bremer Philharmoniker and the Presidential Symphony Orchestra of Turkey.
As a chamber musician Thorwald works together with both pianist Kamilla Bystrova and the Utrecht String Quartet. A highlight was the world premiere of Canadian composer Simon Bertrand "The Invisible Singer - an album for theremin and string quartet" , performed during the Gaudeamus Music Week in the Netherlands.
Thorwald is an advocate for new theremin repertoire and composers from all over the world have written pieces for him. Recently Thorwald also started composing himself, resulting in several solo pieces for theremin. His first composition Distant Shores for theremin, voice and loop-station was an instant success and was recorded for TV and radio in Canada, Croatia, Turkey, Australia, Russia, USA and the Netherlands.
Thorwald currently plays a MOOG Etherwave Pro theremin.
Dr. Mark Wilkinson
Vocologist and Voice Scientist
D.M.A. - The Ohio State University
M.Mus. - University of Alberta
Diploma - Franz-Schubert-Institut
B.Mus. - Université d'Ottawa
Canadian baritone Mark Wilkinson is a vocal musician and actor whose eclectic career has expressed a versatility of artistry founded in a gift for dramatic truth-telling and sumptuous vocalism in a vast array of repertoire.
Dr. Mark's interest lies in representing the uniquely challenging space that singers occupy in being both musicians and actors -- he chooses artistic collaborations that embrace the voice as a musical instrument and lyrics as a legitimate tool for expression. As such, he has worked with myriad colleagues around the world in the most traditional and avant-garde settings. From singing J.S. Bach on national Canadian airwaves to stealing the show with P.D.Q. Bach himself, and from descending into madness in black-box theatres to leading the North American premiere of a Margaret Atwood play, Dr. Mark's multiple talents and professionalism bring assured artistry to any setting.
As an expert in chamber music, theatre, early music, and new compositions, Dr. Mark enjoys intimate collaborations in venues both big and small. He has been featured on CBC Music, Radio, and Television throughout his career, and is an engaging voice-over artist, narrator, master of ceremonies, and public speaker.
Dr. Mark also brings his career as a voice scientist and voice health specialist to masterclasses, clinics, and workshops across North America. He is one of Canada's leading voice pedagogues with a singular ability to habilitate and rehabilitate both professional and aspiring professional voice users. In addition to his rare background in clinical voice therapy and laryngology, he is known as an expert in educational psychology, curriculum design, and the neuroscience of learning.
A graduate of The Ohio State University, Dr. Mark continues to be inspired by his colleagues from whose generosity he has learned so much over the years. He is currently a proud French-speaking resident of Ottawa, Ontario, the traditional and unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinaabeg.
Faculty of Music, Carleton University
The soaring voice of Maghan McPhee’s soprano has been described as “brilliant, with warm lyricism” (Times Argus). Her instrument seems tailor-made to the brilliance and difficulty in the Mozartian opera roles , including Ilia in Idomeneo, Susanna and Contessa in Le Nozze di Figaro, Pamina in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, Zerlina in Don Giovanni. Other signature roles are Micaëla in Bizet’s Carmen, and Berta in Rossini’s Barbiere di Siviglia where she made her mark and “immediately had the public holding their breath during her brief but remarkable solo”.(LeDroit)
Maghan was featured with the Ottawa Chamber Orchestra, singing Mozart concert arias with National Art Centre violinist, Donnie Deacon. She worked with Maestro Alexander Shelley and actor Colm Feore in Mendelssohn’s Midsummer Night’s Dream with the National Arts Centre Orchestra and was the featured soprano soloist in their Messiah.
Highlights of past seasons include being featured with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, the American Symphony Orchestra and making her Carnegie Hall debut in the world premiere of a work by American composer Ryan Carter. Operatic highlights include creating the role of Hope in the Tapestry New Opera/Edmonton Opera production of Shelter by Juliet Palmer. Ms. McPhee is also a founding member of Carmen on Tap (Micaëla), a travelling production based on Bizet’s original score. Carmen on Tap has appeared across Ontario, including Ottawa’s Chamberfest, the Stratford Summer Music Festival, Toronto, and the Prince Edward County Music Festival. An accomplished chamber musician, she has been engaged by various presenters including the Ottawa Chamberfest, Thirteen Strings and The Juilliard School in New York.
Competition credits include the Eckhardt Gramatte Competition (silver prize winner), the Montreal International Voice Competition (semi-finalist), the Louis Quilico Voice Competition (Bronze prize winner), and won a monetary prize as well as an honourable mention at the Académie International d'été de Nice (France) Competition. An honours graduate of the University of Toronto, Ms. McPhee earned a Master’s degree from the University of Ottawa. She currently teaches voice at Carleton University.
Has taught at the International School of Geneva, the University of Ottawa, Carleton University, the Manitoba Conservatory of Music and Art, and Haileybury Astana.
Pianist Valerie Dueck grew up in Kleefeld, Manitoba on a street that housed an internationally renowned soprano and two leading vocal conductors. Given the neighbourhood, a career in vocal accompanying seemed an entirely rational choice.
Now an internationally active pianist, Valerie has distinguished herself as a solo and collaborative performer while living on three continents. She has prepared both young singers and professionals in roles for such companies as Opera NUOVA, Opera Lyra, Wiener Volksoper, Wiener Staatsoper, Seattle Opera and Houston Grand Opera. She has been employed by the Grand Thèâtre de Genève, Thirteen Strings in Ottawa, Schlosstheater Schönbrunn in Vienna and the Conservatoire de musique de Genève, and has been invited to perform in the Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival, the Music and Beyond festival in Ottawa, the Five Boroughs Music Festival in New York and three successive tours of China. Her performances have been broadcast by the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and Kazakh National Television.
Engaged as piano professor for the Conservatoire de musique de Genève, Valerie has also taught piano at the International School of Geneva, the University of Ottawa, Carleton University, the Manitoba Conservatory of Music and Art, and Haileybury Astana. Her formative piano teachers at university were David Lutz, Stéphane Lemelin, Judy Kehler Siebert and Garth Beckett. Intensive studies with Dalton Baldwin and Rena Sharon were influential in her training as a vocal coach.
Valerie’s collaborative endeavours include the Air, Strings and Keys trio with thereminist Thorwald Jørgensen and violinist Marc Djokic. In 2020, Valerie created the online live interview series Well-Tempered Bernadette: A Piano’s Tale of 5 Cities, where she hosted guests such as Joyce El-Khoury, Julie Nesrallah, David Stewart and Paule Préfontaine, and for which she received a Canada Council for the Arts grant. Valerie and her piano Bernadette are currently living in Ottawa.
Music Director & Published Author in over 30 Countries
Patty Chan is a second generation Chinese Canadian erhu musician, educator, and author. She is the Music Director of the Toronto Chinese Orchestra, Co-Founder of the cross- cultural PhoeNX Ensemble, and Director of Centre for Music Innovations (musinno.com).
As an erhu musician, Patty has collaborated with many ensembles and organizations, including the Strings of St. John’s, Red Snow Collective, the Toronto Masque Theatre, and the Canadian Children’s Opera Company. She has performed in world premieres of theatre/opera productions such as Red Snow (2012), The Lesson of Da Ji (2013), Comfort (2016), and The Monkiest King (2018). Patty’s composition, Redemption: The Chan Kol Nidre (2015) for erhu and viola da gamba has been added to the archives at the Beit Hatfutsot in Tel Aviv, a museum for the Jewish people.
Patty has taught erhu and Chinese music at York University, Ryerson University, and Carleton University. She has led and participated in music exchanges and tours in Canada and Asia. Patty has written several books about the erhu that have sold in over 30 countries, and a storybook in three languages about Chinese instruments for children. She is currently creating a Chinese music database for English readers at the Centre for Music Innovations in partnership with the Little Giant Chinese Chamber Orchestra in Taiwan. Her focus continues to be forging cultural connections through music.
One of Canada’s most sought-after Harpists of her Generation
Sanya Eng is one of Canada’s most sought-after harpists of her generation, equally celebrated as a soloist, chamber, and orchestral musician. A dynamic and sensitive performer, she has been described as “an outstanding musical talent” (Jerusalem Post), “remarkably polished” (Globe and Mail) and “dazzling with her delicate and intense command of the harp” (Musical Toronto).
She has been a featured soloist in many festivals and concert series throughout North America, Europe, Israel, Asia, and Africa. As an active chamber and orchestral musician, she performs regularly with ensembles such as the Canadian Opera Company, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, the National Arts Centre Orchestra, Esprit Orchestra, Continuum, New Music Concerts, Soundstreams, the St. Michael’s Boys’ Choir, the Toronto Children’s Chorus, and the Canadian Children’s Opera Chorus.
Sanya is passionately dedicated to New Music and has personally commissioned and premiered countless works by both Canadian and international composers. She has recorded for Naxos, Centrediscs, CBC Records, Canadian Art Song Project, hatART, ClassXdiscs, and Orange Mountain Music.
Most recently, in collaboration with internationally renowned erhu player Patty Chan, Sanya co-founded PhoeNX Ensemble, a new cross-cultural mixed chamber ensemble pairing East Asian and Western instruments. Based in Toronto, Canada, the vision of PhoeNX Ensemble is to explore, promote, and expand the East/West mixed-musical medium through performances, educational workshops, commissioning, and cross-disciplinary collaborations. Each concert has an arc of experience. Programmes are based upon compelling stories of true history, traditional mythology, or tales of life-lessons learned through fables. With music ranging from time-honoured, Eastern-oriented classics to freshly commissioned contemporary new music, the audience is treated to a journey across cultures, languages, borders, and time.... and ultimately: a journey of hope and inspiration.
Kaye Royer is an active soloist, chamber musician and orchestral performer. She is principal clarinet with the Brantford Symphony, Canadian Sinfonietta, Sinfonia Toronto, Scarborough Philharmonic, Toronto Sinfonietta, and the Stratford Symphony. She has performed with orchestras such as the London Sinfonia, Kitchener Waterloo Symphony, Hamilton Philharmonic, Niagara Symphony, Windsor Symphony, Ontario Philharmonic, Talisker Players, Toronto Concert Orchestra, Arcady Orchestra, Mandel Philharmonic and Orchestra London. She performed with the orchestra on the Ontario portion of a Diana Krall world tour and toured China where she performed as principal clarinet with the Ontario Festival Symphony Orchestra. She has performed in the orchestra for such legends as Sarah Brightman, Michael Bolton, Il Divo, Il Volo, Richard Margison, Diana Kroll, Loreena McKennitt, Natalie McMaster and film composer David Rose.
As a recording artist, she was a featured soloist on Toronto Sinfonietta’s Romancing Chopin and The Winds of the Scarborough Philharmonic’s Canadian Panorama. She has played on The Hollywood Flute of Louise DiTullio, Conrad Chow’s Premieres, and the children’s album The Storyteller’s Bag. She has worked on the soundtracks of such films as Gooby (starring Robbie Coltrane and Eugene Levy), Prisma, The Dog and The Happy Couple as well as an Alexanian Carpet commercial (actor and musician). She has been heard on radio broadcasts on Canadian stations CFMZ, CJRT-FM, CFWC-FM and nationally on CBC 1 and 2. Her recordings have been broadcast numerous times in the United States on Satellite Radio and various National Public Radio stations. Recent engagements include performing and recording a quintet with Máté Szűcs (soloist and former Principal Violist of the Berlin Philharmonic), violinist Joyce Lai, cellist Andras Weber and pianist Talisa Blackman in the fall of 2019.
As a teacher, Kaye has an active private studio, as well as serving as the clarinet instructor at Havergal College, St Clements School, Bayview Glen and Cardinal Carter Academy of the Arts. She has presented workshops and clinics at a number of schools, including St. Andrews College, Hillfield Strathallan College, Rosedale Heights School of the Arts, and the University of Toronto Schools. She is a Certified Advanced Specialist of the Royal Conservatory of Music.
M. Mus - University of TorontoB. Mus - Tehran University
Sadaf Amini began learning the Santur when she was a child. In 2012, she received her Bachelor’s degree in Iranian Music Performance at Tehran University. After immigrating to Canada, she received her Master’s degree in Music Technology at the University of Toronto in 2018. She has performed at various music festivals and received prizes, which the latest were the 2019 YGK emerging musician competition (Kingston), and the 2020 Kingston Film Festival Local Music Video Showcase Jury Prize (Kingston). She has also collaborated with various ensembles which have led to several album recordings; her most recent release was her original Santur solo album “Flow”.
Currently, she is expanding her repertoire from traditional Iranian music to a more personal style that expresses her inner feelings to a greater extent. Sadaf is also very much active as an educator, creating youtube education content. Check out her Educational YouTube videos by clicking here.
D.M.A. - University of British Columbia (enrolled) M. Mus - University of OttawaB. Mus - University of Ottawa
Currently working on a Doctor of Musical Arts degree at UBC, Risa Tonita is a vibrant performer and teacher who communicates generously through her music. A very versatile musician, Risa performs as a solo and collaborative pianist, a singer, and a vocal coach. Some recent highlights include performing for The Old School House “Music on Sundays” concert series with bassoonist Ingrid Chiang and oboist Emma Ringrose (2020), currently working as studio pianist for the students of Peter Barcza and Dale Throness at the University of British Columbia, working as rehearsal pianist for the Best of Broadway POPS concert at the National Arts Centre in 2018, and performing Gerswhin’s Concerto in F with the Parkdale Orchestra in Ottawa in 2016. Since moving to Vancouver in September 2019, Risa has begun to establish herself as a pianist in the city working with a number of singers and instrumentalists at UBC and in the community. Risa is also committed to fighting stigmas associated with mental health, gender inequity, and cultural oppression, and seeks out opportunities to combine this interest with her love of Canadian repertoire.
In addition to being a dedicated pianist, Risa is a voice teacher and collaborative pianist. Her experience in theatre, dance, and singing contribute to her ability to create characters within any genre or style of classical music, and she loves to encourage students to be creative with their own ideas and to experience their music-making from a personal angle. Risa's studio is currently based in Vancouver where she continues to inspire her students to be creative, to take risks, and to face challenges with enthusiasm.