Our Mentors

Dr. Daniel Mehdizadeh

Composer & Mentor
RCM Piano - Music Theory - Harmony - Counterpoint - Analysis - History - Composition (Levels 1-10, ARCT and University-level)
D.M.A. - University of TorontoM.A. - University of OttawaB.A. - University of Ottawa​

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Dr. Mehdizadeh is currently based in Toronto and is the Composer-in-Residence for the Scarborough Philharmonic Orchestra. He has been involved in both national and international festival series. 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 US including appearance as guest composer on CBC Radio.

Mehdizadeh has collaborated with Orchestre de la Francophonie, Winds of SPO, the Princeton Singers and the Ewashko Singers amongst many others. Notable world-renowned performers include Belgian flautist Marc Grauwels and Dutch theremin player Thorwald Jørgensen with multiple commissions and performances in festivals around the world.

Mehdizadeh has also served as Composer-in-Residence for University of Toronto and University of Toronto Schools. He has given lectures and composition workshops at UTS as well as adjudication and mentorship for the Scarborough Philharmonic Orchestra as part of their annual New Generation Composer Project. Dr. Mehdizadeh is also a dedicated teacher and mentor. Specializing in Counterpoint, Harmony, and Analysis, his expertise in composition gives students full confidence when taking RCM exams and adds an extra dimension to his piano instruction. Full Bio

Quotes
“Jim McGrath’s 5-minute ‘Serenade for Clarinet and Wind Ensemble’ shines the spotlight on Kaye Royer…It is whimsical, to say the least, but gives her plenty of opportunity to show technical skill, grace, and beauty of tone.” - American Record Guide, July/August 2017
“The winds of the Scarborough Philharmonic Orchestra has a rich ensemble sound I don’t normally encounter with wind ensembles. This compact group is filled with first-rate players. They step forward for solos, then blend seamlessly together as an ensemble. If you like wind ensemble music, this disc is for you. If you want to further explore Canadian music, this disc is for you. Heck, if you just want a great listening experience, Canadian Panorama is a disc for you.” - WTJU 91.1 FM, University of Virginia
“There was also some very fine solo work by regular members of the ensemble….Kaye Royer on the clarinet in Jim McGrath’s Serenade and Iris Krizmanic on horn in McIntyre Ranch. In short, this recording and the music so beautifully performed on it are, and will continue to be for many years, a precious gift to us all in the year of our nation’s 150th birthday.” – theWholeNote, Allan Pulker

Kaye Royer

Clarinet

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.

Website

Asher Farber

Collaborative Pianist Conductor
M. Mus (Collaborative Piano) - University of TorontoB. Mus - University of Ottawa

Now situated and proudly serving the Toronto community, Asher remains true to the 'collaborative' title and nature of his education. Currenty, Asher is the conductor of the Miles Nadal JCC Daytime Choir and the Prosserman JCC Shalom Singers. He is also the collaborative pianist for the Miles Nadal JCC Community Choir and the North York Choralairs; he is a regular chorister and pianist with the Beth Tzedec Shir Hadash ensemble. Asher regularly reads Torah and confidently leads and participates in synagogue services. Always looking towards new and exciting projects, he is currently teaming up with Class Act Productions, bringing extracurricular musical theater programming into public schools. Full Bio

Dr. Matthew Tozer

Composer & Educator
PhD Composition - University of Western OntarioM. Mus - Composition University of Western OntarioB. Mus - Queen’s University


Dr. Tozer currently resides in London, Canada, and holds a PhD in Music Composition. He works as a freelance composer, university instructor, and operates a private piano, theory, and composition studio. Described as ‘highly lyrical’ and ‘rich in harmony’ his music explores the juxtaposition of sound and silence and the evolution of musical timbres over time. He is an associate member of the Canadian Music Centre, The Canadian League of Composers, and is a registered teacher in the Ontario Music Teachers Association. Dr. Tozer is a strong advocate for music education having completed multiple university level instructional courses and specializes in teaching composition, harmony and analysis, counterpoint, and beginner piano. Dr. Tozer is actively involved in the creation of new work through the collaborative process with his compositions being programmed and performed by ensembles and in festivals across Canada, the United States, and Europe. Full Bio


Sadaf Amini

Santour (trraditional instrument)
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.


Zac Pulak

Percussion
B. Mus - University of Ottawa

Hailing from Winnipeg; Ottawa based percussionist Zac Pulak has been described as a “funky, well oiled machine” (Ottawa Citizen) and was recently named as one of CBC’s 30 Hot Canadian Classical Musicians Under 30. “One of Ottawa’s most dynamic Musicians (CBC Classical). Zac has worked with world class organizations such as the National Arts Centre, Music and Beyond, Ottawa International Chamberfest, Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, Scotia Festival of Music, Tuckamore Chamber Music Festival, and many others. Zac has completed artist residencies at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity and SMU (Dallas, TX). In his work as a freelance orchestral musician Zac has performed with the National Arts Centre Orchestra, Thirteen Strings Chamber Orchestra, and the symphony orchestra’s of Ottawa, Thunder Bay, and Winnipeg.

Zac also performs in his piano/percussion chamber project SHHH!! Ensemble (with pianist Edana Higham). Together they have toured nationally, performing recitals, outreach concerts, and masterclasses. Full Bio

Zac is an artist/endorser of SABIAN Cymbals.

Risa Tonita

Collaborative Piano
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. Full Bio