Guest Artists

Guest Artists for Carmina Burana

Past Guest Artists

Dianne Aitken: Flute

Flutist Dianne Aitken is on the faculty at both the Royal Conservatory of Music and the University of Toronto, and is a member of the College of Examiners, and NFA New Music Advisory Committee. Recent activities include the development of the Overtones Flute Series for Frederick Harris Music (2010) and revision of the 2010 RCM Flute Syllabus. Other publications include assistance in Hiroshi Koizumi’s Technique for Contemporary Flute Music (Schott 1996), 2006 and 1992 RCM Flute Syllabi, ACNMP Syllabi.

Among performances in Canada, Europe and the US with the Aitken/Tureski Duo, Barbara Hannigan, NMC, Esprit Orchestra, Array, COC, and Robert Aitken, include broadcasts on CBC, CJRT and CKLN. Her selected discography includes ô Bali, à la claire fontaine, Spirit Song, Array Legacy, Henry Brant: Music for Massed Flutes, Lutoslawski conducts Lutoslawski, and James Harley’s upcoming Centrediscs recording of Tyee, commissioned by/for the A/T Duo. Ms. Aitken is also active as a session/orchestral player, clinician/adjudicator, and with Robert Aitken, sponsors the Aitken Award, administered by ACNMP at the annual Contemporary Showcase festival.

Dianne Aitken received her Bachelor of Music (Performance) from U of T, studying with Douglas Stewart. Postgraduate work included courses in Europe, ie. work with midi-flute & ISPW (IRCAM, Paris), Internationale Ferienkurse für Neue Musik (Darmstadt), Rencontres de la Chartreuse (Acanthes/Festival d’Avignon); Artist-in-Residence at the Banff Centre; and personal study with Marcel Moyse, Greta Kraus, Pierre-Yves Artaud and Robert Aitken.

Leslie Allt: Flute, Tin Whistle, Irish flute

Leslie Allt is recognized as one of Toronto’s most versatile musicians. He is an accomplished jazz artist as well as a respected classical flautist. As Principal flute, Mr. Allt has toured extensively throughout North America and Europe with the Canadian Opera Company, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and the National Ballet of Canada. His work in recent years has included performances with the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, Art of Time Ensemble and at the DuMaurier Jazz Festival, as well as the Elora Festival, Festival of the Sound, and Guelph Spring Festival.

He has been a guest soloist with Nota Bene Period Orchestra, National Ballet of Canada, Sinfonia Mississauga, and the Canadian Opera Children’s Chorus, among others. His facility with various genres has led to performances and recordings with such artists as Ray Charles, Sophie Milman, Blue Rodeo and Diana Krall.

Mr. Allt also specializes in exotic flutes, ranging from penny whistles to panpipes. He is featured on numerous recordings and has brought his expertise to the Toronto productions of ‘The Lion King’ and ‘Lord of the Rings’, playing fourteen different instruments.

An avid proponent of contemporary music, he has performed with Toronto’s New Music Concerts and Arraymusic, and the Scotia Festival under Pierre Boulez. He particularly enjoys his work in chamber music collaborations with some of the country’s finest musicians.

“Leslie Allt conveys warmth and joy.”
“…solos were dispatched with panache by Leslie Allt…” Los Angeles Times
“…a sound like educated birds… Allt has the purest tone, and the sweetest beauty.” JazzUSA.

Elizabeth Loewen Andrews: Violin

As second violinist in the Windermere String Quartet and as a core member of the Hamilton Philharmonic, Elizabeth Loewen Andrews has established herself as a respected violinist in the Greater Toronto Area.

She continues to demonstrate her versatility as a musician as she finds herself at home in both period and modern performance. Her interests, as well her experience in solo, chamber and orchestral performance, have allowed Elizabeth the opportunities to perform internationally: in England (with the Britten-Pears Orchestra), France (in the Festival des Saintes), the Netherlands (at the renowned Concertgebouw, in Amsterdam), as well as Japan, Hong Kong, and Israel.

Elizabeth performs regularly with the Aradia ensemble, and is very excited to have joined Tafelmusik for the first time on stage this season.  She has also performed with Esprit Orchestra, Via Salzburg, Talisker Players, Toronto Masque Theatre, and for Toronto Operetta Theatre.

Elizabeth has her Master in Music Performance from the University of Toronto, where she studied with Annalee Patipatanakoon, violinist with the Gryphon Trio. She has had the opportunity to work with many esteemed performers and pedagogues, including Martin Beaver, Mark Fewer, Pamela Frank, Scott St. John, and the members of the St. Lawrence String Quartet.

Stephanie Piercey Beames: Soprano; Founder, East York Choir

A graduate of the University of Toronto, Stephanie Piercey Beames sang for more than twelve years in some of the most prestigious opera halls in Europe, including the Berlin Philharmonic and the Tonhalle (Düsseldorf) in Germany, the Forum de Meyrin in Switzerland and the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London, England. She has also appeared in concert, oratorio, recital and opera in Canada and the United States. Her principal roles include Madama Butterfly (Puccini), Donna Anna (Mozart), Fiordiligi (Mozart), Leonora (Verdi), Amelia (Verdi) and Donna Elizabetta (Verdi).

Stephanie became a guest artist with the English National Opera in 2000, covering such roles as Mimi (Puccini), Madama Butterfly (Puccini), and Amelia (Verdi) amongst others.

Upon her return to Canada she has been presented in numerous concerts in Québec and Ontario, most notably in the title role of Opera in Concert’s 2005 production of Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda.

Her album Nocturne, hailed by critics as ‘enticing’ and ‘magical’, was released in 2000 and is a tribute to American composer, Samuel Barber. Stephanie’s compact disk, Im Abendrot, which includes ‘Die vier letzte Lieder’ of Richard Strauss was recorded in recital at Bandeen Hall in Sherbrooke, Québec.

She has collaborated with Canadian composer, Donald Patriquin, who wrote the brilliant ‘Magnificat for Turning’ for her. Stephanie has worked with several notable conductors, including Georg Tintner, Alexandre Ingram, Mark Elder and Edward Gardner (E.N.O.), Lorenzo Palomo (Berlin) and Claude Villaret (Switzerland). Among many teachers and coaches, Stephanie has refined her artistry with Dixie Ross Neill, Robert Savoie, and Stuart Hamilton.

Rose Bolton: Fiddle/Violin

Rose Bolton grew up in Toronto, where she began her musical training on classical violin and piano. Since studying music at McGill University, she has worked as both a classical and electronic composer, and a fiddler. Her first experiences performing Irish fiddle music were busking in the Toronto subways, and playing in Irish pubs.

She has performed extensively with numerous bands and ensembles, and with many of Canada’s finest traditional musicians, including fiddler Jamie Snider, guitarist October Browne, piper Deborah Quigley, and flutist/accordionist Loretto Reid.

In addition to playing Irish fiddle, she has adopted many musical styles, learning from the Cape Breton, Newfoundland, Quebec and Ontario fiddle repertoire. The synthesis of Irish fiddling and these other styles has given her a unique fiddle sound. She is active as a fiddle teacher, both as a private instructor and in schools.

As a concert composer, her body of work spans from chamber music to vocal to symphonic. Her works have been performed by many of Canada’s leading ensembles, including the Esprit Orchestra, Tapestry New Opera, The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and L’ensemble contemporain de Montréal. Many of her pieces have been broadcast on CBC radio, including a commission in 2009, performed by the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony.

Assisted by a grant from the Canada Council for the Arts, she is currently working on a multiple speaker electronic piece that will be presented this October as part of Toronto’s Nuit Blanche.

Julia Cleveland: Percussion

“Great tunes, great playing, great sound” is how Jazz FM radio host, Larry Green has described Julia Cleveland and her Quintet. The Quintet, Julia’s main artistic project, has been active on the jazz scene with increasingly frequent performances in Toronto’s major jazz clubs over the past couple of years. It has developed a reputation for catchy and sophisticated original music played by fabulous musicians spawning a growing following. Since studying drums with Kevin Dempsey and composition with Mike Malone and Dave McMurdo at Hamilton’s Mohawk College, Julia has been showcasing her performing and compositional talents through performances with her quintet. In addition to performing with her own jazz ensembles, she can be found gracing the stages of Toronto’s jazz venues, in musical theatre orchestra pits, and on festival stages.

Julia is also recognized as a leading taiko Japanese drummer in Toronto. She has been a member of, recorded and toured with the Kiyoshi Nagata Ensemble. As part of the Muhtadi International Drumming Festival she toured Trinidad and Tobago with Isshin Daiko. She is currently the Artistic Director of Isshin Daiko, co-producing their upcoming CD and contributing compositions to their repertoire. She leads a weekly youth taiko group, Jakurai, at the Toronto Buddhist Church. Julia performed as a guest artist with taiko group, Onnanoko and the York Regional Symphony Orchestra.

Julia Cleveland graduated from the University of Toronto, earning a Bachelor of Music in Classical percussion. She then studied with drum guru, Jim Blackley for several years, and later enrolled in the Mohawk College Jazz Program, graduating with honours, and winning the Rosseau House and Eva Palonek awards.

Julia is now composing new works for both her jazz and taiko ensembles, which are each planning to release CDs of original material.

Nicholas Coulter: Percussion

One of Canada’s most versatile percussionists, Nicholas Coulter enjoys a career as varied as the many instruments he plays. He has performed with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, the National Ballet of Canada, New Music Toronto, the Esprit Orchestra, Vancouver New Music, and Ballet British Columbia.

He was a principal percussionist for the Toronto productions of the hit Broadway musical, Hairspray, the world premiere production of the stage adaptation of The Lord of the Rings, and was personally chosen by Brian May and Roger Taylor of Queen for the smash hit Mirvish Production of We Will Rock You. This summer he will be performing in the orchestra for the Dancap presentation of Miss Saigon at the Four Seasons Centre.

Nicholas has had the great pleasure of working closely with such modern visionaries as Pierre Boulez and George Crumb. Nominated for a Jessie Award for his compositions for children’s theatre, he has toured extensively with the Mortal Coil Performance Society, a dance/theatre company performing across Canada and the United States. In August, he will have the pleasure of reprising his presentation of the classic 1920s silent film masterpiece The Mark of Zorro with fellow percussionist Graham Hargrove, pianist James Bourne, and guitarist Kevin Ramessar at the Jackson-Triggs Winery Estate as part of their 10th anniversary “Twilight in the Vineyard” series.

Nicholas holds degrees from both the University of Victoria and the University of British Columbia. He lives in Toronto.

Eve-Lyn de la Haye: Soprano

Originally from Victoria, British Columbia, soprano Eve-Lyn de la Haye began the 2010-2011 season with Soundstreams Canada performing several World Premieres with the Tambuco Percussion Ensemble at the Cervantino Festival in Guanajuato, Mexico, and at Koerner Hall in Toronto. Other highlights this season include the title role in Boieldieu’s opéra comique La Dame Blanche with Opera in Concert and soprano soloist in Handel’s Messiah with the Victoria Symphony.

Eve-Lyn has graced the operatic stage internationally in the roles of Tytania (A Midsummer Night’s Dream) in Tel Aviv, Israel, and Lucia (The Rape of Lucretia) at the Britten-Pears Festival in Aldeburgh, England. Other recent credits include Olympia (Les Contes D’Hoffmann) with Jeunesses Musicales du Canada, Echo (Ariadne auf Naxos) and Sarah (The Ballad of Baby Doe) with Calgary Opera, and Julie Jordan (Carousel) with The Boston Pops. Concert highlights include a CBC Radio recording of Six Voices for Sirens by Ana Sokolovic, Daniel Variations and Proverb by Steve Reich, Ein Deutsches Requiem, Carmina Burana, and recitals with the Aldeburgh Connection in Toronto, and at the Bayfield Festival of Song.

Eve-Lyn is an alumna of Calgary Opera’s Emerging Artist Program and has attended many prestigious summer festivals, including the Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme, the Tanglewood Music Center, the Banff Centre’s Opera as Theatre program, and Opera NUOVA. Most recently she was awarded a 2010 career development grant from the Jacqueline Desmarais Foundation.

Eve-Lyn is a graduate of the Victoria Conservatory of Music’s Diploma Program and the University of Toronto’s Opera Division. Her primary teachers include Selena James, Mary Morrison and Tracy Dahl. Find out more at Eve-Lyn’s Mic Artists Profile.

Ray Dillard: Percussion

Texas-born, Toronto-based percussionist/drummer, Ray Dillard (one of our guests at our 2008 Winter’s Night concert) received his Bachelor’s and Master’s of Music degrees from West Texas State University. For several years, Ray was percussionist for the Amarillo Symphony Orchestra, and Director of Percussion Studies at West Texas State University. He then served as Guest Lecturer and Instructor of Percussion at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas, before becoming the head of Percussion and MIDI Technology at San Jacinto College in Houston, Texas, a position which he held until 1998.

Ray performed with BUKA, an eight-member ensemble (made up of members of the larger World Drum Ensemble) in Taipei, Taiwan and later in Lisbon, Portugal, for EXPO ‘98. The World Drum Ensemble took the stage in Hannover, Germany for EXPO 2000. The summer of 2002 found Ray on tour with NEXUS in Japan. In the summer of 2003, Ray performed the European premiere of composer Steve Mackey’s “Deal”, a concerto for percussion and electric guitar with orchestra at The Holland Festival. He has since recorded that piece with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project on Albany Records in 2005. In 2006, Ray performed on a musical sculpture made by Canadian artist Marlene Hilton-Moore in art galleries across Canada; these performances continued throughout much of 2007. Ray completed several commissions for mixed ensembles in 2008 and 2009. 2010 found Ray finishing three CD projects, and 2011 is packed with 5 projects currently on the go!

Ray’s considerable recording credits include Grammy and Juno nominated projects with artists and ensembles from the United States, South America, Europe, Japan and Canada. His recording work with the Toronto-based percussion ensemble NEXUS includes some 15 titles, the most recent being “Drumtalker”. Other percussionists Ray has produced include Nancy Zeltsman, Christopher Norton, Mika Yoshida, Graham Hargrove, Nicholas Coulter (who performed at our recent StageSong concert), Vancouver’s Fringe Percussion, TorQ Percussion Quartet (including member, Jamie Drake, who performed at our 2009 To Drive the Cold Winter Away performance), as well as the U of T and Northwestern University Percussion Ensembles. His acoustic jazz recordings include Ellis Marsalis, Paul English, Bruce Dudley, Joe LoCascio, and Marvin Stamm.

Ray currently resides in Toronto, Canada where he is the Business Manager for the ensemble NEXUS, produces and plays on numerous recording projects, and continues to be fascinated by string theory and other aspects of physics.

Alexander Dobson: Baritone

British-Canadian baritone Alexander Dobson has been praised for his musical and dramatic artistry on both opera and concert stages. Recent highlights include his portrayal of Wozzeck and Don Giovanni, both conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin with Orchestre Métropolitain du Grande Montréal. Other roles of note include Guglielmo (Così fan tutte), Belcore (L’Elisir d’Amore) and Ned Keene (Peter Grimes), all with Opéra de Montréal.

Other Recent operatic performances include Papageno in Die Zauberflöte with Opera Hamilton, Silvio in Opera Québec’s Pagliacci, Marcello in La Bohème with Pacific Opera Victoria, Mercutio in Roméo et Juliette for Opera de Montréal and also for Opera Ontario, Sonora in La fancuilla del West with Opera de Montréal, De Retz in Bard Summerscape’s production of Les Huguenots, and his American debut with Opera Pacific (Costa Mesa) in their production of Carmen. Alexander made his Royal Opera Covent Garden debut in The Midnight Court by Ana Sokolovic which premiered at the Linbury Theater in July 2006.

A dedicated concert and recital artist, Alexander has appeared with Yannick Nézet-Séguin and the Orchestre Métropolitain for Mahler’s Songs of a Wayfayer, the Boris Brott Festival for Mahler 8, Symphony of a Thousand, Toronto’s Aldeburgh Connection, the Vancouver New Music Festival, and with Montréal’s Theatre of Early Music. He has sung Schubert’s Winterreise in Montréal, Victoria, England, Paris, and with Yannick Nézet-Séguin at the piano, in Toronto, to great acclaim. He has been heard frequently on CBC Radio Canada in recital and concert, and was seen on television as Marcello in BRAVO’s StreetScenes version of La Bohème. He also premiered a new song cycle by Derek Holman, written especially for Alexander and the Talisker Players.

Alexander graduated from the University of Toronto Opera Division and the Faculty of Music at the University of Western Ontario with Honours. He is also an alumnus of the Music Theatre Program at the Banff Centre, Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, the Steans Institute for Young Artists at Ravinia, and L’Atelier Lyrique de L’Opéra de Montréal. He is the recipient of numerous awards and prizes, including those from the International Voice Competition of Paris (including the Edward Marshall Association Award for Outstanding Baritone), the Jeunesses Musicales National Competition, the Marilyn Horne Competition (Music Academy of the West), and the Jacqueline Desmarais Competition.

An ardent singer since childhood, Alexander’s solo début was at twelve years old, as a treble soloist in the Canadian premiere of Lloyd Webber’s Requiem, under conductor Elmer Iseler.

Rona Goldensher: Violin

Originally from New York City, Rona Goldensher completed her studies at the Mannes College of Music with Dora Schwarzberg and Shirley Givens, and subsequently studied baroque violin with Nancy Wilson and Stanley Ritchie.

She has performed extensively with leading period instrument ensembles throughout North America including Aston Magna, Waverly Consort, and Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra (New York), Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra (San Francisco), City Musick (Chicago), and Seattle Baroque, and was a long-time core member of Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra in Toronto.

Rona is first violinist of the Windermere String Quartet, a Toronto-based string quartet which specializes in performing the quartets of Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven and Schubert and their contemporaries on period instruments.

Rona is also active as a modern violinist, is a core member of the Talisker Players, frequently collaborates on chamber music projects from early music to new music, and has performed and recorded with the Klezmer trio, Hu-Tsa-Tsa.

Her recording credits include Sony, Harmonia Mundi,  Analekta, Newport Classics and MHS/ Musicmasters.  Rona also maintains an active teaching studio in Toronto where she lives with her husband Ray and their magnificent golden retrievers, Penny and Lincoln.

Shawn Grenke: Piano, Organ

Conductor, pianist and organist Shawn Grenke has appeared with several ensembles, including the Elmer Iseler Singers, Amadeus Choir of Toronto, Orpheus Choir of Toronto, Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra, Toronto Choral Society, Achill Choral Society, Georgetown Choral Society, High Park Children’s Choir, Toronto Children’s Chorus, and the Niagara International Music Festival, and with several renowned conductors, including Bob Chilcott, Stephen Hatfield, Michael Reason, Paul Halley, Dr. Doreen Rao, Jonathan Willcocks, Zimfira Poloz, and Lydia Adams.

Shawn began his musical training as a chorister with the Hastings County Board of Education Concert Choir under the direction of Rudolf Heijdens, in his hometown of Belleville, Ontario. He holds a Bachelor of Music degree (2000) from Mount Allison University (New Brunswick), and a Master of Music degree (2002) from the University of Toronto. For almost twenty years, Shawn has served as organist and Music Director at various churches throughout Ontario and the Maritimes, and is currently a member of the Royal College of Church Organists, the Royal School of Church Music, and a fellow of the Honorary Company of Organists.

In concert, Mr. Grenke has made appearances in Poland, at the Let the Future Sing Choral Festival in Sweden, the Le Mondial Choral Loto-Quebec World Choral Competition in Laval, Québec, Roy Thompson Hall and at various festivals, concert series and recitals throughout Canada, the United States and Europe. In 2009, Mr. Grenke began an association with Soundstreams, accompanying their touring production of Pimooteewin: The Journey, a ground breaking work by Tomson Highway and Melissa Hui, which was taken on tour to Northwestern Ontario this past May, and Northeastern Ontario last year. Other recent highlights include accompanying the Duruflé Requiem for the Amadeus Choir (with Lydia Adams, artistic director), conducting the Canadian premier of Jenkins’ Stabat Mater, and a recent performance of Ruth Watson Henderson’s From Darkness to Light with massed choir, orchestra and soloists.

Most recently, Shawn performed with the Cathedral Bluffs Symphony Orchestra in two performances of the Saint-Saens Organ Symphony and the Poulenc Concerto for Strings, Tympani and Organ, as well as a solo organ recital at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Key West Florida. He was also a featured organist in the Choir and Organ Series at Roy Thompson hall this past December, performing with the Elmer Iseler Singers, under the direction of Lydia Adams. This past Good Friday, Shawn conducted the All Saints’ Choir and Kingsway Choral Society, featuring the Durufle Requiem, and Whitacre’s When David Heard. This summer, Shawn will travel to Newfoundland with the national and international award-winning Hamilton Children’s Choir (Zimfira Poloz, artistic director), where they will be featured at Festival 500’s international choral symposium.

In addition to his position as assistant conductor and accompanist for the Hamilton Children’s Choir, Shawn is also Music Director at All Saints’ Kingsway Anglican Church in Toronto, and is the accompanist for the Amadeus Choir of Toronto.

Laura Jones: Cello

Laura Jones is a native of Brandon, Manitoba, and it was at Brandon University where she started her formal music education. She completed a Bachelor’s Degree at the University of Toronto, and went on to receive her Master’s Degree in Performance from the University of Michigan. Now living in Toronto, she enjoys a busy and multi-faceted career on both modern and period instruments.

Laura has been a member of the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra since 1989; as well, she is the principal cellist/gambist of the Nota Bene Period Orchestra, and has also performed with the Toronto Consort, Opera Atelier, and the Aradia Ensemble, with whom she has made several recordings on the Naxos label.

As a chamber musician, she performs regularly as a member of the Windermere String Quartet on period instruments, and Talisker Players Chamber Music, with whom she has appeared at chamber music festivals in Elora, Ottawa, and Vancouver.

Recent recordings include Serenade Française, a CD of music by French composers recorded with her father, pianist Lawrence Jones; the world premiere recording of the Trio for Clarinet, Cello and Piano by John Ireland, with the Riverdale Ensemble; and Where Words and Music Meet: Talisker Players at Massey College, recorded in the summer of 2009.

Christopher Mayell: Tenor

Praised for his “sweetly rendered, fluid and pliable” tenor voice, Christopher Mayell can be heard in concert halls and opera houses across Canada. He maintains a hearty schedule of engagements, including three recent appearances as Doctor Caius in Verdi’s Falstaff (Calgary Opera, Pacific Opera Victoria, Manitoba Opera), and a return to Toronto Operetta Theatre, performing the title role in The Cousin from Nowhere. Christopher has been featured by the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, Amadeus Choir, and has appeared with the Edmonton Symphony, the Winnipeg Symphony, as well as the Grammy-nominated Elora Festival Singers. Upcoming engagements include Le Nozze di Figaro with Vancouver Opera.

He is a graduate of Queen’s University (B.Mus.), The University of Western Ontario (M.Mus.), and is an alumnus of the Calgary Opera Emerging Artist training program (2007-2009).

Christopher is also the proud co-host of a popular weekly classical singerpodcast, Overthought, in which he and fellow Canadian tenor Isaiah Bell discuss performance psychology, creativity, entrepreneurship, life balance, and the ways artists can overcome challenges so that they can express their art.

James McLennan: Tenor

Hailed for his “emotional intensity” (Opera News), Canadian tenor James McLennan has won praise for compelling portrayals in repertoire ranging from baroque to contemporary works. A performer who “radiates considerable charm and sings with a strong yet pure tenor” (Toronto Star), he has appeared with opera companies and symphony orchestras from coast to coast.

Recent and upcoming engagements include Haydn’s Creation with the Winnipeg Symphony, Bach’s St. John Passion and Magnificat for the Grand Philharmonic Choir, Handel’s Israel in Egypt with the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, Walton’s Façade with Toronto’s Talisker Players, and Beppe in I Pagliacci for Hamilton Opera. The recipient of a 2010 Canada Council Grant, McLennan traveled to Europe last spring to study Bach and Mozart repertoire with Scott Weir (Berlin, Zurich) and Niels Muus (Vienna).

Previous operatic roles include the Innkeeper in Der Rosenkavalier, Triquet in Eugene Onegin and the Fourth Jew in Salome for Vancouver Opera, Remendado in Carmen and Gastone in La Traviata for Calgary Opera, Adam in The Birdseller and the title role in Candide for Toronto Operetta Theatre, Almaviva in Il Barbiere Di Siviglia at Saskatoon Opera, Soliman in Mozart’s Zaide with Opera in Concert, and Sesto in Giulio Cesare for Pacific Opera Victoria.

Other concert highlights include the Evangelist in Bach’s St. John Passion with Toronto’s Amadeus Choir, Britten’s Company of Heaven and Haydn’s St. Nicolas Mass with Thirteen Strings in Ottawa, and the North American premier of Tavener’s Requiem with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra.

Originally from Winnipeg, James McLennan holds a degree in French Translation from the Glendon School of Translation at York University.

Andy Morris: Percussion

Andy Morris, pacifist, hits things for a living. His passion for making things with his hands, whether music or instruments, has resulted in a fun journey around the globe. Based in Toronto, he maintains a busy freelance career as both an orchestral musician as timpanist, and principal for the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir and Festival orchestra, among many other ensembles he has worked with over the years (including the Elora Singers, Toronto Children’s Chorus, Elmer Iseler Singers and Hannaford Street Silver Band).

As a commercial musician, Andy has recorded jingles and movies, as well as the sometimes sublime to ridiculous experiences performing at local casinos to back up visiting artists such as Aretha Franklin, Andrea Bocelli and Deep Purple. He has toured the world with John Wyre’s heartbeat Ensemble, Patricia O’Callaghan, and his award-winning trio, Zebra Schvungk.

Andy is the co-proprietor of Woodshed Percussion (  In 2005, he started a cymbal and gong company called Dream Cymbals, dedicated to making blissful, energetic, hand-crafted instruments (

Michael Nyby: Baritone

Baritone Michael Nyby, lauded for his “stentorian masculinity” (Carmina Burana) and “natural and commanding stage presence” (Danilo, The Merry Widow), is establishing himself on both the concert and opera stages throughout North America.

An especially sought-after interpreter of new music, Baritone Michael Nyby has created the roles of William Dale in Silent Night, Brent Colgate in Georgia Bottoms, and Seth in Isis and Osiris. On the concert stage, his premieres include Scott Wheeler’s 200 Dreams from Captivity, and Larysa Kuzmenko’s Golden Harvest. He is particularly known for his strong performances of Orff’s Carmina Burana, for which he has been praised for his “incredible control and command of his tender and rich baritone”. In addition to performing this legendary solo with the VOCA Chorus of Toronto, Michael will also perform this work with the Victoria Symphony Orchestra and the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra during the 2016/17 Season. Other highlights from Michael’s upcoming season include Messiah with the Winnipeg Symphony, Dandini in La Cenerentola with Edmonton Opera and Vaughan Williams’ Five Mystical Songs at the Washington National Cathedral. Michael has performed under the baton of conductors such as Michael Christie, Anne Manson, Antony Walker, Robert Tweten, Stephen Lord, and Robert Cooper.

Michael holds degrees from Ithaca College and the University of British Columbia. He is an alumnus of the Santa Fe Opera Apprentice Singer program, where he covered Apollon in Alceste and sang Dulcamara in the outreach production of Elixir of Love. As a resident artist at Minnesota Opera, Michael sang the roles of Schaunard in La Bohème, and Cecil in Maria Stuarda while covering Nottingham in Roberto Devereux and Germont in La Traviata.

Elizabeth Polese: Soprano

Praised as a “fresh and polished soprano” with “power to spare” (Opera Canada), soprano Elizabeth Polese is an up and coming artist in Canada’s classical music scene and a fellow of the 2016/17 Rebanks Family Fellowship and International Residency Program at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. Upcoming performances include Columbine in Suffragette with Opera 5 and Despina in Cosi fan tutte at Highlands Opera Studio.

Elizabeth’s 2016/17 season included performances as Barbarina in Le Nozze di Figaro with Brott Opera, Rosina in The Barber of Seville at Indian River Festival and Stratford Summer Music, a residency at the Banff Centre in the Concert in the 21st Century program under esteemed pianist Pedja Muzijevic, and as prizewinning finalist in several competitions nationally and internationally, including the Jeunes Ambassadeurs Lyriques, Ottawa Choral Society New Discoveries competition, and the Concorso Internazionale per Cantanti Lirici in Alcamo, Italy. She is quickly establishing herself as a recitalist and sensitive interpreter of art song, and has performed recitals most recently at the University of Toronto, the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre at the Four Seasons Centre, and Rolston Recital Hall at the Banff Centre.

Elizabeth is an alumna of the University of Toronto with Bachelors and Masters degrees in Voice Performance, where she studied under the celebrated Canadian soprano, Mary Morrison (OC). Elizabeth is also a former member of VOCA Chorus of Toronto and is thrilled to return as the soprano soloist in her role debut of Carmina Burana. See what is next for Elizabeth at

Dean Pomeroy: Percussion

Since moving to Toronto in 1997, percussionist Dean Pomeroy has had a keen interest in promoting new and modern music in a variety of styles. He has performed with such ensembles as Contact Contemporary Music, Toca Loca, and at the Art Gallery of Ontario. Dean is a member of The Sideways Hand, an offbeat percussion-based chamber music group which specializes in a bizarre blend of avant garde music and absurd comedy. This group commissioned and premiered the percussion quartet Lost In Time by Gregory Hawko in 2005. In 2000, Dean was honoured to participate in the Canadian premier of Krzysztof Pendereski’s Credo at the Banff Centre for the Arts.

Mr. Pomeroy is also much in demand as an orchestral musician. He has worked with the Windsor Symphony Orchestra, the Oshawa-Durham Symphony Orchestra, the Kingston Symphony, Orchestra London, as well as the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir and the Elora Festival Orchestras. Additionally, he has performed with such artists as Herbie Hancock, Marvin Hamlisch, Roger Hodgson, and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band.

Dean received his M.Mus in Performance from the University of Toronto in 2006, where he studied with Russell Hartenberger, John Rudolph, and Beverly Johnston. In addition to his busy performing schedule, Dean maintains a private teaching studio, teaches at music camps and conducts workshops throughout the province.

Charlie Roby: Guitar, Bouzouki, Mandolin

A frequent special guest with EYC, Charlie Roby is an English-born, Canadian-based guitarist and singer, who also plays bouzouki and mandolin. On his most recent release, ‘Ramble and Scuffle’, his English roots music meets rock and world – evocative lyrics and great guitar playing. From acoustic fingerpicking to coaxing searing lines from a Stratocaster, he uses a range of altered tunings to create an individual rhythmic style. Charlie was joined on this album by a myriad of musicians, including Ben Grossman (hurdy gurdy, bodhran); Paul Reddick (harmonica); Ravi Naimpally (tabla) and Jenny Crober (keyboard).

Charlie’s idea of linking the 12 tones of the chromatic scale to the 12 hours of Nuit Blanche resulted in an installation project for Scotiabank’s recently held Nuit Blanche Toronto 2010. “coloured night: 12 hours 12 tones” was a collaboration involving guitarist Mark Gane (of Martha and the Muffins), lighting design by Bryson Winchester, along with several musicians who improvised over a 12 hour period: Ben Grossman, Anne Bourne, Evelyne Datl, Jenny Crober, Steven Sauve, cheryl o, Eliot Roby, Owen Burgess, Martha Johnson and Hannah Dean.

Charlie is currently working on new songs, instrumental and soundtrack material, research into English Ballads, sound installation projects, performances with the world beat band, “beatmap”, further collaborations, upcoming gigs, and continuing work with his studio, The Root Cellar.


Daniel Rubinoff has performed as a soloist and chamber musician in France, Canada and the United States. His discography includes The Old Castle, Daniel Rubinoff Plays the Music of Srul Glick, The Canada Song, The Dance of the Blessed Spirits, and Daniel Rubinoff Plays Denis Bédard. His recordings are broadcast on CBC and CFMX Radio and have received favourable reviews on CBC Radio and in the American Record Guide. He has appeared on the cover of the International Saxophone Journal with a feature article on his career. He won the ARCT Gold Medal from the Royal Conservatory of Music for the highest score in the orchestral instrument category.

He has performed saxophone recitals with some of Canada’s finest musicians: Sax ‘ n Ivory, with concert pianist Gloria Saarinen; The Dance of the Blessed Spirits, with organist Chris Dawes; Classical Meets Jazz, with pianist David Braid; SaxAccord, with accordionist Joe Macerollo; Erica Goodman and Friends with harpist Erica Goodman and cellist Coenraad Bloemendal; and Music Old And New, with harpsichordist Paul Jenkins of the Toronto Consort. Rubinoff has performed recitals for the World Saxophone Congress (Quebec), Octagon Recital Series (Nova Scotia), BC Touring Council (British Columbia), Sundays at 2 (Alberta), Regina Musical Club, Port Ludlow Community Concerts (Washington), and Colours of Music (Ontario).

Rubinoff is an Artist-Representative for the Selmer Saxophone Company of America. He is an Instructor of Saxophone at York University and adjudicates wind examinations for the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Music. He is in frequent demand as a music festival band and choral adjudicator, and private saxophone instructor. Rubinoff is also the recipient of a three-year Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Fellowship in support of his research on Dalcroze Eurhythmics. Recently, he earned a PhD in Musicology at York University. Since 2001, he has served as Organist/Choir Director at Donway Covenant United Church in Toronto.

Craig Snowden: Percussion

Originally from Beamsville, Ontario, Craig began studying drums at the age of 11 with the Niagara Instrumental Music program. Throughout high school, he was a member of the Niagara Youth Orchestra, and also performed with several concert bands throughout the Niagara Region. Craig continued his percussion studies at Wilfrid Laurier University, where he obtained a Bachelor’s of Music Degree in percussion performance. He then attended the Glenn Gould Professional School, where he graduated with an Artist’s Diploma in percussion performance. While at the Glenn Gould School, Craig was a member of the Royal Conservatory Orchestra under the direction of world-class conductors, and was also actively involved in chamber music.

Craig continues to be an active freelance artist in Ontario. He has performed with the Niagara Symphony, Windsor Symphony, Talisker Players, Kingston Symphony, Oshawa-Durham Symphony, Toronto Sinfonietta, ERGO Projects, ESPRIT Orchestra, Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, Thunder Bay Symphony, National Academy Orchestra, and the National Youth Orchestra of Canada. He and his wife, Heather, have performed a number of works for flute and percussion.

Wendy Solomon: Cello

Wendy Solomon has been a featured recitalist in Canada, the United States and Europe. Winner of the 1990 Atlanta Young Artist Competition and 1992 Toronto Heliconian Young Artist of the Year and recipient of Canada Council and Ontario Arts grants, Wendy received her Master’s of Music degree in Performance at Rutgers University, studying with Bernard Greenhouse and then went to England to study with William Pleeth.

Wendy has played in numerous orchestras including the Columbus and Savannah Symphonies, the Amadeus Ensemble, the New World Trio, the National Ballet Orchestra, and the Aradia Baroque Ensemble.

She has also performed with numerous shows such as Phantom of the Opera, Crazy for You, The Lion King, and the The Lord of the Rings, and was a featured soloist on Natalie McMaster’s “Live In Cape Breton “ DVD.

She has played numerous touring shows, including those with Hugh Jackman, Bernadette Peters, Donna Summers, the Three Tenors, Supertramp, Josh Groban, Aretha Franklin, Natalie Cole, Diana Krall, Dionne Warwick, Led Zeppelin, the Philosopher Kings, and more.

Wendy is also a studio musician, recording for film, commercials and for many solo artists in a wide variety of styles.

Along with being the cellist of the internationally touring group BOWFIRE, Wendy has also arranged several of the pieces on the group’s premiere CD. Wendy has also acted as co-producer on several recordings.

She is also founder/composer/arranger of the cello quartet ‘LUSH’.

Jennie Such: Soprano

Soprano Jennie Such enjoys a diverse career as a performer, adjudicator and teacher. She has sung principal roles with the Canadian Opera Company, Calgary Opera, Edmonton Opera, Vancouver Opera, Opera Atelier, and most recently was featured as Sister Sophia in the Mirvish production of The Sound of Music.

A seasoned concert soloist, Jennie has made recordings for the Naxos label and CBC Records, and has been broadcast live on CBC Radio, MDR (Germany) and the BBC (U.K).

As an oratorio soloist and recitalist, Jennie has performed with such organizations as the Aldeburgh Connection, Talisker Players, CBC Radio’s “Music Around Us” and “Westcoast Performance” Recital series, the Vancouver Chamber Choir, Symphony Nova Scotia, the Victoria Symphony, the Kingston Symphony, Orchestra London, Chorus Niagara, the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, the Guelph Chamber Choir, the National Ballet Orchestra, and the Aradia Ensemble.

Jennie is in demand as a Junior and Senior vocal adjudicator for Kiwanis and Rotary Music Festivals in Newfoundland and Ontario. She is sought after for her positive attitude and encouraging approach with young people. She will adjudicate next spring for Kiwanis Festivals in St. John’s, Peterborough and Ottawa.

One of the most fulfilling aspects of her career is teaching voice. She has been a private voice teacher at Branksome Hall for seven years, and has an ever-growing roster of private students.

A musical entrepreneur, Jennie’s latest project is “Broadway in the Beach”, a summer acting and singing workshop for youth which she artistically co-directs with actor, Brigitte Robinson.

TorQ Percussion Quartet: Percussion

Described by the Ottawa Citizen as “Outstanding – no, make that astonishing!”, Canada’s premiere percussion ensemble TorQ Percussion Quartet continues to bring new vitality to percussion repertoire and performance in every situation and opportunity. Renowned for their engaging performances, members Richard Burrows, Adam Campbell, Jamie Drake, and Daniel Morphy are committed to making percussion music accessible to audiences that span generations and geographies.

Since coming together in 2004, TorQ has performed extensively throughout Canada and abroad. TorQ has made appearances at the Ottawa Chamber Music Festival, Indian River Festival, MusicFest Canada, and the Open Ears Contemporary Music Festival. They have been featured soloists with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Toronto Youth Wind Orchestra, and wind ensembles from the University of Saskatchewan, Memorial University, and the University of Toronto. As collaborative artists, the quartet has performed with the Larkin Singers, Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, Elora Festival Singers, Grand Philharmonic Choir and the Hamilton Children’s Choir, as well as soloists Krisztina Szabo, Rivka Golani, Beverley Johnston and composer Nicole Lizée, amongst others.

Selected by the three major Canadian touring organisations, Jeunesses Musicales Canada, Prairie Debut and Debut Atlantic, TorQ has performed throughout every province, in 10 U.S. states, and in Germany (with the Stuttgart Chamber Choir) and Luxembourg. In 2012, they launched their first annual concert series in Toronto where they collaborated with invited guest artists, composers, and dancers.

Helping to create and promote new Canadian music is an important facet of TorQ’s work. In addition to the compositions and arrangements written by each member of the ensemble, TorQ has commissioned over 70 chamber works and three concertos, including Dinuk Wijeratne’s Invisible Cities. This commitment to Canadian music creation is equally evident on their three solo recordings: “TorQ Percussion Quartet” (2009), “two + two” (2011) and the double album “Without A Map” (2014). Upcoming projections include an album of commissioned Canadian music for mallet instruments.

Strong advocates for music education, TorQ has performed for more than 125,000 students across North America. In addition to their performances as an artist with Prologue to the Performing Arts, they regularly present masterclasses at universities and colleges (including the Colburn Music School, San Francisco Conservatory of Music and University of Toronto. They are also regular faculty members for the Durham Integrated Arts Camp. In 2012 they founded the TorQ Percussion Seminar, a weeklong chamber music seminar for university-level percussionists that has since been run in conjunction with Acadia University, Stratford Summer Music and the Lunenburg Academy of Music Performance.

TorQ proudly endorses Yamaha Percussion, Innovative Percussion, Dream Cymbals, Black Swamp Percussion and Remo Percussion.

Vilma Vitols: Mezzo-soprano

Mezzo soprano Vilma Indra Vitols has a repertoire encompassing opera, oratorio, cabaret and new music and is a regular member of the COC chorus. Operatic credits include both Second and Third Lady in The Magic Flute with Opera Atelier, the title role in Carmen for SOLT, Lucy Brown in The Threepenny Opera with Vancouver Opera, Olga in Eugene Onegin with Pacific Opera Victoria, and Maria Picariello in Onegin with Pacific Opera Victoria, and Maria Picariello in the Banff Centre production of the Canadian opera Filumena.

In demand as a concert singer, Vilma is a frequent recitalist for the Latvian communities in Canada, the U.S. and Latvia. She returned to Latvia in the fall of 2009 to sing recitals and record a solo CD featuring Canadian and Latvian music to be released next fall. She has performed as soloist with various groups including Aradia Ensemble, Continuum, Thirteen Strings, Talisker Players, Toca Loca, Toronto Philharmonia, and most recently, the NYCO Symphony Orchestra, with whom she performed R. Murray Schafer’s Adieu Robert Schumann.

A frequent performer of new music, Vilma has premiered works by Canadian composers including Tālivaldis Ķeniņš, Abigail Richardson and James Rolfe. Last summer she premiered the title role in Njo Kong Kie and Kico Gonzalez-Risso’s La Señorita Mundo at SummerWorks Theatre Festival.

Prior to full-time music studies, Vilma completed an M.A. in Philosophy. In her spare time, she is an avid boxer who won her first amateur boxing bout in 2008. She is currently developing a new music piece with Toronto’s ‘urbanvessel’ involving her two passions of singing and boxing. Voice-Box will be performed at the Harbourfront Centre in November 2010.

Quisha Wint: Vocalist

Gospel/R&B/Soul artist, Quisha Wint is a Toronto-born vocalist, arranger and songwriter who has been entertaining audiences since the tender age of 6, and who became a church choir director at the age of 12. She studied in the Vocal Jazz Music Program at Humber College, and has been the Worship and Creative Arts Director for the past 4 years at Unionville Alliance Church, where she works with 2 full worship bands, 15 lead vocalists, and an adult Choir.

Quisha has been a studio session vocalist and live background vocalist for top Canadian artists such as Liberty Silver, Meastro Fresh Wes, Snow and Carlos Morgan. In 2004, she became the background vocalist for the legendary R&B/Soul recording artist, Haydain Neale, of the Juno award-winning band, “Jacksoul”. (Haydain passed away in 2009.) She frequently performs with with noted jazz guitarist, Michael Occhipinti, who joined EYC for our 2009 To Drive the Cold Winter Away concert.

Quisha was on the faculty of Lake Field Music Camp’s August 2010 Jazz Week (along with artistic director, Jenny Crober) and, in conjunction with Lake Field, will be conducting a choral workshop, “Go Gospel!” on October 24 at Mark St. United Church, Peterborough, Ontario.