The best in their field
Selected by the respective Festival Chair, these individuals evaluate, encourage, enhance and broaden the musicality of each group and every individual participating in the national festival. These people are the foremost in their fields, and represent the highest standards of their profession, be it in a classroom setting or on a performance stage.
Montreal-born guitarist Adam Cicchillitti a doctoral candidate at McGill University, studying with celebrated guitarist Jérôme Ducharme. Adam has received awards in national and international competitions, has performed extensively in Canada and the United States and regularly commissions composers for new guitar works. He is the founder of the guitar school at Ottawa Suzuki Strings.
There were several media accolades in 2017 and 2018 for Adam, Classical Guitar Magazine called him “a superb Canadian guitarist” and CBC Music included him on its list of Canada’s top thirty most promising young musicians in classical music, describing him as an “ardent ambassador for classical guitar.” His critically-acclaimed debut album with Analekta was financed by the Canada Council for the Arts and MusicAction, and he will release another album of brand new Canadian works with the same label in 2019. Cicchillitti’s compositions and arrangements are published by renowned editor les Productions d’Oz
Vice Chair, Orchestra/Strings
Conductor, Donnie Deacon, was born in Glasgow, Scotland. He studied at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and continued his studies at the Yehudi Menuhin School in London under the tutelage of Natasha Boyarskaya and Lord Menuhin. He finished his schooling at the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia with Jaime Laredo and Ida Kavafian.
Mr. Deacon has performed all over the world with such distinguished orchestras as the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Ulster Orchestra, BT Scottish Ensemble, London Soloists, Concerto Soloists of Philadelphia, Pablo de Sarasate Orchestra, and the Orchestra of the Curtis Institute of Music. He became principal second violin with the National Arts Centre Orchestra in 2001, the youngest player to do so in the history of the Orchestra. He has also been guest Concertmaster of both the Vancouver Symphony and The National Arts Centre Orchestra. As an advocate for Canadian music, he has given the world premiere of Gary Kulesha’s 2nd violin concerto and William Rowson’s violin concerto.
Mr Deacon was named Resident Artist in the Community for the National Arts Centre in 2016. This sees him teaching and conducting all over Ottawa, including the Ottawa Youth Orchestra. Donnie has been Music Director of our Ottawa Chamber Orchestra since 2016.
Stephen frequently appears as soloist with many concertos in the standard repertoire as well as concertos written especially for him by Canadian composers such as Kelly-Marie Murphy (Blood Upon the Body, Ice Upon the Soul, 2006 premiere with Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony) and Glenn Buhr (Violin Concerto, 2000 premiere with Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony). Stephen is a founding member of Trio Laurier, formed in 2007 with cellist Paul Pulford and pianist Leslie De’Ath, and is a regular participant in diverse chamber groups and festival events nationally and internationally with many of Canada’s finest musicians. He is also a frequent performer with Toronto’s acclaimed the Art of Time Ensemble and Soundstreams, with which Stephen completed a tour in May 2012 to Taiwan and China, performing works by Tan Dun and R. Murray Schafer.
As an arranger, Stephen has arranged music for the Emperor Quartet (over 20 arrangements of show tunes and popular songs), Quartetto Gelato (Octosca) and the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony (Canadian and Italian national anthems).
Stephen was just awarded the Queen’s Jubilee Medal, a nomination submitted by the National Yourth Orchestra, where he is a faculty member. Stephen is also on the faculty of Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Toronto’s Glenn Gould School of the Royal Conservatory of Music, and is a frequent mentor for Hamilton’s National Academy Orchestra. He has taught at the Banff Centre for the Arts, was an instructor at the University of Manitoba, and has maintained an active private studio.
A native of St. John’s, NL, conductor, composer and soprano Kathleen Allan is rapidly becoming internationally respected for her compelling performances and engaging compositions. She is the Director of Choral Studies and Associate Conductor of the Symphony Orchestra at the Vancouver Academy of Music and is the Artistic Director of Canzona, Winnipeg’s professional baroque choral ensemble. In 2015, she made her Asian debut conducting Handel’s Messiah and Bach’s Christmas Oratorio in Osaka and Tokyo, Japan. She is the recipient of the 2016 Sir Ernest MacMillan Memorial Foundation Prize in Choral Conducting which accompanied her appointment as Conducting Apprentice of the National Youth Choir of Canada. She is the associate conductor of the Vancouver Bach Choir, and has held conducting positions with St. Michael’s Choir School, the Yale Glee Club, the Vancouver Bach Children’s Chorus, and in 2013, was the Conducting Fellow of the Canadian Chamber Choir. She is the founding co-artistic director of Arkora, a chamber music collective dedicated to interdisciplinary performance.
Her compositions have been commissioned, performed and recorded by ensembles throughout the Americas and Europe, and her work has been featured at two World Symposiums on Choral Music. Her “In Paradisum” is the closing track on the Canadian Chamber Choir’s JUNO-nominated recording, “Sacred Reflections of Canada.”
Also in high demand as a soprano, she has appeared as a soloist with the National Broadcast Orchestra of Canada and Berkshire Choral Festival Choir, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and the Vancouver Bach Choir. In addition to freelancing regularly in Canada and the United States, she has sung as a member of the Vienna-based Arnold Schoenberg Chor under conductor Nikolaus Harnoncourt, the Vancouver Chamber Choir, Skylark Vocal Ensemble in Atlanta, and the Yale Schola Cantorum. A passionate interpreter of new music, she has premiered over two dozen works for the voice. She holds a degree in composition from the University of British Columbia and a master’s degree in conducting from Yale University.A native of St. John’s, NL, conductor, composer and soprano Kathleen Allan is rapidly becoming internationally respected for her compelling performances and engaging compositions. She is the Director of Choral Studies and Associate Conductor of the Symphony Orchestra at the Vancouver Academy of Music and is the Artistic Director of Canzona, Winnipeg’s professional baroque choral ensemble. In 2015, she made her Asian debut conducting Handel’s Messiah and Bach’s Christmas Oratorio in Osaka and Tokyo, Japan. She is the recipient of the 2016 Sir Ernest MacMillan Memorial Foundation Prize in Choral Conducting which accompanied her appointment as Conducting Apprentice of the National Youth Choir of Canada. She is the associate conductor of the Vancouver Bach Choir, and has held conducting positions with St. Michael’s Choir School, the Yale Glee Club, the Vancouver Bach Children’s Chorus, and in 2013, was the Conducting Fellow of the Canadian Chamber Choir. She is the founding co-artistic director of Arkora, a chamber music collective dedicated to interdisciplinary performance.
Her compositions have been commissioned, performed and recorded by ensembles throughout the Americas and Europe, and her work has been featured at two World Symposiums on Choral Music. Her “In Paradisum” is the closing track on the Canadian Chamber Choir’s JUNO-nominated recording, “Sacred Reflections of Canada.”
Also in high demand as a soprano, she has appeared as a soloist with the National Broadcast Orchestra of Canada and Berkshire Choral Festival Choir, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and the Vancouver Bach Choir. In addition to freelancing regularly in Canada and the United States, she has sung as a member of the Vienna-based Arnold Schoenberg Chor under conductor Nikolaus Harnoncourt, the Vancouver Chamber Choir, Skylark Vocal Ensemble in Atlanta, and the Yale Schola Cantorum. A passionate interpreter of new music, she has premiered over two dozen works for the voice. She holds a degree in composition from the University of British Columbia and a master’s degree in conducting from Yale University.
The International Trumpet Guild has stated that downbeat award winning trumpet player and composer, Paul Tynan’s “Creative Genius Shines”.
Paul is presently a Full Professor of music at St. Francis Xavier University where he teaches jazz trumpet, jazz history, and arranging. He also co-leads the “BiCoastal Collective”, with Grammy winning saxophonist Aaron Lington. The ensemble is dedicated to performing new jazz composition across North America. Paul has released ten recordings as a leader/co-leader on the Origin/OA2, Armored, and NohJoh labels.
Paul has also served on the faculties of San Jose State University, Chabot College, Nova Scotia Honor Jazz Program, and University of North Texas Summer Trumpet Workshop and is a past co-director of the Acadia Summer Jazz Workshop. He has performed with numerous jazz artists such as The Pacific Mambo Orchestra, Chris Poter, Michael Brecker, Randy Brecker, Jerry Bergonzi, Clark Terry, Bob Brookmeyer, Jim McNeely, Joel Frahm, and Matt Wilson.
As a jazz recording artist Paul has appeared on over sixty recordings, as a trumpet player, composer, arranger, and/or producer along side such musicians as Lynn Seaton, Marcus Wolfe, Stockton Helbing, David Braid, Aaron Lington, Joel Fountain, Bobby Selvaggio, Kenny Werner, Kenny Wheeler, Dan Haerle, Ben Street, and Jamey Haddad. His recordings as a leader have won numerous ECMA awards.
Paul received his Masters in jazz studies from University of North Texas where he was a teaching fellow in jazz improvisation, large jazz ensembles and a member of the internationally acclaimed, Grammy nominated One O’Clock Lab Band. Paul has recently received Canada Council for the Arts grants and Nova Scotia Department of Culture Grants to compose new works for chamber jazz ensemble.
Paul is an Edwards Trumpet and Flugel Horn Artist
Canadian saxophonist Mike Tremblay has more than 30 years in the music industry as a woodwind specialist, and educator.
He is an associate performance faculty member at Carleton University where he teaches saxophone, ensembles, jazz improvising, and is the co-founder and director of the annual Carleton University Jazz Camp.
Mike frequently performs with he National Arts Centre Orchestra, the Ottawa Jazz Orchestra, the Cosmos Saxophone Quartet,and many other groups around the National Capital region. Some of his performance credits include: Natalie Cole, Alanis Morrissette, Lou Rawls, Diana Ross, Aretha Franklin, Mark Ferguson, John Geggie, Dave Young and Terry Clarke.
Erica Phare-Bergh obtained her M. Mus. in Choral Conducting from McGill University. A native of Montreal, Phare-Bergh formerly conducted the Vanier College Choirs and the McGill Conservatory Choirs. In Calgary, she directed the William Aberhart High School Choirs, Westwinds Green Choir, and the Savridi Singers. She is in demand as an adjudicator, workshop leader and presenter (ChoralFest, MCA, Podium, MusicFest, BCCF) and was the guest conductor for the 10th Anniversary of the CBC-McGill Youth Gala. In 2008, she spearheaded the Montreal première of Oratorio Terezin, a large-scale work involving 270 performers at Place-des-Art. She and her husband, Rick, live in Victoria, BC. Together, they write children’s books (A Song with Every Story Series) in which Erica incorporates both original songs and classical music into children’s stories. She has numerous arrangements published with Cypress Choral Music and currently directs three Voices in Motion Choirs – multigenerational research choirs for people with Alzheimer’s, their caregivers and high school students.
Website: www.ericapharebergh.com (under construction)
In 1983 he was nominated for a GENIE Award for his original soundtrack for the movie “Les Doux Aveux “. Marois moved to British Columbia in 1988. Just recently retired, Réjean Marois taught at Capilano University for the Jazz Studies Program for thirty years. He conducted vocal ensembles, jazz ensembles and taught improvisation and instrumental/vocal arranging.
Furthermore, Réjean has been involved for the last 20 years as arranger/ conductor for the Cap Jazz Series concerts featuring renowned jazz artists from around the world. In May 2012, he received an Award for Excellence In Empowering Learning from Capilano University. Réjean is an Associate Composer to the Canadian Music Centre, a member of the Canadian League of Composers and a member of the Society Of Composers Inc. His is also on the board of directors for Vancouver Pro Musica.
His compositions and arrangements has been performed in Canada, U.S.A and in Europe; he has been in demand throughout Canada and the U.S. as a clinician, adjudicator, conductor, music advisor and arranger. His vocal adaptation of Maria Schneider’s “Winter Morning Walks “ will be soon published on www.mariaschneider.com.
For fourteen years, he was the artistic coordinator of the Jazz Singing Workshop at Domaine Forget, St. Irénée in the magnificent Charlevoix region of Québec. Born and raised in the province of Québec, he worked as a composer, arranger, trombonist, publisher, educator and performed all across North America and Europe.
Lorne Lofsky is an internationally recognized jazz guitarist. Born and raised in Toronto, he has been playing professionally for the last 42 years. He has played/toured or recorded with a who’s who of the jazz world, includingOscar Peterson, Ed Bickert, Rob McConnell, Chet Baker, Joey DeFrancesco, Pepper Adams, Ray Brown, Neils Henning Orsted Pederson,Rosemary Clooney, Kirk MacDonald, Dave Holland, and many other respected members of the international jazz community.
In addition, he has been a faculty member at York University’s Fine Arts/Music Program since 1978 and also teaches at the Humber College Community Music Program. Lorne is a mainstay of the Toronto jazz scene and performs extensively in the Greater Toronto Area. He has also given clinics/concerts at St. FX University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia and McGill University in Montreal.
Steve Haines is an active double bass player who has played extensively with Chad Eby, Wycliffe Gordon, Joel Frahm, Ralph Bowen, Joe Chambers, Joey Calderazzo and Fred Wesley; and has recorded with Jason & Branford Marsalis, Peter Bernstein, and Jimmy Cobb, among others. His recent March 29 release Steve Haines and the Third Floor Orchestra: Becca Stevens, Chad Eby, and Joey Calderazzo features his compositions and arrangements in the singer-songerwriter genre for symphony orchestra which is available online. He teaches at the Miles Davis Program in Jazz Studies at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and is very grateful for the performing opportunities and clinics he received at MusicFest during his years as a student at J.S. Woodworth S.S. in Ottawa.
Frank Gnandt has been apart of the music world for many years as a professional music, vocal and keyboard instructor, and choral director. In the choral realm he has conducted groups in both traditional choral and jazz styles. His groups have been apart of a myriad of choral festivals and conferences performing for such prestigious venues as the Vatican, Carnegie Hall, and the Sapporro Concert Hall. His choral groups have toured across North America and to Europe and Japan with the focus of sharing the joy of excellent choral music. He has been the recipient of the Excellence In Teaching Award from the Alberta Government and the Mathieson Trophy for Most Outstanding High School Choral Group in Canada! His groups have been requested as guest performers for such events as the Candian Rocky Mountain Music Festival, Musicfest Canada, Association of Canadian Choral Conductors and the International Association of Jazz Educators.
Frank is past Director of the Lethbridge Collegiate Institute and Chinook High School Chamber and Jazz Choirs. He is presently director of Caritas Chamber Choir and continues instruction in classical and jazz voice and piano in his private studio. He is frequently requested as choral evaluator and workshop facilitator. He is the past Chairman of the Choral Division of Musicfest Canada, and a past member of the Alberta Choral Federation.
Philip Hornsey is a graduate of McGill University where he studied with Pierre Béluse and D’Arcy Gray and the University of Montreal where he studied with Julien Grégoire and Robert Leroux. He has also benefited from studies with Louis Charbonneau, David Kent, Alexander Lepak, Michel Udow and Fujimoto Yoshikazu. In Montreal he plays with a variety of ensembles, including the SMCQ, Bradyworks, and the Sixtrum percussion ensemble. As a freelancer he has worked with the Orchestre Métropolitain, I Musici de Montréal and the Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, among others. His musical adventures have taken him across Canada, the United States, Asia and Europe. He has participated in numerous recordings for the National Film Board, the Canadian Broadcasting Company as well as many commercial projects. He has worked in dance with Van Grimde Corps Secrets and Système D and in theatre with Marcelle Hudon.
Mark Ferguson is an Ottawa based pianist, trombonist, composer, arranger, producer, and music educator.
He has performed with many of the world’s great artists including Ella Fitzgerald, Tony Bennett, Gil Evans, Nelson Riddle, Dionne Warwick, Natalie Cole, Tom Jones, Engelbert Humperdink, Rosemary Clooney, Carol Channing, Rob McConnell & the Boss Brass, Holly Cole, Manteca, The Funk Brothers and the National Arts Centre Orchestra.
As a composer, his credits include the CBC television series Life & Times, Cottage Country, and On the Road Again. Mark has written a film score entitled Transformation for the Canadian Museum of Civilization and created the music for Corel’s video editing software Lumiere. His original compositions are featured in Treehouse Television’s series Toy Castle, advertising jingles for radio and T.V. and in the recordings of various artists.
Mark has written musical arrangements for a wide range of groups including the National Arts Centre Orchestra, the RCMP Band, the Central Band of the Canadian Armed Forces, the HMCS Stadacona Band, the Winnipeg and Edmonton Armed Forces Bands, and his own Latin-jazz ensemble Los Gringos.
Mark is a professor at Carleton University’s department of music and directs the Carleton Jazz Ensemble. He has served as a jazz clinician at high schools and universities across Canada.
Moeen Hosain has been involved in the many facets of the music industry and music education for over 20 years. He is a sought after as a Wind Ensemble and Jazz Ensemble clinician in Quebec. The Bands he has worked with have gone on to become awarding winning ensembles at Musicfest Canada and Festival Des Harmonies de Sherbrooke.
Also in the Drum and Bugle Community, he has been a Music and Brass Coordinator since 1995 working with a great number of corps in the US and Canada (3rd Regiment-Ste-Eustache 1995-98 (Winner of the Spirit of Disney Award), Syracuse Brigadiers, Syracuse New York 1998-99 (Winner of the World Championship 1999) to and presently he is working the Diplomates de Quebec.
He has also worked in for the Canadian Armed Forces as a Brass Instructor at CFB Borden, Ontario (1991-92).
Presently Moeen Hosain is on the Board of the NSMEAC (Nova Scotia Music Educators Association Conference)
Presently Moeen Hosain is the District Manager for Canada for Conn-Selmer Musical Instruments.
- Montreal QC
Lance Ouellette is currently the Associate Concertmaster for the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony and the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra. While attending the University of Toronto and Wilfrid Laurier University, Lance received the top awards at the national finals of the Federation of Canadian Music Festivals and the Canadian Music Competition.
As an educator, Lance is teaches violin for the University of Waterloo, is an orchestral coach for the KWS youth orchestra program, teaches privately, and has adjudicated across Canada for the FCMF and CMC.
Career highlights include tours of Canada, Europe, Asia, and Carnegie Hall.
Lance is an avid angler who also enjoys golfing, table tennis, and everything outdoors.
Angela Rudden received a B. Mus in Kingston Ontario and went on to complete her Masters in Viola Performance in Munich. While in Germany Angela played regularly with the Stuttgart Philharmonic, the Tibor Varga Chamber Orchestra as well as both the München and the Kölner Chamber Orchestras.
She has performed both as soloist and as chamber musician throughout Canada, the United States, Europe and Japan.
Angela is currently Principal Viola of the National Ballet of Canada Orchestra, where she often appears regularly as a soloist at the Four Seasons Centre and most recently at the National Arts Centre. She has also played in the Canadian Opera Orchestra, Les Violons du Roy, the Toronto Symphony, Esprit Orchestra and Aradia Ensemble.
Angela is a viola coach at Cardinal Carter Performance High School, as well a violin/viola teacher at Dixon Hall Music School. She has been playing and coaching chamber music in Prince Edward County at Music at Port Milford Chamber Music Camp and Festival for the past 20 some years.
Trombonist, composer and arranger Kelsley Grant received his Bachelor of Music from McGill University and completed his graduate studies at the Manhattan School of Music.
Shortly after leaving New York, he joined Maynard Fergusonʼs Big Bop Nouveau and toured the United States, Germany, Switzerland and England. Kelsley has performed with Aretha Franklin, Jackie Richardson, Frank Sinatra Jr., Michael Buble, Maria Schneider, Michel Legrand, Nicholas Payton, Sophie Milman, Ranee Lee, and Nikki Yanofsky. He toured with Forever Swing and took part in the Toronto productions of Annie, Romancing The One I Love, Ainʼt Misbehavinʼ, The Rat Pack, Kinky Boots, Matilda, and Beautiful -The Carol King Musical. He has played on several movie soundtracks including Born to Be Blue, Cirque de Soleil – Alegria, and Les Triplettes de Belleville. Kelsley has been twice nominated for trombonist of the year by the National Jazz Awards. The Jefferson-Grant Quintet won an Opus Award for their first recording and was nominated as Acoustic Ensemble of the Year by the National Jazz Awards.
Kelsley has served as a faculty member at McGill University, University of Montreal, and University of Toronto. He has given master classes and clinics at universities across Canada and is currently a full-time faculty member at Humber College.
Sponsored by Humber College
Dr. Brainerd Blyden-Taylor
Brainerd Blyden-Taylor is the Founder, Artistic Director and conductor of The Nathaniel Dett Chorale, Canada’s first professional chamber choir dedicated to the creation and performance of Afrocentric music of all styles. Born in Trinidad & Tobago, Mr. Blyden-Taylor immigrated to Canada in 1973. He founded The Chorale in 1998, in response to a musical void in Canada; there had never before been a professional ensemble dedicated to the dissemination of Afrocentric choral music. The response that The Chorale has received in Canada and the United States since its inception has certainly given credence to Mr. Blyden-Taylor’s vision.
Mr. Blyden-Taylor has conducted several university, youth and concert choirs, most notably completing a 25year tenure with The Orpheus Choir of Toronto. In addition he works frequently as a guest conductor, having appeared with organizations such as the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Symphony Nova Scotia, Hannaford Street Silver Band, Nova Scotia Youth Choir, Ontario Youth Choir, Central Manitoba Youth Choir and the New Brunswick Choral Federation Youth Sing. He has also worked as artistic director and advisor for the Algoma Festival Choir, the Nova Scotia Mass Choir and the Chatham-Kent Roots Festival.
Mr. Blyden-Taylor has served as a member of the teaching staff of the Faculty of Music, University of Toronto and the Faculty of Music, Queen’s University. He is a Master Teacher with the Toronto Board of Education, coaching teachers and students in conducting and choral technique, and was awarded an honourary Doctor of Laws degree from York University in Toronto for his contribution to education.
Mr. Blyden-Taylor is also in constant demand as a Clinician, Adjudicator and Lecturer both nationally and internationally, working extensively across Canada and the United States of America, as well as in Cuba and France. He has also been invited to deliver workshops in Japan, Turkey and Israel. In addition Mr. Blyden-Taylor is an active church musician, serving currently as Director of Music at All Saints Kingsway Anglican Church.
Dr. Hilary Apfelstadt
Dr. Hilary Apfelstadt is Director of Choral Activities and Professor of Conducting at the University of Toronto where she was named the inaugural Faculty Teaching Excellence Award winner in 2013. She holds the Elmer Iseler Chair in Conducting. She is also Artistic Director of Exultate Chamber Singers, a semi-professional ensemble in Toronto. Raised in Nova Scotia, she earned degrees from the University of Toronto, the University of Illinois, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She holds an ARCT in piano performance. She has conducted choirs at divisional and national conferences of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA), and conducted the University of Toronto MacMillan Singers at Podium, the national conference of Choral Canada. She has led choral festivals in Europe, and at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center in New York. In 2009, she conducted the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in a live broadcast of “Music and the Spoken Word.” She has directed all-state choruses in more than 35 states and conducted both the 2011 Ontario Youth Choir and the 2014 National Youth Choir of Canada. A frequent conference presenter, she often does conducting masterclasses and has participated in several university conducting residencies.
Dr. Apfelstadt is a prolific author, having published multiple articles in professional journals, as well as chapters in two books: Wisdom, Wit and Will: Women Choral Conductors on their Art (GIA, 2009) and Conducting Women’s Choirs: Strategies for Success (GIA, 2012). She is a contributing author to Teaching Music in Performance Through Choir, volume 4 (GIA, 2017) and is co-editing volume 5 (to be published in 2019). A member of the Editorial Board for the ACDA Choral Journal, she also write s a regular choral column for The Canadian Music Educator. Her book on Canadian composer Ruth Watson Henderson, entitled I Didn’t Want It to be Boring, was released by Prism Publishers in the fall of 2017.
Dr. Tony Leong
Dr. Tony Nam-Hai Leong completed his PhD at the University of Toronto in addition to a Master’s degree in Computer Applications and a Bachelor of Music degree at the University of Toronto. Dr. Leong studied with Paul Meyer on Violin, Rivka Golani, Daniel Blackman and Rennie Regehr on Viola while studying both orchestral and choral conducting with Professors Dwight Bennett and Lori-Anne Dolloff. He has also participated in master classes and chamber music coaching with such eminent musicians as the Orford String Quartet, the St. Lawrence Quartet, Lorand Fenyves, Simon Fryer, and Scott St. John, and has done his Suzuki violin/viola training with Margot Jewell.
Dr. Leong is currently MusicFest Canada’s Chairman of the Orchestra/Strings Division; President of the Ontario Music Educators’ Association’s board of directors and the past co-editor of their publication, “The Recorder”; co-founding director of the Ontario Strings Association; an instructor at Queen’s University; a lecturer at the University of Toronto; Head of the Performing Arts Department at Sir Oliver Mowat C.I.; and has been a past member on the Board of Directors of the Coalition for Music Education in Canada.
Dr. Leong also conducts the National Music Camp of Canada and Sir Oliver Mowat Orchestras and previously, the Music by the Lake and Oakwood C.I. Orchestras, Korean Canadian Youth Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Conservatory of Music Baroque and Chamber Orchestras and the Etobicoke Suzuki School of Music Orchestras. Dr. Leong was also a member of the Korean Canadian Symphony Orchestra as a violist for over two decades.
In addition, Dr. Leong has given presentations across Canada and the USA as a Technology and String Education clinician and adjudicator, as well as being a Clinician trainer for Finale and SmartMusic Studio. Dr. Leong’s research areas include string education, technology, and adolescents. His publications include the Canadian and Ontario Music Educators’ Association Journals, as well as presentations of his research both at the international and provincial levels. He has also guest lectured courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels at the University of Toronto, York University, and the University of Western Ontario, as well as having given presentations across Canada and the USA on the topics of string education and technology in the music classroom.
James Sparks (Jim) is adjunct professor at the UBC School of Music (conducting), lecturer in Arts Education at SFU, senior advisor for choral music for Music Mentors International, and former director of vocal music at the Langley Fine Arts School (LFAS) in Langley British Columbia. With an undergraduate degree in piano and voice (University of British Columbia), a Masters Degree in choral conducting (University of Arizona), and a PhD in philosophy (Simon Fraser University), Jim has continued his teaching in school, university, and community contexts for over three decades.
In his roles as researcher, conductor, and singing leader, Jim connects active research with music learning, music performance, and professional music leadership. With support from the Canada Council, the Canadian Music Educators Association, the AIRS collaborative initiative and Simon Fraser University, Jim has pursued collaborative singing research with several choral leaders in the world: Alina Orraca, Havana, Cuba (Schola Cantorum Coralina); Joseph Muyale Inzai, (National Boys Choir of Kenya); renowned Ukrainian choral conductor, Anatoliy Avdievski in Kiev, Ukraine (Veriovka Choir); Wes Janzen, (Kiev Symphony Orchestra and Chorus); and Helle Hoyer in Aarhus, Denmark (Aarhus Pigakor Choir). Jim is the recipient of the Profession Music Educator Award from the BC Music Educators Association, the 2009 recipient of the Willan Award from the BC Choral Federation and Simon Fraser University President’s PhD Award for 2014. Jim is in demand as an adjudicator, lecturer, and guest conductor and has continued his international research and conducting engagements in Europe, Kenya, Cuba, and Brazil.
Matthew Chalmers holds a Bachelor of Music Degree from Humber college, a school he attended since he was 3 as part of the Humber College’s Community Music program. Matthew also performed at MusicFest for many years and was the recipient of numerous awards and scholarships including Zildjian Outstanding Young Drummer four times, the Music Industries Association of Canada (MIAC) scholarship, as well as the inaugural Lou Williamson Scholarship for Outstanding Drumset Player. In May of 2011, The Hnatyshyn Foundation awarded Matthew with the Oscar Peterson $10,000 Grand for Jazz Performance.
For close to 40 years, Ron Di Lauro has been one of Québec’s most in-demand trumpet players: from jazz to classical, from pop to world music, Throughout his career, he has accompanied renowned artists including Dizzy Gillespie, Phil Woods, Zoot Sims, John Scofield, Aretha Franklin, Tony Bennett, Michel Legrand, Oliver Jones and Vic Vogel, to name but a few.
As a soloist, he has performed with the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, the Orchestre Métropolitain du Grand Montréal and the Orchestre symphonique de Québec, Laval, and Sinfonia de Lanaudière. He has appeared on numerous television and radio programs, Broadway musicals, film soundtracks and in advertising jingles, as well as on over 300 recordings, most notably with Cirque du Soleil.
Music festivals and cultural organizations regularly call upon him to act as a jury member. As an Associate Professor at Université de Montréal’s Faculty of Music, and Lecturer at McGill University’s Schulich School of Music, he directs Big Band, Chamber Jazz Orchestra, as well as teaching jazz trumpet. He was the recipient of the Oscar Peterson Prize at the 2014 Montreal International Jazz Festival.
Vice Chair, Choral/Vocal Jazz
Frank Lee is the choral director at Carson Graham Secondary School. He spent the previous seventeen years as the choral and instrumental director at Seycove Secondary School in North Vancouver. Mr. Lee is has also been on Faculty at Douglas College directing the Chorus. His past ensemble was honoured with the distinction of Youth Choir of the World at the International Choral Festival, Kathaumixw, in 2007. In 2009 his Chorale was named top choir at the Canadian National Choral Festival and had their solo debut concert in 2011 at Carnegie Hall. His award winning vocal jazz ensemble, Jazz in the Box, has been featured in Western Canada and Washington State.
Frank received his undergraduate music degree from the University of Victoria studying trombone with Ian McDougall. He has recently finished his graduate studies in choral conducting, under Dr. Graeme Langager, at the University of British Columbia. He is sought after as a clinician across Canada and Washington State. Frank has served as the chair for the BCMEA Honour Vocal Jazz Ensemble, Kiwanis Vocal Jazz Festival and is currently on the Canadian Rocky Mountain Music Festival Advisory Committee.
North Vancouver, BC
Christine Hansen retired after 33 years as an Intermediate and High School music teacher. As head of Department at Canterbury High School in Ottawa, Christine helped initiate and administer the specialty music portion of the successful Eastern Ontario Programme of the Arts at Canterbury. After her retirement from secondary school teaching, Christine taught Intermediate and Senior Music courses in the University of Ottawa Education Faculty. She continues to guest lecture at the University, adjudicate at Music Festivals and conduct workshops and clinics with Concert Bands.
Christine, an Ottawa native, obtained her Bachelor of Music and Bachelor of Education degrees at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario and her Master of Music Education at State University, Potsdam, New York. She is an affiliate of member of C.M.E.A.,O.M.E.A.,C.B.D.A.,O.B.A. and Phi Beta Mu.
Currently Christine performs on French Horn with the National Capital Concert Band and the Manotick Brass Ensemble in Ottawa.
Dr. Andrew Scott
Dr. Andrew Scott’s professional work has impacted many aspects of the music industry. As a guitarist/arranger and composer, Andrew has amassed a considerable discography and gigography performing and/or recording with a diverse roster of groups and players that includes Gene DiNovi, Jim Clayton, Four80East, Jackie Richardson, Bernie Senensky, Archie Alleyne, Mike Downes and Marc Jordan. Andrew is the recipient of the, Toronto Independent Music, Canadian Urban Music, and four Canadian “Smooth” Jazz Awards. Andrew’s compositions have been heard in such films and television shows as Pretend We’re Kissing, Cubicle Warriors, Old Stock, Pop Switch, Mothers and Daughters, CBC’s The Border. As a scholar, Andrew, who earned his PhD in 2006, has lectured at universities and for conferences across North America. He has been published in the New Grove Dictionary of Jazz and many other journals. As a culmination of these diverse interests and experiences, Andrew is Acting Dean of the School of Creative and Performing Arts at Humber’s where he oversees the Music Business and Music Marketing areas and acts in the capacity of Humber Music’s Academic Advisor. Andrew, an advocate for interdisciplinary applied research and work that lies at the nexus of Music and Business, is currently serving as the Acting Director (2014/2015 academic year) for Humber College’s Bachelor of Music Degree.
Sponsored by: Humber College
- Location: Etobicoke, ON
Gordon Foote recently accepted a position at the University of Toronto as a Professor in the Jazz Studies Program of the Faculty of Music. The most important element of this portfolio will be to direct the University of Toronto Jazz Orchestra (UTJO). Previous to that, Gordon spent 26 years as a Professor in the Jazz Studies Program at the Schulich School of Music of McGill University, in Montreal, Quebec. He served as Dean (interim), Associate Dean (Academic and Student Affairs), Chair of the Department of Performance, Director of Graduate Studies and Chair of the Jazz Area, as well as 6 years as a professor at St. FX University in Nova Scotia. Gordon is one of the pioneers of jazz education in Canada, being instrumental in the development and implementation of the first undergraduate and graduate university jazz studies programs in the country.
As a saxophonist and clinician for Conn-Selmer, Gordon has performed in Canada, Europe and the United States.Professor is in demand as a conductor, clinician, adjudicator, and jazz educator/performer in Canada, Musicfest Canada being a long standing event.
Sponsored by: Conn-Selmer
Location: Toronto, Ontario
As owner of Woodshed Percussion, Andy Morris has been a freelance musician in the Toronto area for over 20 years. Because of his extensive experience in the music business, he is able to offer sound advice on choosing the right instrument for a group or individual.
Sponsored by: Woodshed Percussion
- Location: Toronto, Ontario
Stephen Wick-Musician – Ophicleide and Tuba at Anima Eterna, Director at Denis Wick Products Ltd., Teacher at The Purcell School, Trustee at Golsoncott Founda. Tuba player Stephen Wick has played with all the great London orchestras and many European orchestras. In the jazz field he has played in bands led by such greats as John Dankworth and Kenny Wheeler and has also worked with some of the top arrangers such as Nelson Riddle and Henry Mancini. Stephen also teaches at the Royal Academy of Music.
Sponsored by: Denis Wick, London
Hamworth Poole, UK
A world-renowned composer, arranger, vocalist and pianist, Greg Jasperse is the Director of Vocal Jazz at Western Michigan University. He is also the director of the award-winning Gold Company vocal jazz ensemble.
No stranger to the stage or recording studio, his credits include numerous movie soundtracks including “Jurassic World”, “Epic”, “Oz, The Great and Powerful”, “The Campaign”, “Star Trek” and “Star Trek 2” as well as the Red Hot Chili Pepper’s “Monarchy of Roses” and “The 2nd Law”, the recent release from Muse. Greg is a member of Vertical Voices and has toured as with the New York Voices. In November of 2014, he joined the New York Voices and the Bob Mintzer Big Band on their Japan tour. He has also performed with Adele, Imogen Heap, Jennifer Holiday, Joe Williams, Rosemary Clooney, Dianne Reeves and Bobby McFerrin among others.
His music is performed around the world by many of today’s premier choral ensembles including Chanticleer, the Philippine Madrigal Singers, the Los Angeles Master Chorale, Chicago Children’s Choir and the St. Olaf Choir.
His conducting credits include all-state jazz choirs in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Arizona, North Dakota, New York, California, Oklahoma, Indiana, Missouri, Colorado, New Hampshire, Illinois, Iowa as well as the British Columbia Honors Jazz Choir and Musicfest Canada’s Ellison Honour Choir,
He is a graduate of University of Miami and Western Michigan University.
Mike Downes is the Bass Department Head at prestigious Humber College in Toronto. Bassist, composer, author and educator Mike Downes has earned a reputation as one of Canada’s finest jazz artists. His bass playing has delighted audiences worldwide, including tours through western and eastern Europe, Iceland, Japan, South Korea, Brazil, Mexico, the United States and throughout Canada.
Mike’s extensive discography highlights his work as a bassist, composer and arranger. He has released five recordings as a leader to critical praise. His most recent recording Ripple Effect features his trio with masterful musicians Robi Botos and Ethan Ardelli. Mike has been a (guest-concert) artist, adjudicator, clinician, and educator many times at Musicfest Canada.
Sponsored by Yamaha Canada Music Ltd.
Now head of the keyboard department at Toronto’s Humber College, Dickinson is a graduate of the Humber Music Program and holds a Masters in Music (with distinction) degree from the New England Conservatory in Boston. He is the author of a respected book on ear training, entitled The Ears Have Walls (published by Advance Music of Germany). Brian Dickinson has been a fixture on the Canadian Jazz scene since the early 1980’s.he has performed and recorded with many jazz greats including Pat Labarbera, Lee Konitz, Kirk MacDonald, Kenny Wheeeler, John Abercrombie and Tom Harrell. He won a Juno Award for best jazz recording in 1991, and was also a member of the University of Toronto Faculty for twelve years.
Sponsored by: Yamaha Canada Music Ltd.
Prior to his 2001 appointment as Humber’s Director of Music, Christianson taught at McGill University, Concordia University, the University de Montreal, John Abbott College, and Centennial Academy. His jazz portfolio is no less impressive. His credits include performance and recording sessions with jazz greats J.J. Johnson, Kai Winding, Carmen McRae, Sarah Vaughn, Tony Bennett, Michel Legrand, and many others.
Sponsored by: Humber College
Chair, Concert Band
Sharon Fitzsimmins, Mus. Bac, B.Ed, is a respected educator, international adjudicator, clinician and conductor. She is past president of The Ontario Music Educators’ Association (OMEA) and was co-editor of The Recorder for 8 years, conductor at National Music Camp of Canada and examiner for The Royal Conservatory of Music. She has received numerous teaching, professional development and leadership awards. In November 2006, Sharon received the highest award from the OMEA, an Honorary Life Membership. Sharon is proud to have taught for thirty years at Barrie North Collegiate where she conducted award winning bands and choirs. She has written three teacher resources and is working on a fourth. Sharon was Chair of PRIMO 11, the OMEA annual conference.
- Location: Midhurst ON
Dr. Gillian MacKay
Denis Wick Canadian Wind Orchestra Director
Dr. Gillian MacKay holds degrees and diplomas from the University of Lethbridge, McGill University, the University of Calgary, and Northwestern University. Previously, she served as Instructor of Brass at Medicine Hat College, and Director of the School of Music at the University of Windsor. Gillian MacKay is an Associate Professor of Music of the University of Toronto, where she conducts the Wind Ensemble and teaches conducting and trumpet. She is also Associate Dean of Graduate Education. An award-winning teacher, Gillian has an active professional career as a trumpeter, conductor, adjudicator, and clinician. She has conducted honor bands throughout Canada and the United States, including the National Youth Band of Canada. Dr. MacKay has adjudicated Canadian band festivals at local, provincial, and national levels, as well as competitions in Singapore and Thailand.
- Location: Toronto On.
Vice Chair, Choral/Vocal Jazz
Scott Leithead is the founder and Artistic Director of Edmonton’s Kokopelli Choir Association and TIME Jazz Association. Scott is a very sought after clinician and director, with notable appearances including conducting the Alberta Youth Choir for the Alberta Choral Federation’s 40th Anniversary, conducting the 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017 Ellison Canadian National Honour Choir, and adjudicating at both the ACCC National Competition for Amateur Canadian Choirs and the Kathaumixw International Choir Festival.
Scott has a passion for music from southern Africa and he has been invited to work with choirs in South Africa and Namibia on numerous occasions. In 2008, Scott was on sabbatical in Namibia where he worked with the Mascato Youth Choir and many other choirs in southern Africa. Scott is also the Vice Chairman of Choral/Vocal Division for MusicFest Canada and he is a longtime member of the advisory committee for the Canadian Rocky Mountain Music Festival.
Sponsored by: Kokopelli
Chair, Choral/Vocal Jazz
John is a music educator who has worked with musicians of all ages, from preschool children to senior citizens. He is currently a Vice Principal at Central Peel Secondary School in Brampton, ON and is musical director at Heart Lake United Church. John is active as an adjudicator and clinician throughout North America and has been a member of the Board of Directors of the Ontario Vocal Festival and part of the Executive Committee of MusicFest Canada for over 30 years. For over a decade he served as a Resource Team Member for the International Association of Jazz Educators and as a member of the advisory board of the Canadian Rocky Mountain Festival.
John has taught music at Humberview Secondary School, Central Peel Secondary School, Mayfield Secondary School, Humber College and the University of Toronto Jazz Performance Program where his groups received national and international recognition, performing at conferences and festivals throughout Canada and the United States and winning nine DOWN BEAT Magazine Student Music Awards. John has received the I.A.J.E. “Outstanding Jazz Director Award” for Canada, the Jazz Report Award for “Best Secondary School Jazz Program” and was inducted into the MusicFest Canada “Hall of Fame” for outstanding service to young Canadian musicians.
Dr. Shirantha Beddage
Vice Chair, Instrumental Jazz
Two-time JUNO-nominated musician Shirantha Beddage is a baritone saxophonist, composer and educator from Toronto, Canada. Currently, he serves as Head of Theory and Harmony in the Humber College Music department, where he teaches courses in Music Theory, Pedagogy, and Ensemble. Previously, he was Director of Jazz Studies at the Columbus State University Schwob School of Music (Columbus, Georgia, USA). He serves as a Vice-Chairman of the Instrumental Jazz Division of MusicFest Canada.
He has released three critically-acclaimed albums as a leader. His debut album, Roots and Branches, was released in 2007 on Jazz Excursion Records. His follow-up album, Identity (2012) was nominated for a JUNO award for Traditional Jazz Album of the year in 2013. His newest album, Momentum (2016), featuring drummer Will Kennedy of the Yellowjackets, was nominated for Jazz Album of the Year (Solo) at the 2017 JUNO awards.
His compositional skills have garnered him accolades such as the 2013 Galaxie Rising Star Award at the Montreal Jazz Festival for his compositions “Baker’s Dozen” and “Winds of Change”. In 2014, he also composed and performed incidental music for the first season of the Emmy-winning FX TV series Fargo. Compositions from his album Momentum won him a spot as a finalist in the 2017 Canadian Songwriting Competition.
He holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree (D.M.A.) in Jazz Studies from the Eastman School of Music (New York, USA), a Master of Music degree in Jazz Studies from William Paterson University (New Jersey, USA), and a Bachelor of Music degree from Humber College (Toronto, Canada). Shirantha is a Yamaha saxophone artist and performs on the YBS-62.
Associate Director, Chair Instrumental Jazz
Neil has composed over 50 works at various levels for jazz ensemble, most of which are available through UNC Jazz Press and Burnihla Music Publishing. He taught music at the elementary and secondary levels for 17 years, and is active as a jazz adjudicator and clinician throughout North America.
Neil Yorke-Slader is well known throughout the Capital region for his dedication to Education and the Arts. He directs the renowned Nepean All-City Jazz Band, one of Canada’s per-eminent student jazz ensembles for the last 21 years.
Neil’s reputation extends far beyond the Ottawa area, however. He was the recipient of the 1999 Ottawa International Jazz Festival’s “Achievement Award” and in 1991 he received the International Association of Jazz Educators Award for Contribution to Jazz Education. He is considered one of the leading Canadian authorities on the teaching of stage band fundamentals and rehearsal techniques. Neil is listed in the National Register’s 2003 “Who’s Who in Executives and Professionals.”
- Location: Manotick, ON
Dr. Mark Hopkins
Currently, Dr. Hopkins is an Assistant Professor in the School of Music at Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia. He is responsible for overseeing the Music Education area, teaching conducting, and is Director of Bands at Acadia University. Dr. Hopkins is very active as a guest conductor of professional and collegiate ensembles, having led performances across Canada and the United States, Bermuda, Hong Kong, China, Japan, Italy, Switzerland, and Romania.
- Location: Wolfville NS
Bryan taught music in Nanaimo for 50 years. Since 1997 he served as Chair of MusicFest Canada’s Jazz and Concert Band Divisions and is currently a Board member. He also taught Jazz Pedagogy at Vancouver Island University and was Chairman of the Music Department until he retired again in 2015.
Bryan’s school bands won many provincial and national awards and his groups have performed in Japan, Europe, the US and in every major city in Canada. Many of his former students are professional musicians and music educators, the best known being international stars Diana Krall, Ingrid Jensen, Christine Jensen, and Carmella Luvisotto.
Bryan is a MusicFest Canada Hall of Fame member, recipient of the Marshall McLuhan Distinguished Teacher Award for both BC and Canada, BCMEA’s Professional Music Educator Award, and the City Of Nanaimo Excellence in Culture Award.
What Bryan enjoys most is working with music students of all ages.