About the KSO
Members of the Orchestra
Crystal Ye, Concertmaster
Sarah Davidson-Gurney, Principal Violins II
Arpad Josephson, Violin
Kevin Chen, Violin
Heather Dudzinski, Violin
Jane Wan, Violin
Kevin Tsang, Violin
Neil Dyal, Violin
Salome Legemaate, Violin
David Hou, Violin
Elson Leung, Violin
Dennis Liu, Violin
Tie Sun, Violin
Laura Sultan, Violin
Louise Shi, Violin*
Jingzhe Su, Violin*
Eric Sun, Violin*
Edward Cui, Violin*
Yiyang Gao, Violin*
Carole Wei, Violin*
(available position), Violin
Brass and Percussion
Andrew Chan, Principal Harp
Crystal Ye has performed numerous recitals and concerts in Canada, the USA, China, Singapore, and Indonesia. In 2002 she made her debut at New York’s Carnegie/Weill Hall. Ms. Ye has appeared as soloist with the China Film Orchestra, China National Ballet Orchestra, Tianjin Symphony Orchestra, among many others. As an orchestral musician, Jing Ye was appointed the Principal of the Second Violins of the China National Ballet Orchestra at the age of 22, the youngest principal ever in the history of the orchestra. She was also a concertmaster of the Philharmonia Orchestra of the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and of the China Youth Symphony Orchestra; she was also a member of the Kentucky Symphony Orchestra and the Springfield Symphony Orchestra. Jing Ye has won the 2nd prize at the Tianjin Violin Competition, and she has also been a prize winner at the China National Violin Competition. Ms. Ye has earned a Master of Music degree in Violin Performance from the University of Cincinnati and a Bachelor of Music degree from Central Conservatory of Music.
Principal Violins II
Sarah Davidson-Gurney graduated with a Masters degree in Violin Performance and Musicology from York University. She completed her Bachelors degree at the University of Toronto, also majoring in Violin Performance. Having played violin since the age of three and piano since the age of five, Sarah’s achievements include recording a CD at the age of thirteen, attending the prestigious Chautauqua Music Festival in New York four times on a full scholarship and winning York University’s concerto competition. Sarah was a concertmaster of the York University Symphony from September 2009 to May 2011 and she is currently concertmaster of the Prayer Palace Orchestra. For the past six years, Sarah has also been a first violinist in the Koffler Chamber Orchestra, where she has also performed multiple times as a soloist. At the age of sixteen, she was featured as the a Young Artist at the Brantford Sanderson Centre for Performing Arts. She was also given an Arts scholarship worth $7,500 by virtue of winning the 2010 Miss World Canada Pageant. In 2005 Sarah received her ARCT diploma in Violin performance, as well as completed a Grade 8 Piano examinations at the Royal Conservatory of Music. Sarah’s experiences don’t end with Classical music, she also plays electric violin for large audiences at gala events and private parties for companies such as Rimowa, Diner en Blanc, and Muzik. Her latest recordings can be found on the CD Gala International, where she is featured violinist. Sarah has also been teaching regularly for the past thirteen years.
Arpad Josephson has earned a Bachelor of Music in Violin Performance from the University of Western Ontario (London) and a Diploma in Orchestral training from the Royal Conservatory of Music (Toronto). He has over 20 years of experience performing with Symphony Hamilton, Windsor Symphony, Niagara Symphony, Oshawa Symphony, Oakville Chamber Orchestra, Hamilton Camerata, Ensemble Unterweg, and Royal Conservatory of Music Symphony Orchestra. He has also taught violin, piano, and music theory at Hamilton School of Music.
Neil Dyal has studied music at the Royal Conservatory of Music as well as the University of Western Ontario. He has played the violin for over 30 years and has performed with various orchestras and ensembles including Orchestra Toronto, the former East York Symphony Orchestra, Woodstock Strings, and the Haydn String Quartet. Mr. Dyal has served as a concert master in the pit orchestras for several stage productions including: “Anything Goes”, “West Side Story”, and “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.” He has performed on numerous concert stages and venues including the George Weston Recital Hall, Massey Hall, Leah Posluns Theatre, the Granite Club, and the Banff Centre of Performing Arts. Mr. Dyal is currently an educator with the Toronto District School Board and resides in Toronto with his family.
Kevin Chen graduated from the Royal Conservatory of Music in 2004, obtaining the ARCT diploma in Violin Performance with First Class Honours. He is a former student of Alec Hou, and has been actively performing for over 10 years. As an orchestral musician, Kevin was concertmaster of the Hart House Chamber Strings, and first violinist for the CAST Youth Orchestra, CAST Philomusica Orchestra, and Hart House Orchestra. He was also concertmaster of the Ontario Youth Orchestra, leading them on their debut concert tour from Toronto to China. As a chamber musician, Kevin was a founding member of the Academy of Chamber Music for Young Musicians, where he has been performing since 2002. Apart from classical music, Kevin has also performed electro-acoustic violin with his friends’ hip hop band U.S.A.G.
Heather Dudzinski has had over thirty-five years' experience performing with various orchestras throughout the Greater Toronto Area, among them, Orchestra Toronto, Cathedral Bluffs Symphony, Scarborough Philharmonic, and Mississauga Symphony, in addition to playing in several string quartets. Ms. Dudzinski has studied violin with Erhard Liedtke and Isidor Desser. She is currently a member of NYCO Symphony Orchestra.
Kevin Tsang has studied violin privately since he was 8 years old. Earlier in his studies he has performed with various ensembles and orchestras throughout the GTA. Kevin is a consultant in computer and network security. He enjoys photography, ice hockey, travelling and now, after a 20-year hiatus, is returning to the orchestra to share his passion for music.
Jane Wan has earned a Bachelor in Music Performance (Violin) degree from the University of Western Ontario and an ARCT in Violin Performance from the Royal Conservatory of Music. She has studied with Mayumi Seiler, Annette Barbara Vogel, Virginia Barton, Jin-Shan Dai, as well as with Cornelius Rodert. Ms. Wan has performed with the University of Western Ontario orchestra, Philharmonic Music Orchestra, Greater Toronto Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as in various TV productions, corporate functions, and private events. In addition, Ms. Wan holds currently the position of Music Director and Conductor at St. Justin Martyrs Catholic Church in Markham. She was the recipient of Bruce and Helen Mills Instrument Award, Arts Richmond Hill Music Festival Award, and Pickering Rotary Music Festival.
Laura Sultan started her violin studies at the age of seven and toured Europe with the Blue Lake International Orchestra by the time she was sixteen. She has played in orchestras internationally including the Manukau Symphony Orchestra and the Auckland Symphony Orchestra in New Zealand as well as the Smith College Orchestra, Muse Machine Orchestra, Montgomery-Centerville Community Orchestra and Blue Lake International Orchestra. Ms. Sultan graduated with a degree in violin performance from Smith College in Northampton (USA) where she studied with Jim Braid and Ron Gorvic. She is currently a freelance violin tutor and a certified mathematics & science high school teacher.
Salome Legemaate was born and raised in Switzerland and started studying the violin at the age of 12 at the Music School of St. Gallen in the class of Beatrix Sieber and Hermann Ostendarp and, in Canada, with Yiuman Chang and Dan David Arnovich. Ms. Legemaate has performed at the Hueberli Orchestra in Wattwil under the baton of Peter Roth and has performed at the Conservatory of Music in Zuerich. She lives in Stouffville with her husband and four children and maintains a private violin studio.
Elson started his violin studies at the age of 14. Two years into his studies, he has passed Grade 8 examination at the Royal Conservatory of Music with first class honours and is currently preparing for his ARCT diploma. He has studied with Elizabeth Johnston, Dominique Laplante, and Csaba Koczomany of the Canadian Opera Company as well as with the renowned Tokai String Quartet in Toronto. He is currently studying with Marie Bérard (concertmaster of the Canadian Opera Company) at the Royal Conservatory of Music and the Glenn Gould School. Elson has played at many music competitions and festivals including Kiwanis and Mandarin Lion Arts where he has won first place in all categories. On the side, Elson enjoys reading and discussing world politics.
Mr. Tie Sun graduated from the Secondary Music School of the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, China with a major in violin performance. He continued his studies at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing and obtained a degree in violin performance as well. During his studies, Mr. Sun was a concertmaster of Central Conservatory of Music Symphony Orchestra as well as a concertmaster of China Children's Art Theatre Orchestra. Mr. Sun was then accepted in a graduate program with a teaching assistantship at the West Virginia University (WVU), USA. He was a concertmaster of the WVU Chamber Orchestra, second violin of WVU String Quartet, and a Second Violins Principal of the WVU Symphony Orchestra. Since the 1990s, Mr. Sun has been teaching violin, preparing advanced students for international competitions as well as handcrafting violins. Aside from his busy career as a musician and a teacher, Mr. Sun also enjoys painting.
Dennis Liu began studying the violin at the age of five. He has completed, with First Class Honours, the Royal Conservatory of Music Grade 10 violin performance and advanced music theory examinations. Since becoming a member of the Kindred Spirits Orchestra in the summer of 2009, he has also performed with the Chinese Artists Society of Toronto Philomusica. In conjunction with music, Dennis also enjoys sketching, storyboarding, digital painting and sculpting, 3D modelling and animation, as well as mathematical analysis and physics, debating social politics, foreign relation and philosophy.
Carole Wei started learning the violin at the age of 7 with Crystal Ye. Music gives her a pair of wings to soar and to be free in the spirit of her mind. She is thrilled and honoured to be a member of Kindred Spirits Orchestra. Miss Wei loves both classic and pop music as well as painting. Music refines her life while painting decorates her dreams.
David Hou was born in 1996 in Beijing (China). He begun learning the violin at the age of 4. David moved to Canada when he was 13 and continue studying violin with Jing Ye. He is currently preparing for the Royal Conservatory of Music Grade 10 examinations.
Louise Shi was born in 1996 in Shanghai (China). She begun studying the violin at age of 11 with Jing Ye and is currently preparing for the Royal Conservatory of Music Grade 8 examinations. Louise has always wanted to play in a symphony orchestra and embraces the opportunity to be part of the Kindred Spirits Orchestra Youth Strings Mentorship Programme.
Jingzhe Su was born in 2000 and begun studying the violin at age of 4 in her native China. After moving to Canada in 2007, she studied violin with Sandra Stark in London and currently with Jing Ye in Toronto. In addition to violin, Jingzhe also began studying piano in 2010 and within 2 years was able to pass, with First Class Honours with Distinction, the Royal Conservatory of Music Grade 8 piano and Advanced Rudiments examinations. In school, Jingzhe enjoys also playing the flute and was selected to perform as part of the CISMF Concert Band concert at Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto. She has also performed with the Amadeus Youth Ensemble, the Chinese Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Chinese Artists Society of Toronto. In 2010, Jingzhe has won First Award in Violin solo performance at the Kiwanis Music Festival (London, Ontario).
Eric Sun was born in Zhuhai (China). he is currently studying at Stonebridge Public School in Markham. He began studying the violin at the age of six and within 5 years has passed the Royal Conservatory of Music grade 9 violin performance examinations with first class honours. Besides classic music, Eric also enjoy computer programming.
Vesna Vukusic has earned a Master's of Music in Viola Performance. She has performed with the Orchestra Nationale Santo Domingo, the Canadian Academic Orchestra, Oshawa Symphony Orchestra, North York Symphony Orchestra, Etobicoke Symphony Orchestra, Toronto Sinfonieta, Toronto Chamber Orchestra, National Opera and Ballet Orchestras in Belgrade, the Symphony Orchestra of Belgrade, and many others. Mrs. Vukusic has also taught viola, violin, cello, and chamber music ensembles, at the University Settlement House, as well as violin, flute, and guitar at McHugh Public School in Brampton, Port Credit High School, Sheridan Park Public School in Mississauga, Woodland Senior and Intermediate High School, and Hawthorn Public School in Mississauga.
Associate Principal Viola
Daniela Gassi earned her Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from the University of Western Ontario and a Bachelor of Education from OISE/UT. At Western she studied violin and viola with Virginia Barron, and performed in the UWO Symphony Orchestra where she was principal violist for one year. Other orchestras Ms. Gassi has performed with on viola include the Brampton Lyric Opera Orchestra and the International Symphony Orchestra. She started her teaching career at Sir John A. Macdonald Collegiate Institute in Scarborough where she directed the String program for three years. She currently teaches Music, English and Dance at York Memorial Collegiate Institute and is a member of the newly formed Ontario Strings Association. Miss Gassi is in her second year with the KSO.
William Wong has earned a Bachelor degree in Music Education from Wilfrid Laurier University (Waterloo). He has performed with the St. Catharines Symphony Orchestra, the Niagara Symphony Orchestra, and the Ukrainian Chamber Orchestra. Mr. Wong also has over twenty years of experience teaching violin and viola in various schools throughout the Greater Toronto Area, as well as privately.
Christopher Wong has earned an ARCT Diploma in viola performance from the Royal Conservatory of Music. He is currently pursuing a degree in viola performance at the University of Toronto where he is studying with Teng Li (Principal Violist of Toronto Symphony Orchestra). Mr. Wong has also studied privately with Alexander Matus and has graduated from the acclaimed Arts York music programme. Christopher Wong has performed with the University of Toronto Concert Orchestra, York Symphony Orchestra, Toronto Cultural Youth Orchestra, Petaling Jaya Youth Chamber Orchestra, Scarborough Choral Society, among others. He has received the Mamie May Scholarship, the Kiwanis Foundation Award for Strings, and has toured with various orchestras in mainland China.
Samuel Bisson has earned a Master of Music in Cello Performance at the University of Toronto and a Bachelor of Music degree with double major in Cello Performance and Composition from the University of Ottawa. Mr. Bisson has studied cello with Roman Borys, Paul Marleyn, and Julian Armour, as well as with Janos Starker, Paul Katz, Denise Djokic, Anthony Elliott, Mark Fewer, and Hans Jorgen Jensen at the National Arts Centre Young Artist Programme. He has also studied composition with Steven Gellman and John Armstrong. Mr. Bisson has performed with the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra, University of Toronto Symphony Orchestra, University of Ottawa Symphony Orchestra, Sneak Peak Orchestra, and L’Orchestre de la francophonie canadienne. He has also performed at the Shigeru Concert Series (Barrie), New Music Festival (Toronto), Toronto Arts and Letter Club, Toronto Summer Music Festival, and Scotia Festival of Music. Mr. Bisson is the recipient of Victor Di Bello Graduate Scholarship, Plettner Graduate Fellowship, and a Canadian Millennium Scholarship, among others. As a composer, Mr. Bisson created an original score for a short film supported by the National Film Board of Canada. He is fluent in English and French and has working knowledge of German and Spanish.
Sarah Jane Gibbs
Associate Principal Cello
Sarah Jane Gibbs began her cello studies at the age of five on a wooden toy cello her father had made her. When that became unsatisfying, she enrolled in the Huntsville Suzuki School of Music with a real cello. As a teenager, she moved on to study in Toronto at the Young Artists Performance Academy with Carole Sirois and at Wilfrid Laurier University with Simon Fryer and Paul Pulford. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Cello Performance from the University of Toronto where she studied with Shauna Rolston. Sarah Jane has also been the recipient of several notable awards such as the Abner Martin Music Scholarship, the Gregor Piatigorsky Memorial Award in Cello, and the Huntsville Festival of the Arts Scholarship Award. She was also a finalist in the Orchestra Toronto Cello Concerto Competition in May 2012. Sarah Jane is an active member in the musical communities of Muskoka, Waterloo and Toronto. She gives both solo recitals and chamber concerts, and currently plays with Trio Aquadulci, a violin/cello/piano trio from the Waterloo area. Sarah Jane’s other passion is drawing cartoons.
Merle Oddson studied cello and piano in Winnipeg and played the cello in the Manitoba Youth Orchestra. After University graduation in Dietetics she took a break from music and only re-kindled her interest in the cello about 12 years ago. She is currently studying with Barbara Pepper. Merle is a current member of the Rose Orchestra of Brampton and is a past member of the NYCO Symphony Orchestra and the York Symphony Orchestra. Merle and her husband have lived in Thornhill for many years where they raised their two sons.
Jui-Ying Hong’s interest in music developed while she was in high school by learning to play the viola and the cello. University studies took precedence as she pursued a B. Sc. degree in physics and math and then did post-graduate studies in radiography. Wanting to resume her passion for the cello and fulfil her childhood dream to “run away and join an orchestra”, she began taking lessons about ten years ago with Donald Green. For the past four years she has played with the NYCO Symphony Orchestra.
Tapio Rukkila studied cello, piano, trumpet, and conducting in his native Finland. He studied cello performance at the prestigious Sibelius Academy in Helsinki with master cellist Seppo Laamanen. He has also studied orchestration with the well-known Estonian cellist and composer Kaljo Raid. Since immigrating to Canada, Mr. Rukkila has been a long time music director and conductor of a Finnish congregation choir and brass band, where he has also been involved as organist and composer-arranger in residence. Mr. Rukkila has performed with the Sibelius Academy Orchestra, Lauttasaari Symphony, and North York Symphony Orchestra for several seasons and has toured in Europe and the Caribbean as cellist and occasional guest conductor with Jubilance Singers and Orchestra. Together with his violinist daughter, he is a founding member of Selah Strings.
Lech Straczynski has earned a Master of Music degree in double bass performance from the Academy of Music in Poland, and a Diploma in Music performance (double bass) from the State College of Music in Poland. He also studied with the renowned double bass soloist Ludwig Streicher in Germany and Joel Quarrington in Toronto, and has graduated from the Royal Conservatory of Music Orchestral Training Programme. Mr. Straczynski has performed with the Toronto Philharmonia, Hamilton Philharmonic, Mississauga Opera, Niagara Symphony, Toronto Sinfonietta, Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Ontario Philharmonic, Peterborough Symphony Orchestra, Scarborough Symphony Orchestra, Sudety Philharmonic Orchestra and Silesia Opera Orchestra (Poland), International Symphony Orchestra (Sweden), and many others.
Associate Principal Contrabass
Sara Lukjanovs earned her Bachelor of Music in Double Bass Performance from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York where she played in various orchestras, the Syracuse Symphony, and was an original member of Ossia, a new music ensemble. While a member of Ossia, she took part in a new recording of Steve Reich's Tehillim, released in 2002. After moving from the U.S. to Germany, and then back to the U.S., Mrs. Lukjanovs played in the Raleigh Chamber Orchestra in Raleigh, North Carolina. She and her husband have recently moved to Markham, where they are raising their three children.
William Kwan has performed with National Youth Orchestra of Canada, Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra, Toronto District School Board Youth Orchestra, Toronto Chinese Orchestra, and Claude Watson School for the Arts orchestra. He has graduated with a Bachelor of Applied Science degree with honours in Nanotechnology Engineering from the University of Waterloo.
Flutist Izabella Budai has been an active performer and teacher for the past sixteen years. She has been freelancing with Orchestra London since 1998 and held the Principal Flute position of the London Community Orchestra for seven years. She was featured in several concerto performances with the London Community Orchestra as well as the London Youth Orchestra. Izabella is currently in the Doctor of Musical Arts in Performance Program at the University of Toronto, studying with Camille Watts. Her former teachers include Nora Shulman (University of Toronto) and Annelie Metrakos (University of Western Ontario). In addition, Izabella studied extensively with flutist János Bálint at various summer programs in Hungary and Italy. Izabella was the 2011 recipient of the Hungarian Helicon Foundation Graduate Award and a Travel Grant from the School of Graduate Studies in support of her research. While pursuing her doctoral studies, she maintains a full performing and teaching schedule.
Associate Principal Flute
Mexican flutist Alhelí Pimienta has been an orchestral and solo performer since she was 11 years old. Miss Pimienta began playing the flute at a very young age and started her professional Conservatory studies in Mexico with Professor Luis Alfredo Gonzalez. She obtained her Bachelor's and Master's degrees at the University of Idaho in the United States with Dr. Leonard Garrison before recently completing her Artist Diploma Program at The Glenn Gould School of Music in Toronto. Miss Pimienta is a very versatile musician and loves performing jazz flute, Brazilian percussion instruments, tango and salsa. She is also an active chamber performer and a passionate teacher with a studio of 18 players of all ages. Alhelí is currently a Doctor of Musical Arts candidate at the University of Toronto where she studies with Canadian flutist Susan Hoeppner.
Shauna Furois is currently completing her Bachelor of Fine Arts Music degree at York University while pursuing both her interests in music performance and education. She is studying flute under Barbara Ackerman and Linda Morana and is a member of the York University Wind Symphony and the York University Orchestra. In addition to giving various flute recitals in the GTA, Ms. Furois also volunteers as a teaching assistant at Markville Secondary School in Markham rehearsing and conducting both large and small ensembles and sectionals.
Claire Kobayakawa has earned a Bachelor of Music Performance in Oboe degree from the University of Western Ontario and studied orchestral performance at the Glen Gould Professional School of the Royal Conservatory of Music. She was Associate Principal Oboe with the Woodstock Strings and with the National Academy Orchestra under the baton of Maestro Boris Brott. Ms. Kobayakawa performed with The Greater Toronto Philharmonic and the Corktown Chamber Orchestra as well as in over thirty pit orchestras.
Associate Principal Oboe
Giovanni Alonzi plays the clarinet, flute and oboe. When he was 25 years old he began studying clarinet with a pupil of Benny Goodman. At age of 35 he started studying oboe with Cynthia Steljes (Quartetto Gelato). Giovanni has played in various orchestras and bands, including Brampton Symphony Orchestra, Italian Philharmonic, Huronia Symphony Orchestra, and the Caledon Concert Band. Giovanni left his native Italy some 45 years ago to pursue a degree in mechanical engineering in Canada. Later he founded his own company for mechanical tools and built it to a highly successful business.
Carmen Gassi has earned a Master of Music in Clarinet performance degree, a Bachelor of Music in Theory and Composition, and a Bachelor of Education from the University of Western Ontario. He has studied with Jerome Summers, Robert Riseling, and Imre Roszanyi. Mr. Gassi has performed with the Brampton Symphony Orchestra, Mississauga Symphony Orchestra, Oakville Symphony Orchestra, Brampton Lyric Opera, Opera Kitchener, Meadowvale Theatre, and others. An accomplished composer, Mr. Gassi wrote Diversions for Woodwind Quintet and The Last Tournament for a Brass Quintet (both published by Eighth Note). He has also been conductor of the Halton Senior Winds Honour Band, assistant conductor of Brampton Symphony Orchestra and Brampton Youth Orchestra, and Head of Arts & Moderns at the Halton District School Board.
Associate Principal Clarinet
Daniel Paquin began his clarinet study at the age of 12 with Bruce Dinkins. During high school he performed with the Sewanee Symphony Orchestra at the Sewanee Summer Music Festival under conductors from all over the world. Upon graduating high school, he has earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of South Carolina where he studied with Doug Graham. After completing his degree, Mr. Paquin spent three years in Okinawa (Japan) teaching English and music. Upon returning to North America in 2006, he moved to Toronto with his wife. Currently, Mr. Paquin is a clarinetist with the Brampton Symphony Orchestra and teaches music with the both the Toronto District School Board and York Region District School Board. He is also on the faculty of the Music of By the Lake Summer Music Festival.
Krishna Veerappan starting learning the clarinet at the age of 10 and graduated from both programs the Baythorn Public School’s Arts Program and Arts York at Unionville High School. He is currently enrolled at York University in a Honours Double Major programme in Urban Studies and in Music Performance. Mr. Veerappan currently holds Principal Clarinet and Eb Clarinet positions with various groups across Ontario, including the York University Symphony Orchestra, Toronto Youth Wind Orchestra, Ontario Cross-Cultural Music Society Orchestra, York Wind Ensemble, Richmond Hill Concert Band, and formerly The TenToes Ballet Company, Unionville Symphony Orchestra, Unionville Wind Ensemble and York University Wind Quintet. He has also performed with chamber groups and orchestras across Canada and abroad, including China, France, South Africa and Italy.
Roland Wilk's interest in wind instruments began while he was an engineering student. Starting on clarinet, he added French horn and bassoon to his portfolio. Since his arrival in Toronto in 2003, he has played regularly with the NYCO Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra Toronto, the Greater Toronto Philharmonic Orchestra and Silverthorn Symphonic Winds. Together with his pianist wife, Marion, he is an active chamber musician and a regular participant in summer workshops such as the Bennington Chamber Music Conference, Raphael Trio Worshop and CAMMAC. Roland, who has Masters degrees in electrical engineering and business administration and is a Harvard Business School alumnus, co-founded and ran a software engineering business from which is he now retired. He brings his business experience to the governance of several community music organizations including NYCO Symphony Orchestra, Toronto Youth Wind Orchestra and CAMMAC Foundation. Outside of music, Roland has many interests including aeromodelling, cheese-making, cooking and competitive bridge.
Associate Principal Bassoon
Doris Feitler discovered her passion for the bassoon at the age of 13, playing in school and community bands and orchestras. Although she took a hiatus from the bassoon to raise a family and develop her career as a veterinarian, she returned to her musical training, taking lessons from bassoonist Leslie Magowan. Over the past few years she played bassoon with the Markham Concert Band, Newmarket Citizen’s Band, Toronto Community Orchestra and the Blue Bridge Festival Orchestra. Doris has varied musical interests and plays baritone and trombone with a jazz band, sings with the classically based Blue Bridge choir, plays djembe, djunn djunns and native flutes with an African drumming group and plays in a recorder ensemble.
Principal French Horn
Originally from Calgary, Amanda first started playing the French Horn when she was 11 and knew from then on she would have a life filled with music. She studied with Heather Wooton (horn at Calgary Philharmonic) and then went on to Victoria to study with Kurt Kellan (Calgary Philharmonic former Principal). There she also played with the Greater Victoria Youth Orchestra as a principal horn. She played for two summers with the National Youth Orchestra and then completed her Masters degree in performance (horn) at McGill University. While in Montreal she also played with L’Orchestre de La Francophonie. The next chapter of her musical journey has taken her to Toronto, where she has played with Sneak Peak Orchestra and Scarborough Philharmonic.
Associate Principal French Horn
Rebecca Whiteside has been playing the French Horn for over 25 years in various ensembles in Canada and the United Kingdom. At age 5, she was introduced to music through piano lessons that continued through to her successful completion of the Royal Conservatory of Music’s Grade 9 piano and theory examinations. She began playing the French Horn at age 11 and a few years later, was accepted into the prestigious Ottawa Youth Orchestra. She performed with the OYO from 1989 to 1993 during which time she also studied with Dan Gress. Despite choosing to pursue a degree in Electrical Engineering at Queen’s University, Rebecca was thrilled to accept a part-time opportunity to perform professionally with the Kingston Symphony Orchestra from 1994 to 2003. She left the KSO in 2003 when her engineering career took her to England but it wasn’t long before she was performing with an amateur brass ensemble in Derby, the Nottingham Symphonic Winds and the Nottingham Philharmonic Orchestra. Since returning to Canada in 2005, Rebecca has also performed with the Brampton Symphony Orchestra and Brampton’s Rose Orchestra.
Craig Scott has earned a Bachelor of Music Degree from Wilfrid Laurier University with specialization in Orchestral Performance. He has worked with Allen Vizzutti, Mike Herriot, Darryl Eaton, John Wallace (former Principal Trumpet of the Philharmonia Orchestra), Mark Gould (former Co-Principal Trumpet of the Metropolitan Opera), Edward Carrol (Professor of Trumpet at McGill University), Stephen Burns (Artistic Director of the Fulcrum Point New Music Project in Chicago), Gabrielle Cassone (historical trumpet artist performing on original instruments), Anita McAlister (Professor of Trumpet at University of Toronto and Wilfrid Laurier university). Mr. Scott has performed with the Wilfrid Laurier University Orchestra, the Kitchener Waterloo Chamber Orchestra and the Toronto Wind Orchestra, the Hannaford Youth Band, Toronto All Star Big Band, the Kitchener Waterloo Youth Symphony Orchestra, the Youth Symphony Valhalla Brass, Wilfrid Laurier University Brass quintet, the Kitchener Waterloo Chamber Orchestra.
Associate Principal Trumpet
Beginning his musical studies in Hamilton in 1962, Graham Young maintains an active schedule as a performer and private teacher in the Hamilton area. Completing a Bachelor of Music at McMaster University in 1974, he went on to graduate studies at the University of Victoria and University of Toronto in musicology and at the University of Western Ontario where he obtained a Bachelor of Education in music. Graham has been the principal trumpet of Symphony Hamilton ( Now Symphony on the Bay) since it’s beginning as the McMaster Symphony Orchestra in 1973 and the McMaster University Chamber Orchestra where he is also currently the personnel manager. He is the leader and founder of the Celebration Brass Quintet and plays soprano cornet with the Cottonwood Brass, which is Canada’s only historical brass group playing Canadian music of the 19th century. He is also in demand as a soloist with choirs and churches in the Hamilton area having appeared with the Bach-Elgar Choir, Mohawk Singers, Canadian Orpheus Male Choir, John Liang Singers and Hamilton Children’s Choir among others. He has appeared as soloist with the Guelph Symphony Orchestra, Symphony Hamilton, and McMaster Chamber Orchestra. In addition, he plays regularly with other local orchestras including the Niagara Symphony, Oakville and Guelph Symphonys. He is currently the librarian for Symphony on the Bay and Opera Hamilton. In the jazz field he leads the Swing Katz Jazz Band - a sextet playing swing and Dixie standards. Graham is also Principal trumpet with the Cambridge Symphony Orchestra.
Brian Case is pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts with Honours in Music, specializing in Composition for Film and Classical and Jazz Trombone Performance at York University. He has performed with various groups as a principle trombone at York University as well as at the Northern Brass Choir and at the University of Toronto Hart House Jazz Ensemble. In addition, Mr. Case has composed music for many films for producers around Canada.
Jacky Siu has earned a Bachelor of Music education and a Bachelor of Education from the University of Toronto. He studied with Sal Fratia and Chris Lee (Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra), Mark Tetreaul (Toronto Symphony Orchestra) and Raffi Armenian (Canadian Symphonietta). Jacky is a music teacher at the Toronto District School Board, as well as an active lower brass clinician at various schools across the GTA. Jacky Siu has performed with the North York Concert Orchestra, Richmond Hill Philharmonic Orchestra, Cathedral Bluffs Symphony Orchestra. He was a principal Tubist with the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra, University of Toronto Symphony Orchestra, University of Toronto Wind Ensemble, University of Toronto Wind Symphony, and Toronto Youth Wind Orchestra.
Bruce Reid has performed for over 25 years with various community orchestras as timpanist and percussionist, such as East York Symphony Orchestra, Etobicoke Symphony Orchestra, Mississauga Symphony Orchestra, Brampton Symphony Orchestra, Brampton Lyric Opera, NYCO Symphony Orchestra, Brampton Festival Singers, and Counterpoint Community Orchestra.
Shyuan Lai was born in Malaysia, studied piano in her early childhood before she went to Taiwan to study percussion performance in National Taiwan Academy School of Arts. She has graduated with a Master degree in Percussion Performance from the Taipei National University of the Arts. Shyuan Lai worked as a Percussionist with Taipei Percussion Group for over ten years and performed with the National Symphony Orchestra, Taiwan National Symphony Orchestra, Taipei Chinese Orchestra, and Taipei Chinese Youth Orchestra, among others.
Marion hails from Cape Town and started playing the piano by ear at the tender age of 3. Starting lessons at the age of 5, she was a regular participant and prize winner in the Cape Town Eisteddfod and the Afrikaans Eisteddfod, and broadcast live on “Young South Africa”. While in high school she was accompanist to the school choir. After graduating high school she studied computer science and, later, accounting, but always kept up her music. She was accompanist to choirs, pianist with a small orchestra and played for singers. She is an accomplished chamber music pianist and enjoys this immensely. These days she is a percussionist and keyboard player with NYCO Symphony
Orchestra and Silverthorn Symphonic Winds, performs with Alchemy (a group of chamber musicians who perform hour-long concerts at retirement homes) and plays chamber music with her husband Roland, her younger son and friends. In 2005 she performed Beethoven’s 3rd piano concerto with NYCO
Symphony Orchestra. Marion has four children and eight grandchildren, all of whom love music.
Elida Cota has earned a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance degree from the Fine Arts Academy in Tirana, as well as a Certificate in Piano Pedagogy from the Onufri Profesisonal Music School in Elbasan (Albania). She has given numerous solo recitals and has performed with various chamber ensembles, as well as with the Sheraton Cadwell Orchestras (Toronto). Mrs. Cota has taught piano performance both privately and at music schools across the GTA. She is the winner of Second Award of Chopin Piano Competition.
Applauded by the National Post as having “a rare charisma”, his audience have included the Canadian Senate on Parliament Hill and Princess Thi-Nga of Vietnam. A frequent soloist, highlights include "a thunderous standing ovation" for his Vancouver performance of the Michael Conway Baker Harp Concerto, with which he toured Ontario with various orchestras to equal success. He will perform the concerto again with the Greater Toronto Philharmonic in March 2013, as well as the Reinecke Harp Concerto with Cathedral Bluffs Symphony Orchestra in May 2013. December 2012 marks Andrew's debut in Asia when he will give a solo concert in China. Andrew is the founder and Artistic Director of the Harps on the Hill Festival, where he advocates the appreciation of the harp in its performance and education. Andrew is also a founding member of the CCC Music Festival Canada, and the CCC Toronto International Piano Competition. As an orchestral harpist, Andrew has performed with Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Ontario Philharmonic, and the Toronto Concert Orchestra & Chorus. Andrew continues to be demanded by orchestras across Ontario with whom he has performed extensively with and been featured as their soloists. A dedicated teacher, he founded Harp Sinfonia, a multiple harp ensemble featuring ten of his prize-winning students. His students come from around Canada and visiting students have come from England, France, Japan and Singapore.
*denotes a member of the Youth Strings Mentorship Programme