Mitsuko Fernandes

Mitsuko Fernandes is a grade 11 student at the University of Toronto Schools. Despite a wide variety of interests, music is one of her main passions: she has played piano for over twelve years, and viola for six. She started composing from a young age, submitting early compositions to competitions just a few years after beginning piano. However, her love for composing was reignited in 9th grade after writing a song for a project in her music class. Her composition style is versatile, ranging from melancholy singer-songwriter to impressionist chamber music. She has played in multiple orchestras and chamber music ensembles, has held lead roles in multiple musicals, and is currently the lead singer of a band. She is currently studying piano with JUNO Award-winning pianist Angela Park and hopes to pursue music and composition in the future.

Leela Gilday, singer/songwriter

A passionate singer/songwriter and soulful performer, Leela Gilday has a voice that comes straight from the heart. Confessing her stories to her audiences with a gutsy voice and open stage presence, Gilday weaves her experiences as a northerner, a member of the Dene nation, and a traveler into a beautiful world that transports the

If you’re from the North, Leela’s music is home. If you’ve never been, it will take you there. Born and raised in the Northwest Territories, she writes about the people and the land that created her. The power in her voice conveys the depth of her feelings of love and life in a rugged environment and vibrant culture, as if it comes straight from
that earth. Leela’s family is from Délįne on the shore of Great Bear Lake and her rich vocals dance across the rhythmic beats of traditional Dene drumming as smoothly as a bass line onstage the largest venues in the country. And she has played them all. Leela has toured festivals and concert halls with her four-piece band through every province and territory in Canada. She has played in the United States, Greenland,
Australia, New Zealand and several countries in Europe. 

Her live shows are where she connects with fans who have followed her on a 20-year career and where new fans are born. She reaches into their hearts and feels the energy of every person in front of her as she guides them on a journey through song and experience. She believes music has an inexplicable effect on people. It is a place where she can share light and dark and the most vulnerable moments, with a clarity and genuine purpose that reassures her listeners through every word. She is a storyteller, and through this, reflects the world onto itself.Five years after her last album was released—five years of growth, healing and head-down work—Leela’s fifth album was released September 6 2019. It is more raw, more intimate and more Leela than anything you’ve heard from her before. Since then it has garnered a Canadian Folk Music

Philadelphia Orchestra Musicians visit Scarborough

When we were contacted by the US Consulate about a potential to assist with an Outreach event by members of the world-famous Philadelphia Orchestra, we knew we had to try to make it happen in Scarborough.  Planning time was really short but there’s a lot of “can do” attitude at the SPO and we knew that the community would really benefit.  A few Zoom meetings later and there was a busy couple of days set up for our visitors.  They met with Sistema community music students, coached and performed at Sir Oliver Mowat C.I. and then joined us on stage for a free public concert in a full to capacity house. 

What a whirlwind! 

Philadelphia Orchestra quartet with the Odin Quartet and members of the SPO

Ronald Royer, composer

With numerous performances, commissions and commercial recordings, Ronald Royer is a prominent Canadian composer who strives to connect with audiences.  Justin O’Dell of The Clarinet magazine writes: “Ronald Royer’s music is beautifully appealing and communicative”, while Stanley Fefferman of contributes, “These masterful and witty pieces live up to Royer’s reputation for music that is both entertaining and imaginative.”

His concert music has been performed by more than 70 orchestras, including the international iPalpiti Orchestra in Disney Concert Hall (Los Angeles, USA), Sinfonia Finlandia (Finland), Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic Orchestra (Czech Republic), Athens La Camerata (Greece), Joensuu City Orchestra (Finland), and Members of the Wurttemberg Chamber Orchestra (Germany). Canadian performances have included the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, Victoria Symphony, Hamilton Philharmonic, Orchestra London, Niagara Symphony, Thunder Bay Symphony and Symphony New Brunswick. The Ontario Festival Symphony Orchestra performed his composition Exuberance on tour in China (available on YouTube). He has served as the composer-in-residence for Sinfonia Toronto, Mississauga Symphony (supported by the Canada Council for the Arts), Toronto Sinfonietta, Scarborough Philharmonic and the Brantford Symphony.

 His music has been performed by such notables as French flute soloist and conductor, Patrick Gallois, Hungarian viola soloist and former Principal Violist of the Berlin Philharmonic Máté Szűcs, Canadian cellist Shauna Rolston, Canadian/Argentinian pianist Alexander Panizza, as well as ensembles such as the Gryphon Trio, St. Lawrence Quartet, and The Elmer Iseler Singers.

Mr. Royer has worked in film and theatre, and this includes (with co-composer Kevin Lau) the score for Gooby, starring Robbie Coltrane and Eugene Levy. He composed music for the theatrical production (and commercial recording) of The Storyteller’s Bag. He was commissioned to write a work for Canada Day celebrations at Niagara Falls. His work, Water and Light for live orchestra with fireworks was heard on July 1, 2006 by over 20,000 people.  

Mr. Royer’s music is featured on 15 commercial recordings, with 6 on the Cambria Master Recordings label (distributed by Naxos). He has consistently received positive and enthusiastic reviews for his music. Performers on recordings include the Los Angeles Studio Orchestra (Jorge Mester, conductor), Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic, (Tomas Koutnik), iPalpiti Orchestra (Eduard Schmieder), Sinfonia Toronto (Ronald Royer), 13 Strings of Ottawa (Simon Streatfeild), Toronto Sinfonietta (Matthew Jaskiewicz), Odin Quartet, HornPipes Duo, Chamber Music Society of Mississauga, Triofus, flutists Louise DiTullio and Nora Shulman, oboist Sarah Jeffrey, clarinets Tibi Cziger, Kaye Royer and Jerome Summers, violinists Conrad Chow and Aaron Schwebel, cellists Coenraad Bloemendal, Yves Dharamraj and Simon Fryer, trumpeters Brunette Dillon, Barton Woomert and Steven Woomert, hornist Gabriel Radford, and pianists Aaron Dou, Rachel Kerr and Lydia Wong. His commercial recordings and live performance recordings are regularly heard on radio, including the CBC and The New Classical FM in Canada and a number of NPR stations in the USA.

Born in Los Angeles into a family of professional musicians, he began his career as a cellist, performing with such ensembles as the Toronto Symphony, Utah Symphony, Pacific Symphony, and American Ballet Theatre Orchestra, as well as working in the Motion Picture and Television Industry in Los Angeles during the 1980’s. Having been inspired by working with a number of concert and film composers, Mr. Royer began serious studies in composition in the 1990’s, receiving a master’s degree in composition from the University of Toronto in 1997. His principal composition teachers were Alexander Rapoport, Walter Buczynski and Lothar Klein. Mr. Royer has received commissioning grants from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, the Toronto Arts Council, the Laidlaw Foundation and more. He is an associate composer of the Canadian Music Centre.

In addition to composing, Mr. Royer is presently serving as the music director and conductor of the Scarborough Philharmonic and has guest conducted a number of orchestras. For 21 years, he worked as an Instructor of Music for the University of Toronto Schools. He continues to teach private lessons and be an advocate for music education. Mr. Royer is married to clarinetist Kaye Royer and has composed several works for her.

Shreya Jha, composer

Shreya Jha is a composer, lyricist, playwright, educator, and medical student at the University of Toronto Temerty Faculty of Medicine. She previously completed dual Bachelors degrees in neuroscience and music composition at the University of Toronto. She is keenly interested in music composition, musical theatre, music education, and interdisciplinary research.

Shreya’s first musical Statistics (book, music, and lyrics) premiered at the U of T’s Drama Festival in February 2019. It then went on to be win the Adams Prize for Musical Theatre at the Toronto Fringe Festival. It made its Fringe debut in 2022. Statistics was shortlisted for the Playwrights’ Guild of Canada’s Robert Beardsley Award and appeared in the 2021 shortlisted play bundle.

Shreya’s second musical Connections was premiered in November 2019. LUV, written as a collaboration, debuted as a cast Album in 2020-2021. 18 Palace Road debuted in fall 2021.

Shreya made her professional compositional debut with the National Arts Centre Orchestra in April 2021. Her piece, Just Tango With Me will be performed at an upcoming concert (TBD) The Scarborough Philharmonic Orchestra has performed her pieces String Sonata Op. 8 Mvt 4 – Allegro Vivace, Adversity, Spring in the Step, Forgetting and her arrangement of a traditional Inuit song, This Child. In March 2017 and 2018, the Gryphon Trio premiered her pieces Vexation and Two Left Feet at their Trinity College coffeehouse. The Bold City Contemporary Ensemble selected her piece Journey Through A Daydream for programming in their 2017-2018 season. The Can-Am Trio will premiere her piece Tributes in an upcoming season.

Shreya continuously explores the intersections between music and science, including education and research. She developed a composition program at Sistema Toronto and remains an involved artist. She also works with the Music and Cognition Lab at the University of Toronto Mississauga, the Behavioural Cardiology Research Unit at Toronto General Hospital, and the Toronto Dementia Research Alliance in conjunction with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.

Shreya received her Associate of the Royal Conservatory (ARCT) in piano performance with honours in June 2016. She is an active violist and violinist and has played with both the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra and the University of Toronto Symphony Orchestra.

Rachel McFarlane, composer

Rachel “Ray” McFarlane is an exceptional upcoming composer whose extraordinary talent and achievements have propelled them to the forefront of the music industry at a remarkably young age.

She displays a level of artistry and craftsmanship that surpasses many seasoned composers. Her compositions demonstrate a remarkable fusion of classical sophistication and contemporary innovation, leaving audiences in awe of their maturity and depth.
Rachel is a dual major student at Berklee College of Music, majoring in Film Scoring and Video Game Scoring. She has studied under Kevin Lau and is currently a composer for Orchestral Tools, Spitfire Audio, Sonixinema, and The Scarborough Philharmonic Orchestra.


Anika-France Forget

French-Canadian mezzo-soprano and composer Anika-France Forget has been noted for her exemplary stage presence, and for being playful and vocally impressive.  In 2022, she was the recipient of a Leverhulme Arts Scholarship at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, U.K., where she obtained a Master of Music in Voice Performance studying with soprano Marilyn Rees. In the same year, Anika-France was commissioned by Slow Rise Music and her work premiered during the Hanging by a Thread inaugural concert at the Canadian Music Centre in Toronto. Thanks to a mentoring partnership between the Diaspora Dialogues and the Orpheus Choir of Toronto, Anika-France’s choral piece “Prayer for Return” was commissioned and got its world premiere at the 2019 Raising Her Voice and 2019 Toronto’s Nuit Blanche. Her work received many praises: “Passion is at the core of Forget’s score, lush harmony, emotional questioning and a deeply felt synergy with Eskandani’s poem” (Robert Cooper, conductor). 

In the fall 2024, she will be working with the Myriad Ensemble and their artistic director, Elise Naccarato, towards the premiere of her SSA piece “Of A Demon In My View”. Continuing her musical journey, she will commence an Intensive Profile Masters of Music in Composition at the University of Ottawa in September, supported by a full Arts Merit Scholarship.


Danielle MacMillan, mezzo-soprano

Canadian-Italian Mezzo Soprano, Danielle MacMillan was a member of the Canadian Opera Company’s Ensemble Studio and Palm Beach Opera’s Benenson Young Artist Program where she performed and covered the roles in: Britten’s Peter Grimes; Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte, (COC); Carmen, Bizet; Ariadne auf Naxos, Strauss; Madama Butterfly, Puccini; Rigoletto,
Verdi; Pirates of Penzance, Gilbert and Sullivan; Le nozze di Figaro, Mozart; Don Giovanni, Mozart (PBO).

Ms. MacMillan holds a BFA, with honours, from York University, and ADV from The Glenn Gould School. Other credits include: La Calisto, Cavalli; The Magic Flute, Mozart; Le docteur Miracle, Bizet (GGS); La clemenza di Tito, Mozart (COSI); Le nozze di
Figaro, Mozart; Faust, Gounod (HOS); Vivier’s Kopernikus (Against the Grain Theatre’s Dora Award winning production). Awards include: IRCPA Maureen Forrester Scholarship, St. Andrews Arts Council Aria Competition, Regional Finalist prize winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, Clifford Poole Vocal Competition (CBSO), and the Rumbold Vocal Prize (2023).

Concert work includes: Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with the NYCO; NAC’s chamber festival; eleven seasons with the Toronto Classical Singers; Handel’s Messiah (NSO 2022). Ms. MacMillan made her Opera Atelier debut in October 2020, in their filmed production of “Something Rich & Strange” and returned in 2022 with a live audience in their production of “All is Love.” Her most recent debut was with Opera Nashville as Wellgunde in Das Rheingold; roles in Dido and Aeneas, Purcell, (Opera Atelier); and Dorabella, Così fan tutte, Opera Manitoba (2023). Ms. MacMillan will be returning to Opera Atelier in their production of “All is Love” and will launch her very first album, titled “Songs of Hope,” with the Scarborough Philharmonic Orchestra (April 2024). The remainder of the 2024/2025 season will include Beethoven’s 9th with the Cathedral Bluffs Symphony Orchestra, a main stage debut with Edmonton Opera, a return to Opera Atelier in “David and Jonathan” and Verdi’s Requiem with
the Kindred Spirits Orchestra (2025).

Maghan McPhee

Maghan McPhee is a revered lyric coloratura soprano thanks to her sensitive artistry, precise musicianship, and luscious instrument. She is adept with standard rep and highly sought after for premiering new works by established contemporary composers such as Monica Pearce, Andrew Ager and Daniel Mehdizadeh. Her soaring soprano suits the difficulty and high tessitura of many Mozart roles including his concert arias and main characters from his most notable operas. Other signature roles include Micaela in Bizet’s Carmen, and Berta in Rossini’s Barbiere di Siviglia where she made her mark and “immediately had the public holding their
breath during her brief but remarkable solo”(LeDroit).

An accomplished concert performer, she has sung at Carnegie Hall, and with notable orchestras including Thirteen Strings, Symphony Nova Scotia, The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and the American Symphony Orchestra. A regular with the National Art Centre Orchestra, she worked with Alexander Shelley in Mendelssohn’s Midsummer Night’s Dream along with acclaimed actor Colm Fiore, was the soprano soloist in their Messiah and was recently featured in their recent Christmas Playlist concert with Jean-Marie Zeitouni. Ms. McPhee launched her debut recording “Portrait” with pianist Parvaneh Eshghi, to great reviews: “[Maghan has] full command of her instrument, precise in her attacks, and stylish in her approach to the songs…” -Barcza Blog.

Maghan is a curious artist and forever dedicated to her passion for exploring the human voice’s power and possibility. She imparts the training she received in New York and holds a virtual studio with students all over the country and abroad. She is the founding executive director of Breno Italy International Music Academy. BIIMA is celebrating its 10th season enabling participants to awaken their artistry in an idyllic and nurturing setting in voice, piano, choral and composition.