Máté Szűcs, viola

Hungarian born violist Máté Szücs has had a career as an award winning soloist, chamber musician and orchestral player.

Máté was principal viola in the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra from 2011 to 2018 where he also appeared as a soloist playing the Bartók Viola Concerto in September 2017.

Máté was seventeen when he switched from the violin to the viola and graduated from the Royal Conservatory of Brussels and the Royal Conservatory of Flanders in Antwerp with the highest distinction. He further undertook a session at the Chapelle Musicale Reine Elisabeth in Waterloo, Belgium where he obtained his diploma, also with the highest distinction.


Máté was eleven when he won the Special Prize of the Hungarian Violin Competition for Young Artists. Not much later he won First Prize of the Violin Competition of Szeged (Hungary) and the First Prize for the Best Sonata Duo of the Hungarian Chamber Music Competition. Since then, he has won First Prize at the International Violin and Viola Competition in Liège in Belgium, as well as finalist of the International Viola Competition “Jean Françaix” in Paris and Laureate of the International Music Competition “Tenuto” in Brussels.

As a chamber musician, Máté has been a member of various chamber ensembles including the Mendelssohn ensemble; Con Spirito piano quartet, Trio Dor, Enigma Ensemble and “Fragments” ensemble. He has worked with prominent musicians such as Janine Jansen, Frank-Peter Zimmermann, Christian Tetzlaff, Vadim Repin, Ilja Gringolts, Vladimir Mendelssohn, László Fenyő, Kristof Baráti and István Várdai, Camille Thomas, Kirill Troussov and Julien Quentin.

In addition to performing solo with the Berlin Philharmonic, he has soloed with orchestras such as the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra of Flanders, the “Bamberger Symphoniker”, the “Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden”, the Frankfurt Radio Orchestra and at the “Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen”., where he was as well principal viola.

Máté is also a sought after pedagogue. Since the summer of 2006 he has been a regular professor at the “Thy Masterclass” chamber music summer festival in Denmark and between 2012 and 2014 was also teaching at the Britten-Pears Festival in Aldeburgh, England. He has taught two years at the University of Music in Saarbrücken, between 2014 and 2018 at the Karajan Academy of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, between 2015 and 2018 at the “Hanns Eisler” University of Music in Berlin and between 2015 and 2016 the Music Academy of Budapest.

Máté gives masterclasses all over the world including New York, Los Angeles, Michigan, London, Berlin, Brussels, Shanghai, Taipei, Seoul and Tokyo.

Since 2018, he has been the Professor of Viola at the Geneva University of Music in Switzerland.

In 2020 he got his PhD Diploma and became Doctor of Arts.

Jacob Clewell

American musician Jacob Clewell stands in the vanguard of musicians of his generation. Gold Medalist of the 2017 Vancouver International Music Competition, he leads a multifaceted career as a soloist, recitalist, chamber player, and educator. In his home base of Toronto, Canada, he has appeared in the contemporary music festival 21C, and has recorded Brahms’ 2 Gesänge for the Canadian Broadcasting Company with Wallis Giunta and Steven Philcox. Jacob also collaborates with painter Karen Mosbacher on Paint:Music, a project focusing on the audio/visual manifestations of synesthesia.

Recent activities include solo and chamber performances at the Scotia Festival, Green Lake Chamber Music Festival, Le Domaine Forget, Lake District Summer Music, Northern Lights Festival de Febrero in Ajijic, Mexico, and Festival Pablo Casals in Prades, France. Jacob has appeared alongside members of the Escher, Emerson, Endellion, Cypress, and Penderecki quartets, Berlin Philharmonic and Seattle Symphony, Manhattan Chamber Players, Gryphon Trio, Pedja Muzijevic, Andrew Armstrong, and Benjamin Bowman. In May 2018 he gave his first solo performance in Chicago’s Symphony Center, performing on the VIMC winner’s tour with works by Henri Vieuxtemps.

Together with his duo partner, pianist Sasha Bult-Ito (The Ezra Duo), he has appeared coast to coast in Canada and the United States. In November 2017 they appeared in Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall in New York, and in April 2018 performed as guests at a G7 Summit event held at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. In 2019 Ezra toured with their “Women in Music” and “Art of the Duo” programs, and in the midst of the 2020 lockdowns appeared in Toronto’s Koerner Hall, performing in a celebration of composer Patricia Morehead’s 80th birthday. Ezra began traveling again in 2022 with “Colorfully Contemporary”, a program highlighting relatable works by living composers. Ezra is currently ensemble-in-residence for the Emerald Coast Chamber Music Festival and Institute in Niceville, Florida, where Jacob and Sasha are co-artistic directors and Artist Faculty alongside their colleagues Nicholas Hatt and Jordan Galvarino in the Velox Quartett.

Upcoming highlights include chamber appearances with the Mosbacher Salon Collective, as a guest with the Toronto-based Odin Quartet, and concerts with Ezra and Velox in Canada and the United States. As part of Paint:Music, in November 2023 Ezra will present a finished collaboration with Karen Mosbacher on the complete Beethoven sonatas for violin and piano. Ezra will also release their first album during the 2023-2024 season, and continue their livestream series using electric instruments Ezra Electrified.

Born in Raleigh, North Carolina, he holds diplomas from the Cornish College of the Arts, Stony Brook University, and The Glenn Gould School, where he studied with Mara Gearman, Nicholas Cords, Lawrence Dutton, and Steven Dann, and spent two years of intensive study under the Emerson String Quartet. He has undertaken additional study in Europe with Yuko Inoue, Roger Chase, and Nobuko Imai. Jacob completed his Doctor of Musical Arts at the University of Toronto under the guidance of Masumi Per Rostad and Annalee Patipatanakoon, where he was a teaching assistant in violin, viola, and chamber music.

Jacob draws influence from many fields, citing William Primrose, Itzhak Perlman, Martha Argerich, Boris Kroyt, My Chemical Romance, Hayao Miyazaki, and Satoru Iwata among his greatest inspirations. Away from the viola he enjoys board games, soccer, tennis, and brewing specialty coffee. He can often be found transcribing rock and video game music for Ezra.

Learn more at: https://www.jacobclewell.com

Lorne Grossman

Lorne started playing piano at age 8 and drums at age 12. He attended University of Toronto studying music and percussion but left his studies in 1971 when he accepted steady work with the Stratford Festival, the Royal Alexandra Theatre, the National Ballet Orchestra, the Canadian Opera Company and the house drummer at the O’Keefe Centre (now the Meridian Hall).

Lorne was also regular member of a popular and busy band called The Nova Sounds lead by Alan Shiner.

Lorne also became known as the percussionist who owned ALL of his own instruments (in triplicate) making him the “go-to” person for renting and delivering percussion instruments, meaning Lorne owned a very large cube-van.  This also made Lorne the prime candidate for moving OTHER people’s musical instruments and equipment (and home contents) as he knew the value and maintained respect for his cargo.  He worked for years for Manta Electronics delivering large sound boards and recording equipment and for internationally renowned harpist, Erica Goodman, who trusted very few with her treasured and expensive instrument. 

During the 1970’s, Lorne was very busy recording jingles at the big studios in the Greater Toronto area such as Eastern Sound, Phase One, Metal Works, McClear Place, Manta Sound, Sounds Interchange, Zaza Sound, Inception Sound, Comfort Sound, Cherry Beach Sound, working with noted music and jingle producers such as Howard Baer, Andy Krehm, Sammy Nestico, David Fleury, Ted Rosnick, Eric Robertson, Pete Coulman, Sid Kessler, Einstein Brothers, Bev Crompton and, most famous, Phil Ramone.

The occasional tour with The Royal Winnipeg Ballet and the Charlottetown Festival took Lorne across all of Canada and through the midwest of the United States. Tours to Mexico and Germany with the National Ballet of Canada were other exciting musical points of Lorne’s career.

All the while, Lorne had his own recording studio in his Willowdale home – Seneca Sound – where he recorded jingles and demos for Lenny Solomon (violinist with Bowfire and noted jazz violin player), The Tait Brothers (Rick Tait would later form the famous jazz fusion band, Manteca), Robert Pilon (who performed the lead in Phantom of the Opera in Toronto), Tova (Teresa Tova – the Yiddish Diva), Erica Goodman (noted Harpist), Vivienne Williams (singer), Dave Blamires (later to sing with Pat Metheny), Vito Rezza (noted drummer within GTA) and Barry Elmes (also noted GTA drummer) to name a few. And also taking equipment out to record on location for groups such as the Hannaford Street Silver Band.

From 1991 to 1994, Lorne joined the Canadian tour of “The Phantom of the Opera” and went across Canada again, to Alaska and to Hawaii twice.  He then toured with “Music of the Night” throughout the United States. Back home in Toronto and off the road, Lorne played two stints with Donny Osmond in “Joseph and His Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat” and a run of “Into the Woods” at the St. Lawrence Centre. During the holiday season, from 1973 until 2004, Lorne was in the orchestra pit for Toronto’s famous British pantomimes, later to be produced by Ross Petty.

By 2000, things were different on the music scene around Toronto, so Lorne did some regional theatre productions: Petrolia – “I Do I Do”; Orillia – “Cats”, “Jesus Christ Superstar” and “Kiss Me Kate”; Waterloo – “Menopositive”; Sheridan College – “Two Gentlemen of Verona”; St. Lawrence Centre – “Hey Marilyn”; Drayton Entertainment – “Anne of Green Gables”.  In 2013, Lorne was back with a 4-month run of “Cats” at the Panasonic Theatre in Toronto and in 2015, “Anne of Green Gables” for Drayton.

While it seems, Lorne was busy playing theatre, he worked even more with orchestras and has rarely let up since. A favourite gig was being the drum set player for the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa from 1996 to 2012, playing their pops concerts whether it was jazz, rock or show style of playing. Lorne also played, first as a percussionist and then as the timpanist, with the Hannaford Street Silver Band based in Toronto from 1996 – 2015 and still performs occasionally with this great dynamic ensemble.

Lorne is presently the Principal Timpanist with the Oakville Symphony, Peterborough Symphony (also being their Personnel Manager) and Rose Orchestra in Brampton. He plays occasionally as the timpanist or a percussionist with the Toronto Concert Orchestra, Ontario Philharmonic and Brantford Symphony.

Lorne and his life-partner, Wendy, live in Midland, Ontario (more time on the road but less time in traffic) and obviously, to keep as busy as he is, all of the province gets to see Lorne’s van on the road as he heads to yet, another gig.

Alejandro Céspedes

Alejandro Céspedes, M.Mus, is an active freelance percussionist and educator who studied at the University of Toronto and Amadeo Roldán Conservatory in Havana, Cuba. He performs classical percussion, body percussion, Latin percussion and steel pan. Céspedes performed with the National Opera and Ballet Orchestra of Cuba and the Niagara, Kingston and Toronto Symphony Orchestras. He has performed with Bobby McFerrin, Jane Bunnett, the Buena Vista Social Club, and was featured at the Toronto Body Percussion Festival. He was a musician/dancer/actor for Venom of Love and The Power of Harriet T! Céspedes founded and conducted the steel pan ensembles at Music By The Lake (Toronto District School Board Music Camp) and the Regent Park School of Music, which performed with 2Cellos and events such as the Luminato and Toronto Jazz Festivals. He has also taught percussion at the National Music Camp of Canada, Manuel Saumell and Amadeo Roldán Conservatories in Havana. He has conducted body percussion workshops at Lizt Alfonso Dance Company in Havana and McGill University in Montreal. He co-founded Oregano Percussion, which combines styles from Latin and Caribbean to Songwriting, Pop, and chamber music. Céspedes is an artist/endorser of Pearl/Adams Musical Instruments, and Humes & Berg. 

More information: oreganopercussion.com 

Talisa Blackman

Talisa Blackman has performed with some of the top orchestras from North America and Russia. She most recently appeared as soloist with the Scarborough Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Ronald Royer performing Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in October 2017, and has performed as soloist with the Georgian Bay Symphony Orchestra and John Barnum, the National Repertory Orchestra and Carl Topilow, and the National Academy Orchestra and Genevieve LeClair. She will appear as soloist playing Ravel Piano Concerto in G with the Symphony on the Bay and Claudio Vena in their 2018/2019 season.

As an orchestral pianist, she performs extensively with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Esprit Orchestra, Hamilton Philharmonic, the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony and the Niagara Symphony Orchestra, and has performed with the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra under the direction of Valery Gergiev.

Talisa is also an active chamber musician, with performances across the Canada and the US. She has collaborated with noted vocalists and instrumentalists, most recently with acclaimed Scottish violinist Nicola Benedetti, as well as celebrated Canadian baritone Russell Braun in a recital for Jeunesses Musicales du Canada. Talisa has also performed with musicians from the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, as well as Toronto Symphony Orchestra on their concert series Five Small Concerts. She plays a variety of different music and has performed with the Moody Blues and Evanescence.

More information: https://www.talisablackman.com/

Erica Goodman

A native of Toronto, Erica Goodman is acclaimed as one of the world’s outstanding solo harpists. She received her training at the Royal Conservatory of Music (Toronto), the National Music Camp (Interlochen Michigan) and the Curtis Institute of Music (Philadelphia). Already a concert performer in her teens, Erica played under the baton of Igor Stravinsky when he recorded in Toronto.

While at Curtis, she was a concerto soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra. Upon finishing her studies, Mario Bernardi chose her to be a member of the newly formed National Arts Centre Orchestra. He further gave her the honour of playing Harry Somers’ Suite for Harp and Chamber Orchestra at the orchestra’s New York debut performance. Erica is currently a member of Toronto’s Esprit Orchestra with whom she played Alex Pauk’s Harp Concerto on the orchestra’s inaugural European tour in 1999. She also plays in the Hamilton Philharmonic and is frequently featured as a concerto soloist.

Erica’s love of chamber music is highlighted by her long association with colleagues and groups such as flutist Robert Aitken with whom she performed in Hong Kong in 2009, oboist Lawrence Cherney, Trio Lyra, Tapestry Opera, and the newly formed Trio Désirée. Her collaboration with Swedish horn virtuoso Sören Hermansson has resulted in discovering old works and commissioning new ones for French horn and harp. Two CD’s of their repertoire are available on the BIS label.

Erica is a charter member of New Music Concerts with whom she has recorded three albums for Naxos featuring the music of Toru Takemitsu (awarded «Editor’s Choice» by Grammophone magazine), George Crumb and Elliott Carter. Two recently released CD’s on the CMC’s Centrediscs label spotlight the music of Jeffrey Ryan and Marjan Mozetich.

Erica has encouraged many prominent Canadian composers to write major works for harp. A few examples are Oskar Morawetz, Alexina Louie, Milton Barnes, Harry Freedman, Lothar Klein, Rodney Sharman and Chris Paul Harman.

In 1995, Erica won a Juno for her solo BIS CD «Erica Goodman Plays Canadian Harp Music». In 1980, her BIS recording Flute and Harp with Robert Aitken was awarded the Grand Prix du Disque. NOW Magazine selected her as Best Canadian Classical Musician in its 1996 Best of Toronto readers’ Poll.

Read more: https://ericagoodman.com/

Canadian Sinfonietta Chamber Ensemble

Founded in 1998, the Canadian Sinfonietta (CS) is a chamber orchestra led by conductor and founder, Tak-Ng Lai in partnership with concertmaster and artistic director Joyce Lai. The organization presents orchestra concerts, comprised of 14-25 professional musicians, and chamber music concerts.

The mission of the Canadian Sinfonietta is to attract a new generation of concert goers by presenting concerts that have a balance of traditional and newly composed or culturally interesting programs. Concerts are both accessible as well as new and fresh. Programs often feature interdisciplinary artistic presentations, multi-cultural music, non-western instruments and highlight diverse Canadian artists.

In addition to a regular series of professional concerts, the CS is proud of their Youth Mentorship Program, including a full senior orchestra and a junior string orchestra. They are a community conscious group and play an active role through partnerships with local groups and organizations.

Find out more at: https://canadiansinfonietta.com/

Kaye Royer

Kaye Royer, clarinet

KAYE ROYER: Kaye is an active soloist, chamber musician and orchestral performer. She is principal clarinet with the Brantford Symphony, Canadian Sinfonietta, Sinfonia Toronto, Scarborough Philharmonic, Toronto Sinfonietta, and the Stratford Symphony. She has performed with orchestras such as the London Sinfonia, Kitchener Waterloo Symphony, Hamilton Philharmonic, Niagara Symphony, Windsor Symphony, Ontario Philharmonic, Talisker Players, Toronto Concert Orchestra, Arcady Orchestra, Mandel Philharmonic and Orchestra London. She performed with the orchestra on the Ontario portion of a Diana Krall world tour and toured China where she performed as principal clarinet with the Ontario Festival Symphony Orchestra. She has performed in the orchestra for such legends as Sarah Brightman, Michael Bolton, Il Divo, Il Volo, Richard Margison, Diana Kroll, Loreena McKennitt, Natalie McMaster and film composer David Rose.

As a recording artist, she was a featured soloist on Toronto Sinfonietta’s Romancing Chopin and The Winds of the Scarborough Philharmonic’s Canadian Panorama. She has played on The Hollywood Flute of Louise DiTullio, Conrad Chow’s Premieres, and the children’s album The Storyteller’s Bag. She has worked on the soundtracks of such films as Gooby (starring Robbie Coltrane and Eugene Levy), PrismaThe Dog and The Happy Couple, as well as an Alexanian Carpet commercial (actor and musician). She has been heard on radio broadcasts on Canadian stations CFMZ, CJRT-FM, CFWC-FM, and nationally on CBC 1 and 2. Her recordings have been broadcast numerous times in the United States on Satellite Radio and various National Public Radio stations.

Recent engagements include performing and recording a quintet with Máté Szűcs (soloist and former Principal Violist of the Berlin Philharmonic), violinist Joyce Lai, cellist Andras Weber, and pianist Talisa Blackman in the fall of 2019. She was hired as clarinetist to workshop a new production of Scott Joplin’s opera, Treemonisha. Past engagements include playing principal clarinet for live orchestra performances accompanying the Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone motion picture in 2018, performing for the opening night of Luminato 2015, and performing for World Youth Day in Toronto attended by Pope John Paul II.

Kaye has performed as a soloist with orchestra in works by composers such as Mozart, Weber, R. Strauss, Beethoven (an arrangement of the violin concerto), Finzi, Milhaud, Dubois, Telemann, Jim McGrath, John Williams and her husband, composer Ronald Royer. She has been a soloist with Sinfonia Toronto, Niagara Symphony, Brantford Symphony, Canadian Sinfonietta, Stratford Symphony, CLW Chamber Orchestra (Los Angles), Susquehanna Symphony (Maryland), Toronto Sinfonietta, Scarborough Philharmonic, Mississauga Symphony, Oakville Chamber Orchestra, and the Symphony Hamilton Chamber Orchestra. She has performed a significant amount of chamber music, working with artists such as violist Jan Reznicek (Janacek Quartet, Czech Republic), violinists Conrad Chow, Carol Fujino, Corey Gemmell and Joyce Lai, the Odin String Quartet, and the Chamber Music Society of Mississauga.
Her principal teachers include Avrahm Galper, Royal Conservatory of Music; James Kanter, Pacific Symphony, Los Angeles; Stephen Pierce, London College of Music, London England; and Larry Combs and John Bruce Yeh, Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

As a teacher, Kaye has an active private studio, as well as serving as the clarinet instructor at Havergal College, St Clements School, Bayview Glen and Cardinal Carter Academy of the Arts. She has presented workshops and clinics at a number of schools, including St. Andrews College, Hillfield Strathallan College, Rosedale Heights School of the Arts, and the University of Toronto Schools. She is a Certified Advanced Specialist of the Royal Conservatory of Music.

For more information, see Kaye’s website at https://kayeroyer.com

Corey Gemmell

COREY LYLE GEMMELL: Corey is a native of Hamilton, Ontario. He has distinguished himself as a soloist and chamber musician with performances in Canada, Germany, the United States, and China. Concerto appearances include performances of such works as Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons, the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto, Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante, Beethoven’s Triple Concerto, Beethoven’s Violin Concerto, Sibelius’ Violin Concerto, Brahms’ Violin Concerto, and Brahms’ Concerto for Violin and Cello. 20th Century solos with orchestra include Mozetich’s Affairs of the Heart for Violin and Orchestra and Vaughn Williams’ The Lark Ascending.

Mr. Gemmell is concertmaster of the Scarborough Philharmonic Orchestra, Mississauga Symphony Orchestra, and Symphony Hamilton Orchestra. He has also performed in this role with the Boris Brott National Academy Orchestra, Toronto Mendelssohn Choir Orchestra, and Esprit Orchestra. He performs frequently with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and the Canadian Opera Company Orchestra.

Corey Gemmell was concertmaster for the fall CBC television production of Over the Rainbow with Sir Andrew Lloyd Weber. He has performed as concertmaster for a number of musicals including recent productions of Beauty and the Beast, The Hugh Jackman Show, and Next to Normal. He has worked with such pop icons as Hugh Jackman and Chantal Kreviazuk. Mr. Gemmell was concertmaster for the 2010 production of Miss Saigon at the Four Seasons Centre and the 2009/2010 production of The Sound of Music at the Princess of Wales. He is also active in commercial studio work in Toronto and has recorded for numerous movies and commercials.

Mr. Gemmell can be heard on compact disc in recordings of sonatas by Brahms, Ravel, Robert A. Baker, David Eagle, and Hope Lee. He was one of the contributing artists to record the Royal Conservatory of Music’s violin syllabus on compact disc.

Much in demand as a teacher, Mr. Gemmell’s students have distinguished themselves at provincial and national competitions. He is presently on faculty at the Western University, the National Music Camp of Canada, and is a member of the Royal College of Examiners.

Dr. Lisa Tahara

Born in Japan and raised in Vancouver, Dr. Lisa Tahara is a classical pianist and lecturer at the University of Toronto Faculty of Music. Over the past 20 years, she has appeared in solo and chamber concerts throughout Europe, Mexico, Canada and the United States. Lisa has also performed as a soloist with several orchestras across Canada and Europe such as the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestre Symphonique de Québec and the Danube Symphony Orchestra. In 2020, Lisa was added to the artist roster for Piano Island Management as a result of winning First Prize at the 2019 International Piano Concerto Competition in Budapest, Hungary. Dr. Tahara was our SPO Artist-in-Residence for our 2020/2021 Season.

Discover more about Lisa on her website https://lisatahara.com/.