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. biimaperformance.com

Gilles Thibodeau, French Horn

Gilles Thibodeau grew up in the small Northern town of Kapuskasing, Ontario.  Having discovered the horn at the age of 14, he instantly fell in love with the instrument, and never looked back.  From the University of Western Ontario to the Glenn Gould School of the Royal Conservatory, he honed his craft and learned the ropes. An active orchestral freelancer, teacher and chamber musician, Gilles is also a senior administrator in the post-secondary education sector. Mr. Thibodeau would like to encourage everyone to speak up for the support of music in our public schools, without which he, and many of his colleagues, would have never discovered the magical world of classical music.

Matt Antal

Matthew Antal is a violist born and raised in Toronto, Ontario. He attended Cardinal Carter Academy for the Arts where he began playing viola at age 12 because he was told “you look like a violist”. He holds a bachelor’s degree in viola performance from the University of Toronto under Katharine Rapoport and a master’s degree in viola performance from the University of Victoria under Joanna Hood. Matthew is a regular performer with several music ensembles including Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra/Opera Atelier, Theatre of Early Music, Elixir Ensemble, and Odin Quartet. He also holds an advanced certificate in early music performance from the University of Toronto where he studied with Patrick Jordan and Stefano Marcocchi.

Vanessa Yu, pianist

Named one of CBC Music’s top 30 emerging musicians under 30, Toronto-based pianist Vanessa Yu is establishing herself as a sensitive and vibrant musician. As the Grand Prize winner of the 2021 Pacific Rim International Music Festival, she was invited to perform at Carnegie’s Weill Hall in New York City.

Vanessa has presented solo and chamber programs for the Scarborough Philharmonic Orchestra’s NewGen series, Confluence Concerts, Chautauqua Institution, and the University of Toronto’s Thursdays at Noon series. Most recently, Vanessa gave solo recitals for the International Holland Music Sessions in the Netherlands and the Nine Sparrows Arts Foundation in Canada. Other performances have taken her to Italy, Germany, Spain, Austria, the United States, and across Canada. Vanessa has had recordings nationally broadcasted on CBC Music, in addition to being featured on OMNI Television and 680 News. As a finalist at the Classicalia competition, her performance at the Vienna Konzerthaus was televised by PBS SoCal and Stingray Classica.

A seasoned concerto soloist, Vanessa has performed Beethoven, Chopin, Rachmaninoff, and Rimsky-Korsakov concerti with the Central Texas Philharmonic, Vienna Opera Ball, Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber, Mississauga Symphony, Oakville Chamber, York Symphony, Burlington Symphony, North York Concert, and Etobicoke Philharmonic orchestras. Upcoming engagements include performances of Saint-Saëns’s Fifth Concerto with the Toronto Concert, Scarborough Philharmonic, and Kindred Spirits orchestras.
Garnering awards in Canada and beyond, Vanessa has received top prizes at the Chicago and Città di San Donà di Piave international competitions, among others. Recently, she was the youngest contestant and prizewinner at both the 2023 Eisemann International Young Artists Competition and the 2022 Thousand Islands International Piano Competition, as well as the Grand Prize winner of the 2023 International Music Festival and Competition held in Ontario.

Vanessa recently graduated from the BMusPerf program at the University of Toronto where she was a full merit scholarship student under the tutelage of Steven Philcox and formerly Enrico Elisi. She will be starting graduate studies at the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University this fall as a student of Boris Slutsky.

Inspired by her mentors, Vanessa enjoys teaching; her students have won awards at competitions including the OMFA provincials. She has recently taught masterclasses at the Orrett Music Academy and Berkovsky-Solomon Academy of Music, and adjudicated for the Ontario Registered Music Teachers’ Association (ORMTA)’s Central Toronto auditions.

As an avid designer, Vanessa is also a calligrapher and bullet journalist, and has taught workshops for partners including Google.

amuna baraka-clarke

Amuna Baraka-Clarke
Amuna Baraka-Clarke

Poet, Storyteller, Community Organizer

amuna baraka-clarke is striving to leave the world more beautiful than she inherited it.  She is a published poet and award winner who has been featured in various anthologies, textbooks, documentaries and magazines.  She is a strong supporter of cultural arts production and inclusive communities where different perspectives can take flight.  amuna dances every single day and is never not thinking about travel. 

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

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

Odin Quartet

Alex Toskov | Tanya Charles Iveniuk | Matt Antal | Samuel Bisson 

Passionate about chamber music, the Toronto-based Odin Quartet represents the diversity and the promise of youth in Canada. Named after the one-eyed Norse god, seeker of knowledge and holder of the wisdom of the world, the Odin Quartet explores the role of classical music in modern-day storytelling. Since 2015, the ensemble is also dedicated to making classical music accessible to new generations of listeners, by promoting modern Canadian compositions, including those of cellist Samuel Bisson, alongside classical music literature.
 
In June 2015, the Odin Quartet took part in the Luminato Festival’s epic production of R Murray Schafer’s 1980 oratorio Apocalypsis. Since their 2017 debut at the opening gala of the Music Niagara Festival, the Quartet has been a recurring performer at the summer festival, in 2019 and 2021. Other festival appearances include the University of Toronto’s New Music Festival, Midday Music with Shigeru, the Ottawa Valley Music Festival, Guelph Connections, and Music Mondays Toronto.
 
The Odin Quartet has enjoyed multiple collaborations with the Scarborough Philharmonic Orchestra as its ensemble-in-residence since 2018; most recently, the quartet premiered a new piece for string quartet and symphony orchestra by Samuel Bisson, under the baton of Maestro Ron Royer.
 
The Quartet has recorded numerous film scores both locally and internationally and is regularly featured in musical projects by other Toronto artists.