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).

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.

Meet our new Board Chair, Dr. Paul Tichauer

Paul Tichauer, Board Chair

SPO is pleased to announce the election of a new Board Chair, Paul Tichauer. Paul brings a wealth of knowledge and skills that will be invaluable as SPO continues to thrive and respond to the challenges of the times. Paul A. Tichauer MA (Oxon), PhD (MIT), MBA, is a Rhodes Scholar and a highly experienced, successful CEO and COO with early roots in materials technology and marketing. He has held senior leadership positions with a broad array of companies – large, small, public, private – in Canada, the United States and Europe. Most recently, he was President of the Langen Packaging Group, a global manufacturer of highly automated packaging machinery systems based in Toronto and the Netherlands.

Since 2012, he has guided numerous CEOs and other senior business leaders to greater success through work as a professional mentor and business coach. The annual revenues of his clients’ businesses range from $3 million to over $1.2 billion and span a broad array of sectors and industries.

Formerly serving as Treasurer on the SPO Board, Paul has stepped up to the challenge of piloting the Board of Directors as they begin their first Strategic Planning Process, renew community connections, and work for sustainable growth responsive to the community who support, enjoy, and collaborate with, our work.

Paul is also a valued member of our cello section!

ICOT: Story-telling and identity in Canada's diverse cultural landscape

In this episode we’ll be interviewing the members of ICOT, formerly known as the Iranian Canadian Composers of Toronto, as well, exploring themes of identity in Canada’s vastly diverse cultural landscape. ICOT is a collective of composers that revolves around story-telling, exploring identity as immigrant artists, and creating artistic bridges.

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The Life of a Los Angeles Recording Studio Legend, Flutist Louise DiTullio

This podcast will focus on Louise DiTullio’s work as a flutist in the Los Angeles recording studios during a period of over 50 years. She is one of the most widely heard flutists in the world, having performed on over 1,200 motion picture and television scores. She worked for the top film composers, including John Williams, Jerry Goldsmith, Danny Elfman, John Barry, Henry Mancini, and many more.

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Music and Dance, Echo Chamber Toronto

In today’s episode we’ll be exploring how music and dance have inspired one prominent Toronto musician to form Echo Chamber Toronto, an ensemble which combines chamber music with contemporary dance.

Stephen Bonfield, from Ludwig Van Toronto, writes: “Toronto’s hottest chamber performance series going these days”

Canadian Violinist Aaron Schwebel leads Echo Chamber Toronto. Aaron writes:

“My objective as Artistic Director is to create performances that offer a new lens through which both music and dance can be experienced. By merging these two art forms in an intimate setting, Echo Chamber performances deliver the unique opportunity to see and hear music and dance together as one integrated expression.”

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Inspiring the next generation; Music Education in Scarborough Intro

Throughout Scarborough, there are multiple excellent music programs. This includes a broad offering from those found in our public schools, to after school and weekend youth music programs. This includes vibrant and free programs run by Sistema Toronto, Axis Music, St. Paul’s L’Amoreaux Anglican Church, and more. There is an East Indian music program lead by Esther Mithradeva, an award-winning violinist in Scarborough. Scarborough Arts runs the East Youth Collective Program, which included the Sister Sound System, created through an artistic and personal development program for young women of colour. The program was led by the entertainer and entrepreneur, Dynesti. As well, the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus has an excellent music program.

Interviewees: Andres Tucci-Clarke (Managing Director of Sistema Toronto), Roger Mantie (Associate Professor of Music and Culture at the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus) and Tony Leong (Music Teacher at Sir Oliver Mowat Collegiate Institute and Conductor of the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus String Orchestra).

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Orchestras in Ontario, SPO Great Music Partners, Part 2

A look at the diverse world of orchestras in the province of Ontario. Besides the major orchestras like the Toronto Symphony and the National Arts Centre Orchestra, there are exciting orchestral activities throughout the province. Featuring part 1 interviewees conductor Philip Sarabura and Co-President of the Board Joann Alho (the Brantford Symphony), and part 2 Artistic Director Joyce Lai (Canadian Sinfonietta), Music Services Manager Ana-Maria Lipoczi (Canadian Music Centre), Vice-President Christine Fong (Cathedral Bluffs Symphony) and Executive Director Devin Scott (Scarborough Philharmonic Orchestra).

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Orchestras in Ontario, SPO Great Music Partners, Part 1

A look at the diverse world of orchestras in the province of Ontario. Besides the major orchestras like the Toronto Symphony and the National Arts Centre Orchestra, there are exciting orchestral activities throughout the province. Featuring part 1 interviewees conductor Philip Sarabura and Co-President of the Board Joann Alho (the Brantford Symphony), and part 2 Artistic Director Joyce Lai (Canadian Sinfonietta), Music Services Manager Ana-Maria Lipoczi (Canadian Music Centre), Vice-President Christine Fong (Cathedral Bluffs Symphony) and Executive Director Devin Scott (Scarborough Philharmonic Orchestra).

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The Art of Composing Music for Animated Films, Part 2, Featuring Daniel Goldmark, Author of Tunes for ‘Toons: Music and the Hollywood Cartoon

Composing music for an animated film is among the most complex, time consuming and technically challenging project a film composer can face. From Walt Disney’s developments in the field to present day work, go behind the scenes with composers who have experience in the field. Featuring interviews with film composers Jim McGrath, Bruno Degazio and more. This podcast is part of a YouTube project which includes Sheridan College student animated short films with music created by SPO related composers.

Part 1 explores how composers approach writing music for animated film, along with Canadian contributions to the genre from Sheridan College and the University of Toronto Faculty of Music. Guest host and composer Ronald Royer interviews film composers Bruno Degazio and Jim McGrath.

Part 2 will look at the history of Hollywood cartoons and music featuring noted professor Daniel Goldmark, author of “Tunes for ‘Toons: Music and the Hollywood Cartoon” (California, 2005).

This podcast episode features brief music and audio from the animated short film, Ramon The Magnificent, created by Sheridan College Animation graduate, Vladimir Volkov, with new 2020 music by composer, Ronald Royer. Used with permission.

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