The SPOGreatMusic Performance Series: S41E02

Release Date: October 23, 2020

On this second episode of our SPOGreatMusic Performance Series (Season 41, 2020/2021), we’re pleased to present the following videos:

Beethoven’s 1st Movement from “Cello Sonata No. 3 in A major, Op. 69”

Ronald Royer, cello; Dr. Lisa Tahara, piano. The first movement (Allegro, ma non tanto) is a wonderfully inspired musical journey, packed with excitement and adventure. It also explores the full range of both instruments, from low notes to high. A really great performance of all three movements by Ron and Lisa as the SPO continues to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the birth of the master, Ludwig van Beethoven. Did you know he lived at a time of plague, yet made a most significant contribution with his music. In 2020, with our own challenges, we’re still inspired by his music. Inspired to create, perform, and share great classical music. Video edited by Devin Scott.

Beethoven’s 2nd Movement from “Cello Sonata No. 3 in A major, Op. 69”

Ronald Royer, cello; Dr. Lisa Tahara, piano. The second movement (Scherzo, Allegro molto) is very playful in its triple metre and thematic developments. It also makes wonderful use of anticipated notes and timings, as well as musical expression. Video edited by Devin Scott.

Beethoven’s 3rd Movement of “Cello Sonata No. 3 in A major, Op. 69”

Ronald Royer, cello; Dr. Lisa Tahara, piano. The third movement (Adagio cantabile, Allegro vivace) instills dreamy feelings of love and romance with lovely melodies and expressive phrases. Video edited by Devin Scott.

The Casebook of Nips & Porkington – Animated Short Film

Melody Wang, filmmaker and animator; Sergei Kofman, 2020 soundtrack composer; Devin Scott, 2020 sound mix. This exciting short animated film tells a tale of two animal detectives searching for clues to solve the case of the poached egg. Created by a graduate of the Sheridan College Animation program, this film is fun for the whole family and features top-notch animation. The music is fantastic and epic. For more information on the Sheridan College Animation program, visit Sound mix by Devin Scott.

Emily Shapiro’s “Utter Zoo – Part 1”

Featuring music composed by Emily Suzanne Shapiro and words by Edward Gorey, “Utter Zoo” is wonderfully strange and intriguing. Contributing artists include declaimist, Megalodipticus, and two talented musicians, Elizabeth Brown (oboe, english horn), and Emily Shapiro (clarinet, bass clarinet). The movements are: Ampoo / Boggerslosh / Epitwee / Fidknop / Humglum. Mixing and mastering was done by Alexis Hählen.

Program notes from Emily:

When I started writing Utter Zoo in 2008, I’d long been wanting to start composing more actively but was at a loss about how to begin. I found a lucky perfect combination of inspirations in my obsession with Edward Gorey, my friendship with Elizabeth and Meghan, and another collection of short pieces (17 one minute pieces for bass clarinet and casio mt750 by Christopher Hobbs). I loved the idea of minute-long pieces as a fun and lighthearted way to play with different ideas. Oboe and bass clarinet seemed like the ideal mix of sounds to match Edward Gorey’s work, although I’ve taken advantage of the doubling potential of both players to add some variety to the sonic pallet and give me more flexibility to express the different characters. Elizabeth and Meghan had the right skills and could (and twelve years later, still can) be counted on to be up for a strange and silly creative project.

Edward Gorey’s Utter Zoo is a collection of very short poems about imaginary animals- one for every letter of the alphabet. At first I imagined that I could write all 26 pieces in one go, but that proved extremely over-ambitious. I wrote and premiered the first six pieces in 2008 (at a farewell concert in a cafe called Our Town in East Vancouver the day before I moved to Montreal) and wrote another four in 2018. My hope is to keep chipping away at this project, and one day finish all 26. The four new pieces (Boggerslosh, Epitwee, Mork and Posby) have never been performed so this project is their world premiere.

The inspirations and composition processes for each individual piece varied widely. Ampoo and Quingawaga came about in very organic ways and were composed almost exclusively by ear. I was stuck on how to end Ampoo for a long time and was extremely frustrated, but one day the answer came to me, seemingly out of the blue, while I was sitting on the bus. Others were almost formulaic – for Yawfle, I decided that a relentlessly repeating rhythmic cell was the right way to express the absurd repeating “and stares” in the poem. I picked a tonality that went with character and picked a rhythm and the piece almost wrote itself. For Ulp I imagined a waltz in the style of the Amelie soundtrack, but I gave it a twist by laying down a melody in 5/4 time over the 3/4 accompaniment, adding a little quirky crunch to the nostalgic sweetness.

In addition to the 99 B-line bus in Vancouver and the usual practice rooms/home studios, I’ve worked on this piece in the dressing room before performing in a Balinese gamelan concert and at least six cafes spread between Vancouver and London.

The Burning Heart – Odin String Quartet with Julian Richings – Hallowe’en Special Content

“The Burning Heart” by Hans Zimmer & Klaus Badelt from the 2001 film “Hannibal”. Text from La Vita Nuova by Dante Alighieri as quoted in the film, with additional text by David Mamet & Steven Zaillian. Performers: Alex Toskov (violin/viola/vocals) Tanya Charles Iveniuk (violin/viola/vocals) Veronica Lee (viola/vocals) Samuel Bisson (cello/vocals) Julian Richings (narrator) Audio Editing: Samuel Bisson Mixing & Mastering: Kambiz Mirzaei Video Editing: Samuel Bisson The Burning Heart (4M21 Allegra) from the film “Hannibal” directed by Ridley Scott based on the book by Thomas Harris Music by Hans Zimmer & Klaus Badelt Arrangement by Samuel Bisson Text by Dante Alighieri & David Mamet/Steven Zaillian.

Performer and Composer Bios


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 is our SPO Artist-in-Residence for our 2020/2021 Season. Discover more about Lisa on her website


RONALD ROYER: Ron is our SPO Music Director and Conductor. Learn more about Ron by visiting his new website,


MELODY WANG: To learn more about Melody, please visit page on Great Women Animators website,


SERGEI LEV KOFMAN: Sergei is an imaginative young composer based in Toronto. Having recently completed his masters degree in Composition at the University of Toronto, he is active as a composer, producer, audio engineer, pianist, and educator. Sergei writes music for various media as well as the concert hall. He draws on an eclectic combination of influences in his work. His music has been performed by ensembles around Canada and the United States. Sergei has participated in the SPO New Generation Composers Workshop and provides music scores for Sheridan College Animation program short films. Learn more about Sergei on his website


EMILY SHAPIRO: Emily is a bass clarinetist and clarinetist dedicated to exploring and creating new music. Originally from Canada, Emily pursued her studies at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver Academy of Music, Concordia University and the Domaine Forget academy. Emily has a special love for the sound and scope of bass instruments and constantly pushes the limits of what she can do on bass clarinet. Alongside performing contemporary music on bass clarinet, Emily is involved in many other musical endeavours. Composing and improvising are central to her career, and she has been an active performer of Balinese gamelan for 10 years and has also explored jazz, klezmer, rock and electroacoustics. She is always seeking out new artistic experiences to enrich and motivate her work. She is a proud member of Duo Arasari, the London Improviser’s Orchestra, the Corner Quartet and Lila Cita and has performed all over London, including iklectik, Café Oto, Hundred Years Gallery, LSO St Luke’s, the Vaults festival, the Barbican and many more. She founded and manages the Mellifera arts platform, a monthly interdisciplinary arts performance event. Outside of music, Emily loves gardening, running, whisky and making friends with animals. Discover more about Emily on her Facebook page, or on her SoundCloud page Photo by Pierre Bouvier Patron.


ELIZABETH BROWN: Elizabeth is an oboist, flautist and organizer. She studied under Marea Chernoff and Beth Orson and holds a Bachelor of Music from UBC and an Artist Diploma from the Vancouver Academy of Music. She was awarded the 2004 and 2005 Mildred Johnson Scholarship in Music, the 2007 and 2008 Vancouver Academy of Music College Scholarship, and the 2007 W. R. Bingham Family Scholarship. Elizabeth enjoys seeking out and performing odd, entertaining, and silly music as well as playing standard repertoire. She has performed with Lions Gate Sinfonia, Vancouver Metropolitan Orchestra, Canada West Orchestra, Opera Appassionata, Cambridge Symphony Orchestra, Southern Ontario Lyric Opera and of course the Scarborough Philharmonic Orchestra! While she adores symphonic repertoire, she also seeks out chamber music and co-founded the comic chamber opera group, OperaFeHk in Vancouver BC with several friends. Elizabeth currently organizes and plays with Untitled Ensemble; a chamber music collective dedicated to playing underplayed and forgotten works with an emphasis on works by women composers. When not rehearsing in the garden or researching new scores to explore, Elizabeth can be found chasing cormorants on Lake Ontario in her very petite sailboat, or pampering her two luxurious cats, Bacon and Hotdog. Learn more about Elizabeth on her websites, and Photo by Elizabeth Brown.


MEGALODIPTICUS (aka MEGHAN): The Megalodipticus is an amphibious bipedal herbivore that dwells primarily in temperate wetlands. They can be observed emerging from hibernation in lowland swamps in early June to mid July at which time they commence their annual migration in search of coffee.  They have adapted well to urban areas where they are often found grazing in backyards, and occasionally in kitchens where they are lured by the scent of freshly brewed coffee.  Some efforts have been made to domesticate the Megalodipticus however they are generally considered an intractable and noisy pest, so this is not really recommended.  Historically, captive Megalodiptici, have occasionally been incorporated into the entertainment at travelling fairs and carnivals, as they are seen as something of a novelty outside their natural range. To discover more about Megalodipticus, visit her website Photo by Elizabeth Brown.


ODIN STRING QUARTET: Born in early 2015 on the Philosopher’s Walk in downtown Toronto, the Odin Quartet unites four musicians who represent the diversity that Canada takes pride in. Violinist, Alex Toskov, is originally from Belgrade, Serbia. Tanya Charles Iveniuk, also a violinist, grew up in Hamilton, Ontario with roots in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Veronica Lee, born in South Korea, is a violist from LaSalle, Ontario. French-Canadian cellist and composer, Samuel Bisson, hails from Ottawa, Ontario. In June 2015, the Odin Quartet was selected to be one of the few ensembles to participate in the Luminato Festival’s epic production of R Murray Schafer’s, Apocalypsis. Through this, the Quartet had the opportunity not only of being mentored by the award-winning Afiara and Cecilia Quartets, but were also invited to collaborate with them on outreach and performances shortly thereafter. Since then, the Odin Quartet has been frequent performers of the Ottawa Valley Music Festival, Barrie Concert Series, Guelph Connections, Music in the Atrium, Music at Mount Pleasant, and Music Niagara. The Quartet, which takes its name from the one-eyed Norse deity, aims to promote modern Canadian compositions in addition to collaborating with other musicians and artists of other disciplines.

The Odin String Quartet has served as the Scarborough Philharmonic Orchestra’s Ensemble- in-Residence since September 2017. In 2018, the ensemble premiered a new piece by Samuel Bisson, entitled EPITAPH foratonality, which featured the Quartet as soloists with the Scarborough Philharmonic, conducted by Ronald Royer. Collaborations have included artists such as Atis Bankas (violin), Victoria Kogan (piano), Raffi Altounian (guitar), Carmen Romero (flamenco dancer), Christopher Kelk (actor, storyteller), the Nathaniel Dett Chorale and Spectrum Music. In 2019, the ensemble celebrated the inaugural concert of its Drying Ink series, performances dedicated to the premiere of new, Canadian works written for the Quartet. Currently, they look forward to incoming compositions from their Lockdown Lullabies call for scores. This project, initiated in May of 2020, aims to inspire composers, worldwide, to continue to create and stay in positive spirits during the challenging times related to the COVID-19 health crisis.

Learn more about the Odin String Quartet on their website


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