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Orchestra North Artists

Violin | Viola | Cello | Soundscaping Stories

Artists Subject to Change 

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Victoria Yeh

Violin

Victoria Yeh is a classically trained fusion violinist who has performed across Canada from coast-to- coast-to-coast. Classically trained under Ronald Shean (founder, ESO), Martin Riseley (New Zealand School of Music, former Concertmaster, ESO), Broderyck Olsen (former Associate Concertmaster, ESO), and Frank Ho (Alberta College). Victoria served as Concertmaster for Edmonton's Singing Strings youth orchestra, and Assistant Concertmaster for the late Jaques Israelievitch's Koffler Chamber Orchestra in Toronto.

But her most influential experiences happened when she began playing with rock bands in high school, which led her to formally study improv under Christian Howes. Today, her unique style combines classical purity with the edginess of prog fusion, heavily influenced by the likes of Jean-Luc Ponty and Joe Satriani.

In addition to a full-time performance career, Victoria has spoken and performed for kids from Canada, the US and Costa Rica about the joys of music, while also serving on the Board of Directors for Brazil Strings, a not-for-profit El Sistema group in Brazil.
 

Today, Victoria performs as a solo artist, as band leader for her group Spirit Awakens, with jazz fusion group Paul DeLong's ONE WORD (Juno winner and drummer for Kim Mitchell, Brass Transit), the Barlow-Yeh-McNeil Trio (4-time Juno nominee, Tom Barlow; Glass Tiger’s Chris McNeil), Don’t Look Down (David Hines, formerly with Amanda Marshall) while also serving as Concertmaster for the Summerhill Orchestra and co-host for the Toronto Creative Strings Workshop with Christian Howes and continuing mentor for the Creative Strings Workshop Online. She has shared the stage with Dave Koz, Christian Howes, Pavlo, Aaron Davis and many others, performing at concert halls, lounges and clubs across Canada.

In her private teaching studio, Victoria focuses on helping her students find and develop their own unique creative voices through music, with a dual focus on foundational technique and improvisation.

www.VictoriaYeh.com

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Tyler Beckett

Violin

Tyler has established himself as a valued multi-instrumentalist in the country and bluegrass music scene. After university, Tyler toured extensively throughout the United States with IBMA nominated contemporary bluegrass group, The Chapmans. After returning to Canada, Tyler continued his free-lance and recording career with several artists, including a Canadian Service Tour to Afghanistan with Jason McCoy, and shows throughout Canada and China with Dan Davidson. Tyler was recently inducted into the Central Bluegrass Hall of Fame after winning the Fiddle Player of the Year Award five times. 

Playing music in a family environment has allowed Tyler  to value the tradition of Old Time fiddle music, as well as nurture his own musical styles. In recent years, Tyler and his sister Linsey have performed on numerous stages across North America, Europe and Asia, delighting audiences with their energetic fiddle styles. The duo have performed at a wide array of events, including the televised Canada Day Celebrations in Ottawa for the CBC, and are also two time Canadian Duet Fiddle Champions and three time Ontario Duet Fiddle Champions. Tyler started his touring career at the young ages of 12 with the Don Messer Jubilee Tribute Show, where he performed over 200 shows across Canada. In 2019, 2020 and 2021, Tyler and Linsey was nominated for the Fiddle Player of the Year Award at the Canadian Country Music Awards. 

www.beckettfamilymusic.com

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Yolanda Bruno

Violin

Canadian violinist Yolanda Bruno has been praised for her "total control of her instrument with infinite variety in the sound palette" (La Presse) and was recently named on CBC’s 30 Hot Canadian Classical Musicians Under 30.

Yolanda has performed across North America and Europe including solos with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre Métropolitain, the Orchestra of the Americas and the London Mozart Players. She has appeared in festivals including the Montreal Chamber Music Festival, the Ottawa Chamberfest, Toronto Summer Music Festival, the BBC Proms and the International Musicians’ Seminar Prussia Cove.  Yolanda’s performances have been broadcast on CBC Radio 2, ICI Musique as well as on BBC Radio 3. A devoted chamber musician, Yolanda has collaborated with Pinchas Zukerman, Menahem Pressler, Paul Lewis and Levon Chilingirian.

Yolanda launched The Wild Swans album with longtime duo-partner, pianist Isabelle David, in 2019. The disc features music steeped in story-telling written by eleven women composers, and includes premiere recordings by Alexina Louie and a new commission from Kelly-Marie Murphy by Yolanda and cellist Carmen Bruno. The project was funded by over 140 contributors through a Kickstarter campaign.

In 2021, Yolanda created Music for Your Blues; the performance series offers free, one-on-one musical performances over Zoom with the goal of improving mental health and providing connectedness during this time of fluctuating lockdown restrictions. The sessions include a live performance with supporting material touching on philosophical, literary, and scientific topics as well as casual conversation.

A member of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Yolanda previously served as concertmaster of the Kingston Symphony Orchestra. She performs on a 1737 Domenico Montagnana violin on generous loan from Groupe Canimex Inc. in Drummondville, Quebec.

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Eric Kim Fujita

Violin

Eric is a graduate of the Master’s program in violin performance at McGill University, and holds a Bachelor’s degree in performance from the University of Western Ontario. His training is owed in most part to Juno-award winning violinist Mark Fewer, who has acted as both instructor and mentor throughout his musical career. Winner of the UWO concerto competition, Eric was concertmaster of the UWO and McGill Symphony Orchestras. He was a violinist in the UWO Early Music Ensemble, in which he was soloist in a performance of the Bach Double Concerto. Eric was also concertmaster for opera productions at both institutions.

Chamber music has always been a passion for Eric, who enjoys working and interacting with colleagues. He attended numerous chamber academies including the String Lawrence String Quartet Seminar, McGill International String Quartet Academy and the Toronto Summer Music Festival. Currently, he is in his final year of his DMA at the University of Toronto, studying with Timothy Ying and Annalee Patipatanakoon.

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Dr. Steve Sang Koh

Violin

Dr. Steve Sang Kyun Koh was appointed to the position of Assistant Professor of Violin at University of Northern Iowa in Fall 2019. From 2017 to 2019, Dr. Koh was Adjunct Instructor in violin at University of Toronto, where he received his Doctor of Musical Arts degree. He received his Bachelor of Arts at Rice University in Houston, Texas, where he was the recipient of the Herbert & Helen Allen scholarship and the Dick and Mary Ellen Wilson scholarship. After finishing his Bachelor’s degree, he continued his studies and received his Master’s in String Performance and Pedagogy at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, where he was the recipient of the coveted Emily Boettcher and Yule Bogue Endowed Fund and the Dick Eickstein Grant. At University of Toronto, he was a student of Professor Yehonatan Berick and the Palmason Graduate Fellow in Violin.

An avid chamber and orchestral musician, Dr. Koh is co-founder of the Interro String Quartet, which explores diverse programming and eccentric venues as means to remove chamber music from concert halls and connect with the wider public. With the Interro Quartet, he has been a co-author and recipient of several grants from the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts and has annually commissioned quartet pieces featuring emerging composers in Ontario, Canada. In further support of new music, he is a member of the Toronto Messiaen Ensemble and has collaborated with emerging North American and internationally-renowned composers, such as Gideon Gee-Bum Kim, Salvatore Sciarrino, and Ofer Ben-Amots, to name a few. From 2016 to 2018, he was a fellow at the Toronto Summer Music Festival, where he shared the stage with violists Leslie Robertson and Teng Li, cellists Antonio Lysy and Brian Manker, violinists Nikki Chooi, YehonatanBerick, Alexander Kerr, and Adam Barnett-Hart. In addition to these performing activities, he has performed with the Sudbury Symphony, London Sinfonia, Symphony S.O.N.G., Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, and the Windsor Symphony Orchestra.

​Along with these performing activities, he is an active concert promoter and research scholar. In 2017, he founded Bloorwalk Concert Series and Music at Saint George in partnership with DASH Property Management and Saint George on Yonge Anglican Church. While Music at Saint George aims to bring chamber music concerts to communities in northern parts of Ontario, Bloorwalk Concert Series presents concerts in rooftops and party rooms of condominiums, transforming rarely used common areas into free performance venues. His research interests range from string pedagogy to jazz to music technology. Published in November 2017, his dissertation, “Spaces in Between: A Swing-Informed Approach to Performing Jazz- and Blues- Influenced Western Art Music for Violin,” examines the challenges performers face when trying to balance interpretation with understandings of composers’ intentions.

​Dr. Koh has studied with members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra National de France, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. His past and current teachers include Kenn Wagner, Helen Hwaya Kim, Yehonatan Berick, Annalee Patipatanakoon, Jonathan Crow, Clara Jumi Kang, Svetlin Roussev, Joel Smirnoff, Koichiro Harada, Gerardo Ribeiro, Kathleen Winkler, Irina Muresanu, and Krzysztof Wegrzyn. He has performed in solo and chamber music masterclasses for Cyrus Forough of Carnegie Mellon University, Paul Kantor of the Shepherd School of Music, Shmuel Ashkenasi of the Curtis Institute of Music, Hiroko Yajima of Mannes School of Music, the Philharmonia Quartett Berlin of the Berlin Philharmoniker, and for the Belcea String Quartet.

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Samantha Orr

Violin

Samantha Orr is a classically trained violinist raised in Owen Sound passionate about sharing and promoting music in the community. She completed a Music Performance Diploma in violin at Western University in 2018, studying with Annette-Barbara Vogel. She is now a medical student at Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry. Samantha has played with many groups, including the Georgian Bay Symphony, the K-W Community Orchestra, the Western University Symphony Orchestra, the Kincardine Summer Music Festival orchestra, and the Sweetwater Music Festival orchestra. In high school, Samantha served as concertmaster for the Georgian Bay Symphony Youth Orchestra and performed many times with them as soloist. As a teacher, Samantha has worked with violin students for several years at Orchestra North Summer Program, the Kincardine Summer Music Festival, as well as privately.

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Aaron Schwebel

Violin

Canadian violinist Aaron Schwebel has performed throughout the world in various musical roles. Based in his native Toronto, Aaron currently holds the positions of Concertmaster with the National Ballet of Canada Orchestra and Associate Concertmaster with the Canadian Opera Company. As a guest concertmaster, Aaron has performed with the National Arts Centre Orchestra, Les Violons Du Roy, the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony. Aaron is also Founder and Artistic Director of Echo Chamber Toronto, a series that intertwines chamber music and contemporary dance (www.echochambertoronto.com). Aaron has performed as a soloist with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Sinfonia Lanaudiere, Scarborough Philharmonic, the National Ballet of Canada Orchestra, Kindred Spirits Orchestra, and McGill Symphony Orchestra. 

An active chamber music performer, he is a founding member of the Toronto-based LARK ensemble and Rosebud Quartet, and has been on faculty at Toronto Summer Music Festival, Interprovincial Music Camp, and Festival Del Lago in Ajijic, Mexico. Aaron appears regularly at summer chamber music festivals around Canada, including Music by the Sea in Bamfield, BC, Stratford Summer Music Festival, and the Rosebud Chamber Music Festival.

Aaron did his studies at McGill University and Indiana University with teachers Jonathan Crow, Yaela Hertz, Mauricio Fuks, and Andre Roy. As a student, Aaron was a member of the Roddick String Quartet, representing Canada at the 2009 London International String Quartet Competition, and the Kuttner Quartet, Indiana University’s resident string quartet. Upon graduation from McGill, Aaron was awarded the Schulich School of Music’s Golden Violin Award.

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Reanne Kruisselbrink

Violin

Pianist and violinist Reanne Kruisselbrink holds a Masters Degree in violin performance from the University of Ottawa and a Bachelor of Music also in violin performance from Wilfrid Laurier University where she graduated with high distinction. She also completed the performance and theoretical requirements for her Associate of the Royal Conservatory of Music (ARCT) in piano performance.

Reanne has been the recipient of numerous awards recognizing her excellence in performance including the Christine Chamberlain Centennial Scholarship , the Donna Steinacher Bursary Award and Bhawani Anantaraman Memorial Foundation Fund Scholarship.  Former teachers include Yehonatan Berick (University of Ottawa), Jerzy Kaplanek (Pendercki String Quartet, Wilfrid Laurier University), Praise Lam (Toronto Sinfonia Orchestra).

Reanne is currently active as a performing artist and teacher. She is thrilled to be sharing her love of music with students from the Grey Bruce Community where she maintains a large music studio. For more information regarding the RJK Music Studio, please contact rjkmusicstudio@gmail.com.

Violin

 
 

Viola

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Maxime Despax

Viola

Originally from Gatineau, Quebec, violist Maxime Despax studied at the Conservatoire de musique de Gatineau and the Conservatoire de music de Montréal, where he studied with Emmanuel Beaudet and Jocelyne Bastien. He completed his Master’s Degree in Viola Performance at the University of Toronto on full scholarship studying with Teng Li, with whom he is now pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts.

Currently, his career is focused on orchestral and chamber music. He has performed with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and is a member of the Orchestre Symphonique de Gatineau. He also often collaborates with current Canadian composers and has performed the Canadian premiere of Salvatore Sciarrino’s opera “Luci Mie Traditrici.” He is also part of a family string quartet, the Quatuor Despax, who has performed extensively throughout Canada, France, and Italy.

Maxime has attended the Orford Quartet Program, the Domaine Forget, the St. Lawrence String Quartet Seminar at Stanford University and the Banff Centre.

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Chantal Lemire

Viola & Musicology

Chantal Lemire is a PhD candidate at Western University. She received a Master of Music in viola performance from McGill University, and a Master of Arts in Music Theory from the University of British Columbia. Her research focuses on intersections of speech and music, exploring how elements of speech can be used as compositional material in both popular- and art-musics. Chantal has presented papers at the Canadian Music Centre, The Peabody Institute of Music, the Vancouver International Song Institute, as well as at several graduate student conferences across Canada. In 2013, she was awarded a Canada Graduate Scholarship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) for her doctoral project on text/music interactions in singer-songwriter Tom Waits’s spoken-word songs.

As a violist, Chantal has performed in chamber ensembles across North America and Europe and with orchestras such as the National Youth Orchestra of Canada, the Prince George Symphony Orchestra, and the Winnipeg Symphony. She is currently a faculty member for the Orchestra North Summer Program in Owen Sound, Ontario, where she teaches violin, viola, and music theory.

Chantal sits on numerous university councils and committees at Western, most notably serving as chair of the Society of Graduate Students in Music for the 2014/2015 academic year, and as Accessibility Commissioner for the Society of Graduate Students in 2016. Outside the university community, Chantal is a member of the London chapter of Citizen’s Climate Lobby, a non-profit, non-partisan, grassroots advocacy organization with a twin focus: to create the political will for a livable planet and to empower people to claim their political and personal power.

Orchestra North is thrilled to have Chantal return to play, teach, and talk about all things music this summer.

 

Cello

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Sebastian Ostertag

Cello

Raised in Owen Sound, Ontario, cellist Sebastian Ostertag combines rich musical traditions, and with a strong commitment to community service and involvement. He received his Bachelor of Music from Western University, an Artist Diploma from the Glenn Gould School at the Royal Conservatory of Music, and a Master of Music at the University of Toronto, studying with acclaimed cellists Shauna Rolston and Joseph Johnson.

From 2010-2013, Sebastian was principal cellist of the Prince George Symphony Orchestra, and he has performed in concerts directed by such esteemed conductors as Mario Bernardi, Johannes Debus, Leon Fleisher and Peter Oundjian.  As a soloist Sebastian has performed with the Georgian Bay and Prince George Symphony Orchestras, Northern Orchestra British Columbia, the Kincardine Summer Music Festival Orchestra, and on CBC Radio and Classical 96.3 FM. Chamber music performances have included the Banff Centre Chamber Music Residency, Tafelmusik Baroque Summer Institute, and the Sweetwater Music Festival.

Although classically trained, Sebastian has also performed with many of Canada’s leading popular musicians. He recorded on Basia Bulat’s Polaris Prize nominated records Oh My Darling, and Heart of My Own, and performed at the Ottawa Blues Festival, the Osheaga Festival Musique et Arts, and throughout Europe.  Sebastian can also be heard on ShadK’s multiple Polaris Prize nominated albums, including the JUNO award winning record TSOL, and as a founding member of the Toronto based Interro Quartet.

A strong advocate of arts accessibility and education, Sebastian is a co-founder of Orchestra North Smithers, one of British Columbia’s foremost summer programs for classical music training and mentorship, and is also Artistic Director of Orchestra North Owen Sound, and the former Director of the Prince George Youth Orchestra, organizing  concert tours throughout Northern British Columbia.  He has coached regularly at the Kincardine Summer Music Festival, Kingsway Conservatory, the University of Toronto Chamber Orchestra, and the Durham Youth Orchestra, and is a cello faculty member at El Sistema Toronto.

When not performing and teaching, Sebastian enjoys skiing and camping, as well as co-coordinating the annual Noon Hour Concert Series with his father, Joachim.
www.noonhourseries.com
www.interroquartet.com

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Sarah Steeves

Cello

A native of Strathmore, Alberta, cellist Sarah Steeves has performed around the world in countries such as Brazil, China, New Zealand, Spain, and the United Kingdom. She currently resides in Toronto where she is a member of Sinfonia Toronto and a doctoral student at the University of Toronto. Recent highlights  include performances in Carnegie Hall with the Youth Orchestra of the Americas and the World Orchestra’s tour of China.

Sarah holds a Bachelor of Music with Honours in Performance from the University of Toronto and a Master of Music in Performance from McGill University and has earned Royal Conservatory of Music Diplomas in Cello and Piano Performance respectively.

As a certified Suzuki teacher, Sarah has taught at the Classical Music Conservatory since 2009.  She recently spent six weeks coaching cello students in Neojibá, a project located in Salvador, Brazil which provides musical education to underprivileged young adults.

She has given master classes at both the University of Toronto and Wilfrid Laurier University. and is a founding member or the Ton Beau String quartet. When she isn’t playing the cello, Sarah enjoys cooking and dancing in the kitchen (often simultaneously), reading novels, watching figure skating, and camping & kayaking in the Slocan Valley.

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Sonya Nanos

Cello

Sonya Nanos charms audiences nationwide with her beautifully elegant cello playing. She has been featured in the Walleye and Chronicle Journal and broadcast nationally on CBC Radio. She has recorded Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique and the complete symphonies of Brahms for Analekta and StudiOF. An upcoming album of Canadian works with the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra is in production.

As an active chamber musician and recitalist, Sonya has performed with artists including Quartetto Gelato, John Hess, and Peter Shackleton. She has been featured on the Lumina series at Lakehead University, Consortium Aurora Borealis, and as a guest on Western University’s faculty chamber series. Also, as a member of the Magellan Trio, she won the grand prize in the Glenn Gould School’s chamber music competition which included a performance in Koerner Hall.

Since 2014, Sonya has been section cellist with the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra and on faculty at Lakehead University. She has also appeared with Orchestra London, Orchestre de la Francophonie, and the National Academy Orchestra. She has performed under conductors including Peter Oundjian, Zubin Mehta, and Leon Fleisher.

Sonya holds an Artist Diploma from the Glenn Gould School and a Bachelor of Music from McGill University. She has attended festivals including Meadowmount and Domaine Forget, and she has completed two Banff creative artist residencies. Her teachers include Thomas Wiebe, John Kadz, David Hetherington, and Matt Haimovitz.

Soundscaping Stories 

 
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Sharon Isaac

Arts and Crafts

Sharon Isaac is a storyteller, educator, filmmaker, beader, and regalia designer from Saugeen First Nation. Through various mediums, Isaac works toward restoring and re-interpreting lost cultural knowledge while actively engaging with contemporary cultural practice. She has directed acclaimed
films including “Thunder Rolling Home” and the award winning “Dancing with Naango,” films that explore Ojibwa traditions and history in the face of colonisation. A popular prolific storyteller, Sharon enjoys sharing Nanabush stories, and is the author of the book "The Story of the Jingle Dress"

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