Orchestra North UX Artists
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.
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. Raised in Ottawa, Ontario, Yolanda completed studies with Jonathan Crow at McGill University and later with David Takeno at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, UK.
Yolanda has performed across North America and Europe including solos with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, L’Orchestre Métropolitain, the Youth 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 and Levon Chilingirian. She is the recipient of numerous awards and scholarships, most recently winning the 2017 Isabel Overton Bader Violin Competition. She is the recipient of Canada Council’s Virginia Parker Award (2015) as well as the grand prize at the OSM Standard Life Competition (2013) and best performed work by a Canadian composer. She is also a three-time recipient of the Sylva Gelber Career Development Award. Yolanda is passionate about her role in engaging music in the community in Canada and abroad. She has performed and presented workshops in schools, carparks, long-term care facilities, hospitals and airports. Yolanda has worked with young people through the Multi-Story Orchestra’s school concerts in South London, with the East London Youth Orchestra and with the Youth of the Americas.
Yolanda is a contributor on CBC Radio 2’s In Concert program. Her broadcasts explore a variety of classical music performances happening in Canada in interesting and unexpected locations. Highlights of Yolanda’s 2017/2018 season include performances with the Kingston Symphony Orchestra, a recording project of Rossini’s six Sonate a Quattro and a tour of the Maritimes with pianist Isabelle David as part of Les Jeuneusses Musicales Canada. Yolanda performs on the c. 1700 Taft Stradivari on generous loan from the Canada Council for the Arts Musical Instrument Bank.
Dr. Steve Sang Koh
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.
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.
Eric Kim Fujita
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.
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 .
Originally from Tara, ON, Jasmine began studying the viola with her father John Schnarr at the age of 8, and she obtained her Honours Bachelor of Music in Performance with a Minor in Fine Arts from Sir Wilfrid Laurier University.
Upon completion of her undergraduate degree, Jasmine began her professional career in Montréal, Québec, first winning a tenured viola position with the Québec Symphony Orchestra, followed by many years as the violist of the Molinari String Quartet, Canada’s pre-eminent contemporary music string quartet, as well as regularly performing with the Montréal Symphony Orchestra and most recently as the violist with the all-women’s string orchestra La Pietà, lead by violinist Angèle Dubeau.
Over her 20 year career as a violist in Montreal, Jasmine has toured the world extensively with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, the Molinari String Quartet and La Pieta, as well as performing on many Internationally acclaimed CD recordings, radio and TV broadcasts for CBC, Radio Canada, Radio France and Medici International Arts TV. A passionate chamber musician, Jasmine has performed the complete Beethoven String Quartets at La Maison Symphonique, Montréal with members of the Montréal Symphony Orchestra.
Jasmine recently founded Sinfonia Mont-Royal, a children’s and adult chamber string orchestra based in the Plateau/Mile End area of Montreal where she lived for 25 years with her two sons. Sinfonia Mont Royal promotes a fun and relaxed classical music learning experience and regularly performs at local arts festivals, cafés, and community centres.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Tristan Durie is an accomplished flautist who is extremely active as an orchestral, chamber and solo performer. Recently, he has performed as a soloist with the Georgian Bay Symphony and as an ensemble member with groups including the Canadian Opera Company, National Ballet of Canada, Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra, New Music Concerts, Esprit Orchestra, the Kingston Symphony, the London Symphonia and the Ontario Philharmonic. Tristan is particularly sought after in Toronto’s new music scene where recent notable projects include a fully bicycle powered, 21 concert tour of Ontario with “The Bicycle Opera Project”, Faun Opera’s production of Adam Scime’s “L’homme et le ciel” as well asa the Toronto premiere of Brian Harman’s “Surface” for solo flute. As a member of “Charm of Finches” Canada’s premiere flute quintet, he has helped commission and premiere numerous new works by emerging Canadian composers.
During summer masterclass programs at Domaine Forget, the Orford Arts Centre, the Lunenberg Academy and the Banff Arts Centre, he has studied with many world renowned flautists including, Emmanuel Pahud, James Galway, Mathieu Dufour, Robert Aitken, Lorna McGhee, Philippe Bernold and Robert Langevin. Throughout his studies Tristan has been the extremely grateful recipient of the Arthur Plettner Graduate Fellowship, James Craig Opera Orchestra Award, the Percy Faith Award, David and Marcia Beach Summer Study Award, the Jean A. Chalmers Award as well as a CBC Radio Canada Galaxy award. He holds a Bachelor and Masters of Music Performance with a minor in Composition from the University of Toronto where he studied flute with Prof. Leslie Newman and Prof. Douglas Stewart and composition with Prof. Norbert Palej. He is currently completing his Doctor of Musical Arts in Flute Performance at the University of Toronto.
Graham Mackenzie is principal oboist of the London Symphonia (formerly Orchestra London), Windsor Symphony, and Niagara Symphony. He has also appeared with orchestras in Brantford, Chicago, Indianapolis, Kitchener-Waterloo, Toronto, and Winnipeg. He has been a member of the Tanglewood Music Centre, Music Academy of the West, Civic Orchestra of Chicago, National Repertory Orchestra, National Academy Orchestra of Canada, l’Orchestre de la Francophonie Canadienne, the Banff Centre, and the National Youth Orchestra of Canada.
Equally at home as a soloist, he has performed concertos by Bach, Marcello, Martinu, Mozart, Strauss, and Vivaldi, with the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, Windsor Symphony, Niagara Symphony, and Hamilton Philharmonic, among others. An avid chamber musician, he is a founding member of Trio Pistachio, and has performed in many Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber Music Society concerts as well as the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition. In the contemporary music realm, he has performed with Soundstreams, New Music Concerts Toronto, and the Continuum New Music Ensemble.
In addition to his performing career, Graham is on faculty at Wilfrid Laurier University, and has conducted master classes at the National Youth Orchestra of Canada, National Academy Orchestra, University of Victoria, University of Western Ontario, and Kenyon College (Ohio). He maintains a studio of private students, and is co-founder of the Tumble Reeds Music Studio in London, Ontario.
Graham earned a Bachelor of Music from Wilfrid Laurier University, studying with James Mason, and a Master of Music from DePaul University, studying with Eugene Izotov. He completed two years of doctoral course work at Indiana University, studying with Roger Roe and Linda Strommen, before returning to Canada to perform full time.
When he’s not performing, Graham enjoys raising his son Jasper, walking and skateboarding with his dog Roadie, running, tending to his fruit trees, ping-pong, board games, and making music with his wife, who is a bassoonist.
Robert Tite – Clarinet dipl.A.A. (Mohawk College) Mus.Bac.Perf. (University of Toronto) Robert discovered the joys of clarinet music in 1989 at the age of 12. He has since gone on to study with Charles Bell who is the leader of the former Stardust Big Band and the Charlie Bell Trio, Terrance Basom who is the clarinet and sax professor at Mohawk College, Hamilton, and Peter Stoll who is a clarinet and chamber performance professor at U of T. Robert has had the benefit also of several master classes with Order of Canada recipient James Campbell.
Currently the Principal Clarinet of the Georgian Bay Symphony Orchestra since 2003, Robert continually strives for artistic excellence. Contributing also to the enrichment of cultural appreciation in Owen Sound by founding the Georgian Bay Symphony Clarinet Choir in 2005, Robert furthers the GBS mission of growth and development of regional community orchestra. In 2013, Robert also founded the Great Lake Winds concert band as an inclusive venue for players of all ages and levels with a focus on improving musically in a friendly environment. As the director of the Encore! male barbershop chorus, he is the local ambassador for the joy of singing and ringing chords together in four-part barbershop harmony. Currently, Robert is also the director of the Saugeen Bach Choir, and in this capacity he fulfills his mandate to bring classical choral music to the Saugeen area. Robert is an experienced guest clinician who is proven to provide fresh perspectives and reinforce basic concepts to enhance school music programs.
Robert teaches private lessons on Clarinet, Saxophone and recorder out of Owen Sound and via Skype and finds great satisfaction in witnessing students achieve personal and musical growth. As the Royal Conservatory of Music Representative for Owen Sound, he facilitates access to Canada’s national standard of musical excellence.
Dr. Aaron Hodgson
Trumpeter Aaron Hodgson has been praised for his “exquisite musicianship and assured composure” (International Trumpet Guild) and his “outstanding lyrical trumpet playing” (Hartford Courant). A prize-winner in the Ellsworth Smith and OSM Standard Life competitions, Aaron has been broadcast nationally as a soloist by CBC Radio and featured as a concerto soloist with l’Orchestre de la Francophonie at Canada’s National Arts Centre. His orchestral performances include appearances with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra and the Calgary Philharmonic led by conductors such as Neeme Jarvi, Sir Neville Marriner and Helmuth Rilling. He can be heard on Naxos and Analekta records as principal trumpet for recordings of Bach’s Magnificat, Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique and the complete symphonies of Beethoven and Brahms.
Committed to expanding the trumpet’s capabilities and audiences, Aaron is a founding member of the Reveille Trumpet Collective (reveilletrumpet.org). Reveille has presented engaging, multimedia performances at the Banff Centre and the Sound Symposium Festival, and contributed to the commissioning of many new solo and chamber works for trumpet.
Aaron is also a member of Reverb Brass, a quintet dedicated to exciting performances of contemporary works. After several years at Memorial University of Newfoundland, in 2012 Aaron joined the faculty of the Don Wright School of Music, Western University. Aaron holds a Doctor of Musical Arts from Yale University.