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"Four Hands are Better Than Two": Westwood Concerts Presents The Millar Piano Duo

Wedneday, October 7, 2015 @ 7:30pm
$20 regular / $15 students and seniors



Michael Westwood
“It was easy to imagine the assembled audience members and musicians…rising from their seats and joining a procession heading to greet the divine.”

Michael WestwoodAfter taking a short hiatus from performing, Michael Westwood is solidly back in Toronto’s music scene with his own chamber series, some high profile solo performances, a teaching degree, and is developing tour dates across Canada. He is much more than a clarinetist; he is a highly sought after soloist and chamber musician who has collaborated with a great number of leading Canadian musicians over the past two decades. He frequently appears in solo recitals, chamber music concerts and as soloist with orchestra. His programming ideas combine a passion for the monumental standard repertoire, rarely heard music spanning the past two centuries, and new music of the past few years. A tireless musician with a desire for constant renewal and inspiration, Michael founded a new chamber music series in Toronto in the summer of 2013, Westwood Concerts, to further share his unique programming and interest in a diverse range of music.

Michael has, throughout his career, commissioned and performed many new works. Most recently, he commissioned two new pieces from Canadian composer Frank Horvat; If Not Us, Then Who, for clarinet, cello and piano was written and premiered in 2014 and Michael has since performed it a second time, and in 2015, Michael premiered Frank Horvat’s brilliant new Clarinet Concerto Couple Dies Holding Hands in Toronto with the Greater Toronto Philharmonic Orchestra. A new work for clarinet and piano is planned for 2015-2016. During the 2014-2015 season, Michael also performed Canadian composer Ian McDougal’s great clarinet concerto in Toronto for a very fortunate audience.

Michael’s abilities and programing are far from limited to the repertoire of the present day. He has developed in combination with pianist Gregory Millar a program of music from the era of swing music and big band consisting of newly commissioned and brilliant arrangements for clarinet and piano by Millar. The Westwood-Millar duo has performed this concert several times since its premiere in 2014 to great audience acclaim. Recently, Michael performed with the Westwood-Millar duo at the Pointe-Clair recital series a concert of all Brahms’ music – both clarinet sonatas and three new arrangements by Chistopher Kies of solo piano works for clarinet and piano.

As well as being a highly sought-after clarinetist, in 2013, he founded his own concert series, Westwood Concerts; with two successful seasons now complete, and the third one upcoming, Westwood Concerts is an exciting venture which brings in musicians from all over Canada to collaborate on innovative and thrilling chamber music concerts. In 2016 Michael will collaborate with violinist Jasper Wood, with whom he has worked several times, on an all Stravinsky program which promises to be exhilarating. The finale of Westwood Concerts’ second season, featuring Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time, was acclaimed in Musical Toronto as “a truly memorable concert …(leaving one) with a feeling of gratitude for the opportunity to understand the composer’s intention.” They commented that Michael “managed to combine the tension between the airborne creatures and the gravity of human limitation with his stately pacing and resonant tone.”

A product of the studio of the late great clarinet pedagogue and master Avrahm Galper, Michael Westwood has collaborated with a great number of leading Canadian classical musicians over the past two decades including James Campbell, Gary Kulesha, Tom Rolston, the Prazak String Quartet, and Jasper Wood. An extremely passionate chamber musician, Westwood has performed at the Banff, Orford and Domaine Forget summer festivals as a soloist and chamber musician.

In addition to his illustrious music career, Westwood has explored other passions throughout the years including travel and sports. In 2007, he began a 6-year hiatus from performing during which he focused on personal fitness, which led him to East Africa and climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.

Millar Piano Duo

Millar Piano Duo

Gregory Millar
Originally from Lachine, Quebec, pianist Gregory Millar  performs widely as a soloist, chamber musician, accompanist and orchestral player. He appears regularly on the Westwood Concerts series in Yorkville and as one half of the Millar Piano Duo. He is also active as a teacher, arranger, music engraver and translator.

Millar has a keen interest in the music of Canadian composers both present and past. Last June he presented a recital of the 13 Preludes for Piano by Jean Coulthard at the Conference of the Canadian University Music Society in Victoria, BC, and previously gave the premiere performances of Book of Saints by Toronto composer Colin Eatock.

Gregory was the first graduate of the University of Toronto’s Collaborative Piano Master’s degree program, and has worked with prominent artists including violinist Mark Fewer (St. Lawrence Quartet), hornist Bernhard Scully (Canadian Brass), oboist Philippe Magnan (Quebec Symphony), and soprano Julia Bullock. He earned a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY in 2010.

Lisa Millar
New England native Lisa Raposa Millar  is featured in a new audio recording of 19th and 20th century Brazilian art song with soprano Jenni Cook, scheduled for release in September. Currently freelancing in Toronto, Millar is a member of the piano accompanying staff at The Glenn Gould School and is listed in the Music Arts Management ArtsTie Directory of Teaching Artists.

Millar has appeared as a piano soloist and collaborator in Music on the Hill (RI), the Women in Music Festival (Eastman School of Music) and, with the Millar Piano Duo, on the Sunday Rendez-vous concert series at the Pointe-Claire Cultural Centre (QC). Musicians with whom she has performed include opera singer Diane Alexander, internationally-renowned tuba soloist James Gourlay, and Shanghai Baroque Chamber Orchestra violinist Hyungi Kim.

Lisa Raposa Millar earned the Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the Eastman School of Music where she was a recipient of the Excellence in Accompanying Award. In 2010, she was honoured with The Virginia Pleasants Accompanist Award (Category One Winner) at the 34th Annual Competition for Singers hosted by Civic Morning Musicals of Syracuse.

The Art of the Piano: Moritz Ernst

Saturday, October 10 at 8 pm
$20; $10 Students


Moritz Ernst was born in 1986 in Ostwestfalen, Germany and began playing the piano at the age of five, taking lessons in Detmold. After graduating from high school at the early age of 16, he continued his piano studies in 2002 at the Detmolder Musikhochschule where he also studied musicology. During that time he was also awarded several prizes.

In 2003 he became a private student of the well known professor for piano, Peter Feuchtwanger. Shortly thereafter his concert activities were launched with regular performances in Europe and abroad: (In Germany - Musikhalle Hamburg; Austria – Mozarteum Salzburg; England – Purcell Room London, Switzerland and Italy.) Some years later Moritz Ernst continued his piano studies with Prof Jean-Jacques Dünki and harpsichord with Prof Jörg-Andreas Bötticher at the Schola Cantorum in Basel, Switzerland, thereafter his career also as harpsichordist began. During these years of study, he attended master classes and workshops held by Günter Reinhold, Paul Badura-Skoda, Ferderick Rzewski and the Auryn Quartet.

Moritz is presently concertising as pianist, harpsichordist and chamber musician performing a wide range of repertoire from baroque to contemporary music. Concerts include appearences in Germany, at the Piano Festival Feuchtwangen, the Lake Constance Festival, the Beethoven Festival Bonn; in England, France, Italy, Austria, Sweden, Romania, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Switzerland and Russia. (St. Petersburg Sound Ways Festival) He has also held master classes at the Musikhochschule in Stuttgart, Germany and at The Royal Music Academy in Malmö, Sweden.

Music of the 20th and 21st century is especially dear to his heart. Moritz has premiered several works as well as colaborating closely with composers such as Eötvös, Pelzel, Winkler, Pflüger, Wohlhauser, Olofsson, Maros and Pröve, some of whom have dedicated works to him. In addition, he advocates forgotten and less played composers, for example, by performing Johann Nepomuk Hummel’s Sonata op. 106, Feruccio Busonni‘s Fantasia Contrappuntistica and the music of Samuel Scheidt, as well as music for the 16th- tone - piano (micro - tonality).

The international press has acclaimed Moritz Ernst for his superb recording of music by Sir Malchom Arnold. “The Classical Music Magazine” granted him their highest rating. “Gramophone” praised his sparkling and stimulating rendition of this recording. In addition, he has performed for international radio stations such as DRS2 (Zurich), Radio Luxembourg, SR (Radio of the Saarland), DeutschlandRadio Kultur, Deutschlandfunk and BBC London.

Extensive plans for future recording projects include: the harpsichord works of Kent Olofsson, the complete piano works of Viktor Ullmann, the sonatas by Norbert von Hannenheim in connection with Deutschlandradio (German Radio) and the CD label EDA Records on two CDs as well as works by Bernfried Pröve (on 7 CDs).

Moritz Ernst’s curiosity to discover new facets in music and music history has led him to cooperate with musicians such as singer Eva Csapo, the violinists Egidius Streiff and Hans Heinz Schneeberger and the clarinetist Urs Brügger. His knowledge as musicologist has led to a cooperation with the Schott Verlag.

(Translated by Carina Rascher, January 2014)

SCORDATURA: Celebrating Zoltan Kodaly’s Sonata for Solo Cello, Hannah Addario-Berry

Tuesday October 13, 2015 at 8 pm
$20/$10 students/arts workers

One hundred years ago, Zoltán Kodály composed his Sonata for Solo Cello, one of the most significant works written for the instrument since the Bach Suites.

In celebration of this centenary, cellist Hannah Addario-Berry has created a program that showcases the 1915 Sonata with companion works created by the dynamic young composers Lisa Renée Coons, Brent Miller, Eric KM Clark, and Alisa Rose. The program will be presented in a solo concert tour around the United States and Canada. At the end of the tour, the program will be recorded in a new solo cello CD, titled Scordatura.

The Sonata

Zoltán Kodály is one of the most revered composers in the history of Hungary. Together with his friend and countryman Béla Bartok, he helped pioneer the field of ethnomusicology, traveling to remote villages and recording their songs as early as 1905. In addition, Kodály made significant contributions to the field of music education, to the extent of developing a unique approach known as the Kodály Method, still in use today. In 1915 he composed his Sonata for Solo Cello, Opus 8, and predicted that “In 25 years no cellist will be accepted who has not played it.” Indeed, by 1956 the Sonata had become an obligatory piece for the Casals Competition in Mexico City.

The work poses immense technical and musical challenges to the performer, using the extreme extent of the cello’s range and changing the tuning of the lower strings to deepen the tone. This deliberately altered tuning, or “scordatura”, enables rich harmonic possibilities. The piece is at times dramatic, melancholy, exuberant, and haunting. The cello often doubles as soloist and orchestra, bowing long melodic lines while simultaneously plucking rhythmical accompaniments. These technicalities are not an end unto themselves, simply the means for carrying the listener on a musical journey to the heart of historical Hungary.

The Composers

Four talented composers have created short solo cello pieces inspired by the 1915 Kodály Sonata. The new works are scored for the same altered tuning used by Kodály. Collectively, these pieces form a complete and eclectic solo recital, whose performances by cellist Hannah Addario-Berry promise richly expanded experiences for classical and new music audiences.

Lisa Coons is a composer/sound artistwith a special affinity to collaboration and experimentation. Presently an assistant professor of composition at Western Michigan Univeristy, Lisa Renee received her Phd in Composition for Princeton University,with additional studies at SUNY Stony Brook and UMKC. Recent collaborators include the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), the American Composers Orchestra, The California E.A.R. Unit, Iktus Percussion Ensemble, and Dither Quartet. She is a member of the composers collective called, simply, The Collected.

Los Angeles-based violinist and composer Eric KM Clark is a specialist in new and experimental music. He has recorded and performed an eclectic range of music around the world, while his compositions have been noted as “an exhilarating and occasionally confounding exercise in divergence (and) confluence...” (Signal to Noise). Eric's compositions have been featured at many venues and festivals, including Western Front, REDCAT and the Bang On A Can Marathon. He co-founded and co-directs the experimental music ensemble Southland Ensemble; and co-founded the wulf, a successful arts venue located in downtown Los Angeles.

Composer, violinist, and improviser Alisa Rose is a modern musician who easily navigates between many musical styles. With roots in classical music as well as American traditional music, Alisa is a member of the genre-bending Real Vocal String Quartet, funk/bluegrass band Supermule, and the silent film scoring Club Foot Orchestra. Alisa studies with San Francisco Conservatory of Music composer David Garner, and her compositions have been performed by Quartet San Francisco, 49 Special, and San Francisco City Church in addition to her current groups, as well as published by String Letter Publishing, and recently recorded by Sqwonk.

Brent Miller is a composer, performer, and arts administrator based in San Francisco, CA. He studied composition at the University of Arkansas and University of Missouri-Kansas City. Recent projects include works for Rova Saxophone Quartet, violinist Eric KM Clark (EAR Unit), Dither Electric Guitar Quartet, and Sqwonk. Brent has been the featured guest composer at the Cape Fear New Music Festival and a guest lecturer at Central Michigan University and Western Michigan University. He is the Co-founder and Managing Director of San Francisco's Center for New Music.

The Art of the Piano: Johnandrew Slominski

Friday, October 16 at 8 pm
$20; $10 Students

Tonight’s performance will feature Cesar Franck’s Prelude, Chorale and Fugue; and Etudes, Waltzes and Mazurkas of Frederic Chopin.


American pianist Johnandrew Slominski enjoys a distinguished reputation as a performer and pedagogue. His elegant and sophisticated playing has earned praise from composers and critics alike. Slominski seamlessly navigates the landscape of a varied and thriving career as a soloist, chamber musician, music theorist, author, pedagogue, and speaker. Highlights of his busy 2014-2015 season include performances of Schumann's Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 54, a concert tour of Florida, recordings for Oxford University Press, a forthcoming CD of solo piano music on the Centaur label, a forthcoming article in Music Theory Online (the publication of the Society for Music Theory), a debut performance with violinist Renee Jolles on the Eastman Virtuosi concert series, a featured performance and story on Rochester, New York's WXXI Public Radio, and more than a dozen teaching and speaking engagements.

A child prodigy, Slominski gave his first public performance at age 5, won his first piano competition at age 6, and entered college at age 15. By age 21, Slominski had earned three degrees from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, including a Master of Music in Performance and Literature, a Master of Arts in Pedagogy of Music Theory, and a Bachelor of Music in Performance; his first professorship followed two years later. He was unanimously nominated for (and received) Eastman's coveted Performer's Certificate in recognition of outstanding concert artistry--the youngest individual to have received such an honor. Slominski holds the Doctor of Musical Arts degree, also from the Eastman School of Music. In 2009 he was awarded the Prize for Excellence in Teaching by a Graduate Student, and 2010 Slominski received the Jerald C. Graue Musicology Fellowship in recognition for his research in the field of nineteenth-century performance practice. His innovative performance and pedagogical research has been supported by institutions including the Classics Abroad Society and the Andrew Mellon Foundation. Slominski is the founder and co-director of "Classical Music on the Spot", an intensive summer institute now in its second season at the Eastman School of Music, dedicated to the study and practice of eighteenth-century style improvisation.

Slominski is a frequent solo performer, collaborative pianist, masterclass clinician, and lecturer. Praised in print for his virtuosity, innovative programming, and broad repertoire, he performs throughout the United States and abroad; he has been recently featured as a guest artist at the Chautauqua Institution for Fine and Performing Arts, the Sarasota Music Festival, the Dakota Sky International Piano Festival, the Sunderman Recital Series at Gettysburg College, Steinway Hall, the Sun Valley Artist Series, and the St. Petersburg College Piano Series, while international performances have included recitals at the Jan Deyl Conservatory in Prague, Czech Republic, and the Salle Cortot in Paris, France. As a competition laureate, Slominski was awarded first prize in the Chautauqua International Piano Competition and was the silver medalist in the International Keyboard Odyssiad Piano Competition. As an advocate for both historical performance practices and new music, Slominski has received glowing praise from critics and composers. British composer Ann Cherry commented following Slominski's 2012 world premiere of her Sonata for Flute and Piano with flutist Tabatha Easley that "This man has a rare ability - the musicality - to dig beneath the written notes to reveal the underlying meaning. I did not dare to imagine that such a great performance could ever happen."

His recordings have been broadcast domestically by National Public Radio and are published by Oxford University Press and Centaur Records (forthcoming). His principal studies at the Eastman School were with Rebecca Penneys; additional teachers have included Robert Levin, John Perry, Steven Laitz, Dorothy Fahlman, Malcolm Bilson, Joseph Silverstein, and Jean-Francois Antonioli.

Slominski has held teaching positions at the University of Rochester, the Sunderman Conservatory at Gettysburg College, and Virginia Commonwealth University. He has also served as a joint faculty member at the Eastman School of Music in both piano and music theory. His students have been accepted to prestigious undergraduate and graduate programs at schools including the Indiana University, the Eastman School of Music, the Manhattan School of Music, the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami, and the North Carolina School for the Arts. Slominski teaches during the summer months at the Rebecca Penneys Piano Festival at the University of South Florida, and serves as an Assistant Professor of Music Theory at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York.

KONUS QUARTET: four saxophones

Monday October 19, 2015 at 8 pm
$25/$10 students

KONUS QUARTET: four saxophones


Konus Quartett | four saxophones

Christian Kobi, saxophone
Fabio Oehrli, saxophone
Jonas Tschanz, saxophone
Stefan Rolli, saxophone

As a chamber music ensemble whose instrumentation changes frequently, the Konus Quartet engages its audience with highly expressive and idiosyncratic sounds. Contemporary original compositions are interpreted predominantly by the quartet, but these are also contrasted with pieces from past centuries and arrangements for saxophone instrumentation. The radical nature of its concert programmes has seen the quartet become established over the past 10+ years as an important voice for new contemporary and experimental music.

Composition commissions are awarded regularly to well-known artists by the quartet; to date such artists have included Barry Guy, Urs Peter Schneider, Tomas Korber, Phill Niblock, Makiko Nishikaze and Jürg Frey.

Three musical highlights serve to showcase the remarkable range of the Konus Quartet:

In 2006, "La bocca, i piedi, il suono", a composition by Salvatore Sciarrino for four soloists and a hundred saxophonists, was performed in the French Church in Bern (Release 2006, Cubus Records).

A collaboration with the filmmaker and composer Phill Niblock gave rise to the composition entitled "To Two Tea Roses" which was premiered in 2013 in Switzerland in the presence of the composer.

The piece "Music für ein Feld" (Music for a Field) was the result of a composition commission awarded to the Zurich-based musician Tomas Korber (Release 2014, Cubus Records).

videos: |

music: Jürg Frey, Mémoire, horizon (full version mp3)

Payadora Tango Ensemble

Saturday, October 24 2015 at 8:00 pm

Founded in 2013, Payadora Tango Ensemble has quickly become one of Toronto’s most vibrant and sought-after acts. Payadora performs an expansive repertoire that draws from the height of Buenos Aires’ Tango tradition, including compositions and arrangements by De Caro, Pugliese, Troilo, and Salgan, to the masterful, contemporary sounds of Astor Piazzolla and beyond. Drawing from eclectic backgrounds in Classical, Jazz, Latin, Eastern European folk music, and improvisation, Payadora’s performances exude technical virtuosity, playful spontaneity, and rhythmic vitality.

Highlights from Payadora’s past performances include sold-out shows at the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts, Harbourfront Centre, Toronto Music Festival at Heliconion Hall, the Lula Lounge, the Jazz Bistro, the Rex Hotel Jazz and Blues Bar, the TD Toronto Jazz Festival, The Toronto Botanical Gardens Concert Series, the Kingston Road Village Concert Series, the Knox United Church concert Series, the Group of 27 Concert Series at Heliconion Hall, and for the Canadian Opera Company's World Music Series at the Four Seasons Centre.


Rebekah Wolkstein, violin

Celebrated for her stunning virtuosity, nuance and broad musical versatility, Wisconsin-born violinist, Rebekah Wolkstein has established a strong presence on the Toronto music scene. As a Classical violinist, Rebekah has performed and toured extensively with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, The National Ballet of Canada, The Canadian Opera Company, and in recitals with Russell Braun.

An active studio musician, Rebekah is also at home playing in the styles of Folk, Klezmer, Pop, Latin, and Jazz and can be heard on numerous recordings. She has also performed and collaborated on theatre productions including award-winning shows with playwright/actress, Tracey Erin Smith.

Aside from her active performing career, Rebekah holds a Doctorate in Violin Performance from the University of Toronto as well as degrees in violin from the Cleveland Institute of Music. As a dedicated educator, Rebekah teaches private lessons and ensembles out of her own studio and at Humber College.

Branko Dzinovic, accordion

Branko was born in Sabac, Serbia, where he began accordion lessons at age seven. He graduated from Music Gymnasium in Kragujevac, and subsequently from the Faculty of Music. After earning his Master’s Degree in Linz (Austria) and teaching at the school of music for several years, he is currently pursuing his Doctoral Degree at the University of Toronto, studying with Joseph Macerollo.

Branko has participated in various artistic projects, such as “Phonart” supported by the European Union – not only active as a performer, Branko regularly collaborates with artists coming from different types of media. Up to now, he has composed the soundtracks for two award-winning short films – “Tata Morgana” and “Daddy’s pride”. As a soloist he performed in Canada, England, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Austria, Italy, Netherlands, and other countries. Dzinovic has recorded for Radio Belgrade, Radio Austria 1, and BBC. He is the winner of the 2013 DMA Recital Competition held at the University of Toronto.

Tom King, piano

Toronto-based pianist Tom King was born and raised in Regina, Saskatchewan and began his post-secondary piano studies at the University of Alberta with pianist Stephane Lemelin. He then spent time in Bergen, Norway at the Grieg Academy, and in Oslo concentrating his studies on Scandinavian music with some of Norway's finest pianists. Tom later returned to Canada and received his Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Ottawa studying with Andrew Tunis. He holds a Masters of Music degree in Collaborative Piano from the University of Western Ontario where he studied with pianist John Hess. Tom has spent time in residency at the Banff Centre for the Arts studying with pianists Angela Cheng and Anton Kuerti among others and has been heard in recital on CBC radio. As well being in demand as a collaborative pianist and teacher, he has worked as an orchestral pianist for the Edmonton Symphony, has performed with acts such as the Pointer Sisters and Petula Clark, and is also an accomplished jazz pianist having performed throughout Canada including performances at the Vancouver, Victoria, Calgary, Edmonton and Montreal International Jazz Festivals.

Joseph Phillips, double bass

Born and raised in Toronto close to the rolling green hills of Christie Pits, Joe Phillips started studying classical guitar at age 9, at the University Settlement House Music School. He attended Oakwood Collegiate, and after some time playing the clarinet, he discovered the double bass. Time spent playing in various blues bars, Irish pubs and booze cans and four years studying with renowned classical virtuoso Joel Quarrington have led to a busy and diverse career. When not playing principal bass in Orchestra London Canada, Joe can be found making music with artists as varied as The Art of Time Ensemble, Via Salzburg Chamber Orchestra, Group of 27 Chamber Orchestra, cabaret siren Patricia O’Callaghan, songwriters Jenny Whiteley, Sarah Slean, Ruth Moody, the Wailin’ Jennys, Corin Raymond and Rita Chiarelli, jazz bassist/cellist/composer Andrew Downing, banjoist Jayme Stone, Canadian fiddlers Pierre Schryer and Shane Cook and Irish flute and whistle virtuoso Nuala Kennedy. Joe has performed with the National Arts Centre Orchestra, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Les Violons du Roy, I Musici de Montréal, Tafelmusik and the Festival of the Sound and is an annual participant in the Sweetwater Music weekend in Owen Sound, Ontario. He lives in London, Ontario with his partner and their two children.

Fraser Jackson & Monique de Margerie and Friends

Monday November 2, 2015 at 7:30 PM
$20; $10 Students

TSO bassoonist and contrabassoonist Fraser Jackson teams up with pianist Monique de Margerie to present a program of chamber music for winds and piano, music that treads that fine line between art and entertainment. Does serious music have to be austere? Is beautiful music banal? Can a chamber concert leave you refreshed and recharged? What is art music anyway? The main work on the program is the magnificent Sextet for Piano and Winds by Francis Poulenc, a masterpiece for winds combining elements of French cabaret song, jazz, and art music in a lyrical and emotional tour de force. Joining Fraser and Monique are special guests Sibylle Marquardt (flute), Lief Mosbaugh (oboe), Dominic Desautels (clarinet), Christopher Gongos (horn), Sam Banks (bassoon) and Colin Ainsworth (tenor). Also featured will be works by HK Gruber, John Steinmetz, Claude Debussy, and Kenji Bunch.


* world première

Musikk for Hardanger and Strings

Thursday November 5, 2015 at 8 pm
$25/$15 students

A night celebrating Norway's unique instrument, the hardanger fiddle.


Rebekah Wolkstein, hardanger

Celebrated for her stunning virtuosity, nuance and broad musical versatility, Wisconsin-born violinist, Rebekah Wolkstein has established a strong presence on the Toronto music scene. 

In addition to the violin, Rebekah performs on the Norwegian nine string fiddle, the Hardanger fiddle. She studied traditional hardanger repertoire with famous hardanger performers, Leif Rygg, Sarah Nagall and Karin Loberg Code.

As a Classical violinist, Rebekah has performed and toured extensively with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, The National Ballet of Canada, The Canadian Opera Company, and in recitals with Russell Braun. 

Rebekah is a member of the Payadora Tango Ensemble. Payadora's performances include sold-out shows at the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts, Harbourfront Centre, Toronto Music Festival at Heliconion Hall, the Lula Lounge, the Jazz Bistro.

An active studio musician, Rebekah is also at home playing in the styles of Folk, Klezmer, Pop, Latin, and Jazz and can be heard on numerous recordings.  She has also performed and collaborated on theatre productions including award-winning shows with playwright/actress, Tracey Erin Smith. Aside from her active performing career, Rebekah holds a Doctorate in Violin Performance from the University of Toronto as well as degrees in violin from the Cleveland Institute of Music.  As a dedicated educator, Rebekah teaches private lessons and ensembles out of her own studio and at Humber College.

Sarah Fraser Raff, violin

Sarah received her formative musical training in Japan. Studying under Koichiro Harada, who was a founding member and first violinist of the internationally acclaimed Tokyo String Quartet, she gained a Bachelorʼs degree in Music Performance from the prestigious Toho Gakuen Music School in Tokyo. She moved to Canada to continue her studies with the late Lorand Fenyves. She went on to attain a Master of Music in Performance from Toronto University and an Artist Diploma from the Glenn Gould School of the Royal Conservatory.

Sarahʼs chamber music experience includes frequent concerts, workshops, recordings, and TV and radio broadcasts in North America, Europe, and Asia as a founding member of the Madawaska String Quartet and principal violinist of CONTACT contemporary music ensemble.

As an active and versatile freelancer she has played with the Toronto Symphony, Canadian Opera Company, Esprit Orchestra, orchestra of the National Ballet of Canada, Tapestry New Opera, Arraymusic Ensemble, and Soundstreams Canada. Sarah is currently on the faculty of the Royal Conservatory, Toronto.

Brandon Chui, viola

Canadian violist Brandon Chui joins the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Orchestra as assistant principal viola in September, 2015. A native Torontonian, he has toured extensively throughout North America, Europe and Asia, appearing on such stages as Los Angeles' Disney Hall, New York's Avery Fischer Hall (Lincoln Center), Berlin's Konzerthaus, Lucerne's KKL, Zurich's Tonhalle, and the opera houses of Genova, Lyon and Versailles.  He has been heard on the CBC (Canada), DRS2 (Switzerland), NDR (Germany), RAI3 (Italy) and RSR (Switzerland) radio networks, working with many of today's most celebrated conductors, including Semyon Bychkov, Valery Gergiev, Philippe Herreweghe, Manfred Honeck, Paavo Jarvi, Kurt Masur, Zubin Mehta, Gianandrea Noseda, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Jaap van Zweden and many more.

Before joining the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, Brandon played as an extra player in the Canadian Opera Company and Toronto Symphony Orchestras and remains a member of the Hamilton Philharmonic, a position he has held since September 2007. He has served as principalviola at Italy's Centre for Operatic Studies, Switzerland's Verbier Festival, the Schleswig-Holstein Festival in Germany, guest principal viola at Orchestra London and is a regular mentor/principal at Boris Brott Music Festival's National Academy Orchestra in Hamilton.

Also active in the world of historical performance, Brandon is a regular on the concert stage with the Aradia Ensemble, Opera Atelier, Tafelmusik, Orchestre Atlantique in France, and can be seen frequently as principal viola of Kitchener-Waterloo's Note Bene Baroque Players.

Brandon lives in Toronto with his wife, photographer Melissa Sung, and always follows his other heart: the stomach.

Wendy Solomon, cello

Wendy has been a featured recitalist in Canada, the United States and Europe.  Winner of the 1990 Atlanta Young Artist Competition, and 1992 Toronto Heliconian Young Artist of the Year, she has also won several Canada Council Grants.   Wendy has played with numerous orchestras and is also a busy studio musician, recording for film, commercials and for many solo artists in a wide variety of styles--including a feature on Natalie McMaster’s live Celtic Colours DVD. 

As well as being cellist and arranger with BOWFIRE, she has also acted as co-producer on several recordings. She is a founding member and composer/arranger for the cello quartet LUSH. (

Jeremy Bellaviti, composer

Jeremy is a Toronto based cellist, guitarist and composer. Born in Calgary in 1977, he grew up in Italy and later moved to Canada where he attended the Humber College Jazz Program, majoring in guitar. He continued to study privately with renowned musicians Rob Piltch (guitar) and Shauna Rolston (cello). Immersed in composition for over 15 years, he has also studied with University of Toronto Professor Chan Ka Nin. Jeremy's recent commission, Submerge for solo cello and choir was performed in June 2015 by Toronto's Jubilate Singers, featuring cellist Wendy Solomon.

Alex Samaras, voice

Alex Samaras is recognized as one of North America's leading singers in the jazz and new music idioms. He has performed with Meredith Monk, Brent Carver, Jackie Richardson, Zac Brown Band and a number of other notable performing artists. Alex leads his own vocal group GREX, exploring the extremes of the human voice in the context of ancient music and his own original compositions. He performs in well known Canadian groups such as A Sondheim Jazz Project and Twin Within. Both groups have released records to critical acclaim and you can find more about them at their websites.

Alex teaches singing in the jazz departments at The University of Toronto and Humber College as well as Jazz Works music camp and National Music Camp. He is also the proud conductor of the PAL Chorale, a choir for seniors at the Performing Artists Lodge in Toronto.

GREX is Alex Samaras, Ghislain Aucoin, Robert Fowler, Ryan Brouwer, Sean Donald and Will Reid.

Jazz at Gallery 345: Workshop and Performance
Mike Downes, bass; Robi Botos, piano; Larnell Lewis, drums

Saturday November 7 2015 at 6 pm Workshop/7 pm Performance
$20 adults; $15 students

One of Canada’s finest trios will conduct a workshop in composition and rhythm for aspiring composers and players. They will follow this with a two set performance. Note the early start time.

Juno-award winner Mike Downes has been active as a bassist, composer, arranger and educator in the Canadian and international music scenes since the early 1980s. He has performed throughout Europe, Japan, South Korea, Brazil, Mexico, Iceland, the United States and Canada. In addition to leading his own groups, Mike has performed with Canada's top jazz musicians and international artists such as Molly Johnson, Oliver Jones, Diana Krall, PJ Perry, Kirk MacDonald, Terry Clarke, Guido Basso, Pat LaBarbera, Chris Potter, Michael Brecker, John Abercrombie, Peter Erskine, Kenny Wheeler and many others. His large discography includes five recordings as a leader (Forces, Then The Winds of Change, Ripple Effect and In the Current). Ripple Effect won a Juno for Traditional Jazz Album of the Year in 2014. He has composed and arranged music for a wide variety of settings, including orchestral, string and jazz settings. Mike is the Bass Department Head at Humber College in Toronto.

Robi Botos is recognized as one of Canada’s finest jazz pianists. Born into a musical family in Hungary, Robi immigrated to Canada in 1998. He has been featured with many local and international greats including Chaka Khan, Al Jarreau, Michael & Randy Brecker, Branford Marsalis, Tim Ries, Pat Labarbera, Marcus Belgrave, Steve Gadd, Molly Johnson, Terri Lyne Carrington, Nikki Yanofsky, Peter Appleyard, Jackie Richardson, Toots Thielmans and many more. He has won numerous awards including the Galaxie Rising Star Award in 2010 and the TD Canada Trust Grand Prix de Jazz at the Montreal International Jazz Festival in 2012.

Larnell Lewis is a Toronto born musician, composer, producer, educator and clinician. Often referred to as one of Canada’s most promising up and coming drummers, Lewis has been featured on the cover of Drums Etc, a national drumming magazine. Larnell has performed with various artists ranging from Fred Hammond, Lalah Hathaway, and Lisa Fischer, to Kellylee Evans, Molly Johnson, and Snarky Puppy. In addition to his work as a stage musician, Larnell is currently the acting Percussion Department Head at Humber College in the Faculty of Music. His sponsors are Yamaha Acoustic and Electronic Drums and Hardware, Promark Drumsticks, Evans Drumheads, and Zildjian Cymbals.

Milena Mollova, piano, Mario Hossen, violin

Thursday, November 12, 2015 at 7 pm
General Admission: $25; Student/Seniors $15
Tickets available online at; 416-587-3739, and at the door

COPLAND 2015: The Complete Works for Solo Piano

Wednesday, December 2, 2015 at 7:30 pm
$25; $20 Seniors; $15 Students

Aaron Copland was a fine pianist: he premiered his own "Jazz" Piano Concerto in 1926.  As he continued to write for the instrument throughout his illustrious career, he increasingly turned to other pianists for the interpretation of his music.  On Wednesday, December 2nd, pianists Stephen Runge and Adam Sherkin present Copland's complete piano music in recognition of the 25th anniversary of the composer's death. This performance includes two intermissions and alternates large-scale and minor works in chronological order. Running time is approximately 2 hours, 45 minutes, including both 20-minute intermissions.

Stephen Runge

Pianist Stephen Runge has been heard across Canada in recital, as chamber musician, and with orchestra and is demand across the country as teacher, adjudicator, and clinician. Stephen came to national attention when he was awarded first prize in the piano category of the National Music Festival. Since then he has been the recipient of several important awards, including prizes at the Eckhardt-Gramatté National Music Competition, the International Stepping Stone of the Canadian Music Competition, the C.F.M.T.A. National Piano Competition, the Roberto and Mary Wood Competition, the Shean Piano Competition, and the B.C. Young Artists' Piano Competition.

Dr. Runge enjoys performing lesser known repertoire and new works. In 2000, he gave the Canadian premiere of Lowell Liebermann's Piano Concerto No.2 with the Regina Symphony Orchestra. He has also performed with the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra and the University of Victoria Orchestra. Dr. Runge has been broadcast nationally on CBC Radio Two and La Chaîne Culturelle de Radio-Canada. He has received special recognition for his frequent performances as chamber musician and art song collaborator, and is a founding member of the Beausejour Trio. He is currently undertaking a major recording project of the large works for solo piano by Robert Schumann. As a clinician, Dr. Runge has given workshops at provincial and national teaching conferences on topics such as effective practice methods, approaching piano technique holistically, and performance practices for Baroque and Classical music.

Born and raised in Regina, Saskatchewan, Stephen Runge studied with Janice Elliott-Denike before completing a Bachelor of Music degree with a major in Piano Performance at the University of Victoria where he was a student of Dr. Robin Wood. Upon graduation from the University of Victoria, he was awarded the Victoria Medal and the Governor General’s Silver Medal as the top student in his class. He completed a Master of Music degree in Piano Performance at l’Université de Montréal and an Artist Diploma at The Glenn Gould School of The Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto under the direction of Marc Durand. He has also studied at the Banff Centre for the Arts with Julian Martin of the Juilliard School, and has performed in master classes for artists such as Leon Fleisher, Richard Goode, André Laplante, and John Perry. In the summer of 2005 he attended the Tanglewood Music Center in Lenox, Massachusetts as a Fellow where he performed in a variety of chamber and orchestral concerts. Stephen Runge completed his Doctorate of Music at l’Université de Montréal in April 2007. Dr. Runge taught at St. Olaf College in Minnesota before joining the Department of Music at Mount Allison University in Sackville, New Brunswick in 2007, where he is currently Assistant Professor of Piano, Marjorie Young Bell Faculty Fellow, and the Director of Mount Allison Local Centre Examinations in Music.

Adam Sherkin

Composer and pianist Adam Sherkin(MMus, BMus, AdvPerfDip, A.R.C.T.) is a dynamic and versatile musician who commands a multi-dimensional approach to performance and composition. A native of Toronto, Adam graduated from the Glenn Gould School of the Royal Conservatory and the Royal College of Music, London. His works have been premiered at the Glenn Gould Studio, the Luminato Festival, the Spotlight Festival (Waterloo), the King’s Lynn Festival (Norfolk), The Bridgewater Hall (Manchester), The Warehouse and the National Portrait Gallery in London. Adam has appeared in performance at the Four Seasons Centre, the Toronto Centre for the Arts, The St Lawrence Centre for the Arts, St Martin-in-the- Fields, Covent Garden and the Royal Albert Hall. Sherkin’s debut solo album, As At First, was released in November of 2012 on the Centrediscs label.

The Art of the Piano: Teo Milea

Friday December 4, 2015 at 8 pm
$20/$10 Students

For 24 years, during which time he learned to read and play the music of his classical mentors, Teo Milea has searched within himself to raise improvisation to the rank of composition. His memories, stories, moments of agony and ecstasy were all comprised in his first piano album On white…and black keys, released in 2012.

The album revealed through seven songs as being a pianist and a composer belonging to two worlds: the world of classical music and the world of new music of the 21st century. His entire work is based on interpersonal relations, the moods and needs of modern society, passion and desire to conquer new soul territories not yet explored.

Since the release of his first album in 2012, he has performed his own compositions in his native country, Romania, but also in Austria, Belgium, Germany, Spain, bringing dozens of colors to his audience through his music. The energy bursting out of his piano paints souls, fills emptiness, brings smiles.

Now, Teo Milea is paving the way for another premiere: his first piano recital in Toronto, with a brand new solo piano album, Open Minds.

“Through my music I met a new, honest world, smiling and with a radiating joy. I stepped into the world I had dreamed of and wished for, the world of open-minded people, the universe where fairy-tales are told through the voice of music. With Open Minds, my piano music enters a new dimension of sensitivity and perception; it is a call for tolerance, joy and friendship. My audience needs neither specialty studies, nor a musical lexicon to understand my compositions. My audience understands my message exactly and in real time, it doesn’t seek to decode subsequently what I tried to transmit in one hour of recital. My music is a targeted one, with instant effect. Music is a cure for the soul! (Teo Milea)

Teo Milea started to play the piano at 6 years old and graduated from the Music Faculty at the West University from Timisoara, Romania, in 2003. He worked as a répétiteur at the National College of the Arts at the Music Faculty and at the School of Arts in Timisoara.

Among those who helped him as a musician were masters Gabriel Amiras (Germany) and Arkady Sevidov (Russia).

At first it was classical music. He attended various national and international piano competitions for music lovers across the country and beyond, from Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Hungary or the United States. In 2010 he was invited by the Vienna State Opera to perform as part of the International Opera Festival in St. Margarethen, in “The Magic Flute” by W. Mozart. He also spent a good amount of time in Switzerland and Germany, where he performed in a duo-formula piano – panflute.

Official Website:
Live Video:

Chelsea McBride’s Socialist Night School Big Band

Saturday December 5, 2015 @ 8:00PM
$20/$10 Students

Chelsea McBride’s Socialist Night School is an 18-piece big band led by composer and multi-instrumentalist Chelsea McBride. The band is a collective of emerging & established Toronto musicians, including Brownman Ali and Colleen Allen. Described as “a fresh new voice on the Canadian jazz scene ” by saxophonist and composer Andy Ballantyne, the band has performed at major venues across the city, including sold-out shows at Rex Hotel and the mainstage at the TD Toronto Jazz Festival. 

The Socialist Night School is a different sounding big band, drifting away from the typical swing charts in favour of a more contemporary sound. The Socialist Night School is influenced by artsy, everyday stuff like politics, nature, city living, but also by ECM-style jazz, Maria Schneider, Bob Brookmeyer, and Darcy James Argue. Bandleader Chelsea McBride writes and arranges much of the music, but other band members get a chance to write and solo for the band – it is socialist after all. 

Chelsea McBride's Socialist Night School recently released their first self-titled EP. It can be listened to in full at the band’s Bandcamp page or purchased on iTunes.

More 2015 Performances coming soon.
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