Our teachers

Our teachers come from a background of diverse musical interests and expertise. Their experience includes up to 20 years of teaching, post graduate studies, performances at major concert halls and stadiums as well as locally , Suzuki training, music therapy training, music festival adjudicating, and more. They are all highly skilled, kind, patient, and methodical in their approaches to teaching music.

Lori Oussoren

Lori-Oussoren-piano-teacher-high-park-215x300Lori is a dedicated piano teacher with 20 years of experience. She received her Honours ARCT in Piano Performance and Pedagogy from the Glenn Gould School of the Royal Conservatory of Music. There she studied under James Anagnoson and Leslie Kinton of the Anagnoson and Kinton piano duo. She won first prize consecutively in the Kiwanis and Peel Music Festivals and has competed at the provincial level. She was a recipient of the Frederick Harris Music scholarship and the Yamaha Piano Award.

Lori received her Bachelor of Music Therapy from Capilano University in 2008, and has enjoyed exploring the creative uses of music with her music therapy clients and music students through composition, improvisation, and songwriting. She offers adapted piano lessons for students with special needs.

Lori has taught in schools, community centres, and at several music studios, including the Yamaha Piano School and the Ottawa Conservatory. Lori has nurtured and guided hundreds of piano students on their musical journeys, from beginners to advanced piano students. She has successfully prepared dozens of piano students for RCM exams and music festivals and her students have been accepted into university music programs.

Some of Loris more recent music activities include performing in a Halloween Monster Piano Concert at Massey Hall which featured ten grand pianos being played at the same time, and composing a group of short pieces for piano study.

Lori is a member of the Ontario Registered Music Teachers Association.

 

 

Michael’s performances have taken him to Europe and major concert halls across North America as a soloist, band member and chamber musician. He has toured and recorded extensively with the legendary Canadian guitarist Liona Boyd, and has shared the stage with artists such as Bruce Cockburn, Tom Cochrane, John McDermott, Dan Hill and Michelle Wright.

Michael has appeared and been heard on local and National television and radio.

In addition to receiving many scholarships and awards for his playing, he has been invited to play at numerous music festivals and university/college workshops. Several pieces have been composed for him and he has performed in the premiers of many new Canadian compositions.

Michael’s playing can be heard on his 2010 debut release “Folk Songs”, Liona Boyd’s 2013, 2014, and 2015 releases and Tara Beier’s debut album “Hero and the Sage”

Michael received his Bachelor degree from The Glenn Gould professional School and his masters degree from the University of Ottawa in guitar performance. He has participated in many international guitar festivals and has performed in master-classes for prominent guitarists including David Russell, Manuel Barruecco, Leo Brouwer and Norbert Kraft. He also attended the Humber College jazz program in Toronto.

Michael has a busy private teaching studio instructing students of all ages and levels. He also gives workshops and master-classes at universities and colleges and has adjudicated performance exams at the University of British Columbia, Douglas College and Kwantlen College as well as Kiwanis and Rotary music festivals across Canada.

Olivia began studying and performing piano at the age of three. In her youth, she studied Suzuki methods in Quebec under Heather Roberton. She began advanced studies through The Royal Conservatory of Music under Paul Neumann and Dennis Hahn. Olivia has been teaching piano for eight years and is now working toward her ARCT in piano pedagogy. Using her experiences with Suzuki and Royal Conservatory methods, she combines methods to ensure variety and adaptability in her teaching approach. Olivia is a passionate musician and teacher, dedicated to introducing and intriguing youth and new musicians to the piano in an academic environment.

 

Nadia Kane loves working with children, teens, and adults. Her lessons focus on delivering a holistic learning experience that fosters independence and encourages expressive performance. She uses both classical and contemporary materials in her lessons in order to encourage technical playing and exposure to diverse forms of music. She enjoys helping students to build their own songs using the tools learned in their lessons and practice sessions. Students under the tutelage of Nadia who choose to study for credit have regularly achieved marks above the national average, and have won prizes for their performances at competitions.

Nadia has over two decades of experience teaching piano lessons and theory classes. During this time, she owned and operated a private music studio in Orangeville, Ontario, as well as teaching at several music schools in the area.

Nadia has completed her Grade 10 RCM Piano. She began her music theory education with Paul Neumann and won a scholarship to attend advanced theory classes at the Royal Conservatory of Music with renowned composer Larysa Kuzmenko. Nadia has performed and competed at the ARCT level and is currently studying towards the Royal Conservatory of Music ARCT in Piano Pedagogy.

Nadia believes that music should be fun and interesting. Her lessons drive students to seek out their own style and develop an interest that will last them into their later years.

 

As a teacher, she believes her most important goal is to help her students find and develop an emotional connection with music and an appreciation for the art form. With this goal in mind, her lessons are tailored to each individual’s learning style and interests. Her well-rounded approach focuses on the development of fundamental musical skills, such as theory and ear training, combined with improvisation and composition exercises. Her caring, supportive approach is suited to students ranging broadly in age and musical ability.

Nevalea holds a Bachelors Degree in Voice Performance from the University of Toronto Faculty of Music (2016). She is currently working on completing an ARCT Diploma in Voice Performance from the Royal Conservatory of Music. In addition to her vocal training, Nevalea holds the highest levels of history and harmony, as well as grade 8 violin and grade 8 piano from the RCM. 

She continues to pursue her musical education by attending summer programs and entering in festivals. This fall (2017) she attended the Early Italian Opera workshop at the Lunenburg Academy of Music Performance, instructed by Susie Leblanc and Gianni Fabrinni. Nevalea was a chorus member with Opera in Concert during the 2016-17 season. During her undergraduate studies she was part of UofT Schola Cantorum and the Oratorio ensemble, singing in masterclasses for Daniel Taylor, Nancy Argenta, and Vicki St.Pierre. She was also on UofT's Varsity Pom Team, dancing competitively, cheering for the football and basketball teams, and performing the national anthem at games. In February 2017, Nevalea won the Sir Henry Pellatt Award from the Kiwanis Festival, in the National Provincial Qualifying Class. 

Nevalea believes that music is vital to a child's development and creativity. She has many years experience teaching violin and likes to make learning a fun and educational experience. Nevalea believes that passing on her knowledge and love for music towards all ages is very rewarding and enjoys seeing her students progress musically. 

 

Tim Adams

"Music is my passion and for over ten years I've shared that passion with others through music workshops and private instruction. Originally from Toronto, I studied jazz guitar at McGill University before moving to England where I qualified as a sound engineer at SAE Institute. Based in London for 12 years, a career as a freelance guitarist, drummer and audio engineer gave me the opportunity to work with such artists as Pete Townshend, The Cure, The Staves and Mumford & Sons. I also worked for the London Borough of Westminster as a classroom teacher of music technology and a facilitator of workshops in music production, jazz improvisation and rock band performance. Some of my former students have embarked on successful music careers of their own and gone on to work with artists such as Brian Eno, Wolf Alice and Heaven 17."

 

Sarah is a pianist, vocalist, composer, and visual artist who aims to connect with others through music and art. Based in Toronto, she is a recent graduate of Humber College’s Bachelor of Music Program for keyboard. In her final year, her studies were focused in voice and composition. Sarah performs and composes in a variety of styles, including jazz, folk, and pop/rock. She acts as bandleader for her own folk/jazz group, collaborates in guitar/voice duo Mark & Sarah, and performs as a sideman for various other ensembles.

 

A Canadian guitarist and composer from Ottawa, currently based in Toronto, Justin lends his unique voice to various projects ranging from jazz / improvised music, to folk, and ambient / electronic music. He has performed at festivals such as the Montreal International Jazz Festival, the Ottawa Jazz Festival, Canadian Music Week, Toronto Indie Week, and can be found playing regularly with the chamber folk group decoration day, electronic duo blanking, the psychedelic rock collective Poly Trap Super Six, as well as various new music and jazz groups. Justin has studied guitar & composition with musicians including Roddy Ellias, Lorne Lofsky, David Occhipinti, Kieran Overs, and Justin Haynes.

An experienced teacher, Justin's lessons are always structured around the interests and needs of the student, with an emphasis on the basic fundamentals of music. As well as basic skills such as practicing effectively and setting & attaining achievable goals, students will also be introduced to a wealth of new music, a greater appreciation of the music that they encounter in their everyday lives, and some methods to unlocking their own unique musical voice. 

 

Alison studied voice under Gloria Jean Nagy in Ottawa and holds a degree in Theatre Performance from the University of Toronto. She is also a graduate of the Second City Conservatory. She has been a singer, actor and comedian for ten years, and has performed in musical and theatre productions internationally. She also currently teaches voice and piano privately, and teaches the Singing for Improvisers course at the Second City Training Centre.

Alison specializes in providing a fun, balanced approach to musical training. She encourages her students to find joy in their vocal freedom and artistry, and to look for expression and emotional resonance through the voice, while maintaining a focus on the development of technical skills.

 

Cellist Jonathan Tortolano is widely known as a soloist, chamber musician and teacher. Starting cello studies with Jeanne Bateman at the age of eight, he was accepted as a student by Elsa Hilger a few years later. Mme. Hilger taught Jonathan for four years, sending him to Tanglewood, and he entered the New England Conservatory of Music as a student of Robert Ripley. At NEC, he studied with the composer Joseph Gabriel Maneri, and coached string quartets with Eugene Lehner and Eric Rosenblith. He holds a Bachelor of Music Degree from Oberlin College and a Master of Music from The Cleveland Institute of Music, studying privately with Richard Kapuscinski, Andor Toth and Stephen Geber. During summers at Centre d’Arts Orford, Jonathan studied with Janos Starker, Aldo Parisot, Martin Ostertag, Eleanore Schoenfeld and William Pleeth. Tortolano was also a scholarship recipient to study at Yellow Barn with David Wells and Eric Rosenblith, and The Scotia Festival in Halifax. During his university years Jonathan played in the summers for the Festival dei Due Mondi in both Charleston, South Carolina and Spoleto Italy, often as principal cello, and he toured the USA, Canada, Japan and Korea as part of the Mantovani Orchestra. Following a decade in Europe as an orchestral musician, where he was a member of Orquesta Sinfonica de Castilla y Leon, The Gulbenkian Orchestra, Orquestra Metropolitana de Lisboa, and the Orchestra of the Algarve, he won positions in the National Ballet of Canada, Orchestra London, Orchestre Symphonique de Quebec, was Assistant Principal Cello of the Windsor Symphony, and Principal Cello of the Puerto Rico Symphony. He has taught at the Levine School in Washington D.C., Mercyhurst College in Pennsylvania (where he was Artist in Residence with the d’Angelo Trio), The National Superior Academy of Orchestral Studies in Lisbon, Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh, and at Appleby College in Oakville. He has performed as a member of Quartet Metropolis in Portugal, and Quatour Prima Vista, based in the Auvergne region of France, and was a guest of Kristiansand Symphony Orchestra in Norway as part of their search for a new principal cello. Jonathan has been on the faculty of the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto for over 10 years, is Associate Principal Cello of the Pittsburgh Opera, and is Principal Cello of the Erie Philharmonic, the Washington Concert Opera, and the Green Mountain Opera Festival. A native of Vermont, he is a frequent guest at chamber music festivals throughout Europe and the Americas, including Sunflower Festival in Kansas, the International Winter Festival of Campos de Jordao in Brazil, Chateau d’Ainay-le-Veille in France, Vermont Mozart Festival, and Music Niagara in Canada. Jonathan is married to Polish violinist Janetta Wilczewska. They reside in Toronto with their daughter Fabia.

 

Clare began playing violin at the age of 5, and teaching at the age of 17, at which point she also earned her Grade 10 Violin from the Royal Conservatory of Music. She studied violin and composition at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts in Singapore and at Colgate University in upstate New York, and is completing a Masters in composition and violin performance at York University, where she is concertmaster of the York University Symphony. Her principal teachers have been Adele Armin and Laura Klugherz, and she is currently studying with Mayumi Seiler. She is an experienced chamber musician, and is the assistant director of the Thornhill Chamber Music Institute, a summer camp for young musicians. (She also holds a Masters degree in Political Studies from the University of Saskatchewan, and a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Toronto.)

Clare follows in her mothers footsteps teaching beginners according to the Suzuki violin method, which emphasizes the Student-Parent-Teacher triangle, as well as learning by ear and memorization. The focus is on listening, intonation, and wholesome posture. Gradually, students begin reading music, and intermediate players are introduced to RCM technique and repertoire, as well as to sight-reading material. Advanced students can begin to tackle serious technical work, studies and caprices, solo Bach, concerti, and showpieces. All the steps of learning to play the violin are at once arduous and rewarding, and Clare seeks to draw out the unique qualities of each violinist while offering her/him new challenges at every turn.

Clare believes that everything is vibration, and that the profound things expressed in music can enlighten and heal us. We can feel music in our bones, and performing music means bringing order and beauty into the universe. While the outward goals of exams, recitals, and competitions are vital, Clare keeps an eye on the long-term goal of developing the inner confidence and true expressiveness of each student, realizing that becoming a better musician should also mean becoming a better human being.

 

Emily Wood is a piano teacher with a love of teaching and sharing her passion for music with her students. She has been teaching private lessons for many years to all ages and levels from absolute beginners to advanced. A recent graduate of McGills Schulich School of Music, she holds a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Performance with a Minor in music education. In Montreal, she used to play at the Upstairs Jazz Bar, and in 2014 played at the Montreal International Jazz Festival. Emily is versatile, able to teach many genres and techniques including classical, jazz, folk, popular, as well as accompaniment, harmony, composition and ear training. As a piano teacher, Emily is sensitive to the unique character of each student. She is dedicated to the success and personal growth of all her students through the use of constructive feedback and encouragement. She also strongly believes that music lessons should be a fun experience for the student!

 

John Testar has been teaching guitar for over 9 years, and is a teacher who knows how to mould to the needs of each and every student. Johns teaching revolves strongly on making a connection with his students, where an atmosphere of kindness, support, and exploration are encouraged.

John teaches a wide variety of music and caters to the needs of each individual student. Classical, rock, popular music, improvisation, composition and theory are only some of the areas in which John offers his students. An emphasis on personal creativity, such as getting his students to write their own music, is an important factor in his teaching. John feels that each student is unique in what they can say and experience in music, and he feels that he is lucky to help guide them through the process of music making.

John Testar is in demand as a classical and improvisational concert guitarist, having been invited to play solo concerts at the Guitare Alla Grande Festival (Gatineau, QC), the Sauble Beach Guitar Festival (Sauble Beach, ON) and concerts for the Toronto, Brantford, Winnipeg and Ottawa Guitar Societies. He has as also obtained his Bachelor and Master degrees in classical guitar performance from the University of Ottawa, and has done additional study and performing in Toronto.

 

Tom Ionescu is young Canadian guitarist currently living in Toronto. Born in Romania, Tom was introduced to music at a very young age through his father, an acclaimed European jazz guitarist. Tom holds an undergraduate degree in fine arts from York University, and a masters degree in jazz performance from the University of Toronto. Tom is also a graduate of the Concurrent Education Program at York University, where he specialized in teaching music and history at the secondary school level. As a music performer, Tom has played regularly with Shad, Ferraro, The Devin Cuddy Band, and the Soulkicks, as well as co-leading his own original band, Janes Party.

 

Irina Medvedeva is a classically trained operatic soprano and music educator in voice and piano. Irina holds a bachelor of music in performance from Western University and is currently completing her Artist Diploma at the Royal Conservatory’s Glenn Gould School.

Irina has taught voice and piano in London and Toronto to children and adults in various styles of singing and piano.

Ms. Medvedeva’s past operatic roles include Zerlina in Mozart’s Don Giovanni, La Fée in Viardot’s Cendrillon, Morgana in Handel’s Alcina, La Fée in Massenet’s Cendrillon , Le Feu and Le Rossignol in Ravel’s L'enfant et les Sortilèges, Florestine in Milhaud’s La Mere Coupable. Her voice is described as being a “flexible, supple, yet powerful soprano” (The Globe and Mail, 2016) and has been praised for having “a large voice with an astonishing range” (Opera Canada).

Ms. Medvedeva has also performed contemporary Canadian works with Tapestry Opera’s Songbook VII, as well as ensemble and chamber works in Italy and Canada. Ms. Medvedeva was the winner of the Rose Bowl and Caddo Cup award at the Lakehead Music Festival.

 

Shawn Pickup is a national and international prize-winning guitarist, and has been praised for “a technique of the highest level,” and “masterful interpretation” (Lippische Landeszeitung). Recent performance highlights include a live broadcast performance from Cologne, Germany for Radio WDR3, performances for the Iserlohn Guitar Symposium, Annapolis Valley Festival, Toronto Guitar Symposium, Sauble Beach Guitar Festival, Hamilton Guitar Festival, and a concerto performance with the HfM Orchestra of Wuppertal, Germany.

Born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Shawn completed his Bachelor Degree with Eugene Cormier at Acadia University. Upon winning 1st Prize in guitar and the Grand Award at the FCMF National Music Festival, Shawn travelled to Germany where he studied with Prof. Dale Kavanagh in Detmold, and later with Prof. Gerhard Reichenbach at the Hochschule für Musik Köln, where he received the Master of Music degree.

Shawn has been a prize winner in international guitar competitions in Germany and The Netherlands, and winner of the Solistenauswahl Concerto Competition, Wuppertal. Shawn was interim guitar instructor at Acadia University in 2016, and is currently pursuing the Doctor of Musical Arts Degree at the University of Toronto under the guidance of Dr. Jeffrey McFadden.

Shawn has been a dedicated teacher for the past 15 years, teaching students at all different levels in many styles of guitar playing. From beginners young and old, to graduate level classical musicians, Shawn draws from a range of teaching experience to help each student explore their musical interests and goals.

 

Andrew began playing music at an early age starting on Piano, then taking up the Clarinet and eventually the Guitar later on. He went on to study Guitar at Humber College where he obtained a Bachelor Degree in music. He had to opportunity to study with the likes of Geoff Young, David Occhipinti and Pat Labarbera to name a few during his time there. He was a member of the Toronto All-Star Big Band where they performed at various venues and festivals around Toronto and Ontario including the Beaches Jazz Festival, the Old Mill, Casa Loma and the Harbourfront Centre. Andrew spent three years living abroad in Berlin, Germany where he was actively involved in the local music scene, playing original and improvised music in different venues around the city. Andrew enjoys composing music as much as playing and encourages students to find their own voice and enjoyment for music