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2024 Artists

Sarah loves J.S. Bach, and J.S. Bach loves Sarah.  (She) played Bach beautifully.  Then she introduced her audience to some sumptuous composers and explored their ties to Bach and each other.  We heard far more than we expected to.  Then...more Bach revealed even more richness and complexity.  Thank you Sarah!

-- audience member, Tobermory, ON.

Photo Credit:  Gary Moon
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Sarah Pratt-Parsamian, violin

Originally from Listowel, ON, and currently based in New York, NY, acclaimed violinist Sarah Pratt-Parsamian enjoys a diverse and exciting musical career.  She has been a prizewinner at the Jeunesses Musicales International Violin Competition, and Silver Medal winner in the Canadian National Music Competition.  At the age of 14 she made her solo debut with the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra at the Guelph Spring Festival in Ontario, and since has performed as soloist with orchestras in Canada and the U.S., including the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Stratford Symphony Orchestra, and the National Arts Center Orchestra in Ottawa. 

An avid chamber musician and recital artist, Sarah has performed across Canada and the United States, including Stratford Summer Music Festival, the Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber Music Society, the Arts and Letters Club, Heliconian Club (Toronto), the British Art Museum (New Haven, CT), Bargemusic (New York, NY), the Detroit Institute of Art (Detroit, MI), Clefworks (Montgomery, AB), and others. She performs regularly on the Musica Reginae series in Queens, NY, and is the founder and Artistic Director of Music on the Bruce.

 

Sarah is a temporary member of the New York City Ballet Orchestra.  She also performs regularly as a substitute with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, and the New York Philharmonic, with whom she has traveled on tours across the United States, Europe and Asia.  She is a member of the New York City Opera Orchestra, a position she has held since 2006. Sarah has served as guest concertmaster of the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, the Florida Orchestra, New Haven Symphony Orchestra, Hartford Symphony Orchestra, and others.

 

Sarah holds a Bachelor in Performance Degree from the University of Toronto, Master’s Degree and Artist Diploma from Yale University, and Doctor of Musical Arts from SUNY Stony Brook.  When her violin is resting, Sarah can be found jogging on park trails, climbing trees with her children, hiking with her camera, or curled up on the couch with a good book and a glass of wine. 

Robert Woolfrey, clarinet

Robert Woolfrey joined the clarinet section of The Cleveland Orchestra in November 2008. Prior to his appointment, he was the Principal Clarinet of the Memphis Symphony Orchestra (2007-2008) as well as a member of the IRIS Chamber Orchestra. As a chamber musician, Mr. Woolfrey has collaborated with Michael Tilson Thomas, Dawn Upshaw and musicians of The Cleveland Orchestra.

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In previous summers, he has participated in a variety of music festivals, including Tanglewood Music Center and the Aspen Music Festival. Performances by Mr.  Woolfrey have been heard on National Public Radio's Performance Today, classical music station WQXR and Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's Radio Two. As an educator, he serves as a coach of the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra, and he is on the faculty of the Kent Blossom Summer Music Festival.

 

Woolfrey has presented lessons and masterclasses at many schools including Indiana University's Jacobs School of Music, University of Michigan, University of Toronto, University of Miami, San Francisco Conservatory and the Cleveland Institute of Music.

Born and raised in Toronto, Canada, Mr. Woolfrey studied with Joaquin Valdepeñas at the University of Toronto and at Yale University with David Shifrin, where he received a master's degree in music. He is also an alumnus of the New World Symphony in Miami Beach, Florida, where he performed as the soloist for Nielsen's "Clarinet Concerto." He returns frequently to Miami as a coach. Robert is married to Cleveland Orchestra cellist Tanya Ell, and they have two young children.

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Joanna Diindiisikwe Simmons, voice

Joanna is an Ojibwe artist from Lindsay, Ontario, with maternal ties to Saugeen tract treaty territory 45 1/2. Joanna is a graduate of the Glenn Gould School of Music, participating in both the Performance Diploma and Artist Diploma programs. Joanna sang the lead role of Sara Riel in the Canadian Opera Company’s production of Louis Riel in 2017. In 2019 Joanna sang the lead role of Native Girl in Pacific Opera Victoria’s tour of Missing, a chamber opera based on missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.

 

Joanna is the Artistic Director of Loose Tea Music Theatre and is a founding member of the Toronto metal band 'Seven Moons'.

She is also currently the Special Projects Coordinator for Sunnybrook Hospital’s Pregnancy and Infant Loss (PAIL) Network, where she is in contact with Indigenous communities across Ontario, and ensures they get the support they need.

Joanna looks forward to contributing to a better future for Indigenous peoples and is excited for the evolution and advancement of Indigenous engagement within the arts in Canada.

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Allene Chomyn, violin

A native of Western Canada, Allene Chomyn holds a Bachelor of Music Performance with Distinction from the University of Victoria (2005) and a Master of Music Performance from the University of Toronto (2007). She was a member of the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony from 2007-2023 and was featured as Concertmaster and soloist multiple times. Allene can be seen performing regularly as a member of the Kestrel Quartet (www.kestrelquartet.ca), as Concertmaster of the Spiritus Ensemble and the Stratford Symphony Orchestra, and joining many other ensembles throughout Southern Ontario.

 

One of Allene’s career highlights was being selected from hundreds of applicants to be a part of the YouTube Symphony Orchestra (2011) which included a trip to Australia to perform in the Sydney Opera House, and whose performance became the largest live-streaming concert event in YouTube history, with over 30 million streams. Allene lives in Kitchener with her husband, bassist Ian Whitman, their two children, and their cute dog, Spike. 

Remi Pelletier, viola

Rémi Pelletier joined the Toronto Symphony Orchestra as Associate Principal Viola in September 2019, having served in the New York Philharmonic’s viola section from July 2013, and in the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal beginning in 2007.

Previously, he was a regular substitute with The Philadelphia Orchestra, and also performed with The Haddonfield Symphony and Orchestre Métropolitain. He served as Guest Principal Viola of the International Orchestra of Italy in the summers of 2011 and 2012, Principal Viola of Japan’s Pacific Music Festival, and Assistant Principal of the New York String Orchestra Seminar.

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An active chamber musician, Mr. Pelletier was a regular guest at the Société de musique de chambre de Québec and performed with Rendez-vous musical de Laterrière and Musica Camerata, as well as with the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal’s chamber music series. His honours include the CBC/McGill Music Award (2003), as well as first prize at the Concours du Québec and Canada’s National Music Festival Competition.

 

A native of Québec, Mr. Pelletier was a scholarship recipient at Encore School for Strings and the Orford Arts Centre. He performed a recital on CBC’s Debut series. In addition to attending masterclasses with Kim Kashkashian, Roberto Diaz, and others, Rémi Pelletier studied with Michael Tree and Joseph De Pasquale at The Curtis Institute of Music, and with André Roy at McGill University, from which he graduated with the distinction of Outstanding Achievement in Viola Performance, and where he was Principal Viola of the McGill Symphony Orchestra.

Tanya Ell, cello

Cellist Tanya Ell enjoys a varied career as a chamber musician, soloist, and member of The Cleveland Orchestra. Since winning the position in 2006, she has been privileged to tour the world's greatest concert halls with the orchestra, including Carnegie Hall, Vienna's Musikverein, Suntory Hall in Tokyo, Royal Albert Hall, and Avery Fisher Hall. With TCO, she has also taken part in many prestigious festivals, including the BBC Proms, the Salzburg Festival, the Lucerne Festival, and the Edinburgh Festival.

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Tanya is a founding member of the Omni String Quartet, which has been featured in concert by the Cleveland Orchestra at the United States Consulate in Bratislava, on WCLV Radio at Cleveland State University, and at Kent State University. She has collaborated with such notable musicians as William Preucil, Donald and Vivienne Weilerstein, Edgar Meyer, members of the Cavani String Quartet, and with her husband, Cleveland Orchestra clarinetist, Robert Woolfrey. In recent years she has soloed with the Cleveland Philharmonic, the Suburban Symphony, the Cleveland State University Symphony, and the Lansing Symphony.

Tanya received her Bachelor of Music at the Juilliard School under Aldo Parisot. She spent a fruitful year under the tutelage of Shauna Rolston, studying at the University of Toronto. While finishing her Master's Degree with Richard Aaron at the Cleveland Institute of Music, Tanya won a position with the Milwaukee Symphony, and was appointed Acting Assistant Principal a year later. She was invited to solo with the MSO twice during her tenure there.

Tanya grew up in Okemos MI, and studied in the Suzuki program with Marilyn Kesler, and later with Louis Potter Jr. from age 8-18. Her musician parents, Frank and Eva Ell have also been very important musical influences throughout her life. She won her first competition at the age of 12, and continued to win top prizes at competitions across the country that often resulted in concerto performances and scholarships to summer music festivals.

Tanya plays a David Burgess cello from 1992, as well as a Tyrolean Cello from 1864. She resides in Cleveland, Ohio with her husband, son and daughter.

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Shane Kim, violin

Toronto-born violinist Shane Kim has been a member of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra since 2012. Prior positions include Principal violinist of the IRIS Chamber Orchestra and concertmaster appearances with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra and at the Aspen, Spoleto-Charleston, and Lakes Area music festivals.

 

Winner of the Orford String Quartet Award, Shane has performed chamber music at the Ravinia Festival, Taos Chamber Music Festival, and Encuentro de Musica in Santander, Spain; and has served as a resident artist at the Toronto Summer Music Festival.  As a founding member of the XIA String Quartet, Shane has performed and given masterclasses across Canada.

 

Shane is currently Violin Coach of the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra.

Caitlin Boyle, viola
A JUNO-nominated performing artist, Caitlin Boyle concertized extensively for thirteen years with the Cecilia String Quartet. She won several international awards including Banff, Bordeaux, and Osaka String Quartet Competitions. The quartet was the John D. Stewart String Quartet-in-Residence at the University of Toronto from 2015-2018, where they coordinated the chamber music program, as well as holding positions as Adjunct Professors.

Currently she plays with the Isabel String Quartet, string-quartet-in-residence at Queens University and is a member of Sinfonia Toronto and the Niagara Symphony Orchestra. She has also performed and toured with orchestras such as the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Munich Symphony Orchestra, and the Schleswig-Holstein Orchestral Academy.In addition to her performance schedule, she teaches at the Hamilton Suzuki School of Music and through the Hamilton Music Collective, An Instrument for Every Child. 

Cathy Anderson, cello

Cathy Anderson is a freelance cellist based in Southwestern Ontario. Until 2023 she was
the Associate Principal Cellist of the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, which she joined in
2007. She performed multiple concertos with the K-W Symphony as part of their
Baroque and Beyond series, and has been a featured soloist with local community
orchestras. She loves playing musical theatre with Drayton Entertainment and as a
longtime sub for the Stratford Festival. She has been heard as a soloist and chamber
musician on CBC Radio and NPR, and holds music degrees from Wilfrid Laurier and Yale Universities.

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Photo Credit:  Ben Lariviere

Cathy performs and records regularly in the Kitchener-Waterloo area in collaboration with local musicians in many different styles of music. She enjoys teaching the young musicians of the community Youth Orchestra programs and maintains a teaching studio for all ages at Renaissance School of the Arts.

 

Thank you to Ben Lariviere for his generous donation of Cathy’s photo. https://benlariviere.com

Dominik Franken, viola

Dominik Franken was born and raised in Germany and studied the violin and viola with concertmaster Erich Brand. Dominik played in the German Youth Orchestra, Bonner Sinfonietta and the Brand Quartet. After immigrating to Canada in 1987 he pursued a career in farming and as an Investment Advisor. The viola is always part of his life, playing in several orchestras, as a chamber musician and as the “Sow” in Cow and Sow (look it up on ITunes). Dominik retired to Myles Bay in 2019 to make more music in all different forms and shapes. In 2022 he started "Lions Head Summer Music", a one-week celebration of classical music!

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Music on the Bruce gratefully acknowledges the support of the Ontario Arts Council, and the government of Ontario

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