Heliconian Choir and Orchestra

Orchestra Musicians

Sarah John

Sarah John, conductor

Sarah John, a native of British Columbia, studied at the University of Victoria, completing a Bachelor of Music (Voice), and a Master's degree in Performance (Conducting). She has studied with some of North America's most distinguished conductors and teachers, including Jerry Blackstone, Dale Warland, William Weinert, Joseph Flummerfelt, Gustav Meier, George Corwin, and Elmer Iseler. Sarah was awarded a Canada Council Grant for her work with the Windsor Symphony, having spent a year as Apprentice Conductor and two years as Assistant Conductor. Sarah co-founded the Echo Women's Choir in Toronto, which she led for two years. In 2006, Sarah founded Vespera Ensemble, a contemporary women's choir. She appeared as guest conductor with the Greater Toronto Philharmonic Orchestra in 2010 and 2011. Sarah is a co-founder and the conductor of the Heliconian Choir and Orchestra.

Debra Cutler

Debra Cutler, violin 1

Debra Cutler, a native of Cleveland, Ohio, has played and taught the violin in a variety of settings since the age of four. At seven, she began her orchestral career as a member of acclaimed youth and community orchestras, often leading these groups in principal and concertmaster positions. Debra received her Bachelor's degree in Violin Performance from Indiana University, studying with Paul Biss, and a Master of Arts in Music Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. In addition to her playing, Debra maintains an active teaching studio in Toronto as a faculty member of the Etobicoke Suzuki School of Music and the Miles Nadal JCC Suzuki program. Debra studied Suzuki pedagogy at Indiana University with Mimi Zweig, and received her Suzuki teaching certification through the School for Strings in New York City, studying with Suzuki pioneer Louise Behrend. She has appeared in solo and orchestral performances in Cleveland, Ohio; Interlochen, Michigan; Bloomington, Indiana; Jerusalem, and New York City.

Stephen Prime

Stephen Prime, violin 2

Stephen Prime studied violin in Ottawa with Henri Ladouceur and Irene Mackenzie. He is a member of the Etobicoke Philharmonic Orchestra, with which he has played first violin for 21 years. He also played with the Ottawa Youth Orchestra, the East York Symphony, and the Etobicoke Philharmonic European Tour, performing in Vienna in 2000, and in Paris in 2002. He has played chamber music with the Charles Ives Quartet and the Newton Quartet, and has been on the board of the Toronto Children's Chorus and the East York Symphony. Stephen is a member of the ACMP Chamber Music Network, and participates annually in the Greater Manchester and the Mountains chamber music workshop in Vermont. He is a chamber player with a focus on 20th century chamber repertoire, including Canadian composers such as Healey Willan and Jean Coulthard. Stephen recently retired after 30 years as a banker, and is married with three adult children.

Barbara Hart

Barbara Hart, viola

Barbara Hart is a graduate of the Faculty of Music at the University of Toronto, where she completed a Bachelor of Music Education. She studied violin/viola with Jack Montague, Chris Dafeff of Toronto, N. Jamieson of the Guildhall School of Music in London, England, and Luc Beauchemin of the Alcan String Quartet, and studied piano with Madeleine Bone of the Royal Conservatory. She has spent a career conducting bands, orchestras and choirs in the Toronto District School Board, and is former Head of Music at West Hill Collegiate in Scarborough. She has played with and conducted the Trinity String Ensemble, and has performed as a freelance musician in the Toronto area with Strings Attached and the Kingsway String Quartet. Barbara presently plays in the viola section of the Etobicoke Philharmonic Orchestra, and recently has taken up fiddling with friends in Growlin’ Fiddlers and The Shamrock Traditional Music Session. She is also accomplished in the art of water colour and acrylic paintings, with a painting style that is infused with light and energy. Largely self taught, she has studied at the Ontario College of Art and Design, at the Haliburton School of the Arts, and at numerous art workshops. Barbara has several group shows and solo shows to her credit, and her works feature in private collections in Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver, the United States, and France.

Michelle Kyle

Michelle Kyle, cello

Michelle Kyle began playing piano at age four, and cello at 11. At 16, she was assistant principal cellist of the Saskatoon Symphony, and cellist with the Regina Symphony, Saskatoon Chamber Orchestra, and Alberta Ballet Orchestra. She studied cello with Malcolm Tait at Brandon University and with Gisela Depkat at Wilfrid Laurier University, where she completed an Honours Bachelor of Music. As a cellist, she was awarded first prize in the Edward Johnson Music Competition. Michelle earned a Master's degree in piano performance at McGill University, and a law degree at Osgoode Hall Law School; won university awards for excellence in music, philosophy, law, computer science, and German; worked as a lawyer, web developer, editor, photographer and rock climbing instructor; and rode her bicycle across Canada. She has performed for 20 years as a cello and piano soloist and chamber musician for weddings and special events throughout Ontario. She is currently a teacher of adult piano students, a freelance accompanist, principal cellist of the Greater Toronto Philharmonic Orchestra, cellist with the Rosewood Piano Trio, Artistic Director and cellist with the resident string quartet of The Birthday Series at Heliconian Hall, and a co-founder and Artistic Director of the Heliconian Choir and Orchestra.

Karen Kabiri

Karen Kabiri, double bass

Karen Kabiri was born in Tehran, Iran in a musical family, and came to Canada in the summer of 2010. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in double bass performance from Elmi Karbordi University in Tehran, and an Associate degree in Music from Azad University of Iran in Tehran. Karen began his music career as a double bass player in the Tehran Symphony Orchestra in 1995. He was principal double bass of the Tehran Symphony Orchestra in 2006-2010, the Parsian String Orchestra in 2008-2010, the Noban String Ensemble in 2005-2007, and the Iranian Radio and Television Broadcasting Orchestra in 1996-2009. He played double bass with the Iranian National Orchestra, the Ani Chamber Orchestra of Armenia, the Osnabrück Symphony Orchestra of Germany, and a collaboration of the Iranian National Orchestra and the Geneva Chamber Orchestra sponsored by the United Nations. He has performed in Berlin, Vienna, Rotterdam, Strasbourg, Brussels and Rome. Karen has been a double bass instructor at the Nahavand Higher Education Institute, the Tehran Conservatory for Boys, the Pars Music Institute, the Neda-e- Chang Music School, and Elmi Karbordi University. He also plays jazz, traditional and folklore music, is a skilled songwriter and composer, has worked as a recording artist and as Internal Director of the Tehran Symphony Orchestra, and has taught music theory, solfege and music harmony. He currently plays double bass with the Greater Toronto Philharmonic Orchestra.

Jaye Marsh Graham

Jaye Marsh Graham, flute

Flutist Jaye Marsh Graham is known for her spectacular sound and creativity that comes through in her versatile playing. An active freelancer and experienced orchestral musician, Jaye is currently Principal Flute with Kindred Spirits Orchestra and co-Principal with the Greater Toronto Philharmonic Orchestra. She has appeared as a soloist with numerous ensembles including the Hart House Chamber Orchestra, and has performed with orchestras including Orchestra Toronto, Etobicoke Philharmonic, the Royal Conservatory Orchestra, Hart House Symphony, Civic Light Opera, and Sudbury Symphony. Jaye has created a number of unique recitals, including one dedicated to the wind works of Francis Poulenc, which was the inaugural concert of the Heliconian Club's concert series, Music in the Heart of Yorkville. She also actively performs with the flute/guitar duo, Celebration Duo. A new recital is in the works for the Heliconian concert series, which will feature a new commission for two flutes. Jaye holds a Bachelor's degree in Music Performance from the University of Toronto. Her teachers include Camille Watts, Douglas Stewart, and Christine Little, and she has performed in master classes of Per Øen, Peter Lloyd and Julius Baker.

Hazel Boyle

Hazel Boyle, oboe

Hazel Boyle received her Bachelor of Music at the University of Toronto, and has continued her studies with Jim Mason, and Keith Atkinson. Hazel is an active musician in Southern Ontario, playing in orchestral and chamber music concerts, and singing in various vocal ensembles. She has been fortunate to have the opportunity to work under the baton of Yannick Nézet-Séguin in the Bach Consort Choir. She is currently principal oboe in the York Symphony Orchestra, and plays oboe and English horn in the Oakville Chamber Orchestra and Masterworks of Oakville, and with York Strings for compositions requiring wind players. Hazel has performed chamber music with Capriccio in the Greater Toronto Area and in Waterloo, and is currently playing with Out of the Woods Trio and Brookshire Winds, and in ensembles with piano and voice. She is currently planning a new series of chamber music concerts for outreach projects. Recently she performed Bach’s oboe d’amore concerto at Heliconian Hall in a concert also featuring Bach cantata arias. When not playing music, Hazel is an elementary occasional teacher for Toronto District School Board, and volunteers with the children at ESG United Church as librarian and teacher. She is also a private music teacher, and does music demonstrations for schools.

Katie Arnup

Katie Arnup, clarinet

Katie Arnup, who grew up in Ottawa, has been passionate about music from a young age. She was a member of the Ottawa Central Children’s Choir, and began playing the clarinet at age 12. Katie graduated from the University of Toronto Faculty of Music in the comprehensive program, where she studied clarinet with Peter Stoll. She has performed under the direction of Dr. Gillian MacKay and David Briskin with soloists such as James Campbell and Dame Evelyn Glennie, and alongside members of the National Ballet of Canada. Katie has also played in the GamUT contemporary ensemble, Die Zauber Quintet, and in the orchestras for musicals with UC Follies, Victoria College Drama Society, and the Greeley Players. She also has a passion for musicology and analysis, with special interests including gender and social change, and their influence on the music we make. Committed to social justice, Katie works for Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care, Ontario's advocacy organization for funding and policy related to child care and early learning, and volunteers for various organizations including MP Olivia Chow and the 519 Community Centre. This past summer, she was the clarinetist in Soupcan Theatre’s tremendously successful production of Love is a Poverty You Can Sell, which received rave reviews and went on to the Best of Fringe. In the spring of 2011, she will perform as a soloist with Blast Strings in the premiere of a new concerto by Jordan O’Connor for double bass and clarinet.

Rachel Stewart

Rachel Stewart, bassoon

Rachel Stewart came to Canada from the United Kingdom in 2005. She studied music at the University of York in the United Kingdom, studying bassoon with Stephen Reay and Charles Cracknell. She subsequently trained as a music teacher and continued to play bassoon on a freelance basis while teaching music at a high school in Essex. She spent a year in Japan, teaching English and playing principal bassoon in the Saga Symphony Orchestra. She also took lessons in shakuhachi, a Japanese end-blown flute. On her return to the United Kingdom, she continued her studies in Japanese music as part of a Master's degree at the School of Oriental and African Music in London. Since arriving in Canada, she has played with various Greater Toronto Area chamber groups including Alchemy, Canzona, and York Chamber Ensemble, and with orchestras including Cathedral Bluffs Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra Toronto, and Kindred Spirits Orchestra. Rachel is currently principal bassoon in the York Symphony Orchestra, and has recently joined a team of artists visiting schools through the Royal Conservatory of Music's Learning Through The Arts program. She also enjoys teaching outdoor education at the Kortright Centre for Conservation. Her favourite and most challenging endeavour is being mum to her two amazing children.

James Tizzard

James Tizzard, French horn

James Tizzard is a recent graduate of the University of Toronto where he completed a Master of Music degree, studying French horn with Gabriel Radford. Prior to that, he completed a degree in music education at the University of Western Ontario. James is an active freelance musician with a passion for orchestral performance and chamber music. He has performed with the Hannaford Street Silver Band and the Scarborough Philharmonic Orchestra, as well a brass quintet in this past year’s Luminato Festival. For the past two summers, he has been a member of the National Youth Orchestra of Canada, performing under the direction of Alain Trudel and Jacques Lacombe.

Jacqueline Leung

Jacqueline Leung, piano

Born in Rexdale, Ontario, Jacqueline Leung graduated with a Master's degree in piano performance from McGill University. She has performed at the International Holland Sessions, Toronto Summer Academy Festival, and Orford Arts Centre, and in Germany and China. She was a two-time national finalist for the TD Canada Trust Music Competitions. In 2007, she was the youngest delegate invited to present her paper on 20th century pianist, Alfred Cortot’s edition of Frederic Chopin’s Fourth Ballade at the Folk conference held at the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom. Jacqueline has organized events benefiting Save Darfur Canada and The Montreal Heart of the City Piano Program. The MHC Benefit Concert and Silent Auction attracted media coverage from CTV and an interview on CKUT radio. In Toronto, she volunteered for the Yonge Street Mission’s inner-city piano program organized by MusicBox Children’s Charity. In April 2010, Global TV filmed a segment at YSM featuring Jacqueline on their Making a Difference program. Jacqueline currently teaches piano privately at The Hawthorn School for Girls in North York and at The Bishop Strachan School for girls in Toronto. This past summer, she taught at Belvoir Terrace, a fine and performing arts camp for girls in Massachusetts. Jacqueline performs with various chamber music ensembles, and is the pianist for the Unity Church of Truth, and an active performer in the Toronto community.

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