Matthew Otto is an innovative leader, educator, and collaborator. With unparalleled dedication to choral music, Matthew strives to develop artistic excellence, vocal integrity, and empowerment in singers of all ages. As the TCC’s Associate Artistic Director, Matthew conducts the Toronto Youth Choir, Chorealis, co-conducts Chorale & Cantarealis, and oversees the Main Choir theory program. He has conducted the Chamber Choir on tour to Russia, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, USA, Bahamas, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, as well as at the 2017 World Choral Symposium in Barcelona. In 2013, Matthew co-founded the Toronto Youth Choir and in 2018 led the ensemble on its first international tour, travelling to New York to sing with The King’s Singers in Carnegie Hall. The TCC/TYC has also premiered Matthew’s arrangements and compositions. During the 2021-22 season, Matthew will serve as TCC’s Interim Artistic Director.
Matthew is founder/artistic director of Incontra Vocal Ensemble, a project-based, professional-level chamber choir. Now in its eighth season, Incontra provides high-calibre performance opportunities for emerging singers and conductors. Equally at home in the symphonic chorus realm, he has prepared choruses for appearances with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and conductors Peter Oundjian, Nicholas McGegan, Bramwell Tovey, Donald Runnicles, Tania Miller, and the late Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos.
As a strong advocate for the choral arts in Canada, Matthew has been the President of Choirs Ontario, a board member of Choral Canada, and is a founding member of the Bridge Choral Collective, a Canada-wide consortium of youth choirs. He has actively contributed to many choral communities in the Toronto area, including Pax Christi Chorale (Assistant Conductor), Toronto Mendelssohn Choir (Associate Conductor), and several Toronto churches, most recently Christ Church Deer Park.
Matthew holds a Bachelor of Music in Composition and a Master of Music in Conducting. Currently, he is a lecturer and a Ph.D. candidate in Music Education at the University of Toronto. His doctoral dissertation, entitled Towards a Reimagined Choral Pedagogy: A Phenomenological Case Study of Chorister Experience at the Toronto Children’s Chorus, traces the impact of high-level choral singing on youth. He has presented papers at the International Symposium on Singing and Song, and at Podium 2018.
Pianist Michel Ross holds a Master of Music in Collaborative Piano from the University of Toronto and is a French and music teacher with the Toronto District School Board. The Toronto Star called him “dancer as well as poet of the keyboard” after performing Carmina Buranaat Koerner Hall with TorQ Percussion Quartet and the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir in 2012. The year before, Michel performed the Shostakovich Piano Concerto No. 2with the Hart House Orchestra. He has performed several operas in concert, including Cosi fan tutte,La Bohème,andMadama Butterfly.Michel toured with the Toronto Children’s Chorus Chamber Choir toBrazil and Argentina for the Ninth World Choral Symposium, and to Sweden for the Let the Future Sing international choral festival. Hewas a roundtable panelist at the most recent Podium national choral conference in Halifax, and has been conductor of the Toronto Children’s Chorus Boys’ Choir since 2011. Last summer, Michel had his first children’s book published with AIM Language Learning, entitled “Je ne veux pas aller à l’école!”.
Jai Eun Yoo was born and educated in South Korea. At an early age, she was recognized as having an exceptional ear and a strong technical facility at the piano. She was awarded a scholarship to study at Yonsei University, where she majored in piano and earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. Ms. Yoo worked as a professional accompanist to the master class for the violin and as a member of the teaching faculty at The Korean Conservatory of Arts before emigrating to Canada. She has been a valued TCC staff member since 2008.
Joy Lee enjoys a multi-faceted career as a collaborative pianist, teacher, soloist, and scholar. She has performed at venues ranging from the Canadian Embassy in Washington D.C. to stages in Inuvik and Yellowknife. Ms. Lee holds an MMus in solo piano and has worked with many leading pianists, including Julian Martin (Juilliard) and Robert McDonald (Curtis). Her love of the voice and its literature led her to collaborative piano, and to Michigan where she studied for her MMus with Martin Katz. She is currently in the DMA Programme at the University of Toronto, studying with Head of the Collaborative Piano Programme, Steven Philcox. On the piano faculty at Tyndale University College and Claude Watson School for the Arts, Ms. Lee is also a vocal coach at the University of Toronto and has participated in such festivals as Banff, Orford, and Domaine Forget. The voice-piano duo, soprano Maeve Palmer and Joy Lee, won second prize in the 2017 Eckhardt-Gramatté National Music Competition. Ms. Lee is excited to be joining the Toronto Children’s Chorus’ newly formed North York Training Choir this season.
Winner of the University of Toronto’s Gwendolyn Koldovsky Prize in Accompaniment (2014-2015), Australian pianist Lara Dodds-Eden is in the Faculty of Music’s DMA programme in Collaborative Piano. Her studies in Toronto have included frequent performances at Gallery 345, the Arts and Letters Club, the Burdock and Walter Hall and a CD recording of Steven Chatman’s choral music with Dr Hilary Apfelstadt and Macmillan Singers, alongside performances further afield including a tour of the Danube by river boat with soprano Danika Loren, collaborations with the principal tubist of Iceland Symphony, Nimrod Ron, and her first tour with TCC to Spain.
Before moving to Toronto, Lara studied both in Canberra and in London, at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. She has performed alongside many of the prominent musicians of her generation, in major international venues including London’s Purcell Room; Wigmore, Royal Festival, and Barbican Halls; Amsterdam’s Het Concertgebouw, Bratislava’s Philharmonic Hall, Sydney’s Angel Place Recital Hall and as a featured artist at the Aldeburgh Festival. From 2010 – 2013 she was Artistic Director of the Paxos Chamber Music Festival, Greece, and from 2013-2014 Lara was Collaborative Pianist and Artistic Associate of the Banff Centre’s Fall and Winter Music Residencies, where she assisted in curating the public events of the season and performed with international visiting artists including cellist Gavriel Lipkind, pianist Ronan O’Hora, Broken Social Scene’s Kevin Drew and as soloist with the Australian Chamber Orchestra.
Geoffrey Conquer was born into a musical family and began lessons at the age of six. After a decade of private study with Svetlana Gojevic in Toronto, he received the A.R.C.T. diploma from The Royal Conservatory of Music. Following this, he studied at the Schulich School of Music of McGill University for eight years with Marina Mdivani, a legendary Georgian pianist and pupil of Emil Gilels. From 2016 to 2017, he was a fellow at the Glenn Gould School in the Rebanks Family Fellowship and International Performance Residency. He has furthered his studies at The Banff Centre, The Lunenburg Academy of Music Performance, and The International Holland Music Sessions.
Through master classes, Geoffrey has gained insight from many important artistic personalities including Martha Argerich, Jacques Rouvier, Daniel Pollack, Pedja Muzijevic, Leon Fleisher, John Perry, and Boris Berman. He was awarded a myriad of scholarships by McGill University including the prestigious Schulich Scholarship. He is a Second Prize winner at the 2015 Siegfried Weishaupt International Piano Competition in Germany and the only two-time First Prize winner of the McGill Symphony Concerto Competition. Geoffrey is a recipient of bursaries from the Canadian Art Song Foundation, the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Williamson Foundation for Music. Recently, he has held fellowships in chamber music from the Toronto Summer Music Festival and in vocal collaboration at SongFest in Los Angeles. His performances have been broadcast on Radio 1 in Tbilisi, Georgia, and on CBC-McGill.
Linda is a Kodaly, Choral, Orff, and French Specialist at Claude Watson School for the Arts, and an Orff, Smart StartTM, and Kodaly instructor at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Early Childhood Music Education in Toronto. She has been assistant conductor at the Mississauga Children`s Choir and has presented workshops for the TDSB, CAMMAC, Suzuki Schools, and the Early Childhood Association in Hungary. She is a passionate and knowledgeable educator who has earned her impressive reputation in the arts education community. Linda also joined the Canadian Children’s Opera Company in January 2016.
Ms. Song completed a Bachelor of Education (Tyndale University, Toronto) and a Bachelor of Music in Piano (McGill University, Montreal). She also holds advanced certifications in Early Childhood Music Education and related ECME practices from Ryerson University/the Royal Conservatory of Music, Emory University (Atlanta) and the University of British Columbia.
Ms. Song conducts Training Choir II, North York Training Choir II, North York Training Choir III and the Boys’ Choir.
A native of Belgium, Helen Becqué received both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Piano Performance from the Koninklijk Conservatorium, Brussels, and, at the Jacobs School of Music in Indiana, she studied with Menahem Pressler. Ms. Becqué also completed a Master’s degree at the University of Tennessee School of Music, working with opera students and instrumentalists. She continued her studies in vocal accompanying at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater München, receiving a ‘Meisterklasse Liedbegeleitung’ diploma in 2010. At the University of Toronto Faculty of Music, she currently serves as a coach and accompanist for vocal students.
The 2019/2020 season marks Allison’s first year with the Toronto Children’s Chorus. With over a decade of experience, Allison is an accomplished pianist and teacher. Originally from Regina, Saskatchewan, Allison Luff has pursued her music education all over Canada, the United States, Germany and Hungary. Allison holds a double master’s degree in Music Education and Music Performance from Western University, London, Ontario. In 2018, Allison received a Diploma in Kodály Music Education with specialization in Piano Pedagogy from the Kodály Institute of the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music in Kesckemét, Hungary. She presented her research on the use of Kodály concepts in the private piano studio at the 2017 International Kodály Symposium in Camrose, Alberta. As an undergraduate at the University of Alberta – where she received a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance with distinction under the tutelage of Dr. Jacques Després – Allison was the recipient of the prestigious Alberta Foundation for the Arts Project Grant. Allison used this funding for solo piano and chamber music studies in Munich, Germany, and Williamstown, Massachusetts, USA. Allison had the honour of giving a solo piano recital at the University of Regina as the winner of the 2012 Regina Music Club Recital Competition. As well as an accomplished soloist, Allison has performed art song by Hungarian composers Liszt and Kodály and published a thesis on composer Charles Ives. Allison loves to cook, travel, and has an orange tabby-cat named Calcifer.
Louise Lui completed her B.Sc. and B.A. at University of Melbourne, Australia. During her time in Melbourne, she obtained her A.Mus.A. in piano performance. After moving to Canada, she obtained her B.Ed. and M.Ed from York University, Toronto. Louise currently teaches music to kindergarten to grade six students at Denlow Public School. Her choirs at Denlow perform regularly at local and provincial music festivals and Toronto District School Board events. Louise is a certified Orff Specialist and Orff Teacher Training Course Instructor. She is highly involved in the Orff community in Toronto.
Judith Bean holds an Honours Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance from Wilfrid Laurier University and her Bachelor of Education in Vocal Music from the University of Western Ontario. In addition, she holds a number of Kodály and Suzuki piano certifications. Her musical studies continue to take her around the globe as she attends conferences and workshops.
After attending the Conductors’ Symposium hosted by the Toronto Children’s Chorus in 2005, she was invited to join the TCC staff team at the annual Main Choir summer music camp at Appleby College. Judith has taught Sight Singing for the past thirteen years with the TCC. In 2012, Judith became the conductor of the Preparatory Choir and is delighted to be celebrating her 6th season with the choir.
A teacher with the Waterloo Region District School Board for more than twenty-eight years, Judith teaches vocal music and drama to children in Grades 1 to 6 at Ryerson Public School in Cambridge. She is the founder and former director of Menno Youth Singers in Kitchener-Waterloo and past director of the St. Peter’s Lutheran Church Junior Choir in Kitchener. She has also taught piano and voice at The Beckett School of Music in Kitchener for 18 years and directed the Inter-Mennonite Children’s Choir for 7 years.
Judith is currently in her final year of the Masters of Arts Community Music Programme at Wilfrid Laurier University. She is delighted to be a member of the Artistic Staff of the Toronto Children’s Chorus.
Carole Anderson received her Bachelor of Music at the University of Western Ontario where she studied choral conducting with Deral Johnson. During her 35-year teaching career Carole taught music at all grade levels and was a music consultant in both Brant and Peel Districts. Recently retired from the Peel District School Board,
Carole taught for the last 15 years at Thomas Street Middle School in Mississauga where her choral and concert band ensembles were recognized for excellence at local, regional and national festivals. At the 2011 National Music Festival of Canada the Thomas Street Middle School Chamber Choir was awarded First Place in the David Ouchterlony class and was selected by the adjudicators to receive the Paul J. Bourret Grand Choral Award. In the fall of 2012 Carole was honoured by the Ontario Music Educators’ Association with an Honorary Life Membership.
Since 2006 Carole has been an Associate Conductor with the Toronto Children’s Chorus and currently conducts Training Choir 1, Training Choir II and Cantare, the junior half of the Toronto Children’s Chorus Main Choir. Carole acknowledges the kind encouragement and mentorship of the Toronto Children’s Chorus founder Jean Ashworth Bartle, whose workshops she first attended in 1982, and the inspirational vision and guidance of current artistic director, Elise Bradley.
This season marks Elise Bradley’s eleventh year as Artistic Director of the 300-member Toronto Children’s Chorus. A passionate musician, award-winning conductor and educator, and internationally respected adjudicator and clinician, Ms. Bradley served for many years as the Head of Department, Music, at Westlake Girls’ High School in Auckland, New Zealand. She was also a soloist and member of New Zealand’s national Chamber Choir, Voices NZ.Since arriving in Toronto in 2007, Ms. Bradley has garnered praise for her artistry and for her deep commitment to children and the art of treble choral music. She has led the Chamber Choir on eight international tours – Austria, the Czech Republic and Germany (2009), Brazil and Argentina (2011), Sweden (2012), South Africa (2013), Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland (2015), Boston and New York City (2016), Bahamas (2016) and Spain, to perform at the World Symposium on Choral Music in Barcelona (2017) – and three provincial tours: Ottawa (2012), Montreal and Ottawa (2013), and Halifax, Truro, and Amherst (2014). In late June 2018, she will travel with the Chamber Choir to St. John’s, Newfoundland, to perform once again at ‘Podium’, Choral Canada’s biennial national conference.
Under her direction, the choir’s latest CD, Sounzscapes: From Our Lands, was named ‘Outstanding Choral Recording’ by Choral Canada in 2014. She has also commissioned Canadian composers to write new works to be premiered by the Toronto Children’s Chorus and has prepared the Main Choir to perform as guests of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and Youth Orchestra, Opera Atelier, the Bach Consort, Soundstreams, and the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir.
Ms. Bradley receives many invitations to work with choirs and present at conferences around the world, including Choralfest 2017 hosted by the Australian National Choral Association (Brisbane), Dozan wa Awtar children’s choir (Amman, Jordan), the inaugural New Zealand National Children’s Choir (Auckland), the IFCM World Choral Expo (Macau, China), Kokopelli Choirs (Edmonton, Alberta), and Gondwana Voices (Sydney, Australia). In August 2017, she was honoured to be invited by Choirs Ontario to serve as conductor the Ontario Youth Choir during its celebrated tour to Ottawa, Cobourg, and Toronto, and next March she looks forward to adjudicating and conducting choirs in Hong Kong.
Employee of the month 13 times in a row.
We love Mary