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Toronto-based violinist and educator Alessia is recognized for her thoughtful musicality and instinctive interpretations. Described as “one of Toronto’s finest violinists” (Snapd Beaches/Danforth), she is the founder and Director of North York String Academy, co-founder and violinist of the Bedford Trio, and concertmaster of the North York Concert Orchestra. Alessia has years of teaching experience providing private violin instruction to students of all ages and levels, and currently teaches individual violin lessons and curates the group class curriculum at North York String Academy. Alessia is committed to teaching each student according to their individual needs and learning styles, and has taught students as early as 4 years old to university students to adult amateur violinists. Many of her students have been accepted to arts secondary schools and universities for music performance and education.
As an active soloist, chamber musician with the Bedford Trio (Trio in Residence at the University of Toronto from 2018 – 2021 and current Guest Artist and Jurors in Residence for the yearly UofT Piano Trio Composition Competition), and concertmaster with NYCO, Alessia is deeply committed to artistic excellence and is passionate about community outreach and education. She loves to share her passion and love for music with the students she is privileged to teach.
Alessia holds her Master’s and Bachelor of Music in Violin Performance (MMus, BMus) from the University of Toronto, studying with Dr. Timothy Ying and Annalee Patipatanakoon of the Gryphon Trio. She also holds her Associate of the Royal Conservatory of Toronto (ARCT) in Violin Performance, is an alumnus of the RCM’s Young Artists’s Performance Academy and the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra, and has attended numerous summer study programs including Fellowships at the Bowdoin International Music Festival and the Toronto Summer Music Festival, Tafelmusik Baroque Summer Institute, Orford Academy, and the Domaine Forget Academy. For her pedagogical training, Alessia has attended the Indiana University Violin and Viola Teacher Retreat and the University of Toronto Wind Conducting Symposium. Alessia was a finalist in the 2018 Anton Rubinstein Chamber Music Competition in Dusseldorf, Germany, and was the recipient of numerous awards at the University of Toronto. She has been a featured soloist with numerous Toronto orchestras, and continues to collaborate with performers and educators across the Greater Toronto Area and the United States.
Eros Tang is an engaging artist in Toronto’s music scene. Eros has been concertmaster of a number of orchestras, including the OU Symphony Orchestra, University of Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Conservatory Orchestra, the North York Concert Orchestra, and the CAST Philomusica Orchestra. As an avid chamber musician, Eros has engaged audiences in many performance settings and has worked with members of renowned ensembles, including the St. Petersburg String Quartet, the Pražák String Quartet, and the Juilliard String Quartet. As a member of the Chiron String Quartet, Eros was awarded the First Prize in the Felix Galimir Chamber Music Competition at the University of Toronto. In addition, he has participated and performed at various music festivals including the Festival Pablo Casals in France, Collegium Musicum Festival in Germany, Orford Music Festival, and the Toronto Summer Music Festival. Eros has founded an ensemble NewNote Music that performs and collaborates in creative settings to reach new audiences.
Eros has many years of experience teaching in both private and group settings on the violin, viola and piano. He has attended Suzuki Level and RCM teacher training workshops and worked with renowned pedagogues including Kelly Parkins-Lindstrom and Margot Jewell. He has organized and coached at local summer music festivals for string classes and chamber ensembles.
Eros is currently completing his pursuit of a Doctorate of Music diploma at the University of Oklahoma with the guidance of Min-Jeong Koh and Gregory Lee. He has attained the Artist Diploma at The Glenn Gould School and his Bachelor and Masters of Music in Performance at the University of Toronto under the tutelage of Erika Raum, Annalee Patipatanakoon, Teng Li, and Timothy Ying. He has received his ARCT Performance Certificate in both violin and piano and has had many years of experience teaching both instruments in private and group settings.
Aubrey Tham is a multi-instrumentalist music educator and is on faculty at the North York String Academy as a collaborative pianist. Aubrey received her Masters of Music in Music Education from the renowned Boston Conservatory at Berklee in Boston, MA, immediately following completion of her Bachelor of Music at the University of Toronto, where she studied classical voice with Patrick Raftery and Krisztina Szabo. She left her post as a public school orchestra and choral director in Boston in 2018 to continue her career here in the school system and with her private music studio. Her most recent engagements include teaching middle school at the TDSB, preparing newly immigrated students for the Canadian school system through the JIAS, singing as soprano lead for the St. Ansgar Lutheran Church, and collaborating and performing with her colleagues in the GTA.
The Bedford Trio was founded in 2016 by award winning instrumentalists Alessia Disimino, Andrew Ascenzo, and Jialiang Zhu and is based in Toronto, Canada. In November 2018, the Bedford Trio were finalists in the Anton Rubinstein International Chamber Music Competition in Dusseldorf, Germany. The Bedford Trio is the first trio to be selected for the Irene R. Miller Piano Trio Residency at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Music, in residence since 2018, and has performed in Canada, the United States, and Europe. As part of the 2020/21 academic year, they adjudicated the first ever piano trio composition competition at the University of Toronto and will be premiering the winning piece by Katharine Petkovsky as part of the Faculty’s New Music Festival in 2021.
During the pandemic, the Bedford Trio has performed virtually at several international events, including the season opening gala concert at the Tartini Conservatory in Trieste, Italy, the 2020 Refugee Student Fund Benefit Concert at Innis College at the University of Toronto, “Concert in the Cloud,” a virtual concert in China celebrating Beethoven’s 250th birthday, and at Music in the Atrium at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre in Toronto.
Cellist. Performer. Conductor. Composer. Musical Director. Artistic Director. Teacher. Video Producer. Audio Engineer. Multi-Instrumentalist. Dr. Andrew Ascenzo is redefining what it means to be a professional musician in the 21st Century. As one of Toronto’s most versatile musicians, Andrew embodies a passion for presenting a myriad of musical styles to diverse audiences across Canada. He performs regularly as a soloist and is a member of the Bedford Trio, currently the Irene R. Miller Piano Trio in Residence at the University of Toronto and finalists of the Anton Rubinstein International Chamber Music Competition. In August 2019, Andrew recorded, designed, and performed the electronic component for the world premiere of Rob Kapilow’s recent composition Aprés Maman at Ottawa Chamberfest.
As a conductor, Andrew has worked with orchestras and musical theatre groups including York University and Etobicoke Musical Productions, and most recently was the Musical Director and Keyboard/Conductor for Brampton Music Theatre’s Fall 2019 production of Mamma Mia! Andrew is the Artistic Director of Music in the Atrium, a weekly concert series, now in its 25th season, at Toronto’s Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. Andrew is designing a new genre of concert with renowned music therapist Dr. SarahRose Black, combining live performance with narratives of the power of music in health and well-being, which can now be found on YouTube on the channel Pulse Music Media (www.youtube.com/pulsemusicmedia). Andrew is a graduate of the Doctor of Musical Arts program at the University of Toronto and recipient of the Tecumseh Sherman Rogers Graduating Award, the highest honour awarded by the Faculty of Music. Andrew studied with Shauna Rolston, and pursued a research interest in repertoire for solo cello and electronics. Andrew is currently a cello instructor and video producer at U of T’s Faculty of Music, as well as the administrator for the Gryphon Trio, a video producer for Ottawa Chamberfest, and an instructor for the Room 217 Foundation.
A multifaceted musician, pianist Jialiang Zhu passionately embraces performance, teaching, and collaboration. She is currently pursuing her Doctoral of Musical Arts in Collaborative Piano under the tutelage of Prof. Lydia Wong at the University of Toronto, where she is a course instructor for Keyboard Skills and a teacher in the U of T Piano Pedagogy Program. Previously, she taught at Toronto’s WizzKidz Music School and led keyboard improvisation workshops at the Yamaha (Canada) Junior Original Composition Summer Camp. Jialiang won the 2018 U of T DMA Recital Competition and received the Gwendolyn Williams Koldofsky Prize in Accompanying.
As a featured soloist, she performed in Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy with conductor Trevor Dearham and York Chamber Ensemble. She specializes in the interpretation of Chinese art song and has collaborated with both native and non-native Chinese-speaking vocalists to promote songs by composers from diverse Chinese-speaking communities around the globe. She is a co-founder of Bedford Trio with violinist Alessia Disimino and cellist Andrew Ascenzo. Having appeared in major music festivals across Canada, Bedford Trio is a champion of music by young emerging composers and is dedicated to bringing music to a diverse audience including communities with special needs.
Toronto-native Rosalind Zhang is a cellist who adapts to her ever-changing surroundings. Raised by a family of professional musicians, she spent her formative years immersed creatively, having trained in acting, improvisation, movement, visual arts, creativity, and dance. She obtained certification as an Associate of the Royal Conservatory in Toronto in Piano Performance before she officially accepted her admission to the University of Toronto Faculty of Music, majoring in cello alone. After receiving her Bachelor degree and an Advanced Certificate in Performance, she moved to New York and continued her cello studies at the Manhattan School of Music.
Past performances have taken her across China & Canada; she also joined the China National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA) on their 2017 US Tour. The year after, Rosalind performed at the sold-out “Ocean of Dreams” event at the 10,000-seat Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai. One can hear her cello lines in the 2019 critically-acclaimed Chinese animated film, “White Snake”. Rosalind is also the creator of a Music History program for students in Canada and China, which currently features presentations spanning from music of the Stone Age to Rachmaninoff and Ravel. When she is not making music, Rosalind cultivates her other interests. She is an aspiring polyglot who wants to see, discover, and make more connections in the world. She is chooses to be a lifelong learner and strives for a zero-waste and plant-based lifestyle.
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