Simmie non-binary soprano who is looking to change the narrative by creating art that questions life and power. Simmie encourages audiences to not be afraid of being uncomfortable, because that is when the best learning happens. Their “why” is because they have something to say. Simmie sees how the world can be improved for all people to live equitably, and they stand strong in these beliefs. Equity amongst people, kindness and compassion, learning from those we don’t understand and fighting for those who cannot fight for themselves. The best way they know how to evoke change is with music. They know this is possible because music has changed them. It has changed their opinions, views, the way they see the world. It is the best way they know to change the world around me. A “why” is subject to change and already has many times, but Simmie has found the importance of their “why” right now.
Mary Gray, Board Chair, began singing alto with the Amadeus Choir in the late 1990’s. Her career in education took her away from singing, but when Mary retired she returned to sing in the choir and joined the board in 2019. She is a community oriented person who enjoys music, sports and social activities.
As board chair Mary shares the organizational development skills and experience she gained in her role as a community leader in independent education.
Mary and her family have a long time commitment to the Amadeus Choir, and have enjoyed years of beautiful choral music.
Alison Roy has been singing with Amadeus Choir since 2000!! Beyond singing, Alison also works as a Music Educator in Toronto. She loves hiking, being outdoors, travelling, and big dogs. Alison has many favourite moments in Amadeus Choir including both the Eastern and Western Canadian tours, singing Bach B-, and most recently the Nipiy’s Soundwalks in Edwards Gardens.
Rayna joined the Amadeus choir in 2022 as the soprano section lead and has loved being a member of the choir over the past year. As a recent graduate of the University of Toronto in Classical Voice Performance, she is currently working as a freelance artist in Toronto and has recently performed in the South African production Broken Chord presented by TO Live. Outside of choral music, she loves to enjoy music through dance, often attending salsa and bachata socials in the city. A favourite Amadeus memory of Rayna’s was performing Howard Shore’s Academy Award-winning score of Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring in collaboration with the FILMharmonic orchestra.
Bio coming soon!
Phil Lam is a serial starter of businesses. His current venture is Ploopy Corporation, a manufacturer of open source consumer electronics, where he spends his time on tasks ranging from overall strategy to designing new products and making sure the factory robots are humming away happily. A career running startups has left Phil with an eclectic collection of skills, many of which are also useful in a choral setting.
While relatively new to the choral music community, Phil has more than 20 years of experience in ensemble music making, mostly as a clarinetist in orchestral and chamber settings. He is the winner of the 2013 Hart House K. Alan Turner Prize for his performance of Aaron Copland’s Clarinet Concerto.
Frank Samuels joined the Amadeus Choir after attending and being amazed by the choir and the TSO performing Faure’s Requiem with the TSO in 2018. He joined the choir and then the Board soon thereafter and has been waiting as a member of the B2 section for the opportunity to sing the requiem as part of the Amadeus Choir. His wishes come true later this year. Frank is an educator and having worked in the private school system is currently a Principal in the Durham District School Board. Frank is a community builder and his interests range from music to magic, cooking and creating. He enjoys friend raising and fund raising with the Amadeus Choir and all the opportunities that this wonderful musical community offers.
Ilana Lucas, Board Secretary, has been singing soprano with the Amadeus Choir since 2010. When she’s not singing, Ilana spends her time as a theatre critic for BroadwayWorld and Intermission Magazine, and as a freelance dramaturg and playwright. She is Vice President of the Canadian Theatre Critics Association. She has been an English professor at Centennial College’s School of Advancement since 2011. Her favourite Amadeus memory is the “Music of the Spheres” concert at the Science Centre, complete with astronaut guest performer Roberta Bondar and a simulated shuttle launch.
Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror (German: Nosferatu – Eine Symphonie des Grauens) is a 1922 silent German Expressionist horror film about Count Orlok, a vampire who preys on the wife of his estate agent and brings the plague to their town.The film came to be regarded as an influential masterpiece of cinema and the horror genre.
Allen has been in the Amadeus Choir for the past two years, the first as a volunteer chorister and most recently as one of the tenor leads. During his free time, Allen fully immerses himself in comedy TV, NHL statistics and studying pop music from the 1950s onwards. As a professional songwriter, he regularly releases his music for various media while contributing to local musical projects as a session instrumentalist. He recalls the Tubular Bells performance as his favourite Amadeus memory–heart-melting chords mixed with spooky costumes!
Phyllis Doherty, past-president has sung with Amadeus Choir for 33 years and has been on the Board in various positions for most of these years. Phyllis’ career has been in accounting and doing volunteer bookkeeping for charities mostly for her church. Phyllis loves to sing and is involved with multiple choirs. Her favourite thing about being in Amadeus Choir is the community and friendships along with the opportunity to sing marvellous music.
Deantha Edmunds is Canada’s first Inuk professional classical singer, and an award-winning performer. An urban Inuk, creator, and mentor, Deantha aims to empower Indigenous people and share their stories. She is currently based in St. John’s, Newfoundland & Labrador.
Deantha was longlisted for the prestigious 2023 Kenojuak Ashevak Memorial Award from the Inuit Art Foundation. Her work has international reverberation as well as community integrity. From solo and internationally broadcast performances for His Holiness, Pope Francis in Iqaluit to touring one-woman shows about the lives and legacy of the Beothuk in Newfoundland, and from contributing to large choral gatherings to teaching one-on-one music lessons, Deantha is committed to bringing her music and skill to developing deeper understandings about reciprocal collaboration amongst Indigenous peoples, their musics and settlers. She brings a level of professional excellence to Canada’s Indigenous art scene that is unique and important.
Deantha has released three albums of music. The most recent from 2022 is her Music NL award-winning solo album Connections. Her contribution to Messiah/Complex with Against the Grain Theatre and Toronto Symphony Orchestra helped garner the production a 2022 JUNO nomination. Deantha was one of the recipients of the 2020 Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in the Opera Division in Two Odysseys: Pimooteewin / Gállábártnit, produced by Soundstreams/Signal Theatre/Sámi National Theatre Beaivváš.
Actively working on creating original operatic work, contributing to other Indigenous productions, and mentoring young Indigenous artists, Deantha sings her heart out and turns heads across Canada and the world.
Andrew Downing is a double bassist, composer/arranger, bandleader and music educator living in Toronto, Canada. He composes and arranges music for his own groups as well as various chamber groups, world music groups, jazz groups and orchestras in Canada. His compositions have been played by a vast and varied array of musical groups such as The Vancouver Bach Choir, Jayme Stone (banjo), Ensemble Made in Canada (piano quartet), Ensemble Polaris (Nordic/classical folk group), Toronto Masque Theatre (‘new’ early music) and VC2 (cello duo). He has arranged music for the Art of Time Ensemble, Patricia O’Callaghan, The Queer Songbook Orchestra, The Gryphon Trio, John Southworth and world music ensemble Kuné. He was recently nominated for the Louis Applebaum Composition award through the Ontario Arts Council.
As a bandleader, he has recorded ten of his own albums, four of which been nominated for Juno Awards, two of which won.
He is currently teaching materials, ear training, improvisation, double bass, composition, and ensemble classes at the University of Toronto.
Midori Marsh is an American-Canadian soprano, hailing from Cleveland, Ohio. She received her Bachelors in Music at Wilfrid Laurier in 2017 and her Masters in Opera at the University of Toronto in 2020. In fall 2019 she took home both first prize and audience choice award at the Canadian Opera Company’s Centre Stage competition and is currently in her third year with the COC’s young artist ensemble. While at the COC she has been seen as Nella in Gianni Schicchi, the soprano soloist in Mozart’s Requiem in collaboration with Against the Grain Theatre, Annina in La Traviata, Papagena in Die Zauberflote and Frasquita in Carmen. A “polished and poised performer”, with “a truly gorgeous, expressive sound” she is a known quantity in the Canadian Opera scene. In 2020 she was named one of the CBC’s “30 hot Classical Musicians under 30” and in 2022 she was nominated for a Dora Mavor Moore Award for her portrayal of Papagena in the COC’s 2022 production of The Magic Flute. She was a semifinalist in the Metropolitan Opera’s 2023 Laffont competition and a 2023 Lotte Lenya finalist.
Canadian tenor Andrew Haji is one of the most sought-after voices on both the operatic and concert stages across North America and Europe. Recent highlights include his debut at the Edinburgh International Festival as Jonathan in Handel’s Saul, Beethoven’s Ninth with the Milwaukee Symphony, and a program of Bach Cantatas with both l’Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal and Boston’s prestigious Handel + Haydn Society. This spring, Andrew returns to the National Arts Centre in Ottawa for Mozart’s Don Giovanni, l’Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal for Haydn’s Creation, and debuts at the National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts (Taiwan) with the Kaohsiung Symphony Orchestra as Nemorino in Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore.
With a voice described as “honey-coloured and warm, yet robust and commanding” (The Globe and Mail), baritone Tyler Duncan has performed worldwide to great acclaim in both opera and concert repertoire. Recent engagements include Handel’s Messiah with TENET Vocal Artists, Schubert’s Winterreise with the Aspect Chamber Music Series and selections from J.S. Bach’s Christmas Oratorio with Early Music Vancouver. In 2022, Mr Duncan will appear with Arizona Early Music in Handel’s Apollo e Dafne and Bach’s Ich habe genug, join Vancouver Symphony in Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, returns to the Handel and Haydn Society in C.P.E. Bach’s Magnificat, re-join Music of the Baroque as the bass soloist in Haydn’s Creation and reprise Bach’s Ich habe genug with Mercury Chamber Orchestra.
Michael originates from Kemptville, Ontario a small town south of Ottawa. Now living in Toronto he is a Tenor Section Lead for the Amadeus Choir and St. Andrew’s United Church Choir. He is studying voice with Catherine Robbin at York University. In his spare time Michael hopes to become as good a hockey player as now-retired tenor Ed Wiens.
Kai Leung holds a Bachelor of Music from the University of Toronto, where he studied voice and composition. He is the Artistic Director of MSC Choirs, where he conducts Concreamus, Sehnsucht, and Frisson. He also serves as the Associate Conductor with the Orpheus Choir of Toronto, the Assistant Conductor with the Toronto Youth Choir and TCC’s Coro, and as the Assistant Conductor and Composer in Residence at St. Clements Church. Kai sings baritone with the TMSingers and the Schola Cantorum of St. Basil’s Catholic Church. Kai is also the conductor and choir manager of the Toronto Festival Singers, the professional synagogue choir at the Song Shul.
Kai is the 2020 recipient of the prestigious William and Phyllis Waters Graduating Award from the University of Toronto Faculty of Music. This award is presented each year to one graduating student from any stream who is deemed to have the greatest potential to make an important contribution to the field of Music. Kai has also been awarded the 2019 Arthur Plettner Scholarship, the 2019 Richard I Thorman Award, and the 2018 Lloyd Bradshaw Prize.
During his undergraduate years, Kai studied composition with Roger Bergs. His works have been performed by the Vancouver Chamber Choir, Resonance Youth Choir, Jokolo, Mississauga Tranzzit, Concreamus Chamber Choir, the Vancouver Youth Choir, the Mississauga Summer Chorale, the Oakville choir for Children and Youth, and the Orpheus Choir of Toronto.
Kai also works as an audio engineer and video editor. He enjoys using his multi-disciplinary skills to find creative intersections between musical creation, the choral arts, teaching, and technology. Over the past three years, he assisted 20 choral organizations in creating 180+ projects for digital dissemination.
Of Cree descent, Winnipeg composer Andrew Balfour is an innovative composer, conductor, singer, and sound designer with a large body of choral, instrumental, electro-acoustic and orchestral works including Take the Indian (a vocal reflection on missing children), Empire Étrange: The Death of Louis Riel, Bawajigaywin (Vision Quest) and Manitou Sky, an orchestral tone poem. His new Indigenous opera, Mishaboozʼs Realm, was commissioned by LʼAtelier Lyrique de l’Opéra de Montréal and Highlands Opera Workshop.
Andrew is also the founder and Artistic Director of the vocal group Camerata Nova, now in its 22nd year of offering a concert series in Winnipeg. Andrew has become increasingly passionate about music education and outreach, particularly on northern reserves and in inner-city Winnipeg schools where he has worked on behalf of the National Arts Centre, Camerata Nova, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and various Winnipeg school divisions.
Steven Lambke is a writer of songs and poems. He has been described by Leanne Betasamosake Simpson as “a working musician – that is, someone who is embedded in, responsible to, and who holds space for a community of artists that create against the odds of the music industry, without contracts, awards, and acolytes.” His most recent album Volcano Volcano was saluted by Pitchfork as “a battle cry for romantic radicals.”
Steven Lambke is also a member of the Constantines: young hearts be free tonight. He sings in the punk band Spider Bite and will see you in the (mosh) pit. In 2009, Steven Lambke and Daniel Romano co-founded the independent record label You’ve Changed Records. From 2017-2021 was the Creative Director of Sappyfest in Sackville, NB.
Steven Lambke lives in Toronto, ON or Sackville, NB depending on the season.
Emily Hiemstra (b.1991) is a real life viola mom. She is a violist, composer and mom to three boys under 5.
A JUNO nominated composer with music that has been deemed “superb” and “extremely resonant” (George Elliott Clarke, Canadian Poet Laureate), she has had her music performed at festivals throughout the UK, USA and Canada. Such festivals include the Impulse New Music Festival (Los Angeles, USA) and the Kirby Laing Centre for Public Theology (Cambridge, UK). Her orchestral and operatic background as a performer has deepened her understanding of colour and texture which she readily applies in her compositions to create clear and innovative works. Her desire is to create relevant and engaging music for the next generation and future generations to come.
A dedicated community member, Emily creates opportunities for new music such as the New Works for Solo Viola Project. She also strives to bring new music to a wider community through the In The Shadow of Your Wings concert series and performing family-friendly chamber concerts around the GTA. She also on the board of the Association of Canadian Women Composers as the Outreach & Publicity Officer.
As a violist she has been heard on CBC Radio’s About Time with Tom Allen (2022), performed at festivals around the world including Banff Centre for the Arts (Banff, CAN) and the German-Scandinavian Youth Orchestra (Berlin, GER). She performed the Stamitz Viola Concerto with the Charis Collective in 2017, and has played with ensembles such as the Canadian Opera Company and the Magisterra Soloists.
You can find her playing concerts around London, ON or writing music when her boys are napping.
Adebe DeRango-Adem is a writer and former attendee of the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics (Naropa University), where she mentored with poets Anne Waldman and Amiri Baraka. She is the author of three previous full-length poetry books to date: Ex Nihilo, a finalist for the Dylan Thomas Prize; Terra Incognita, nominated for the Pat Lowther Memorial Award; and The Unmooring. A poem from The Unmooring was featured in the 2019 Poem-In-Your-Pocket anthology, co-created by the League of Canadian Poets and the Academy of American Poets. Adebe served as the 2019-20 Barbara Smith Writer-in-Residence with Twelve Literary Arts (Cleveland, Ohio) and was selected by Sonia Sanchez as the winner of the 2021 Boston Review Annual Poetry Contest. She lives in Toronto.
Poet Gavin Barrett is the author of Understan (Mawenzi House, 2020), a CBC Books recommendation. He has been published in Joao Roque Literary Journal, The Beacon, Fresh Voices, Ranjit Hoskoté’s anthology of 14 contemporary Indian poets, Reasons for Belonging (Viking Penguin, India); The Pen India Journal; The Folio; The Independent; The Toronto Review of Contemporary Writing Abroad; and Bombay Poetry Circle’s Poeisis and I to I. He curates the Tartan Turban Secret Readings, which promote IBPOC writers, serves on the Canadian Authors Association (Toronto) Advisory Board and is Board Chair for the immigrant journalism non-profit New Canadian Media. He is also a creative entrepreneur. He is the founder of Barrett and Welsh, a Toronto agency that uses branding and advertising to create inclusion and access for racialized Canadians and persons with disabilities.
The Amadeus Choir’s Artistic Director, Kathleen Allan, is equally recognized for her work as a conductor and a composer. Her compositions have been commissioned, performed and recorded by ensembles throughout the Americas and Europe and have been performed at two World Symposiums on Choral Music. From Carnegie Hall, Massey Hall, and Canada’s National Arts Centre, to concert halls in Helsinki, Vienna, Buenos Aires, New York, St. John’s, and Los Angeles, Ms. Allan’s compositions receive dozens of performances annually. Her work is published by Boosey & Hawkes (New York), Cypress Choral Music (Vancouver), and she is a member composer of MusicSpoke.com (Kansas City).
As a conductor and soprano, Ms. Allan is a strong proponent of new music. She has commissioned over 15 works for choir and has premiered over two dozen works for solo voice. As co-artistic director of Arkora, a 16-piece electric vocal chamber consort dedicated to blurring lines between the music of our time and masterworks from the ancient repertoire, she works regularly with composers and multi-disciplinary artists.
In addition to her roles with the Amadeus Choir and Arkora, Ms. Allan is the Artistic Director of Canzona, Winnipeg’s professional Baroque choir, and a Visiting Professor of Choral Music at Western University. She holds a bachelor’s degree in composition from the University of British Columbia and a master’s degree in conducting from Yale University.
Luke Hathaway is a trans poet, librettist, and performer who lives in Kjipuktuk/Halifax, and teaches at Saint Mary’s University. His mythopoeic word-worlds have given rise to new musical and/or theatrical works by Colin Labadie, Benton Roark, Zachary Wadsworth, James Rolfe, and DaPoPo Theatre. His books have been recognized on ‘Best of’ lists in New York Times, the Times (U.K.), The National Post, and the Globe and Mail, as well as on NPR and the CBC. He frequently collaborates with singer/scholar Daniel Cabena as part of the metamorphosing ensemble ANIMA. He is a member of the League of Canadian Poets and the Writers’ Union of Canada
Tristan Zaba started as bass section lead with the Amadeus Choir in 2022 and is delighted to be returning again this coming season. He works professionally in a wide variety of musical capacities including as a singer, composer, production worker, multi-instrumentalist, and curator. Some of the most notable recent developments in Tristan’s career have included his beginning a music PhD at York University in 2022 and his co-founding of new vocal music concert series Slow Rise Music alongside McKenzie Warriner in 2021. A favourite Amadeus memory of Zaba’s is his first concert with the choir singing Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells at Metropolitan United.
Amanda Singh is a Toronto-based Soprano, who from a young age, has had a passion for all types of music. Throughout high school she began performing classical music as a soloist as well as chorister. She went on to gain her Bachelor of Fine Arts in classical voice from York University as well as her Masters of Vocal performance from the University of Toronto.
While pursuing these studies she stayed an active member of different choral communities. Some notable credits include Bach Chamber Youth Choir, York University’s Chamber Choir and Concert Choir as well as the Ellison Canadian Honour Choir. Currently, she performs with RESOUND choir and the Amadeus Choir of greater Toronto.
Her love and passion for choral music is what made her pursue the Choir Coordinator position with the Amadeus Choir where she hopes that her position will continue bringing the enjoyment of music to the community!
Jennifer Petrilli is grateful to have a career that spans more than 20 years working in a sector that she loves – the arts! She is passionate about helping arts organisations of all shapes and sizes thrive by attracting more audience members with solid marketing strategies, increasing budgets through grant writing and targeted fundraising, and making things run smoothly with adept project management.
After receiving her degree in Journalism, Jennifer began her career with ten years at The Royal Conservatory of Music culminating in the role of Marketing Manager for The Learning Through the Arts division. Since then, Jennifer has gone on to lead marketing and communications strategies with a variety of performing arts and arts education organisations, specialising in e-newsletter creation and a variety of other digital marketing platforms.
Jennifer loves working with the dynamic team at the Amadeus Choir and is blown away by their dedicated and skilled group of volunteers, the inspired artistic leadership, and the ambitious and fun projects she has worked on. She is also a lifelong performer and has sung in choirs, rock bands, bossa nova trios and community theatre productions.
Canadian pianist Joy Lee enjoys a multi-faceted career as a collaborator, teacher, soloist, adjudicator, and scholar. She is a passionate advocate of music and has performed at events and venues ranging from the Canadian Embassy in Washington D.C. (with Nathaniel Dett Chorale as part of the celebration of the Inauguration of US President Barack Obama, 2009) to the Banff Centre for the Arts, to performance spaces in Inuvik and Yellowknife in Canada’s Northwest Territories.
A student of celebrated pedagogue Marietta Orlov, Joy has a strong background in solo piano (BMus and MMus from the University of Toronto), having worked with some of the leading pianists currently active. But Joy’s love of the voice and its beautiful literature led her to the role of collaborative pianist, and the completion of a Masters in collaborative piano and chamber music (on full scholarship) at the University of Michigan, where she studied with one of North America’s pre-eminent collaborative pianists, Martin Katz. Joy has since worked with many of the leading vocal pianists and coaches, including the late Martin Isepp (Juilliard), Graham Johnson (Royal Academy of Music London), Warren Jones (Manhattan), the late Jessye Norman and Shirley Verrett (Michigan), and others. These wonderful opportunities have leant Joy a manifold existence as a musician; she has experience not only as a solo and collaborative pianist but also as a conductor, a vocal/instrumental coach, and a music director; in these capacities she has been involved in productions as wide-ranging as Rossini’s La Cenerentola and Johann Strauss’s Die Fledermaus to Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods and Kurt Weil’s Lady in the Dark.
Joy is a lecturer and piano faculty at Tyndale University and is equally dedicated to educating a new generation of musicians. Additionally, she is in high demand as a vocal coach at both the University of Toronto and Tyndale university. She also works and performs with choirs such as MacMillan Singers (University of Toronto), Tyndale Community Choir (Tyndale University) as well as North Toronto Songbirds. Prior to these engagements, Joy collaborated with the Nathaniel Dett Chorale (2006-2014), and held a faculty position at the Albion College in Michigan where she taught piano courses and served as a collaborative pianist and vocal coach. She has also worked and participated in such festivals as the Banff Centre for the Arts, Centre d’Arts Orford, the Pine Mountain Music Festival, Domaine Forget Académie internationale de musique et de danse (2017), RomeSmarts (2018), L’Académie Francis Poulenc (2019) and
University of Toronto’s Choral Conducting Symposium (2022). Joy is a DMA (Doctor of Musical Arts) Candidate in the Collaborative Piano Programme at the University of Toronto under the supervision of the Head of the Collaborative Piano Programme, Professor Steven Philcox.
Soprano Maeve Palmer and Joy Lee, voice-piano duo earned second-prize in the 2017 Eckhardt-Gramatté National Music Competition and, under its auspices, were invited to tour four Canadian cities sharing their passion for contemporary music. Joy is a winner of the prestigious 2018 Gwendolyn Williams Koldofsky Prize.
An experienced conductor and educator, Nila Rajagopal is passionate about bringing people together through music. She is delighted to join the Amadeus Choir’s artistic team as Associate Conductor! Nila’s collaborative spirit has granted her various positions within the choral world. Highly sought after for her choral expertise, she was recently appointed Conductor of Training Choir II for the Toronto Children’s Chorus and spends the summer months working with the Mississauga Summer Chorale as Associate Conductor. She has previously held positions with the St. Lawrence Choir in Montreal and the Oakville Choir for Children and Youth. Increasingly recognized for her promising musical excellence, Nila was the recipient of the 2016 Doreen Rao Choral Award, the 2019 Iwan Edwards Award, the 2019 Ken Fleet Choral Conducting Scholarship and most recently, the 2020 Helen Hall Prize.
A passionate lifelong learner, Nila holds a Master of Music degree in Choral Conducting from McGill University, where she studied under the tutelage of Dr. Jean-Sébastien Vallée. She previously earned a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Toronto, where she studied voice with internationally renowned soprano Nathalie Paulin, and choral conducting with Dr. Hilary Apfelstadt, Dr. Lori-Anne Dolloff and Zimfira Poloz. Committed to the future of choral music in Canada, Nila is also Office Coordinator at Choral Canada, Canada’s National Arts Service Organization for choral music.
Our season finale is a project that has been years in the making: the premiere of a new major work about Indigenous water sovereignty from Cree cellist and composer Cris Derksen, preceded by an immersive outdoor prelude performance.