Britton Riley, cello (Artistic Director)
Canadian-American cellist Britton Riley enjoys a diverse musical career as a performer, teacher, artistic director, and recording engineer. Formerly the Assistant Principal Cellist of the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, he returned to Toronto in 2015 to join the Toronto Symphony Orchestra at the age of twenty-seven. Dr. Riley has recorded for film and radio for Sony Pictures, CBC Radio 2, Classical KUSC, and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s Live from Orchestra Hall series and has performed throughout the world in venues including Carnegie Hall, Boston Symphony Hall, Chicago’s Orchestra Hall, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Barcelona’s Palau de la Musica Catalana, Smetana Hall in Prague, Wiener Konzertaus, Liszt Haus Weimar, and Temppeliaukio Church in Helsinki among others.
Dr. Riley has received recognition throughout North America in the National Foundation for the Advancement in the Arts Awards (now YoungArts) and Boston Symphony Orchestra’s Concerto Competition as well as the Sphinx and Hellam Competitions. He has performed at music festivals throughout North America and Europe including the Banff Summer Music Festival, New York String Orchestra Seminar, Music by the Sea, Le Domaine Forget Chamber Music Festival, Weimarer Meisterkurse, St. Lawrence String Quartet Seminar, and the Sunflower Music Festival, and regularly appears on chamber music series throughout Canada.
After receiving degrees in Cello Performance and Music Industry from the University of Southern California, Dr. Riley went on to earn his Master of Music and Doctorate degrees from the University of Michigan. During his graduate studies, he performed regularly with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and served as teaching assistant to Richard Aaron. Other primary influences have included Eleonore Schoenfeld, Raphael Wallfisch, Desmond Hoebig, Colin Carr, Gilda Barston, and Nancy Hair. Dr. Riley has performed in master classes for many of the great living pedagogues including Steven Doane, Timothy Eddy, Gary Hoffman, Hans Jorgen-Jensen, Paul Katz, and Miklós Perényi. Following his graduation from the University of Michigan, he was named a Rebanks Fellow at The Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto in 2013.
In addition to maintaining a private teaching studio in Toronto, Dr. Riley has taught at Mount Royal University, The Royal Conservatory of Music, The National Academy Orchestra of Canada, Calgary Youth Orchestras, and the Alberta Youth Orchestra Symposium at the Banff Centre. He is the founder of Chamber Music @ NewPark, an exciting series in Ithaca, NY which provides a unique, relaxed, and stimulating environment for musicians to meet, collaborate, and share with the community, aiming to create a welcoming concert experience for all ages.
Click here to visit Britton's official website.
Joseph Johnson, cello (2017)
Cellist Joseph Johnson has been heard throughout the world as a soloist, chamber musician and educator. His festival appearances include performances in all classical genres at the American festivals of Santa Fe, Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society, Bard, Cactus Pear, Grand Teton, and Music in the Vineyards as well as the Pacific Music Festival in Sapporo, Japan, and the Virtuosi Festival in Brazil.
Highlights of Joseph Johnson's 2016/2017 season include concerto performances of the Schumann Cello Concerto with the Toronto Symphony and the North American Premiere of Marc-Andre Dalbavie's Concerto for Cello and Orchestra with the Esprit Orchestra in November. Other concerto appearances include Tan Dun's Elegy: Snow in June with the New World Symphony in Miami, and the Dvorak Concerto at the Lakes Area Festival in August. Joseph made his Edmonton Symphony debut with a performance of the Brahms Double Concerto as well as Miguel del Aguila's Concierto en Tango, a concerto of which Mr. Johnson performed the Canadian Premiere with the Toronto Symphony.
Recital appearances this year include performances at the Faculty of Music Walter hall series at the University of Toronto, the Chatter series in Albuquerque, Placitas Artist Series, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Music in the Vineyards in Napa, Toronto Summer Music Program, Mountain View Music in Calgary, Noon Concert series at the Canadian Opera Company, and the Chamber Players series in Toronto. Mr. Johnson recently celebrated the release of his album with pianist Victor Asuncion featuring the Rachmaninoff and Shostakovich Sonatas. He also completed a special recording project with the G. Schirmer Instrumental Library: The Cello Collection. Published in three volumes by Hal Leonard and featuring companion recordings by Mr. Johnson, this project presents cello literature appropriate for recitals and contests, and is available online and from major music retailers worldwide.
In 2012 Joseph Johnson performed the North American premiere of the Cello Concerto Grosso by Peter Oetvos with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, a co-commission with the Berlin Philharmonic. He recently performed Don Quixote with Sir Andrew Davis and the Toronto Symphony, as well as with Victor Yampolsky and the Northwestern University Symphony Orchestra, performed the Barber Cello Concerto with the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, and performed multiple concerts in the summer of 2016 at the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival. Mr. Johnson is a founding member of the XIA quartet.
Principal cellist of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra since the 2009/2010 season, Mr. Johnson previously held the same position with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. He also serves as principal cellist of the Santa Fe Opera, and during the 2008-2009 season, was acting principal cellist of the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra. Prior to his Milwaukee appointment, Joseph Johnson was a member of The Minnesota Orchestra cello section for eleven years, during which time he performed numerous chamber music works during the orchestra's Sommerfest, both as cellist and pianist. He was a founding member of both the Prospect Park Players and the Minneapolis Quartet, the latter of which was honored with The McKnight Foundation Award in 2005.
A gifted and inspiring teacher, Mr. Johnson is Assistant Professor of Cello at the University of Toronto. He has conducted numerous master classes for a wide range of institutions and ensembles, including The New World Symphony, The Shepherd School of Music at Rice University, Eastman School of Music, Manhattan School of Music, Northwestern University, and the youth orchestras of the Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Chicago, and Toronto symphonies, as well as at The Glenn Gould School of The Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. A graduate of the Eastman School of Music, Joseph Johnson earned his master's degree from Northwestern University. Awards and honours include a performer's certificate from the Eastman School of Music and first prize from the American String Teachers Association National Solo Competition.
Mr. Johnson performs on a magnificent Paolo Castello cello made in 1780 in Genoa.
Matthew Zalkind, cello (2016, 2018)
Praised for his “impressive refinement, eloquent phrasing, and singing tone” by The New York Times, American cellist Matthew Zalkind has performed throughout the United States and abroad as a recitalist, soloist and chamber musician. Mr. Zalkind was awarded First Prize in the Washington International Competition, as well as top prizes in the Beijing International Cello Competition, Korea’s Isang Yun Gyeongnam International Competition and the Juilliard School Competition. He also won distinction as the top-ranked American and one of the final eight concerto semi-finalists in the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow.
As a soloist, Mr. Zalkind has performed concerti with such organizations as the Moscow Chamber Players, the Albany Symphony, the Hongzhou Philharmonic, the Utah Symphony, the Tongyeong International Music Festival Orchestra, the Music Academy of the West Festival Orchestra and the Juilliard Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Zalkind has performed concerti with conductors Ludovic Morlot, Thierry Fischer, Giancarlo Guerrero, David Alan Miller and several others. Mr. Zalkind has given recitals at the Phillips Collection in Washington, DC, the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, MI, Gardner Hall in Salt Lake City, UT, the Moscow Conservatory in Moscow, Russia, The Dame Myra Hess series in Chicago, The Juilliard School in New York, the Kennedy Center’s Terrace Theater in Washington, DC and the Beijing Concert Hall in Beijing, China.
An active chamber musician, Mr. Zalkind has participated in numerous music festivals, including Marlboro and “Musicians from Marlboro” tours, Music from Angel Fire, Olympic Music Festival, Innsbrook Institute, Twickenham Festival, and Ravinia’s “Steans Institute.” Mr. Zalkind has performed chamber music at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, the Kennedy Center’s Terrace Theater, New York’s Alice Tully Hall and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. As a member of the acclaimed Harlem String Quartet, Mr. Zalkind toured internationally with jazz legends Stanley Clarke, Chick Corea and Gary Burton.
Mr. Zalkind has a strong interest in teaching and outreach. He was awarded a Gluck Community Service Fellowship at The Juilliard School for four years, performing concerts at treatment facilities throughout the five boroughs of New York City. Mr. Zalkind is now an Assistant Professor at the University of Denver’s Lamont School of Music. A Salt Lake City native, Mr. Zalkind’s primary mentors included Richard Hoyt, Pegsoon Whang, Timothy Eddy, Richard Aaron, and Hans Jørgen Jensen. Mr. Zalkind has Bachelors and Masters degrees from Juilliard, and a Doctorate of Musical Arts from the University of Michigan.
Mr. Zalkind plays on a rare Italian cello made by Florentine Maker Luigi Piatellini in 1760.
Keith Hamm, viola (2016, 2017, 2018)
A native of Rosebud, Alberta, violist Keith Hamm is rapidly gaining recognition as a dynamic and exciting young presence on the Canadian music scene. Upon completion of his studies, Keith was named Principal Violist of the Canadian Opera Company Orchestra.
Mr. Hamm received his training at The Glenn Gould School of Music under the instruction of Steven Dann, and at the Mount Royal Conservatory under Nicholas Pulos. Other influences include Pinchas Zukerman, Mark Fewer, Richard Lester, the London Haydn Quartet, and especially formative summers at the Chamber Music Programme at Le Domaine Forget. He is an alumnus of the International Musicians Seminar at Prussia Cove; the Sarasota Music Festival; Masterclasses at The Banff Centre, and Morningside Music Bridge. Mr. Hamm has been featured on CBC Radio, Classical 96.3 and has been named one of Canada’s Hottest 30 Classical Musicians Under 30 by CBC.
A dedicated chamber musician, Mr. Hamm has shared the stage with Anssi Kartunnen, Ernst Kovacic, Richard Lester, David Geringas and members of the Smithsonian Chamber Players. Keith has been invited to perform at the Ravinia Festival as guest violist with the Royal Conservatory’s ARC Ensemble; the SweetWater Music Festival in Owen Sound; Ottawa Chamberfest, and at Music By The Sea in Bamfield, BC. He performs regularly on the Skylight Series in Toronto’s Distillery District and is co-founder and producer of Stereo Live at Toronto’s Campbell House Museum. He is also the Founder and Artistic Director of The Rosebud Chamber Music Festival in Rosebud, Alberta.
Mr. Hamm plays on a viola made by Joseph Curtin in 2001.
Rory McLeod, viola (2016, 2017, 2018)
Toronto-based violist Rory McLeod enjoys an exciting and varied career as a chamber musician, orchestral player, artistic director, and teacher. He believes strongly in the connective power of music, and makes it his mission to use music to create real personal connections among people. Combining his passion for chamber music with a knack for getting people together to enjoy it, Rory is the founder and Co-director of Pocket Concerts, an exciting new series that presents top-quality concerts in homes and other intimate spaces in the Toronto area. Outside of his own series, Rory has performed with the Smithsonian Chamber Players in Washington, D.C., and at the SweetWater Festival in Owen Sound, The Toronto Summer Music Festival, The Mendelssohn on Mull Festival, and Le Domaine Forget.
This past summer, Rory pursued his passion for chamber music across the continent, performing in California with The Kensington Piano Quartet, the Archipelago Collective on San Juan Island, WA and the Synapse Ensemble in Nelson, BC. He frequently plays as an extra with The Canadian Opera Company Orchestra, The National Ballet of Canada Orchestra, and The Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony. He served as assistant principal viola of Symphony Nova Scotia from 2010-12, during which time The Chronicle Herald chose him as one of Halifax’s Top 20 20-Somethings. He is a member of “Toronto’s all-star classical band,” the Group of 27 Chamber Orchestra, with whom he has played principal viola.
Aaron Schwebel, violin (2016, 2017, 2018)
Canadian violinist Aaron Schwebel has performed throughout the world in various musical roles. Based in his native Toronto, Aaron currently holds the positions of Concertmaster with the National Ballet of Canada Orchestra and Associate Concertmaster with the Canadian Opera Company. In the past, Aaron has performed as guest concertmaster with the National Arts Centre Orchestra, Les Violons Du Roy, the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra, Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, and Orchestra London.
Aaron has performed as a soloist with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Sinfonia Lanaudiere, the National Ballet of Canada Orchestra, and McGill Symphony Orchestra. An active chamber music performer, he is a founding member of the Toronto-based Penrose Trio, LARK ensemble, and Rosebud Quartet, and has been on faculty as a chamber music coach at Toronto Summer Music Festival and Klezkanada. He has been invited to take part in Ottawa Chamberfest, Montreal Chamber Music Festival, Music By The Sea in Bamfield, British Columbia, and the Rosebud Chamber Music Festival. Aaron is grateful to be playing on a 1753 Joannes Baptista Guadagnini violin, on loan to him from the Canada Council for the Arts Instrument Bank.
Aaron did his studies at McGill University and Indiana University with teachers Jonathan Crow, Yaela Hertz, Mauricio Fuks, and Andre Roy. As a student, Aaron was a member of the Roddick String Quartet, representing Canada at the London International String Quartet Competition, and the Kuttner Quartet, Indiana's resident string quartet. Upon graduation from McGill, Aaron was awarded the Schulich School of Music’s Golden Violin Award.
Jeffrey Dyrda, violin (2018)
Canadian violinist Jeffrey Dyrda has performed across the Americas, Europe and Asia in a variety of musical roles. He has had extensive experience as concertmaster, leading international ensembles such as the Verbier Festival Orchestra, the Lucerne Academy Orchestra, and the New World Symphony. Mr. Dyrda has also appeared as Guest Concertmaster for the Jacksonville Symphony, Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony and the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra.
He has recently concluded three seasons as the second violinist of the Rolston String Quartet, with whom he received the Cleveland Quartet Award, as well as the first prizes of the Banff International String Quartet Competition and the Chamber Music Yellow Springs Competition. They also received prizes at the M-Prize Competition and Bordeaux International String Quartet Competition, and were winners of the Astral Artists 2016 auditions. Mr. Dyrda performed with the Rolston Quartet to audiences in Canada, the United States, Germany, Italy, France, Belgium, England, the Netherlands, and the Czech Republic, as well as at the Spoleto, Cliburn and Banff festivals. Some of their most notable performances have taken place at Esterházy Palace, La Chapelle Musicale Reine Elisabeth, Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, and the Smithsonian Institution.
Mr. Dyrda has appeared on stage with musicians such as Emanuel Ax, Shmuel Ashkenasi, Don Palma, Miguel da Silva, Natalie MacMaster, James Austin Smith, the St. Lawrence String Quartet, the Dover Quartet and the Grammy nominated chamber orchestra A Far Cry. His mentors include Lucy Chapman, Denise Lupien, Andre Roy, Gwen Hoebig, Barry Shiffman, Norman Fischer, James Dunham, Kenneth Goldsmith, and the members of the Brentano and Alban Berg Quartets.
Devoted to social projects and music education, Jeffrey has mentored at the Academia Filarmonica de Medellin in Colombia and served in South Korea as concertmaster for a World Peace Orchestra comprised of musicians from a multitude of UN countries. He has taught at Virginia Tech’s Intensive Chamber Music Seminar, and he holds degrees from Rice University, New England Conservatory, and McGill University, as well as Fellowships from the New World Symphony and Yale University, where he taught chamber music as part of their Fellowship String Quartet in Residence.
Alice Hong, violin (2016, 2017, 2018)
Violinist and composer Alice Hong began her violin studies at the age of ten and began composing at the age of nine. She recently earned her Masters degree in violin performance with Cho-Liang Lin at Rice University's Shepherd School of Music as a Dorothy Richard Starling Foundation Scholar. She also earned her Bachelors Degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music under the tutelage of David Updegraff along with a minor in composition. Ms. Hong has led sections in orchestras at Spoleto USA, Sarasota Music Festival, Colorado College Summer Music Festival, the Cleveland Institute of Music, Shepherd School Symphony Orchestra, Brevard Music Center, and orchestral ensembles at the Banff Centre. She has also appeared in masterclasses and worked with acclaimed professors such as Ida Kavafian, Pamela Frank, Donald Weilerstein, Soovin Kim, Andrés Cardenes, Mark Kaplan, William Preucil, Joel Smirnoff, Cyrus Forough, Mark Fewer, Laurie Smukler, David Bowlin, and Grigory Kalinovsky among others. Ms. Hong has earned recognition in the Lennox, Mika Hasler, and Hellam competitions.
Ms. Hong is an avid chamber musician, having performed alongside esteemed musicians such as Frans Helmerson and Milhaela Martin, Andres Diaz, Mark Fewer, Bion Tsang, Barry Shiffman, Miguel de la Silva and members of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. She participated in several semesters of CIM's Intensive Quartet Seminar, and her chamber groups have also worked with and played in masterclasses for the Juilliard Quartet, Chiara Quartet, Dover Quartet, Shanghai Quartet, Peter Salaff, Shmuel Ashkenazi, Andy Simionescu, David Bowlin, Christof Heubner, Andrew Jennings, Ronald Copes, Roger Tapping, David and Philip Ying, Toby Appel, Desmond Hoebig, Seymour Lipkin, Carol Ou, Orion Weiss, Samuel Rhodes and others. Ms. Hong performed and toured as part of the "Heifetz on Tour" series, and her ensembles have received fellowships to programs such as the St. Lawrence String Quartet Seminar and the UNL Chamber Music Institute. Some of her summers have been spent at festivals such as Kneisel Hall, Heifetz Institute of Music, Bowdoin International Music Festival, International Music Academy of Plzen, and others.
Ms. Hong is also an internationally acclaimed composer. Her first symphony was premiered at age 11 and has since had compositions performed in Hungary, China, Czech Republic, Canada and across America. Her pieces have been programmed in venues such as the Kennedy Center of Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., the Primrose International Viola Competitions, and the Northern California Viola Society Competitions. Her pieces have won multiple awards from the ASCAP Morton Gould Awards, Pikes Peak Young Composers Competition, first prize and audience prize at the 2nd Keuris Composition Competition for her piece for full orchestra Phoenix, and first prize of Cleveland Institute of Music’s inaugural Carl E. Baldessere Competition for composer-virtuosi. Among some of the performers of her pieces include members of the New York Philharmonic and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, members of the Cypress String Quartet, the Amersfoort Youth Orchestra, and students at Rice University, Peabody Conservatory and Cleveland Institute of Music. Her electronic piece, Alcyone, will be featured in a DVD featuring the dancers of Studio 3D. She, herself, has been given the opportunity to perform her pieces at the Kennedy Center and frequently participates in the new music ensembles and premieres. Ms. Hong will begin her Doctorate of Musical Arts in the fall of 2016 at the University of Toronto studying with Jonathan Crow.
Click here to visit Alice's official website
Meredith Riley, violin (2016, 2017, 2018)
Meredith Riley joins the Richmond Symphony in the 2017-2018 season as a recent addition to their first violin section. Most recently, she was a member of the Erie Philharmonic and Canton Symphony, and appeared as guest Concertmaster of Johnstown Symphony while completing graduate studies at Carnegie Mellon University under the direction of Andres Cardenes. Ms. Riley received her BMus in Violin Performance at the University of Texas as a student of Brian Lewis. Other important musical mentors include Linda Case and Laura Bossert.
In 2016, Ms. Riley toured with Sphinx Virtuosi throughout the US and will join the core ensemble for their national tour and Carnegie Hall appearance in the fall of 2017. Ms. Riley’s accolades include recognition in the Young Texas Artist Awards, Crescendo Music Awards, National Sphinx Competition and selection as a Young Artist for the Starling Delay Symposium at the Juilliard School. Solo appearances include those with the Cayuga Chamber Orchestra, Syracuse Symphony Orchestra, New England String Orchestra, and both University of Texas Symphony ensembles.
Ms. Riley's appeared with the Smithsonian Chamber Players in 2017 and with the Kamila Quartet at Steamboat String Music Festival also in 2017. Summer festivals include Encore School for Strings, Heifetz International Music Festival, Chautauqua, the International Music Academy of Plzen, Czech, MIMU festival in Uberlandia, Brazil, Sunflower Music Festival, Toronto Summer Music Festival, Bamfield Music by the Sea, Steamboat Strings Music Festival, Le Domaine Forget’s intensive chamber music program and the International Musical Enghien in Brussels. Rounding out her classical interests, Ms. Riley has been active in a capella and jazz ensembles and has recorded with John Legend, Josh Jacobson and XAmbassadors.
Jamie Kruspe, violin (2016)
Violinist Jamie Kruspe was appointed as Assistant Concertmaster of the Canadian Opera Company Orchestra in the fall of 2014. He was awarded the 2010 Orford String Quartet Scholarship by the Ontario Arts Council, who remarked that he "plays with conviction and confidence, producing a singing tone." In 2011, Mr. Kruspe won the University of Toronto Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition, performing the Beethoven Violin Concerto with the U of T Symphony Orchestra in 2012.
Mr. Kruspe has appeared as concertmaster of numerous ensembles including the University of Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Conservatory Orchestra, and the Scarborough Philharmonic. In 2012, he was named concertmaster of the Koffler Chamber Orchestra. Other orchestral engagements include frequent performances with the National Ballet of Canada Orchestra. Jamie has attended several chamber music festivals including Kneisel Hall (2011), Le Domaine Forget (2014), and Chautauqua Institution (2007, 2008, 2010). He holds Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from the University of Toronto, where he studied with Jacques Israelievitch, Annalee Patipatanakoon, and Yehonatan Berick. He also holds an Artist Diploma from the Glenn Gould School at the Royal Conservatory of music as a student of Paul Kantor.
Emily Rho, piano (2016, 2017, 2018)
Pianist Emily Rho is an open-minded and much-sought-after musician based in Toronto, Canada. Forging a multi-faceted career of her own, she is not only a captivating pianist on stage, but also an arts administrator, and educator. Beyond her expressive playing at the piano, Emily is an effortless public speaker and often reaches out to the audience on a more personal level by introducing the works being performed with a story that is relatable to the modern audience.
Alongside her performing career, Ms. Rho is the co-artistic director of Toronto’s Pocket Concerts, which presents high-quality chamber music concerts in intimate venues such as homes and work places all over Toronto. Focused on providing a holistic concert experience, each Pocket Concert offers a thoughtfully curated program performed by some of Canada’s finest classical artists, experienced up-close in a fun, casual environment.
Her love of performing and exceptional dedication to her craft have led to many accolades and opportunities to be heard in various concert venues in North America, Europe, and Asia. She has collaborated with internationally acclaimed artists such as violist Roberto Diaz, violinists Ian Swensen and Mark Fewer. In 2012, Ms. Rho was chosen to perform at the Emil Gilels Foundation Festival in Freiburg, Germany, and she was also invited as a collaborative pianist at The Banff Centre and the Toronto Summer Music Festival’s Chamber Music Institute. More recently, Emily has been invited as a guest pianist at music festivals in Québec, Nova Scotia, Ontario, and New York.
Ms. Rho has been invited as a guest speaker at various workshops through Artscape Launchpad, National Academy Orchestra, and University of Toronto. Through her presentations, Emily wishes to share her experiences and insights as an emerging artist entrepreneur.
A native of Seoul, Korea, Emily is a graduate of Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan. She holds a Bachelor of Music and Artist Diploma from The Glenn Gould School, and a Master of Music from University of Toronto. She maintains a private teaching studio in downtown Toronto and coaches chamber music at the Phil and Eli Taylor Performance Academy for Young Artists of The Royal Conservatory of Music. Ms. Rho is also an amateur chorister in an all-professional-instrumentalists’ choir, Acquired Taste, which was founded through Pocket Concerts in 2017.
Click here to visit Emily's official website.
Benjamin Smith, piano (2017, 2018)
Described as a “thoughtful and immensely exciting performer” with “scintillating technique” (Barrie Examiner), pianist Benjamin Smith has performed as soloist and chamber musician across both Canada and the United States. He has been a laureate of numerous competitions, including the Dublin International Piano Competition, the Virginia Waring International Piano Competition, and the CMC Stepping Stone Competition. Guest appearances include the Stony Brook Symphony Orchestra, the New Juilliard Ensemble, the Ontario Philharmonic, Orchestra London, Symphony-on-the-Bay, the Windsor Symphony, and the University of Toronto’s Hart House Orchestra. As soloist, he has performed under esteemed conductors such as Rossen Milanov and Marco Parisotto, with concertos including rarities such as the Schoenberg Piano Concerto. Festival appearances include Toronto Summer Music, Banff Summer Arts, Stratford Summer Music, Colours of Music (Barrie, ON), and Music Niagara (Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON). American performances include recitals for the Texas Chopin Society and Chicago’s Landowska Harpsichord Society, as well a world premiere for the Long Leaf Opera Festival in Raleigh, NC. Recent highlights have included Gershwin’s Rhapsody In Blue in Carnegie’s Zankel Hall, as well as multiple recitals with acclaimed violinist Martin Beaver (Tokyo String Quartet). Current releases on disc include a recording of new cello transcriptions with Canadian cellist Dongkyun An, as well as an album of newly-commissioned chamber works featuring various Native flutes with Toronto’s Grammy-nominated virtuoso Ron Korb.
Devoting considerable time to chamber music, Ben has been heard nationally in Canada on CBC Radio 2 and Toronto’s Classical 96.3. He has partnered in recital with renowned artists including Colin Carr, Jacques Israelievitch, Joaquin Valdepeñas, Wolfgang Redik (formerly of the Vienna Piano Trio), Bartosz Bryla, Mark Fewer, Bonnie Hampton, and William VerMeulen, as well as with ensembles such as the Annex and Cecilia string quartets. For two seasons he performed as one-third of the Israelievitch-Smith-Ahn piano trio. Involved with music of our time as well, he is a regular member of the Esprit Orchestra in Toronto, and has worked under prominent conductors Joel Sachs, Steven Schick, and Werner Herbers, as well as with composers John Corigliano, Reinaldo Moya, and Chandler Carter.
Dr. Smith currently resides in Toronto, working as a lecturer, coach, and collaborator for the Glenn Gould School (GGS) and the Taylor Young Artist Academy at the Royal Conservatory. Previously, he held a position on the piano faculty at the University of Western Ontario, and has also served as an undergraduate piano instructor for the Department of Music at Stony Brook University. His principal teachers included Andrea Battista, James Anagnoson, Julian Martin, and Christina Dahl. Along with a DMA from Stony Brook University, he holds a Bachelors degree from the University of Toronto, an Artist Diploma from the GGS, and a Masters from The Juilliard School.