The life experiences of Costa Rican percussionist Randall Chaves Camacho in North and Central America inspired him, as a performer, to explore the diversity of genres and types of percussion playing, from experimental to popular music. Just as with his diverse interest in music, his work has as its core the inclusion and support of those who for historical and economic reasons have not been equally present in the music field. Aware of his Central American roots, he is researching the cultural history and education of percussion in Costa Rica, in order to bring more diversity to the table.
A percussionist from Hong Kong, Hoi Tong Keung believes in the power of music in connecting people from around the world. Her overseas engagements include Sō Percussion Summer Institute, Chosen Vale International Percussion Seminar (U.S.A.), and Yatsugatake Marimba Camp (Japan). Anticipating her studies in the United States, Hoi Tong gave a solo recital which comprised works by composers from North America. Hoping to expand the repertoire performed in Hong Kong, the recital was the Hong Kong premiere of the entire program.
Hoi Tong’s performance and research interests lie in works for speaking/singing percussionist. Other than performing on existing works, she plans to collaborate with composers to create works for speaking percussionist in her mother tongue—Cantonese.
Hoi Tong is a first-year DMA student at the University of Toronto. She holds a Master of Music degree in Percussion Performance from Boston Conservatory at Berklee and a Bachelor of Arts with first-class honors from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Her principal teachers include Aiyun Huang, Doug Perkins, and Matthew Lau.
Brazilian percussionist Alex Fraga is a second-year doctorate student at University of Toronto. He has been an active teacher in non-profit organizations in Brazil, the USA, and Canada. His research interests include the unequal attention given to the different Brazilian music genres, the differences between oral and Western music training, phrasing in folkloric traditions, and technology-assisted learning. He has toured Brazil, South Africa, and the USA as part of the berimbau chamber ensemble Arcomusical.
Andrew Gordon Bell is an emerging percussionist based out of Toronto, Canada who takes a cosmopolitan approach to music, having experience in a wide variety of genres including contemporary music, non-western music and several forms of popular
However, Andrew is most at home playing with an orchestra, both as a
percussionist and timpanist. He has performed in the percussion sections of the Kingston Symphony, Georgian Bay Symphony, Cathedral Bluffs Symphony Orchestra, and the Kindred Spirits Orchestra, among others. Andrew has also performed the duties of acting principal percussionist for the Scarborough Bluffs Symphony Orchestra.
Andrew has been fortunate to have performed under the baton of many esteemed conductors, including Andrei Feher, Tania Miller, Johannes Debus, Michael Francis and
Peter Oundjian. In 2016 and 2019 Andrew was a member of the National Youth Orchestra of Canada with which he toured both domestically and internationally to Portugal and Spain. The music performed on each tour can be found on the National Youth
Orchestra’s Lisboa and Odyssey CDs and has been often broadcast on CBC Radio 2. During the 2019 National Youth Orchestra tour Andrew was fortunate to be a part of the premiere of Jared Miller’s Juno-nominated piece Under Sea, Above Sky.
Andrew is a fierce advocate for contemporary music and has worked with many emerging composers to bring their visions to life. Notable performances include the North American premiere of Toshio Hosokawa’s Opera Futari Shizuka, The Maiden from the Sea with the University of Toronto Contemporary Music Ensemble under the direction of Wallace Halladay. As well as both of Iannis Xenakis’s percussion sextets, Persephassa and Pleiades, with the University of Toronto Percussion Ensemble and the National Youth Orchestra of Canada Percussion Ensemble, both under the direction of Aiyun Huang.
Andrew is currently in the first year of his master’s degree at the University of
Toronto studying under the tutelage of Charles Settle and Aiyun Huang. Andrew has performed in masterclasses for esteemed artists such as Don Liuzzi, Mark Braafhart, Tim Adams and Wieland Welzel. Previously Andrew studied at the Glenn Gould School at The Royal Conservatory of Music, where he earned an Artist Diploma.
When not pursuing his studies, Andrew can often be found in the audience of local rock and metal
Brayden Krueger is a percussionist from Mississauga, Ontario whose experience and skill spans a breadth of musical genres. Primarily a classical percussionist, Brayden has recently been appointed a substitute position with the New World Symphony in Miami Beach, Florida for the 2021-2022 season. He has also performed in the percussion sections of the National Youth Orchestra of Canada, London Symphonia, and the Windsor, Kitchener Waterloo, Guelph and Stratford Symphonies. Brayden is an avid drumset player spanning the genres of jazz, contemporary improvisation and indie/folk and can be heard with Toronto artists Oprin and City Strangers.
Brayden has recently received his Artist Diploma from The Glenn Gould School of The Royal Conservatory of Music and holds his Bachelor of Music: Honours Performance from Wilfrid Laurier University.
Brayden currently attends the University of Toronto where he is in his first year of the Master’s program.
Bevis Ng is currently completing a Master’s degree in Percussion Performance at the University of Toronto. His teachers include Prof. Aiyun Huang, and Prof. Beverley Johnston.
He completed Bachelor of Music in Timpani and Orchestral Percussion at The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, where he graduated with first class honours. He studied with Dr. Matthew Lau, Dr. Lung Heung Wing, and James Boznos. His degree is fully funded by the HKSAR Government Scholarship Fund.
Bevis is an active chamber percussionist. He is a core member of The Up:Strike Project, a Hong Kong based contemporary percussion group. The group has premiered works by Adams, Cuong, Honstein, Socolofsky, and Temple in Hong Kong. He is a founding member of another Hong Kong based percussion group, M.A.R.B.L.E.S. He was selected as one of the ensemble artists in the World Percussion Group 2019 touring Spain and Portugal.
Bevis is passionate with solo performance. During the pandemic, he organised a livestream solo recital featuring works by Miyoshi, Lang, Volans, and Hatzis. In 2019, He was chosen as the final 16 candidates for RTHK4’s Young Music Maker, where he made his TV and radio debut. As one of the winner in the concerto trial at The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, he performed Concerto for Marimba and Strings by Emmanuel Séjourne with the Academy Symphony Orchestra in 2018.
Nikki Huang Taiwanese percussionist is currently completing a Master’s degree in Percussion Performance at the University of Toronto. She is a research assistant in Technology and Performance Integration Research Lab. Her teachers include Prof. Aiyun Huang, Prof. Charles Settle and Prof. Beverley Johnston. As a percussionist, she is passionate about exploring the realm of story-telling and attempts to portray different characters through her performance. Nikki is also thrilled to collaborate with different art forms. She has been involved in diverse performance settings, including original music, children musical theater, and interdisciplinary workshops. Besides percussion music, Nikki’s musical influences include jazz singing. As a self-taught jazz vocalist, she has learned improvisation techniques and how to interact with other musicians through jamming sessions and performances.
For more information, visit her page:
Thomas Li is active as an orchestral musician and performer of new music. Currently in his first year of Master’s at the University of Toronto, Thomas studies under the tutelage of Aiyun Huang. He has attended multiple summer festivals including soundSCAPE Festival and the Nief-Norf where he worked with Aiyun Huang and Mark Applebaum respectively. As an avid contemporary performer, Thomas is a member of UToronto’s Contemporary Music Ensemble. He was featured in a recent recording of Elizabeth Ogonek’s chamber concerto, where are we now, released in an album on the Oberlin Music Label. Thomas is also interested in integrating visual media with his playing, and aspires to dedicate his artistic voice to expressing personal emotions and preserving the collective narratives of his home city, Hong Kong. His recent project “Calving” is a speech-percussion piece utilizing moving images in the background and processed field-recorded sounds to explore the theme of diaspora. Under the guidance of Beverley Johnston, he is currently carrying out a study on how cinematic language can help communicate contemporary musical gestures when the two art forms are paired together.
For more information, visit his Digication page:
Jacob Valcheff is a Toronto based orchestral percussionist and music educator. He has been seen and heard in venues all across Canada, the United States and Europe – Notably, New York City’s Carnegie Hall, the Konzerthaus Berlin, and Usher Hall in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Known for his versatility, Jacob is at home in several musical settings, including but not limited to large ensembles, chamber ensembles, studio work, new music and pit bands. Recently, Jacob has appeared as a percussionist with the National Youth Orchestra of Canada, and as a performer in the Virtual Percussion Music Festival, with which he performed in masterclasses for musicians of the Houston Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Tucson Symphony, and Indianapolis Symphony Orchestras. As a music educator, Jacob is in demand as a clinician for several schools throughout the Greater Toronto Area, and is active as a private percussion instructor.
Jacob is also an avid champion of contemporary music, and has participated in the premieres of several works by up and coming Toronto based composers. Notably, he commissioned and gave the world premiere of a new vibraphone and percussion work titled « Stillness » by Canadian composer Samuel Kerr.
Jacob is currently pursuing a Masters of Music in Percussion Performance at the University of Toronto, under the tutelage of Aiyun Huang and Charles Settle. His discipline and work ethic has also slowly crept into his outside life, as he is painstakingly trying to master the art of baking the perfect New York style pizza.
Andrew Busch is an award-winning interdisciplinary percussionist and educator based in Toronto, Canada. With experience in both classical music and the marching arts, Andrew has performed in concert halls and stadiums across North America and Europe as a solo, chamber, and ensemble musician. Most recently, Andrew performed with the World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles (WASBE) Wind Orchestra in Prague, Czech Republic, during the Sounds of Zofín international music conference. In addition, he has performed in two North American tours with world class marching arts organizations including the Illinois based Phantom Regiment, and the Boston Crusaders Drum and Bugle Corps under the mentorship of Collin McNutt. As a solo percussionist, Andrew has been successful in Canadian music competitions winning first prize in the 2018 National Music Festival and 2020/21 Maritsa Brookes Concerto Competition held at the University of Western Ontario.
Andrew received his Bachelor of Music Honours degree from the University of Western Ontario and is now working towards completing his master’s degree in Instrumental Performance at the University of Toronto. Andrew currently teaches the Saint Michaels College School Drumline in Toronto, Canada – four-time consecutive Canadian Drumline Association Provincial Champions, and regularly performs with the Hitmen Drumline throughout the Greater Toronto Area. Andrew’s mentors include Dr. Aiyun Huang, Beverley Johnston, Charles Settle, Dr. Jill Ball, Dr. Joseph Moschek, and Dr. Nicholas Papador. Aside from engaging in music, Andrew can be seen spending time with family, friends, and supporting local/independent coffee shops.
Cassandra Wolff is a Canadian percussionist originally from St. Catharines, Ontario. She is currently in her first year of her master’s degree, studying with Aiyun Huang and Beverley Johnston.
Cassandra began her studies at 11 years-old and has continued to pursue music at a post-secondary level. She is a natural performer and an avid improviser. In March of 2022, she won NUMUS’s Emerging Improviser contest and performed alongside with Ben Grossman and Kathryn Patricia Cobbler in their Double Bill show. Cassandra also has a passion for chamber music. During her fifth year at Laurier, she played as a part of three different duos and performed in many concerts with those group, both on and off campus. She participated in the TorQ Percussion seminar during the summer, playing in chamber groups with percussionists from across Canada and the United States. Cassandra hopes to continue developing these passions through her study at the University of Toronto.
Cassandra currently holds a Bachelor of Music in Performance as well as a Chamber Music Diploma from Wilfrid Laurier University; she studied with Dave Campion and Brennan Connolly.
Advanced Certificate Program
Samuel Kerr is a Calgary-born percussionist, pianist, and composer. Currently completing his Advanced Certificate in Performance at the University of Toronto, he holds a Bachelor of Music in Performance (Honours) from the same institution where he studied with Gary Kulesha, Beverley Johnston, John Rudolph, Charles Settle, and Aiyun Huang.
A recipient of the Hartenberger Percussion and Homburger Memorial scholarships at UofT, he had the honour of being nominated as a Rhodes Scholar by the university in 2021. Recently, Sam had the privilege of joining the National Youth Orchestra of Canada for the summer of 2022, where he was a recipient of an Award of Excellence.
Sam is a winner of the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra and University of Toronto Winds concerto competitions. As a composer, he has received commissions from the National Youth Orchestra of Canada, Green Room Sound Collective, and celebrated young performers such as Britton-Rene Collins, Jacob Valcheff, and Bevis Ng. In 2021, his solo Stillness was selected for inclusion in a new compendium of vibraphone music by the Vibraphone Project, in addition to his marimba work November being recorded for commercial release by esteemed Canadian percussionist Bev Johnston.
In his free time, Sam can be found either exploring the mountains or trying to fit very large instruments into very small cars.
Amiel Ang is a percussionist based in Toronto, Ontario. Studying under Aiyun Huang, John Rudolph and Beverley Johnston, he is currently in his second year of his Bachelor of Music in Performance at the University of Toronto. Amiel co-founded an independent multimedia production company, March Break Forever where he composed and produced the score for original short film “Goose Spit”, directed by Nick Kastanis which was premiered in Whitby’s Landmark Theatre in April 2022. He is currently a member of the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra, the Hannaford Youth Band and the University of Toronto Percussion Ensemble. On his free time, Amiel can be found skateboarding with his friends, keeping up with new music releases, learning about music production and contributing music reviews to user based websites like RateYourMusic and AlbumoftheYear.
Elyssa Arde is a percussionist and Music Education major from Markham, a town
northeast of Toronto. She is a recipient of the Russell Hartenberger percussion entrance scholarship and currently studies with Aiyun Huang and John Rudolph.
She began her percussive studies at the age of 9, starting with the drum kit. Transitioning into high school, she learned how to play in an ensemble, and began to explore classical percussion techniques and repertoire. Having drum kit experience, she also performed with her school’s jazz band and jazz combo in the year of 2019-2020.
During the year of 2020-2021, she and 3 other executives, successfully led her high school’s Music Council throughout the year and created 2 virtual concerts for the school to enjoy.
As classical music entered her life, her passion and dedication for music grew. Her passion for music ultimately changed her and allowed her to expand and diversify her musical tastes. She enjoys music of different languages, styles, and genres.
At UofT, Elyssa is a member of the wind ensemble and percussion ensemble. In her free time, she discovers new music, enjoys games, and learns new things about percussion!
Kelsey Choi is currently in her third year majoring in Music History, Culture, and Theory, studying percussion under the tutelage of Aiyun Huang, Beverley Johnston, and John Rudolph. Recently, achieving a GPA of 4.0, Choi is a recipient of the Avedis Zildjian Percussion Scholarship for 2 consecutive years, Arthur Plettner Scholarship, and Andrew Alexander Kinghorn Scholarships in Music.
Choi is a versatile individual with a passion and flair for music and dance. She has been a percussionist in the Hong Kong Festival Winds Orchestra and the school band during her secondary school years. She has joined the Hong Kong Children’s Choir, one of “China’s Top Ten Children and Youth Choirs”, for 15 years and toured to UK, Hungary, Austria, England, Portugal, Spain, Estonia, Finland, Japan, and Korea. Choi has also studied voice with renowned Sopranos Louise Kwong and Chan Siu Kwan and received ABRSM Grade 8 Singing with Merit. Besides music, she is a recipient of the Chinese Dance Workshop Scholarship at the University of Toronto, and was a selected member of the City Contemporary Dance Company’s Scholarship Programme in 2017-2020. Choi is now a member of the Varsity Blues Dance Team.
She is currently a percussionist of the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra, tutor at the Beethoven at Home School of Music, a student ambassador of UofT Faculty of Music, and the Culture & History Director under FMUA, the Faculty of Music Undergraduate Association.
Tristan Culbert is an aspiring young orchestral percussionist currently in his second year of study at the University of Toronto where he studies with Dr. Aiyun Huang and John Rudloph. Tristan has been immersed in a musical environment his whole life, beginning with learning classical piano at age 4, being taught by his father. Tristan continued to expand and diversify his musical ability throughout his school career in Guelph, Ontario, learning to play trumpet in middle school and transitioning into orchestral percussion in highschool. It was in his sophomore and senior years of highschool when Tristan truly developed a passion for the world of percussion, playing in several bands and orchestras including the Guelph Symphony Orchestra, Guelph Concert Band, Guelph Youth Symphony Orchestra, and the Kitchener-Waterloo Youth Orchestra. In addition to studying percussion, Tristan took up a huge interest in jazz piano throughout highschool where he played keys in a jazz quartet titled Valet he and his fellow music students created, which led to many unique gig opportunities throughout Guelph, booking jazz clubs and city events. Tristan has also been a professional actor since the age of ten, booking many featured roles in Canadian movies and TV. With the new found abundance of free time due to a global pandemic, in addition to learning guitar, Tristan has been writing, singing, and producing songs out of a new recording studio that was once his bedroom. He is currently playing percussion in the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra and is looking forward to many more musical opportunities.
Jeffrey Zhu is an aspiring composer, performer, and educator born and raised in Toronto.
He first developed an interest in music through choir, then piano, eventually picking up percussion in secondary school at UTS.
His diverse interests have lead him to the common year program at UofT where he hopes to refine his skills in all aspects of music. He is currently studying with Aiyun Huang and John Rudolph.
With the pandemic hopefully simmering out, he looks forward to the various performance opportunities provided through UofT’s Wind Symphony and Percussion Ensemble, as well as being a percussionist in the TSYO.
On most days, you can find Jeffrey prowling the halls of Edward Johnson or camping out in a practice room.
Matthew Magocsi was born in New York City and found a love for music and performance at a very young age – first playing guitar and drum kit in rock bands and then immersing himself into classical percussion and playing for musicals including “Chicago”.
He is in his third year at the University of Toronto majoring in percussion performance – where he feels honored to study with Aiyun Huang, John Rudolph and Beverley Johnston.
Matthew is currently a member of the University of Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra, and the University of Toronto Percussion Ensemble. He also spent part of last summer in Nova Scotia playing at the TorQ Percussion Seminar.
In his free time, Matthew can be found playing guitar in a band he recently started with his friends, rowing, and tackling trails on his mountain bike.
Thomas Carli is a multi-instrumentalist and composer from Toronto, Ontario. He recently graduated with academic honors from The Claude Watson School of The Arts, winning several awards including Musician of the Year, and the Arts Leadership Award. Thomas is comfortable in many genres; he plays percussion in the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra and freelances in a variety of different settings and styles as a bassist, lead vocalist, and drummer. He frequently performs on the scores for TV shows Murdoch Mysteries, Frankie Drake and Wynonna Earp and has spent time in the studio recording for several artists such as the Special Constables and Blue Opaline. As a composer, Thomas has written pieces for the Continuum Contemporary Music Ensemble and the Oriana Women’s Choir. In the summer of 2022, he worked with Just For Laughs and composed, recorded, mixed, and mastered 25 walk-on pieces for the Just for Laughs Comedy Festival. Thomas received the Russell Hartenberger scholarship and is currently studying common year classical music at the University of Toronto, hoping to become a composition major after first-year.