Doctoral Program

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.

 
Randall is a fourth-year DMA student.  He holds a Bachelor of Music Performance and an Artist Diploma from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, and a Masters in Music Performance from the Peabody Institute of Music.

Hong Kong-raised percussionist Hoi Tong Keung believes in the power of music in connecting people from around the world. As a contemporary music advocate, she attended soundSCAPE festival (online) and Sō Percussion Summer Institute (U.S.A.), where she collaborated with composers and premiered their works. Hoi Tong co-founded KöNG Duo with fellow percussionist Bevis Ng. In summer 2022, they held a residency at Banff Centre where they curated their début performance—“good morning, hong kong.” Since then, the duo has been invited to perform locally at Music TORONTO’s inaugural Celebration of Small Ensembles series and internationally at the New Music Gathering in Portland, OR. KöNG Duo is currently the Young Artistic Associates of Confluence Concerts and M1 (Marimba One) ensemble artists.


Hoi Tong’s performance and research interests lie on the interplay between modes of expression, be it Eastern and Western music, acoustic and electronic instruments, audio and visual media, or music and speech. Her doctoral research focuses on incorporating spoken Cantonese into percussion music.


Hoi Tong is a third-year D.M.A. student at the University of Toronto under the tutelage of Aiyun Huang and Beverley Johnston. She holds degrees from Boston Conservatory at Berklee and the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Alex Fraga is a third-year doctoral student at University of Toronto. Born and raised in Minas Gerais, Brazil, Alex spent four years as a percussion instructor for the not-for-profit organization Associação Querubins. While living in the United States, he served as a teaching assistant and taught percussion lessons at Sistema Ravinia, until he came to Canada where he continues to lead theory and percussion classes at Sistema Toronto. His research focuses on the history and interpretation of traditional Brazilian rhythms. He has toured Brazil, South Africa, and the United States as a member of the berimbau chamber ensemble, Arcomusical. He holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Minas Gerais Federal University (Brazil) and a Master of Music degree from Northern Illinois University (USA). 

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. 

Taiwanese percussionist Chi-En Wong is a first-year DMA student at the University of Toronto. As an ensemble musician, Chi-En has played in various ensemble settings, including Chinese Orchestra, Chinese chamber ensemble, symphony orchestra, wind ensemble, percussion ensemble, and ballet orchestra. She has played with Dachung Chinese Orchestra, National Taiwan Youth Symphony Orchestra, Springfield Symphony Orchestra, Eugene Symphony Orchestra, and Orchestra Next with Eugene Ballet. She has premiered works by William Averitt, Pius Cheung, Angelica Negron, and works by student composers.


Chi-En is also a passionate soloist with multiple competition winnings. As the Concerto/ Aria Competition winner in 2020, she performed Princess Chang Ping by Pius Cheung with Missouri State Symphony Orchestra in 2021. Inspired by many percussionists sharing their identity with music, Chi-En is interested in researching music from Taiwan, aiming to combine Taiwanese music with a series of pedagogical arrangements.


Chi-En holds Master of Music in performance from the University of Oregon and Bachelor of Music in performance with summa cunt laude from Missouri State University. Her principal teachers include Aiyun Huang, Pius Cheung, and Scott Cameron.

Master's Program

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:

https://nikkiwei.weebly.com/

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:

https://oberlin.digication.com/thomasli/about-me

Andrew Busch is an award-winning percussionist based in Toronto, Canada. With experience in both classical music and the marching arts, Andrew frequently performs in venues from concert halls to stadiums across North America and Europe as a solo, chamber, and ensemble musician. Andrew has been successful in Canadian competitions winning first prize in the 2018 National Music Festival and 2020/21 Maritsa Brookes Concerto Competition. Recently, Andrew performed with the National Youth Orchestra of Canada for their 2023 Aurora tour, and the World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles Youth Wind Orchestra based in Prague, Czech Republic in 2022. He is a co-founder and active performer with the newly formed Kairos Percussion Quartet based out of Toronto, Canada. Andrew received his Bachelor of Music Honours degree from the University of Western Ontario, and is now completing a master’s degree in Instrumental Performance at the University of Toronto studying with Aiyun Huang, Beverley Johnston, Ryan Scott, and Charles Settle.

Cassandra Wolff is a Canadian percussionist from Ontario, Canada. She is currently in her second year of pursuing a Master’s Degree in Performance at the University of Toronto. She studies with Aiyun Huang, Charles Settle, Beverly Johnston, and Ryan Scott. She holds a Bachelor of Music in Performance and a Chamber Music Diploma from Wilfrid Laurier University.


Cassandra is a well-rounded musician and performer. She was the winner of NUMUS’ Emerging Improvisors contest, she performed with the Royal Conservatory’s New Music Ensemble, and she toured Canada as a member of the National Youth Orchestra. She also has a love for singing and was a part of the premiere of Justin Lapierre’s Stabat Mater in June of 2023. She is a strong soloist, chamber, and ensemble player; she enjoys playing and performing music as often as she can. She also enjoys spending time with friends, songwriting, and a good hot chocolate.

Yue Yin Zhang is a Chinese Canadian percussionist currently completing a Master’s degree in classical percussion performance program at the University of Toronto, studying with Aiyun Huang, Beverley Johnston and Charles Settle.


Yue Yin holds a bachelor degree in Classical percussion performance, studied with Fabrice Marandola, Ben Reimer, Kristie Ann Ibrahim, Alexandre Lavoie and Shawn Eliot at Schulich School of Music McGill University.


Yue Yin started to learn percussion at the age of 13. She participated in the Shanghai Teenage Symphony Orchestra at an early age. During her middle school stage, as a percussionist, she participated in the shows in Lac-St-Jean, Quebec, Germany, United Kingdom and France with Ecole Secondaire Dorval Jean-XXIII Orchestra. She attended the Camp de Blue, and performed vibraphone at the Montreal Jazz Festival in 2017. As the percussion section leader, Yue Yin performed with McGill Wind Orchestra, McGill Symphonic Orchestra and McGill percussion ensemble from 2019 to 2023.


Yue Yin won first place twice in the Canadian Music Competition- Keyboard Percussion at age of 16 and 17. She was nominated by the Golden Key international honor society in 2020. She was granted McGill excellence awards from 2019 to 2022.

Undergraduate Program

Amiel Ang is a percussionist based in Toronto, Ontario. Studying under John Rudolph and Beverley Johnston; Amiel is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s of Music in Performance at the University of Toronto Faculty of Music. Amiel has been heard in acclaimed concert halls such as Toronto’s Roy Thomson Hall, Montréal’s Maison Symphonique and Québec City’s Palais Montcalm. He has been a member of the National Youth Band of Canada, and recently performed as the Principal Timpanist for l’Orchestre de la Francophonie’s 2023 season. In 2020, Amiel co-founded the 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 premiered in the Landmark Cinemas of Whitby, Ontario in April 2022. An active drumkit player, Amiel as performed in the pits for numerous musical theatre productions both on and off of the University of Toronto Campus; most recently touring with Nam Nguyen’s “A Perfect Bowl of Pho”, as a part of the Kick and Push theatre festival at the Kingston Grand Theatre. Amiel is currently a member of the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra, the Blank Canvas Sound Collective Orchestra and various ensembles within the University of Toronto; such as: the Wind Ensemble, Percussion Ensemble, DOG Ensemble and Steel Pan Ensemble.

Elyssa Arde is a percussionist based in Markham and is currently in her 3rd year studying music education. She is a recipient of the Russell Hartenberger percussion entrance scholarship and studies with Beverley Johnston, John Rudolph, and Ryan Scott. At UofT, Elyssa is a member of the Wind Symphony and Percussion Ensemble.


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. With her ensemble experience, she has developed a strong passion for wind ensemble repertoire and enjoys performing or listening to wind ensemble music to this day.

Kelsey Choi is currently a senior at the University of Toronto, studying percussion under the tutelage of Aiyun Huang, Beverley Johnston, Charles Settle, and John Rudolph. Maintaining a GPA of 4.00, Choi has received scholarships over the years including the Avedis Zildjian Percussion Scholarship, Arthur Plettner Scholarship, Andrew Alexander Kinghorn Scholarship in Music, Godfrey Ridout Scholarship, and Jean A. Chalmers Scholarship. Recently, she also had the honour of being nominated as a Rhodes Scholar by the university in 2023.


Choi is the Grand Prize winner of the Red Maple Concerto Competition. She is a percussionist of the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra, where she held an honourable mention at its concerto competition in 2022. Choi is also a member of the University of Toronto Symphony Orchestra (UTSO), the Bloor-Annex Brass Ensemble, and the Toronto Chamber Symphony. In the past summer, she had the privilege of joining the Sō Percussion Summer Institute, where she was a recipient of the BIPOC Scholarship.


Before entering university, she was the Principal Percussionist of the Hong Kong Festival Youth Wind Orchestra from 2014-2020. She was also a member of the Hong Kong Children’s Choir, one of “China’s Top Ten Children and Youth Choirs”, for 15 years and toured to Japan, Korea, Hungary, Austria, England, Portugal, Spain, Estonia and Finland. In 2018, she was elected as the touring choir’s Part Leader of Second Sopranos. Choi has studied voice with renowned singers Louise Kwong, Chan Siu Kwan, and Chen Chen.


Besides music, Choi was a selected member of the City Contemporary Dance Company’s Scholarship Programme in 2017-2020, and has achieved excellent results in international competitions, including Champions at the IDO World Dance Cups, and Gold at the Dance World Cup 2017. She has also received the Chinese Dance Workshop Scholarship in 2021 and 2022. Choi strives to develop her performing career in both music and dance in the future.

Jerry Yuan is a transfer music student at the University of Toronto. He has previously been at Wilfrid Laurier University for two years before transferring to the University of Toronto for his third year in the Bachelor of music, performance major in the field of percussion. Some experiences in the field of music include, playing along with the Hamilton Philharmonic Youth Orchestra for three years, volunteering at the Oakville chamber orchestra, and entering the Oakville chamber competition and achieving third prize.


Aside from percussion and music related activities, he has a passion in sketching and short story writing. He has also volunteered at a child care center and has achieved GHAC’s mixed doubles champion of 2019 and participation in OFSAA for badminton.

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 2020

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.