Faculty

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Colin Yip

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President, Voice

Renowned tenor Colin Yip is the president of the Toronto School of Music Canada, chairman of the Artists International Music and Dance Association, an international jury member of the Italy “Bellini International Music Competition”, artistic director of “Rome Music Festival” Italy, and a celebrity at the “WHO'S WHO” International Celebrity Ceremony in Cambridge, England 1997.

His vocal credits include the Verdean's opera “La Traviata”, Richard Strauss's opera “Die Fledermaus”, and Tchaikovsky's opera “Eugene Onegin”, Puccini's opera “Madame Butterfly”, Handel’s oratorio “Messiah”, Italian composer Gaetano Donizetti’s “Lucia di Lammermoor”, Schubert's vocal suite "The Beautiful Mill Girl", "Winter’s Journey" and so on.  

In 1996, he performed the opera "Madame Butterfly" at the Arizona State Opera House in the United States. As a talented tenor singer, Mr. Colin Yip has been widely praised of invitation performance in the United States, Germany, Italy, France, Canada, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, China, and other countries. Famous Italian conductor, Enrico Morley, from La Scala, the world-class Opera House in Milan Italy, said “The best singing tenor Colin Yip, his lyrical and charming voice touched every audience’s heart, is truly a great artist and one of the most outstanding Chinese singers”.

Mr. Yip studied vocal music in Hong Kong with tenor Mr. Zhang Rujun in his early years and was admitted to the Beijing Central Conservatory of Music in 1983, where he studied under the famous professors Ms. Guo Shuzhen and Mr. Lai Hsin Cheung, and was individually tutored by Professor Klaus Ochell, a well-known German art song expert.  In 1988, Mr. Yip successfully held a solo concert at Hong Kong City Hall. And in the next year, he received a scholarship to continue his studies in Royal Conservatory of Music Canada, and he won the first place in Vocal Music Competition of the Ontario Association of Vocal Teachers Canada. Graduating in 1990 and became the first vocal teacher of RCM Canada. In the same year, he successfully played the main role of  “Ariadne Auf Naxos” from Richard Strauss’s opera in Canada Saskatchewan. In 1992, he was invited to tour in Southeast Asia. In 1993, he was awarded a scholarship to attend the Manhattan School of Music in New York, continued his studies with the famous Italian tenor Gili's student, Mr. Gabriel Canelli and the Chairman of Vocal Department Mr. Maitland Peters. In 1995, while receiving his Master’s Degree, Mr. Yip won the Vocal Award at the Artists International Music Competition, and successfully held a premiere concert at the Carnegie Hall, New York City, and was rated by local newspapers as the most passionate and infectious and dazzling tenor singer.

In 1996, Mr. Yip became the first Chinese singer to appear at the Arizona State Opera House in U.S., performing the famous Italian opera “Madame Butterfly” protagonist. From 1997, Mr. Yip has been invited to Italy several times to serve as a jury member of the Bellini International Music Competition.  In 2007, he toured in China to perform Schubert's vocal suite "Beautiful Mill Girl", and in 2009, he was invited by the La Scala Opera Orchestra Milan to perform at the National Theater in Italy. In the same year and after he held a solo concert in Toronto Preforming Arts Center Canada and a solo concert in memory of Maria Callas in Sicily Italy. In 2011 he was invited to premiere Schubert's vocal suite "Winter Journey" at National Theatre of China in Beijing.

Recently Mr. Yip has held many successful international music competitions in China, nurturing musical talent, making an important contribution to the young artists to international stage!

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William Shookhoff

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Artistic Director, Music Coach

William Shookhoff is a noted conductor, pianist and vocal coach throughout Canada and abroad. He has conducted Canadian orchestras from coast to coast, as well as in the Netherlands and China. He has served on the music faculties of the Universities of Toronto, Alberta, Wilfrid Laurier, as well as the Banff Centre for the Arts and the Johannesen Summer Institute of Music. He has been on the Music Staff of the Canadian, Netherlands, Edmonton, and Portland (Oregon) Opera Companies.

 

Equally at home in Music Theatre, Mr Shookhoff was the Associate Conductor of the inaugural Canadian production of Les Miserables, and of the Canadian Tour and Toronto productions of Phantom of the Opera. He has been a guest Music Director with Neptune Theatre (Halifax), Persephone Theatre (Saskatoon), and Citadel Theatre (Edmonton).

 

Frequently in demand as coach and conductor, Mr. Shookhoff makes frequent appearances in those capacities throughout Western Europe and China, as well as maintaining an active coaching studio in Toronto. He is a regular guest conductor with the Bluebridge Festival and with Opera Kitchener. He has also devoted his efforts to the development and presentation of the Massed Piano or Monster Concert, and has conducted such events at Carnegie Hall, New York; Massey Hall and Nathan Philips Square, Toronto; the White House, Washington, DC; and the Castel Sant'Angelo, Rome. Mr. Shookhoff is Artistic Director Emeritus at Tryptych Productions as well as the Artistic Director of the Toronto School of Music.

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Mary Liu

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Dean, Voice

“A sensational soaring voice” World Journal, New York.

 

Soprano Mary Liu's operatic performances have included the leading roles of Cio‐Cio San in Madama Butterfly, Mimi in La Boheme, Liu in Turandot, Tosca in Tosca, Violetta in La Traviata and the Countess in Le Nozze di Figaro, to name a few. She has sung in New York's Carnegie Hall, the Toronto Centre for the Performing Arts, the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing. She has also performed in Opera Fest di Roma, the 55th Puccini Festival Season in Torre del Lago, Italy, and with the New Jersey State Opera, Queens Opera and was featured in special concerts singing operatic repertoire in China, accompanied by the La Scala Chamber Orchestra Milano and the Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino chamber Orchestra Italy.

 

Ms. Liu has worked with legendary artists such as Dame J.Sutherland, Richard Bonynge, Enrico De Mori, Giuseppe Acquaviva, Stefano Pagliani, Domenico Pierini, Giovanni Reggiori and Franz Albanese. In addition to being a concert performer with renowned orchestras, Mary also gave numerous recitals that appeared on television in New York, Toronto, Italy, China, Singapore, Malaysia, and throughout Southeast Asia.

 

Ms. Liu began singing while as a student in her native Harbin, China and was selected as a solo performer with the Central National Song and Dance Company, Beijing. She won a scholarship at the Central Conservatory of Music, Beijing with Professor Guo Shu‐Zhen and Wang Fu‐Zong, and received coaching on Italian repertoire from Maestro Nicola Rossi Lemeni. After graduation and a successful debut recital in Hong Kong City Hall, Mary was accepted in the Artist Diploma Program at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Canada, where she also began teaching voice. In 1993, Ms. Liu received a scholarship from the Manhattan School of Music in New York and studied with Professors Gabor Carelli and Ted Pufer until May 1995, when she received her Master's degree in music. Later that same year, Mary won first prize in the Artist International Music Competition in New York and subsequently gave her New York City debut the following year.

 

She appeared as Cio-Cio San in Roma Opera Festival's production of Puccini's Madama Butterfly and in 1999, Ms. Liu held a concert tour in Italy. She also adjudicated in the Beijing Central Television Singing Competition and the Qing Dao International Voice Competition. She acted as an adjudicator in the International Bellini Music Competition, the Maria Callas Voice Competition in Italy from 1999 to 2010, the Verdi Voice Competition in Busseto, Italy and the Roma Voice Competition, Italy. In 2005, Ms. Liu performed as Violetta in La Traviata in Rome, and had a solo recital in the Toronto Centre for the Performing Arts. In 2008, she performed for Rai, Italian Television  for a concert in honor of the Pope Benedetto XVI in Vatican City, Rome and again for Rai Television at the Parco della Musica, she also sang for QingDao orphanage in the same year, and raise $800000 for the orphanage. She again appeared in the role of Cio-Cio San in Theater Varna's production of Madama Butterfly in Bulgaria this past March. She has been invited back by the theater to perform in their production of Turandot in 2012.  She also has been invited to Roma Music Festival as Art Director from 2011 to 2013; and held a concert with Mr. Colin Yip and Nie-er orchestra in 2012. Ms. Liu also is judge for International Verdi Competition from 2011 to 2013.

 

Ms. Liu is the Dean and Voice Department Head of the Toronto School of Music Canada and continues to adjudicate in international competitions as well as performs worldwide in operas, concerts, and solo recitals. In 2008, Ms. Liu sang for Rai, Italian Television for a concert in honor of the Pope Benedetto XVI in Vatican City, Rome. She also gave concerts and masterclasses in Italy that same year and has continued to perform in China, Italy and the USA. 

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Sabatino Vacca

Vocal Coach

Sabatino is the Music Director for the Cambridge Community Orchestra and the Guelph Youth Music Centre Youth Symphony. The CCO, led by Sabatino, accompanied Tenor Ben Heppner in a special benifit concert in Cambridge.

Sabatino has conducted orchestras in the Czech Republic, Symphony Hamilton, the Cathedral Bluffs Symphony, the Scarborough Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Brampton Symphony Orchestra. For Opera York he has served as Artistic Director for productions of Carmen, Suor Angelica/Gianni Schicchi, La Traviata, The Barber of Seville, Tosca, Rigoletto, and La Bohème, and as Conductor for Le Nozze di Figaro and Cosí Fan Tutte. Next season he will conduct Madama Butterfly for Opera York, and Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci for Bel Canto Opera. For Brampton Lyric Opera he has conducted Pagliacci, and Rigoletto. For Opera Kitchener he has conducted Madama Butterfly, and La Bohème. He is also currently on staff with Opera Hamilton and Wilfrid Laurier University, and has worked as an opera coach for the University of Toronto, as well as the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. Recently he performed the Totentanz by Liszt as piano soloist with Symphony Hamilton. He also recently completed arrangements for Quartetto Gelatos latest CD.

Sabatino is the recipient of the Spirit of Ontario award for the Arts by the National Congress of Italian Canadians.

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Rufat Amiraliev

Violin

Dr. Amiraliev an established performer, conductor and teacher. He began studying violin at the age of five. He studied violin at the State University in Azerbaijan where he complited his Masters Degree and PhD studies. Rufat continued his studies at the International Chamber Music in Germany and Rigents College studying with teachers Walter Rademacher, Tomas Grossenbacher, Norbert Brainin and Martin Lovett.

 

He is the 1st Violin and Viola at Canadian Chamber Academy, 1st Violin at Ontario Philharmonic, 1-st Violin,Concertmaster South Simcoe Opera House Orchestra and Sinfonia Toronto Chamber Orchestra.

 

Dr. Amiraliev is a gifted and dedicated teacher who has years of experience preparing students for exams and competitions.

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Alexander Veprinsky

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Music Theory, Conducting

Orchestra Conductor, Choir Master, Alexander Veprinsky holds Diploma in Opera and Symphonic Conducting at Lvov State Conservatory of Music; and also got the Music and Piano Teacher’s Diploma at Lvov Musical Pedagogical College, Piano Faculty. He has been Artistic Director and Principal Conductor at Shevchenko Musical Ensemble of Toronto, Consisting of Choir, orchestra and dancers, research and prepare concert programs for Ensemble: -choral, arrangement for both male and mixed choir, orchestrations of accompaniments to choral selections, orchestral pieces and all dance accompaniments, Director and combined rehearsals of choir, conduct all concerts and presentations of the Shevchenko Musical Ensemble, Chair meeting and work with members of the Artistic Committee in planning concert events and productions. Currently he is a professor of Toronto School of Music Canada.

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Alexander Kats

Piano

Russian-trained concert pianist  Alexander Kats is a graduate of Moscow’s prestigious Gnessin Institute, Where he accomplished his doctoral post-graduate training in piano performance. His teacher there, Professor Lina Bulatova (who was a pupil of Elena Gnessina and Heinrich Neuhaus), wrote of him: “Alexander Kats is a talented virtuoso artist who combines stylistic diversity with depth of interpretation.” As a soloist, he has appeared in major concert halls across Russia, performing with number of its leading symphony orchestras and as a solo recitalist. For several years Professor Kats was head of the Piano faculty at Ufa College of the Arts, an associate professor with the Ufa University of the Arts Piano Faculty and was appointed a consulting teacher for the Republic of Bashkiria. Before coming to Canada, he won a Chopin Society Prize in Israel, and made solo broadcasts on Israeli National Radio. Since immigrating to Canada in 1991, he has become well known to classical music audiences as soloist, recitalist, accompanist and ensemble artist. Now a Toronto resident, Mr. Kats has appeared at Walter Hall, McMillan Theatre, Glenn Gould Studio, and the Toronto Centre for the Arts, and has organized and performed in a series of concerts at St. George the Martyr Anglican Church, as well as at venues in other Ontario cities. Currently he serves as music director for St. Margaret’s in the Pines Anglican Church in Scarborough, and has been the accompanist for Hart House Singers at U. of T. and for the Ryerson University Oakham House Choir. In addition, Alexander Kats maintains a busy private teaching schedule, and is often sought after to consult young aspiring performers. He is a piano professor of Toronto School of Music Canada.

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Gloria Yip

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Violin, Piano

Gloria Yip is a Toronto-based violinist and music teacher who is well-known for her unique musicality and dynamic performances. She has performed in Canada, the United States, France, Italy, Spain and China; and has won several awards, including first prize at the Prix Ravel competition with string quartet, a grant from the Canada Council for the Arts, and an Ihnatowycz Emerging Artist Scholarship from the Glenn Gould School. She recently obtained a Doctorate of Musical Arts degree from the University of Toronto, where she studied as a full scholarship student with Dr. Timothy Ying and was awarded the Palmason Graduate Fellowship in Violin.

Recent highlights include performances on Hamilton’s Cable 14 TV network, with the Nexus Percussion Ensemble, as a principal player with Rob Kapilow’s “What Makes It Great”, and in the Canadian Opera Company’s production of Strauss’ Elektra. She has performed at the Conservatoire Américain in Fontainebleau, as well as the Domaine Forget, Brott, Bowdoin and Orford Music Festivals. Gloria has played in masterclasses for Ilya Kaler, Cho-Liang Lin, Phillippe Graffin, Gerard Poulet, Benjamin Bowman, and Jonathan Crow, among others. 

Passionate about audience outreach and performing in non-traditional spaces, Gloria has performed at the Royal Ontario Museum, Open Studio Contemporary Printmaking Centre, the Art Gallery of Ontario, Performing Arts Lodge and Union Station. She has also performed in many celebrated Toronto concert halls, such as the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre, the Four Seasons Centre, Meridian Arts Centre, the Arts and Letters Club of Toronto, Walter Hall and Koerner Hall.

Prior to completing her doctoral degree at UofT, Gloria was also a full scholarship student at the Glenn Gould School, obtaining an Artist Diploma under the tutelage of Paul Kantor and Barry Shiffman. She also holds a Masters of Music degree from Indiana University, studying with Mauricio Fuks. She was a Graduate Teaching Assistant at the University of Toronto to Lydia Wong, and was also a past teaching assistant to Mauricio Fuks, Paul Widner and Stefano Pagliani. Before choosing to pursue music professionally, she obtained an Honours Bachelor of Science from UofT’s Life Sciences program, majoring in psychology and music and graduating with honours. Her doctoral dissertation centres around themes of wellbeing and fulfilment through exploring the lived experiences of three graduate-level string majors.