Click on the profiles below to read each instructor’s full biography
Andre Pretzel moved to Halifax, NS in 2015 to teach Suzuki violin, and he was glad to witness a sudden growth in that community recently. His Suzuki experience began when he was searching for a method that resonated with my beliefs, and his past training includes institutes, workshops, masterclass and practicum with experienced teacher trainers from Suzuki American Association – SAA, such as Marilyn O’Boyle, Nancy Lokken, Shinobu Saito, Eduardo Ludueña, Amy Matherly, Martha Shackford, Caroline Fraser, and Ann Montzka-Smelser.
Andrew graduated from The University of Toronto in 2016 and worked as one of the most in demand jazz drummers in Toronto. He is a recipient of the TD Stingray Rising Star Award, a two time recipient of the Jason Lang Scholarship, and a recipient of the Buddy DeFranco Outstanding Jazz Soloist Award. Since 2015, Andrew has been leading two of his own ensembles, Congruence, and Lewis/Downing/Vrankulj/Miller. Most recently, he has been working in a collective called the JMB trio in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Anna Wedlock is a fiddler and violinist, with a wide range of playing interests, including celtic, bluegrass, pop, and classical. At Dalhousie University, she studied with renowned violinist Philippe Djokic (Juilliard) and at the University of Otago, New Zealand, she studied with Tessa Petersen (Royal College Of Music, UK).
Carlos Mora Baez
Carlos A. Mora Baez is an innovative and passionate musician trained in jazz, classical and popular music styles. Originally from Cuba, Carlos has over 20 years of experience performing for a variety of international audiences as a soloist as well as in groups and orchestras. Carlos graduated with a degree in Music, major in Saxophone, from the Angel Román Gonzalez Borrell Conservatory of Music in Santa Clara, Cuba in 2007.
Celeste Jankowski holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Violin Performance from the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston and is currently a member of the first violin section of Symphony Nova Scotia. She has been featured as a soloist with Symphony Nova Scotia a number times, including a recent performance of a Vivaldi concerto for two violins withrenowned baroque violinist and recently retired Music Director of Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, Jeanne Lamon.
Csaba (Chubba) Kanyasi has been playing music for over 40 years and teaching for more than 20 years. Although jazz is his main focus, he performs in various styles. Now a resident of Wolfville, Nova Scotia, Chubba was born in Hungary where he attended the Jazz College in Budapest. Later he moved to Australia where he studied jazz at Macquarie University. Since moving to Canada, Chubba has performed with a great number of musicians including Mike Murley, Jeff Riley, Jamie Gatti, Silvio Pupo and Paul Cram, playing in music festivals throughout Nova Scotia and beyond. He has also been active as a teacher and clinician.
Debbie Miles has performed throughout Ireland, Scotland, England and North America with classical ensembles and orchestras, back up violin/fiddle with bands and commercial recording work. She has taught violin, string ensembles, orchestras and summer music camps from Ireland to Nunavut (former faculty at Mary Immaculate College, Ireland).
Frances is an active performer, who has played for numerous opera and musical theatre productions as well as in solo and chamber music recitals. She has served as an accompanist for the School of Dance and the Suzuki Department as well as many private voice, string, and wind students. She teaches students of all ages and levels and particularly enjoys teaching adults. (Also Theory, private lessons only.)
Geordie Haley: Guitarist, Composer, Improviser and Educator has been a featured Artist with new music presenters Suddenly Listen, Upstream Music, Vocalypse, and Open Arts. Geordie is a frequent contributor to the Halifax Jazz Festival, the Harvest Blues and Jazz Festival, and the Open Waters Festival. He has collaborated with dancers Shannon Cooney, Susanne Chui, Rhonda Baker, Sara Coffin and Jacinthe Armstrong. Geordie has played in the pit bands for Neptune Theatre, New Brunswick and Canadian Stage.
Dr. Gillian Smith
Dr. Gillian Smith enjoys a varied performance career and has appeared in recital and as a chamber musician across North America. She has collaborated in chamber music performances with members of the Acadia University School of Music, the Dalhousie Department of Music, the Yale School of Music, the Juilliard School of Music, the Indiana University School of Music, and the University of Minnesota. She can be heard on a CD recorded with members of the Acadia New Music Society, “Live Wired”, and has also recently recorded another CD with the Acadia New Music Society, “In Sonorous Falling Tones.”
Ilana Domb received her Bachelor of Music in Horn Performance from The Juilliard School and a Licentiate and Performance Certificate from The Royal Academy of Music. She has performed with The Israel Sinfonietta, The Haifa Symphony, Norddeutsche Philharmonie Rostock, Neue Elbland Philharmonie, Philharmonischen Orchester des Staatstheaters Cottbus, Symphonie Orchester Aachen, Leipziger Symphonieorchester, Mitteldeutsches Landestheater, Thüringer Symphoniker, Landestheater Eisenach and The Russian Chamber Philharmonic.
Born in Truro NS, Jacob Caines completed his undergraduate degree in Music Education and Conducting at Acadia University in Wolfville NS, before moving to Ottawa to complete a Masters in Musicology at the University of Ottawa. While in Ottawa, Jacob’s research interests had been focussed on 20th century American wind music. This research took him to the Eastman School of Music several times to complete archival work on the life of Frederick Fennell. As a clarinetist, Jacob has performed with the Atlantic Wind Orchestra, the National Concert Band of Canada, and has taught at the Acadia University Summer Academies as well as the University of New Brunswick Summer Camps.
Since relocating to Nova Scotia, Jon-Paul has been a mainstay of the Nova Scotia arts community, previously appearing for Symphony Nova Scotia as a featured soloist for Handel's Messiah, Mozart's Mass in C Minor, and in their special Last Night of the Proms concert. On stage with Opera Nova Scotia, Mr. Decosse has appeared as Leporello in Don Giovanni, Wurm in Luisa Miller, Death in Savitri, and most recently, Don Alhambra in The Gondoliers.
Jeremy van Slyke
Jeremy VanSlyke is a musician, producer, and entrepreneur with a passion for classical music. He grew up in Fredericton, learning to play the piano and violin from an early age and participating in several local, provincial and national music festivals. He has taught private piano lessons in English and French for several years, including with the Montreal Heart of the City Piano program, which provides lessons to at-risk children in elementary schools.
Karlene Francis is professional singer and freelance cellist who also uses her musical abilities in the practice of music therapy. Following completion of all requirements, she is currently a Candidate for Accreditation with her governing body (CAMT). She is happy to be service provider within the organization where her first formal musical education began on piano at an early age where she took RCM exams until the age of 16, completing Grade 8, with honours and continued study for two more years.
Megan received her Suzuki Cello Teacher Training under Catherine Walker at the Southwestern Ontario Suzuki Institute. She also studied under Paul Pulford during her Cello Performance studies at Wilfrid Laurier University. Megan enjoys teaching students of all ages from the beginner through to intermediate levels. Some of the festivals in which Megan has participated include Quartetfest in Waterloo, Ontario, the Summer Baroque Instrumental Program at UBC and the Guelph Spring Music Festival.
Megan Thibeault is a versatile pianist and educator, who is passionate about exploring new ways to present, collaborate and explore music in our community. Born in Gander, NL, her musical endeavours have brought her to perform and study throughout North America. She has premiered many solo and ensemble pieces while collaborating with a wide range of composers from emerging artists to some who are internationally renowned such as Steve Reich and Missy Mazzoli.
Neven Prostran is a guitarist with over a decade of experience performing, composing, recording and teaching. He holds an honours certificate with distinction in Grade 8 guitar from the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto and was a two-time runner-up at the OMFA provincial guitar finals for Grade 8 and 10 guitar. Neven won the Silver Medal from the Royal Conservatory in 2010 for the highest guitar exam grade in Ontario and Quebec. With a B.Mus degree from the University of Toronto and currently completing a MA in Musicology degree at Dalhousie University, Neven’s musical interests are range from classical, to rock, pop, folk, flamenco and jazz and gyspy jazz. In 2016, Neven performed with the live band of the China Super Vocal competition at the Rebecca Cohn in Halifax.
Patty Shaw teaches clarinet and clarineo to children, teens and adults at the Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts in Halifax and at her home on St Margaret’s Bay. Patty is passionate about the clarinet and loves to play the classical repertoire. She enjoys playing chamber music and has also been known to have fun in concert bands. Patty is an alumna of the Nova Scotia Youth Orchestra and currently plays with Nova Sinfonia in Halifax.
Patrick Maubert, from Fredericton NB, completed an associate degree in Musical Theatre Performance from the American Musical and Dramatic Academy of New York City as well as a master’s degree in Musical Theatre Creative Practice in Directing at the Arts Educational Schools of London, where Andrew Lloyd Webber is patron and mentor. As a performing artist, Maubert has worked internationally in a range of cross-genre projects from musical to physical theatre.
Rachael Delano is a professional musician living in Halifax, Nova Scotia (K'jipuktuk) who specializes as a vocal coach, choir conductor, musician, and arranger. Rachael's primary expertise is in contemporary vocal coaching, and she brings a wealth of experience and compassion to her work as a musician. She provides support to young singers developing their skills, as well as advanced coaching for experienced musicians. She has studied with Natalie Weiss, Dr. Gregory Servant, Marcia Swanston, Christina Murray, Bob Anderson, and Dr. Frances Farrell. Rachael is a graduate of the Fountain School of Performing Arts at Dalhousie University with First Class Honours in Music.
Originally from Truro, Nova Scotia, Rachel O’Brien is a Halifax-based music director, pianist, and educator. Since moving to Halifax last year she co-Music Directed Neptune Theatre School YPCo's sold-out run of Les Misérables: School Edition with fellow Theatre School instructor Sarah Richardson, and musically directed Seussical: the Musical for Halifax Regional Arts. Her selected credits include: over 100 performances of Anne & Gilbert: The Musical (The Guild), Evita and Joseph... Dreamcoat (Blind Faith Productions), Disney's Mary Poppins (Theatre New Brunswick), and Hello Dolly! (Garnet & Gold Musical Theatre).
Pianist Ria Kim, originally from South Korea, received her educations in the Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts and Dalhousie University where she studied with Oxana Zotova and Lynn Stodola, prior to studying with Daniel Epstein and earning her Master's degree at Manhattan School of Music, NY.
Rosemary Kristof’s early studies took place in Jamaica, W.I. with Isabelle Hicks leading to the L.R.S.M. Diploma in Performance, and one year later she obtained the Performer’s A.R.C.T. in Toronto with teachers Douglas Bodle and Pierre Souvairan. After this she had 7 years of post-graduate study with University of Toronto Faculty of Music Professor Greta Kraus, who was appointed a member of the Order of Canada in 1992.
Trombonist Shauna DeGruchy is quickly establishing herself at the forefront of the Canadian contemporary music scene. She frequently performs as a soloist and in collaboration with others to create and present new music and interdisciplinary works. She is a founding member and co-artistic director of contemporary chamber group Alkali Collective. She has also commissioned and premiered several new Canadian pieces for her instrument. As an emerging composer herself, she is currently writing her first EP for solo trombone with electronics.
A native of Germany, Sibylle Marquardt moved to Canada in 1997. In August 2018 she moved to Halifax where she is now teaching at the Maritime Conservatory. An active chamber and orchestral player in Canada and Europe, she is also recognized for her teaching. In 1998 she became a Certified Teacher on the Faculty of the Royal Conservatory of Music, got her certifications as Suzuki teacher, has joined the College of Examiners and has become a sought after adjudicator at music festivals.
Susannë Brown studied violin and viola growing up in Halifax, and then went on to do a Bachelor of Music in performance at McGill University with Douglas McNabney. She continued her studies at Boston University, and then completed a Master’s degree in Musicology at the University of Western Ontario, where she studied with Ralph Aldrich. Currently Susannë is pursuing her studies towards a certificate in the Dalcroze Eurhythmics method of music teaching. Susannë enjoys performing and teaching, and has been teaching violinists and violists of all ages and levels for the past 19 years at the Conservatory. (see also Kindermusik and Orchestra)
As one of the brightest emerging talents on the Canadian jazz scene, vocalist and pianist Zoe Leger’s warm, inviting voice has been drawing audiences throughout Canada and the United Kingdom since 2007. As a leader in Halifax’s contemporary and jazz music scenes, Zoe has studied with internationally renowned composers and pianists Hans Koller and John Taylor in addition to being a recipient of numerous scholarships and awards as a composer and arranger. Zoe’s recent debut, self-produced album ‘The Girl From Yesterday’ was nominated for the East Coast Music Awards 2017 Jazz Recording of the Year. As a teacher, Zoe is an enthusiastic, positive, and passionate educator who encourages singers of all ages and levels to find their unique voice and sing their story.