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Colin Yip

President, Voice

“Colin has a fantastic, beautiful voice, full of the nobility of phrasing and expression; he is a real artist..." - New York Times


Mr. Colin Yip is one of China’s most successful and leading tenors. He has been the President of the Toronto School of Music Canada and the International Music & Dance Association in Toronto, Canada since 1996. He has also been an adjudicator for the Bellini International Music Competition in Italy since 1999. He is currently admitted in the International Who's Who of Intellectuals, 1997.


Mr. Yip started his vocal training in his native Hong Kong. He later graduated from China’s Beijing Central Conservatory of Music under Professors Ms. Shu Zhen Guo and Mr. Xin Chang Li. He received musical coaching from the renowned German Lieder specialist, Professor Hugen. After a successful recital debut in Hong Kong City Hall in 1989, Colin was accepted with a scholarship into the Artist Diploma Program at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Canada and studied voice with department head Ms. Helen Simmie. In the same year, Colin won first prize in the National Teachers of Singing Competition in Canada. He also became joined the faculty of the Royal Conservatory of Music as a voice teacher in 1990. In 1993, Colin Yip received a scholarship from the Manhattan School of Music in New York. There hestudied voice with department head, Professor Maitland Peters and Gabor Carelli, the star tenor at the Metropolitan Opera and student of the incomparable Beniamino Gigli. After Colin graduated with a Master of Music degree in the spring of 1995, he won 1st place at the Artist International Music Competition and presented a successful recital debut at the Carnegie Recital Hall inand solo recital at the Toronto Centre for the Arts,Canada.


Mr. Yip’s operatic performances have included the leading roles in Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, Bizet’s Carmen, Puccini’s Madame Butterfly, Strauss's Ariadne Auf Naxos and Verdi’s La Traviata. He has performed at the New York Carnegie Hall, Roy Thomson Hall, New Jersey State Opera, Queen’s Opera, Manhattan Opera and Arizona Opera. He has also performed with the Royal Conservatory of Music Orchestra in Canada in 1990, the Manhattan Philharmonic Orchestra, New York, Malaysia, Singapore with the Penang Philharmonic Orchestra of Malaysia and has appeared in numerous recitals and on television in Italy, New York, Canada, China, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and throughout Southeast Asia.


In 2004, he was an adjudicator for the Canadian Youth Music Competition (Shenyang), the eighth Canadian International Artist Music Competition (Wuhan) trials and the ninth Canadian International Artist Music Competition (Guangzhou) trials. In 2005, he was invited as a guest speaker to China Central Television's "Into the Opera". He has also been invited to participate in the "China's Most Influential Musicians". In 2007, Mr. Colin Yip held solo concerts of the German Lieder Anthology of Schubert’s 《Die Schone Mullerin》 in seven cities in china such as Beijing, Shanghai, Wuhan, Qingdao, Yunnan, Guizhou and Fujian. On May, 2008, he performed in the Opera 《Madame Butterfly》 at the National Centre for the Performing Arts in China. In November, 2008, he successfully held the 39th International Bellini Music Competition-China Audition in Beijing and in December, 2008 in Hong Kong. He has also been invited to sing for the 2009 Music Festival of Beijing.


In recent years, Mr. Colin Yip has traveled across Europe, North America and China as an adjudicator of international competitions, and has held a series of concerts and lectures regarding musical culture and the arts.

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William Shookhoff

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

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


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

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


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

Violin, Piano

Violinist Gloria Yip is a highly sought after performer and teacher currently residing in Toronto. After serving as a teaching assistant to Mauricio Fuks during her Masters degree studies at Indiana University, she is now a full scholarship student at the Glenn Gould School and a teacher at the Toronto School of Music. 

Ms. Yip was invited this past summer as both a performer and teacher to the MasterArezzo Festival in Italy, where she performed as a soloist with the orchestra and taught students from different parts of Europe as an assistant to the prominent Italian violinist, Stefano Pagliani. She was also a teacher in the Fairview Violin Project and IU String Academy, working with Mimi Zweig and Dr. Brenda Brenner. She was a member of the Terre Haute Symphony Orchestra and Columbus Symphony Orchestra in Indiana from 2014-2015. Ms. Yip also had the opportunity to perform with the Toronto Sinfonietta in 2007, as a finalist of their concerto competition.


Ms. Yip has performed in masterclasses with Ilya Kaler, Cho-Liang Lin, Geoff Nuttall, Lina Bahn, Philippe Graffin, Gerard Poulet, Stanley Ritchie and Lewis Kaplan among others. She has also performed at the Bowdoin Music Festival, Orford Music Academy, and the Conservatoire Americain in Fontainebleau as a full scholarship student, where she was also awarded the first prize at the Prix Ravel competition with her string quartet. Other awards include the Dean’s Scholarship at Indiana University, a grant from the Canada Council for the Arts and is the recipient of the Ihnatowycz Emerging Artist Award at the Glenn Gould School.


Ms. Yip also holds an Honours Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Toronto, majoring in psychology. Her greatest mentors have included Zhang Yun Zhang, Stefano Pagliani, Erika Raum, Mauricio Fuks, Barry Shiffman and Paul Kantor.

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