Paul Haas is a truly dynamic and innovative musician, composer, and conductor. He is the Founder and Artistic Director of Sympho, a New York-based contemporary music ensemble dedicated to the creation and performance of radically engaging musical experiences in unusual venues and unexpected contexts.
Mr. Haas is former Music Director of the acclaimed New York Youth Symphony and since 2010 has also been the Music Director of the Symphony of Northwest Arkansas (SoNA), which has more than tripled its yearly budget since he began his tenure.
An acclaimed composer and commissioned by iconic venues like the Park Avenue Armory and Rubin Museum in New York, Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, and the Anchorage Museum of Art in Alaska. Mr. Haas is a graduate of Yale University and The Juilliard School, where he studied orchestral conducting.
Mélissa Biroun (Interim Conductor-in-Residence) is currently completing her Master’s degree at the Schulich School of Music at the McGill University. She is a graduate of the Conservatoire de Musique de Montréal, and also Vanier College in jazz piano.
After graduating, she received a B.Mus in composition at the Université de Montréal. Following that she has written jazz and popular arrangements, and collaborated with ensembles and dance companies.
Internationally, Ms. Biroun interned as conductor with the Mihail Jora Philharmonic Orchestra (Romania), and the Adelphi Symphony Orchestra (New York). Since 2016, she has been teaching music at the Collège Sainte-Anne de Lachine where she leads a chorus, jazz combos, chamber orchestra and a vocal a cappella group, and performed at the Rialto Theatre and the International Congress. In 2017 Ms. Biroun was appointed Music and Artistic Director of the Harmonie Calixa-Lavallée de Sorel.
Thomas Cosbey holds a Performance Diploma from the Glenn Gould School. He began his career at the Regina Symphony, moving to Principal Second Violin of Sinfonia Toronto. He is Music Director of the Thunder Bay Symphony Youth Orchestra and he maintains a busy violin studio.
Kathlyn Stevens holds a Performance Diploma from Mount Royal Conservatory, a B.Mus. and Artist Diploma from the Glenn Gould School, and a M.Mus. from the University of Ottawa. She performs regularly with the Martin Blanchet Jazz Quintet.
Iain McKay has a B.Mus. in Violin Performance from the University of Toronto. Iain has toured throughout Canada and the US as a member of the National Youth Orchestra and the National Academy Orchestra, and has played with Musicians Orchestra London and Andrew Downing Jazz Ensemble.
Stéphanie Caplette holds a Master’s degree in Violin Performance from the Conservatory of Montreal. Stéphanie has toured across Europe as a member of the YOA Orchestra of the Americas “Nordic-Baltic tour.” She studied on scholarship at the Banff Centre for the Arts and the Orford Arts Centre.
Madonna Lee holds a B.Mus. in Performance from Wilfrid Laurier University/University of Toronto, a Licentiate Performance Diploma from the Royal Conservatory and a B.Ed. from Lakehead
University. Madonna has enjoyed fiddling with two local bands, the Knackers and Accordion with Strings Attached.
Roxane Michaud obtained her Bacchelor’s and Master’s degrees in performance at Laval University, in Quebec City where she also completed a performance certificate at the Conservatoire de musique de Québec. She has performed with l’Orchestre symphonique de l’Estuaire as well as l’Orchestre Symphonique de Québec. Roxane has a rich experience as a string quartet player and also specializes in Baroque music.
Sarah Ng, from Singapore, has established a worldwide career encompassing solo chamber and orchestral performance. Career highlights include performing at the Vermont Mozart Festival, Round Top Festival, Madeline Island String Quartet Fellowship, and Young EuroClassic in Berlin. She recently graduated from the McGill School of Music in the Masters program for Violin Performance.
Michelle Zapf-Bélanger is a graduate of the Etobicoke School of the Arts and the Young Artist’s Performance Academy at the Royal Conservatory of Music. She holds a Performance Diploma from the Glenn Gould School in Toronto. Locally, she conducts the Junior Strings and leads the Stringlings.
Kenneth Kwan holds a Master of Music from McGill University, Graduate Diploma and Bachelor of music from Peabody institute of music. While at the McGill University, he was a recipient of the Robert H.P Fung award.
Mathilde Bernard holds a Ph.D. from the University of Montreal and M.Mus. from the National Superior Music and Dance Conservatory of Lyon. She has toured Europe with the Champs Elysees Orchestra, and has played with the Montreal Musician Philharmonic Orchestra.
Veronica Lee holds a B.Mus. in Viola Performance from the University of Western Ontario, a M.Mus. from McGill University, an Artist Diploma from the Glenn Gould School. She performs regularly with Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, Hamilton Philharmonic, Toronto Concert Orchestra and Sinfonia Toronto.
Patrick Horn holds a B.Mus. from Rice University, and a M.Music from Northwestern University. While living in Berkeley, California, he began to compose tango music—a fusion of pop—and his tangos have been featured in Strings Magazine and on Chicago radio.
Catherine Jillings studied in Regina, Toronto and Victoria. She has attended congresses at the Banff Centre, Scotia Festival and Magic Mountain Music Farm. In Thunder Bay, Cathy has performed on the Quartet Etcetera series, with LUMINA, SYKE, New Music North and the Harbour String Quartet.
Natalie Dyck received her B.Mus. from the Cleveland Institute of Music, and her M.Mus. from the University of Toronto. She has played with the Erie Philharmonic Orchestra, the National Academy Orchestra, and is equally at home across a variety of genres. In addition to music, Natalie enjoys reading, nature, and tea.
Marc Palmquist (Principal Cello) studied at the Manhattan and Juilliard Schools of Music in New York City. He has performed with the orchestra’s of St. Paul (Chamber), Minnesota, Colorado Festival, Met Opera, La Scala, and Florida Festival, as well as in a Broadway Musical. He has been broadcast on CBC, NPR, and MPR. Marc enjoys working with his hands by fixing, building, or creating!
Peter Cosbey is a sought-after chamber musician, orchestral musician, composer, and educator. He is a graduate of the Royal Conservatory of Music’s Glenn Gould School and a founding member of the dynamic The Annex Quartet, which made its debut in Carnagie Hall. He performs regularly with the TSO.
Oskar Falta holds a M.Mus. degree with distinction from the Royal Academy in London and is currently a doctoral candidate at the University of British Columbia. He has performed with many different international orchestras including Junge Deutsche Philharmonie and the National Youth Orchestra of the Netherlands, as well as having participated in numerous festivals across Europe.
Martin Blanchet was born in Québec City. He has held the chair of Assistant Principal Bass in Orquestra do Algarve in Portugal, performed with La Orquesta de Extremadura de Badajoz in Spain, L’Orchestre Symphonique de Québec, and Opéra de Québec. He is the creator of the Martin Blanchet Jazz Quintet.
Penelope Clarke has been a member of the Canadian Opera Company Orchestra and other orchestras in the Toronto area. She has performed with the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra and the Hamilton Opera. Penelope is a Sessional Lecturer of flute and theory at Lakehead University.
Doris Dungan received B.Mus. and M.Mus. degrees from the University of Michigan before taking a position as Assistant Professor at the University of Southern Mississippi. Since joining the TBSO, Doris has appeared as soloist with the orchestra on both flute and piccolo and was featured nationally on CBC Radio.
Colleen Kennedy studied music at the University of Western Ontario and Juilliard. In Thunder Bay, Colleen has been active in the arts community as a teacher (Lakehead University),
performer, and reed maker. She was a founding member of the Thunder Bay Chamber Players.
Gwendolyn Buttemer was Principal Oboe of the Stratford Symphony Orchestra before moving to Thunder Bay. Gwendolyn holds a Bachelor of Music in Oboe Performance from Wilfrid Laurier University, and a Master of Music in Oboe Performance from the New England Conservatory.
Peter Shackleton is a member of MuSiC in Common, teaches at Sir Wilfrid Laurier University and performs with Tafelmusik on historical clarinet. He studied at Northwestern University and University of Wisconsin. He has been a soloist with the TSO, National Arts Centre Orchestra, and CBC Radio Orchestra.
One of E-Chen’s favourite things has been collaborating with principal clarinetist Peter Shackleton. She earned a Bachelor of Music degree from Western University Canada, and Master of Music degree from Northwestern University. E-Chen is a member of the Tamarack Wind Quintet in Thunder Bay.
Harold Wevers holds a B.A. from the University of Toronto and did post graduate work at McGill University and the University of Western Ontario in composition. Prior to joining the TBSO, Wevers spent a year in Israel on a kibbutz, and playing principal bassoon in the Orchestra of the Kibbutzim.
Iraj Tamadon-Nejad began his studies on bassoon at age seventeen as a student at Earl Haig Secondary School. Upon completion of his High School Diploma Iraj went on to study performance at the University of Toronto with Michael Sweeney.
After a brief hiatus to New York City, Iraj returned to continue his studies at the Glenn Gould School as well as the University of Toronto under Fraser Jackson. Afterwards, Iraj continued on and completed his degree at the University of Western Ontario with James McKay.
Iraj most currently completed his Masters degree with Jesse Read at the University of British Columbia on a full scholarship given for excellence in performance and significant contributions to the music community.
Iraj’s orchestral expertise garnered him recognition as an outstanding bassoonist while Principal Bassoon of the Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber orchestra as well as the Stratford Civic Orchestra.In addition, has made appearances with many great musicians in Orchestra London and Festival of The Sound and Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.
Janelle Wiebe completed an Artist Diploma at the Glenn Gould School at the Royal Conservatory, freelanced with regional orchestras in the Greater Toronto area. In 2010, Janelle graduated with a Master’s in Orchestral Performance at the Schulich School of Music at McGill, where she was a Schulich Scholar.
Damian Rivers-Moore graduated from the University of Western Ontario, Glenn Gould Professional School, and La Conservatoire de Musique de Montreal. In 2001, Damian accepted a professional orchestral engagement in Guangzhou, Peoples Republic of China, where he held the position of First Horn.
Sam Hughes earned his B. Mus. at the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University, studying with Joe Burgstaller and Phil Snedecor. He has attended international music festivals such as Domaine Forget and VSO’s Orchestral Institute at Whistler.
Graham Steeds earned a B.A. from Bemidji State University, a M.Mus. from Florida State, and a Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Minnesota. He has taught at Bemidji State, Luther College, Lakehead University, and the International Music Camp, and enjoys playing everything from classical to jazz and pop.
Erik Hongisto has been with the TBSO since 2003. He studied at the University of Calgary and at McGill University and has performed with various orchestras across Canada. His non-musical interests are varied and range from trail-running to scotch-tasting.
Jean-François Breton holds a B.Mus. from the University of Sherbrooke and a Masters from Indiana University. He debuted in Québec City, and has performed with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra. He is the percussion instructor at Lakehead University, and loves ultimate frisbee and landscaping.
Heather Morrison maintains the position of faculty accompanist/concert co-ordinator for Interprovincial Music Camp in the Muskokas. Heather is the music director at Lakehead Unitarian Fellowship, and in 2017 began her second term as a Unitarian Lay Chaplain.