Current Emerging Artists
Eric and Stuart Eigler
Eric and Stuart Eigler started playing the piano at the age of three. They are now studying with Olga Tcherniak. Eric and Stuart participated in music festivals and won many scholarships and trophies. Eric has won the top trophies in Brantford and Norfolk. Eric earned first class honours for his RCM ARCT performance exam, and is working on the Licentiate. Stuart finished Grade 10 piano and is working on his ARCT. Eric and Stuart performed at a fundraiser for NYCO (North York Concert Orchestra), in the Sanderson lobby at many Brantford Music Club (BMC) shows, and played at BMC Young Artists’ Recitals. Eric was the Young Artist soloist in 2022. Eric played Beethoven Piano Concerto 1 with the Brantford Community Symphony Orchestra. Since the start of the Covid lockdowns, Eric and Stuart have performed on their driveway ten times to entertain the neighbours. Most recently, they performed at Whistling Gardens, organized by Arcady Ensemble. In addition to playing the piano, Stuart and Eric like practising chess, table tennis, karate (junior black belt), and designing objects to build with the 3d printer.
Kevin Zi-Xiao He
Cellist & composer
Zi-Xiao He is a Chinese-born composer, multi-instrumentalist, and music educator, who immigrated to Canada in his mid-teen years. As a cellist, Kevin has remained an active figure in the GTA classical music scene and in performances of various natures for the past decade. Kevin’s compositional output originates from a Chinese cultural background and embodies his interests in a variety of musical genres, including popular and traditional music of East Asia. Kevin has studied composition with renowned figures such as Christos Hatzis and Gary Kulesha. His works have been showcased in international new music festivals in North America, Asia, and Europe. In Fall 2022, his composition “That Day by the Gardenia Tree” was premiered in Shibuya, Tokyo. Kevin also enjoys a prolific career performing on traditional Japanese bamboo flutes as a member of the world renowned Japanese taiko drumming group Nagata Shachu. He is a current doctoral candidate in music composition in the studio of Dr. Christos Hatzis, at the Faculty of Music, University of Toronto.
Marcel van Helden
Tenor & trumpeter
Hailing from the small town of Acton, Ontario, Marcel van Helden holds a Master’s degree in music from Western University and a Bachelor’s degree in physics. He has sung with numerous choirs in southern Ontario including the Georgetown Bach Chorale, Musikay, Kammerchor London, and the Brott Festival Choir. Some of his notable solo roles have been in Handel’s Messiah, Bach’s St. Matthew and St. John Passions, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and Choral Fantasy with the Rose Orchestra of Brampton. In addition to choral and oratorio work Marcel has played a number of roles on the opera stage including Peter Quint (from Turn of the Screw), Monostatos (from The Magic Flute), and Don Ottavio (from Don Giovanni).
Roanna Kitchen is a Canadian soprano praised for her striking stage presence and musical versatility. She recently completed her Advanced Certificate in Performance (specializing in early music) from the University of Toronto. Roanna also holds masters and undergraduate degrees in Voice Performance, during which time she studied with Frédérique Vézina and Danial Taylor.
Roanna has performed various roles on stage including Frasquita in Carmen, Clarice in Il giuoco del quadriglio, Serpina in La serva padrona, Miss Robinson and Lady Appleby in The Shop Girl, Iris in Semele, Mabel in Pirates of Penzance and Donna Marie in Blood Brothers. She premiered the role of Mentuhotep in the new opera Conan and the Stone of Kelior and appeared in the original cast recording. Roles cancelled due to force majeure include Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro with the Vocal Academy of Opera in Bodrum (2023) and Second Norn in Götterdämmerung with Opera by Request (2020). Roanna has performed staged scenes such as “Restino imbalsamate…T’aspetto e tu non vieni” (La Calisto) as Calisto, “Pur ti miro” (L’incoronazione di Poppea) as Poppea, “Alfin siam liberati, Zerlinetta gentil…Là ci darem la mano” (Don Giovanni) as Zerlina and “Basilio, in traccia tosto di Figaro volate” (Le Nozze di Figaro) as Susanna. She has also participated as a young artist in programs such as the Vocal Academy of Opera in Bodrum, the Tafelmusik Baroque Summer Institute, St. Andrew’s Vocal Techniques Workshop, Opera Nuova’s 10 Day Development Program and the Summer Opera Lyric Theatre. Roanna has been the recipient of multiple scholarships including the Arts Abroad Grant through Canada Council for the Arts, the Lillian and Henry Regehr Scholarship, the University of Toronto Music Fellowship Award, Arthur Edward Redsell Scholarship, Lois Marshall Memorial Scholarship, Undergraduate Campaign Scholarship and the President’s Entrance Scholarship.
Canadian singer-songwriter/classical soprano Sophia Korz began songwriting at the age of twelve and has since found herself unable to stop. Under the tutelage of Dr. Joan Heels (voice) and Francine Regaudie-McIsaac (piano/theory/history), she pursues senior levels of RCM training and has won two Gold Medals (RCM Voice), First Place/Best of Class for Level 8 Voice Provincials (OMFA), and countless other scholarships from various festivals. Developing her skills at integrating both compositional and performance styles, she has studied choral works under Dr. Tracy Wong (McMaster University Choir, Cantemus Vocal Ensemble: 2019-2021), as well as masterclasses by Dr. Shannon Coates (Contemporary Singing), Elizabeth McDonald (Vocal Health/Physiology), Zimfira Poloz (Russian Choral Music), soprano Jennie Such, and tenor Elliot Madore. Influenced by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Amy Lee, Tori Amos, and select choral composers (Laurisden, Bergersen, Hagenberg, Rutter), she is interested in the synthesis of classical and popular music. Since her debut single “Flinch” in 2019, she has produced and released three additional tracks as an indie solo artist, with “NOBODIES” (2022) being her most recent reflection on the COVID-19 aftermath. She can be found on streaming platforms everywhere and is excited to be working on her debut EP.
Kellie Masalas is a graduate of the University of Western Ontario, having majored in English Literature and minored in music. This combination, along with her love for literature has allowed her to have a unique understanding of the beauties of vocal repertoire with its emphasis on poetry and drama. Kellie has also completed her grade nine requirements from the Royal Conservatory of Music and is halfway into her grade ten requirements, which should be finished this year. She is working towards her Performer’s ARCT. Kellie brings her own musical unique point of view based on this strong background. She has a warm and rich soprano voice which is able to portray the grandeur of Wagner’s Wessendock songs and the intimacy of a Schubert lied. In the past two years Kellie has appeared in several performances and concerts. Last summer she participated in a concert with the Muskoka Chitaqua Festival. This summer she will be returning there and will be participating in SOLT singing the role of Ciesca in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi. Past Roles have included: Orfeo from Gluck’s Orfeo ed Eurydice, Hannah from The Merry Widow and Mrs. Murrant in Kurt Weil’s Street Scene. She is a frequent soloist at the Lithuanian church of the resurrection in Etobicoke. Kellie continues her studies with Helga Tucker and Brahm Goldhammer. She is grateful to her past musical mentors: Theodore Baerg, Glyn Evans and Jean McPhail. Kellie’s Passion for the vocal art is shown through her performances. Her voice and genuine humanity come across with sincerity that can truly touch her audience.
Canadian mezzo-soprano Maria Milenic is an up-and-coming artist with “a uniquely beautiful voice and a lovely dark rich sound” (McHardy, 2022). Originally from Newmarket Ontario, Maria has established a strong musical presence in Toronto, Canada. She is a Serbian-Croatian heritage speaker and is proficiently fluent in French, following her language studies at the University of Toronto, where she majored in both voice performance and French language arts. Maria made her stage debut as a chorus member in Huron Heights’ musical production of Honk in 2010, where her natural artistry and stage presence left a mark on stage, at the young age of twelve. Since then, she has honed her artistic talents as an opera singer and has been hailed as an exceptionally talented young artist.
Maria’s stage highlights include Hänsel in Hänsel und Gretel, where she made her international debut in Berlin Opera Academy, Minkswoman in Dove’s Flight, and Ljubica in Ana Sokolovic’s Svadba , both at The Royal Conservatory, Ada in COSA Canada’s The Shop Girl, Mrs. Hildebrand in Kurt Weil’s Street Scene at the University of Toronto, and Javotte in Massenet’s Manon at Summer Opera Lyric Theater, among others.Apart from opera, Maria is profoundly passionate about contemporary repertoire and seeks opportunities to collaborate with Canadian composers at all costs. In 2019, she competed in the SongSLAM song festival where she premiered one of Benjamin Gabbay’s original works written for voice and piano. Gabbay often composes music specifically written to suit Maria’s voice and the two thrive as musical collaborators. She has also recently begun working with Chinese-Canadian composer Kevin Zi-Xiao, who has set several of Maria’s original poems and created stunning new art songs using her texts. In June 2022, Maria premiered the first piece of their song cycle, titled Aisling. You can keep up with Maria’s upcoming projects on her Instagram: @maria_milee.
An avid oboist and teacher, Tyler Romesberg holds a bachelor’s degree in Music Education from the University of North Texas and is currently pursuing graduate studies in Oboe Performance at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. Romesberg has performed with the Amarillo Symphony and Lone Star Wind Orchestra, and he can be heard on Imbroglio Sextet’s album Greetings From Gran Hostal El Chiscón. During the summers, he has studied at Rocky Ridge Music, Eastern Music Festival, and the International Lyric Academy in Vicenza, Italy.Tyler Romesberg considers his professional life as a teacher to be equally as important as his performance career. As a classroom teacher, Romesberg completed his internship at Lebanon Trail High School and Clark Middle School in Frisco, Texas. As a private teacher, he was the Oboe Instructor for Carroll Independent School District from 2019-2021, during which time many of his students were accepted to honor bands at multiple levels of performance. Additionally, he volunteered as the Oboe Instructor at Ecole de Musique Ste. Trinité in Mirebalais, Haiti, during the summer of 2018.
Bethany Horrocks Schouwstra
Bethany Horrocks Schouwstra was born and raised in Prince Edward Island where homeschooling allowed her the freedom to explore her musical interests. After moving to Ontario to study, she received her Bachelors of Music from Wilfrid Laurier University under Dr. Jeremy Bell and her Masters of Music from the University of Western Ontario under Annette-Barbara Vogel. She has appeared as a guest artist with various ensembles, including the St. Cecilia Singers and the Sudbury Symphony Orchestra. In 2016, Bethany won the Reformed String Camp concerto competition and performed with their orchestra the following year. Currently, she works as a private music teacher and freelancer around London ON. In her spare time, Bethany enjoys baking cookies, going on walks with her husband and son, and sight reading sonatas with friends.
Rain Saran Senavinin
Rain Saran Senavinin is a Thai countertenor with virtuosic flexibility melded with beauty of tone and passionate stagecraft. Currently based in Montréal, Québec, Canada, Rain’s genre-transcending versatility spans five centuries in performances across Canada, England, Singapore, Vietnam, and his native Thailand. Rain has performed many touchstones of the classic Baroque repertoire with Montréal’s Cappella antica. Other operatic roles as a former baritone include Aeneas in Dido & Aeneas, Häsch in Schubert’s Sakuntala, Dancaïre in Carmen, and Sciarrone in Tosca. Upcoming roles include Nerone in Händel’s Agrippina, Dido in a gender-bent Dido & Aeneas and songs by Viardot and Malibran with Rainbow Reels and Opéra Queens. Performances of concert repertoire include innovative projects such as the Chez Pauline Viardot recital commemorating both McGill and Pauline Viardot-García’s 2021 Bicentennials funded by the Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), Opéra McGill’s Shakespeare Serenade directed by Patrick Hansen, and “Raising Asian Voices” with McGill’s Post-Graduate Student Society. Contemporary performances include Wild Grass on the Riverbank, My Beloved, and Collage written by three Juilliard composers; the world premiere of Sun Young Park’s My Beloved; Novice in Mae Naak, Lord Munemori in Dan No Ura, and Tvashtra in Nemiraj, all by International Wagner Society Award-winning Thai composer S. P. Somtow; and Unsuk Chin’s Cantatrix sopranica with Schulich Music’s Contemporary Music Ensemble under the baton of Guillaume Bourgogne. Further performances include appearances for the HRH Princesses Marie-Esmeralda of Belgium, Maha Chakri Sirindhorn of Thailand, and Soamsavali of Thailand; the Embassies of Spain, Austria, France, and the United Kingdom; the Grand Opera of Thailand; and NUNi Productions Thailand. Rain holds a Master of Music in Early Music Performance from the prestigious Schulich School of Music at McGill University in Montréal where his coaches included Professor Dominique Labelle, Stephen Hargreaves, and Suzie Leblanc. Other mentors include Stefan Sanchez, Associate of the Royal Academy of Music, and Gustav Mahler Conducting Competition Winner Kahchun Wong. Prior to that, Rain completed a Bachelor of Music at Silpakorn University in Bangkok, the capital city of Thailand. Rain’s further training includes the Asia/America New Music Institute, Grand Opera Thailand, Opera Siam, and public masterclasses for international audiences with Ailyn Pérez. Rain was also one of only a few singers to receive a scholarship to study 16th-17th century Bovicelli diminution at the Musikademie Schloss Weißenbrunn. He was a semi-finalist at the Premiere Opera Foundation & NYIOP International Vocal Competition. He was recently an emerging artist of Lunenburg Academy of Music Performance under the guidance of renowned artists including Jonathon Adams, Susie Napper, Lucas Harris, Chase Hopkins and Jory Vinikour. Rain’s 2022 engagements include New Opera 101/Songbook XI with Tapestry Opera, Nerone in Opera NUOVA’s production of L’incoronazione di Poppea and Triquet in Eugene Onegin with Opera Queens.
Local soprano Julia Surette is an award-winning Canadian-American soprano recognized for her captivating sound and stage presence. In May 2022, Julia made her professional debut in London, UK singing in Hampstead Garden Opera (HGO)’s production of Dido and Aeneas in the role of Belinda.Julia grew up in the city of Brantford and studied under the guidance of Irena Hernandez. In Brantford Kiwanis, Julia won the Keighley’s Jewellers Junior Rose Bowl in 2013 at the age of 17 and the Donna Chapin Crystal Rose Bowl and the Richard Blaha Memorial Silver Tray in 2014. Julia has always been locally supported by groups like the Brantford Music Club (where she made her stage debut at 18 in the Young Artist Concert), Brant Men of Song, and the Brantford Division of ORMTA. Julia received local scholarships that helped to fund her undergraduate studies including the G White Scholarship (ORMTA), The Mel Plant Award (Brant Men of Song), and the Tom Raynor Memorial Award. Julia has performed and studied with leading opera courses and companies around the world. She has sung Serpetta in La finta Giardiniera (AEDO, Lucca, Italy), Atalanta in Serse (AEDO, Lucca, Italy), and Despina in Cosi fan tutte (University of Cincinnati), as well as the title role of Sally in Thomas and Sally (McGill, Montreal) among others. In July 2022, Julia completed her Master of Arts at the Royal Academy of Music where she studied under the tutelage of British Bass, Giles Underwood. Julia has been recognized in numerous opera competitions, the most recent of which being a semi-finalist in her first international singing competition in Sanguinetto, Italy. She has also been the recipient of the prestigious La Concours de Musique de la Capitale (Quebec, Canada), the Canadian Sinfonietta young artist competition, as well as the Mariana Paunova and Stefano Algieri Scholarship in Voice at the Schulich School of Music. Accreditations include a Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance at McGill University and Canada’s Royal Conservatory for both Voice Performance and Piano. She has a solid working knowledge of Italian and has proficiency in French and German. Julia plans to continue pursuing a career in opera and classical art song on international classical Opera and Concert stages.
Maggie Umanetz-Lertprasopsak is a Thai-Canadian flutist based in Toronto, Canada. Maggie is an alumna of the 2022 National Academy Orchestra of Canada, where she worked with the prominent conductor Alain Trudel. As a chamber musician, Maggie has worked in numerous ensembles, including the University of Toronto’s Contemporary Music Ensemble, which performed the Canadian Premiere of Flux, by George Lewis. Maggie is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Music in Performance at the University of Toronto, where she has been the recipient of many honours, such as the University of Toronto Scholars Award (2019), the Howard F. Andrews Memorial Prize (2020), Percy Faith Award (2021), and was a candidate for the 2023 Rhodes Scholarship. She is now studying with Leslie Newman, principal flutist of the Hamilton Philharmonic and Esprit Orchestra, and previously studied with Stephen Tam, a sought after freelancer based in Toronto. Maggie has attended various festivals where she studied with renowned flutists Julien Beaudiment, Susan Hoeppner, Jacinthe Forand and Emmanuel Pahud.