Zach Gulaboff Davis, composer. Described as ‘beautiful, lyrical’ and brimming with ‘unexpected harmonic shifts’ (International Trumpet Guild), the music of Zach Gulaboff Davis centers on the core elements of musical narrative: Emotion, drama, and expression. The winner of the 2019 American Prize in Composition (Vocal Chamber Music division), Zach maintains an active schedule as a composer and collaborator across the globe. His works have been performed in venues including Carnegie Hall, Columbia University, University of Pennsylvania, Bulgaria’s National Palace of Culture, Norway’s Arctic Cathedral, Hamburg’s Zinnschmelze Cultural Center, NYU Steinhardt and Shanghai, the DiMenna Center, International Trumpet Guild and National Saxophone Alliance conferences, and at schools and conservatories throughout the country. Since beginning compositional studies in 2013, his works have garnered over 20 national and international awards. With degrees in composition from Mannes College of Music and the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, Zach is also active as a pianist and conductor, having appeared as concerto soloist, chamber musician, solo recitalist, and champion of young composers’ works on the podium. In his spare time, Zach is active in American Kennel Club dog sports, traveling the country as a licensed Dog Agility judge. Don’t ask him about the (countless) similarities between composing and designing Agility courses unless you have hours to spare! https://www.zgulaboffdavis.com/
Vivien Illion, soprano. Soprano Vivien Illion combines sensitive musical interpretation with a fervent interest in the languages and histories of the vocal repertoire. She is passionate about performing a wide range of repertoire, and believes that a commitment to new music is vital for musicians today. In Summer 2021 she prepared an outdoor, COVID-safe performance of Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro. In addition to performing the role of Cherubino, she is co-directed the production, which received a Matchmaker MicroGrant from the Mississauga Arts Council.
Vivien recently completed her third year at the Royal Conservatory of Music Glenn Gould School, where she was the recipient of numerous scholarships, pursuing a Bachelor of Music (Honours) in Voice Performance. She studies with soprano Monica Whicher and coaches with Peter Tiefenbach. During her time at GGS she has performed in masterclasses for artists such as Adrianne Pieczoka, Lynne Dawson, and John Hess. In the winter of 2019, she prepared to appear as Suor Dolcina in the Glenn Gould School’s Spring Opera, Suor Angelica, in Koerner Hall, conducted by Nicolas Ellis and directed by Michael Cavanaugh, although this performance was ultimately cancelled in March of 2020.
Growing up, Vivien sang in the Toronto Children’s Chorus (TCC). In 2016, she was part of an ensemble of TCC choristers selected to perform the treble voices in the chorus of Opera Atelier’s production of Dido and Aeneas. As a result of this experience, she developed a particular interest in early music, along with a love of opera that inspired her to pursue a post-secondary education in voice. Vivien is currently knitting a purple sweater with a scalloped hemline, and looks forward to completing its final sleeve soon.
Geoff Li, composer. Geoff Li is a composer for concert and video games based in Edmonton, AB. Born in Daqing, China in 1994 to Korean parents and immigrating to Canada at a young age, he began receiving guitar instruction from the age of 10 and later discovered an affinity for composing. He holds a bachelor’s degree in music composition from MacEwan University, and is currently studying with Vince Ho. Geoff has been commissioned by various Albertan groups, including the Obsessions String Quartet, WindRose Trio, the C’mon Festival, among others. Besides composing, he plays guitar in electronic/progressive rock project Ways in Waves. Being a composer who mostly freelances, Geoff’s lifestyle hasn’t changed much with the social distancing phenomenon, and has actually seen more friends lately with all the Yu-Gi-Oh! and Magic: The Gathering he’s been playing over video chat. https://www.geoffli.com/
Robert McIntyre, composer. Robert McIntyre, composer & flautist, is currently studying a Bachelor of Music (Honours) at the University of Melbourne specialising in Composition, after one year in Classical Flute Performance under the direction of Margaret Crawford. He is currently under the tutelage of Stuart Greenbaum, and has learnt under Katy Abbott, Miriama Young, Elliott Gyger, and Melody Eötvös. He is one of four inaugural composers commissioned for Divisi Chamber Singers’ 2020 “Compose Queer” Initiative. Robert has been internationally selected into the ICEBERG New Music Institute taking place in Austria, where he will write a work for Trio Immersio to be workshopped by guest composer Oscar Bianchi and the Institute Faculty. It will be premiered and recorded at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna. He has partaken in Candlelight VOX’s 2019 Composition Call for Scores, as well as having a work selected for a 2020 program by Collide Trio. Robert is ecstatic to have had works workshopped by guitarist Ken Murray, saxophonist Joseph Lallo, Syzygy Ensemble, and to have two upcoming workshops with pianist/composer Sally Whitwell (2020).
Camila Montefusco, mezzo-soprano. Storytelling and connecting through music marked the beginning of Camila Montefusco’s journey as a singer. The Brazilian mezzo-soprano holds a Master’s degree in Voice Performance from the University of Western Ontario, and a Bachelor’s degree in Violin Performance from the University of Sao Paulo. Since starting voice studies in Canada, some of her greatest achievements include an Encouragement Prize from the Metropolitan Opera Council Auditions, the Revelation Prize at the Linus Lerner International Vocal Competition, First Prize at the Maritsa Brookes Concerto Competition and Second Prize at the Galina Pisarenko Youth Competition (Russia). In 2020 Camila debuted in the role of Katisha in Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado, and the past season featured her as La Zia Principessa in Puccini’s Suor Angelica and as soloist in Mahler’s Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen with the Western University Symphony Orchestra. In the Summer of 2021 Camila joins the Institute for Young Dramatic Voices in Nevada to continue her studies under the tutelage of mezzo-soprano Dolora Zajick. During the 2021-2022 season Camila will be featured as a member of the Rebanks Family Fellowship and International Performance Residency Program at the Glenn Gould School.
Tate Pumfrey, composer. Tat Pumfrey, (b. 1998) from Thamesville, Ontario, is a composer with a strong interest in Catholics sacred music, organ and chamber works, as well as Gregorian chant and Celtic music. He currently studies in a Master’s of Composition at York University in Toronto, Ontario, under the supervision of composer Stephanie Martin. Before that, he completed a Bachelor of Arts in 2020 at Western University in London, Ontario. Tate also studies the pipe organ, and organist-composers Gilles Maurice Leclerc and Rachel Laurin have been mentors over the years, as well as composer Jeff Smallman. He has completed two of three planned hymnals in collaboration with Australian lyricist-organist Christian Catsanos. In addition to composition, Tate enjoys writing prose, attempting to write his own poetry, and making Rosaries by hand.
Rose Soenen, harpist. Rose Soenen is a professional Harpist based in Toronto. She received her Bachelor of Music in Orchestral Harp Performance under Lori Gemmell at Wilfrid Laurer University in 2016, where she was a winner of their 2015 Concerto competition. She also holds her grade 9 Royal Conservatory of Music certificate in piano and her grade 8 Canadian Conservatory certificate in voice.
Rose is a busy performer and private harp instructor. She is the Stratford Symphony Orchestra’s Principal Harpist, and frequently plays with the Etobicoke Philharmonic, the Ancaster Symphonia, and the Fanshawe Chorus London Orchestra players, as well as being a substitute player with the Kitchener Waterloo Orchestra and the Cambridge Symphony. Rose also works as the Harp Instructor for the Niagara Symphony’s Summer music camp, and is a busy chamber musician, performing with a variety of vocalists and instrumentalists, including Duo Niro, a harp duo specializing in pop music covers. Rose began pursuing her Masters of Instrumental Performance at the University of Toronto in 2020.
Emma Verdonk, composer. Emma Verdonk grew up in Brantford, ON, surrounded by a musical family. At an early age, her mother taught her to play piano and once she had an understanding of the language of music, she began voice and violin lessons. In 2020, Emma completed her Bachelors of Music at Wilfrid Laurier University and has just begun the Masters in Music Composition program at Western University. In the past, she has had the opportunity to write for the Laurier Symphony Orchestra, the Penderecki String Quartet, and various small ensembles. From September 2019-February 2020 she facilitated an opera writing workshop hosted through Vera Causa Opera.
Anna Wojcik, soprano. Anna Wojcik is a young Polish-Canadian soprano who has already performed for audiences across Canada, the US, Poland, and Germany. She is hailed as “one to watch” (Opera Ramblings, 2019). In 2021, Anna plays Susanna in a self-produced backyard production of Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro and will be a soloist with the Oakville Chamber Orchestra under the baton of Charles Demuynck.
Anna has won countless competitions including the 69th ACPC Marcella Kochańska-Sembrich Vocal Competition and the Doreen Chaddock Memorial Vocal Scholarship Competition. She has appeared with the Royal Conservatory Orchestra, Toronto Sinfonietta, Camerata Ensemble, and the Celebrity Symphony Orchestra. In 2015, Anna sang in Carnegie Hall for the American Protégé Competition Winners Recital. The following year, she received the 2016 Emerging Music Artist MARTY Award from the Mississauga Arts Council for her accomplishments. Within the past two years, Anna has performed multiple opera roles including: 2nd Spirit in Mozart’s Magic Flute (GGS), Annina in Verdi’s La Traviata (SOLT), Nora in Vaughan Williams’ Riders to the Sea (SOLT), and Sister Osmina in Puccini’s Suor Angelica (GGS).
Anna is working towards her Bachelor of Music degree at the Glenn Gould School of The Royal Conservatory of Music, where she is studying with Jean Macphail and Peter Tiefenbach. As a first-generation Canadian, Anna is happy to maintain her Polish culture through regularly singing within the Polish community and discovering the little-known repertoire of Polish composers.