2015 String Semi-Finalists
With tastes ranging from baroque music to death metal, cellist Amahl Arulanandam is known for his musical versatility and ability to adapt to many different genres. His cello journey began at age 4 under the tutelage of Susan Gagnon. He took a hiatus from the instrument to explore other avenues, but soon found him called back to the world of music. He is currently based in Toronto and has begun Artist Diploma studies at the Glenn Gould School with Desmond Hoebig and Andres Diaz. He completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Toronto with Shauna Rolston, and holds a Master’s Degree from McGill University under Matt Haimovitz. He is currently based in Toronto and has begun Artist Diploma studies at the Glenn Gould School with Desmond Hoebig and Andres Diaz. Amahl’s performances have brought him to three different continents, with major performances in Canada, the United States, Austria and India including a performance of Samuel Barber’s Concerto with the McGill Symphony Orchestra.
Named “A musical force to be reckoned with,” cellist Cameron Crozman performs recitals and concertos at such prestigious venues as the Shanghai Oriental Arts Center, the Berliner Philharmonie, and Canada’s National Arts Centre. Recently one of 12 cellists chosen to compete at the Grand Prix Emanuel Feuermann, he was the 2nd prizewinner at the 74th OSM Standard Life Competition and the 2012 recipient of the Canada Council Michael Measure’s Prize. Eager to interact with other musicians, Cameron appears at festival such as the Ottawa Chamberfest, the Beauvais Cello Festival, and Musica Nova Helsinki. Currently a student of Michel Strauss at the Conservatoire de Paris, he has also worked with world-leading cellists, including Anner Bylsma, Lawrence Lesser, and Janos Starker. Upcoming engagements include the premiere a new work for cello and electronics in collaboration with the IRCAM and performances at the newly opened Philharmonie de Paris.
Sarah Gans, cellist, was born in Toronto, Ontario. She has recently graduated with a Bachelor of Music in Cello Performance from McGill’s Schulich School of Music, where she was awarded the Salsinger Tani Gold Medal in Music Performance as well as recognized for “Outstanding Achievement in Cello Performance”. At McGill, Sarah was the principal cellist of the McGill Symphony Orchestra, as well a member of her professor Matt Haimovitz’s cello ensemble, Uccello. Sarah has participated in various summer music festivals including the Banff Centre’s String Masterclass Program, the Toronto Summer Music Academy and Festival, the Colorado College Summer Music Festival and the McGill International String Quartet Academy. Sarah was also the principal cellist with The National Youth Orchestra of Canada for their 2010 and 2011 seasons, in 2011 being a recipient of their “Award of Excellence”. Sarah is currently studying at The Juilliard School of Music, where she is pursuing a Master of Music degree under the direction Adkins as a recipient of the Victor Herbert Scholarship.
Born and raised in Regina, Saskatchewan, Amy Hillis is currently pursuing a Doctor of Music in Violin Performance at McGill University with Axel Strauss. A graduate of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Amy completed her Master of Music in 2014 with Ian Swensen. Amy also holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Violin Performance from McGill University where she studied with Denise Lupien.
Recent solo performances include a Regina Musical Club recital as winner of the 2014 Recital Competition. With funding from the Saskatchewan Arts Board, Amy has coordinated over one hundred Saskatchewan performances as violinist and manger of the Horizon String Quartet. Amy is currently concertmaster of Montreal’s Pronto Musica as well as an associate member of Chicago’s Civic Orchestra. She was concertmaster of both the San Francisco Conservatory Orchestra and of SFCM’s New Music Ensemble. In England, she has performed on multiple occasions with Aldeburgh Strings and the Britten-Pears Orchestra. Amyhillis.com
Known for his artistic versatility, cellist Bryan Holt has performed in three continents and appeared in numerous alternative venues. As a chamber musician Bryan appears regularly with Pocket Concerts, Uccello and the newly formed Amarok Ensemble. He has also performed with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Esprit Orchestra, Soundstreams Canada, Continuum Contemporary Music and the Group of 27 as well as numerous other ensembles in Ontario. Bryan is currently pursuing a Doctorate of Music in cello performance at the University of Toronto. He is highly sought after as a teacher and serves as a guest coach at several public schools in Toronto while also maintaining a private studio in the downtown core. In a means of exploring new pedagogical methods, Bryan also teaches internationally using Skype. He prides himself as being a diverse musician and continually strives to incorporate Canadian contemporary and new music in many of his musical endeavors.
Joshua Peters began his violin studies at the age of four as a student of Gwen Hoebig, and is currently studying with Ian Swensen at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Particularly drawn to the performance of chamber music, Joshua has collaborated with many renowned musicians including Menahem Pressler, Kim Kashkashian, André LaPlante, and members of the Emerson, St. Lawrence and Pacifica quartets. He has also appeared as a soloist with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra on numerous occasions, as concertmaster of the McGill Symphony Orchestra and as a member of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra. Dedicated to the performance of contemporary music, Joshua has been coached by and performed works of prominent composers including John Adams and Krzysztof Penderecki. Joshua is the winner of numerous competitions and awards, including First Prize in the 2014 WMC Doris McClellan Competition, a Sylva Gelber Foundation Award, and support from the Manitoba Arts Council.
Interested in the new sounds and techniques found in new music but still intrigued by the beauty of classical and baroque repertoire, Montreal-based cellist Andrea Stewart is equally at home performing with electronics as she is playing basso continuo. In 2006, Andrea made her solo debut with the University of Western Ontario Symphony Orchestra (London, ON). Since then, performances have brought her to venues across North America and Europe, in solo recital and with such ensembles as Grammy-nominated Uccello, Gruppo Montebello, Ensemble Caprice, Plumes Ensemble, and collectif9. Andrea is a laureate of the Golden Violin Competition at the Schulich School of Music at McGill University, where she is currently a Doctoral candidate. Particularly inspired by contemporary music, Andrea’s current research is devoted to the expansion of cello technique in relation to works in the contemporary repertoire, supported by SSHRC, the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec.
Marina Thibeault, born in 1989, from Québec City graduated from the Curtis Institute of Music in 2011 where she studied with both Roberto Díaz, and Michael Tree. Afterwards, she studied abroad with Bruno Giuranna at the Conservatorio della Svizzera italiana with the support of the Canada Council for the Arts and the Swiss government. She is currently finishing her Master’s Degree at the McGill University with André Roy. Marina has performed as a soloist with the Quebec Symphony Orchestra, Marienbad Orchestra, North Czech Philharmonic, and the Západočeský Symphony Orchestra. Marina was a 2007 winner of “CBC Young Artist”, She was also a 2008 prize-winner at Hradec’s Beethoven International Music Competition in the Czech Republic, after which she gave a recital tour in Prague and Teplice, during the Music Festival Ludwig van Beethoven. Marina is the winner of the 2015 McGill Concerto Competition and will perform the Schnittke Concerto with MGSO next season. As a 2014-2015 Emerging Artist for Les Jeunesses Musicales, Marina toured with a Russian viola-piano recital around Quebec and Ontario last November.