KEVIN KOMISARUK, Piano Adjudicator











“The playing is can hear the organ breathing, even weeping, as if it were almost human.” - Radio Canada

Kevin Komisaruk is a Canadian-American organist and harpsichordist based at the University of Toronto since 2003, and is a core faculty member with the Music and Health Research Collaboratory. His scholarship explores intersections between performance practice, rhetoric, flow theory, kinaesthetics, and improvisation, and how these impact the spiritual, emotional, and physical health of artists and listeners. In practice he develops applications for advanced musical performance in medicine, especially palliative care and stroke rehabilitation, exploring the relevance of the interpretive process in developing complementary therapies for pain and anxiety.

Since 2009 he has maintained a private practice as a palliative care musician and mentors students in reinterpreting stage performance skills to the bedside. Currently based at Mackenzie Richmond Hill Hospital, he has also performed for palliative individuals at the Dorothy Ley Hospice, Hill House Hospice, Hospice Thornhill, Hazel Burns Hospice, Baycrest Hospital, and the Toronto East General Hospital. He has presented palliative care workshops for the Hospice Palliative Care Teams of the Central Ontario Health Integration Network, the Canadian Association for Music Therapy, and as a keynote speaker for the Calgary Instrumental Society. At present he is co-principal investigator for an exploratory pilot study in post-stroke anxiety and depression at Bridgepoint Hospital.

As a concert soloist Komisaruk has performed throughout Europe and North America, at venues including the Abbatiale Sainte-Croix and Basilique St-Seurin (Bordeaux, France), Église-Musée des Augustins, St-Pierre-des-Chartreux, Couvent des Jacobins (Toulouse, France), Cathédrale Sainte-Marie (Auch, France), Sanktmarienkirche (Stralsund, Germany), Jacobikirche (Gingst, Germany), University of Aberdeen (Scotland), St Paul’s Cathedral (London, UK), Santa Rosa (Querétaro, Mexico), Zocalo Cathedral (Puebla, Mexico), King’s Chapel (Boston), the Episcopal Cathedrals of Cleveland, Indianapolis, Detroit, Atlanta, and Washington D.C., and the Princeton Early Keyboard Centre. He has broadcast with CBC/SRC (Canada), NPR (USA), and Radio France, and his two albums on the ATMA label received several international awards. At the University of Toronto he performs an annual series of four solo recitals on the Hellmuth Wolff meantone organ at Knox College, his primary teaching instrument.

As a liturgical musician and choral director Kevin Komisaruk has served as Director of Music for The Church of St. Mary Magdalene (Toronto), Church of St. John the Evangelist (Montreal), St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church (Montreal), Principal Organist for St Basil’s Collegiate Church (Toronto), and founding director of Studio Sixteen Ensemble (Toronto). Prior to moving to Toronto he served as choral curriculum director for the English acting programme of the National Theatre School of Canada.

At the Faculty of Music, Professor Komisaruk teaches organ and harpsichord performance, improvisation, pedagogy, palliative care, keyboard theory, and coordinates the Minor in Historical Keyboard.


GRAHAM BANFIELD, Guitar Adjudicator


Musician, educator, and researcher Graham Banfield explores how music serves as a portal to the human experience.

The diverse aspects of his career have been lauded by prizes in international guitar competitions, scholarships, teaching and lecture posts, his Carnegie hall debut, and inclusion on an EMMY award-winning soundtrack.

He received his earliest formation at Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, Washington before pursuing graduate studies under a full scholarship at Yale University and post graduate studies at the Conservatorio della Svizzera italiana in Lugano, Switzerland.

Graham is presently engaged in pursuing the degree of Doctor of Musical Arts at the University of Toronto under the tutelage of Dr. Jeffrey McFadden as well as a rigorous performing and teaching schedule. 












PETER DE SOTTO, Strings Adjudicator 




Peter is a remarkable talent who’s chameleon like abilities allow him to perform on the violin not only as a seasoned classical violinist but also as a dazzling gypsy virtuoso.

If that is not enough the real surprise is his fabulous tenor voice, which ranges from South America, to authentic Irish folk, to the great romantic Italian songs and arias including Turandots “Nessun Dorma”.

DeSotto has been referred to as “a credible Pavarotti stand-in (Stereo Review). Peter has appeared in leading roles in numerous opera and theatre productions and was a member of The Toronto Symphony Orchestra for 11 years, and was voted Musician Of The Year in 1999 by the Toronto Musicians Association.

“Whenever Peter De Sotto (tenor, violin, mandolin) released his natural, Italianate tenor – usually in Sicilian and Neapolitan folk Songs – I found tears springing to my eyes. It hardly seems fair that he’s also a violin wiz who tossed off a gypsy number at dizzying speed.” (National Post)

Not only is Peter “an amazing violinist capable of playing any style of music convincingly” but he has “one of the most gorgeous voices I have ever heard. I couldn’t believe any one person could possess that much talent.” (Glenn Dicterow, concert master, New York Philharmonic)


2016 - TODD YANIW, Piano Adjudicator


Canadian pianist Todd Yaniw is a young artist praised for his “atmospheric contrast of poetry and power … a hair-raising performance”. Since his debut with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra at age 13, Mr. Yaniw has performed frequently in Alberta and Ontario; at festivals and venues including the Banff Centre for Music, Edmonton’s Winspear Centre for Music, the Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival, Toronto’s Arts & Letters Club, the Festival of the Sound in Parry Sound, the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre, and Toronto’s new Koerner Hall. Mr. Yaniw has performed with the symphony orchestras of Edmonton, Toronto, Kitchener-Waterloo, Windsor, and Guelph. Mr. Yaniw toured the Canadian maritime provinces as a soloist in February 2013, under the auspices of Debut Atlantic. Todd has been interviewed and broadcast on several occasions on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation [CBC], and Toronto’s Classical 96.3 FM. In December 2012, Todd recorded a one-hour program for the CBC as part of its NEXT series, a radio program that promotes talent on the rise. Internationally, Todd has performed at the Monte Carlo Opera House in Monaco, the Jamaica School of Music in Kingston, Jamaica, several concert halls in China and Italy, St. Martin-in-the-Fields and St. James’s Piccadilly in London England, and the Eastman Theatre in Rochester, New York. Yaniw’s debut CD, “Todd Yaniw: Scriabin, Beethoven, Rachmaninoff, Chopin” was released on the Chestnut Hall Music label in September 2006.

Todd’s extensive prize list includes Winner of the Roy Thomson Hall First Prize at the 2005 Toronto Symphony Volunteer Committee’s TD National Piano Competition; two-time national winner of the Canadian Music Competition, as well as silver medalist at the Eastman International Piano Competition. Mr. Yaniw has been supported by the Canada Council for the Arts, and was a recipient of the 2010 and 2012 Sylva Gelber Music Foundation Awards.

Todd Yaniw was born in Edmonton, Alberta and his teachers include Michael Massey, Dr. James Parker, Professor James Anagnoson (The Glenn Gould School), and Dr. Jon Kimura Parker (Rice University). Mr. Yaniw recently completed his doctorate at the University of Texas at Austin, where he worked with Dr. Anton Nel.












2016 - KATHARINE RAPOPORT, Strings Adjudicator











"Katharine Rapoport teaches violin and viola performance, DMA seminars in string pedagogy and string literature at the Faculty of Music, University of Toronto, where she is an Adjunct Professor. She also teaches String Methodologies at the Glenn Gould School of the Royal Conservatory of Music.

As an active advocate of contemporary music, Katharine Rapoport has appeared as soloist and chamber musician in performances, broadcasts and recordings of premieres of new works throughout North America and in Europe. She is also a member of Esprit Orchestra, “Canada’s premier orchestra devoted to the performance of new works”.

Her students’ distinctions include winning scholarships to Juilliard School of Music, first place awards at the Provincial and National levels of the Canadian Federation of Music Festivals, and many other honours. Her current and former students play with the Boston Symphony, Toronto Symphony, Calgary Philharmonic, Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, the Canadian Opera Company Orchestra, Tafelmusik and Symphony Nova Scotia, as well as in chamber ensembles in Canada and the US.

Katharine Rapoport has been invited to adjudicate at competitions and festivals and to give violin and viola masterclasses and workshops across Canada, as well as in the United States. She is a Senior Examiner for Royal Conservatory of Music Examinations, for whom she has compiled and edited several syllabi and albums, including most recently the 2013 Viola Syllabus and Series for the RCM examination system, the first thoroughly-graded series of its kind for viola.

After earning her M.A. from Cambridge University and her postgraduate Certificate of Advanced Studies in violin from the Guildhall School of Music, London, she continued her postgraduate studies at the Accademia Chigiana, Siena, Nordwestdeutsche Musikakademie Detmold and the Hochschule fur Musik, Vienna. Her principal teachers were Yfrah Neaman, Bruno Giuranna and Hatto Beyerle, the founding violist of the Alban Berg Quartet.

She has served on the faculty at summer programs such as Chamber Music at Port Milford Festival, Southern Ontario Chamber Music Institute and National Music Camp. With over 90 publications of Syllabi, playing editions, pedagogical texts and articles to her credit, she wrote Violin For Dummies for the popular series published by Wiley’s, now also translated into German and Dutch, and recently published in its Third Edition, as well as in eBook format. "


2016 - MARK DABOLL, Voice Adjudicator


Mark Joelson Daboll is a voice teacher, music educator, performing baritone, and Founder/Director of Please Judge Me – the innovative web platform for vocal coaching. He has been interviewed on a variety of vocal topics on CBC Radio 1, The Global Morning Show,, and City TV’s Breakfast Television, and featured in University of Toronto’s Alumni Magazine. A member of the voice faculty at the University of Toronto, he also maintains a private Toronto voice studio, specializing in the diagnosis and correction of vocal problems, growth and maturation of the voice, and the application of cutting-edge voice science for performance at the highest level.

Praised for his work as a vocal technician, Mark is also known as a personal and engaging adjudicator at music festivals, and as a clinician at vocal/choral workshops. His students represent all voice types, from amateur to active professional, singing in contrasting vocal styles including Classical, Music Theatre, and Contemporary-Commercial genres.

A member of the Canadian Opera Company Chorus from 2000-10, Mark has also performed in the US, the UK, Italy, and Germany. He continues his association with the COC as a popular workshop presenter for the Living Opera Education Program.

Mark Daboll holds a Masters degree in vocal pedagogy and performance from the University of Toronto. In 2011, he was certified as an Associate Teacher of the Voiceworks® Program in Los Angeles, having successfully completed the intensive “Total Singer Workshop” in “Pedagogy of Vocal Styles”. More information about Mark can be found at and"












2016 - CHRIS THORNBORROW, Composition Adjudicator











"Chris Thornborrow is a Toronto based composer of chamber music, opera, and film scores. His music has been described as, “complex and clear, with subtle playfulness,” and he has received a number of awards for his work. In 2013, he was the recipient of the Karen Kieser Prize in Canadian Music for Walking, a piece based on the life and creativity of Canadian animator Ryan Larkin. In the same year he received two multiple Socan Awards for Young Audio-Visual Composers as well as the 2013 Toronto Emerging Composers Award Honourable Mention.

Along with Monica Pearce, Chris is the Co-Founder and Artistic Director the Toy Piano Composers. Since 2008, the collective has premiered over one hundred new works including chamber pieces, orchestral music, art song, and opera by emerging composers from across Canada. They are currently starting their sixth season, and have received support from the Toronto Arts Council, Ontario Arts Council, and the SOCAN Foundation.

Chris has been commissioned by a number of ensembles including The Thin Edge New Music Collective, junctQín keyboard collective, Musica Reflecta, and the Array Ensemble. In 2012, the Bicycle Opera Project toured his acclaimed children’s opera Hannah and Paige and the Zombie Pirates, across Ontario. Ensemble Paramirabo performed his quintet, This Changing View, in five cities during their cross-Canada tour. His innovative Mini Piano Concerto for Young Musician was premiered by Musica Reflecta and was lauded for “inspiring children to make a lifelong connection to the pleasures of making music.” Other performers of his work include TorQ Percussion, Rob MacDonald Guitar Quartet, Digital Prowess, and vocalists Maureen Batt and Marta Herman.

Chris was selected to participate in Tapestry New Opera’s 2013 LibLab where he created four short operas with librettists Nicolas Billon, Morris Panych, Julie Tepperman, and David Yee. In 2012, his piece Ricochet was read as part of Esprit Orchestra’s reading workshop at the University of Toronto. He composed Overcome while participating in the Canadian Contemporary Music Workshop, which won the 2011 Orchestra Composition Competition at the University of Toronto. In that same year, Chris was a composer in residence at the Atlantic Music Festival, and he has had works read by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, St. Lawrence String Quartet, The Ives Ensemble, Continuum Contemporary Ensemble, and The Kitchener Waterloo Symphony Orchestra.

The films he’s scored have screened internationally, including two appearances at the Toronto International Film Festival, The Milano Film Festival, and the prestigious Claremont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival in France, as well as airings on BravoFact! And CBC Television. He was the founder of the music program at International Summer Camp Montana in Switzerland, and is currently completeing his DMA, studying with Gary Kulesha at the University of Toronto."


2016 - ROB MACDONALD, Guitar Adjudicator


Sincere performances of bold and engaging repertoire have established guitarist Rob MacDonald as one of Canadaʼs most exciting performers of new music. As both a soloist and chamber musician his persistent quest for fresh repertoire regularly leads to thecreation of new works and the presentation of rarely heard pieces.

He has performed with Soundstreams Canada, Madawaska String Quartet, Canadian Opera Company, Queen of Puddings Music Theatre, Contact Contemporary Music, Talisker Players and Toca Loca. Alongside guitarist, Tracy Anne Smith, he is co-founder of ChromaDuo, an ensemble actively commissioning, premiering, and performing new repertoire throughout North America. Their debut recording, Hidden Waters, has been called ʻnothing short of inspirationalʼ (Simon Powis, Classical Guitar Review) and ʻmodern guitar music at its most powerful, extending the form and substance of the guitar to give the listener an almost orchestral experienceʼ (Kirk Albrecht, Minor 7th).

He is on faculty at the University of Toronto.












2015 - WHITNEY O’HEARN, Voice Adjudicator 











Mezzo-soprano Whitney O’Hearn “has a warm and expressive voice and an amazing sense of line” (Ottawa Citizen). She is an up-and-coming Toronto based vocal artist pursuing a career in opera and contemporary music. A prolific performer, Whitney seeks to make music more accessible through collaborating with composers and singing in unusual venues in a wide variety of traditional and unexpected ensembles. As a voice teacher, she shares her insights and philosophy with students from a broad spectrum of genres.

Whitney has studied with Sandra Graham and Daniel Taylor and is continuing her studies as a doctoral candidate under Wendy Nielsen at the University of Toronto.

She has also sung, amongst many other roles, Carmen in Bizet’s Carmen, Mère Marie in Poulenc’s Les Dialogues des Carmélites, Maurya in Vaughn Williams’ Riders to the Sea and The Sorceress in Purcell’s Dido and Aneas. In the Ottawa area she has been a soloist with Coro Vivo Ottawa, the Ottawa New Music Creators, the Kanata Symphony Orchestra, the Pembroke Symphony Orchestra, and the University of Ottawa Symphony Orchestra. In 2009, Whitney was invited as a guest artist to perform Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire with the Stony Brook Contemporary Chamber Players, Stony Brook, NY, she received the Frederick-Karam Scholarship, and she was the winner of the University of Ottawa Concerto Competition, where she performed Gustav Mahler’s Songs of a Wayfarer. She has performed in the Ottawa International Chamber Festival, the Festival Pontiac Enchanté, and she appeared as Mercedes in the wildly successful Carmen on Tap over its five seasons. In January 2014 she reprised her role as The Sorceress (Dido and Aeneas) in collaboration with Schola Cantorum, Theater of Early Music, and Tafelmusik.

Most recently, Whitney participated for a consecutive year as one of four young Canadian singers invited to the National Arts Center’s Summer Music Institute young artist program, as well she made her debut with the Stratford Music Festival and the Prince Edward County Music Festival. This fall she toured Western Quebec and Southern Ontario with the Canadian Guitar Quartet, premiering Ottawa composer John Armstrong’s “Of Glad Love.”

Whitney’s upcoming engagements include an evening of Irving Berlin with the Talisker players.

2015 - TANYA CHARLES, Strings Adjudicator


Recipient of the Women’s Art Associate of Canada – Luella McCleary Award, the Gabriella Dory Prize in Music, and the Hamilton Black History Association’s John C Holland Award for Youth Achievement, Canadian violinist, Tanya Charles, has captivated audiences with her passion, energy, flair and finesse.  Her performances have been described as “intense and exciting” (The WholeNote Magazine) and “colourful and bold” (Musical Toronto).  She has performed in venues across Canada, the USA and the Caribbean as a soloist, chamber- and orchestral-musician.

Born in Hamilton, Ontario, Tanya moved to Toronto in pursuit of higher education and musical training.  She had the opportunity to study with Mark Fewer, Mark Skazinetsky and Atis Bankas and obtained a Bachelor of Music in Performance from the University of Toronto and an Artist Diploma in Orchestral Performance from the Glenn Gould School at the Royal Conservatory of Music.

As a former concertmaster of the National Youth Orchestra of Canada and an alumnus of the National Academy Orchestra of Canada, Miss Charles has been propelled into her performing career.  Currently, Tanya serves as the concertmaster of the Sneak Peek Orchestra and also holds a position as a First Violinist with Sinfonia Toronto, a 14-piece virtuoso string ensemble.  In the United States, Tanya holds the position of Assistant Concertmaster with the Colour of Music: Festival Orchestra and Principal Second Violin of the Colour of Music Festival: Virtuosi Ensemble and had the privilege of performing as a soloist with them in October 2014.  Tanya also enjoys playing outside of the classical genre and loves to improvise.  She is a violinist with the Toronto-based mariachi band, Viva Mexico Mariachi, and also has recorded and performed alongside many mainstream artists such as Shad, K-Os, Snoop Dogg and Stevie Wonder.

As an educator, Tanya is on Faculty at the Interprovincial Music Camp, as well as she serves as a guest string clinician at various secondary schools, youth orchestras, and music festivals across Ontario.  She is the String Specialist for the Brampton Symphony Youth Orchestra and is on faculty at the Regent Park School of Music, a music school that provides music education to youth-in-need in high priority areas Toronto.  As Tanya is of Vincentian descent (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines), she has been active in promoting classical music throughout the island and has been working closely with their Governor General and stringed-instrument educators there since 2004.  Along with hosting violin masterclasses, speaking at forums, and performing for various outreach activities with the young, Vincentian students, she was hosted by the Governor General for her invitational solo recital at the Government House in 2004.












2015 - TARIQ HARB, Guitar Adjudicator











"Winner of both the First Prize and the Audience Choice Award in the Barrios WorldWideWeb Competition 2011, First-Prize winner in the Montréal International Classical Guitar Competition 2011, and Second-Prize winner in the Tokyo 55th International Classical Guitar Competition, Tariq Harb is quickly establishing himself as one of the leading classical guitarists of his generation. His music making has been described as “effortless and thoughtful” (Dr. Garry Antonio), and one that demonstrates "not just his flawless technique but also his refined taste and a great, innate sense for truly beautiful interpretation." (The Jordan Times) Harb has been chosen as one of CBC Radio's NEXT! 2013 artists, where he was celebrated as "Canada's next classical guitar superstar" and was showcased performing live at the Glenn Gould studios in Toronto, Canada.

Harb's past appearances at music festivals and guitar events in North America, Europe, the Middle East, South America, and Asia, are highlighted by performances in prestigious halls such as the Oscar Peterson Concert Hall in Montréal, Canada, the 2000 year-old Roman Amphitheatre in Jerash, Jordan, the Bunka Kaikan concert hall in Tokyo, Japan, the world-famous Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre as part of the TEDGlobal 2013 event held in Edinburgh, UK. Moreover, Harb recently received an ‘Honorary Membership’ from the Arab Cultural Centre in Jordan, recognizing his efforts and contributions to the arts both in the Arab world and abroad. He released his debut solo album entitled “A Guitar Through the Eras” in June, 2013. Harb's engagements in 2015-2016 include notable concerts at Shanghai's bi-annual Guitar Festival, the Cairo Opera House, and at the 2015 Guitar Foundation of America Convention and Competition.

Born in Jordan to parents of Palestinian origin, Harb moved to Canada to commence university studies. He studied both the violin and the guitar with classical guitarists Roddy Ellias, Patrick Kearney, Jerome Ducharme, Dr. Garry Antonio, Dr. Jeffrey McFadden, and with violinists Claude Gelineau and Clemens Merkel of the Bozzini Quartet. Harb also participated in many masterclasses including ones run by Lorenzo Micheli, Jason Vieaux, Pavel Steidl, Rémi Boucher, and Manuel Barrueco. Harb holds a Masters in Performance degree from McGill University, a Bachelor of Arts, and a Bachelor of Commerce from Concordia University. Most recently, Harb received the title of Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Toronto upon completion of his doctorate degree. Tariq Harb is a La Bella Strings Artist."


2015 - BRIAN MCDONAGH, Piano & Composition Adjudicator


Brian McDonagh began his musical training at the age of fifteen. Two years later he made his orchestral debut with the Toronto Symphony performing the Schumann Piano Concerto. He has studied in Toronto, New York and Vienna working with Marietta Orlov, Garrick Ohlsson and Andreas Schiff. He received his Bachelors and Masters degrees in piano performance from the Faculty of Music, University of Toronto.

Mr. McDonagh has performed throughout Canada, Europe and the United States. He was a semi-finalist in both the Busoni International Piano Competition and the Beethoven International Competition held in Vienna. Shortly after he released his first solo recording titled 'Seminal' featuring works of Bach, Haydn, Brahms, Chopin and Bartok. This resulted in a major solo recital tour invitation. He performed in cities throughout South America on behalf of OXF AM International in support of women's suffrage on that continent.

A second musical apprenticeship when, at the age of thirty-four, an interest in composition emerged. He studied composition with Alexander Rapaport in Toronto and pursued post graduate studies in composition with Samuel Adler at the Juilliard School in New York City.

His compositions have been performed and recorded by members of the Toronto Symphony, the AMICI ensemble, the Chamber Society of Lincoln Center and several Solo performers both from North America and Europe and have been broadcast on the CBC in Canada and in Germany on the GRD. Works have been featured in three European Summer Festivals. He is a top prize winner in three international composition Competitions including the Grieg prize in Oslo Norway for his Second String Quartet composed in the first year of composing.

Since 1996 he has taught in the Piano Department at the Faculty of Music, University of Toronto teaching In addition to teaching pianists applied lessons he has taught courses in Piano Literature, Advanced Piano Pedagogy and Music Literature (graduate level) and Keyboard Skills for the nonpianist.

Brian McDonagh is the Editor-In-Chief and founder of Plangere Editions. The publishing house specializes in music for solo piano, art song and chamber music. Established in 2008, it is now the largest publisher of Canadian art song in the country. Recent initiatives include a seven volume anthology of the collected Melodies of Reynaldo Hahn (2014) and the complete songs of Jean Sibelius (release 2015). Published in partnership with the Institute for Canadian Music (ICM) the complete piano works and string quartets ofJohn Weinzweig were released for the 100 Anniversary in 2013. Plangere and the ICM collaborated in establishing the 2015 Violet Archer Composition Prize and later this year the ICM I Plangere will be announcing the development of a major new series of publications to be available in both printed form and digitally. Information for Plangerepublications is to be found at











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