Sean Lin, Clarinet

Sean Lin is a freelance clarinetist and performer based in the Greater Toronto Area. While not a musician by trade, Sean has been playing the clarinet for nearly 20 years and is highly active in the community music scene in Toronto. Though largely self-taught, Sean’s learnings with esteemed pedagogues Richard Thomson, Susan Barber-Kahro, and Le Lu have been invaluable. Ensembles that Sean has played with include the Toronto Sinfonietta, Greater Toronto Philharmonic, Rosedale Symphony, and the Hart House Symphonic Band (in which he previously played as principal clarinet for over 10 years). Sean has also participated in the community program of the Toronto Summer Music Festival, where he performed with Gabriel Radford and Michael Chiarello of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. In addition to orchestral playing, Sean is also an avid chamber musician who often performs in chamber groups at recital series such as OpenScore and Appassionata at the University of Toronto.

Sean joined the Hart House Orchestra in 2018 and has been serving as principal clarinet since 2022. As the winner of the 2023 Concerto Competition, Sean is thrilled to be playing Weber’s 2nd Clarinet Concerto with the group in his first ever performance of a full-length concerto.

Apart from music, Sean’s other hobbies include photography, tennis, and skating. Sean graduated from the University of Toronto with an M.Eng and BASc in mechanical engineering, and currently works as a data analyst at Loblaws, making bank for Mr. Bank.

Laura Bolt, Flute

Laura Bolt is a freelance flautist who holds an M.Phil in musicology (University of Cambridge, UK), a B.Mus in flute performance (Queen’s University, Canada), and an ARCT (Royal Conservatory of Music). Her solo performances have included concerti with the Greater Toronto Philharmonic Orchestra, Cellovision, and the Queen’s University Symphony Orchestra. She is a former member of the Kingston Symphony Orchestra, and performs regularly in recital. British composers Nick Collins and Tristan Rhys Williams have dedicated flute compositions to her.

As a member of the Hart House Orchestra since 2012, Laura is delighted to be performing Griffes’ Poem for Flute and Orchestra as the winner of the 2019 Concerto Competition and to be receiving the K. Alan Turner Prize. In addition to her musical endeavours, Laura has a doctorate in biological anthropology and is currently a faculty member at the University of Toronto Mississauga.

Laura Bolt

Bhavani Kotha, Oboe

Bhavani Kotha, Oboe

Bhavani Kotha, Oboe

Oboist Bhavani Kotha enjoys a multi-faceted career as a soloist, recording artist, and orchestral musician. She recently was selected as a winner of the 2019 National Yamaha Young Performing Artists Competition. Bhavani has been featured as a soloist on several occasions, and she has won concerto competitions with the North York Concert Orchestra and the Hart House Orchestra in Toronto, Ontario. She is currently recording a solo album with Crystal Records and will be recording an album of Baroque and Classical oboe concertos next season with Centaur Records. Bhavani has performed in several symphony orchestras, including the Boise Philharmonic, Boise Baroque Chamber Orchestra, Kingston Symphony, and Toronto Concert Orchestra. She studied oboe performance at DePaul University, Glenn Gould School of the Royal Conservatory, University of Southern California Thornton School of Music, and the University of Washington.

Erion, Piano

Erion Tulina’s piano playing has been described as insightful, compelling and original. His performances are deeply personal and expressive. He has outstanding technical proficiency and a “remarkably soulful touch”.

Erion emigrated to Toronto in 2001 when he was 16 from his homeland of Albania. At the age of six, he began studying piano under Zana Finge and won awards in National Competitions.

In 2014, Erion was selected by the Hart House Orchestra and conductor Henry Janzen to perform Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5: “The Emperor” in their 2015 Spring Concert, at University of Toronto’s Great Hall.

Erion studied piano at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Canada and acknowledges that his major formative influence is Glenn Gould. In North America, Erion has studied under Valery Tryon and Anton Kuerti.

Erion’s versatility is demonstrated in his broad repertoire which includes works from William Byrd to Stockhausen. The core of his repertoire has a Germanic emphasis featuring works by Bach and Beethoven.

Recent performances include: Celebrity Concert Series at McMaster University, the Arts and Letters Club, the Mazzoleni Hall at the Royal Conservatory and Grace Church on the Hill, located in Toronto’s Forest Hill.

Joanna Tang, Violin

Joanna began playing the violin at age three. She completed her Royal Conservatory of Music Performer’s ARCT Diploma at age twelve, and was awarded the Gold Medal for the highest mark in Canada. She has also completed her Teacher’s ARCT Diploma. Some of her musical achievements include First Prize in the Canadian Music Competition National Finals and the Florence Hood Bryson Trophy for Senior Strings from the Toronto Kiwanis Music Festival.

This is Joanna’s third appearance with the Hart House Orchestra. She has also had solo performances with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra, Windsor Symphony Orchestra, Symphony Hamilton, and York Symphony Orchestra.

Joanna also has extensive orchestral experience. She was a member of the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra, acting as Concertmaster in her final year. She was also a long-time member of the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival’s Orchestral Academy in Germany, performing in tours around Europe, Asia, and South America. Most recently, she is Co-Concertmaster of the Hart House Orchestra.

In addition to her musical endeavours, Joanna currently practices family medicine in the Halton Region.

Michel Ross, Piano

Twenty-four-year-old pianist Michel Ross holds a Master of Music from the University of Toronto, where he studied collaborative and solo piano with Stephen Philcox, Lydia Wong and Henri-Paul Sicsic. He has been awarded numerous trophies and scholarships for his abilities in the fields of vocal coaching, solo piano and chamber music. Michel recently toured South America with the Toronto Children’s Chorus, performing concerts in Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires and Puerto Madryn. In Toronto, he has performed at Roy Thomson Hall, the Glenn Gould Studio and the Toronto Centre for the Arts. Michel studied solo piano in his undergraduate degree with Andrew Tunis and traveled to France and Germany to study with Jean-Paul Sévilla and John Perry.

Michel has performed as repetiteur and performance pianist for several opera companies including Opera York, Opera Kitchener and Pellegrini Opera. His repertoire includes Don Giovanni, Cosi fan tutte, La Bohème, and Madama Butterfly. He was a guest artist at the Doors Open festival as an organist, was a jazz pianist for several years in an all-city big band and has composed a suite for two pianos which was featured at the final Gala ceremony of the Ottawa Kiwanis Music Festival. Michel has a passion for choral music; he has been closely involved with choirs for many years and has had the chance to participate in tours, festivals and competitions throughout Canada, the United States and Europe.

This season Michel begins his work as conductor of the Toronto Children’s Chorus Boys’ Choir, and he continues to be the pianist for their Main Choir. He is also on permanent staff with the Toronto District School Board, teaching music and drama. Michel continues to pursue his love for the solo piano repertoire, and he is thrilled to be playing with the Hart House Orchestra in his orchestral debut.

Sofia Mycyk, Piano

Sofia Mycyk is currently completing her Masters degree in Piano performance at the Université de Montréal under the tutelage of the renowned pedagogue Prof. Marc Durand. Previous teachers included Patricia Zander at the New England Conservatory in Boston as well as Bonnie Nicholson, Kathleen Solose and Nadia March in Saskatoon. She received her Royal Conservatory of Music Performer’s ARCT Diploma in 2004 with First Class Honors with Distinction.

Sofia has been a multiple performance award winner at local and provincial music festivals, including top pianist at the Saskatchewan Music Festival and the Canimex Award at the Canadian Music Competition National Finals.

Sofia has performed in France at Aix-en-Provence and Vaison-la Romaine, the Bowdoin International Music festival, the Orford Summer Music Academy, the International Piano Master Classes in Banff, the Agassiz Chamber Music Festival and multiple times in Montreal and Saskatoon. She has participated in masterclasses with Boris Slutsky, Jean Saulnier, Marc Durand, Julian Martin and Arie Vardi.

Catherine Manoukian, Violin

Catherine Manoukian won the grand prize at the 1994 Canadian Music Competition at the age of twelve and has never looked back. She was born in Toronto, began violin studies with her father, and made her first stage appearance at the age of four. From 1994 to 2000, Catherine studied with the late, world-renowned violin pedagogue Dorothy Delay of New York.

Since her orchestral debut with the Vancouver Symphony at the age of twelve playing Paganini’s Violin Concerto No. 1, Catherine’s career has followed an impressive path. In recent years she has appeared as soloist with many major North American and international orchestras, including, among others, the CBC Vancouver Symphony, the Calgary Philharmonic, the Boston Pops Orchestra, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Istanbul State Symphony Orchestra, the Tokyo Philharmonic, the Tokyo Symphony, the Osaka Century Orchestra, and the Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra, all received to great critical acclaim. She has collaborated with such conductors as Mario Bernardi, Jukka-Pekka Saraste, Keith Lockhart, Roy Goodman, Peter Oundjian, Marek Pijarowski, Tomomi Nishimoto, Seikyo Kim, and Eduard Topchjan.

As a recitalist, she has graced the major stages of such cities as New York, Washington D.C., Boston, Los Angeles, Toronto, Paris, Tokyo, and has appeared as a chamber musician at the Aspen, Caramoor, and Newport International Festivals.
Catherine’s four CDs (“Elegies and Rhapsodies”, “Chopin on Violin”, “Lyricism”, and “Catherine Manoukian, violin”), have been highly praised by critics and listeners alike. Her fifth CD will feature violin sonatas by Franck and Strauss..

In addition to her musical career, Catherine is currently pursuing a PhD in Philosophy, with full funding, at the University of Toronto. Her research is in the area of epistemology.

Katya Poplyansky, Violin

A student of the Curtis Institute of Music, Katya Poplyansky started her violin studies with Professor Oleg Pokhanovski in Winnipeg in 2002. Five years later, at the age of fifteen, she began her Bachelor of Music at Peabody Conservatory, studying with Victor Danchenko. Although the youngest student at the school, she was runner-up in Peabody’s William Marbury Competition, open to all string majors. Still studying with Professor Danchenko, as well as with Atis Bankas, she then continued her BM at the Glenn Gould School, before moving to Curtis in 2009. Over the last few years, she has also had the opportunity to play for leading violinists such as James Ehnes, Oleh Krysa, Martin Beaver and Aaron Rosand.

Awarded first place at the 2008 Canadian Music Competition, Katya is the first prize-winner of numerous provincial competitions, such as the Manitoba Arts Festival and the Manitoba Music Teachers Association Scholarship Competition. She has also been invited to give solo recitals in a variety of professional music series, including Winnipeg’s Agassiz Music Festival and Music Niagara. She has performed as a soloist, on several occasions, with The Sault Symphony, The Greater Grand Forks Orchestra, The Winnipeg Youth Symphony, The Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber Orchestra and The Mississauga Symphony. In 2011, Katya will appear with the Georgian Bay Symphony and the Hamilton Philharmonic.

Ms. Poplyansky is the co-winner of the 2008/09 HHO Open Concerto Competition. She will be performing Sibelius’ Violin Concerto in D minor (Op. 47) with the orchestra during the Spring Concert on Thursday, April 1rd.

Amir Safavi, Violin

Prize-winning violinist Amir Safavi began his violin studies when he was five years old. A graduate of the Royal Conservatory of Music (ARCT), he received the Gold Medal for the highest mark on the Performance Examination in Canada. Amir has won numerous grand prizes and awards at the provincial and national levels, including the first award in the Strings Open (2008) and Diploma (2007) levels of the Provincial Finals Competition (OMFA), the ACNMP national award for the most promising performer of the festival, the Most Promising Performer award of the Toronto Kiwanis Music Festival, along with other best of festival awards throughout Canada. As well, he was selected as the Canadian representative for the 2009 ASTA National Solo Competition, held in the United States.

Amir made his solo debut with the Koffler Chamber Orchestra, under the baton of Jacques Israelievitch, and has performed with several orchestras including the Toronto Sinfonietta, Academy Symphony Orchestra and Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber Orchestra, among others. This season, he will perform as soloist with the Guelph Symphony Orchestra, University of Toronto Hart House Orchestra, Cathedral Bluffs Symphony Orchestra and the Scarborough Philharmonic, as a result of winning their concerto competitions. Other upcoming performances include a solo recital at the Midday Music with Shigeru series in Barrie, Ontario. He has performed in many venues, including the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, George Weston Recital Hall, Glenn Gould Studio, Mississauga Living Arts Centre, and the River Run Centre. Amir has appeared frequently in the Soundstreams Canada- Young Artist Overture Concert Series, performing contemporary Canadian music and 20th century masterworks.

A scholarship student at the Young Artists Performance Academy of the Glenn Gould School of Music, Amir serves as the Concertmaster of the Academy Symphony Orchestra and the Senior Strings Orchestra of the University of Toronto Schools. Amir has performed in several master classes for eminent artists such as Peter Oundjian, Andrés Cárdenes, Mauricio Fuks, Andrew Dawes, Victor Danchenko, and Mimi Zweig. In addition, he has been coached by artists such as Joaquin Valdepenas, Joel Quarrington, and Andrew Burashko.

Amir is currently studying with renowned pedagogue Paul Kantor has studied privately with Jacques Israelievitch, former concertmaster of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.