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About Us

Faculty

PIANO STUDIES

Antonia de Wolfe, M.Mus., B.Mus., D.Mus.
Lili Imastounian, D.Mus., B.F.A.
Suzanne Marfise, M.Mus., B.Mus.
Marina Grigoryan, M.Mus., B.Mus.
Mariko Der Avanesian, B.F.A., D.Mus.
Dianne Hughes, B.A.
Werner Chan, M.Mus., B.Mus.
Laya Alemohammad, B.A.
Olga Ostrizhnia, M.Mus., B.Mus.

WOODWINDS AND BRASS INSTRUMENTS

Leonid Sprikut, Ph.D., M.Mus., B.Mus.
John Mills, M.Mus., B.Ed.
Scott Purchase, M.Mus., B.Mus., B.Ed.

VOCAL STUDIES

Paul Williamson, M.Mus., B.Mus.
Marina Grigoryan, M.Mus., B.Mus.
Sara Chen, B.F.A.

VIOLIN, VIOLA, CELLO
CONTRABASS

GUITAR

Arpad Josephson, D.Mus., B.Mus.
Salome Legemaate, M.Mus., B.Mus.

John Mills, M.Mus., B.Ed.
Ramon Taranco, B.F.A.

CONDUCTING STUDIES AND INTERPRETATION

Kristian Alexander, M.Mus., M.A., B.Mus., B.A., D.E.S.S.G.O.C.


Antonia de Wolfe, M.Mus., B.Mus., 
Piano Studies and Interpretation, Music Theory


Ms. Antonia de Wolfe has graduated with a degree in piano performance from the George Enescu Institute of Music in Bucharest, Romania and, later, with another degree from the Central School of Music affiliated with the P. I. Tchaikovsky State Conservatory in Moscow. She has also graduated from the Academia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome, where she studied with Sergio Perticaroli, and has earned a Master in Music (piano performance) degree from the University of Toronto. In addition, Ms. de Wolfe has studied with Maestro S. Petricaroli at Mozarteum Hochschule für Musik in Salzburg (Austria). Ms. de Wolfe has given several recitals and concerts in some of the finest concert halls in Bucharest, Moscow, Rome, Paris, Salzburg, and Toronto. She has also taught piano at the Columbus Centre, Cosmo school of Music, and Koffler Music School. As a collaborative pianist and accompanist, she has been in great demand for several productions of the Centuries Opera Association, Toronto Opera Repertoire, Palestrina Choir, Ethobicoke Centennial Choir, and others. Ms. de Wolfe is a registered teacher with Royal Conservatory of Music (RCME 44667).


Olga Ostrizhnia, M.Mus., B.Mus.  
Piano studies and interpretation, Music Theory

Ms. Ostrizhnia received her B.Mus. degree from the College of Arts in Russia, majoring in Piano Pedagogy and Collaborative Piano. She continued her musical education in Ukraine, where she graduated from Kharkiv National Kotlyarevsky University of Arts, with a major in Piano Pedagogy, Collaborative Piano and Chamber Music. As a Piano Teacher and Accompanist, she has more than 20 years of experience. Ms. Ostrizhnia is a registered teacher with the Royal Conservatory of Music (RCME 101246) where nearly all of her students received First Class Honors at their examinations. She also teaches piano at Golden Lark School of Arts (North York).


Leonid Sprikut, Ph.D., M.Mus., B.Mus.  
Woodwinds and Brass, Music history and Theory

Mr. Sprikut holds a MMus in Music Education from the University of Toronto , as well as Master of Music in Performance Diploma cum laude from the Moscow P. Tchaikovsky State Conservatory, and a Bachelor of Music in Performance Diploma cum laude from Moscow State Conservatory Music College. He also holds a Bachelor Degree in Wind Ensemble Conducting from Moscow State Conservatory Music College. As a professional clarinettist and saxophonist Mr. Sprikut has been affiliated with many symphony and chamber orchestras around the world, such as Moscow State Ministry of Education Symphony Orchestra (Principal Clarinet), Moscow State Academy of Music Opera Theatre (Principal Clarinet), New Jerusalem Symphony (Principal Clarinet), Israeli Operetta Theatre (Principal Clarinet), and was a member of a Moscow State Conservatory Woodwind Quintet.

As a soloist, Mr. Sprikut performed in Russia , Israel , USA , Canada , and has taken part in various International Music Festivals, such as International Klezmer Music Festival in Zfat , Israel. Among his teachers were the internationally renowned Vladimir Sokolov (Principal Clarinet for The Moscow State Symphony Orchestra and Professor of Clarinet at the Moscow State Conservatory) and Dr. Scott Bridges (Professor of Music and Clarinet at the Alabama University School of Music). Mr. Sprikut started teaching in the early 1980’s, while a student at the Moscow State Conservatory and was one of the founders and first teachers at the Special Music School for Woodwind Instruments in Moscow , Russia. Later, in Israel he worked as a teacher for a Music Project of the Municipality of Jerusalem and was a Music Director of The Youth Jerusalem Wind Orchestra, where his duties included selection of repertoire for the Orchestra, auditions, public relations, and foreign tours. He has taught wind instruments, piano, and music theory privately and in groups at his studio, at varous schools and at the Music College. Mr. Sprikut has been affiliated with iMA since 2006. He is experienced and successful in teaching students at different levels and ages from 7 to 70. Mr. Sprikut is also the conductor of the iMA Jazz ensemble, which successfully performed at the IMA summer music Festival in 2009. His students constantly win local and international music competitions, hold principal positions in students’ and professional bands and symphony orchestras, and participate in a variety of musical activities in Canada and abroad.

Mr. Sprikut gives master classes and adjudicates music competitions and festivals in Israel , Russia and Canada. He is a member of Ontario Music Teachers Network and a Teaching Assistant in the instrumental class at the University of Toronto. Currently, Mr. Sprikut is a PhD Candidate at the University of Toronto where his research interests include music pedagogy and culture. His research papers were accepted and presented at several international conferences, such as 2010 international Conference in Multidisciplinary Research in Music Pedagogy at the University of Ottawa, Canada, and the ISME World Conference 2010 in Beijing , China. Mr. Sprikut possesses strong knowledge and excellent skills for teaching the classical style, as well as the jazz, folk, and music of modern composers. Determined to bring out the best of his students, Mr. Sprikut is one of the most highly recommended teachers in the GTA. He has been teaching wind instruments, piano, and music theory for over 25 years. Mr. Sprikut is a registered teacher with the Royal Conservatory of Music (RCME 60140) and is fluent in English, Hebrew, Russian.


Paul Williamson, M.Mus., B.Mus.
Vocal Studies and interpretation

Canadian lyric tenor Paul Williamson has “a startlingly rich voice” (Edmonton Journal) and is now taking his place on the operatic and concert stages of Canada. With a Bachelor of Music degree from the Houghton College School of Music in New York, a Masters degree in Opera Performance from State Glinka Conservatoire of Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, Paul continued his vocal studies under Robert MacLaren at the University of Manitoba. In 2007, while a student in the Opera Diploma program at the University of Toronto, he starred as Nemorino in Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore, where he was reviewed by Opera Canada as “a very pleasing tenor with Italianate colour, lovely phrasing and even the requisite sob” who can “play with his voice for nuance and has lots of power when needed.”Fluent in Russian, Paul appeared as the Czar with Toronto’s Opera in Concert in Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Snow Maiden in April 2008. The Globe and Mail declared “High tenor Paul Williamson, as the czar, had some ecstatic moments; his springtime aria was a high point” while Opera Canada’s review of this performance stated, “lyric tenor Paul Williamson impressed as the czar.” As an opera apprentice with the University of  Manitoba, Paul performed the role of Wilhelm in school tours of Dean Burry’s popular The Brothers Grimm. He recently starred as Umberto in Rossini’s La Donna del Lago with Opera in Concert. Oratorio performances include Bruckner’s Te Deum (University of Toronto Combined Choirs and Orchestra), Britten’s St Nicolas Cantata (Tryptych, Toronto), and the Beethoven Mass in C with MasterWorks of Oakville. Mr. Williamson  placed second in the Barry Alexander International Vocal Competition in New York 2007/8.

Mr. Williamson sang the role of Finn in Glinka’s Ruslan and Ljudmila in October 2010 with Opera In Concert and debuted with the Thunder Bay Symphony in Handel’s Messiah in November of that same year.  In 2011, he debuted with the both Toronto Philharmonia in their Bel Canto series and at Heliconian Hall in the Birthday Series: Pyotr Tchaikovsky. In 2012, he debuted the role of Don Carlo with Opera By Request to glowing reviews and sang the role of Remus in an opera entitled Treemonisha by Scott Joplin with the Nataniel Dett Chorale at Koerner Hall in May 2012. Mr. Williamson’s recent appearances include singing Manrico in Verdi’s Il Trovatore with Opera York (Toronto) in November 2013, his debut at Carnegie Hall as tenor soloist in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the New York Festival Orchestra, and again at Carnegie Hall in March 2014 as tenor soloist in Mozart’s Requiem, and Beethoven’s Choral Fantasia.


John Mills, B.A., B.Ed.
Guitar Studies, Ukulele, Music Theory

Mr. Mills has earned his Bachelor of Education degree from York University and music certification from University of Toronto. He brings over 25 years of teaching experience to the International Music Academy in various guitar styles, music theory and numerous bluegrass instruments. For many years, Mr. Mills taught all the concert band instruments for the Toronto District School Board. His youth stage bands performed at Ontario Place and numerous Community Centers, while his choirs were featured on children’s television. He organized Master classes for the Scarborough night studies programs for many years, along with teaching at various music schools throughout the city. As a performer, he was lead guitarist for the Arrivals for two years before touring with the Elvis Memories retro show. His caring, unique, multi-resource approach to teaching has met with measured success throughout his instructional career. Mr. Mills is a registered teacher with the Royal Conservatory of Music (RCME 66242).


Arpad josephson, D.Mus., B.Mus.
Violin Studies and Interpretation, Music Theory

Arpad Josephson has earned a Bachelor of Music in Violin Performance from the University of Western Ontario (London) and a Diploma in Orchestral training from the Royal Conservatory of Music (Toronto). He has over 20 years of experience performing with Symphony Hamilton, Windsor Symphony, Niagara Symphony, Oshawa Symphony, Oakville Chamber Orchestra, Hamilton Camerata, Ensemble Unterweg, and Royal Conservatory of Music Symphony Orchestra. He has also taught violin, piano, and music theory at Hamilton School of Music.


Suzanne Marfise, M.Mus., B.Mus.
Piano Studies, Music Theory

Ms. Suzanne Marfise has graduated with honours from the University of Toronto, after earning an ARCT in piano performance and music theory from the Royal Conservatory of Music. She has taught piano and theory in the Greater Chicagoland in the Illinois (USA) where she was also an Accredited member of the Chicago North Shore Music Teacher's Association. After moving to Toronto in 2004, Ms. Marfise has established herself as an expert in teaching piano to all ages. She strives to develop and interpret teaching concepts as required, in order to maintain the student's interest while, at the same time, keeping the required curriculum at the forefront. She has taught piano of different genres including, classical, jazz, blues and pop/Broadway, as well as music history, harmony, and voice. She provides a well-balanced learning experience that focuses on building strong technical background and flourishing self-expression. Her students are consistently prepared to graduate with 1st Class Honours and Honours with Distinction from the Royal Conservatory of Music, from the early beginners to the Associates of the RCM (ARCT).


Laya Alemohammad, B.A.
Piano Studies, Music Theory

Laya Alemohammad has earned a degree in Music Performance and a Teaching Music Certificate from the Tehran Conservatory of Music. She has taken also completed a master class with Nina Evgafova and Valentine Rukomojinikov at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow. Ms. Alemohammad brings over 15 years of teaching experience and is specialized in Orff methodology.


Marina Grigoryan, M.Mus., B.Mus.
Piano Studies, Vocal Studies and Music Theory

Mrs. Marina Grigoryan graduated from the Faculty of Music Pedagogy and Psychology of the Moscow State University of Pedagogy. She also holds several degrees from Russian Music Colleges. Mrs. Grigoryan taught piano (Royal Conservatory of Music as well as pop and jazz), voice (classical, jazz, Broadway and pop), theory (all levels), harmony (both classical and jazz), ear-training, improvising, composition as well as choir conducting and jazz ensembles. She possesses a vast knowledge and is very passionate about teaching music as part of creating well-rounded students with freedom of self-expression through music, strong technical skills and excellent performance habits. Mrs. Grigoryan also has developed workshops in waltz (traditional and jazz); Polka; Rag-time; Boogie-woogie; Blues (jazz); Bossa nova (latin jazz). Mrs. Grigoryan is a registered teacher with the Royal Conservatory of Music (RCME 62380)


Ramon Taranco, B.F.A.
Guitar Studies, Music Theory

Ramon Taranco was born in Havana Cuba to a Mexican-American mother and a Cuban father. The family immigrated to Toronto, Canada when Ramon was 5 yrs old. As a teenager, Ramon taught himself to play guitar and soon was playing in Rock, R ‘n B, and Blues bands. He also studied violin and played in his high school’s orchestra. After hearing Andre Segovia perform at Massey Hall, Ramon was inspired to play classical and Spanish solo guitar music so he embarked upon six years of studies at Toronto's Royal Conservatory of Music. Ramon studied Classical guitar with Norbert Kraft, Carl van Fleggelin, Eli Kassner, world-renowned Cuban classical guitarist Leo Brouwer, and with British master, John Mills. He studied solo jazz guitar with the legendary Lenny Breau and jazz improvisation with former Duke Ellington band member, flugelhorn player, Fred Stone. While living in NYC, Ramon studied with flamenco guitar master Dennis Koster.

As a guitar teacher, Ramon has experience on many levels. While still a student at the RCM, Ramon received a teaching position at the Koffler Centre for the Arts under the direction of then TSO conductor Victor Feldbrill - a position he held for four years. While still living in Toronto, Ramon received four Ontario Arts Council "Artist in the Schools" teaching grants that opened the doors for Ramon to teach improvisation and guitar in four Toronto area high schools. During this time Ramon further educated young people through performances of his concert/lecture program "A Guitar for All Seasons" which he presented in numerous schools, colleges and libraries all over Ontario - as a member of Prologue to the Performing Arts and on his own. Ramon was also the music consultant, band coach, and guitar instructor for the film P.C.U. (20th Century Fox). In 1994 Ramon moved to NYC where he taught guitar lessons in his private studios in Manhattan and Queens and also at the Astoria School of Music. Ramon currently teaches at Markham’s International Music Academy and is preparing to record his third CD of original music. [ www.ramontaranco.com has testimonials from guitar students and music teacher colleagues ]

As a composer Ramon has received both Toronto Arts Council and Ontario Arts Council grants for composition. As a recording artist, he received an Ontario Arts Council Multi-Cultural recording grant and a F.A.C.T.O.R recording grant. Taranco later became a F.A.C.T.O.R adjudicator. Ramon's compositions have been featured in films: “L'Hombre” for the Canadian Film Center and NYC documentary, “Poverty Outlaw.” Ramon has released two CD's of original music which have received airplay in fifty countries (for example Radio Havana, Cuba; and Spanish National Radio) and have placed in the top 10 of world beat, blues, jazz and roots music radio charts. [www.ramontaranco.com has CD reviews from international DJ’s and music journalists ]

As a performer of classical, blues, jazz, and worldbeat music in the Toronto music scene, Ramon played solo, in duos and in bands: live on CBC radio shows (Morningside, Musical Friends), and in concerts (Hart House Theater U of T, Harbourfront’s Waters Edge Café and Brigantine Room, St. Lawrence Centre, Ontario College of Art, Laurentian University) in clubs and in restaurants (The Riverboat, Top of the Senator, C'est What.) While residing in New York for 18 years, Ramon frequently performed on radio (WBAI). As a soloist and in duos with (jazz violin, percussion, blues harmonica) and band situations, Ramon has performed in concert at the Guggenheim Museum of Modern Art’s World Beat Jazz series ,Bronx Museum of Modern Art African Heritage Day, The Queens Museum of Art, Harbor Jazz Festival, Manhattanville University, Monroe College, New York State University @ Stoney Brook, Hellenic Cultural Center, Javits Center Latin Heritage Month celebration for the City of NY, Newark Public Library( blues concert celebrating Martin Luther King Jr's birthday ) Brooklyn Academy of Music Majestic Theater: onstage guitarist in small ensemble for the opera "Missionaries" by Liz Swados; in NYC night clubs, restaurants and bars such as The Groove, Izzy Bar, Fannies, La Belle Epoque, Mozart Cafe, Finally Freds, Rose’s Turn and Cornelia Street Cafe: Soul of the Blues Festival.

Dianne Hughes, B.A.  
Piano Studies, Music Theory

Ms. Dianne Hughes has earned a bachelor in arts degree from York University and an ARCT from the Royal Conservatory of Music. She has also studied with Margaret Fabrizio at Stanford University, California. Since 1976, se has taught piano and theory to students from all ages and various backgrounds. In addition, Ms. Hughes plays harpsichord, recorder, and cello, provides piano accompaniment for RCM examinations and is the author of 18 pieces for piano.


Lili Imastounian, D.Mus., B.F.A.  
Piano Studies, Music Theory

Mrs. Imastounian has earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts (with Honours) from York University (Toronto), along with a Diploma in Musicology, a Diploma in Piano Pedagogy, and a Diploma in Piano Performance. She brings to the International Music Academy over 25 years of valuable experience teaching piano and theory to students of all ages and levels. Mrs. Imastounian has been on the Faculty of New Conservatory of Music, Federal Conservatory of Music, Scarborough Parks and Recreation, and School for Music and Art. In addition to a great passion for teaching music she also has a passion for languages; she speaks fluently English, French, Russian, Armenian, and Arabic. During the past almost three decades, Mrs. Imastounian has prepared over 1,000 students for various competitions, recitals, concerts, and examinations. Mrs. Imastounian is a registered teacher with the Royal Conservatory of Music (RCME 21006).


Mariko Der Avanesian, B.F.A., D.Mus.
Piano studies and interpretation, Music Theory

Born in Japan, Ms. Der Avanesian earned Bachelor of Fine Art from Osaka College of Music. She continued her study in Paris, France at Ecole Normale de Musique de Paris for Diplome Superieur d’Execution (6eme division professionelle, piano performance). She has performed numerous concerts, recitals and also appeared as a concerto soloist in Japan, France and Canada. She participated in several music festivals such as the International Keyboard Institute and Festival (New York), the Toronto Summer Music Academy and Festival (Toronto), Scotia Festival of Music, Academie International d’interpretation de Piano (France) and Flaine Musique Festival (France). Among her teachers were world-renowned pianists Alicia de Larrocha, Menahem Pressler (Beaux ArtsTrio), Peter Frankl and Andre Laplante. As a piano teacher, she has more than 25 years of experience and successful in teaching any level of students at any age. She has a great ability of communication with students to tailor the lessons to fit each students needs, goals and skills. Her passion and love of music transforms any music lesson to a joyful musical experience filled with beautiful artistic moments and fun challenge. Any student will find her/himself to be a motivated self-learner. Ms. Der Avanesian is a registered teacher with the Royal Conservatory of Music (RCME 108015).


Werner Chan, M.Mus., B.Mus., D.Mus
Piano Studies and Interpretation, Music Theory

Born in Hong Kong, Werner Chan started to learn piano at the age of 5. At the age of 11, he had his first piano recital in the local church and became the accompanist for the Don Bosco Choir for 7 consecutive years. He secured a place to study music at the Hong Kong Academy for the Performing Arts (HKAPA) and obtained a Diploma of Music in 2001. In September of the same year, Werner received the Conservatory Ovation (Piano) Award and the International Chancellor’s Award, to study music at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, USA. He graduated with distinction with a Master’s degree in Music in 2007. Mr. Chan has over 15 years of piano teaching experience. He started his piano teaching career in 2001 as a private in-campus tutor. Mr. Chan teaches students ranging from very young age to adults and seniors. He adapts his teaching style according to the personal learning style of his students. He is patient, observant and can establish good rapport with his students in no time. Mr. Chan shares his passion for music with others and makes the music lesson a stimulating and joyful experience to those who learn with him. On the other hand, with students of higher grades, Mr. Chan would focus a lot on interpretations of works of various composers, leading to achieving high marks in the RCM examinations and competitions. In tune with his belief in life-long learning, Mr. Chan continues to polish his piano teaching techniques by taking courses of pedagogic nature. Apart from teaching piano and music theory, Werner has been performing piano publicly in Toronto. In the past, he performed in the Open Score Salon Series of University of Toronto; the Opus One home concerts for classical music; the 2015 and 2016 Concerts hosted by the Ontario Cross-Cultural Music Society. In August 2016, Werner was invited to perform as the pianist of the Broadway Rock Musical “Rent”, a two-and-half hour production presented by the Markham Youth Theatre. Mr. Chan is a registered RCM teacher and a member of the Ontario Registered Music Teachers Association (ORMTA). He speaks fluently French, Mandarin and Cantonese.


Scott Purchase, B.Mus., B.Ed.
Woodwinds, brass and guitar

Scott Purchase earned his Bachelor of Music and Education degrees from Queen’s University.  He began his career teaching band, guitar and choir in the public school system in Yellowknife.  Mr. Purchase is an accomplished jazz and classical trombone player, and played both trumpet and trombone in several professional jazz bands in Kingston and the GTA.  Mr. Purchase has performance experience on many different concert band instruments in professional environments, and has taught flute, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, trombone French horn, tuba, and euphonium in a classroom environment.  Mr. Purchase was known throughout Yellowknife for his ability to build upon student interests and get the most out of the young people he works with.  Mr. Purchase has taught a wide variety of music lessons in a private studio, specializing in jazz harmony, composition, choral conducting, and all concert band instruments from beginners to university preparation and beyond.


Salome Legemaate, B.F.A.
Violin Studies and interpretation

Salome Legemaate was born and raised in Switzerland and started studying the violin at the age of 12 at the Music School of St. Gallen in the class of Beatrix Sieber and Hermann Ostendarp and, in Canada, with Yiuman Chang and Dan David Arnovich. Ms. Legemaate has performed at the Hueberli Orchestra in Wattwil under the baton of Peter Roth and has performed at the Conservatory of Music in Zuerich. She has extensive teaching experience for students of all ages and is a registered teacher with the Royal Conservatory of Music.


Sara Chen, B.F.A.
Vocal Studies and interpretation, Suzuki Piano

Ms. Sara Chen has earned her Bachelor degree in vocal performance and pedagogy from XingHai Conservatory of Music. As an accomplished musical artist and over 15 years of teaching experience, Ms. Chen is able to perform and teach a variety of songs and genres including opera and art songs, musical theatre, folk and pop songs. She understand the technical elements as well as the creativity needed to be successful in vocal music. She teaches students of all ages and levels, and enjoy seeing them progress achieving their own success, dreams and goals. Ms. Chen also teaches Suzuki piano as well. She is a registered teacher with the Royal Conservatory of Music (RCME 61054).


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