NYO REPLAY debuts!

January 6th, 2021 § 0 comments § permalink

I loved working on this interview with Juliet Palmer and Ian Cusson. We dish on their commissioned works for NYO Canada, decolonizing the orchestra and their paths to makerhood.

To my second mom, Marietta Orlov, Rest in peace.

November 8th, 2020 § 3 comments § permalink

I always used to call Marietta Orlov, my piano teacher, my second mom. She was the most important person in my artistic life – everything I am as a musician, she had a hand in it. I cannot begin to tell you how much she gave me and all of the things that she taught me and helped me discover. I am so glad to be among the hundreds and hundreds of people she touched; her inimitable (yet often imitated) singing, her compassionate insight and joy will live on in us and in all the people we go on to work with. She taught me how to think for myself, and how to teach creatively and what music, the discussion and learning and sharing of music, should be about.

When I was auditioning for music schools, and getting rejected by most, she saw something in me that I think only she could really see. She often joked that she saw some talent in me, and a lot of laziness. She told me that she was not going to allow me to be lazy anymore, even if it meant giving me two lessons a week, even during the summers. And that’s what she did, for five straight years. (For which she never allowed me to pay her for.)

I don’t think that what I became as an artist was anything that either of us would have predicted, but I suppose that’s one of the amazing things about her teaching – she didn’t want you to be anything specific, she didn’t have an Orlov “sound” or “aesthetic” – she just wanted to you figure out how to figure it out, and not be too, too barbaric or ridiculous along the way. “Okay – well, if that’s what you’re going to do, would you consider this…”

So goodbye, mom. I am so happy that you managed to lead such an incredible life, and infect so many of us by example and through your wonderful, innigster, heartful teaching. Always with love.

Listen to the Animals – The Cave reviewed in The Star

June 30th, 2019 § 0 comments § permalink

Photo of Alex Samaras, Derek Kwan, Neema Bickersteth and Andrea Koziol by Delal Hagos

Great review by Karen Fricker in the Toronto Star of the world premiere of The Cave at the Luminato Festival. Hopefully this is just the beginning! Great piece by John Millard, Tomson Highway and Martha Ross, and a killer band – Rob Clutton, Germaine Liu, Matti Pullki and Karen Ng, with John and yours truly leading the way.


Just Announced: The Cave at Luminato/Soulpepper, June 18-23!

March 13th, 2019 § 0 comments § permalink

Very excited to MD my third show at Luminato, The Cave by John Millard and Tomson Highway. June 18-23 at Soulpepper Tankhouse.


Apr 28, 2019 – Celebrating Walter Buczynski/UofT Music – FREE

March 13th, 2019 § 0 comments § permalink

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Apr 5+6, 2019 – CONFLUENCE/Purcell Reimagined

March 13th, 2019 § 0 comments § permalink


I can’t imagine playing with a lovelier and more talented band in this show of Henry Purcell covers. Andrew Downing leads the band in a journey filled with music, lament, raucous dance and infamous bedlam.

feat: Anna Atkinson, Larry Beckwith, Andrew Downing, Drew Jurecka, John Millard, Patricia O’Callaghan, Alex Samaras and Suba Sankaran.

March 30, 2019 – Playing with Continuum in PIVOT

March 13th, 2019 § 0 comments § permalink


This concert was sold out last year, so buy your tix in advance. Six really bright and shiny composers from across the world and encompassing many different styles have written new works for the ensemble. I always learn new stuff at this show – and have to learn new tricks!