Alessia Disimino

Concertmaster

Toronto-based violinist Alessia Disimino is recognized for her thoughtful musicality and instinctive interpretations. She is the co-founder and violinist of the Bedford Trio, concertmaster of the Toronto Community Orchestra and the North York Concert Orchestra, and Director of Strings at the North York String Academy, where she teaches the violin on a private and group class basis and curates the violin program. Alessia is a graduate of the University of Toronto’s Bachelor of Music in Performance (Hons.) with a Minor in English, where she studied with Annalee Patipatanakoon of the Gryphon Trio, and also obtained her Master of Music in Performance (Hons.) as a scholarship student of Dr. Timothy Ying.

Alessia has served as concertmaster of the University of Toronto Orchestra and Opera, and as a soloist and chamber musician, has performed in master classes for Jonathan Crow, Erika Raum, Mark Fewer, Jeanne Lamon, Lara St. John, Gryphon Trio, Menahem Pressler, and the Juilliard String Quartet, amongst others. Alessia is also an active freelance violinist in Toronto, and performs with various ensembles in Vaughan and the Greater Toronto Area, including Maestro Kerry Stratton’s Toronto Concert Orchestra.

A recipient of numerous awards, Alessia was most recently awarded the Gordon Cressy Leadership Award for her contributions to her community and to the University, and also received an Ontario Graduate Scholarship (2017). Previous awards include the Gerhard Kander Graduating Award for Violin, and the Felix Galimir Award for Excellence in Chamber Music (2015). Alessia holds her Associate of the Royal Conservatory of Toronto (ARCT) in Violin Performance (First Class Hons. with Distinction), is an alumnus of the RCM’s Young Artist’s Performance Academy and the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra, and has attended summer study programs including the Tafelmusik Baroque Summer Institute, the Orford Academy, and the Domaine Forget Academy. For her pedagogical training, Alessia has also attended the University of Toronto Wind Conducting Symposium and the Indiana University Violin and Viola Teacher Retreat.

Alessia is equally passionate about teaching and community outreach. She provides violin instruction on a private basis for students of all ages and levels, performs regularly in music ministry at her parish, and has performed outreach concerts for numerous senior residences and hospitals throughout Toronto. For more information, please visit www.alessiaviolin.com

Elena Spanu

Principal Second Violin

Elena Spanu started playing the violin when she was three. She began her studies at the Royal Conservatory of Music and continued to develop her skills at the Univeristy of Western Ontario where she received a Bachelor of Musical Arts. It is at Western where she discovered Baroque violin and moved on to complete an Artists Diploma in Baroque violin at the University of Toronto under the direction of Jeanne Lamon and other members of Tafelmusik.

Elena is currently a free lance violinist. She plays with orchestras and chamber groups in and outside of Toronto. In addition to classical music she also specializes in Irish and old time fiddle. Elena is a trained Suzuki violin teacher. She is the director of the Toronto Suzuki Studio and a faculty member at the North York Suzuki School of Music.

Elena is very excited to be playing with the North York Concert Orchestra this year and looks forwards to the programs ahead.


Jill Clarke

Principal Viola

Violist Jill Clarke received her Bachelor of Music from Queen’s University, and attended the Royal
Conservatory of Music as part of the Orchestral Training Program and Professional School. She has performed in masterclasses with Donald McInnes, Steven Dann, David Zafer, and Roberto Diaz, and has participated in summer programs at the Zafer Summer String Academy, and Domaine Forget International Music and Dance Academy.

Jill has appeared as chamber musician and soloist as a member of the Davenport Chamber Ensemble, and was violist with the Chrysalis Quartet. She continues to collaborate as guest artist with Duo Boheme in Toronto. In Kingston, she performed the world premiere of the F.R.C. Clarke Sonata for Viola and Piano. As a teacher, Jill was on faculty at the Royal Conservatory of Music for many years, teaching in the Suzuki program and Community School.

She is presently on staff as a teacher at the Toronto School for Strings. Formerly violist with the Kingston Symphony and Thunder Bay Symphony, Jill is currently a freelance musician in the Toronto area, and is Principal Violist with the North York Concert Orchestra.


Jenny Cheong

Principal Cello

Jenny Cheong is the recipient of the Yo-Yo Ma Scholarship and Music Scholarship from Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra. Jenny Cheong completed B. Mus. in Cello Performance at McGill University; M. Div. at Wycliffe College of University of Toronto(U of T); M.T.S. in Church Music specialized in organ and choral conducting at U of T, Trinity College with John Tuttle; and M Mus. in Cello Performance at the U of T, Faculty of Music.

Jenny is currently continuing her studies in Doctor of Musical Arts in Cello Performance at University of Toronto, Faculty of Music with Shauna Rolston. Jenny has also studied with Joowon Kim, Yegor Dyachkov, Brian Manker and David Hetherington. Since she obtained her M.T.S. in Church Music, she has been the Organist/Pianist and Choir conductor at St. John’s Anglican Church, Willowdale. Jenny is currently the Principal Cellist of North York Concert Orchestra starting September. For more information about Jenny Cheong, visit: www.jennythecellist.com

Wesley Brenneis

Principal Double Bass

UNDER CONSTRUCTION