Violin Instructors

James Liu (Violin)

James has a passion for music education, and this is evident in his violin teaching and pedagogy. His classes begin with the fundamental elements including pitch accuracy, posture corrections, and bowing techniques. While James studied at McMaster University, he was the Principal Second Violinist, and a first violinist for the Hamilton Symphony. James devotes himself as a life-long educator with a specialty in Guidance and Music.

Alla Bokovaya (Violin)

Alla holds a Bachelor of Music from Novosibirsk Conservatoire in Russia. She has over 20 years of performance experience as a violinist and soloist at the Academic Symphony Orchestra and Chamber Ensemble. Alla is also an experienced violin teacher, having taught students of all ages in Russia, South Korea and Canada. She places great emphasis on developing fundamental technical and artistic skills to help her students achieve great standings at RCM examinations and awards at musical competitions. 

Toby Elser (Violin)

Tobias Elser received his bachelor’s degree in Violin Performance from Oberlin Conservatory, his Master’s of Music Degree from Indiana University and a Performer’s Diploma in Chamber Music, also from Indiana. As a member of the Dior Quartet, they have won prizes at the Chesapeake Chamber Music Competition, Fischoff Chamber Music Competition and Plowman National Chamber Competition. Elser has performed with the International Contemporary Ensemble in California, and the soundSCAPE Festival in Italy. 

Daniel Jiang (Violin)

Daniel holds a Master's degree in Violin Performance at McGill University. He had won the Greater Toronto Music Festival Solo Violin 1st violin and 2 recording scholarships. He believes that a lesson is most effective when there are no barriers between the student and the teacher. He has recently won 1st place in the CIMC- MOMA Canadian International Music Competition.  

Tsai Loo (Violin)

Tsai Loo took up the violin at the age of six. He obtained his Bachelor of Music degree and Professional Diploma at HKAPA, studying with Alice Waten, the former Head of Strings, Michael Ma and Chao Bee-darn. During his studies there, he was awarded the Ricci Scholarship for Violin Performance and Exxon Scholarship. As a chamber musician, he has played a recital with his Trio for RTHK and gave a performance at the Government House.

Eiko Hosaka (Violin)

Eiko started playing the violin at the age of 3. She graduated from Tokyo College of Music. During her studies, she was awarded fehony and Opera Academy of the Pacific. In 2006, she joined Hong Kong Sinfonietta as a violin player and served for 14 years. In June 2007, she was chosen as one of the soloists for Vivaldi Concerto for 4 Violins and played with Hong Kong Sinfonietta.

Parnian Aghaiani (Viola, Violin)

Parnian holds a Bachelor of Music from Tehran University of Arts. She is an active chamber musician and has more than 7 years of teaching experience in the Suzuki & RCM method. In 2016, she won 2nd place at the Iran Youth Music competition & performed in masterclasses with many renowned individuals in the field. Parnian is currently a member of the Canadian Viola Society and pursing a master’s degree in Music Literature & Performance at Western University while being the recipient of the Gordon Jeffrey Strings and Chamber Music Graduate Award. 

Helene Bergevin (Violin, Viola)

Ms. Bergevin has a Bachelor of Music degree from McMaster University and a Master of Education degree from the University of Toronto. As an experienced music educator, her goal is to inspire students with a lifelong passion for music.

Cello Instructors

Mansur Kadirov

Mansur completed his Bachelor's and Master's Degrees at Park University ICM and obtained his Artist Diploma at RCM's Glenn Gould School. He has been awarded 1st place in the National Competition of Uzbekistan, the Grand Prix at Naftzerger Young Artists, and the Tom Thomas Award for promising soloist at GGS. Mansur has performed around the world, including appearances with the National Symphony of Uzbekistan, Gunma Junior Orchestra, Kinnor Philharmonic, Kansas City Chamber Orchestra, and Royal Conservatory Orchestra.

Shahrzad Shakeri 

Shahrzad received her Bachelor and Masters degree in cello performance from Mcgill University and studied at the Conservatory of Paris (CRR de Paris) with renowned cellist Helene Dautry. She has performed in solo recitals, chamber music ensembles, orchestras, and festivals across Europe, the Middle East and North America. Shahrzad's teaching is based on the principles of the Suzuki Method. She is passionate about making the learning process a fun experience for everyone while helping students find their unique ways of playing at ease and expressing their emotions and musical ideas.

James Xia

James was admitted to the Central Conservatory of Music. In 1990, he attended the University of Hartford Music School where he studied and performed with world-renowned cellist Mr. Rostropovich. In 1993, he performed the LALO Cello Concerto in D Minor under the Cello Concerto as a school representative at the American Institute of Eastern Music Festival. In 1997, he immigrated to Canada to continue his performance career and began training a new generation of piano and cello students in the teaching area.

Joseph Choi

Previously studied at Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, Joseph is the recipient of the Premier Young Artist Award and Music Faculty Award. In the past, he was a scholarship student at the Phil and Eli Taylor Academy of the Glenn Gould School in the Royal Conservatory of Music. Joseph has won multiple awards and prizes in the Kiwanis Music Competition. He attended the Heifetz Institute in 2016, where his quartet was selected to perform and record a music video. He attended the Sitka International Cello Seminar in summer 2019, where he studied and performed with Zuill Bailey and Melissa Kraut.

Xinya Zhou 

Xinya completed her doctoral degree in cello performance at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. Before that, she obtained a master's degree with a teaching assistantship at Bowling Green State University as the principal cellist of the BGSU Philharmonia as well as the cellist of the Graduate String Quartet. During her undergraduate years, she served as principle cellist for several orchestras throughout the west coast in USA.  

Sally He 

Sally is currently studying with Toronto Symphony Orchestra principal cellist Joseph Johnson and Shauna Rolston Shaw to pursue her Master of Music Performance. She has played principal roles in youth orchestras an at the University of Toronto Opera orchestra. As a soloist and chamber musician, she has had master class opportunities with the Juilliard String Quartet, the Brentano String Quartet, and the St. Lawrence String Quartet. As a teacher, she longs to share her enjoyment and passion for music with her students.

Darya Zanoozi

Darya completed her Bachelor of Fine Arts at York University for music performance. She has received many awards including the Imasco Performing Arts Award, and she was the winner of the Ontario Musical Festival Association in 2012 and 2013, and the winner of York University's Concerto Competition in 2014. Darya has been the principal cellist for the York University Symphony Orchestra, the Toronto District Youth Orchestra and the Österreichische Kultur Forum, and the assistant principal cellist of the Koffler Chamber Orchestra.

Piano Instructors

Peter Castanheira 

Peter graduated with a bachelor's degree in Music from York University, majoring in piano. As a composer, he focuses on neo-classical composition, with an interest in polychordal harmonies and additive metres. As an educator, Peter uses a humanistic approach to education: that students excel and grow when their environment suits their needs to learn. Classes are run optimistically; encouraging high standards and a passion for music.

Stewart Lai

With over 40 years of teaching experience, Stewart has developed his own system of monitoring healthy learning habits. He values the importance of staying positive and as a result, he as edified student-parent relationships effectively. He was an accompanist for the strings program directed by a well-known violin teacher, Janet Wilchfort at the Toronto Montessori Schools from 1995 to 2015. They are active in all major Music Festivals and have had the honour of winning first place, numerous times over the past two decades.

Guitar/Bass Guitar/Ukulele Instructors

Leopold Degenhardt

Previously a member of the University of Toronto Guitar Ensemble, Leopold has more than 10 years of professional guitar experience teaching performance, theory and composition. Moreover, he engaged in consulting for the television industry and private company projects. He has an exceptionally strong foundation in classical guitar and composition having to studied and collabored with Guitar notables Eli Kassiner, Jeffery McFadden, Alexander Rappaport, William Beauvais

Robert Maddocks 

Robert received his bachelor’s degree from University of Manitoba and studied jazz at Professional Musicians College. He has over 10 years of experience teaching guitar (electric, classical, Spanish, pop, jazz, & rock), bass, drums, ukulele along with courses in music theory, song writing and music production. He is familiar with the RCM system and can help students prepare for exams. Robert has performed throughout Canada playing jazz, rock & classical music and written music for commercials, film and television.  

Leon Xu 

Leon graduated from Metalworks Institute, with over 6 years of teaching experience. Leon's students range from all different age groups. Leon has studied under Juno nominee Andrew Aldridge, and has worked for Positive Grid, Moore Audio, Roland, and many companies within the guitar industry. His goal in teaching is to foster interests, improve techniques and enrich students' knowledge in music.

Leo Kan 

Leo is a band member of the pop band "V" alongside with Terry Chui and Randy Chow. He has 17 years of teaching experience and is loved by many students. He strives to spread joy, passion and the love for music to his students in the process of skills development.

Richard Maclean 

Richard is a professional musician with over 9 years of teaching experience. He graduated Humber College with a Bachelor of Music Performance and has been performing a wide range of music genres for almost a decade.

Flute Instructor

Annie Lu

Graduated from University of Toronto, Annie has a bachelor degree of Music. She has been awarded in numerous music festivals and national competitions in Canada. Annie enjoys teaching students of all ages and levels, and believes that lessons should be balance between fun and hard work.