Dean Burry – Artistic Director
Toronto-based Composer and Educator Dean Burry joins the Canadian Children’s Opera Company as Artistic Director following two decades of dedication to children’s opera in Canada. He has been a key player in the Education and Outreach Department of the Canadian Opera Company since designing the celebrated After-School Opera Program in 1997. Working as Program Leader, Music and Stage Director he has created over fifty operas with young people in various Toronto communities. He has developed and/or implemented many highly successful outreach programs for such organizations as the Canadian Children’s Opera Company, Canadian Opera Company, Soundstreams, Ontario Arts Council, Live Bait Theatre, The Royal Conservatory of Music, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education and the Toronto District School Board. He is also a professor of new and Canadian music at the Glenn Gould Professional School of the Royal Conservatory.
As an award-winning composer and librettist, Burry has written twelve nationally and internationally-performed theatrical works for young people, including The Hobbit, The Secret World of Og, The Scorpions’ Sting, The Bremen Town Musicians, Le nez de la sorcière, The Vinland Traveler, Angela and Her Sisters, Pandora’s Locker and The Sword in the Schoolyard. His opera The Brothers Grimm, commissioned by the Canadian Opera Company’s in 1999, has been presented over 600 times and is considered “the most performed Canadian opera in history” (Bill Richardson, CBC’s Saturday Afternoon at the Opera). Over 175,000 people in Toronto, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Calgary, Edmonton, Nashville, Chicago and Cardiff, Wales have seen the work and there will be a Brazilian production (in Portuguese) in October 2015.
In 2011, Burry was honoured with the Ontario Arts Foundation’s Louis Applebaum Composer Award in recognition of his outstanding work in the field of music for young people.
Ken Hall – Managing Director
Ken has been the backbone of production and administration within the CCOC since 2003, and is now responsible for guiding the business and strategic direction of the organization. In addition to strategy decisions and general administration, Ken leads the company’s activities in human resources, hiring, marketing, graphics design, corporate sponsorship, grants, communications, customer service, production, and touring. He is also an active and accomplished musician, having formerly performed as a flute soloist and chamber musician in Canada, the USA, and Europe, and frequently appears with the CCOC on recordings, broadcasts, and in performance whenever his diverse talents are called upon.
Teri Dunn – Music Director,
Conductor – Principal & Youth Chorus
A celebrated singer, conductor, and educator, Teri has been the Music Director of the CCOC since 2015. She was previously an instructor with the CCOC from 1992-2002, before moving to the Toronto Children’s Chorus from 2002-2012, where she served as Assistant Artistic Director. Teri is the Chair of the Choral Department at the prestigious St. Michael’s Choir School, where she conducts three of their choirs. As a singer, Teri has performed with some of Canada’s finest ensembles, including the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, Tafelmusik, Opera in Concert, New Music Concerts, and the Vancouver and Ottawa Chamber Music Festivals. Her discography includes several recordings for Centrediscs (Canadian Music Centre) and for Naxos.
Accompanist – Youth Chorus
Nicole is currently a repetiteur with Opera Atelier, and has worked variously as pianist, music director and sound designer for Shoestring Opera, the Shaw Festival, and the Canadian Stage Company. She holds a Masters in collaborative piano from the University of Western Ontario.
Accompanist – Ruby & Butterfly Chorus
Myna is a teacher at Willowdale Middle School. She is passionate about teaching children, and has specialized in working with children with special needs.
OPERAtion KIDS Coordinator-Artist
Ottawa-born soprano Gwenna Fairchild-Taylor holds an M. Mus. Opera (University of Toronto) and a B. Mus. Voice Performance (Western University). Recent performance highlights include Emily’s Mother in Chamber Werx (Banff Centre), as well as a giving “hilarious and memorable performance” (Mooney on Theatre) in Tapestry Opera’s Songbook VII. Other selected past credits include soprano soloist in Beethoven Symphony no. 9 (London Symphonia), Berta in The Barber of Seville (Indian River Festival, Stratford Summer Music), Wagner’s Wesendonck Lieder (North York Concert Orchestra), Lady with a Cake Box in Argento’s Postcard from Morocco, Lady Billows, Donna Anna, and the title role in The Merry Widow. An accomplished educator, Gwenna is a three-time recipient of Government of Nunavut Culture & Heritage Grants in support of self-run music and drama programs in Nunavut communities. Learn more at gwennafairchildtaylor.com.
Accompanist – Principal & Apprentice Chorus
Tina frequently performs in Toronto and across the province. Recent appearances include recitals with the Group of 27, a tour across Ontario with soprano Kyra Millan with their show on opera, and several concerts and recordings focusing on new Canadian music with soprano Adria McCulloch. She holds a Masters in collaborative piano from the Eastman School of Music. Tina has worked as repetiteur and orchestral pianist at Opera York, Tapestry New Opera, and has worked as accompanist and assistant conductor for many choirs, including Nathaniel Dett Chorale, Toronto Children's Chorus, Toronto Mendelssohn Choir and the Pax Christi Chorale.
Conductor – Intermediate Chorus, Junior Division Head
Lynn Janes was the Head of Music at Havergal College from 2007 to 2017. She previously taught at Greenwood College School, and was Choral Director/Music Teacher at Earl Haig Secondary School and Claude Watson School for the Arts. She is a singer and soloist with the Elora Festival Singers, and an adjudicator with International Music Festivals and the TDSB. She has led many other choirs, including the Pax Christie Chorale Youth Choir and the Toronto Mendelssohn Youth Choir, and previously led the CCOC’s Apprentice Chorus (1989-2002).
Conductor – Apprentice Chorus, OPERAtion KIDS Artist-Educator
Adine is a conductor, educator, teacher, and performer. Her Masters in Conducting from the University of Toronto solidified her training and she has continued sharing her expertise with students of all ages, conducting instrumental and choral groups for more than 20 years.
Drama Coach – Principal Chorus
Alix is a professional actor, director, writer, movement coach/facilitator and mask specialist. She has performed in many productions and also assisted in developing new works at The National Arts Centre, Opera Lyra, Theatre Calgary, The Great Canadian Theatre Company, The St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival and The Stratford Festival, to name only a few. Alix has been an acting/movement instructor for many institutions and has developed several labs and workshops for innovative and boundary-stretching work. Institutions include the Taylor Academy at the Royal Conservatory of Music, The National Arts Centre, The Stratford Festival, The Canadian Opera Company, The Randolph Academy, Young People's Theatre, Opera Lyra, The St. Lawrence Musical Theatre Conservatory. She was also the movement dramaturg for Corpus/Pan Am Games 2015, the Curator/Industry Associate for the Magnetic North Theatre Festival 2011, a founding member of Prix Rideau Awards, and a Canadian Actor’s Equity councillor for 2 terms. Her depth of performance experience and knowledge of the craft, combined with her comfortable classroom manner, has made her a favourite with the choristers.
Drama Coach – Youth Chorus
Autumn Smith is a theatre director, artist educator and innovator who has worked with youth across the globe. Select credits include work for: Canadian Stage, Tarragon Theatre, Shaw Festival, Druid Theatre (Galway), Stagedoor Manor (NY) and the Stratford Festival/National Ballet Project. Autumn holds an MFA in Theatre Direction with an Emphasis on Teaching from York University and is a graduate of the Oxford School of Drama Conservatory Program.
Conductor – Ruby & Butterfly Chorus
Linda is a Kodaly, Choral, Orff, and French Specialist at Claude Watson School for the Arts, and an Orff, Smart StartTM, and Kodaly instructor at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Early Childhood Music Education. She has been assistant conductor at the Mississauga Children`s Choir, and has presented workshops for the TDSB, CAMMAC, Suzuki Schools, and the Early Childhood Association in Hungary. She is a passionate and knowledgeable educator who has earned her impressive reputation in the arts education community. Linda joined the CCOC in January 2016.
Accompanist – Intermediate Chorus
Hungarian-born vocal coach and collaborative pianist, Gergely Szokolay is equally at home in choral, lieder, operatic, and string repertoire. As collaborative pianist, Mr. Szokolay performed with distinguished artists, such as Paul Tortelier, János Starker, Joseph Gingold, Andrea Rost, and Kálmán Berkes. Mr. Szokolay was principal collaborative pianist at the Canadian Children's Opera Company for twelve seasons, 2005-2017. As a volunteer, he made it possible for the CCOC to perform in Budapest in collaboration with Hungarian children's choirs and orchestra in 2007 and 2017. Balancing a busy teaching and performing schedule, over the past 30 years Mr. Szokolay prepared 33 fully staged operas in Canada in the capacity of rehearsal pianist.
Vocal & Diction Coach – Youth & Principal Chorus
Graduated with a MMus in piano and chamber music and a BMus in vocal performance from the Eastman School of Music has allowed Jennifer to have a very unique and diverse career. The winner of the kneisel lieder competition in 1998, she has collaborated with singers across the world and has given recitals in Toronto, Ottawa, Malibu, Los Angeles, Waimea, Hong Kong. She is an instructor at the Taylor Academy of the Royal Conservatory of Mus.
Management & Support Staff
Mala is happy to be working at the CCOC, where she started in 2006.
Diana brings a love of music and children with her, having studied and sung music. She even has her own professional opera singer, her daughter, currently living in Germany.
Victoria grew up in the colourful city of St. John’s NL and it was there that her love of music was cultivated. She holds a BMus from Acadia University and a MA Arts Administration and Cultural Policy from Goldsmiths, University of London. Victoria is thrilled to join the CCOC team as Chorus Coordinator for the 17-18 season.