Music notes

In 1991, Seneca College decided to close the
Seneca Suzuki School of Music, which had been
in operation for over 15 years. A core of teachers
wishing to continue in a school-like environment
created the North York Suzuki School of Music
as a not-for- profit organization. Since that time
we have also received charitable status.

 

Teacher Bios

 

 

 

Marianne CarefootMarianne Carefoot

Marianne Carefoot is a highly experienced and versatile Royal Conservatory of Music Certified Teacher, chamber, music and orchestral performer. Her teaching career includes positions with the instrumental music faculties of Upper Canada College, Havergal College, Grande Prairie (AB) Regional College, North York and Scarborough Boards of Education and Edmonton Cosmopolitan Music Society Adult Beginner program. Her students have successfully auditioned for music programs at the University of Toronto, York University, Claude Watson School for the Arts, and Etobicoke School for the Arts.

She has been teaching Suzuki Method Piano since 2007. She holds a Bachelor of Music from University of Alberta, and received her Suzuki training with Rita Hauck (Cincinatti OH and Ft. Worth TX), Gail Lange and Bruce Anderson. She studied piano pedagogy and classical performance with Dr. Janet Lopinski, Jarred Dunn, and jazz with Brian Rudolf and Danny McErlain. Marianne has enjoyed teaching students aged 3 - 80 and maintains high expecations for quality work with a patient, gentle, encouraging and fun approach. A firm believer in lifelong education, she also attended York University studying composition, film and television music, piano improvisation and jazz performance. She has written over 300 arrrangements for her chamber music groups, as well as music for live theatre and television broadcast. Marianne is a member of ORMTA (Ontarios Registered Music Teachers' Assn.), Toronto Musicians Assn. (since 1978), Suzuki Assn. of Ont. (Board member, Secretary), and the National Flute Association (NFA).
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Liz JohnstonLiz Johnston

Liz graduated from University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Music in Performance degree. She started teaching at the Seneca College Suzuki Program from 1988 and has continued at the North York Suzuki School as one of its founding members. She has completed Suzuki Books 1 - 8 with several teacher trainers including Michele George, John Kendall, William Starr, Alice Joy Lewis and Edmund Sprunger. Liz has been a member of the Canadian Opera Company Orchestra since 1994, and freelances with many other orchestras in the Toronto area. She also has an interest in period instrument performance, and received a Canada Council Grant in 2002 to pursue baroque violin studies at Oberlin College, Amherst Early Music Festival, and the Tafelmusik Institute, and has become a frequent performer with Aradia Ensemble.
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Orsi LengyelOrsi Lengyel

Orsi was born in Budapest. After completing a Bachelor of Music Performance degree in Vienna, Austria, she immigrated to Canada in 1995 and studied with Shauna Rolston and Simon Fryer at the University of Toronto. In 1996-97 she took part in a string quartet and studied with Paul Pulford and the Penderecki String Quartet. She studied Suzuki cello with Sally Gross, and received a Kodaly teacher's certificate at the RCM in 1998. She is teaching Suzuki cello and Kodaly musicianship at the North York Suzuki School of Music since 1999. Orsi is the co-founder and owner of Wellington Music performance group and agency, playing with Tapestry New Opera Works and other professional chamber groups.
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Rob MacDonaldRob MacDonald

Sincere performances of bold and engaging repertoire have established guitarist Rob MacDonald as one of Canada's most exciting performers of new music. As both a soloist and chamber musician his persistent quest for fresh repertoire regularly leads to the creation of new works and the presentation of rarely heard pieces. He has performed with Soundstreams Canada, Madawaska String Quartet, Contact Contemporary Music, the Canadian Opera Company, Amadeus Choir, Queen of Puddings Music Theatre, and Talisker Players. Alongside virtuoso guitarist, Tracy Anne Smith, he is co-founder of ChromaDuo, an ensemble actively commissioning, premiering, and performing new repertoire throughout North America. A graduate of the Peabody Conservatory, the modern classical guitar's technical and pedagogical birthplace, Rob teaches actively throughout Toronto and has recently undertaken training to teach Suzuki guitar.
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Jennifer MartynJennifer Martyn

Violinist Jennifer Martyn enjoys a busy career as performer, teacher, and researcher. Jennifer's performance career has taken her across Canada, as well as to Europe and Asia. She has performed with the National Arts Centre Orchestra, the Kingston, Ottawa and Windsor Symphonies, l'Ensemble Prisme, and Duo Felice, and has been a guest concertmaster with several orchestras, most recently the North York Concert Orchestra and the University of Toronto Symphony Orchestra. In 2016 - 17 season, Jennifer performed two programs with the Talisker Players in the acclaimed "Journeys in Words and Music" chamber music serices. A sought-after teacher, Jennifer especially loves to work with children. Prior to joining the faculty of the North York Suzuki School of Music, Jennifer taught with Etobicoke Suzuki Music in Toronto, and was a founding faculty member of Ottawa Suzuki Strings where she had a studio of over thirty students of all ages. In 2017 Jennifer was an adjudicator at the Brantford Kiwanis Music Festival in Brantford, Ont. Jennifer holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in violin performance from the University of Toronto, where her research focused on the life and career of the nineteeth-century Swedish violinist and composer Amanda Maier. She has received numerous awards for her work, including the Ontario Graduate Scholarship and the Palmeson Graduate Fellowship in Violin. Jennifer has presented lecture-recitals about her reaserch in Ottawa, Toronto, and Calgary and in early 2017 performed the Canadian premiere of Amanda Maier's 1891 piano quartet. Jennifer holds previous degrees in violin performance from the University to Toronto (BMus), and Mannes College (MMus) in New York City.
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Maureen McReynoldsMaureen McReynolds

Maureen received an Honours Bachelor of Music Education degree from the University of Ottawa in 1982. She was introduced to the Suzuki Method when she attended a piano institute let by Haruko Kataoka at the Eastman School of Music, Rochester N.Y. in 1988. She subsequently studied under Gail Lange, and has taken courses with many distinguished teachers such as Doris Koppelman, Bruce Anderson, and Caroline Fraser among others. Maureen taught at the Seneca Suzuki School of Music and is a co-founder and past director of the North York Suzuki School of Music. She has been a clinician at numerous institutes and workshops including the South Western Ontario Suzuki Institute, Montreal Piano Institute, Oakville Performing Arts Camp, Thunder Bay Piano Institute and the Royal Conservatory Suzuki Workshop. She has also served on the Board of Directors of the Suzuki Association of Ontario.
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Jeanine NoyesJeanine Noyes

Jeanine earned a Bachelor of Music degree from Queen's University in 1989. She studied the Suzuki method at several institutes and received a long term training with Gail Lange. Jeanine has been teaching piano at the North York Suzuki School since 1992. She also writes songs, has recorded two CDs, and performs regularly. www.jeaninenoyes.com
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Gretchen Paxson-AbbergerGretchen Paxson-Abberger

Gretchen holds a Bachelor's degree in Music Performance from the Manhattan School of Music, a Master's degree in Historical Performance from the Mannes College of Music, as well a 2 year Long Term Certificate in Suzuki training from the School For Strings in New York City studying with Louise Behrend. Further Suzuki studies have been short-term training courses with the following: Ronda Cole, Daphne Hughes, Allen Lieb, Carol Smith, Ed Sprunger, and Carey Beth Hockett. Gretchen has been teaching and freelancing in Toronto since moving here from New York City in 1994. She teaches all levels at the North York Suzuki School of Music, as well she is the artistic director for the Miles Nadal JCC Suzuki Program, and summer music camp. Gretchen founded "Thanks to Dr. Suzuki Concert Performances", a charitable organization whose mission is to create community among students and teachers of Toronto are Suzuki schools. She approaches the Suzuki philosophy from 2 sides of the Suzuki Triangle, as a teacher and also as a parent of 2 teenagers who have been learning violin by the Suzuki method since they were toddlers.
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Bijan SepanjiBijan Sepanji

Originally from Iran, Bijan earned his Bachelor of Music from McGill University and Master of Music from Indiana University. While at Indiana University, Bijan was introduced to the world of Suzuki through the String Pedagogy program led by Mimi Zwei and Brenda Brenner. Since moving back to Toronto in 2013, Bijan has spent a considerable amount of time working with students of various backgrounds at Sistema Toronto, and he also conducts the junior division of the Moordale Youth Orchestras. In additional to teaching, Bijan is active with his professional string quartet, the Ton Beau, performing concerts and giving masterclasses throughout Canada and the United States.
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Elizabeth SherkElizabeth Sherk

BA 1969; Ontario Teacher's Certificate, 1970; RCM Grd. 9 Piano 1999; RCM Early Childhood Music 1997; Suzuki Piano Teacher Training units 1a - 7 including Japanese pedagogy with Haruko Kataoka from 1985. She is also a co-founder of the North York Suzuki School of Music. Elizabeth came to the world of Suzuki through being a Suzuki parent. After seven years of daily listening and playing music with her own three children, she realized that she could use her piano and teaching skills to become a Suzuki piano teacher herself. She values highly the peer mentoring aspect of Suzuki education and is grateful for all she has learned by simply observing in other people's studios. She encourages new parents coming into her studio to foster the same respect for the great value of learning by observation. "Self-reflection is a supreme ability: Give your child life's handle bar".
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Elena SpanuElena Spanu

Elena started playing the violin when she was three. She began her studies at the Royal Conservatory of Music, where she studied with Katherine Rapoport. Her formative training was in the Suzuki method and the RCM method. She received her Bachelor of Musical Arts Degree from the University of Western Ontario, where she studied with Robert Skelton, Virginia Baron and Mel Martin. It was at Western where she discovered Baroque violin and moved on to complete an Artists Diploma in Baroque violin at the University of Toronto. There she studied with Jeanne Lamon and various other members of Tafelmusik. Elena has also studied with such notable teachers as Kelly Parkins and Burton Kaplan. Elena has had the opportunity to travel with her violin. In France, she participated in the Saintes Music Festivel with the Jeune Orchestre Atlantique and in Powell River, British Columbia she participated in the Symphony Orchestra Academy of the Pacific program. Elena has received treacher training in the Suzuki method at the Southwestern Strings Suzuki Institute (SOSI), completing books 1 - 7. Her teacher trainers have been Edmund Sprunger, Daphne Hughes, Kathleen Spring, Allen Lieb and Brian Lewis. Elena continues to expand her teaching skills by attending workshops and institutes. In addition to teaching, Elena enjoys working as a freelance violinist around Toronto. Her favorite hobbies are knitting and taking ballet classes.
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Amber Walton-AmarAmber Walton-Amar

Amber holds a Masters in cello performance from DePaul University in Chicago and a Bachelors in cello performance from the University of Toronto. She is accredited with the SAA and believes that every student can achieve with practice and perseverance. Amber has been a faculty member of the Valparaiso University Summer School for Strings, the Sherwood Community Music Division at Columbia College in Chicago, and director of the Northwest Indiana Cello Studio. Amber has acted as an adjudicator for the Indiana State School of Music Association for three consecutive years. As a performer, she held the position of principal cellist with the South Shore Orchestra, with whom she toured China in 2014. Her experiences include rock, jazz, experimental and contemporary in addition to classical which is her dominant focus.
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Piano
Maureen McReynolds >
Jeanine Noyes >
Marianne Carefoot >
Elizabeth Sherk >

 

 

 

Violin
Liz Johnston >
Jennifer Martyn >
Gretchen Paxson-Abberger >
Bijan Sepanji
Elena Spanu >

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cello & Kodaly
Orsi Lengyel >
Amber Walton-Amar >

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Musicianship &
Marianne Carefoot >

  Toddler Program
Elena Spanu >

 

 

Guitar
Rob MacDonald >

 

Administration
Kathryn Klos

 

Although neither my husband nor I play an instrument with any proficiency, our life
has been immersed in beautiful music. Along with our children we have developed a love and appreciation of music and musicians.
At North York Suzuki this love of children and music was nurtured by the most generous and enthusiastic teachers.

 

D. Bestvater

Teaching is an inspiration because of the variety of people who come into your life, whether they are the children, parents, colleagues, or mentors. I learn lessons from each one, and have absorbed many things from my students about teaching & learning violin.

 

Gretchen Paxson-Abberger,

teacher