Education, Outreach & Special Projects

Education and outreach are key parts of the Guitar Society of Toronto’s mandate.  We are committed to enriching Toronto’s cultural life and building awareness of classical music and classical guitar.  We do this by providing performance opportunities for students and aspiring professionals, helping outstanding young guitarists pursue their musical development, creating a meeting place for guitar aficionados, organizing free concerts for schools and hospitals, and giving free concert tickets to deserving people who couldn’t otherwise attend.

Investment in Students

The Guitar Society supports learning through classical music and classical guitar in a variety of ways as follows:

Masterclasses

The Guitar Society supports the development of up-and-coming guitarists by sponsoring masterclasses at the University of Toronto for university level students.

Kenneth G. Mills Foundation – Performance Outreach Residency

We are particularly excited by our Performance Outreach Programme which funds guitar concerts in local schools and other venues such as hospitals and retirement homes. This programme is generously sponsored by the Kenneth G. Mills Foundation.

These concerts benefit both performer and students, as they provide valuable performance experience to aspiring professional guitarists, and give young audiences a taste of live classical music played on guitar. Concerts are presented free of charge to the school, and the performer is paid a modest fee.

If you would like to be considered as a performer for this programme, or know of an organization which would benefit from a concert, please contact the coordinator at  info@guitarsocietyoftoronto.com.

Commission

The Guitar Society of Toronto has commissioned a work from Dr. Daniel Mehdizadeh to be performed by Naoko Tsujita(marimba) and Daniel Ramjatta(guitar).  It will be premiered at the  21st Century Guitar Conference in Indiana in 2022.

Composer:  Dr. Daniel Mehdizadeh; Performers: Daniel Ramjattan & Naoko Tsujita

About the composer and performers…

Composer Dr. Daniel Mehdizadeh (DMA, University of Toronto) is currently based in the Greater Toronto Area and is the Composer-in-Residence for the Scarborough Philharmonic Orchestra and East Chamber Music. He has been involved in both national and international festival series. He is regularly commissioned and holds numerous performances in Europe and North America. His works have had global exposure and have been broadcasted across Canada and the US including appearance as guest composer on CBC Radio. Mehdizadeh has also partnered with the Scarborough Philharmonic Orchestra and together kickstarted a new podcast series, SPOGreatMusic, during the pandemic, helping develop new community partnerships including Scarborough Arts, FabCollab, Stratford Symphony Orchestra, the Canadian Music Centre, Canadian Sinfonietta, the Brantford Symphony Orchestra, and the Cathedral Bluffs Symphony Orchestra.

Mehdizadeh’s music is celebrated for its intricacies, unpredictability, and haunting works. His musical language is perceived as complex, yet engaging, bringing together a hybrid of musical expression, featuring his own: “Mehdizadeh Modes.”

danielmehdizadeh.com

Daniel Ramjattan is rapidly emerging as an ambassador for the classical guitar in Canada, and is becoming increasingly sought-after as a performance coach and teacher. He was recently appointed as a guitar instructor at Wilfrid Laurier University’s Faculty of Music as of September 2020.

Past performances have taken him to Vienna, Austria, Italy, and various locations across Canada, the United States, and Japan.  He has performed in concert with many world-renowned musicians, including Vittorio and Duccio Ceccanti, Gary Kulesha, Kristina Szabo, Raphael Weinroth-Browne, and many others. He has performed in festivals and venues such as the Alte Schmiede Kunst Verein, Vienna, the Livorno Music Festival, Ottawa Chamberfest, Stratford’s Inner Chamber, and Toronto Contemporary Music Lab.

Daniel has received awards for his playing on the provincial, national, and international levels, placing second in the FCMF National Music Competition, receiving second place prize in the National level of the Canadian Music Competition and First Prize in the Concours de Guitare Outaouais-Gatineau. He also received the Domaine Forget International Music Academy guitar award in 2013 as well as the first prize in the Open Level of the Ontario Music Festivals Association Provincial Guitar competition in both 2014 and 2016.  He also placed as a finalist in the Hamilton International Guitar Competition and the Montreal International Guitar Competition in the past.

He has received lessons and masterclasses from world-renowned guitarists such as Denis Azabagic, Jorge Caballero, Pavel Steidl, Sergio Assad, Lorenzo Micheli, Pepe Romero, Fabio Zanon, Bruce Holzman, Remi Boucher, Patrick Roux, and Jerome Ducharme. He also received the Nalini Perera Scholarship from the University of Ottawa, which permitted him to study with Lorenzo Micheli in Austria and Italy in Summer 2017.

Daniel has a particular love for new music and the music of new composers, and recently premiered a brand new set of six works for guitar and marimba at the Alte Schmiede Kunstverein, in Vienna, Austria, with percussionist Naoko Tsujita in January 2018. In the past, he has premiered works by Daniel Mehdizadeh, Raphael Weinroth-Browne, Taiwo Adegoke, John Armstrong, Craig Visser, Stephanie Orlando and several others.

Daniel holds a Master’s degree and a Bachelor of Music Degree in classical guitar performance from the University of Ottawa, where he studied with the renowned composer-performer Patrick Roux. He also studied with world-renowned pedagogue Bruce Holzman in Tallahassee, Florida for a semester in Fall 2014.

Daniel is currently pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts Degree at the University of Toronto with Dr. Jeffrey McFadden, where he is studying music performance anxiety (stage fright) for his dissertation. He often shares the insights from his research with students, and is active as a performance coach for musicians who suffer with severe music performance anxiety.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Daniel founded “Concerts for the End of Time”, a livestream concert platform on Twitch that features high level guitarists and musicians from all over the world every other Saturday, at twitch.tv/concertsfortheendoftime

Daniel performs on a 2010 left-handed seven-string Kolya Panhuyzen guitar.

Naoko Tsujita is a performer-composer whose diverse career has led her to give performances in cities in Canada, the US, Europe, and Japan. As a marimba soloist, she has won top prizes in several competitions, including the University of Toronto Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition and the South Japan Music Competition. Her ‘Rosewood Duo’ (marimba and guitar) made their debut in Vienna, Austria in 2018 at the contemporary music venue called Alte Schmiede Kunstverein for premiering six works by emerging composers in Vienna. As a percussionist, she has worked with a variety of musicians in many styles and played in the albums for JUNO awarded artists including Derek Chark and Donné Roberts.

Recently, her arrangement “Itsuki Lullaby” for Carillon won the first place at the 2020 Sally Slade Warner Arrangements & Transcriptions Competition. Her composition for Carillon: “Nocturne Dance,” received a Special Jury Mention at the Perpignan Carillon Composition Competition in 2019 which was published by the American Carillon Music Editions in May, 2019. And her composition: “Bell Chant,” also received Honourable Mention at the Iowa State Carillon Composition Competition 2019.

She completed a Master’s Degree in Music from the University of Toronto, a Bachelor’s Degree in Music in Percussion Performance from Acadia University, and a diploma in music at the Oita Prefectural College of Arts and Culture in Japan.

naokomusic.com

Student Recital Series

The Society holds up to four student recitals each year.  This year’s events will resume when possible.  The Guitar Society of Toronto welcomes all amateur guitarists in the GTA to participate in these recitals which are presented free of charge for both performers and audience members.

If you or a student would like to participate in one of our recitals please send an email to info@guitarsocietyoftoronto.com.

Urban Outreach

The Guitar Society of Toronto provides free tickets to each of its International Performing Artist Concerts so that people who could not normally attend classical music concerts can enjoy a taste of the classical guitar. Please contact info@guitarsocietyoftoronto.com.

Free Noon Hour Concerts At St. Andrew’s

In cooperation with Daniel Bickle, the music director of St. Andrew’s, this new initiative began during the 2019-20 season. These noon-time classical music performances take place Fridays from September to April; the Guitar Society of Toronto sponsors three concerts given by professional guitarists.  St. Andrew’s Church, King and Simcoe Sts. in downtown Toronto.  Sign up to our email list to receive notifications.

Community Guitar Orchestra – See Guitar Orchestra Page >

Café Concerts – See Membership / Subscription Page >