The Toronto Chinese Orchestra’s Chamber Players (TCO-CP) form TCO’s professional core. Members of the Chamber Players have extensive musical training and are established artists and teachers in the community. Their experience as solo, ensemble, and orchestral musicians allow them to perform the most demanding repertoire at the highest levels. Together, musicians of the Chamber Players perform Traditional Chinese music as well as contemporary works by Canadian and international composers. They promote new music for traditional Chinese instruments through public performances, workshops, and demonstrations, both at home in Toronto and abroad.
As an integral part of the Toronto Chinese Orchestra, the Chamber Players enjoy multiple national and international connections, connections that have led to TCO collaborations with the Silk and Bamboo Festival in Vancouver (April 2017) and the Edmonton Chinese Philharmonic (October 2016), as well as partnerships and performances in Taiwan and Hong Kong. Future plans for the TCO Chamber Players include a return to Vancouver to collaborate with the Sound of Dragon Festival in April 2018.
The Chamber Players is led by Patty Chan, who concurrently serves as concertmaster of the TCO and is active as a freelance erhu performer and teacher. An authority on the erhu, Chan published the first English-language text, Bridging the Gap, in 2011, and has been on faculty at York and Carleton Universities. Chan’s passion for new Canadian works led her to form the Dim Sum Ensemble, a professional Chinese instrument ensemble dedicated to pioneering Canadian Chinese music.
Lina Cao, Guzheng 曹丽娜 古箏
Lina Cao is a young guzheng musician and a member of the Guzheng Society of Chinese Musicians Association. Having learned guzheng since she was 5 years old, in 2008 Lina was accepted to the Nanjing University of the Arts as an “excellent student,” where she studied with Professor Aihua Yan and Associate Professor Jie Ren. From 2011, Lina pursued further studies with Professor Wang Wei from the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, earning a master’s degree there in 2016.
Lina has received popular acclaim throughout China both as a soloist and a chamber musician. She has been invited to multiple artistic exchanges in Germany, France, Belgium, Austria, Japan and Singapore, and had the opportunity to perform for world leaders during important events such as the “World Urban Forum” and the “Fifth EU-China Business Summit.” Invited in 2011 to the Sino-Japanese Friendship Concert, Lina was awarded an international gratitude certificate for “The Cause of World Peace.” In 2015, Lina won praise when she played the Chinese guzheng concerto “Qinhuai Capriccio” with Jiangsu Nationalities Orchestra; the performance was recorded live by The WFMT Radio the Network website from Chicago.
As a chamber musician, Lina premiered new works such as Moyu, Yixiangjun, Shungan, and Arirang Partita. Particularly, Lina’s Moyu Guzheng Group was the first guzheng philharmonic society to win two authoritative awards: the highest music award “The Golden Bell Awards” and top prize of Chinese Ministry of Culture “Wenhua Award”.
In addition to her work as a performer, Lina has released several papers in Chinese national journals such as “Yunshangsu Perfect Integration of Guzheng Technique and Emotion,” “Analysis of Guzheng Creation and Theory Taking Dark Angel as an Example,” “Music Performance Analysis of Polyphonic Guzheng,” all of which are collected in the China National Knowledge Internet.
曹丽娜曾在国内多个城市举办个人古筝独奏音乐会以及室内乐音乐会，并受到广泛好评。曾受邀出访德、法、比、奥、日、新等国进行艺术交流，并在国内外重要活动“世界城市论坛”、 “第五届中欧工商峰会”中为各国领导人演奏。 2011年受邀参加中日友好音乐会，并获“世界和平事业向上”国际感谢状。2015年与江苏省民族乐团演奏古筝协奏曲《秦淮随想》获一致好评，并由芝加哥The WFMT Radio Network网站对演出进行全场录播。
Patty Chan, Erhu 陳慧敏 二胡
Kenny Kwan, Percussion 關文軒
Kenny Kwan is currently a Masters student at York University studying composition, with a focus on the concept of silence. He completed his undergraduate degree at Wilfrid Laurier university in 2016, specializing in contemporary composition-improvisation on the piano.
With an interest in improvisation and traditional Chinese instruments, Kenny was a finalist in NUMUS’s Student Curator Contest proposing an East-West improvisational concert where musicians from both cultures can collaborate and explore new possibilities. He hopes to develop an environment in Canada that would nurture these two scenes and potentially open them into a wider range of audiences in the future. However, Kenny is currently focused on exploring how the concept of silence fluctuates in relation to the environment in which the listener is expecting to perceive sound.
Outside of music, Kenny enjoys reading, helping others, and daydreaming. 🙂
Matthew Poon, Conductor 潘勉晞 指揮
Wendy Zhou, Pipa 周晚濛 琵琶
周晚濛五歲開始學習琵琶。兩年後，她參加了中國蘇州少年琵琶大賽並獲得一致好評。在2001年隨父母移居加拿大後，她開始是師從著名琵琶演奏家劉桂蓮女士繼續學習。2002年，晚濛參加了卑詩省中樂團並在今後幾年內成為了樂團彈撥樂首席。這段時間，她屢次在Kiwanis音樂節上獲獎。2005年，她在中國民族樂器組獲得S.K. Lee獎學金並且在與西洋樂器同臺競技的Kiwanis Gala音樂會上獲得第三名的好成績。她於2007年完成了中國中央音樂學院演奏級的考核並以她出色的演奏能力和極具天賦的藝術意識受到考官的褒獎。2010年，晚濛來到安省就讀於麥克馬斯特大學，自那時起，她參與合作創立了旋越並且開始通過為旋越重編曲及創作新曲的方式來試探著打破東西方音樂的界限。
Wendy has displayed remarkable musicianship and a disciplined attitude since a very young age. She began learning the pipa at the age of five, and after her immigration to Canada in 2001, Wendy was honoured to have been accepted by world-renowned pipa virtuoso, Professor Guilian Liu, to be her personal student for over nine years. In 2007, when Wendy was still a high school student, she had already achieved, with distinction, the highest performance level in the Chinese Conservatory of Music Exam for pipa.
Wendy’s musical sense and articulation received high praise from local judges as well as abroad. Before her 18th birthday, she had already won over 20 awards with her outstanding pipa performances. These include the S.K. Lee Scholarship for being the top performer across all Chinese instruments at the Vancouver Kiwanis Music Festival, third place in the Kiwanis Gala Concert where she competed with both western and eastern instrumental finalists, as well as a province-wide award at the Youth Pipa Competition in Suzhou, China.
Wendy joined the B.C. Chinese Orchestra in 2002, where she served as the section leader. In 2010, after moving to Toronto, she joined the Toronto Chinese Orchestra. In the same year, she co-established the fusion band, Spire, and began to explore the boundary of eastern and western music through rearranging and composing multiple pieces for the group. Wendy currently also teaches pipa privately and at the Music of May music store.
Bobby Ho, Percussion 何松聲
Bobby was first introduced to the drum kit in 2012, and eventually became obsessed with drumming when he began forming his own bands and participating in extra-curricular music ensembles. Since then he decided to supplement his musical horizon by composing and arranging music for percussion ensembles, orchestras, choirs, symphonic bands, and his personal rock bands. Although he has been attending Chinese music concerts since he was a child, Bobby did not become actively involved in Chinese music until 2012. That year he joined the Apex Martial Arts Academy in Toronto to learn wushu and sanshou, not knowing that this is where his journey as a Chinese percussionist would begin. The martial arts school had a drumming ensemble called the Apex Drumming Team, a group of youth that specialized in lion dance drumming.
After witnessing the ferocity of the drumming team through shared community performances with the TCO Bobby was invited to join the TCO not as a performer, but as a composer. He debuted his first composition for Chinese drums, Legend of Jade Dragon, in 2013 with the TCO percussion ensemble. Since then, he has been performing with the TCO and has been appointed the section principal for their percussion section. Bobby’s musical interests have shifted from the Western drum kit to Chinese orchestral and percussion music. He has arranged collaborations between the TCO and the Apex Drumming Team to perform his second composition, Wild Game, and renowned Chinese percussion songs, such as Flying Dragon Leaping Tiger, and Emperor Qin Musters Army. Bobby was invited to Taiwan as a soloist to collaborate with the Taoyuan Chinese Orchestra in the Taoyuan Chinese Music Festival in the summer of 2018.
Despite his obsession with music, Bobby earned his master’s degree in Professional Education, specializing in Applied Behaviour Analysis. In addition to teaching drums part-time, his professional life involves working with individuals diagnosed with autism as a behaviour therapist. Occasionally, these two worlds meet and Bobby welcomes children with autism who want to learn drums.