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
Zhang Di, Yangqin 張迪 揚琴
Zhang Di is an emerging yangqin virtuoso active in Toronto’s music scene. At seven years old, Di was accepted into the Chinese Nationalities Orchestra Society, and in 2002, studied with yangqin virtuoso Xue Shu in the primary music school of China’s Central University of Nationalities. As an undergraduate student at the Conservatory, Di studied with acclaimed professor Xili Gui, graduating as a top student in 2012. During this time, she developed both as an orchestral musician in Beijing’s Central Orchestra of Ethnic Minorities and as a soloist, winning the top award for dulcimer performance at the first ICAF national instrument contest (Singapore 2010) and the “Hua Yi Award” for best musical performance (Macao 2005).
In Canada, Di is an instructor at Amigu di Macau, and performs with the Toronto YueFang Ensemble, Toronto Chinese Orchestra, and Melody of Bamboo Ensemble. She has performed at Toronto Music Garden, Wilfrid Laurier University, and University of Toronto, among others. Di is also an accomplished percussionist, performing Chinese drumming at The Sony Centre for the Performing Arts and Metro Toronto Convention Centre. In 2014, Di performed yangqin and Chinese drum with the Canadian Sinfonietta at the CBC’s Glenn Gould Studio. Tours have led Di to performances in Vancouver and Portugal.
Currently pursuing her master’s degree in music at York University, Di continues to explore the limits of her instrument. She is especially interested in improvisation, taking part in York’s Global Improvisation Lab and World Music Ensemble. Her improvisation was featured in an album The Path to Contemporary as well as two concerts that presented live transcontinental improvisation and performance.
Di is dedicated to and passionate about the promotion of yangqin music. Di aims to pursue higher education in Canada, while continuing to perform, teach, and share music with different cultures.
Amely Zhou, Erhu 周嘉麗 二胡
與此同時，周嘉麗還傾注了大量的精力和時間在二胡與民族音樂的教育上。其中包括參與組織和設計了葉氏加拿大的中國音樂課程，擔任二胡老師，並且擔任樂隊指揮。參與建立了多倫多中樂團屬下的多倫多青少年中樂團，並擔任指揮。周嘉麗獲不同學校的邀請，舉辦了多次有關中國民族音樂的主題講座，其中包括多倫多大學、約克大學、麥克馬斯特大學以及多倫多天主教學校舉辦的亞裔文化月。她在天籟音樂中心 (Tone Labs Music) 舉辦的二胡系列講座也廣受好評。周嘉麗更榮獲加拿大安大略省藝術協會頒發的“教育藝術家”殊榮，並且獲得安省政府撥款，在多倫多的公立學校中教授二胡以及中樂課程。周嘉麗希望通過這樣的形式讓更多的年青一代，特別是生長在加拿大的孩子們有機會接觸並了解博大精深的中國民族音樂與文化。
Amely inspires others with her open-hearted and emotive playing. As an ingenious and collaborative musician, she has premiered more than 30 new works by composers around the world. She often collaborates with different organizations, including the University of Toronto, Harbourfront Centre, Chinese Cultural Centre, Canadian Music Centre, and Small World Music Centre. As an active and sought-after erhu performer, she has performed with the Toronto Chinese Orchestra, Toronto Yuefang Ensemble, Spire, and Toronto World Music Ensemble. In 2013, Amely won the York University Concerto Competition and performed the erhu concerto, Red Plum Capriccio, with the York University Symphony Orchestra.
As a dedicated and successful music educator, Amely has been awarded the “Artists in Education” grant from the Ontario Arts Council for the 2015-2016 school year, and has delivered Chinese music classes to more than 100 public school students. Currently, she is also the erhu instructor and conductor at the Yip’s Canada Montessori School and Toronto Youth Chinese Orchestra. She has conducted erhu and Chinese music presentations at the University of Toronto, York University, McMaster University, Tone Labs Music, and Toronto Catholic schools. Amely holds a Specialized Honours B.A. degree in Music from York University. In 2015, Amely was selected and accepted into the Shanghai Conservatory of Music summer program with full scholarship. Amely is passionate about and dedicated to the promotion of traditional Chinese music in Canada.
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.