Orchestra Toronto is excited to announce the finalists for the 2020 Concerto Competition for the Marta Hidy Prize for Cello, from a talented field of competitors.

Finalists will perform in front of our jury at the Concerto Competition Finals on Saturday, March 28, 2020, 11:30 a.m. –  4:00 p.m. at Heliconian Hall, 35 Hazleton Ave., Toronto. To attend the finals, please register via EventBrite.

Meet our Finalists

Christopher Chan

Christopher Josin Chan is currently a fourth year student in Cello Performance at the University of Toronto under full-tuition scholarship. He is now studying with one of Canada’s most celebrated musicians, Prof. Shauna Rolston Shaw and has been awarded with several in-course scholarships.

Christopher graduated with the Bob and Lorna Richardson Music Scholarship from the Arts Unionville Music program at Unionville High School in 2016. He began piano studies at the age of 6 with his mother and started pursuing cello under Mr. Guocheng Xia at the age of 12. In less than 6 years, he has completed ARCT Cello with First Class Honours with Distinction.

Christopher has won numerous competitions such as Candian Music Competition, University of Toronto’s Felix Galimir Chamber Music Award, University of Toronto Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition and was awarded the gold medal from the Royal Conservatory of Music.

In past summers, Christopher has attended various international summer music festivals including Orford Musique Festival, Le Domaine Forget Music Festival, and Festival del Lago studying under world renowned professors, chamber groups and cellists such as Richard Aaron, Lluis Claret, the Gryphon Trio and many more.

Throughout his university studies, Christopher was selected to participate in masterclasses with Lawrence Lesser, St. Lawrence String Quartet, and the Rolston String Quartet. He was also one of three students who was selected by the University of Toronto to be a part of the Pordenone Silent Film Festival in Italy playing with the Conservatorio di Musica Giuseppe Tartini. In 2017, Christopher made his solo debut at Carnegie Hall in the Weill Recital Hall.

Christopher is an alumnus of the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra and the Canadian Sinfonietta Youth Orchestra and is currently one of the principal cellists of the University of Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Last year, he won the University of Toronto Concerto Competition and will be playing the Shostakovich Cello Concerto No.1 with the University of Toronto Symphony Orchestra in February. Christopher plays on a modern cello made by David Wiebe, generously loaned by Shauna Rolston Shaw.

Emma Fisher

Born in Toronto, Canada, Emma Fisher (b.1998) was introduced to the cello at the age of three. Coming from a musical family, she has been surrounded by the sounds of strings her whole life. Her solo concerto debut was in 2010, performing the Haydn Cello Concerto in C Major under the baton of the late Jacques Israelievitch with the Canadian Sinfonietta.

Ms. Fisher has received numerous awards and scholarships, including first prize at the 2015 Ontario Music Festivals Association. In July 2015, she was invited to compete in the VI International David Popper Cello Competition in Budapest and Várpalota. In April 2018, she performed the cello solo of Richard Strauss’ tone poem Don Quixote with the Hart House Orchestra. Ms. Fisher’s chamber music career has taken her to halls such as the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, and Koerner Hall at the Royal Conservatory of Music. Ms. Fisher is the cellist of the Formare Piano Quartet which was founded at the Glenn Gould School in 2018. In their first year of playing together, the Formare Quartet was awarded Second Prize in the 2019 Glenn Gould School Chamber Music Competition performing Gabriel Fauré’s Piano Quartet No. 1 in C Minor, Opus. 15.

Ms. Fisher is an avid lover of contemporary music. During the summer of 2019, Ms. Fisher was selected to play in a piano trio and premier a Canadian work, In Lucem Omnia Vana by composer, Daniel Gardner at the Tuckamore Festival in St. Johns, Newfoundland. In January 2020, Ms. Fisher participated in a Canadian premier of Zakir Hussein’s Tabla Concerto, Peshkar. Currently, the Formare Quartet is working on a commissioned piece for piano quartet by their pianist, Godwin Friesen to perform in Spring of 2020. In addition to performing, Ms. Fisher has a strong interest in teaching. She recently earned credentials as a Suzuki cello teacher from the Chicago Suzuki Institute under the guidance of Barbara Wampner. Emma’s parents, Julian and Mary Fisher are founders of the Toronto School for Strings, where she teaches group class and private lessons. Ms. Fisher studied in the Phil and Eli Taylor Academy at the Royal Conservatory of Music and is currently under the guidance of Hans Jørgen Jensen and Andrés Díaz. Ms. Fisher has taken part in summer music festivals such as The Banff Centre, Tuckamore Festival and Indiana University Summer String Academy where she worked closely with Susan Moses and Csaba Onczay. She has also worked with and played in masterclasses for David Geringas, Ralph Kirshbaum, Alisa Weilerstein and Kee-Hyun Kim of the Parker Quartet. Emma plays on an unnamed Caussin-school, French cello made in 1762.

Dale Jeong

Dale Jeong is a 17 year-old cellist in his 6th year at The Phil and Eli Taylor Performance Academy for Young Artists. He is a full scholarship student at the Academy, currently in the studio of David Hetherington.  Dale has participated in numerous competitions, winning multiple awards with Kiwanis Music Festival and Canadian Music Competition. 1 st prizes include the Ontario Music Festival Association’s 2017 and 2019 Provincial Finals Competition and the 2019 Federation of Canadian Music Festivals’ National Music Festival.  He was the Grand Prize winner of the Oakville Chamber Orchestra Concerto Competition, performing the Saint-Saëns Cello Concerto No.1 with the orchestra in May, 2018. A member of the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra (TSYO) from 2015 to 2018, Dale served as principal cello for multiple seasons. At the age of 14, he became a winner of the 2016/2017 TSYO Concerto Competition, subsequently performing as soloist with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra at Roy Thompson Hall in December, 2017. During the summer, Dale enjoys working with new chamber groups at festivals such as Domaine Forget Chamber Music Session, New England Conservatory’s Morningside Music Bridge and Pinchas Zukerman’s Young Artists Program at the National Arts Centre. He has collaborated with top young artists in Canada as well as esteemed professionals such as Steven Dann and Stephanie Gonley. Passionate about sharing music, Dale regularly performs for the public in schools and churches. In 2018 he joined the Toronto-region Back to BACH Project, a non-profit organization to inspire and encourage children to learn musical instruments and to instill a love of music in them. Dale’s past cello teachers include Audrey Nodwell at Vancouver Academy of Music and Susan Gagnon The Royal Conservatory in Toronto. He has also worked with the great pedagogues Hans Jørgen Jensen, Clara Kim, Na Mula, Laurence Lesser, and Clive Greensmith and participated in masterclasses with Thomas Wiebe, Richard Lester, Paul Katz, Wei Yu, and Zvi Plesser. Dale currently plays on an award-winning cello made by Guy Harrison.

David Liam Roberts

Winner of the 1st Prize and Grand Award at the 2018 National Music Festival, David Liam Roberts is establishing himself as one of the most exciting Canadian cellists of his generation. Named one of Canada’s “30 Hot Classical Musicians under 30” by CBC in 2019, David Liam is known for his extraordinary technique and sincerely communicative performances. In 2018, David Liam was the youngest-ever finalist and recipient of the 2nd Prize at the WMC of Winnipeg’s 2018 Doris McLellan Competition, after a performance of Dvorak’s B minor Cello Concerto as soloist with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. After winning the grand prize of the Winnipeg Music Festival on his fourteenth birthday, the Winnipeg Free Press praised him as “prodigiously gifted… displaying an artistic sensibility well beyond his tender age”.

Upcoming engagements include an appearance as soloist with the New Brunswick Youth Orchestra in March 2020, performing the Schumann Cello Concerto. The 2020-21 season will include a piano trio recital engagement in the Women’s Musical Club of Winnipeg’s 2020-2021 concert season with pianist Paul Williamson and violinist Gregory Lewis.

Originally from Winnipeg, the 19-year-old cellist now studies with Hans Jørgen Jensen and Andrés Díaz at the Glenn Gould School (GGS) of the Royal Conservatory of Music, where he holds the Chisholm full scholarship. In his first year at the GGS, his piano trio won 3rd place in the GGS Chamber Competition, just two months after becoming a group. During the 2017-18 season, he was a frequent substitute cellist for the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. This past summer, he toured Canada and Spain as co-principal cellist with the National Youth Orchestra of Canada (NYOC) and was the recipient of the 2019 Gail Asper Foundation $5,000 Award of Excellence. In November 2019, he performed as co-principal cellist of an orchestra comprised of selected members of the European Union Youth Orchestra and NYOC in a special collaboration tour.

In the summer of 2018, he was one of only two Canadian cellists participating in the international Morningside Music Bridge program and festival in Warsaw, Poland. He has had lessons and masterclasses with many of the world’s foremost cello pedagogues, including Colin Carr, Laurence Lesser, Zvi Plesser, John Kadz, Wei Yu, Ariel Barnes, Paul Katz and Tian Bonian. He has attended Morningside Music Bridge for four summers and the Meadowmount School of Music during the summer of 2016. While in Winnipeg, he was a student of Yuri Hooker for eight years. David Liam plays a cello that was made for him in 2017 by Garth Lee.

Michael Song

Praised by Ronald Leonard as having “prodigious technique, a beautiful sound”, and “something special to say”, cellist Michael Song’s career has recently led him to perform in recital at significant venues including Koerner Hall, Carnegie Hall, and Harris Hall at the Aspen Music Festival. Michael’s upcoming appearances include invitations to partake in celebrations hosted by the American Beethoven Society and the Beethoven Center for Beethoven’s 250th anniversary season. In 2019, Michael received a unique Merit Fellowship at the Aspen Music Festival and School and was invited to participate in the Concours OSM in Montreal as a semifinalist and has just been invited to the Bader and Overton Cello Competition as a semifinalist. Michael currently studies with Hans Jørgen Jensen and Andrés Díaz at the Glenn Gould School; accepted to the Curtis Institute of Music at seventeen, Michael is also an alumnus of the Colburn School where he served as principal cellist of the Colburn Virtuosi from 2017-18. At Colburn, he studied with Clive Greensmith, Hans Jensen, Ronald Leonard, and Arnold Steinhardt. Michael has studied more briefly with Lynn Harrell, Wolfgang Emanuel Schmidt, Richard Aaron, Laurence Lesser, Mark Kosower, Carter Brey, Peter Wiley, and Danjulo Ishizaka. Michael performs on a rare cello made in 1723 by Domenico Montagnana and a bow by Jean Pierre Marie Persoit, both made available through generous sponsors.