The Orchestra

Music Director, Board & Staff

Michael Newnham, Music Director

Michael Newnham is best known for his intense and inspiring conducting style, based on a deep knowledge of the score and informed by a strong interest in languages, cultures and history. A born communicator, his open and direct contact with musicians and audiences creates performances full of expression and energy.

Along with being Music Director of Orchestra Toronto, he is also Music Director of the Peterborough Symphony Orchestra, and also held that title with Symphony New Brunswick, Camerata NB (2009-2018). Newnham has been instrumental in bringing these ensembles to new artistic heights and raising their profile on the provincial and national level.

Orchestra Toronto Conductor Michael Newnham, photo by Amara Photo Studios

Along with his appearances in his native Canada, Newnham has also appeared at the helm of many orchestras and opera companies throughout Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Austria, Italy and South Korea.

Endowed with a special passion and gift for working with young musicians, Michael founded the Kawartha Youth Orchestra in 2002, and has been a faculty member as conductor and chamber music coach at Music at Port Milford for several years. His involvement in educating young musicians is not limited to Canada. He spent two years as Guest Professor and Orchestra Conductor at Taegu-Hyosung University in South Korea.

Originally from Hamilton, Newnham is a graduate of the conducting class of prof. Bogusław Madey at the Chopin Academy of Music in Warsaw, Poland. He also studied at the Indiana University of Music and at the University of Toronto. A recipient of several awards, including the “Order of Merit” from the Republic of Poland, the “Best Conductor” Award from the East Slovakian State Opera, Newnham was recently granted the Turzanski Award for his services in promoting Polish music and culture in Canada.

Collaboration with Canadian composers has been central to Newnham’s life in music. In the summer of 2005, he was specially honoured to have been chosen by R. Murray Schafer to be the Music Director of an acclaimed production of Schafer’s “Patria: The Enchanted Forest”.

Before taking up the baton, Newnham began his musical career as a trombonist, playing with the Toronto and Kitchener-Waterloo Symphonies, as well as a member of the National Youth Orchestra of Canada.

He currently lives in Peterborough with his wife, cellist Zuzanna, two daughters, and four cats, and is a home barista (not for the cats, though).


Jennie Worden, Executive Director
Jennie Worden

Community music enthusiast, singer, and sometime-flutist Jennie Worden knows first-hand the joy of making excellent Classical music as part of a community of devoted and talented amateur musicians. Read more…

John McGregor, Music Librarian, Stage Manager & Personnel Manager
John McGregor

In 1984 John McGregor took on the position of Principal Trumpet of the East York Symphony Orchestra, now known as Orchestra Toronto. Shortly afterwards he took on the positions of Stage Manager and Librarian and eventually also has become the Personnel Manager. Read more…

Executive Committee

Rory J. Taylor
Executive Committee, Chair
Rory J. Taylor

Rory joined the Board of Directors of Orchestra Toronto in 2016 and has been Treasurer since 2019. He is a South African qualified Chartered Accountant and has a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Cape Town. Read more

Melissa Cavelti, Executive Committee, Vice Chair
Melissa Cavelti, Executive Committee, Vice Chair
Melissa Cavelti, CFA

Melissa Cavelti studied music and business at Northwestern University in Evanston Illinois. She then pursued a career in finance at RBC, as well as at BMO Nesbitt Burns as a V.P. & Managing Director of Private Client Investing. Read more…

Siva Cherla
Executive Committee, Treasurer
Siva Cherla

Siva holds a Masters of Business Administration from Ottawa University, majoring in Finance, and a Masters of Commerce with a major in Accounting from the University of Agra. Siva is also a member of the Toronto Chapter of the Institute of Internal Auditors, Financial Executive Network (FENG) group, and the University of Ottawa M.B.A. Alumni Association. Read more…

Alison Lam
Executive Committee, Secretary
Alison Lam

Alison is currently pursuing her Master of Education at the Ontario Institute of Studies in Education. With an MA from Queen’s University, an MBA from the Kellogg-Schulich Global Executive MBA Program, and three Bachelor degrees, Alison brings a unique perspective to her career, projects and endeavours. Read more


Maziar Heidari

Canadian conductor, composer, educator and pianist Maziar Heidari led a flourishing musical career in Iran for over a decade before moving to Toronto in 2009. Maziar obtained a MMus in Conducting from the University of Toronto and has since held several conducting positions, including with Orchestra Toronto, Hart House Orchestra, and the University of Toronto Symphony Orchestra.  Read more…

Maziar Heidari, Board Member
Pat Irwin

Education includes an honours BA from the University of Toronto, Associate of the Institute of Canadian Bankers (AICB), Certified Senior Advisor (CSA/CPCA) designation, and certificate in mediation from the Faculty of Law, University of Windsor. Read more…

Pat Irwin, Board Member
Jennifer Lee

Over her 20 years in corporate communications, Jennifer has become an expert strategic communicator, specializing in media relations, investor relations, thought leadership, transactions and issues management. Read more…

Jennifer Lee, Board Member
Grace Morrison

Grace has a Master’s degree in French and Italian Literature from the University of Glasgow, where she studied at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music/Drama.

As a teacher and administrator she was a chair of the French Immersion Program in Toronto. Read more…

Grace Morrison, Board Member
Liz Petzold

With a BA, BFA and MMus degree from U of T in Music Technology and Digital Media, as well as an extensive executive leadership background in the IT business and publishing graphic arts worlds, Elizabeth hopes to offer her passion for music and knowledge of business, marketing and operational strategy to and for the enrichment of Orchestra Toronto’s successes. Read more…

Taya Rosenberg

Taya Rosenberg holds a Bachelor of Music and Bachelor of Education from the University of Toronto. She majored in modern and baroque flute; she has studied with Dianne Aitken (RCM), Camille Watts (TSO), and Alison Melville (Toronto Consort). During her studies, Taya had a particular interest in choral and orchestral conducting and participated in numerous masterclasses in Europe and North America. Read more…

Liz Petzold, Board Member
Taya Rosenberg, Board Member

Ludmila Soltes

Musicians Committee

Grace Morrison, Chair
Melissa Cavelti
Esther Choi
Maziar Heidari
Jaye Marsh

The Orchestra

The Musicians

Orchestra Members 2021-2022 Violin ICorey Gemmell (CM)Michele ClemoSharyn GoldbergYani HausmanMichael LeeGina MaenhautGrace MorrisonJulia ParrottaKuan Frank ...

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