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The 2022 Gairloch Developments Apprentice Conductors

Orchestra Toronto is excited to welcome three up-and-coming conductors to the OT podium for our remaining concert cycles in 2022. The Gairloch Developments Apprentice conductors are promising emerging conductors who work closely with Music Director Michael Newnham and the orchestra for one concert cycle, to hone their skills and gain experience conducting a full-sized orchestra.

Suzanne Yeo

Toronto-based conductor and pianist Suzanne Yeo has performed in North America, Europe and Asia, to much praise for the intensity and sensitivity of her interpretations.

She first made her public début as an orchestral conductor in Jan Harrington’s choral/orchestral conducting masterclass at the Princeton Festival, and was also the assistant conductor at the University of Toronto-affiliated Hart House Chorus from 2015-2017. Most recently, she was the assistant conductor on Toronto City Opera’s 2021 production of Verdi’s Nabucco, for which she conducted the second performance in Markham, and continues to study conducting with David Bowser.

With her long-standing affinity for opera and Lieder, Suzanne has also been active as a collaborative pianist and vocal coach since obtaining her M. Mus. in piano performance from the University of Toronto. She was a Vocal Collaborative Fellow and répétiteur at the Miami Music Festival in 2019, and is also one of the co-founders (and resident pianist) of Opera Sustenida, an opera collective noted for its wittily modern takes on the standard repertoire.

Suzanne will be joining Orchestra Toronto for our February 2022 concert cycle, Carmen!.

Émile Grou

Emile Grou is a promising young conductor who is characterized by his energy, his sensitivity, and his public speaking skills. Born in 1997, he grew up in Montreal and studied the piano and different string instruments, before focusing on the double bass. It is during his high school years that he fell in love with the symphonic repertoire. 

In 2017, Emile undertook a Bachelor’s degree in Instrumental Composition at the University of Montreal. In addition to his studies in composition, he started studying conducting in 2018 with maestro Dina Gilbert.

During his undergraduate years, he cofounded OSÉUM—acronym for University of Montreal Student Symphony Orchestra—an orchestra of non-music-performance students from across the campus, and built a unified ensemble through his thoughtful and collaborative approach. He was the artistic and musical director of the ensemble, programming and conducting concerts, in addition to leading the weekly rehearsals. Emile was appreciated for his captivating and useful animations in between pieces during the concerts. He also conducted choirs, notably performing his own composition in 2019 with the University of Montreal SATB Choir. 

Over the past years, Emile has participated in various masterclasses, with Gilles Auger and the Lévis Symphony Orchestra, with maestro Yoav Talmi at Domaine Forget in 2019 and most recently with maestro Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser at the University of Toronto. He is now completing a Master of Music degree in Orchestral Conducting at the University of Toronto. There, he has the chance to work every week with maestro Uri Mayer.

Emile will join Orchestra Toronto for the Brahms and the Raums concert cycle.

Sydney Chiu

Sydney Chiu recently completed her Bachelors of Music (Music Education) at the University of Toronto. She studied classical saxophone under the direction of Dr. Wallace Halladay and conducting with Dr. Gillian Mackay, Dr. Jeff Reynolds, and Dr. Uri Mayer. At the University, Sydney has been a member of the Wind Symphony, Wind Ensemble, and soloists Winners of the 2018-19 Winds Concerto Competition, Karisyg Saxophone Quartet. 

Sydney is passionate about music education and enjoys learning from different professionals and colleagues. She has participated in several conducting workshops including the York/OBA Wind Conductor’s Symposium, UofT Wind Conducting Symposium, and the Arizona State University Wind Conducting Workshop. Sydney was also chosen as a 2020 Dennis Wick Conducting Fellow.

In 2018, Sydney joined the primary reserve force as a saxophonist with the Band of the Ceremonial Guard (CG) in Ottawa. Currently, she is a member of the Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada Band in Toronto where she plays the saxophone and occasionally conducts. 

During her spare time, Sydney enjoys trying new vegan recipes as well as playing with her bunnies, Mimi and Oatie.

Sydney will join Orchestra Toronto for the final concert cycle of our 2021-22 season, our May 29 performance, The Planets.

The 2022 Apprentice Conductor Programme is generously sponsored by Gairloch Developments.

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