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The 2022-23 OT Apprentice Conductors

Orchestra Toronto is excited to welcome five up-and-coming conductors to the OT podium for our 2022-23 season. The Orchestra Toronto 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.

Evgenii Samarov

“Evgenii is endowed with a very sensitive musicality, an innate sense of gesture and rhythm. He already has great experience working with professional orchestras. Evgenii is committed to excellence, is an assiduous learner, and has a great personality. Given all his human, musical, and conducting abilities, I am convinced that he has a very bright future.”

– Neeme Järvi
Head shot of Evgenii Samarov.
Evgenii Samarov

Russian-Canadian conductor Evgenii Sakmarov has held such positions as assistant conductor to Maestro Boris Brott of the Orchestra Classical of Montreal (OCM) and principal conductor of the Youth Symphony Orchestra of the Regional Charitable Foundation of the Republic of Tatarstan, “Sforzando”.

Evgenii graduated from the University of Montreal as a symphony conductor in the doctoral program under the tutelage of professors Jean-Francois Rivest and Paolo Bellomia. Last autumn he successfully defended his doctoral thesis in French. In June 2021 Evgenii Sakmarov received “Bourse d’études supérieures” from the Faculty of Music of the “Université de Montréal” for academic excellence. This spring he successfully qualified for the Evgenii Svetlanov International Conducting Competition in Monaco with the Monte Carlo Symphony Philharmonic Orchestra, and was selected and included in the top 18 among 330 participants.

From an early age Evgenii possessed leadership qualities and his love for symphonic music led him to make the decision to study conducting after graduating from the College of Music. At the age of 18 he moved to Kazan, the capital of Tatarstan, where he graduated from the Kazan State Conservatory as conductor.

He made his debut with the Tatarstan National Symphony Orchestra, then new invitations followed, whereby Evgenii conducted several concert programs during the 2016-2017 season, working closely with Principal Conducto, Alexander Sladkovsky.

From 2016 to 2019 Evgenii Sakmarov was the Principal Conductor of the Youth Symphony Orchestra of the Regional Charitable Foundation of the Republic of Tatarstan, “Sforzando”. During these years he has considerably increased the professional level and status of the orchestra, and established a greatreputation in the musical and social life of the Republic of Tatarstan.

Only during Evgenii’s last years of work with the orchestra, more than 80 concerts were performed,including a guest performance at the Tchaikovsky Concert Hall in Moscow. According to critics, the orchestra conducted by Evgenii Sakmarov “sounded new, fresh and refined”.

During Evgenii’s leadership as principal conductor, the Youth Symphony Orchestra of Tatarstan presented many symphonic programs, as well as opera productions, including Rachmaninov’s Aleko, Mozart’s Bastien and Bastienne, Menotti’s The Telephone, Anisimov’s Viy, Abdullina’s Berenika and 1+6, Handel’S Acis and Galatea, Piazolla’s María de Buenos Aires, Fried’s The Diary of Anne Frank,and others. In 2018, Fried’s opera The Diary of Anne Frank received the Tantana (Triumph) Award – one of the most prestigious awards in the musical world of Tatarstan.

Evgenii Sakmarov participated in major national and international projects and festivals, including performances at the Minbar Muslim Film Festival, Night of Museums at the Kazan Kremlin, Music Around Us, Parks and Squares, The Kremlin Evenings, Concert for the Victory Day in the Kazan Kremlin, concert programs in honour of the Year of Japan in Russia, performances at the Days of Street Arts Open Air festival, “étoiles montantes”, Sergei Bezrukov’s project “The Little Prince”, recording of Airat Ichmouratov’s music on the “CHANDOS” label, and many others.

He has also conducted such orchestras as the Academic Symphony Orchestra of the Moscow Philharmonic (Principal Conductor Yuri Simonov), the Chamber Orchestra of the Kostroma Philharmonic, the symphony orchestras of the Kazan Conservatory and the University of Montreal (Canada), the National Symphony Orchestra of Tatarstan, the Orchestra classic of Montreal, the Monte Carlo Sympony Philharmonic Orchestra (Principal Conductor Kazuki Yamada) and others.

Evgenii is listed in Volume III of the Book of Philanthropists of the Republican Foundation for Restoration of Monuments of History and Culture of the Republic of Tatarstan. He has also studied and taken part in masterclasses with celebrated conductors such as Neeme Järvi, Rafael Payare, Jukka-Pekka Saraste, Yuri Simonov, Adrian McDonnell, Günther Stegmüller, Jean- François Rivest, Paolo Bellomia among others.

Evgenii will join Orchestra Toronto for Symphony Pathétique, October 23, 2022.

Lauren Yeomans

Toronto-native Lauren Yeomans is a conductor, flautist and arranger providing bold and robust interpretations to the worlds of solo, chamber and orchestral music. She is Assistant Conductor of Summerhill Orchestra and has guest/cover conducted the Etobicoke Philharmonic Orchestra where she is also Principal Flute. She recently founded the Lytton Park Chamber Orchestra as Music Director which had its debut concert last July. She is also co-founder and flautist of the Quintagious! wind quintet where she has arranged a number of works for the ensemble including Ravel’s Ma Mere L’Oye, Raymond Scott’s Powerhouse and Steinman’s Total Eclipse of the Heart.

Ms. Yeomans recently attended the Pacific Northwest Conducting Institute with Diane Wittry and Anna Edwards and counts Uri Mayer among her mentors. She received her Master of Music in Flute Performance from Rutgers University and her Bachelor of Music from the Glenn Gould School.

Lauren will join Orchestra Toronto for Christmas at the Movies, December 4, 2022.

Shawn Bennett

Shawn Bennett conducting

Shawn Bennett is a dynamic conductor, educator, and performer from Clarenville, Newfoundland and Labrador. He holds degrees in both Music (Trombone Performance) and Music Education from Memorial University of Newfoundland, and is currently enrolled in the MMus Orchestral Conducting program at the University of Toronto. At home in NL, Shawn worked for many years with the NL English School District (NLESD) as a music specialist, and had opportunities to conduct and perform with the Newfoundland Symphony Youth Orchestra, the Shallaway Youth Choir, the Newman Sound Men’s Choir, and the “Off the Cuff” Community Choir, for whom he served as Artistic Director from 2018-2019.

Through his travels and studies he has led the VoA Academy Orchestra and Choir (NYC), the ICWC Orchestra (Atlanta), the IIC Academy Orchestra (Greece), the University of Redlands Symphony Orchestra (CA), the University of Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Oakville Youth Symphony, and the University of Toronto Campus Philharmonic. Shawn has had the pleasure of learning from many beloved and respected conductors throughout his studies and travels, includingProf. Uri Mayer and Dr. Gillian MacKay (UofT), Dr. Nicholle Andrews and Prof. Co Boi Nguyen (University of Redlands), Kellie Walsh (Shallaway Youth Choir), and Dr. Jason Caslor (Arizona State University). He has been the recipient of such prestigious recognitions as the University of Toronto Fellowship in Music, the OSOTF Feldbrill Fellowship, the Bo Ying Wat Endowed Scholarship and the Friends of Music Endowed Scholarship from the University of Redlands, and the Shallaway Choral Scholarship. Shawn is incredibly excited to have been chosen as one of Orchestra Toronto’s Apprentice Conductors for the 2022-23 season and looks forward to making the highest-level music in a fully professional environment.

Shawn will join Orchestra Toronto for Dances of the Americas, February 26, 2023.

Emma Moss

Emma Colette Moss is a Czech-Canadian conductor, composer, librettist, pianist, and educator with a passionate commitment to enhancing the accessibility of music for all audiences via these platforms. She is currently studying at the University of Toronto, pursuing a Master’s in Music in Orchestral Conducting, under the guidance of Uri Mayer, Gillian MacKay, and Jamie Hillman. She completed her Undergraduate Degree with Honours, specializing in Composition and Piano Performance at the University of Toronto, where she received awards such as the Monika Ryckman Scholarship and Ben McPeek Scholarship, along with a faculty-supported nomination for the Rhodes Scholarship, and also received the Fine Arts Scholarship from the Rotary Club of Burlington.

She has studied under the guidance of artists such as Larysa Kuzmenko, Alexander Rapoport, Ivars Taurins, Melanie Paul Tanovich, Matthew Emery, Elaine Choi, Tracy Wong, Tanya Gernburd, Alison Cooke, and Bruce Moritt. With opportunities such as co-directing & co-founding the Abreu Chamber Orchestra under the mentorship of the Orchestra Breva, and co-directing Hamilton Sings!, working on librettos with Greenroom Collective contemporary composers, that of which have received National Arts Centre Creation Fund Grants, composing for major ensembles such as the Orchestra Breva, Concreamus Choir, Babel Chorus, and the Mississauga Symphony Orchestra, recording with Navona Records, and having extensive group and private teaching experience, Emma Colette Moss has shown herself to be an emerging and passionate artist of note, developing her abilities for well over 15 years. She currently acts as Assistant Conductor of the renowned choral ensemble Pax Christie Chorale under Dr. Elaine Choi, and works as a Conductor’s Assistant with the Toronto Children’s Chorus, under Zimfira Poloz, in addition to her Conductor’s Assistant position with the University of Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Royal Conservatory of Music-educated, and Suzuki Method-educated in Piano Performance, all levels of theory, harmony, history, and analysis, her musicianship is sincere, appreciative, detailed, and passionate, demonstrated via an eager, kindred, and charming sense of musicality to be shared with all.

Emma will join Orchestra Toronto for Afternoon at the Opera, April 16, 2023.

Matheus Coelho

Doctorate student at the University of Toronto, Matheus Coelho is a Brazilian conductor, Baritone and clarinet player. With orchestral, choral, operatic and popular music related-exposure, Coelho has been performing and studying in recognized institutions, such as the Sao Paulo Symphony Orchestra Academy of Music, under the guidance of the renowned teachers Marin Alsop, Uri Mayer and so forth.

Beyond the podium, Coelho has engagements in the choral world, including performances as soloist and choir singer in the operas La Traviata, Gianni Schicchi, The Magic Flute, Don Giovanni, among others. His choral engagements include singing and assisting the Campinas Contemporary Choir and University Singers.

By focusing his research performance on the social content issues conveyed in the standard vocal-orchestral repertoire, Matheus seeks to contribute to and collaborate with the Canadian music scenario and society, especially in the Greater Toronto Area. 

Matheus will join Orchestra Toronto for Crow and Rachmaninov, June 4, 2023.

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