Allison Arrends (Voice)

Canadian soprano Allison Cecilia Arends is a versatile singer whose “voice is stunningly beautiful and [is used] with intelligence and great sensitivity” (Hnatyshyn Foundation). Active as an interpreter of opera, new music, and concert repertoire, she is noted for having “charmed listeners with her lyrical upper tones” and for her “empathetic acting” (Opera Canada).

Despite restrictions due to COVID-19, Allison enjoyed performing in a streamed performance of opera excerpts with tenor Paul Williamson and pianist Sabatino Vacca for the Southern Ontario Lyric Opera, as well as a Last Night at the Proms concert with Festival Niagara. In light of extensive lock downs in the Toronto area, she pivoted her focus to teaching a full studio of voice and theory students and conducting a series of theory, music history, lyric diction, and ear training/musicianship classes, as well as weekly “Sing-Ins” and “Music Shares”. As well as examining virtually for the Royal Conservatory of Music and actively training new and upcoming examiners, she conducted on-line choral workshops for Vox Choirs of Toronto and the Ontario Cross Cultural Music Society, and a music history lecture and workshop for MacLachlan College in Oakville, Ontario. As well as organising three large and successful virtual recitals for her studio, she adjudicated for virtual music festivals in Norfolk and Chatham, Ontario, Unity, Saskatchewan, and for the Kitchener-Waterloo branch of the Ontario Registered Music Teachers’ Association. Allison looks forward to conducting a masterclass for a summer choral/vocal intensive in the GTA in August. Due to COVID-19 lock downs and restrictions, concerts with the Neapolitan Connection Series and Masterworks of Oakville have been postponed until next season. 

Allison enjoyed a busy 2019-2020 season, which opened with a Divine Divas operatic excerpts performance for the Toronto Concert Orchestra’s Symphony in the Gardens. Further appearances included performances with flutist Jaye Marsh and pianist Dimitar Pentchev for the Latvian Society, tenor Paul Williamson and pianist Michael Rose for the Neapolitan Connection in an all-Verdi programme, Collingwood’s Choral Works chamber choir and orchestra for Rutter’s Magnificat, Forte Choir as the guest soloist in their Northern Lights concert, and the Incontra Ensemble for a holiday concert. Active as a teacher, adjudicator, and examiner for the Royal Conservatory of Music, Allison conducted voice examinations in Barrie and Hamilton, Ontario, and Edmonton and Calgary, Alberta. She enjoyed her role as resident voice teacher for Vox Choirs Toronto, conducted a masterclass for Ludwig Voice Studio in Hamilton, and adjudicated for the Contemporary Showcase in Mississauga, as well as a virtual music festival in Newmarket. Due to COVID-19, performances with pianist Allison Luff for the Regina Spring Voice Intensive and Health Arts Society, two outreach concerts for Minds on Music, a voice clinic with Ryerson Oakham House Choir, a masterclass for the Regina Conservatory of Music, joining the faculty for the Regina Spring Voice Intensive, and adjudicating music festivals in Chatham, Ontario and Unity, Saskatchewan were all either canceled or postponed.

Allison is a graduate of Calgary Opera’s Emerging Artist Program, and completed a Masters of Music at the University of Toronto Opera School and a Bachelor of Music at the University of Victoria Voice Performance Program. Allison currently studies privately with W. Stephen Smith in Chicago, and has previously studied under the tutelage of Mary Morrison, Timothy Noble, Wendy Nielsen, Alexandra Browning, Selena James, and Diana Woolrich. She has completed summer studies at the Alliance Française, Goethe Institut, Britten-Pears Young Artist Program, Opera Workshop for Advanced Singers in St. Andrews, Highlands Opera Studio, Centre for Opera Studies in Italy, International Vocal Arts Institute in Israel, Queen of Puddings Music Theatre, Banff Centre, Franz Schubert-Institut in Austria, and Stuttgart Festival International Choir under the direction of Maestro Helmuth Rilling.

As a recipient of the Hnatyshyn Foundation’s Artist’s Grant, Allison was afforded the opportunity to perform at Rideau Hall in Ottawa. She also had the honour of being the guest artist at the Inter-American Development Bank Governor’s Dinner, as well as singing the National Anthem at the International Annual Meeting of the Boards of Governors, which was attended by Prime Ministers, Governors, Delegates, and Ministers of Finance and Foreign Affairs from forty-five different countries. Additionally, she toured China with the Brahms Symphonie Orchester, has appeared in concert on numerous occasions in Jamaica, was recorded and broadcast by CBC Radio Saskatchewan, and joined Toronto’s Eglinton St. George United Church Choir as a soloist and choir member on their tour of the major cathedrals of Italy. Allison’s awards include first place and audience choice in the Clifford Poole Voice Competition, being named a Laureate of the Jeunes Ambassadeurs Lyriques, second place in the Barry Alexander International Voice Competition, third place in the Spazio Musica International Competition, first place in the Gordon C. Wallis Vocal Competition, the Hnatyshyn Foundation Governor General’s Award for Classical Voice, a Senior Award through the B.C. Arts Council, an Encouragement Award through the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, the Holbrook Opera Tour Graduating Award, and scholarships from the Johann Strauss Foundation, the Aldeburgh Foundation, the Wagner Society, ARIAS (formerly COVC), and the Universities of Toronto and Victoria. She was also a participant and semi-finalist in the Joy in Singing masterclass series and competition in New York.

Daisy Leung (Junior & Intermediate Piano)

For over 20 years, pianist Daisy Leung has taught piano, history, and theory, and feels fortunate
to be able to pass on her knowledge and love of music to the next generation through teaching
and adjudicating festivals across Ontario.
Daisy is an accomplished collaborative artist whose love for chamber music and collaboration is
apparent in her approach. She has performed as a collaborative pianist, orchestral musician,
and soloist across North America and has had performances broadcast on CBC Music, most
recently with world renowned double bassist Joel Quarrington. She currently resides in Toronto,
Ontario, where she is employed as a collaborative pianist at the University of Toronto and the
Royal Conservatory of Music’sPhil and Eli Taylor Performance Academy for Young Artistsand
theGlenn Gould School.
After beginning her music studies in Edmonton, Alberta (under the tutelage of Betty Wong,
Wolfram Linnebach, and Thelma O'Neill), Daisy moved to Toronto where she earned her
Bachelor of Music degree at the University of Toronto with piano pedagogue Marietta Orlov. She
also completed further studies with Steven Philcox and Lydia Wong in collaborative piano, at
The Banff Centre (under the baton of Jorge Parodi), Algonquin Summer Institute (with Helmut
Brauss), Aria Summer Music Festival (with Marietta Orlov), and Scotia Festival of Music (with
Marc-André Hamelin, Jamie Summerville, and Andrew Dawes).
Daisy has been privileged to perform for many of today's leading classical musicians, including
Steven Isserlis, Pamela Frank, Pinchas Zukerman, Jon Kimura Parker, Mary Morrison,
Laurence Lesser, and Sylvia Rosenburg.
Adding to her ongoing list of accomplishments as a teacher and pianist, she has recently been
elected to the Board of Directors as aDirector at Largefor the Women’s Musical Club of
Toronto. She hopes that experiences from the performance and administrative sides of her
career will bring about a positive change to classical music presentation and help future
generations of musicians blossom through performance experiences and financial aid

Dennis Ullman (Woodwinds, Brass & Guitar)

Dennis has worked extensively in the areas of music education and performance for over 35 years.  He is in demand as an adjudicator at music festivals throughout Canada including:  Canada’s Wonderland, Rock for Dimes, Kiwanis and Lions Club sponsored festivals and MusicFest Canada.   Since 2015, he has conducted over 500 clinics/workshops. As guest clinician, he has energetically instructed sessions at St. Andrew’s College, Regional Honour Bands, and has conducted performances at various venues throughout North America.  

Mr. Ullman was an inspiring and passionate teacher in Ontario’s private school system for over twenty-five years and conducted many award-winning bands and ensembles.  He has also directed various ensembles which have performed throughout North America and regularly at MusicFest Canada’s National Festival.  

As a private instructor he has worked with hundreds of students, many of whom have gone on to become major contributors to the music industry in cities such as Nashville, Toronto and Montreal.  Graduates have performed on many Late Night Shows, at the Air Canada Centre and with artists such as Thomas Rhett, Miranda Lambert, Steven Curtis Chapman, and many other shows including Cirque du Soleil. 

Mr. Ullman has been featured as a percussionist in a variety of ensembles including various theatre orchestra performances. He has also performed with the Peterborough Symphony Orchestra, Page Two, Whitby Courthouse Theatre, Peterborough and Oshawa Civic Bands.  Mr. Ullman is extremely  active with contemporary praise and worship ensembles.  Recordings include ‘Duke’n It Out” with the Kawartha Jazz Ensemble.  

As President of D.R.U.M.S. Inc., he is a member of Canadian Music Festival Adjudicator’s Association, Canadian Band Director’s Association and the Jazz Educators Network.  Mr. Ullman is the founder of OCM, an affiliate festival of MusicFest Canada and was a member of Mohawk College’s Applied Music Program Advisory Committee for ten years.  

More information is available at



Martha Gregory (Strings)

 Martha Gregory grew up in Rochester, New York where she studied violin, piano and voice at the Hochstein School of Music,The Eastman School of Music, and Roberts Wesleyan College. She attended Our Lady of Mercy High School for Girls  from 1968-1971 and was in every musical the girl’s school and the boy’s school had those 4 years. Her early administrative training was at Hochsteins where she worked her way up to assistant to the Dean of the School to help pay for her and her siblings’ lessons.She also spent summers working for the Federal government programme to bring arts to the Inner Cities .

   Her string studies involved classical and Suzuki methods. In College, she worked at a Major in Music Education and Classical Voice with double minors in Violin and Piano. Marrying in 1974, she moved to Toronto and continued her Voice Studies with Megan Rutledge at the Royal Conservatory of Music and free- lance performing with many orchestras. She also taught for The Toronto District School Board in an out reach programme for strings in Cabbagetown schools. 

   When she established a private studio in Pickering in 1982, that she still maintains she also spent 12 years touring with the Jean McDonald Singers, performing in Choral, Opera and Musical Theatre. She is enjoying the challenge of online teaching this year. 

   Jean was also her first introduction to the Music Festival world by entering her in local competitions.She did win all her classes, but unfortunately, was too old to go to Provincials by this time, sadly. Jean involved her in the Pickering Rotary Festival and also trained her as first Vice -President in the Pickering Metro East Festival. In 2000, Martha took over the Festival and has run an independent Music Festival, the Pickering GTA Music Festival ever since by herself. 

   After accompanying her competitors from her local to Provincials she was approached to be a Member of the Provincial Board of Directors. Starting as a Member-At-Large and eventually becoming the President of OMFA, she was President for 8 years and has been Past-President for the last 3 years. 

   After commiserating with Pam Allen about adjudicators, Pam invited her to try her hand at adjudicating in the Toronto Kiwanis, a daunting task indeed!  Adjudicating has become her passion for the last 13 years.

   Since her move to Canada, Martha has enjoyed performing, teaching and promoting Canadian music through her work with music festivals across the country.

    She has been performing with the Ontario Philharmonic Orchestra  for the last 27 years under Marco Parisotto’s baton and was principal violinist with the Hamstrings of Durham Trio for 12 years, performing at weddings and corporate events. She also enjoyed Christmas Carolling for several years for Corporate and Community Events. 

   Not long ago she was awarded an Ontario Volunteer Service Award for 20 years.  

   Martha has been involved with music festivals for the last 32 years and has retired as the Ontario representative on the National Board of Governors.  

   In between times, she went to Nursing School until she had her first child and spent 7 years working as a Special Ed assistant for the Durham District School Board. Martha has 3 children and 2 granddaughters that, unfortunately, live too far away, in Nova Scotia  Martha finally became a Canadian Citizen in 2013- being too old to take the test!. 

   Her slice of Heaven is her 2 and a half acre island in the Kawartha’s where she spends as much time as possible 3 seasons of the year. This is where she also met her husband of 48 years.

   In July of 2019 she became the Artistic Director of the Toronto Kiwanis Music Festival, the largest festival of its kind in Canada. She is proud of her local festival that celebrates 21 years this year and having its second virtual festival this February.

Petya Stavreva (Junior, Intermediate, Senior & Advanced Piano)

Praised for expressing "ultra-sensitive and highly refined pianism" (Quinte Society for Chamber Music), pianist Petya Stavreva holds a Doctorate degree in Musical Arts from Western University.

Dr. Stavreva is currently based in Toronto and maintains an independent teaching studio, where her students continuously succeed in festivals and competitions. Most recently, two of her students were awarded 1st place at the RCM's "Music Lights the Way" festival for levels 5 and 10. She is a passionate advocate for long term injury-free playing and is dedicated to teaching this aspect of music making to her students. She is active as a collaborative/chamber pianist, and is described to have “extraordinary ability to place the sound of the piano exactly where the soloist needs it to be” (QA Council Umbrella). She was recently appointed as a Program Director of the Quinte Society for Chamber Music concert series, and is excited to work on this new project in 2023.

Petya has been a prize winner of numerous competitions in Canada and Europe such as the international competition “Franz Schubert” in Rousse, international competition “Music and Earth” in Sofia, among many others, and has performed concertos with the Toronto Sinfonietta Orchestra. She has played concerts throughout Canada but also internationally, including in the US, France, Italy and Bulgaria. After a hiatus during the pandemic, her newly formed Duo Avante with pianist Todd Yaniw is looking forward to several engagements next season including a recording project. Petya frequently collaborates with cellist Amahl Arulanandam (of VC2) for concerts and recordings.

Prior to arriving at Western, she finished her master’s degree at the University of Texas at Austin, receiving full scholarship and grant support from Canada Arts Council, as well as the Webb Trust Fund at the Glenn Gould School. Before beginning her graduate studies, she obtained an Artist Diploma on full scholarship from the Glenn Gould School, and a bachelor’s degree in performance from the University of Toronto. Petya was an artist-in-residence at the Banff Centre for ten weeks in 2012.

Shortly after moving to Canada, Petya attended the Taylor Performance Academy at the RCM Toronto with full scholarship. She has been very fortunate to study with a variety of teachers including Leslie Kinton, Anton Nel, James Anagnoson, Jamie Parker, Marietta Orlov and Arshalouis Nersessian. While in Austin, Petya also studied collaborative piano in addition to her solo degree, with Anne Epperson.

Dr. Stavreva is a registered music teacher through ORMTA (Ontario Registered Music Teachers' Association) and teaches both online and in-person.