Our Musicians

Untitled design-27

Matthew Hayes

Owner and Violinist

Matthew received his Bachelor of Music degree with Honours from Wilfrid Laurier University in 2004, studying modern and baroque violin with Jeremy Bell (Penderecki String Quartet) and Julie Baumgartel (Tafelmusik, Nota Bene).

Untitled design-32

Lydia Munchinsky

Cello – Toronto/GTA, ON

Lydia Munchinsky is a recent graduate of the Performance Diploma Program at the Glenn Gould School of Music. A student of Simon Fryer, she was on the Dean’s Honours List with Distinction and awarded the Hazel Cryderman-Wees Foundation Scholarship and the Roman tam Scholarship. Lydia has her Honours A.R.C.T in piano and cello. Growing up near Aylmer, Ontario, she began her musical studies in piano at age four and cello at ten. At ages 10 and 12 she performed for Dr. Sininchi Suzuki at conventions in Australia and Korea. 

Lydia also spent one term at Swiss l’Abri, an International Christian Study Centre founded by the late philosopher Francis Schaeffer, where she studied the relationship between music and religion. While there, she also met her husband, whom she married in 2003.

Untitled design-33

Praise Lam

Violin – Toronto/GTA, ON

A native of Toronto, violinist Praise Lam is a highly sought-after musician known for her adaptability in both solo and collaborative performances and her ability to merge classical and contemporary approaches into a myriad of art forms. Her performances as an award-winning violinist has taken her from her hometown stages in Canada to appearances in Hollywood’s 20th Century Fox Newman Scoring Stage in Los Angeles, California.

Untitled design-34

Rachel Pomedli

Cello – Toronto/GTA, ON

    Rachel Pomedli recently spent a year in Japan as a member of the international Hyogo Performing Arts Center Orchestra, under the baton of Maestro Yutaka Sado.

Rachel holds a Master of Music degree from Yale University and a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Toronto. Her principal teachers have been Andras Fejer, Judith Glyde, Aldo Parisot and Shauna Rolston.

Untitled design-14

Andres Tucci-Clarke

Cello – Toronto/GTA, ON

Canadian of Uruguayan and English descent, cellist Andres Tucci Clarke grew up in Toronto and began his cello studies at the Dixon Hall Community Centre. He completed a Masters of Music degree with Paul Marleyn at the University of Ottawa in 2009. While pursuing his masters degree, Andres was a member of the Vida String Quartet. The Vida Quartet played together for two years, performing in the International Haydn Festival in Montreal, and in local concert series in the Greater Toronto and Ottawa regions.

Untitled design-2

Erika Nielson

Cello – Toronto/GTA ON

Erika completed her Artist Diploma at the Glenn Gould School with David Hetherington. This past June she performed as a member of the Symphony Orchestra of the Pacific (dir. Arthur Arnold) and studied with Katinka Kleijn of the Chicago Symphony, and with Denis Brott at the Toronto Summer Music Academy. Recently she completed a cross-Canada tour with Alberta’s Canadian University College Chamber Orchestra.

Untitled design-33

Marcus Scholtes

Violin – Hamilton, ON

Multi-talented artist Marcus Scholtes excels on both the violin and piano, performing frequently as a soloist on both instruments on the same concert program. Most recently, he was named Co-Artistic Director of the Toronto Concert Orchestra, and also serves as the Associate Concertmaster of Sinfonia Toronto, a Juno Award winning ensemble.

Untitled design-12

Charlene Aird Nagel

Violin – Niagara, ON

Charlene Nagel is a long-standing member and Principal Violin 2 of the Niagara Symphony Orchestra.  She also works with artists from many genres in connection with the First Ontario Performing Arts Centre, Fallsview Casino shows, the World Rock Symphony Orchestra, and multiple small ensembles providing music for celebrations and gatherings of all kinds.

Gordon Cleland

 Cello – Niagara, ON

Gordon Cleland is the principal cellist of the Niagara Symphony and the Southern Ontario Lyric  Opera Orchestra and is the cellist in the Walker String Quartet (the string quartet in residence at  Brock University). He has performed across North America as a soloist and chamber musician and freelances as an orchestral musician. He is also an educator and has adjudicated music festivals all across Canada. He teaches cello and string techniques at Brock University and  Ridley College and runs a private studio in the Niagara Region. Gordon is also an organist and is the Music Director at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Hamilton. His principal teachers were  George Neikrug, Gisela Depkat, and Walter Joachim. 

Untitled design-35

Miriam Stewart-Kroeker

 Cello – Kitchener-Waterloo/Cambridge, ON

Miriam Stewart-Kroeker is a young, emerging cellist based in Kitchener-Waterloo, and a recent graduate of McGill University with a Master’s degree in cello performance under the direction of Matt Haimovitz. Miriam performs frequently with the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony and holds the principal positions with the Stratford Symphony and the Georgian Bay Symphony.

Miriam has collaborated with a number of orchestras and choirs, both as a soloist and orchestral musician, but her passion remains rooted in chamber music.

Untitled design-16

Galina Rezaeipour

Violin – Ottawa

Galina Rezaeipour is a Belarus born violinist who is active in Ottawa’s classical music as a freelance violinist and violin teacher. As an orchestra and chamber player she has been performing widely in the Ottawa/Gatineau area as a member of various groups such as the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra,  Gatineau Symphony Orchestra, Thirteen Strings etc. She is recognized by The Royal Coservatory of Music as a Gold Medalist Teacher as well as Registered Music Teacher(ORMTA). Galina has been a very active chamber and  orchestra musician in the greater Ottawa and Ontario area.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Untitled design-3

Peter Rapson

Cello- Ottawa

Peter Rapson obtained his Bachelor of Music in Performance from the University of Toronto and continued his studies at the Julliard School with the renowned cello pedagogue, Harvey Shapiro. During his years of study he received extensive coaching with members of the Orford, Hungarian and Julliard String Quartets. In addition, he has worked with such notable artists as Lorand Fenyves, Bernard Greenhouse, Jaime Laredo, Ronald Leonard, Felix Galimir, Julius Baker, and Greta Kraus. He has been the recipient of scholarships from the Canada Council, the Banff Centre for the Arts, and the University of Toronto.

Untitled design

Stephanie Solstice-Johnson

Violin-Calgary, AB

Stephanie Soltice-Johnson is currently Assistant Principal Second Violin of the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, a position she has held since 1986. Prior to joining the Calgary Phil, she received a bachelor of music in performance from Indiana University. A native Calgarian, she attended the Mount Royal College Academy of Music program and served as Concertmaster for the Calgary Youth Orchestra. Soltice-Johnson has performed with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Canadian Chamber Orchestra, the National Youth Orchestra of Canada and as Concertmaster for the Red Deer Symphony Orchestra. She also performed with the touring orchestras for productions of The Lion King and Phantom of the Opera

Untitled design-18

Tom Mirhady

Cello-Calgary, AB

Tom Mirhady grew up in Vancouver and started playing cello in a school orchestra at age 9.  Before coming to Calgary he attended the University of British Columbia and Musikhochschule Köln in Cologne, Germany and received a B.Mus. from McGill University and M.Mus. from  New York’s Juilliard School.  He was a member of the Calgary Philharmonic for 39 seasons.   He teaches cello at his home studio to students of all ages, as well as at the Amici Strings program, and continues to perform chamber music with the Springbank Trio and Duo d’Amore.

Pamela Hinman

Violin – Calgary, AB

Pamela Hinman is from Calgary Alberta, Canada, where she began studying violin at the age of three. She continued her musical education at the Conservatory of Mount Royal College, where she was a member of the Academy program throughout her childhood. Pamela has a Music Performance Diploma from the Conservatory at Mount Royal University, a Bachelor of Music Degree from the University of Calgary, and a Master of Music Degree from the University of Toronto.

Untitled design-4

Etelka Nyilasi

Violin – Edmonton, AB

Originally from Hamilton, ON, Etelka has an Honours Bachelor of Music from Wilfrid Laurier University, where she studied violin, viola and composition. She also has a Master of Music degrees from both the Birmingham Conservatoire, UK as well as the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS).

Etelka has many years experience performing and arranging music for weddings and other functions in both the UK and in Canada, playing with various ensembles such as the Nero String Quartet and Variations-on-a-Theme String Quartet. 

Untitled design-13

Rafael Hoekman

Cello – Edmonton, AB

Rafael Hoekman grew up in St. John¹s, Newfoundland and began his musical training with his parents at the age of three. His principal teachers were Theo Weber in St. John¹s, Yuli Turovsky in Montreal, and he completed his Master’s Degree with Shauna Rolston at the University of Toronto. He has since established himself as one of Canada’s most versatile cellists, finding success as a soloist, chamber musician, orchestral player, and teacher. As a soloist, Rafael first attracted attention by winning First Prize at the Orford International Competition in 1998. This award led to performances of the Boccherini Concerto with I Musici de Montreal and a subsequent CD on the Amberola Label.

Kathryn Hintersteininger 

Violin-Vancouver, BC

Kathryn Hintersteininger is passionate about creating different sonic textures and colours. An active orchestral and chamber musician, she has performed with Vancouver Opera, Ethos Collective, Orchestra Armonia, and the Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra, and has also performed with the Kamloops, Prince George, and Vancouver Island Symphonies. Notable collaborations include performing as soloist for Vivaldi’s “Winter” with the Plastic Acid Orchestra, touring with tenor Ken Lavigne, and premiering Elizabeth Knudson’s opera “The Painted Brain” for Tom Cone’s Opera Project. A strong advocate for music education, Kathryn has been on faculty at the Vancouver Academy of Music, where she taught private lessons and led the string orchestra programs, and presently teaches music in the Burnaby School District. Education: B.Mus., UVic (2006); M.Mus., DePaul University (2008); B.Ed., UBC (2011).

Untitled design-7

Stefan Hintersteininger

Cello-Vancouver, BC

Stefan Hintersteininger is a Vancouver-based cellist, educator, composer, and arranger, equally at home in a vast range of different musical styles. Stefan is a regular extra player with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and Vancouver Opera Orchestra, as well as many freelance projects. For many years, he was also a member of Erato Ensemble and the Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra, as well as being a founding member of Vancouver’s cutting-edge improvising new music sextet, Ethos Collective.

Lauren Klein Halifax violinist

Lauren Klein

Violin – Halifax NS

Lauren Klein grew up in Halifax and studied violin with Jan Wicha and was a member of NSYO, HSSO, and the MCPA Chamber Orchestra. She received both a Bachelor’s of Music and a Diploma in Chamber Music at Wilfrid Laurier University with Jerzy Kaplanek, as well as a Master’s of Music from the University of Victoria with Sharon Stanis. In Halifax, she has performed with Symphony Nova Scotia, St. George’s Consort, and currently serves as Concertmaster for the Chebucto Symphony Orchestra.

Untitled design-8

Catherine Little

Cello – Halifax, NS

Nova Scotia cellist Catherine Little is currently studying cello with Johanne Perron in the Masters Performance program at the Université de Montréal. Catherine has an Honours Bachelor of Music from Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario, where she studied cello with Paul Pulford and chamber music with the Penderecki String Quartet. She also took a year-long cultural exchange to France, studying with Jacques Froger at the Conservatoire Nationale de Musique et de Danse in La Rochelle. Catherine has played in many orchestras and chamber music festivals, including the National Youth Orchestra of Canada, the Wilfrid Laurier and Université de Montreal Symphony Orchestras, the “Quartetfest” chamber music festival in Waterloo, Ontario, the Domaine Forget Summer Music Academy in Charlevoix, Quebec, the Tuckamore music festival in St. John’s Newfoundland and the Scotia Festival of Music in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Apart from her studies of classical repertoire, Catherine has most recently discovered an interest in improvising, new music and teaching, but she is most devoted to and enthusiastic about chamber music.

Untitled design-9

Maria Wang

Cello – Victoria, BC

Maria Wang, born and grew up in Taipei, Taiwan, began her musical training on the piano and later on the cello at age 13. After pursuing a Bachelor of Music degree at West Virginia University, Maria moved to Victoria with her family and completed a Master of Music degree in Cello Performance at the University of Victoria in 2014. Since then, she has been actively teaching at local music programs and performing. She is currently the director and conductor of the Sooke String Orchestra Program and the headteacher of strings at the Harmony Project Sooke string program. She loves teaching the cello and managed her private studio for more than 20 students. 

Maria also enjoys performing with a variety of chamber and orchestra ensembles, including Breakwater String Quartet and La Cafamore Ensemble. Maria is currently the director and conductor of the Juan de Fuca Community Orchestra, and she has been the principal cellist of the Sooke Philharmonic Orchestra since 2018.

melissa schaak violinist

Melissa Schaak


Melissa was born in Sudbury and is a former student of Mary Kozak. A violin performance graduate from Wilfrid Laurier University, Melissa obtained a specialization in chamber music under the Penderecki String Quartet and continued her studies at the Conservatory of Amsterdam.
Inspired by classical crossover styles, during her 12 years abroad, she shared the stage with artists such as the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Josh Groban, Michael Bublé, Salvatore Adamo, Idina Menzel, Johnny Logan, Richard Desjardins and Chaka Khan. While in Sudbury, Melissa enjoys playing with the Sudbury Symphony Orchestra, Timmins Symphony Orchestra, L’Orchestre Symphonique Abitibi-Témiscamingue et L’ensemble Aiguebelle.