A major Royal Conservatory Project to Celebrate Canada’s Sesquicentennial Anniversary of Confederation

A major new initiative by The Royal Conservatory of Music, which celebrates the cultural diversity and pluralism of our great country as it turns 150, is the formation of the New Canadian Global Music Orchestra. This project, conceived by Mervon Mehta, Executive Director of Performing Arts, is led by Artistic Director David Buchbinder, the Juno Award-winning trumpeter, composer, bandleader, and cultural inventor. There has been an overwhelming interest in this project – more than 100 Canadians hailing from 47 countries applied to be in the orchestra.

Today, as the first rehearsal is about to start, The Conservatory is happy to announce the 12 members of the New Canadian Global Music Orchestra, who have been chosen after three rounds of auditions. They are:

Padideh Ahrarnejad (Iran) on tar
Sasha Boychouk (Ukraine) on woodwinds and ethnic Ukrainian flutes
Alyssa Delbaere-Sawchuk (Canada – Métis) on violin, viola, jaw harp, spoons, and vocals
Luis Deniz (Cuba) on saxophone
Anwar Khurshid (Pakistan) on sitar, flute, esraj, tabla, vocals, and harmonium
Lasso (Salif Sanou) (Burkina Faso) on Fulani flute, kambélé n’goni, tamanin (talking drum), balafon, djembe, doum-doum, and vocals
Paco Luviano (Mexico) on bass
Aline Morales (Brazil) on Brazilian percussion and vocals
Demetrios Petsalakis (Greece) on oud, guitar, lyra, bouzouki, riq, and Greek baglama
Matias Recharte (Peru) on drums, percussion, cajón, conga, and timbales
Dorjee Tsering (Tibet) on dranyen, flute, piwang, yang chin (dulcimer), and traditional Tibetan vocals
Dora Wang (China) on bamboo flute, flute, hulusi, xiao, panpipe, and ocarina

These artists of the New Canadian Global Music Orchestra will be in residence at The Conservatory through the 2016-17 concert season: they will collaborate on new musical compositions, rehearse and participate in educational activities, play in other venues throughout the GTA, and finally come together for a special concert in Koerner Hall on June 2, 2017 in celebration of Canada’s sesquicentennial. For those not able to attend the concert, it will be broadcast live and for free on The Conservatory’s website at rcmusic.ca/livestream.

The New Canadian Global Music Orchestra is presented by The Royal Conservatory of Music in partnership with: Aga Khan Museum, Batuki Music Society, CBC Music, Diasporic Genius, Lula Music and Arts Centre, Small World Music, York University Department of Music, and 918 Bathurst Centre.

Government Supporters for our 2016-2017 season: Government of Canada, Canada Arts Presentation Fund and Canada 150 Fund-Canadian Heritage, Ontario Arts Council, Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund, Toronto Arts Council


New Canadian Global Music Orchestra
Friday, June 2, 2017 at 8pm
Koerner Hall

Tickets and subscriptions to all concerts are available online at www.performance.rcmusic.ca,
by calling 416.408.0208, or in person at the Weston Family Box Office

Become a Royal Subscriber: select any 4-6 concerts and save 10%;
select any 7+ concerts and save 15%; both levels receive special subscriber benefits  

A limited number of $10 BMO Rush Tickets are available starting 90 minutes before all performances presented by
The Royal Conservatory.

All concerts take place at The Royal Conservatory of Music
TELUS Centre for Performance and Learning, 273 Bloor Street West, Toronto


Media Contact:
Barbora Kršek, Concert Publicity Manager and Publications Editor
416.408.2824 ext.265; barbora.krsek@rcmusic.ca



Padideh Ahrarnejad


Padideh Ahrarnejad started playing tar with Behrouz Hemati, Hossein Alizadeh, and Hooshang Zarif in her native Iran. She graduated from Tehran Art Music School, completed her studies at the Art University of Tehran, and was named the best tar player at Fadjr Music Festival in Iran several times.

She was a member of Iran’s Radio and Television Orchestra and Iran National Music Orchestra, and performed in Austria, China, Cuba, Germany, Kuwait, Switzerland, and at the Rumi Festival in Norway.

She was a tar soloist with the Simorq Orchestra (Simorq project conducted by Hooman Khalatbari,   composed by Hamid Motebassem, and vocals by Homayoun Shajarian). She was also one of the soloists on many albums released in Iran, including Honarmandan-e Javan, under the supervision of acclaimed Iranian composer Hossein Alizâdeh, as well as on Gery-e Bi Bahane, Be Yad-e Khoram, Gahi Se Gahi, and To Kisti.


Sasha Boychouk




Sasha Boychouk grew up in Ukraine in a musical family. Since an early age, he was exposed to a rich diversity of eastern European ethnic music. The decision to become a professional musician brought him to the renowned St. Petersburg Conservatory. During his studies, he worked with the St. Petersburg Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Evgeny Mravinsky and, after graduating, he got a position with the St. Petersburg TV/Radio Orchestra. It was with that orchestra that he learned jazz, which later became the main focus of his studies.

After moving to Moscow, Sasha became a leader of the Moscow Saxophone Quintet. With this group, he travelled all over Europe, Asia, and North America. On a trip to Canada in 1991, he decided to make this country his home, which gave him many opportunities to play with the world’s greatest jazz musician such as Clark Terry, Tito Puente, Pat Metheny, Diane Schuur, Arturo Sandoval, and many others. He has also performed with pop stars Michael Bolton, Gladys Knight, and Michael Bublé. In addition to his work in the jazz and pop worlds, he also works extensively in original Broadway productions.


Alyssa Delbaere-Sawchuk




Born in Winnipeg, Alyssa Delbaere-Sawchuk is completing a doctorate in classical and fiddle music traditions on the viola at the University of Montreal. A graduate of the Lausanne Conservatory, she has performed often at the International Musician’s Seminar in Cornwall, UK, and recently during the Music and Beyond Festival in Ottawa.

Upon learning about her Red River Métis roots, she and her brothers discovered the old native and Métis style of fiddling traditions with the guidance of Anne Lederman. Alyssa’s mentorship with Ojibwe elder fiddler Lawrence “Teddy Boy” Houle lead her to collaborate with his brother, James Flett, in creating Oméigwessi, Reel Métis: A Tribute to Walter Flett, which won Best Fiddle and Best Instrumental Album at the 2008 Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards. Along with her brothers, she performs in the Métis Fiddler Quartet and their release, North West Voyage, reflects the beauty and diversity of the Indigenous fiddle traditions of Canada, infused with a diverse musical palette from Beethoven to the Beatles and beyond. The album received Best Traditional Album award at the 2012 Canadian Folk Music Awards.  

Alyssa is passionate about sharing music as well as her Métis culture in schools and spends a great part of her time in classrooms. She volunteers frequently with ArtsCan Circle, an organization that brings artists to remote Canadian communities to work with Indigenous youth.


Luis Deniz



Saxophonist Luis Deniz was born and raised in Cuba and is currently based in Toronto.

He started his music studies at the age of 10 and graduated from the National School of Arts in Havana in 2003. In 2004, he moved to Toronto and since then has kept a busy schedule both performing and teaching; he is on the faculty at Humber College.

Luis’s awards include Grand Prix du jazz General Motors (Montreal Jazz Festival, David Virelles Quintet, 2006) and Galaxie Rising Star (Halifax Jazz Festival, Rich Brown’s Rinsethealgorithm, 2010).

He has performed and shared the stage with some of the best jazz musicians from Canada and abroad, and has played all over Canada, USA, Europe, Australia, and Japan.


Anwar Khurshid



Anwar Khurshid studied the sitar in Pakistan, India, and Canada for 25 years, to which he added tabla as well as 12 years of vocal studies. He taught himself Indian classical music through transcribing recordings by masters, analyzing and deciphering their myriad nuances. This process stimulated his interest in the integration of world music with Indian classical music and, starting in 2003, he began composing music inspired by the great masters in odd meters. One of Anwar’s aims is to collaborate with as many diverse artists as possible.           

In 2016, one of his songs recorded with Sultans of Strings won the second prize in a World Music competition from among 18,000 entries. In the same year he also composed music for the film What it Takes to be Extraordinary and recorded an album, Subcontinental Drift, with Sultans of String, which was nominated for the World Music Album of the Year by Canadian Folk Music Awards as well as for a Juno Award.

He has been the Director of the Sitar School of Toronto since November 1999 and has played sitar on film scores of Life of Pi, Love Guru, and Kama Sutra.





Lasso (Salif Sanou) was born in a griot family in a small village in the north of Burkina Faso in West Africa. He grew up in an environment where music and songs were at the centre of people’s lives. Hence, he discovered very quickly his great skills for singing and playing several traditional African instruments. He first learned percussion (balafon, tamani, djembe) and later the kambélé n’goni. Thanks to his famous cousin, Dramane Dembélé, Lasso discovered the flûte peule in 2004 and developed a real passion for this instrument. He quickly became one of the most talented flutists in the country.

After playing for several years in Burkina Faso with many famous artists, Lasso arrived in Quebec in 2009. Since then, he has played at many major music festivals and events in Canada, such as the Montreal International Jazz Festival, the FrancoFolies, the Festival International Nuits d'Afrique de Montréal, the Vancouver Olympic Games, and the famous children’s play Baobab. As a songwriter, he formed his own group named Lasso & Sini-Kan (the voice of tomorrow), merging traditional African instruments with modern ones, thus founding his own style called mixed-fusion-reggae-afro-mandingue. The group performs regularly at various events and festivals and will soon launch its first record.


Paco Luviano



Paco Luviano hails from a family of musicians from Acapulco, México. In his mid-teens, he began recording with his father, the legendary Macario Luviano, in México City on the Discos America (Televisa) label. He has been frequently called on for global and hybrid music projects, and has recorded dozens of albums with international artists: Liona Boyd’s Camino Latino; Stan Fromin’s Hutsul Project, a recording of distinct Hutsul Ukrainian songs; and Cameroonian-Canadian artist Njacko Backo. He toured internationally with such acclaimed artists as Hilario Durán, Jane Bunnett, Amanda Martinez, Patricia Cano, and the Shuffle Demons.

In 2010, Paco participated in a cultural musical exchange to Colombia, collaborating with the group Las Alegres Ambulancias, whose members comprise the last remaining, independent Maroon community in San Basilio de Palenque, the city and people declared Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO. Paco recently travelled to Italy, Portugal, and Malta with the Dominic Mancuso Group. Sponsored by the European Union and Performigrations, the group was mandated to “interrogate preconceived notions of heritage, identity, and migration.” 

He produced Green River Sessions, the debut album of contemporary jazz singer Hannah Burgé, and collaborated on the award-winning Canadian independent film soundtrack, The Devil’s Tail. Paco is a faculty member at Centennial College, in Toronto.


Aline Morales



Since her travels to Canada in 2003, and her decision to settle in Toronto a few years later, Aline Morales has been well known locally as a dynamic singer, percussionist, and bandleader. However, it was the release of her debut solo album, the Juno Award-nominated Flores, Tambores e Amores, which brought national attention to this unique artist. Released in 2011, the album was met with widespread critical acclaim, reaching No. 1 on Canada’s folk/world charts and landing on several best of 2011 lists. 

Born and raised in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, Aline began her performing career as a child. She trained in capoeira, and by the time she reached her 20s, she had performed in a variety of traditional and modern bands, including one of Brazil’s most well-known maracatu groups, Nacao Estrela Brilhante do Recife, led by Mestre Walter de Franca. Since her arrival in Toronto, she has been a tireless promoter of the traditional maracatu rhythms of north-eastern Brazil, performing with her 30-member percussion troupe, Baque de Bamba, at countless outdoor festivals, leading parades through Kensington Market in Toronto, and even starring in Ontario Tourism’s “There’s No Place Like This” commercials.


Demetrios Petsalakis



Originally from Athens, Demetrios Petsalakis performs in a variety of styles with a focus on Greek and Middle Eastern lutes. He is involved with bands such as Ventanas, Nomadica, Trio Arabica, Near East, Zephyr, The Maryem Tollar Ensemble, Samba Squad, The Ken McDonald Quartet, and the Heavyset Quartet. With these ensembles, he is featured playing a variety of string instruments, including guitar, oud, lyra, and baghlama.

Demetri has a Master of Music degree in jazz guitar performance from the University of Toronto and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in music from York University.


Matias Recharte



Matias Recharte was born in Lima. He built his first drum set out of cans and buckets at age 11 and later studied Afro-Peruvian music, eventually moving to Afro-Cuban folklore. He completed a Bachelor of Music at the Rotterdam Conservatorium after moving to the Netherlands. There, he specialized in Latin drum set and percussion, having the opportunity to share music with people from all over the world.

After a couple of years back in Peru, playing and teaching, he moved with his family to Toronto, where he completed an MA in ethnomusicology and continued to perform with Latin American and Canadian artists. During this time, he met Professor Trichy Sankaran, with whom he continues to study South Indian percussion. He is currently enrolled at the University of Toronto pursuing a PhD in music education.


Dorjee Tsering



Dorjee Tsering, a Tibetan in exile, was born in India. After leaving high school, he joined the Tibetan Institute for Performing Arts (TIPA) in Dharamsala, India, where he mastered several traditional instruments and also learned Tibetan opera, as well as several styles of singing and dance. After graduating, he became a teacher at the Institute while pursuing his musical career by performing throughout India. He won the Tibetan Music Award for Best Traditional Artist in 2009. In more recent years, he has performed at several music festivals in Europe and across Canada. In 2013 and 2014, he delighted North American fans by performing his well-known One Hour in Tibet stage performance, in which he invites the audience to feel and experience the beauty of Tibetan culture, and also the ongoing suffering of his people. In 2015, he released his CD Năng (his first East/West collaboration featuring some of the finest musicians in Canada) and his new band played a sold out CD release concert at the Small World Music Centre. He is currently working on his second collaboration CD, which will be his 10th CD release overall. Dorjee recently played the Mosaic South Asian Music Festival in Mississauga and the Tiger Bamboo Asian Festival. He continues to entertain audiences, sharing his music throughout Canada.


Dora Wang



Dora Wang started her professional music career at the Affiliated Middle School of Tianjin conservatory of music with a major in bamboo flute in 1998. During her studies, she mastered all different performing styles and developed skills in other Chinese musical instruments, such as xiao, xun, bawu, and hulusi.

In 2003, she was awarded the Second Place Award in a national professional completion in China and was invited to visit Europe on different occasions to perform on the Chinese bamboo flute as an inter-culture exchange performer. She graduated from the conservatory in 2008 and in the same year she held her first successful recital. 

After immigrating to Canada, she founded her band, Melody of Bamboo Music, and performed at many major events in Canada. In February of 2015, she performed as a soloist for Chinese New Year, celebrating the music of China and Hungary with Canadian Sinfonietta at the Glenn Gould Studio, and in November of the same year, she performed for The Memory Palace of Matteo Ricci with Toronto Chamber Choir at the Church of the Redeemer.


David Buchbinder



David Buchbinder is a Juno Award-winning trumpeter, composer, bandleader, and cultural inventor. He presents large-scale performance projects, has toured across the Americas and Europe, and has earned a reputation as one of the leading lights in the Canadian world music and jazz scenes. Expanding past his boundaries as a musician, he was the founding artistic director of the world-renowned Ashkenaz Festival, North America’s premier celebration of Jewish music and culture, as well as founder and artistic director of the creativity-based urban transformation organization Diasporic Genius. He has also composed numerous award-winning scores for film, theatre, and television, and is the creator/producer of many multidisciplinary performances. Buchbinder is a recipient of the 2016 Toronto Arts Council William Kilbourn Award and has just been announced as a finalist for the 2016 Premier’s Award for Excellence in the Arts for his body of work, which has always included forging relationships between communities.


Mervon Mehta



After 15 years on stage acting in the theatre and on film, Mervon Mehta put his theatrical career on ‘temporary’ hold and joined the Ravinia Festival in Chicago as programmer for the pop concert series. He later became Director of Programming and Production. In February of 2002, he was named the first Vice President of Programming and Education at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. Under his leadership, the Kimmel Center brought an array of talent across many genres of music to Philadelphia.

Since April of 2009, Mehta has been the Executive Director of Performing Arts for The Royal Conservatory. He oversaw the launch of Koerner Hall and is responsible for programming the Hall’s successful series of classical, jazz, world music, and pop concerts, as well as overseeing all of the other performances and events throughout The Conservatory’s home at the TELUS Centre for Performance and Learning. He has served the arts community in various capacities, including acting as co-chair of the International Society of Performing Arts Congress in Toronto; as a juror for the Juno Awards and the OSM Concours; and as a grant adjudicator for the City of Toronto, the Toronto Arts Council, and the Ontario Arts Council. Mehta also consults with various arts institutions, advises up-and-coming artists, and is a member of the Toronto Music Advisory Committee.