®The finest instrument is the mind.

Dr. Peter Simon, Michael and Sonja Koerner President & CEO

Tony Flynn, Chief Operating Officer

James Anagnoson, Dean, The Glenn Gould School

Susan Cook, Director, The Royal Conservatory School

Shaun Elder, Executive Director, Learning Through the Arts®

Brenda Gardiner, Chief Financial Officer

Sarah Irwin, Chief Digital Officer

Mervon Mehta, Executive Director, Performing Arts

Meghan Moore, Vice President, Business Development

Elaine Rusk, Vice President, The Royal Conservatory Certificate Program

Barry Shiffman, Director, The Phil and Eli Taylor Performance Academy for Young Artists; Associate Dean, The Glenn Gould School

Shawn St. Michael, Vice President, Institutional Advancement

Dr. Peter Simon, Michael and Sonja Koerner President & CEO, The Royal Conservatory of Music

Dr. Peter Simon was appointed President of The Royal Conservatory in September 1991, a time when the venerable Canadian institution founded in 1886 was re-emerging as an independent entity and faced substantial financial, operational and program challenges.

Since that time Dr. Simon has led a dynamic transformation of the programs and facilities of The Royal Conservatory resulting in a dramatic expansion of the number of participants, earned and donated revenues, endowment funds, and scholarship support for students. Today the broad array of RCM programs is used by 500,000 people annually.

When first appointed Dr. Simon sought to create a climate in Canada in which the arts were broadly recognized as an important means of furthering the personal, intellectual, and social development of all people.  He firmly believed that the arts were the best means available to foster creativity and innovative thinking in all areas of endeavour, and that this made them an indispensible element in the future social and fiscal success of our nation. Ultimately, he sought to promote a society in Canada in which the arts were a central part of the daily lives of all people and viewed as an integral element of a fulfilled life.

As a consequence in 1991 the mission of The Royal Conservatory became to develop human potential through music and the arts. Through this expanded mission Dr. Simon initiated a series of steps which would re-define the role of a Conservatory in society, one which offered the highest levels of excellence in performance and instrumental training but also developed, distributed, and offered a wide range of arts based programs which fostered human development. 

In 1994, Dr. Simon launched Learning Through The Arts® (LTTA), a new division of the RCM.  This ambitious educational initiative sought to put the arts at the centre of public education and create a systematic means by which teachers could use arts-based techniques to instruct the core curriculum and enhance the academic, social and emotional growth of students. Since its inception more than 300,000 students in over 300 schools and communities have benefitted from this program. A 2002 national study conducted by researchers at Queen’s University found that students in the LTTA program scored 11 percentile points higher in mathematics test scores than peers in non LTTA Schools. LTTA programs have been developed for areas with high concentrations of indigenous peoples. The LTTA system has been implemented in a number of international settings including Germany and Sweden.  In 2013 through the support of the Prince’s Charities of Canada and HRH The Prince of Wales, LTTA techniques were introduced in the UK. In 2015 an LTTA project in Fort McMurray led to substantial provincial test score gains especially by Indigenous students. More than 45 studies on the effects of the LTTA program have shown quantifiable benefits to students, teachers, principals, and LTTA Artist-Educators. Most recently LTTA has focused on the development of arts based digital tools for use in schools.

In 1997 Dr. Simon launched The Glenn Gould School in order to establish a highly focused performance training entity in Canada for exceptionally gifted musicians. Named in honour of The Conservatory’s most acclaimed alumnus, The Glenn Gould School has emerged as one of the most outstanding performance training institutions in the world. With a limited enrollment of 130 students, many of whom are on a full scholarship program, The Glenn Gould School offers a highly enriched environment in which the development and artistic growth of each student is guided closely by teacher mentors.  Each year students are brought into contact with a wide range of international artists, many of whom perform in Koerner Hall.  Faculty of the Glenn Gould School include acclaimed artists and teachers such as Leon Fleisher, Andres Diaz, Paul Kantor, John O’Conor, John Perry, and Frank Morelli.  Recent graduates include 20-year-old Deutsche Grammophon recording artist and internationally acclaimed pianist Jan Lisiecki.

In 2013, the young artists programs were restructured and renamed as The Phil and Eli Taylor Performance Academy for Young Artists. Each year 90 highly gifted young musicians between the ages of 9 to 17 are mentored and trained by the RCM’s leading faculty. In 2016, an alumnus of the Academy, 16-year-old Tony Yang, became the youngest Prize Winner in the history of the Chopin International Piano Competition in Warsaw.

In 2003 the RCM launched The ARC Ensemble, a chamber music group consisting of seven members of the RCM faculty. The ARC Ensemble has since developed into one of Canada’s leading cultural ambassadors performing throughout North America, Europe and Asia. Three of the CDs recorded by ARC were nominated for Grammy Awards. The ARC Ensemble has also played a major role in researching and performing works of music lost through The Holocaust. The Music in Exile series has been presented in London, New York, Washington, Warsaw, and Budapest.  Recently ARC released its fifth CD featuring the music of Jerzy Fitelberg and performed at London’s Wigmore Hall the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, The Kennedy Centre, and at the Lincoln Centre Summer festival. 

In 2005 Dr. Simon initiated a landmark capital project that would lead to the construction of a new home for the RCM. With the completion of the Telus Centre and Koerner Hall, The Royal Conservatory was able to occupy a unique hybrid facility of 200,000 square feet that served both educational and broader cultural purposes. The project included the restoration of a heritage site which was integrated with two transparent, accessible, and technologically up-to-date contemporary buildings. The centerpiece of the project was Koerner Hall, a concert space sculpted for an optimal acoustical environment and regarded by many leading artists as one of the finest halls in the world today. The new facility occupies an important site in the city of Toronto and has served as an anchor to the development of a new cultural precinct.

In 2009 with the opening of Koerner Hall, Dr. Simon established a new Performing Arts Division which presents and oversees more than 300 concerts and events a year.  The Performing Arts Division operates one of the most successful concert series in North America, presenting many of the worlds greatest performers in a variety of musical genres including: Valery Gergeiv, Yo Yo Ma, András Schiff, Wynton Marsalis, Anoushka Shankar, the Buena Vista Social Club, and Chick Corea.  Over 150,000 individuals attend events at Koerner Hall each year, making The Royal Conservatory an important cultural destination point in the city of Toronto and the Ontario region.

In 2013 The RCM launched The Marilyn Thomson Early Childhood Education Centre to develop and deliver innovative early childhood education programs and digital products for use in the home and classroom by parents, children, and teachers. Drawing on a foundation of neuroscientific research and working closely with the RCM’s own Research Centre, the Marilyn Thomson Centre is focused on giving children an enhanced educational experience and promoting cognitive and social development through music and the arts.

Dr. Simon’s concern with the decline of music and arts programs in public schools and the level of participation in music study and in Canada and the United States led to the development of a number of curricular initiatives aimed at young music students and independent studio teachers. The RCM recently launched a Teacher Certification Program aimed at ensuring high standards in independent teaching and equipping new music teachers with the tools to build successful studios. In 2016, the RCM launched a Teacher Portal which offers an array of online tools and services for the benefit of its 25,000 system users.

Building on the reputation of excellence of The Royal Conservatory in the fields of curriculum development, publishing, and assessment, Dr. Simon formed a partnership with Carnegie hall in 2010 to create a curriculum and assessment standard in the United States.  Dr. Simon believed that such a structured system and standard would motivate students to greater levels of participation and help to unify independent music teachers and music schools across the United States into a more powerful voice for the role of music in personal and social development. Now called The Royal Conservatory Music Development Program, and under the sole management of the RCM, the structured curriculum and assessment model has been adopted by more than 100 schools, 6,000 independent teachers, and approximately 10,000 students.           

As a means to secure investments for the future development of The Royal Conservatory, Dr. Simon initiated the first Development function of the institution in 1992.  This area has subsequently grown into a mature department serving a large donor community consisting of several hundred supporters.  Over $300 million has been raised to fund the expansion of Conservatory programs and capital initiatives.  Annual revenues of the RCM have grown from $11 million in 1992 to $46 million in fiscal 2016.  Of this total 5% are from government sources – 20% from annual donations and 75% are earned. 

Dr. Simon began his relationship with The Royal Conservatory as a student of Boris Berlin. He went on to study at New York's Juilliard School and in London with Louis Kentner. In 1983, Dr. Simon received a Doctor of Musical Arts Degree from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor studying with the legendary pianist and conductor Leon Fleisher. He subsequently divided his time between performing, teaching at the University of Western Ontario, and overseeing the artistic direction of Preview Concerts in Toronto.

In 1986, Dr. Simon joined The Royal Conservatory as Director of Academic Studies where he was instrumental in planning and implementing a series of post-secondary programs, which led to the rebirth of The Royal Conservatory of Music Professional School, now known as The Glenn Gould School. He also instituted regular classes by internationally acclaimed artists including Leon Fleisher and Jaime Laredo and supervised the compilation, editing, and recording of the Celebration Series of piano publications which have been used by hundreds of thousands of Canadians.

In 1989, Dr. Simon was appointed President of the Manhattan School of Music in New York City, where he initiated several key projects. In the area of programming, he introduced the first Master of Music Degree Program in Orchestral Performance in the United States and appointed the concertmaster and principal players from the New York Philharmonic as members of the faculty. Dr. Simon’s contribution to the school also extended to the area of fundraising, where he persuaded internationally acclaimed artists such as Victoria de Los Angeles and Shura Cherkassky to give benefit concerts. Under his leadership, the Manhattan School of Music began a physical plant renovation program and introduced new promotional materials and activities that led to a significant increase in the number of annual applicants.

Dr. Simon chaired the Arts Education sub-committee of the Minister’s Advisory Council for Arts and Culture, an agency of the Ontario Ministry of Culture. He was honoured by the Salute to the City awards for his contributions to education in Toronto and has received an Urban Leadership Award from the Canadian Urban Institute.

In 2006, as part of a series of special events commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Hungarian Uprising, Dr. Simon was acknowledged as one of 50 prominent Hungarian-Canadians whose contributions to creativity and innovation in Canada were celebrated.

Dr. Simon is married to the Canadian pianist Dianne Werner. They have two children, Nicole and Justin.


Tony Flynn, Chief Operating Officer

Tony Flynn joined the Royal Conservatory in September 2008 as Chief Financial Officer and was appointed Chief Operating Officer in May 2013. He is responsible for the overall performance of the organization, developing a strong management team and ensuring that each operating division achieves its goals.

Over his thirty year career, Mr. Flynn has been successful in several industry sectors and held chief operating and senior financial management roles, both in Canada and internationally, leading organizations through cultural change and performance improvement. Among his previous roles, he was Executive Vice-President Overseas Operations at Harlequin Enterprises Limited leading to record profitability a portfolio of twenty-one subsidiaries, joint ventures and licensees operating in Europe, Asia, Australia and South America. He was also Chief Financial Officer of Royal Trust.

Mr. Flynn is a Chartered Professional Accountant and holds an MBA from the University of Toronto.


James Anagnoson, Dean, The Glenn Gould School

James Anagnoson, Dean of The Royal Conservatory’s Glenn Gould School, is one of Canada's best-known pianists and pedagogues. He has been on the piano faculty of the GGS since its formation in 1987, and has also taught at the University of Toronto and the University of Western Ontario.

Mr. Anagnoson’s students have won prizes in International Competitions such as the Maria Canals, the International Franz Liszt, the Gina Bachauer, and the Dublin International competitions, and repeatedly are prizewinners in Canada’s National Competitions such as the Canadian Music Competition and the Toronto Symphony Competition. He has given master classes in various parts of Europe, North America, and Asia, and he has been a juror for competitions such as the Dublin International Piano Competition, the Hong Kong International Piano Competition, the Canadian Chopin Competition, the Prix d'Europe, the International e-Competition, the Toronto International Piano Competition, and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra Competition.

In 1976, James Anagnoson began performing with Canadian pianist Leslie Kinton. The duo Anagnoson & Kinton received unanimous acclaim from both audiences and critics and went on to perform more than 1000 concert appearances around the world. The duo has been heard in concerto appearances with Canada's leading orchestras, and they have recorded 10 CDs which are played regularly across Canada, the United States and Europe. Anagnoson & Kinton have also performed for the BBC, Czech National Radio, Hong Kong Radio, Hilversum Radio in Holland, and radio Suisse Romande.

James Anagnoson has been heard nationally on the CBC radio as a guest host on The Arts Tonight, and as a piano commentator for both the Esther Honens International Piano Competition and the CBC Young Performer's Competition.

Mr. Anagnoson received his Master's degree from The Juilliard School, and his Bachelor's degree from the Eastman School of Music, which he attended on scholarship.


Susan Cook, Director, The Royal Conservatory School

Susan has more than twenty years of experience in the area of arts administration. Her career began in the Chicago area where she has held multiple positions at the Merit School of Music, Sherwood Community Music School at Columbia College Chicago, and Midwest Young Artists.

Most recently Susan served as Dean of Programs, Merit School of Music, with tenure of close to fifteen years. She also served as Director of Bridges: Partners in Music and Faculty Development, and the Director of the Tuition-free Conservatory. Under her leadership Susan implemented a shared vision with program staff; strengthened programming by establishing a full continuum through all aspects of Merit’s instruction, implemented more professional development for faculty and staff, created department chairs for all aspects of programming, implemented the A.N. and Pearl G. Barnett Chamber Music Competition in the spring of 2013, provided increased access to students in off-site programs to attend Merit’s main facility in downtown Chicago, and worked to strengthen communication with staff, parents, students, and donors by creating a weekly newsletter and creating clear processes for all aspects of programming.

In addition Susan has retained an active teaching and playing career as a classical saxophonist. She received her Masters of Music Performance from Northwestern University, and Premier Prix du Saxophone at the National Conservatoire of Bordeaux. Susan also served on the faculty of DePaul University from 1994-2014 and Carthage College for a period of seven years. Susan has toured with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under Riccardo Muti, and performed with many of Chicago’s premiere orchestras including Grant Park Symphony Orchestra, Joeffrey Ballet, Chicago Opera Theatre and others. She has been the recipient of numerous grants and awards including The Canada Council and Saskatchewan Arts Board and was the first saxophonist to receive the Grand Prize in Canada’s National Music Festival in 1987.


Shaun Elder, Executive Director, Learning Through the Arts

Shaun Elder has been associated with The Royal Conservatory of Music since 1994 and has worked in a variety of roles, including strategic planning, fundraising, government relations, and technology development. He served as The Conservatory’s first director of development after its separation from the University of Toronto in the early 1990s and initiated successful campaigns to reconnect with Conservatory alumni across Canada, and also to support the restoration of Mazzoleni Hall.

Shaun played a key role in securing government operating funding for The Royal Conservatory’s Glenn Gould School. This led to a role in government relations and grant proposal development in support of various Conservatory initiatives, including efforts to secure funding for the launch of The Conservatory’s Learning Through the Arts Youth Empowerment Program in Fort McMurray, Alberta.

Since 2002, Shaun has led a series of technology initiatives, beginning with a project that digitized a number of successful Learning Through the Arts lesson plans, and then the development and testing of a pioneering music creation software prototype, Sequer. In 2012, Shaun released an app that allows piano students and listeners to remix famous works in the classical piano canon. The app attracted positive reviews from leading reviewers, including The Music Void, who described it as “breaking new ground.”

In his leadership mandate with Learning Through the Arts, Shaun’s expertise in app development, institutional advancement and strategic planning will help him guide the evolution of the LTTA program within the burgeoning market for digital learning resources and tools in schools.

A composer and violist, Shaun completed the Orchestral Training Program at The Royal Conservatory after earning a BA in Philosophy at University of Toronto. His music for harp, guitar, and piano has been heard on CBC and National Public Radio.

Brenda Gardiner, Chief Financial Officer

Brenda Gardiner joined The Royal Conservatory in August 2016 as Chief Financial Officer.  Brenda is responsible for all facets of financial management including treasury, internal control, accounting and reporting.

Brenda is a seasoned financial professional who brings a strategic focus and drives excellence and accountability in process and performance in the finance and operations fields, leveraging experience gained in positions of increasing responsibilities in organizations such as Hill + Knowlton, GCI Communications, Ryder Logistics and Transportation and Metro Newspapers Canada.

While at Hill + Knowlton and GCI (both part of the WPP global network), Brenda successfully ensured compliance with the Sarbanes Oxley framework and implemented process and procedure enhancements while upgrading the accounting and finance team. 

Prior to joining GCI, Brenda was Director of Finance and CFO of Metro News Canada where she was an integral part of the leadership team and instrumental in launching Metro into new markets, building the finance team and analyzing potential acquisitions.

During her twelve years at Ryder, Brenda advanced through the finance organization to the position of CFO of  both the Canadian logistics and transportation operations where she participated in the formulation of corporate strategy, gained proficiency in reporting under both Canadian and US GAAP and provided critical support to corporate development and mergers and acquisitions.

Brenda is a Chartered Professional Accountant and holds an MBA from Laurentian University.

Sarah Irwin, Chief Digital Officer

Sarah Irwin is an accomplished business leader with more than 25 years of public service, education and cultural sector experience.

As Chief Digital Officer for The Royal Conservatory of Music, Sarah is responsible for developing and overseeing the corporate-wide digital strategy which includes the Digital Learning Division (which she established), Information Technology as well as the corporate website and digitally-focused projects and initiatives.

Prior to joining The RCM, Sarah was the Managing Director of the Independent Learning Centre of TVOntario, where she converted the Province of Ontario’s designated provider of distance education into a highly sought-after resource through leveraging digital technology to enhance the learner experience, the result of which was a 40% increase in enrolments over 8 years. The ILC won an Interactive Media Award as well as a Canadian New Media Award for Excellence in Learning in 2007 and in 2011, an IMA (Interactive Media Award) recognizing the ILC  for Outstanding Achievement in education category. In addition to running the Independent Learning Centre, Sarah also created and oversaw the development of a highly innovative and successful online math tutoring resource known as HomeworkHelp.org, developed for the Ontario Ministry of Education and available to students in grades 7 to 10 across the province.

Prior to joining TVOntario, Sarah was with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation where she held a number of successive positions, including Manager of Marketing and Sales in the International Sales division, and Program Acquisitions Officer.

Sarah earned an M.Ed. from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto, an MBA from Athabasca University’s Centre for Innovative Management, Certificate in E-Learning from University of Toronto’s School of Continuing Studies, and a B.A. from Glendon College, York University.


Mervon Mehta, Executive Director, Performing Arts

Mervon Mehta’s career in the arts has seen him on both sides of the curtain. A student of the late Sanford Meisner, Mehta has performed as an actor in over 100 theatrical productions, including residencies at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, The Citadel Theatre in Edmonton, and two seasons at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival. He was a founding member of the Neighborhood Group Theatre in New York City, and has appeared on the stages of the Court, Steppenwolf, and Apple Tree theatres in Chicago. He has made several appearances on television and in films.

In 1994, Mehta put his theatrical career on ‘temporary’ hold and joined the Ravinia Festival in Chicago as programmer for their pop concert series. In 1998, he became Director of Programming and added the title of Director of Production in 2001. During his tenure, Ravinia hosted 120 concerts each summer, including 20 concerts by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and presented an international roster of classical, jazz, world music, country, pop, and music theatre artists.

In February of 2002, Mehta 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. Diverse artists such as Caetano Veloso, Mariza, and Ravi Shankar; great orchestras from Berlin, Vienna, Boston, Chicago, and New York; recitals by Lang Lang, Yo-Yo Ma, and Renée Fleming; the Alvin Ailey, Garth Fagan, and Urban Tap dance companies; and jazz artists including Oscar Peterson, Ornette Coleman, Wynton Marsalis, and a six-year, 30-concert relationship with Panamanian jazz pianist Danilo Pérez.

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 Koerner 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. He also serves on the board of Intercultural Journeys in Philadelphia and is a member of the Toronto Music Advisory Committee.

Mehta still appears on stage frequently as a narrator of orchestral works. He has performed with top orchestras in Munich, Monte Carlo, Los Angeles, Ottawa, Chicago, Houston, Budapest, and Lisbon; and at the Festival de Radio France and the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino in Florence, Italy, under the batons of Christoph Eschenbach, Lawrence Foster, and Zubin Mehta.

He was born in Vienna, Austria, and grew up in Montreal. He is the son of singer Carmen Mehta (a Royal Conservatory alumna) and conductor Zubin Mehta, and is married to Carey Suleiman, an arts marketing consultant. They have a son named Zed.


Meghan Moore, Vice President, Business Development

Meghan Moore is a knowledgeable and innovative cultural leader with ten years of experience in strategic planning, project management, and research and analysis in the public, academic, and private sectors.

Meghan began her career in culture policy, applying her strategic management skills as a Policy Advisor in the Strategic Planning and Policy Unit in the province of Ontario’s Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport, and later as a Cultural Development Officer in the Economic Development & Culture Division at the City of Toronto. At the City of Toronto, she capitalized on her ability to bridge the worlds of non-profit and for-profit arts. Her work on “Creative Capital Gains: An Action Plan for Toronto,” a report which she co-authored as part of the City’s 2011 update to its cultural plan, resulted in an increased investment of $6 million for arts and culture in the city.

Meghan was a founding member of Brainmaven, a Toronto-based start-up focused on collaborative research and innovation. As Vice President of Business Development and Human Resources, she consulted with such clients as TVOntario, TIFF, The Stratford Institute, Corus Entertainment and Rotman Executive Programs, and also oversaw the design of digital tools to facilitate collaborative innovation. While at Brainmaven, she co-authored two reports evaluating provincial governments’ eGovernment and Open Government initiatives which were featured as part of the 2012 Canadian Digital Media Network’s Canada 3.0 conference.

In her undergraduate career, Meghan studied music cognition and researched the effects of music on the brain. She was the recipient of an NSERC research grant to work with Daniel Levitin at McGill University. It was this early interest in the effects of music and the brain that contributed to Meghan's desire to work at the intersection of culture, business and society.

Meghan earned an MBA (Dean’s List) from York University’s Schulich School of Business with a graduate diploma in Arts & Media Management. She attended the University of Toronto as a Loran Scholar where she earned a Bachelor of Music Education (Honours) and Bachelor of Science.


Elaine Rusk, Vice President, The Royal Conservatory Certificate Program

Elaine Rusk is a well-respected business leader, with more than fifteen years of experience in all aspects of The Royal Conservatory’s academic and publishing divisions.

As Publisher of the Frederick Harris Music Company, Elaine oversaw the publication of the organization’s flute, guitar, and voice series, as well as the award-winning Celebration Series for piano. In a less than three-year period, she led the development and launch of repertoire, etudes, orchestral excerpts, and technique books and recordings for six new instrumental series including cello, clarinet, viola, violin, saxophone and trumpet. Elaine is key to the development of new digital initiatives underway at The Royal Conservatory.

In addition, Elaine has more than forty years of experience as an independent studio teacher, specializing in piano and theory. During her ten-year tenure as Music Director at Knox Presbyterian Church in Milton, Ontario, Elaine directed the chancel choir, a children’s choir, and a four-part men’s choir.

Elaine is an active contributor to the local, regional, and national musical community. She is a member of The Royal Conservatory College of Examiners, and has travelled across North America on its behalf. Elaine is also an active performer, accompanist, adjudicator, and guest lecturer on piano pedagogy.

Elaine graduated summa cum laude with an honors Bachelor of Music in History, Theory, and Performance from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario and holds a Master of Arts in Music Criticism from the same university.


Barry Shiffman, Director, The Phil and Eli Taylor Performance Academy for Young Artists; Associate Dean, The Glenn Gould School

Barry Shiffman joined The Glenn Gould School as Associate Dean and Director of Chamber Music in September 2010. He comes to The Royal Conservatory of Music from The Banff Centre, where he has served as Director of Music Programs and Executive Director of the Banff International String Quartet Competition since 2006. He also serves as Executive Artistic Director of Vancouver's Music in the Morning Concert Society.

At The Banff Centre, Mr. Shiffman revitalized existing music programs and launched major new initiatives in chamber music, orchestral studies, popular music, and jazz. Under his direction, the music program of The Banff Centre also became one of western Canada's largest presenters of contemporary works.

Through Mr. Shiffman’s leadership of the Banff International String Quartet Competition, it has grown to include career development, outreach, and commissioning programs, along with a program to nurture the talents of young artists. Its endowment has doubled, and Mr. Shiffman has played an active and ongoing role in major gift fundraising and stewardship.

Beyond his achievements as an administrator, Mr. Shiffman has also had a rich and varied career as a performer and recording artist. Debuting with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra at the age of 15, he has appeared with orchestras and in recital throughout North America, Europe, and Japan.

In 1989, Mr. Shiffman cofounded the St. Lawrence String Quartet through a joint program of The Royal Conservatory of Music and the University of Toronto. During his 17 years with the Quartet he appeared in over 2,000 concerts in venues around the globe and recorded several critically acclaimed discs under an exclusive contract with EMI Classics.

In addition to performing and recording, Mr. Shiffman is a sought-after violin and viola teacher and chamber music coach. He is the recipient of the Nadia Boulanger Prize for Excellence in the Art of Teaching awarded by the Longy School of Cambridge, Massachusetts. He served as artist-in-residence at Stanford University from 1998 to 2006 and as visiting artist at the University of Toronto from 1995 to 2006. In 2009, he received an honorary doctorate from the University of Calgary.


Shawn St. Michael, Vice President, Institutional Advancement

Shawn St. Michael is the Vice President of Institutional Advancement at The Royal Conservatory where she oversees the management of board relations and the execution of fundraising initiatives, including the Growing Greatness Campaign.

Prior to joining The Royal Conservatory in mid-2013, Shawn served as Executive Director, Development for the Art Gallery of Ontario, where she oversaw the evolution in the organization’s fundraising and advancement program, rooted in an ambitious strategic plan related to the AGO’s major reconstruction. As the campaign director for Transformation AGO, Shawn played a key role in an ambitious, complex project that included significant capital and endowment targets. Campaign goals were achieved, and then surpassed, in advance of the public opening in 2008.

Transformation AGO is heralded as the most successful cultural campaign in Canadian history, having raised $306M. Also under Shawn’s leadership, the organization introduced new and innovative methods to generate support, including a multi-year corporate partnerships program, a number of new signature special events, a range of affinity programs including a Young Patrons membership group, as well as the launch of the campaign for the new Weston Family Learning Centre. During her tenure from 1994 to 2013, the AGO’s annual development revenue grew by a remarkable 700 percent, and the organization’s stature as a leader and innovator among North American art museums was firmly established.

As Director of Development for the Stratford Festival from 1990–94, and earlier as Manager, Corporate Funding and Senior Development Officer, Shawn implemented a sophisticated organization structure to enable the Festival to reach its full potential. She engaged volunteers to play a more active role in fundraising, embraced and harnessed the power of technology to support development efforts, and created unique donor partnerships. Through her management and resourcefulness, Shawn laid the groundwork for capital and endowment campaigns that would significantly enhance Stratford’s profile as North America’s leading classical theatre.

Shawn was the first Canadian to be appointed president of the Art Museum Development Association in that organization’s then 40-year history, and in 2011 hosted its first annual conference in Canada. In 2009 she was awarded the Association of Fundraising Professionals’ Outstanding Fundraising Award for the many contributions she had made throughout her career to AFP’s Toronto Chapter, the largest chapter in North America. Shawn is active in her community and supports a variety of international development, healthcare, and arts organizations.