TORONTO, CANADA, October 19 – After 40 years as a charitable service organization for Canada’s musicians, the International Resource Centre for Performing Artists is ceasing operation November 30. Eleanor Friedland, president of the IRCPA Board, made the announcement today.

“The Board would like to thank Ann Summers Dossena for having developed innovative programs to serve the needs of Canadian artists.  Not just singers but many of Canada’s musicians and personnel working behind the scenes in the performing arts owe Ann a huge debt of gratitude,” said Ms. Friedland. “Through her tireless efforts and fertile imagination, she identified the skills and types of input artists needed to tighten the gap between their training and a professional career. Using her enviable contact list, she brought international expertise to Canada so that artists didn’t have to travel to New York or Europe at considerable expense to be heard and to gain valuable feedback.”

Ms. Summers Dossena is an award-winning* Canadian artists’ manager who retired from management in 2013 after 55 successful years in New York, Rome and Toronto. At that point, she channelled her energy to become fulltime volunteer artistic director of the IRCPA.

She had begun the organization in 1983 as the “Ann Summers Resource Centre for Performing Artists”, with the support of some of Canada’s leading musicians. It quickly became a trailblazer, presenting “Encounters” with international mentors, workshops and other life skills programs they knew from experience would enable Canadian artists to move forward in their international careers.

“Over four decades, our goal has been to help Canadian musicians, mostly opera singers, whose career span may be limited, but also other performing artists, to become aware of the international stages available to them and of how they measure up in their search for excellence,” said Ms. Summers Dossena.

“After many years of being essentially the only such organization helping musicians in this way, we are pleased to see the torch being taken up by a number of others with appropriate funding, who are offering feedback on artists’ skills and knowledge of the music industry.”

Headed by president Eleanor Friedland, the current IRCPA Board consists of John Lopes, treasurer; Anna Gemmitti, Linda Litwack, Sheila Rose and David Warrack. Debra Chandler has served as consultant/video interviewer.

The story of the IRCPA’s origins and programs is told on this website, which will remain online, and includes comments from some of the more than 600 alumni who benefitted from the programs and from the celebrated authorities who inspired them.

*Ann Summers Dossena has been recognized with the following honours from her peers:

Honourary Lifetime Membership, International Society of Performing Arts (ISPA), New York, 1969

Manager of the Year, North American Performing Arts Managers and Agents (NAPAMA), New York, 2011

International Citation of Merit, International Society of Performing Arts (ISPA), New York, 2014

International Resource Centre for Performing Artists: Condensed Fact Sheet


“I know only too well how important it is to learn the skills to perform well and build self-confidence. A program such as this will go a long way in helping to achieve these goals.”
Maureen Forrester, contralto

“The calibre of singing for the IRCPA Encounters has always been extremely high and last year’s was no exception. It was thrilling to work with such a talented group of young artists; not only did they possess fine instruments, but they proved themselves to be fine, hardworking musicians.”
– Brett Polegato, baritone, and 2017 and 2021 IRCPA Encounter mentor

As a young singer aspiring to become an opera singer (some years ago), I had the good fortune to benefit from the International Resource Centre for Performing Artists. I participated in an Encounter given by Joan Dornemann, which was a revelation! Her expertise and energy inspired me very much and I can still recall the suggestions she made.”
Adrianne Pieczonka, soprano, and 2018 IRCPA Encounter mentor


In 1982, L’Aquila, Italy dedicated its annual Festival of Music and Architecture completely to Canada’s performing artists and architecture. Artists’ manager Ann Summers Dossena was commissioned to produce the three-week festival of music, ballet, puppets and mime performances.  She engaged artists from across Canada, among them the Ottawa Choral Society, the orchestra from London (ON) and conductors Alexis Hauser and Brian Law for Handel’s Messiah with vocal soloists Frances Ginzer, Patricia Kern, Mark Dubois and Christopher Cameron. The Danny Grossman Dance Company and stars of the National Ballet also performed. The artists were greeted by cheering audiences, rave reviews from the Italian media and enthusiastic coverage from Canadian journalists who covered the festival, including Ruby Mercer (Opera Canada), Aviva Layton (Maclean’s), William Littler (Toronto Star), Eric McLean (Montreal Gazette) and Richard Newman (London Free Press).

According to William Littler, “The Festival represented the largest, most successful attempt ever launched to broaden Canada’s image culturally in the land of Michelangelo and Verdi.” He quoted David Anido, Canada’s cultural attaché in the Rome embassy, as noting, “‘A huge amount of goodwill has been created through this festival…. A Canadian impresario made it happen. Ann Summers has done something that has given credit to all of us as Canadians.’”

Spurred on by both the L’Aquila success, and the lack of resources back home in Canada, the following year the “Ann Summers Resource Centre for Performing Artists” was created. It was financially supported in 1983 by Canadian and American professionals in the field who identified the barriers that prevented emerging artists from competing on international stages. The project was championed by contralto Maureen Forrester, and promoted by Arnold Edinborough (founder/president of what is now known as Business/Arts) and founding board members: celebrated CBC-TV producer Norman Campbell and his lyricist wife, Elaine; musician Graeme Page, currently principal, Engaging Philanthropy; arts administrator Debra Chandler, currently executive director, Concerts In Care, Ontario; and attorney Bernard Koffman, with artists’ manager Ann Summers Dossena as artistic director.  The organization was granted charitable status in 1985.  In 1994, its name changed to the International Resource Centre for Performing Artists.

Early sponsors included Imperial Oil, General Electric, Bank of Montreal, Global TV Network, Northern Telecom, Citibank, Prudential Assurance, Remenyi House of Music, and the Daniels Corporation.  In 2013 the Centre applied for and began to receive a few small intermittent grants from the Canada Council for the Arts, and Toronto and Ontario Arts Councils.  In more recent years, the Azrieli Foundation also provided support.

In 1992, the McConnell Foundation supported a cross-Canada tour by Ms. Summers Dossena and Metropolitan Opera coach Joan Dornemann, to give audition feedback and business workshops for graduating singers. A scholarship was awarded a pianist to work with Ms. Dornemann in Toronto.

Many singers discovered by the IRCPA attended the International Institute of Vocal Arts summer program headed by tenor William Woodruff in Chiari, Italy. Ann organized this residency by bartering with the city to use its Villa Mazzotti for study and performances in exchange for free concerts and events for the townspeople, such as a visit by Simonetta Puccini, granddaughter of the revered opera composer.

The concerts, as well as open rehearsals, proved very popular with people in Chiari and nearby towns, and provided a rewarding experience for the singers, in performing to a knowledgeable audience.  The residency also offered non-musical community interactions.  A soccer game was organized between the mayor and staff, and the singers and coaches, which was also attended by the Canadian Consulate staff from Milan.

For 12 summers, the residency hosted 60-70 singers a year from Canada, the U.S., China and Europe, with Ms. Summers Dossena producing the weekly concerts and outdoor galas that celebrated Canada Day and the Fourth of July during seven seasons, 1984-2000.

In 2015, at the urging of alumni members, the IRCPA reconfigured its “Encounters” for singers as a more formal program. In accordance with the mandate to recognize Canadian artists past and present, Canadian scholarships donated in their names were established to enable 10 emerging singers (and an 11th as a “cover”) to work without financial burden in the “Encounter” with international mentors, who included some of Canada’s best known current vocal stars,

In addition, each singer received a $200 honorarium for performing in the gala concert two weeks later, broadcast live on The New Classical FM.  At the conclusion, the artist/mentor who led the Encounter would name an artist as recipient of the Opera America “Career Blueprint” award.


“… In this busy audition season, when we have so many expenses, the timing was ideal. I had to travel for auditions and I would not have been able to afford the extra voice lesson. The Encounter gave me tools to feel more confident and have strong auditions. Thank you also for the career blueprint in New York City. Headshots, recordings, and consultations are very expensive but very important and it puts me at ease to know that these will be covered for the audition season.”
Marjorie Maltais, mezzo-soprano, 2016 Career Blueprint recipient

“I’m so very grateful to have had the honour of working with Sondra (Radvanovsky) …I learned so much, not only from my time with her but also from observing everyone else she worked with.  I don’t think this would’ve been possible without the generous sponsorship.  I myself wouldn’t have been able to afford it had it not been for the scholarship.”

“I left the Encounter feeling inspired, motivated and eager to get to work in the practice room.  The amount of information and knowledge I gained is quite frankly immeasurable; the technical advice I got…was literally priceless.”
Comments from two singers assisted by IRCPA Encounters

“I would like to thank you for your recommendation that I audition for Bramwell Tovey.  Due to that audition, I now have my first contract.”
Hugh Russell, Baritone

Among Canadian icons honoured by the naming of these scholarships have been Opera Canada founder/editor Ruby Mercer, singers Maureen Forrester, Louis Quilico, Ermanno Mauro, Jean Edwards, Adrianne Pieczonka, Clarice Carson, Lois McDonall, Mary Morrison, Georgina Stirling, Lois Marshall, Carrol Anne Curry, Teresa Stratas, Portia White, Riki Turofsky, Judith Forst and Karina Gauvin; violinist Eugene Kash, pianist Stuart Hamilton, and artists’ manager Ann Summers Dossena.

Over the past 40 years, the IRCPA has attracted some 600 alumni, among them the following opera singers:

Sopranos Adrianne Pieczonka, Isabel Bayrakdarian, Sara Schabas*, Natalya Gennadi*, Jana Miller, Jaclyn Grossman* and Jocelyn Fralick*; mezzos Emily d’Angelo, Jean Stilwell and Marjorie Maltais*, tenors Colin Ainsworth and Asitha Tennekoon, baritone Clarence Frazer*, soprano and artists’ manager Kathy Domoney, and pianist Rachel Andrist.

* recipients of the Opera America Career Blueprint.

Among countless collaborators over the years, the IRCPA would like to thank the following:

Metropolitan Opera Staff: Conductors Eduardo Muller and Paul Nadler; Joan Dornemann, vocal coach; Nico Castel, tenor and languages coach; and Janet Bookspan, stagecraft authority; Canadian stage directors Leon Major and Irving Guttman; American director Colin Graham, Teatro alla Scala opera coach Vincenzo Scalera, and Debra Chandler, consultant/video interviewer, Linda Litwack, publicist, JD Mowat, social media, and Fabio Nagarano, webmaster.

Opera stars as Mentors: Regina Resnick, Renata Scotto, Shirley Verrett, Louis Quilico, Adrianne Pieczonka, Sondra Radvanovsky, Brett Polegato, Theodore Baerg and Measha Brueggergosman; soprano and Maestra Barbara Hannigan, Maestro Marco Guarini, former COC General Director Alexander Neef; jazz singers Sheila Jordan and Ori Dagan; critics and writers Joseph So and William Littler; and artists’ manager Andrew Kwan; and composer, pianist and playwright Tomson Highway.

Vocal Advisory Group:  Adrianne Pieczonka, Mary Morrison, Brett Polegato, Theodore Baerg, Kathy Domoney, Lois McDonall, Clarice Carson, Bernard Diamant, Irving Guttman and Joan Dornemann.

Non-profits and businesses included the Canadian Opera Company, Remenyi House of Music, Daniels Corporation, Arts and Letters Club, Goethe House, 519 Church Street, Jazz.FM91, Long & McQuade, and The New Classical FM.

While the organization that Ann Summers Dossena founded 40 years ago may be discontinuing, her advice lives on in her handbook for artists, Getting It All Together, published by Scarecrow Press in the U.S.


The Mission: The IRCPA enables musicians to bridge the gap between school and career and counsels them at various stages of their development for mentoring and new employment opportunities. The IRCPA is designed for young professionals and is not a ‘training’ program. It’s mandate is not only to help musicians in first phases of their careers but also throughout their professional lives and is based on the principle that a successful career is a life-long learning experience.

For the jazz trio or string quartet that feels stuck in its development and is keen to reach new audiences, the singer who has completed his or her training but isn’t clear on the next steps to take, the pianist looking to move beyond winning competitions – for all of these situations and more, the International Resource Centre for Performing Artists aims to help turn their potential into accomplishment and employment.

The Vision: A growing number of musicians are empowered to succeed through IRCPA’s programs.

Read More

IRCPA was created in 1983, incorporated as a charity in 1985 by professionals in the field. The 35th anniversary was celebrated November 6, 2018, with a concert by 11 Singing Stars – New Generation , mentored by Adrianne Pieczonka, herself an alumnus from the 1980’s, accompanied by pianist Rachel Andrist, alumnus from the 1990’s.

It is emerging as a dedicated service organization for Canada’s musical artists, including instrumentalists, vocalists, conductors, collaborative pianists and composers in the fields of opera, classical, jazz, world and new music.

By actively presenting Workshops and Encounters with Canadian and international employers, coaches and established experts, the artists gain confidence, find their place in the world’s markets, and become successful professionals in their chosen fields.

These proven programs are now being updated and expanded. The board of directors is devoted to helping freelance emerging performers hone their skills and gain more knowledge of the industry in which they wish to develop their careers. The IRCPA creates an environment where musicians can come together as a community, at various stages of their careers, to exchange ideas and challenges, and know they are not alone in their journey.

Summers Dossena observes, “It is the nature of the business that there is usually a gap between an artist’s graduation and first job. This happens not only because a newly graduated artist may not be prepared for the real world of auditions, performing and management, but also because orchestras, opera companies and concert presenters book two or even three years in advance. Keeping focused by exploring repertoire, learning languages, and gaining a basic knowledge of who’s who in the industry – how and why decisions are made – is vital during this period.

“The transition from student to professional can be daunting. Making one’s own decisions means solid information is needed. Encounters With Employers prepares the artist for auditions and performances, eliminates barriers, explores appropriate repertoire, answers questions or offers advice in a supportive, collegial environment.”

Artists participating in focus groups or roundtable discussions often suggest the hot topics they want to explore in workshops besides contracts or negotiation, representation, and professional wardrobe consultation. The IRCPA programs address these issues and more.

Such services can be available year-round, as requested, along with brainstorming, mentoring of soloists or groups, long-range and strategic planning, and “platform sharing” for promotional presentations by artists.

Spring and fall events feature Workshops on current hot topics, a Who’s Who in the Industry panel, and discussion on the state of the arts, as well as Encounters with international employers and coaches.

Collaborations with presenting organizations allows the sharing of guest experts, for the mentoring of emerging young professionals.

Singing Stars of Tomorrow Concert, Glen Gould Studio. 1993

The IRCPA keeps creating plans to build a future and to continue making resources available to Canada’s emerging artists.


From her 1958 start in New York, through her years in Rome (1968-1977) to her Toronto base since 1977, Ann Summers Dossena has represented international artists in their career development, and been successful as a presenter and producer of concerts, tours and events, earning acclaim for innovative and creative ideas in audience development, and arts marketing.  In 1983 she created the International Resource Centre for Performing Artists as a Canadian, non-profit, charitable organization to assist emerging artists.

After studying at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, Ms. Summers gained management experience by working for several unions in Toronto, and Actors Equity Council in New York. Recognizing a need for development of musicians as artists, she became a personal representative in 1958, and incorporated Ann Summers Management Inc. in New York in 1960.

The “Extended Engagement Plan” was initiated in New York to develop and create full–time employment for chamber music artists, and at the same time stimulate the interest of concert goers. The program, now known as the “Artist in Residence” program is funded by the National Endowment of the Arts and Chamber Music America. Chamber groups, including jazz ensembles, were organized as membership corporations, thereby stabilizing many groups with long-term planning.

Ms. Summers produced the first series of concerts at Carnegie Hall, including the “Visiting Orchestra” series which still remains today. She created the”Concert Party” series of informal concert presentations that developed audience-building and marketing techniques that have become traditional in many cities including Toronto’s “Bach Brunch” series.

In 1969 “Concert Party” extended to Rome, Italy. Marriage to Rai TV Director, the late Armando Dossena, led to a base in Rome where she worked as a presenter and producer of many high profile arts events, including a tour of the Los Angeles Philharmonic with Zubin Mehta in Rome, the Music and Architecture Festival featuring over 200 Canadian artists in L’Aquila, a tour of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet to Israel, and two tours of the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Italy. The creation of Serate Musicali Foundation Inc. in New York, supported an electronic music lab, restored the organ of Buxtehude and sponsored the Bach and Organ Festivals in Rome.

Returning to Toronto in 1977, Ms. Summers established Ann Summers International, with a focus on serving both artists and audiences internationally. In 1983, The International Resource Centre for Performing Artists, a non-profit charitable organization was founded in Toronto, with a mandate to help young artists move into their careers.

In 1985 the first edition of “Getting It All Together” was published by Scarecrow Press and distributed to schools and libraries. It remains available in over 260 libraries worldwide, in North America, Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand.

Several managers have apprenticed in the New York and Toronto offices.

In 1993, at the request of the International Institute of Vocal Arts in New York, Ms. Summers found the Villa Mazzotti in Chiari, Italy, as a centre for a 4-week study program for singers, coaches, pianists, with a distinguished faculty including staff members of the Metropolitan and New York City opera companies, Mignon Dunn, Sherrill Milnes, Regina Resnick, and Italian coaches Bruno Rigacci and Marco Boemi. Ms. Summers coordinated the program in Italy through its seventh season.

Having been awarded the first Manager of the Year Award by her peers in NAPAMA North American managers and agents in 2012, Ms Summers Dossena received the prestigious International Citation Award in 2014 from the International Society for Performing Arts ISPA, a global arts organization of presenters, producers, administrators from over 50 countries.  Ms. Summers Dossena is the first Canadian to receive this award.

The Citation read: Cross generational and cross regional, Ann Summers Dossena has arguably promoted/developed more artists and arts leaders than any one individual alive today.  Her commitment to the performing arts has spanned 60 years –it is an honour to acknowledge her contribution.

The International Citation of Merit is presented for unique lifetime achievement which has enriched the international performing arts. This award is not for performance but rather for distinguished service working within the profession. For example work as a manager (artist/company/venue), in education, marketing and public relations, consultancy, festival director, acoustician, architect and other associated activities. Recipients may be a past or current member of ISPA. Past recipients of the International Citation of Merit include:  Ann Summers Dossena 2014; Sir Clive Gillinson 2012; Edna Landau, Dr. Miriam Makeba 2008; Palacio de Bellas Artes 2004; Lotfi Mansouri 2002; Russell Johnson 1998; Harvey Lichtenstein 1996, among others.

Eleanor Debra Friedland was born and raised in Toronto, one of three children (brother, Norm Perry, former Television host with CTV,  CBC and TVO, sister, Marlene Perry, former CBC Producer, The Fifth Estate, all  retired.)

Eleanor holds a Masters degree in Sociology from  the University of Toronto and prior to retirement was a 30 year career civil servant with the Ontario Government.  Her last 25 year tenure was with the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations.  In her capacity as Executive Policy Advisor, she and her staff developed  policy for approximately 10 pieces of consumer legislation, including The  Motor Vehicle Dealers Act,  Real Estate and Business Brokers  Act and the Condominium Act, to name a few.

Since her retirement and up to 2012, Ms. Friedland was an active member and media spoke-person for the Consumers Council of Canada (CCC).  In 2013, she was appointed to and currently sits as  the Vice President of the Consumer Education and Research Foundation. In addition, Ms. Friedland is one of the public panel members of the Advertising Standards Canada’s -Consumer Complaints Appeal Panel.

Eleanor Friedland has been an active member of The Associates of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra since 1996 and has been its president for the past 9 years.  The Associates sponsor and organize 5 chamber music concerts a year featuring members of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra.  These Concerts take place at the Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre.

With her late husband, Professor Seymour Friedland (York University), she built a major art collection featuring both Canadian and American contemporary Art.

John was born near and grew up in Granby, Quebec. After studying Electrical Engineering at the University of New Brunswick, he joined IBM in Montreal. During his time there he was involved with a number of applications, mostly associated with software development and maintenance for the finance industry. He worked on an Expo 67 project on blood analysis using computers in partnership with Hôpital Nôtre-Dame in Montreal, then with the provincial government in Quebec City when Revenu Québec was automating its tax collection system.

In 1969 he was transferred to Toronto, where he joined the IBM Laboratory to work on the development of an enhanced Datacentre Services system for the industry. Continuing with Datacentre Services, he then worked with the system which had just been installed for a number of customers. After a break from financial applications for a position in the Toronto Computing Centre, he returned to Datacentre Services to work again on software development and maintenance for the Brokerage (now called Securities) industries.

In the eighties the Securities system was migrating from a batch-oriented system to one that used online processing. He was involved with the development and maintenance of software for this system, and continued to be so as a further migration to the Internet took place.

Outside the workplace, John acted as Treasurer for a number of small charitable organizations including the Associates of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the International Resource Centre for Performing Artists, and the St. James’ Cathedral Guild of Change Ringers. Since his retirement from IBM in 2004, he continued with these activities.

John enjoys music and attends symphonic, chamber music, opera and ballet performances with his wife, Sheila.

After spending 25 years in Real Estate development, Ms. Rose returned to her preferred vocation, obtaining accreditation in a number of fields pertaining to complementary medicine. Previous initiatives include working as a cosmetic adviser and specialist in Ontario to major companies in retail marketing and promotion, and as a make-up artist for television commercials and feature films.

In her school years, Ms. Rose studied violin and performed with the University of Toronto Orchestra and the Etobicoke Symphony. She is currently a member of the Associates of the Toronto Symphony as well as a board member of the IRCPA.

Linda Litwack has worked four decades as a publicist, mostly at CBC, where she was the Radio Music publicist for 20 years, and then a publicist with Television Arts and Entertainment. In 1997, she moved into the freelance market through her company, Linda Litwack Publicity, and has continued to promote music (mostly classical), along with television programs and a variety of other arts. She began her career as a summer reporter with the Winnipeg Tribune, and became a publicist with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet before moving to Toronto in 1972. As a sideline, she has written musical arrangements that have been performed by singers and choirs; with her partner Charlie Sise published two novels through their company Groundhog Press, and served as an artistic advisor, writer and editor for a CD by soprano Denise Williams.

As an international leader in education, Anna provides students with a safe, solid educational foundation so students become global thinkers and life-long learners. Anna is not only preparing students for university, college, apprenticeship or work, she’s preparing them for life and for the world they live in. She believes learning and education are privileges that no one should take for granted. Everyone, no matter their age or their abilities, has the right to an excellent education. As every student is unique, Anna provide them with an individualized educational plan and a caring staff mentor to help guide them through their educational journey. By providing personalized attention and by constantly monitoring data with the school team, we address any gaps in student learning quickly and effectively. Anna has had the pleasure of engaging students at Toronto District School Board as a teacher, Vice-Principal and Principal. She was the Principal of Castelli International in Pescara, Italy, and worked with TVO ILC as the Vice-Principal of online learning. Anna is now continuing to help students thrive as Principal of an International high school, New Renaissance Academy.

Singer-Songwriter, Rhythm Guitarist, and Lawyer, Katherine Cash was called to the Ontario Bar in January of 2019, after which she started her own music law practice, Cash Music Law. Operating as a sole practitioner she worked for musicians, aiding them in litigation, contract interpretation, and ownership issues with regards to intellectual property and work product. Since the Covid-19 pandemic she has had to suspend her practice on hold temporarily.

Katherine started vocal training as a child, singing in choirs, learning piano and trombone, and eventually learning to play guitar and to write songs. Between high school and university she travelled through out Canada for several years, busking and hitchhiking through small towns in BC and Prairies, up to the Yukon and back earning her way as a troubadour.

Returning to Toronto, she started a 5-piece country music band called the Kitchen City Orphans. They played extensively in Toronto with notable gigs at the Local Pub in Roncesvalles, the Cameron House, 3030 Dundas, and others. Law school with its rigorous academic demands took over for several years however, and she has performed only periodically since 2013. Currently, she is working on a new batch of songs and looking forward to recording her first EP, and is doing research for the labour movement.

Born in Calgary. Credited with over 200 shows as writer or producer, including some of Canada’s longest runs, including TORONTO TORONTO, THE VAUDEVILLIANS, ON TAP, ROB ROY at the Edinburgh Festival, and his Oratorio ABRAHAM in 2015, starring Richard Margison. Produced Dora Mavor Moore Awards ’81 – ’83 (only 3 times televised). Regular performer on Peter Gzowski’s MORNINGSIDE (CBC Radio). Toured with Maureen Forrester, Ben Heppner, Rebecca Caine, Michael Burgess, Jackie Richardson, and Jeff Hyslop. Conducted SHENANDOAH on Broadway.

MD/Orchestrator for UNFORGETTABLE, and first 9 Pantos with Ross Petty AT Elgin. Created CANADA POPS ORCHESTRA (Conductor). Three Dora Mavor Moore Awards. Musical Director/Co-producer of SONGS OF THE CITY for United Way since 2015. Musical Director/Arranger for Television special YOUR ALL-TIME CLASSIC HIT PARADE, now shooting its 4th season. Most recent CD’s: THE THREE DAVIDS, THE UNIVERSE IS DANCING.

Over 35 years, the International Resource Centre for Performing Artists has enabled over 700 Canadian musicians – and others – to bridge the gap between school and career, and counselled them at various stages of their development for new employment opportunities.   

In 1977, Ann Summers Dossena returned to her native city to transfer her artist management company from New York and Rome to Toronto.   Having started in New York and still having an office in Rome, she discovered a critical gap: No matter how much training and how many honours that performers had received, they emerged from schools without knowing what they needed to get their first professional job and begin their actual career.  The business of performing had generally evaded them. If an artist made his/her first audition (job interview) too early, it could be another two years or more before a company would consider hearing them again. Also, the resources they needed as young professionals were no longer available to them.

This need has always been particularly critical for singers, whose careers by their very nature are shorter than those of other performers.  Are they choosing the right repertoire for their voice? Do they need help with language? Are they dressing appropriately for an audition and conveying the right mien for the role they are seeking?  Do they know where their repertoire has a market and audience? (Italy is good for German repertoire, Germany good for Italian.)

Obtaining this information and experience most often required expensive travel to New York or Europe.  Out of this need was born the International Resource Centre for Performing Artists, in 1983. It received charitable status in 1985.

Summers Dossena set out to bring the experts to Canada, mainly to Toronto.   Using her New York and Rome connections, she brought in such experts as Metropolitan Opera coach Joan Dornemann and language authority Nico Castel, sopranos Regina Resnick and Renata Scotto, La Scala vocal coach Vincenzo Scalera and such directors as Colin Graham, Irving Guttman and Leon Major for what she called Encounters with Employers. The late internationally celebrated Canadian soprano Clarice Carson also advised on wardrobe.

The Encounters have been extended to include instrumentalists.  On October 27, members of the New York-based Dorion Wind Quintet, in collaboration with Mooredale Concerts, will work with players or chamber ensembles, sharing the secrets of their successful 60-year career.  (Summers Dossena had worked with the original members when the quintet first formed in 1958-59.) A panel will select a small number of players and ensembles to take part.

Workshops on such topics as Who’s Who in the Industry (management, employers, media, publicity, etc.), personal finance, creating and booking concerts, and advice for newcomers; round tables on timely topics, and one-on-one sessions are also part of the IRCPA’s contributions to Canada’s musicians. Panellists have included renowned figures from across Canada, the U.S. and even outside North America.  This website, shares information relevant to musicians.


In 1982, Ann organized a festival devoted to Canadian music, architecture and culture, in L’Aquila, Italy. It featured the orchestra from London, Ontario, and choir from Ottawa, together with soloists Frances Ginzer, Patricia Kern, Mark Dubois and Christopher Cameron in Handel’s Messiah.  Ruby Mercer of Opera Canada, Aviva Layton of Maclean`s, Kevin McMahon of the St. Catharines Standard, and music critics William Littler (Toronto Star), Eric McLean (Montreal Gazette) and Richard Newman (London Free Press) wrote about the strong impression the Canadians made.  The festival also included a panel discussion with two of the critics, plus Opera Canada’s Ruby Mercer and singer/teacher Patricia Kern, on the training of singers in Canada.

Artists Left to Right: Patricia Kern, Frances Ginzer, Christopher Cameron, Mark Dubois, London Symphony Orchestra (ON), conductor: Brian Law, Ottawa Choral Society

The critics considered the event a turning point for Canadian culture in Europe!  Short excerpts:

Richard Newman, London Free Press/Canadian Press/Associated Press: “Can you imagine the country of Caruso, Gigli and Pavarotti asking Canadians the secret of their singing?… After two presentations, attended by 4,000, and acclaimed in the Italian press, the Italian journalists asked for a news conference to find out what Canadian school of singing had been created to train such voices”

Eric McLean, Montreal Gazette: “Soloists, chorus, orchestra, conductor…everyone came in for praise in the Italian press.  Critics had come from Rome and Milan, and Enrico Cavallotti of il tempo described it as ‘a Messiah that was exalted in its intimacy.’… Walter Tortoreto in Paese Sera was no less enthusiastic.’ …the first International Music Festival dedicated to Canada, a country that is emerging musically.  It would be difficult to imagine a more successful opening.  Close to 200 people – instrumentalists, vocalists, a symphony orchestra, a choir, dancers, and architects – were flown to Rome as guests of the Italian government….were the organizers really that interested in the musicians of Canada?… What guided the choice of artists and ensembles?… Although I did not find all the answers, I lost my scepticism, and I came away from the festival proud of the showing my compatriots had made.”

William Littler: “The Festival is over now, three weeks of concerts, panel discussions and exhibitions, devoted entirely to music and architecture in Canada.  The sheer improbability of it all has only begun to sink in.  The Festival represented the largest, most successful attempt ever launched to broaden Canada’s image culturally in the land of Michelangelo and Verdi…. As David Anido, Canada’s cultural attaché in the Rome embassy candidly admitted:  ‘A huge amount of goodwill has been created through this festival. It has received coverage in the Italian newspapers far beyond its local audience.  Actually, we didn’t do it.  The embassy was only peripherally involved in L’Aquila. A Canadian impresario made it happen. Ann Summers has done something that has given credit to all of us as Canadians.’”

Kevin McMahon, St. Catharines Standard, describing an incident in L’Aquila: “The lady at the stamp counter was civil but bureaucratic until she saw the envelopes were addressed to Canada. Then she warmly gushed ‘Canadian?… with the orchestra?  No? No matter – just to be a Canadian here right now is enough. It is to be an honored guest.’  ‘It’s a great honour for Canada,’ Brian Law (conductor of The Ottawa Choral Society) said.  ‘The whole concept of devoting a three-week festival to Canadian art and culture is a real compliment to Canada.’ …There is a mix of people happening here and the Italians are giving their guests a genuine and warm welcome.”

Poster for L’Aquila Festival in Italy, 1982.

Aviva Layton, Maclean’s: “As the cries of ‘Bis Bis’ rose from the boisterous Italian audience, singer Christopher Cameron was preparing for the worst.  ‘I thought they were booing us. I was waiting for the tomatoes.’ The fears of the basso from Toronto proved to be unfounded. The chant is the Italian version of ‘encore’.  The audience was simply going wild with enthusiasm over the performance of Handel’s Messiah by the Ottawa Choral Society, Orchestra London and four Canadian soloists.  The musicians were grateful for the European exposure. ‘People back home take stock of you after this.’ enthused soprano Frances Ginzer. In return, the major newspapers in Rome were doling out rave reviews to the Canadian musicians.  Canada, it seems, can deliver not only fish and chips, but truffles as well.”

Back in Canada, the success of this event, and the lack of resources for Canadian artists inspired Ann to form, with colleagues from the U.S. and Europe, the IRCPA the following year.


Among the earliest IRCPA supporters were two major figures in Canadian arts: contralto Maureen Forrester and respected arts journalist Arnold Edinborough.  

In a 1983 letter supporting an arts council grant request, Forrester commended the IRCPA for its “excellent” seminar program, which she said “should prove of inestimable value to Canadian artists who are commencing their careers,” helping them learn the skills to perform well and build self-confidence.”

Similarly, Edinborough wrote, “The concept of the Centre is excellent.  The transition from being a top student to being a successful professional is difficult enough.  Getting up the professional ladder and making the right decisions about repertoire and the planning of a career is much more so.”

Some of Canada’s finest singers credit the IRCPA for guidance that proved invaluable in their careers.  One of the best known is soprano Adrianne Pieczonka, who called her encounter with Joan Dornemann a revelation!” adding, “Her expertise and energy inspired me very much and I can still recall the suggestions she made.”  Regarding today’s young singers, she notes, “I am aware that many young singers now struggle to transition from their training years to working as a professional – this gap period as you called it.  Frankly, the business seems much harder to crack nowadays.  Finding an agent seems near impossible for many singers. It’s tough.”

Thirty years later, in 2013, Ann transferred the representation of artists and retired her management of 55 years to work fulltime as a volunteer for the IRCPA.  She also presented Canada Day in Rome’s Accademia Filarmonica. Romana.  It featured Canadian classical, jazz and world music, including Italian and European premieres of Canadian classical and world music, a discussion of the works of Glenn Gould by William Littler, a concert live streamed with the Borealis Quartet (Vancouver), violinist Guillaume Tardif (Edmonton), soprano Jana Miller (Montreal), pianist Jordan de Souza (Toronto), clarinetist Kornel Wolak (Toronto) and the Dominic Mancuso Group (Toronto).   The artists were also showcased in Toronto, after their return.

In addition, the IRCPA’s programs have helped newcomer world musicians such as Nigerian singer-songwriter Sonia Oduwa Aimy and kamanche (Persian spiked fiddle) player Shahriyar Jamshidi, jazz artists, composers and many others.  (Jamshidi was accepted in the Banff Artists’ Residency program in 2017.

Encounter with Renata Scotto. 1990


Encounter with Joan Dornemann, 1991


Major, Russell, Scarlett. 1993


35 Years later, Pieczonka will be giving back in the form of an Encounter for the next generation of singers on October 26.   Eleven singers (10 plus one alternate) will be chosen by the IRCPA’s vocal advisory panel to work with her, and subsequently perform in a live broadcast from Zoomer Hall in the third edition of Singing Stars – The Next Generation at The New Classical FM, Monday, November 5.  One of them will be selected by Ms. Pieczonka to receive the IRCPA’s Career Blueprint, three days of working at New York’s National Opera Center for new promotional materials, audio/video recordings, photos, feedback auditions and valuable mentoring.  

Each singer will participate in the Encounter on a scholarship donated by private individuals in the name of a past or present Canadian opera star or another important person in our arts scene.


Clarence Frazer, recipient of Career Blueprint Award. Ten Singing Stars: The Next Generation concert at Zoomer Hall, 2017.

The previous two Singing Stars encounters were given by soprano Sondra Radvanovsky and baritone Brett Polegato.   Soprano Natalya Gennadi, who was one of two singers chosen by Radvanovsky for the Career Blueprint in 2016, was catapulted into the title role of Tapestry Opera’s world premiere of the opera Oksana G in large part because of her work with the Metropolitan Opera star.  Less than two years later, in 2018, she was nominated for a Dora Mavor Moore Award!  As she wrote to Ann Summers Dossena.

Good morning dear Ann, what a few days it’s been! I’m sure you’ve heard that I got nominated for the Dora Mavor Moore awards along with Jane Archibald, Simone Osborne and Sondra Radvanovsky herself!  It feels surreal; it’s been not even two years since I sang for Sondra.  I just wanted to thank you yet once again for everything that you do and for your support.

Natalya Gennadi and Marjorie Maltais, recipients of Career Blueprint Award. Ten Singing Stars: The Next Generation concert, at Alliance Francaise Toronto, 2016.

Other artists and their comments on how they were helped by the IRCPA include the following:

Soprano and teacher Mary Morrison: “Many years ago, I attended Joan Dornemann’s sessions as an observer. Her fabulous ears and acute musicianship have inspired some of our budding professional singers, and have certainly influenced my own teaching. I always encourage students to participate in any of her courses. How fortunate for singers to have this experience.

Mezzo-soprano Jean Stilwell, famed for her title role in Carmen: “I learned a phenomenal amount from Joan (Dornemann). In fact, I think it is fair to say that Joan was the best coach with whom I ever worked.”

Tenor Colin Ainsworth:  “The IRCPA has set up a fantastic venue for singers giving them opportunity to work with the best in the operatic profession…I had the chance to work with director Colin Graham, and it was a highlight in my development…. It is not often that singers have the opportunity to work with such great people and it’s thanks to this organization that we do.”

Wendy Solomon, Lush Quartet: “With the lack of business-oriented courses in most music schools, it’s a huge challenge for any musician to run a small ensemble. Thank goodness for Ann Summers Dossena and IRCPA to help along the way. After listening to Edna Landau’s seminar at the ‘Career Moves’ workshop in 2011, and a great session with Ann, I’m feeling much more confident that I can market my group. What a great resource!”

Other former participants over the years have included  sopranos Isabel Bayrakdarian and Kathy Domoney (now a leading artist manager), mezzo Kimberley Barber, and pianist Rachel Andrist, who received an IRCPA scholarship to work with Joan Dornemann in the 1990s,  In more recent years, IRCPA Encounters have welcomed Emily D’Angelo, Beth Hagerman, Beste Kalender, Clarence Frazer and Asitha Tennekoon, amongst others.

Canada Day Concert in Rome, 2014. Jana Miller, Kornel Wolak and Jordan de Souza in performance.



Businessman Lawrence J. (Larry) Webb nominated the IRCPA for the Premier’s Award for Excellence in the Arts, writing (in part):

It is well documented that an active arts program in any community benefits all those in the community, not just those who follow the program.

And many of those in the arts sub-community have many hurdles to overcome including financial, physical, and personal. They must learn their craft and then move into the world of performance, all of which places great strains in the lives of many.

The International Resource Centre for Performing Artists (IRCPA) was set up to address these very hurdles and to assist as many performing artists as possible in overcoming the hurdles, acquiring new knowledge from seasoned performers, and receiving coaching in the many and varied aspects of performance.

The Centre also puts performers in touch with one another for real life peer advice as well as with possible employers.

Without these services, each performer is pretty much on their own, adrift in a sea of uncertainty which many creative people are not so well equipped to manage.

And so back to my opening paragraph. IRCPA, by supporting the artists as it does, performs an essential service for the community as a whole as well as for the artists themselves. 


Ann Summers Dossena shares valuable career advice in her book Getting It All Together, published by Scarecrow Press in the U.S in 1985.  The book is still available on, and in such places as York University and the Toronto Reference Library.

In 2011, she received the first Manager of the Year Award for Excellence as a Manager or Agent in the Performing Arts by NAPAMA – the North American Association of Performing Arts Managers and Agents.

In 2014, she became the first Canadian to receive the International Citation of Merit from the International Society of Performing Arts (ISPA).

The Savvy Musician Workshop, 2016. Peter Scott, Arts admin; Margaret Lioi, CEO CMA; Faith Amour (jazz singer/song writer) and Robert Baird, (Crossing Borders author)

Teiya Kasahra On The IRCPA’s Encounter and Concert Program For Singers

Joseph So On How The IRCPA Bridges “The Gap” For Performing Artists

Jocelyn Fralick On The IRCPA’s Encounter and Concert Program for Singers

John-Michael Scapin On The IRCPA’s Encounter and Concert Program for Singers

Theodore Baerg On The IRCPA’s Resources for Young Professional Artists

Sara Schabas On The IRCPA Impact

Sondra Radvanovsky and Naomi Eberhard a young artist who is constantly faced with the negatives of this industry to see someone who embodies all that is positive about this career path… I thank  the IRCPA for this life changing experience.”

Naomi Eberhard, soprano, Ottawa

“Feeling grateful and inspired! It was incredibly inspiring to work with Sondra and to watch her work with other participants. Thank you to the Mary Morrison scholarship for sponsoring my participation. What a wonderful day of music making!” 

Caitlin Wood, soprano, Toronto

Sondra Radvanovsky and Caitlin Wood
Sondra Radvanovsky and Marjorie Maltais

“… In this busy audition season, when we have so many expenses, the timing was ideal. I had to travel for auditions and I would not have been able to afford the extra voice lesson. The Encounter gave me tools to feel more confident and have strong auditions. Thank you also for the career blueprint in New York City. Headshots, recordings, and consultations are very expensive but very important and it puts me at ease to know that these will be covered for the audition season.” 

Marjorie Maltais, Mezzo-Soprano

“Congratulations on yet another fantastic IRCPA event. You continue to inspire with the depth of presenter and participant that you are able to track. And I thank you for the honor of introducing Margaret Lioi. She is magnificent.

I am so sorry that I have to run out before the program ended… I feel privileged to be able to work with you and to be in your circles. I also want to express my appreciation for your recognition of the First Nations in your opening remarks.”

Ron Davis,  Jazz-Pianist,  SymphRonica

David Cutler, Ron Davis
Tim Robinson (NAPAMA), horn player Amelia Shiels, pianist Rachel Peacock

“Attending the Savvy Musician workshop organized by the International Resource Centre for Performing Artists was an eye opening experience to the level of professional expertise and strategy needed as a young artist. I found myself taken aback at how much I have yet to encounter professionally in our diverse performance industry.

As a self employed artist, I have been trained to a high level of skill, artistic expression and professionalism. Unfortunately, myself and many of my colleagues find ourselves ill equipped to navigate the business territory of the performance industry. There is a lack of business education becoming more and more evident in an increasingly freelance and project-based market. Successfully building a career without a formal employer laying out a trajectory has become daunting to today’s musicians.

The focus and intention of the IRCPA could not be better aligned with the needs of graduating young professionals in North America. Within their November workshop alone, guest speakers highlighted creative business strategy, multiple/passive revenue streams, financial planning and engaging audiences. There were new topics introduced such as travel permits, timelines for tours and guidelines for easy border crossings.  

The opportunity to meet respected professionals face to face made new learning curves much more approachable, particularly as we were encouraged to ask questions through the discussions. Not only were IRCPA representatives present, but also leaders from Chamber Music America, Baird Artists Managements, current performance groups and respected arts entrepreneurship author David Cutler.

IRCPA’s work is definitely helping my confidence as a professional Canadian artist. In this coming year, several new partnerships and opportunities are directly traceable to their generous work within the performance community.

I will certainly continue participating in their initiatives and hope to support their growing role as a resource to performers. In my opinion they hold a unique role of immense value to Canadian musicians. I am very much looking forward to the next event!”

Amelia Sheils, French Horn Player

“I was honoured to be a part of the event, and glad to be able to be able to help on that day.

The Savvy Musician workshop was fantastic. The author and workshop leader David Cutler was very knowledgeable, having been in our position – an independent musician in a new era of music and a changing industry. He walked us through a very important concept, the idea that you don’t have to expect to only do one thing to make your livelihood – multiple streams of income – passive and active – can and should be used to create a real life. The artist doesn’t need to be ‘struggling’ if he uses all his talents!

The fact that we were able to get such concrete and helpful information right here in our own city at an affordable price is one of the things I appreciate most about the IRCPA. Access to individuals like Robert Baird, leaders in Chamber Music America, and other major arts organizations would be just impossible without the IRCPA. I had so many pressing questions answered just that day, and then in the relationships that I formed with those leaders and with other like-minded artists I met that day. Artists are privileged to have such a wonderful resource in the IRCPA! I only hope it will grow and be able to provide more programming – bring it on!”

Faith Amour, Jazz Singer-Songwriter – Volunteer

Margaret Lioi, CEO CMA; Faith Amour (jazz singer/song writer) and Robert Baird, (Crossing Borders author)

— Karina Bray , Soprano

I would like to thank the IRCPA so very much for an amazing Encounter with Sondra Radvanovsky. It meant a lot to me to listen and to learn from a professional, while re-enforcing the importance of technique and interpretation. As you know, when studying music it is not a set time from September to April or even to June. It is year round, every day and every minute. The IRCPA offers so much to us young professionals and gives the opportunity for us to continue to learn and grow our passion. I can not thank you enough for these opportunities and am very much looking forward to the next event!

— Marjorie Malais, Mezzo Soprano

I am currently in New York for a few auditions… I opened both my auditions with ‘Non più mesta’ and used Sondra’s suggestions and I must say that I felt strong and confident. Thanks to you and Sondra!

— Danielle MacMillan, Mezzo Soprano

Thank you again so very much for this incredible opportunity; I am so very grateful to have had the honor of working with Sondra; who is a 21st century Golden Age Great! I learned so much, not only from my time with her but also from observing everyone else she worked with. I don’t think this would’ve been possible without the generous sponsorship; I myself wouldn’t have been able to afford it had it not been for the scholarship in Maureen Forrester’s name. It is organizations such as IRCPA that continue to make these dreams come true by continuing to learn and grow from those who had been in our young artist shoes at one time. I can’t thank you enough and I’m very much looking forward to the Singing Stars of Tomorrow concert.

October, 2016.

— Jessica Scarlato, Soprano

I would like to once again thank the IRCPA for organizing such an incredible opportunity for us aspiring singers; Having the opportunity to work with Sondra Radvanovsky, a world class opera star, is something that I could have only imagined in my dreams and is an experience I will never forget. I left the Encounter this afternoon feeling inspired, motivated and eager to get to work in the practice room. Above all, the amount of information and knowledge I gained from today’s Encounter is quite frankly immeasurable; The technical advice I got from Sondra while working with her was literally priceless.
Sondra said that it is her duty to give back to the art form and pass along the torch to the next generation of opera singers. I, too, hope that I could one day do the same.
Many thanks!!

October, 2016.

— Caitlin Wood, Soprano

Feeling grateful and inspired! I am so thankful for the International Resource Centre for Performing Artists (IRCPA) for creating today’s Encounter with Sondra Radvanovsky. This world class singer was unbelievably gracious as she shared her knowledge. It was incredibly inspiring to work with her and watch her work with all of the other talented participants. Thank you to the Mary Morrison scholarship for sponsoring my participation. What a wonderful day of music making!

October, 2016.

— Naomi Eberhard, Soprano

I am back in Ottawa from my time in Toronto and wanted to write and thank the IRCPA immensely for the opportunity to work with Sondra on Wednesday. It was a once in a life time occurrence and I am beyond grateful.

What this experience brought to me specifically was the chance to work with a beautiful artist, who knows her instrument inside and out, has the world’s largest stages on her résumé and yet maintains a gracious humility. It is refreshing as a young artist who is constantly faced with the negatives of this industry to see someone who embodies all that is positive about this career path. She also maintains the foundations of what has made this art form indelible for centuries. It was so encouraging to see her uphold the teachings of the great singers and teachers of the past, and to remind us of them through specific one-on-one, hands on practice. So often this industry can be filled with confusion and far too many opinions and Sondra demonstrated that sticking to the enduring backbone of “old school” vocal technique is a clear path to success. What a champion of the stage and for the young artist you have brought to us; I feel extremely blessed to have been given this opportunity and I thank the IRCPA from the bottom of my heart for this life changing experience.

Thank you for being such a strong advocate for young singers, we would be lost without people like you!

October, 2016.

— Professor at Southern Connecticut State University, New Haven, USA

“I teach a Masters Degree…Your website provides valuable insight into the needs of performers on a variety of levels of educational and professional development. I imagine that the variety of workshops offered by the IRCPA have greatly enhanced the careers of many artists wise enough to take advantage of your many services…we will continue to make use of your remarkable resources…Thank you for all that your organization does for all of us.”
Received MAY 20, 2016.

— Well known opera coach and collaborative pianist

Hired to perform for workshop in 2015 is not available in November, recently wrote:
“Wow – that sounds like a wonderful program that you have planned and I would have loved to be part of it. However, I’m already contracted for an opera festival in Peru from September 15 until October 28 or 29. Please keep up everything you’re doing. The singers in Canada need what you are doing and I appreciate all the efforts that you, through IRCPA, are making. Many best wishes to you – and I hope we can reconnect in a time when my schedule is free.”
Received June 11, 2016

— Colin Ainsworth

“The IRCPA has set up a fantastic venue for singers giving them opportunity to work with the best in the operatic profession, providing excellent teaching and guidance. I had the chance to work with director Colin Graham, and it was a highlight in my development, I learned so much from him in my session. It is not often that singers have the opportunity to work with such great people and it’s thanks to this organization that we do.”

— Julie Rahn

“Here are my impressions:

  • helpful, necessary, practical
  • relaxed atmosphere
  • honest discussion
  • music jargon defined e.g. directories, presenters, showcases

Thank-you, Ann, for the 5-part wardrobe outline for the classical (Baroque) singer. Not being a clothes horse, I felt overwhelmed at the time. But have recovered enough now to start tackling this issue.

Robert Baird’s … focus – “the business of music” – was the jolt I needed to catapult me out of the “student” mindset I’ve had the last couple of years.

Since the workshop, I’ve been able to find information, etc to help kick start the process (slowly but surely) of business planning.

The price for the day and the lunch were very reasonable and should not deter anyone from attending.

Lunch by Paintbox Bistro was good. My first time at the “revised” Regent Park development.

Thanks for all your hard work, effort and vision, Ann.

Let me know if there’s anything I can do to help.”

— Sonia Oduwa Aimy

As a newcomer to Canada working in the re-branding of my music for North America, I must confess the International Resource Center for Performing Arts is one of the most resourceful workshops I have ever participated since my stay in the country.

I found all the content discussed very relevant and helpful for the development of my career in North America.

The experts in the industry gave very insightful information while the cozy atmosphere made it possible to mingle and discuss with people in the area of my work.

All my questions regarding to securing booking agent in Canada, marketing and the importance of re-branding were all answered.

Most importantly, IRCPA connected me easily to professionals who are now playing key roles in the whole process for my re-branding and for sourcing a booking agent.

Another important aspect of this seminar I appreciated so much is the amount of inspiration it brings by seeing the passion invested by Ann Summers both for putting the events together and also for keeping in touch with artists including me to make sure I am following up my goals and also continuously making contributions.

I would really love to see this continue and willing to contribute what ever area I may fit.

If I may suggest, I would love to see a topic in the future that caters for new immigrant artists in my situation on how to navigate this whole process of integration and the arts facilities in the city.

I truly hope this my humble feedback add up to many other voices.

Wishing you all the best in your future events.

— Yasmina Proveyer, Manager, MDA Prod.

In early April this year I was fortunate to attend the workshop series organized by the International Resource Centre for Performing Arts (IRCPA) in Toronto.

My artist practice, is in Arts Management…. the last three years I administered the career of the Cuban-born pianist based in Ottawa: Miguel de Armas, as a solo artist, as well as his music group: the MDA Latin Jazz Quartet, and other musicians in the National Capital Region.

I very much enjoy my work, but I feel that I lack support breaking into the Canadian and North American Music Industry.

During the RCPA workshops, I had the opportunity to hear what is essential for a professional performing artist to have a successful career. The discussion,in a round table setting included three different points of views: from an agent, an established artist and a manager. The session was very inclusive where –as part of the audience- I was able to share my story and listen to other’s experiences.

… a keynote speaker delivered an inspiring presentation about how to insert yourself – as an artist – in today’s music ecosystem. I was able to identify myself with most of the points he made and the motivations I am driven by. …the day was very informative about the strategies that lead to enhanced access and markets.

This educational weekend was very helpful and so far the most fulfilling career development activity. I met and developed relationships with several professionals in the industry. These sessions helped me to understand better how things work in this sector and to emphasize the importance of having a mentor. For this reason I am nurturing a relationship with the leader of this organization, Ann Summers Dossena, who is guiding me to achieve my artistic goals and to better build the path to developing my full potential in the music management industry.

— Wendy Solomon, Lush Quartet

“We’ve had fantastic audience reaction and I really feel that LUSH should succeed, but I’m searching for guidance.

I admire greatly what you’ve done for the music industry and was hoping I could meet with you. Thanks for your time.

With the lack of business-oriented courses in most Music Schools, it’s a huge challenge for any musician to run a small ensemble. Thank goodness for Ann Summers Dossena and IRCPA to help along the way. After listening to Edna Landau’s seminar at the ‘Career Moves’ workshop in 2011, and a great session with Ann, I’m feeling much more confident that I can market my group. What a great resource!”

— Andrea Tyniec

” I wanted to ask you if you would be interested in meeting me to talk about some possible steps to take in my career. At this point in my musical path, I am working diligently towards creating my first solo recording and juggling the managing of my career on my own, the funding of every step of my project, and the preparing for my performances. I’ve been a soloist for more than 10 years and have a great passion for performing, for creating connection with audiences and for new Canadian works. Right now, what I need the most is the guidance of a mentor, and in my heart I thought of you, especially because of the optimism and enthusiasm you transmitted to us all.

— Adrianne Pieczonka

“Greetings from Vienna. As a young singer aspiring to become an opera singer, I had the good fortune to benefit from the International Resource Centre for Performing Artists. I participated in a masterclass (Encounter) given by Joan Dornemann which was a revelation! Her expertise and energy inspired me very much and I can still recall the suggestions she made.”

— Jean MacPhail

“I was fortunate enough to attend a Master Class (Encounter) with Joan. I was so impressed with her depth of knowledge of the Italian repertoire, language, history of language and culture. The experience was entertaining as well as informative. Her experience and dedication to the Operatic Literature is more than impressive.”

— Jean Stilwell

“I learned a phenomenal amount from Joan. In fact I think it is fair to say that Joan was thebest coach with whom I ever worked.”

— Mary Morrison

“Many years ago, I attended Joan Dornemann’s sessions as an observer. Her fabulous ears and acute musicianship have inspired some of our budding professional singers, and have certainly influenced my own teaching. I always encourage students to participate in any of her courses. How fortunate for singers to have this experience.

— Lee Jameson, bass baritone

“The Centre’s session were a turning point for me in many ways… they put me on the right path in several aspects for which I’m most grateful. I completed my B.Mus and performed in Edmonton, Vancouver and Toronto. I have this year been part of the International tour of “Phantom” in Singapore and Hong Kong. This steady work has certainly helped me pay my education-related debts. Thank you for your attention, for your hard work and for bringing Joan Dornemann to Vancouver.”

— Hugh Russell, Baritone

“I would like to thank you for your recommendation that I audition for Bramwell Tovey. Due to that audition, I now have my first contract.

— Jeanne Baxtresser, Flutist

“I find myself frustrated with the unfortunate lack of time to devote to the business aspects of a musical career, as well as long-range career planning. Unfortunately, these subjects of such vital importance are not covered in the university curriculum nor are they to my knowledge available anywhere else. The program is a fascinating study that would successfully fill out the education of our young professionals and make it complete on all levels.

— Gail Harrison, York Arts Coordinator

“My most sincere thanks for accepting Adam Brazier into your “Encounter with Employers” with Leon Major. This was a wonderful opportunity for Adam to receive some professional coaching and to experience a small part of the real “professional arts” world. Also, Adam mentioned to me that he very much appreciated the sessions on how to write a biography and the panel discussion. I hope these “Encounters” will continue and that future arts students from Unionville High School may be included.

— Anita Noel, Waterloo

“How time-effective it was for me as “Chairman of the Board” to simply pass on Ms. Summers’ book to my VP/spouse in answer to his innocent questions, “So what did you talk about today? I’ve also found it an excellent resource (good notes or no) for reminding me of what I was sure I would not forget.”

— Catherine Fitch, Toronto

“The world of management and career development, with its various terms, agreements, understandings and arrangements, does not have to be confusing or overwhelming as is sometimes the case. The Management Workshop gave tremendous insight and so much practical advice to support and encourage young performers. It affirmed, for me, much of what I have recently encountered in many situations with which I have had to be involved regarding hold agreements, personal contacts and contracts. It will all seem infinitely easier with which to deal as a result of your clear and direct explanations. Thank you for providing such insight and opportunity right here in Toronto.

— Janet Dea

“I would like you to know how much I enjoyed the Joan Dornemann encounter and the management seminar you gave with Richard Adams. Not only did I learn valuable information, but it was a good opportunity for me to be heard by people in Toronto… Another important aspect of your encounters which I had not anticipated was my being able to expand my network of singer/friends. Meeting and getting to know other singers who are at the beginning of their careers has been another good source of information and perhaps just as important, friendship. This week I am auditioning for conductors and artistic directors and will return to Edmonton to prepare for my trip to Graz. Thanks again for helping to make my Toronto trip a successful one.”

— Helen Murray, Accompanist

“For young artists on the verge of becoming professionals, and for teachers, coaches and senior students, many insights are offered, and the contact with people at the top of the profession is inspiring.”

— Susan Hoeppner, Flutist

“I would like to tell you how much I enjoyed the Jeanne Baxtresser Encounter. I respect her teaching and her thorough approach to music. I feltI learned a lot and was totally inspired. Thank you very much for this opportunity. I hope there are many more in the future.

What is the IRCPA?

The International Resource Centre for Performing Artists is a dedicated service organization for Musical Artists. It was incorporated in 1985 to support freelance performers in the music field to make the transition from student to professional and to assist them to reach their goals at various stages in their careers.

How do Encounters with Employers presented by the IRCPA differ from masterclasses given at universities or schools?

Masterclasses are in study programs. The Encounters with Employers emulate the professional workings of an engagement in a theatre. The artists perform once each day as they would in rehearsal. The second day allows the employer to see which artists were able to quickly integrate their new information, as is required on the job.

I enjoyed the class so much. Please keep me informed. Again thank you so so much.
PS. I would like to borrow your word if I may. I’ve been thinking over that wonderful word encounters and if I may I would like to use it for our program because it’s not all about classes as you said thanks again much love Joan.”
Joan Dornemann

Why do artists have such a gap between time of graduation and entry into performing?

Presenting organizations (employers) book artists at least two years in advance. Opera companies sometimes more.

Why do artists have the expense of $95 average for job interviews?

This is the cost in Toronto, to give an audition, hiring an accompanist and renting a space. If the job interview is in another city, travel, hotel and accompanist must also be counted in the expense, without any guarantee of getting the job.

Why does the IRCPA bring employers to Toronto instead of awarding grants to individual artists?

We feel that by bringing employers and artistic directors to Canada, we can help 14 artists over a two day session, In the case of Opera Week, we are able to help 28 singers, thereby saving a great deal of money for the artists and providing appropriate introductions to employers in a nurturing environment.

Do all the artists in the Encounters with Employers develop careers?

Many do and many make important career decisions.
Singers we have tracked include Adrianne Pieczonka, Isabelle Bayrakdarian, Measha Bruggergosman, Colin Ainsworth, Jean Stilwell, Kimberly Barber as well actor Adam Brazier, Flutist Susan Hoeppner to name a few. We’ve also helped accompanists, coaches and instrumentalists.

What does international exposure of its artists mean to Canada?

Stewart Wheeler, Canada’s ambassador to Iceland declared the Toronto Symphony as “the real ambassador” on their recent tour. This was echoed by his counterpart Andre Noelle Cooligan, Canada’s ambassador to Finland “tours like this are extremely important…we build on our image. Being associated with quality is important to our ability to sell our products.
William Litter, The Toronto Star, Saturday, August 30, 2014

What does international exposure mean to Canada’s artists?

“Conductor Oundjian regards this achievement as a dramatic turnaround and the beginning of ‘a new era’ for his orchestra.”
William Littler, The Toronto Star, Saturday, August 30, 2014

Who are the employers participating in the Encounters with Employers in Toronto?

Some of the employers include: Joan Dornemann, Nico Castel and Edoardo Muller of the Metropolitan Opera; Mark Hastings, Teatro San Carlo, Naples; Vincenzo Scalera from Teatro alla Scala; Martin Isepp, Glyndebourne Opera, UK; Leon Major, Colin Graham, St. Louis Opera; Irving Guttman, Vancouver Opera; Opera Stars Regina Resnick, Shirley Verrett and Renata Scotto; and Flutist Jeannie Baxstresser, New York Philharmonic; to name a few.

How do artists obtain mentoring services?

Mentoring services are available upon request.

“With the lack of business-oriented courses in most Music Schools, it’s a huge challenge for any musician to run a small ensemble. Thank goodness for Ann Summers Dossena and IRCPA to help along the way.

“Thank you so much for spending the afternoon with me. It was such a pleasure and I am so happy with all the help and guidance you have given me.”

How will the Community Hub for Musicians be funded?

The ircpa needs benefactors to join together in creating the centre for musicians and music organizations in the City of Toronto where 90% of performers are located. Two examples of what is needed are the National Opera America Center and the DiMenna Center for Classical Music, both in New York. Once established, the Centre in Toronto is expected, in time, to become self-sustaining with income generated by rental of facilities, fees per service, a cafe and retail shop. Memorabilia of iconic Canadian artists can be purchased by the general public and tourists, promoting public awareness of our artists Past and Present.