“Nothing is more expensive than a missed opportunity”  — H. Jackson Brown JR

The International Resource Centre for Performing Artists (IRCPA) is a charitable organization that has served emerging professional musicians in their search for excellence and international careers since 1983. As the IRCPA is part of the support system in the Music Industry, it works behind the scenes helping artists keep their skills sharpened, become savvy professionals in the industry and start their own small businesses, thereby reducing the GAP between training and employment.  The organization encourages proactive entrepreneurial thinking and experiential, lifelong learning, and provides access to the world’s top experienced artists who generously give them the benefit of their experience.

Brett Polegato

Ten Singing Stars – New Generation



Listen to Brett Polegato interview with Jean & Mike on Classical FM
Brett Polegato on Classical FM

The International Resource Centre for Performing Artists has selected the lineup of young professional singers to perform in this year’s edition of
Ten Singing Stars – New Generation.

They will take part in 90 minutes of operatic arias, with pianist Rachel Andrist on Friday, October 15, 7:30-9 p.m. EDT. The concert will broadcast live from Zoomer Hall, on The New Classical 96.3 FM, and live stream (no charge) at http://classicalfm.ca

The IRCPA received applications from 24 singers, aged 18-42.  Of these, 14 were sopranos, three of them dramatic sopranos; three mezzo-sopranos; three tenors, including a countertenor; and four baritones.  From these, the IRCPA’s Vocal Advisory Panel has chosen the following:

Sopranos:  Melissa Danis, Jocelyn Fralick, Jaclyn Grossman, Ana Toumine

Mezzo-sopranos:  Rachel Miller, Camila Montefusco, Hillary Tufford

Countertenor: Ryan McDonald

Tenors:  Ross Mortimer, Ryan Nauta

Baritone:  Nicholas Gryniewski

An eleventh singer has been included as a cover in the event of a cancellation.

Two weeks prior to the concert, all the singers will have taken part in the IRCPA’s daylong Encounter with Brett Polegato.  The internationally celebrated Canadian baritone will have offered each singer suggestions on artistic skills, and provided valuable career information and guidance, stressing the need for professionalism and striving for excellence. He has returned as mentor, a role in which he served in 2017, when baritone Theodore Baerg, who was originally scheduled, had to withdraw for medical reasons.

At the conclusion of the Oct. 15 performances, Polegato will select one of the singers as recipient of a coveted Career Blueprint, for three days of intense career advice and promotional materials – including new video and audio recordings, photographs, feedback auditions, and mentoring – at the National Opera America Center in New York.

NAME A SCHOLARSHIP: Each of the singers will have attended the Encounter on a scholarship in the name of an important Canadian musical artist or arts patron past or present, donated by private individuals through the IRCPA’s fourth Name a Scholarship campaign.  This year’s honorees are sopranos Clarice Carson, Suzie LeBlanc and Lois McDonall, baritones Theodore Baerg, Brett Polegato and Louis Quilico, violinist/Tafelmusik founder Jeanne Lamon, conductor Eugene Kash, composer R. Murray Schafer, arts patron Florence Richler, and artists manager and IRCPA Founder Ann Summers Dossena.

The IRCPA’s vocal advisory group – all well experienced artists who agree that it is more difficult each year to make the selection – consists of singers Adrianne Pieczonka and Brett Polegato, and artist manager Kathy Domoney.

Videos and photos from past encounters and Singing Stars concerts can be seen here.
Brett Polegato’s interview about the project and IRCPA with Jean Stillwell and Mike Duncan on The New Classical 96.3 FM.Brett Polegato’s interview about the project and IRCPA with Jean Stillwell and Mike Duncan on The New Classical 96.3 FM.

The International Resource Centre for Performing Artists is a non-profit, charitable organization founded in 1983 by award-winning, innovative artist manager/producer Ann Summers Dossena. Its goal is to assist Canada’s musicians to achieve sustainable, fulfilling careers that meet or exceed their goals. An ever-growing number of musicians have been empowered to succeed through the IRCPA’s programs.

Scholarships or other donations honoring an artist or arts worker in support of the IRCPA and its programs may be easily made here, or by phone, 416-362-1422.  Tax receipts will be issued by the IRCPA or Canada Helps.

The IRCPA acknowledges with thanks the support of the Azrieli Foundation, Toronto Arts Council, The New Classical FM, Remenyi House of Music, private donors, partners and volunteers.

For further information, contact:

Ann Summers Dossena
Tel: 416 362 1422
E:  ann.dossena1957@hotmail.com

The IRCPA presents

Wednesday, December 2, at 4:30 pm EST on Zoom

Artists managers help artists to define their goals and to achieve them. They take the roles of sounding board, confidant, protector and devil’s advocate – sometimes leading, sometimes following, and at times just getting out of the way.  In the time of the Pandemic, what to do?

Two of Canada’s foremost artists managers, Kathy Domoney and Andrew Kwan, have devised new programs to move their artists forward.  They discuss their new initiatives in the latest Zoom conversation presented by the IRCPA.

Debra Chandler, a founding member of the IRCPA, hosts their discussion in Moving Artists Forward, Wednesday, December 2, at 4:30 pm EST, on Zoom.  Attendance is free, but pre-registration is required, with an RSVP to  ann.dossena1957@hotmail.com.  The Zoom link will be provided closer to the date. 

Both Kwan and Domoney are members of NAPAMA, North American Performing Arts Managers/Agents.
Director of Domoney Artists, Kathy Domoney enjoyed her own successful performing career of more than 25 years as a lyric soprano – and took part in the IRCPA’s programs in her early years  – before turning to artist management in 2008 to guide and assist established and emerging singers in their careers.  During the pandemic, she conceived and has produced Opera Breaks, which she describes as a series of “cinema meets opera” videos.  Working with director François Racine, she has been showcasing 10 singers from her roster, filmed in unexpected locations in Toronto by Coffeeshop Creative. A new video on this “cinematic musical journey” has been added every week since early October on Instagram.

Now in his 29th season as director of Andrew Kwan Artists Management Inc. (AKAM), award-winning manager Andrew Kwan is internationally respected for his work in career development and management for many of Canada’s most established classical musicians.  He recently created The New Gen, curated and produced by AKAM.  The project serves as a springboard for talented young musicians on the cusp their professional career, by pairing two of Canada’s up and coming instrumentalists with a veteran artist in a concert of solo and chamber works, which will be toured.  The inaugural season will feature pianist James Parker performing with and mentoring The New Gen artists Brian Mangrum, horn, and Boson Mo, violin.

The International Resource Centre for Performing Artists (IRCPA) is a charitable organization that has served emerging professional musicians in their search for excellence and international careers since 1983.  As the IRCPA is part of the support system in the Music Industry, it works behind the scenes helping artists keep their skills sharpened, become savvy professionals in the industry and start their own small businesses, thereby reducing the GAP between training and employment.  The organization encourages proactive entrepreneurial thinking and experiential, lifelong learning, and provides access to the world’s top experienced artists who generously give them the benefit of their experience.

Moving Artists Forward is the IRCPA’s fifth free Zoom Conversation organized during the COVID-19 pandemic to inspire musicians and keep spirits up.  Hosted by Debra Chandler, they have featured chats with soprano Sondra Radvanovsky, Canadian Opera Company General Director Alexander Neef (with music journalist Joseph So), legendary jazz singer Sheila Jordan (with singer Ori Dagan), and playwright and musician Tomson Highway.

The IRCPA welcomes donations to match a $10,000 contribution from an anonymous donor. Donations may be made here. 


On November 6 the IRCPA hosted a Zoom conversation Series with Canadian Icon Tomson Highway.

Tomson Highway is internationally known as a playwright, novelist, concert pianist and songwriter (born 6 December, 1951 in northwestern Manitoba).  A Member of the Order of Canada (first Indigenous writer to be included) and named in Maclean’s magazine as one of the 100 most important people in Canadian history, Tomson Highway has proved himself one of Canada’s most prominent and influential writers. He first gained recognition with his play The Rez Sisters.

In 2005, he wrote the libretto for an opera in Cree and English – Pimooteewin, (The Journey), an adaptation of an Indigenous myth about the Trickster’s visit to the land of the dead. It was commissioned by Soundstreams and premiered at the St. Lawrence Centre in Toronto. The composer was Chinese -Canadian Melissa Hui. The cast included actor/dancer Michael Greyeyes, a Plains Cree.

In 2017, Highway premiered Songs in the Key of Cree, a musical performance made up of his songs from some of his plays, all written and performed in the Cree language.  Songs featured performers Patricia Cano (Peruvian Canadian cabaret singer) and Marcus Ali (jazz saxophonist).

Tomson Highway and his works have influenced Indigenous literature in Canada.  His written works speak to important issues affecting First Nations peoples in Canadian history, including residential schools, reserve life, Indigenous identity, and more.

Thanks to Tomson and all the participants.

Tomson Highway

One of Canada’s leading baritones, Theodore Baerg will work as a mentor with 10 singers.  With Rachel Andrist at the piano, he will offer each singer suggestions on artistic skills, and provide valuable career information and guidance, stressing the need for professionalism and striving for excellence.

There is no cost to the selected singers. Soprano Adrianne Pieczonka, mentor of the IRCPA’s 2018 Ten Singing Starsprogram, comments, “Most programs cost a lot of money.   Every participant in an Encounter and Concert has not had to put up money to be there.  In fact, they get a stipend, and a mentorship, which is really great.”    

Thanks to the generosity of private donors, these mentorships are given in the name of an accomplished Canadian musical artist past or present.

Sign-up forms are available from here.  The IRCPA’s vocal advisory group will announce the 10 selected singers.


The artists will perform operatic arias and art songs with pianist Rachel Andrist, in the concert/live broadcast Ten Singing Stars – New Generation. 

Tickets, $20, and info are available by calling 416-362-1422 or emailing  ann.dossena1957@hotmail.com.   

The IRCPA’s 2020 mentor, Theodore Baerg, is well known internationally for such roles as Figaro in The Barber of Seville, Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus and Marcello in La Bohème. He has sung leading roles with opera companies across Canada and the U.S. and oratorio and other concerts with orchestras in both countries, in addition to performances in Europe and Asia.  He is currently professor of voice and coordinator/director of the opera program at Western University in London ON.

On behalf of the young professionals who benefit from the specially designed IRCPA programs, the International Resource Centre gratefully acknowledges the support of the Azrieli Foundation, the Toronto Arts Council, private donors, supporters and business partners.

For further information, contact:

Ann Summers Dossena
Tel: 416 362 1422
E:  ann.dossena1957@hotmail.com


A fun Conversation with opera diva Sondra Radvanovsky packed with information and tricks of the trade!
June 17, 2020.

Ms. Radvanovsky generously mentored the singers in IRCPA’s Encounter and Concert of 2016 during her day off between performances at the COC, and leaving immediately for Covent Garden.  She awarded the Career Blueprint to m-soprano Marjorie Maltais and soprano Natalya Gennadi sending them to spend 3 days at New York’s National Opera America Center for new photographs, video and audio recordings, feedback auditions, materials and mentoring.

Sondra Radvanovsky

Alumni such as acclaimed sopranos Adrianne Pieczonka and Measha Brueggergosman, and coach/pianist Rachel Andrist have returned as mentors in our Encounter/Concert series.  Video recordings are available on our website’s gallery.

IRCPA Alumni have also been performing virtually over the summer including:
Sopranos, Natalya Gennadi, Teiya Kasahara,  Mezzo-Sopranos Beste Kalender, Marjorie Maltais, Tenors Asitha Tennekoon, Jean-Philippe Lazure, and Baritones Clarence Frazer, Bradley Christensen, to name a few.
Measha Brueggergosman and Tenor Colin Ainsworth are announced for Opera Atelier’s upcoming “Something Rich and Strange” October 28,  live streamed from Koerner Hall. Rachel Andrist was recently named Principal Coach at L’Opéra de Montréal.
This year is a particularly difficult one because of loss of employment – which makes these services even more important for our artists. Thanks to our supporters.

Adrianne Pieczonka
Measha Brueggergosman
Rachel Andrist


Wednesday, July 15, 3 – 4 pm EDT

A Conversation with jazz icon Sheila Jordan (NYC) with Ori Dagan (Toronto)
To join the conversation RSVP: info@ircpa.net

Born on November 18th 1928, Sheila Jordan is a legendary figure in jazz history – an NEA jazz master and critically acclaimed singer-songwriter. She came up on the Detroit scene in the 1940s as part of a coterie of young players in thrall to the mercurial genius of Charlie Parker (who championed the young singer). Jordan spent years developing a high-wire improvisational approach unlike anyone else on the scene, and made history with her classic 1963 debut Portrait of Sheila, Blue Note’s first album by a vocalist.

She has recorded as a session musician with an array of critically acclaimed artists in addition to recording her own albums. Jordan pioneered a bebop and scat jazz singing style with an upright bass as the only accompaniment.  Jordan’s music has earned praise from many critics, particularly for her ability to improvise lyrics; Scott Yanow describes her as “one of the most consistently creative of all jazz singers.” Charlie Parker often introduced Jordan as “the singer with the million dollar ears.”

Sheila Jordan

Thank you, Mr. Neef!

To all who joined or did not join the Conversation with Alexander Neef,  the recorded video is available.

It is packed with information for singers and administrators on several levels of development.  Whether you zoomed in or not, I recommend several listenings; there is so much information, that one hearing is not nearly enough.

Bottom Line:  Know thyself and Sing Well.

Career Choices:  40+ years of singing, or go for broke for 5 years. 

Auditions are stressful for both auditioner and auditionee. Periodic general auditions are available. It is possible to contact the theatres directly requesting an audition. Don’t take it personally if a response isn’t immediate.  Just hang in and keep positive. Audiences go to the theatre to hear singers.  Opera Directors want to discover new artists.

Plus many more words of wisdom and encouragement including a mention of the time after graduation – being alone and having to make  decisions, which is the period in artists’ development the IRCPA programs address.  Free Encounters with specialists for savvy feedback, industry information,  plus paid, public, live-streamed concerts for exposure.

To join the conversation get a free zoom connection, rsvp to  ann.dossena1957@hotmail.com
Bring your questions.

Topics include:

  • Who decides which opera productions to schedule?
  • What is the basis for that decision – funding or artistic considerations?
  • How are casts chosen?
  • Who will direct or conduct?
  • Are there rules or protocol regarding requests for auditions?
  • How and When to request an audition?
  • Do colleagues in the U.S. Europe or Asia work differently?
  • What challenges are the most difficult for opera producers besides funding?

Newsletter November, 2019


The IRCPA has received support from the Azrieli Foundation and the Toronto Arts Council to continue our very successful program: Encounter and Concert for Singers:  Singing Stars-New Generation,  and to inaugurate a first Encounter and Concert for Instrumentalists:   “Getting It All Together”!

Want to start up a music management?

Canada needs artists’ managers!.  Ask any major artist where their management is based.  It’s either in New York or in Europe.

I’ve enjoyed 55 successful years of international management of artists in New York, Rome and Toronto.  I have great contacts and experience which I’m happy to share and pass on to the next generation. Management of artists is not arts administration, although some experience in it can be useful.  With the opportunity and resources available, now is a good time to consider being a major part of the artists’ support system, heading your own company.

New York Meetings in January 2020:

New York Jazz Congress  January 13-14

International Society of Performing Arts  (ISPA) January 14-16

Chamber Music America (including jazz ensembles) January 16-20

Newsletter August, 2019

In Conversation with Barbara Hannigan

Mark your calendars! On Monday, September 16, 4:30-6:30 pm at the Heliconian Hall, 35 Hazelton Av. in Toronto, the IRCPA hosts a live, up close and personal conversation with Barbara Hannigan, phenomenal Soprano, Conductor, Ojai Festival Artistic Director, and Founder of Equilibrium, a program for emerging professionals, which she founded in Europe. She generously “gives back” by sharing with young colleagues her knowledge of the international music industry.

Writer/critic William Littler will interview Ms. Hannigan about her personal experience and general advice for emerging professionals. Their conversation will be followed by a Question and Answer opportunity.

Singers, conductors, coaches, teachers, in Toronto and across the country, are invited to send in their questions for Ms. Hannigan in advance to: barbara@ircpa.net. They will be posed to Barbara by Mr. Littler.

LIVE STREAMING: The event will be live streamed from 4:45 to 6:15 pm EDT on September 16 at www.facebook.com/ircpa.toronto

NO CHARGE: There is no charge to attend, but registration is required. Light refreshments will be served.

Equilibrium Young Artists in Europe, gives opportunities to young professional singers and conductors for career guidance and being heard on major stages. Equilibrium’s first venture in Canada is an upcoming collaboration with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.  A quartet of Canadian singers, selected by Ms. Hannigan and conductor Sir Andrew Davis, will perform the solo roles in the Mozart Requiem with the TSO in January 2020.

Meanwhile, Barbara sings and conducts in the Toronto Symphony’s opening concerts, September 19 and 21 at Roy Thomson Hall, the same week as this IRCPA event.

Conversation with Barbara is presented by The International Resource Centre for Performing Artists (IRCPA) in keeping with its Encounters to bring young professionals together with major international figures in the music industry for career development sessions. These have been led by such stellar artists as Sondra Radvanovsky (2016), Brett Polegato (2017), Adrianne Pieczonka (2018), and Theodore Baerg, scheduled for 2020.

The IRCPA’s Singing Stars – New Generation Gala Concerts have been broadcast live by The New Classical FM from Zoomer Hall in Toronto. In 2018, 92,000 people across Canada heard the concert.

About the International Resource Centre for Performing Artists

Drawing on the experiences of its international founders, for 36 years the IRPCA has provided valuable resources for the two basic needs of young professional musicians in reducing the famous 5-year GAP between training and employment:

Continued opportunities for growth, and
more opportunities to be heard.

Your contribution to the IRCPA Encounters/Concert Fund will enable us to keep these programs active. To relieve the singers of financial burden, these donations will cover the cost of $500 per singer. $1,200 is required for a Career Blueprint, awarded to one singer, for three days at New York’s National Opera Center to receive personal mentoring and entirely new promotional materials, including audio/video recordings and photos. Tax receipts will be issued for donations of $20 or more.

Our charitable number is: 100220417
For further information: 416 362 1422




Sunday, January 27, 7:00 pm – 9:30 pm
$20 cover | doors open 5:30 pm

IRCPA Director Ann Summers Dossena expresses her thanks to the artists, noting, “Both Ori and Dominic are members of the organization, and we are proud to have arranged for each of them to appear at international events – Dominic in his Rome debut as part of the IRCPA organized Canadia Day July 2013; and Ori this January 8, at the Canadians in New York fundraiser for the Billy Taylor Jazzmobile together with the duo Michael Bridge/ Michael Wolak – accordionist and clarinetist.

The listing is now on Jazzbistro.ca, and reservations can be made
at 416-363-5299

If you are not able to attend, please consider making a donation here


Jazz Singer & Songwriter

Award-winning jazz singer, songwriter and recording artist Ori Dagan is taking jazz to new and exciting places. His rich baritone voice and impressive abilities as an improviser produce an instantly recognizable sound.

His third recording, “Nathaniel: A Tribute to Nat King Cole” won the Silver Medal for “Best Album” at the Global Music Awards and charted in the Top 50 on JazzWeek.

In 2018 Ori Dagan headlined the TanJazz festival in Tangier, Morrocco, showcased at Austin’s Elephant Room at SXSW 2018 and performed at South Korea’s first ever public diplomacy week.

For more info visit: www.oridagan.com

Ori Dagan


Singer-Songwriter, Producer

After 25 years committed to a vision influenced by his culturally diverse world, Dominic sees himself sitting at the table with the 21st century and the global village. His resume takes in several CDs, as well as several written scores for TV, films and theatre performances, numerous artistic collaborations and a great number of live shows in Canada and abroad.

After actively promoting Comfortably Mine, his Juno and Canadian Folk Music awarded World Music Album of the Year, he capitalized on the chemistry forming amongst his touring band (which includes Tony Zorzi and Paco Luviano), to record Sub Urban Gypsy, and undertake the recent, successful European tour One World, No Borders.

Current work with Vittorio Mezza, one of Italy’s top pianist arrangers, has expanded his horizons into jazz and classical music, while he cleverly sustains his Pop/Folk/World aesthetics.

For more info visit: www.dominicmancuso.com

Dominic Mancuso

Member News

You’re invited to our NYC debut! One night only in New York City, in support of the Billy Taylor Jazzmobile, with support from the IRCPA. Admission by donation; $20 minimum spend per person from Etcetera Etcetera’s fabulous menu. Dinner Reservations are recommended: (212) 399-4141.

If you are not able to attend, please feel free join us via the livestream feed available here


Jazz Singer & Songwriter - Ori Dagan
Accordions and Clarinet - Bridge + Wolak

With their unique repertoire, Michael Bridge (accordion & digital accordion) and Kornel Wolak (clarinet) are globetrotting concert artists, entertainers, and educators – actively touring Europe, the US, Canada and South America. “Watch and be amazed!” (CBC) They perform as a duo – or with orchestra or string quartet – playing all their own adaptations of baroque, classical, folk and jazz music. Using the digital accordion, they create a vast array of sounds.

For more info visit: www.bridgewolak.com



Soprano Sara Schabas of Toronto has been named recipient of a valuable “Career Blueprint” at the National Opera America Center in New York. 

The announcement was made Monday night at Zoomer Hall in Toronto after the concert New Singing Stars, featuring 11 young professional singers, presented by the International Resource Centre for Performing Artists, and broadcast live on The New Classical FM with host Jean Stilwell.

As a result of receiving the Career Blueprint, Ms. Schabas, 28, will spend three days at the National Opera America Center in New York, where new photographs, video and audio recordings, website consultation, mentoring with professionals, and more are provided.

She was selected by internationally celebrated Canadian soprano Adrianne Pieczonka, who had worked with the singers beforehand in an Encounter, organized by the IRCPA.  Each singer had received a scholarship donated in the name of a renowned Canadian singer.  Sara Schabas had received hers in the name of the great soprano Lois Marshall (1924-97).  Schabas performed Sophie’s aria Mir ist die Ehre widerfahren from Richard Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier.

The singers, who all performed with pianist Rachel Andrist, were the following:
Sopranos:  Tonia Cianciulli, Gwenna Fairchild-Taylor,  Jocelyn Fralick, Beth Hagerman, Teiya Kasahara, Kathleen Promane, Sara Schabas, Rebecca Townsend
Mezzo-soprano:  Georgia Burashko
Tenors:  Zachary Rioux, John-Michael Scapin

In the audience were IRCPA founder and director Ann Summers Dossena, and special guest Joan Dornemann, well known, recently semi-retired iconic Metropolitan Opera coach.  Ms. Dornemann had encouraged artist manager Summers to found the IRCPA 35 years ago and had come to Toronto to conduct several Encounters – in which both Pieczonka, Stilwell (a mezzo-soprano) and Rachel Andrist (pianist) had taken part early in their careers.  At the reception that followed the concert, Dornemann, Pieczonka and Summers all cut a special 35th-anniversary cake.

The selection of singers for the 2018 encounter and Singing Stars concert was made by the IRCPA’s vocal advisory group – all well-experienced artists:  Adrianne Pieczonka, baritones Brett Polegato, and Theodore Baerg, artist manager Kathy Domoney (also an IRCPA alumna), and master teacher Mary Morrison.

Ann Summers Dossena founded the International Resource Centre for Performing Artists in 1983 as a non-profit, charitable organization with the support and advice from contralto Maureen Forrester and Arnold Edinborough, a founder of Business For The Arts. Its goal is to assist Canada’s musicians to achieve sustainable, fulfilling careers that meet or exceed their goals. Summers notes, “Once their formal training has been completed, singers and instrumentalists have to pay for their lessons, coaching, studio rentals and related expenses.  There can be a gap of up to five years between training and employment.  Meanwhile, the musicians’ costs have been rising dramatically.  They must now pay $1,000 to audition in New York. What other industry requires such an outlay for a job interview?  With the IRCPA program, we have reduced the employment gap to as little as two years.”

Through its Encounters, workshops, round-table discussions and other programs, the IRCPA provides such resources as opportunities for musicians to keep skills sharpened, preparing new repertoire correctly, and learning where auditions are taking place or who and what employers are looking to hire.

Scholarships or other donations honoring an artist or arts worker in support of the IRCPA and its programs may be easily made at ircpa.net, or by telephone, 416-362-1422.  Tax receipts will be issued by the IRCPA or Canada Helps.

The IRCPA acknowledges with thanks the support of the Ontario Arts Council, the Jack Weinbaum Family Foundation, the Canadian Opera Company, The 519, The New Classical FM, Remenyi House of Music, Qi Natural Food, Le Paradis, Barista & Chef, private donors, partners, sponsors and volunteers.

Sara Schabas
IRCPA 2018 Encounter with Adrianne Pieczonka on October 26
IRCPA 2018 Encounter with Dorian Wind Quintet and two wind quintets from U of T

Interview with Adrianne Pieczonka And The New Singing Stars of Tomorrow from the blog Van Ludwig by Joseph So

Calling all opera fans — have you ever wondered what it takes to become an opera star? What it’s like to step on the stages of the great opera houses of the world, sing your heart out, receive audience accolades, meet adoring fans at the stage door, be the toast of the town — ah, the life of an opera diva/divo!

To make that dream come true, a great voice is a given. And solid training, of course. But a lot of the skills necessary for a big career are not taught in the classroom or the voice studio. A young singer only learns the ways of a career during the perilous journey in one of the toughest professions there is.

This is where the IRCPA comes in. The brainchild of Canadian artist agent/arts administrator/impresario Ann Summers, IRCPA, now in its 35th  year, is a service organization for musical artists, with the goal of helping young artists to make a successful transition from students to professionals.

Among the many singers, IRCPA has supported in the past are Adrianne Pieczonka, Isabel Bayrakdarian, and Colin Ainsworth. An annual IRCPA event is the “Encounter” where ten aspiring singers spend a day with an established artist, who gives vocal and interpretive pointers in the studio, as well as share his/her insights in the ways and means of a career.

This year, that established artist was soprano Adrianne Pieczonka. “I did the Encounter when I was a young singer, probably in 1986 or 87,” soprano Adrianne Pieczonka muses. “OMG — decades ago!” Pieczonka says in mock horror. “I worked with Joan Dornemann. I remember being so in awe of her — she’s this famous and quite formidable MET coach/répétiteur. I remember the aria I sang for her was “Adieu, mon petite table” from Massenet’s Manon.  Joan had me sit on a chair to help “ground” me. It made a big impression. This physical change, simply sitting on a chair, made a big improvement in my sound.”

Now some thirty years later, Adrianne Pieczonka is one of the most celebrated of Canadian singers, a frequent guest in great opera houses in the world, with a diverse repertoire. I remember hearing her Mimi at the COC in the early 90s at the Elgin Theatre. She has since become a great Wagnerian and Straussian. In a business known for its impermanence, a 30-year career is quite amazing — she’s celebrating 30 years since her professional debut as the Female Convict in a COC Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk in January 1988.

I attended part of the Encounter, to see her in action as a teacher and to get her thoughts on working with the young artists:

Read the interview

Give us your thoughts on these talented young singers

They are all at different stages in their development. Some are relatively young, in their early or mid 20’s to their early 30’s. Some have just graduated from university and some finished their studies more than 5 years ago. A few of the singers are married with children and one singer has had quite a bit of professional experience already.

How do you work with a group that’s so diverse in their training and experience?

I work with each individual as I saw fit – trying to give some technical support, and I try to understand where each singer is in his or her career progression. I think the advice I give unanimously is that each singer must follow his or her path — not the path of another or a path which he or she thinks is the ‘chosen’ path. I stress that discipline, hard work and devotion to the art of singing is what it’s all about. It can get hard these days with social media. Singers feel the pressure that they are not measuring up or falling behind but I am of the firm belief that hard work and discipline win the day.

That has always been your philosophy?

My dear friend and colleague Nina Stemme’s motto (she just won the $100,000.00 Birgit Nilsson Prize) is to “hurry slowly”. I like this image. Of course, you can’t just wait around and be inactive, but you also can’t rush success. Getting rejections is part of the business. Singers like Renee Fleming and others have written about not getting into programs or not getting certain roles, but of course, it didn’t hamper them in the long run. It may even have built character and mettle.

In my many interviews with Adrianne Pieczonka over the last twenty years, she has always espoused this philosophy of “slow and steady wins the race.”  She has been very careful with choosing repertoires that suit her voice, and never takes on roles before she is ready. It explains why her voice remains fresh after such a long career of singing principal roles. I attended part of the afternoon of the Encounter and heard three singers. I find Pieczonka the teacher very supportive, always encouraging, insightful, and kind. She successfully put each student at ease to do his/her best work. After a few pointers, each student sounded decidedly better.

They were certainly well prepared and rearing to go at the Ten Singer Stars concert on Nov. 5, in the intimate space of Zoomer Hall. With its theatre-in-the-round arrangement, the audience could see and hear everything up close and personal. There were eleven singers, since the “alternate” — “cover” if you will, in case one of the ten was sick and couldn’t go on — was also invited to sing. They were nine women and two men — eight sopranos, one mezzo, and two tenors.

They were sopranos Kathleen Promane, Tonia Cianciulli, Rebecca Townsend, Sara Schabas, Jocelyn Fralick, Teiya Kasahara, Beth Hagerman, and Gwenna Fairchild-Taylor; mezzo Georgia Burashko; and tenors John-Michael Scapin and Zachary Rioux. At the piano was the very experienced — and very supportive — Rachel Andrist.

Rather than giving a blow-by-blow review of each singer’s performance, I can say from my vantage point that they all gave their unique and authentic best, and always from the heart. Several really stood out for me. Mezzo Georgia Burashko’s bravura “Dopo notte” from Ariodante was sung with nice, rich tone and excellent fioritura. Teiya Kasahara, a high coloratura during her tenure at the COC Ensemble Studio, astounded with her polished and dramatic “Sola, perduta, abbandonata” from Manon Lescaut.  Beth Hagerman sang the famous Wally aria with smooth, pure tone. Budding dramatic soprano Gwenna Fairchild-Taylor tackled Leonore’s fiendishly difficult “Abscheulicher” with aplomb.

Of the two men in the concert, tenor John-Michael Scapin offered a non-operatic choice – two selections from Schönberg’s Brettl-Lieder, including the best-known song, “Galathea.” He captured the mood of this cabaret piece beautifully, with warm tone and very good German diction. Tenor Zachary Rioux must have been fearless, choosing the daunting Faust aria “Salut! Demeure chaste et pure.”  He impressed with his lovely timbre and long breath-line, not to mention a very fff high C. Perhaps a bit too loud with the C, but at all of 21, he will continue to develop and has a fine future.

At the end of the evening, Adrianne Pieczonka picked one singer to receive the Career Blueprint, which entitles the recipient to three days in the National Opera Centre in New York, where the singer gets expert advice from opera professionals, has photoshoots for publicity headshots and website development consultations. It was generously supported by Canadian soprano Jean Edwards, at 92 years young and still singing!

The recipient this year is soprano Sara Schabas, who sang a lovely excerpt from Der Rosenkavalier. It’s a little odd to hear this Octavian/Sophie duet excerpted as an aria — I kept expecting Octavian to cut in!  Schabas, possessing a lovely soubrette with a pure sound, not just sang it beautifully, but she looks like Sophie as well — brava!

There you have it — another edition of IRCPA’s Encounter and Concert has concluded. Congratulations to all, and we look forward to seeing and hearing them in the future.


by Liz Parker

Soprano Adrianne Pieczonka is the career guru to promising new opera talent thanks to IRCPA

Mike and Jean – especially Mike – poses with renowned soprano Adrianne Pieczonka

Canadian soprano Adrianne Pieczonka visited the “Classical Mornings” studio to chat with Mike and Jean about The International Resource Centre for Performing Artists’ (IRCPA) Ten Singing Stars: The Next Generation.  This important career mentoring initiative includes a one-day “encounter” (coaching session) with Adrianne, along with general career advice. It concludes with a concert here at Zoomer Hall plus one singer being chosen for a coveted IRCPA Career Blueprint which includes three days at the National Opera Center in New York for a photo/video shoot, audio recording, website consultation, and mentoring – the whole shebang.

Listen to the interview here, where Adrianne chats about IRCPA, and how soloists balance work and professional obligations.

Mike and Jean with Soprano Adrianne Pieczonka

Andrew Anderson interviews Ann Summers Dossena

Ten Singing Stars: The New Generation



The International Resource Centre for Performing Artists, a service organization for Canada’s musicians, has selected the lineup of young professional singers to perform in Ten Singing Stars: The New Generation.

The performance will take place Monday, November 5, 7:15 p.m. at Zoomer Hall, home of The New Classical FM, 70 Jefferson Avenue (King and Dufferin area in Toronto’s Liberty Village).

The following singers were chosen by the IRCPA’s Vocal Advisory Panel from 25 applicants. They will perform operatic arias with pianist Rachel Andrist.

Sopranos: Tonia Cianciulli, Jocelyn Fralick, Beth Hagerman, Teiya Kasahara, Kathleen Promane, Sara Schabas, Gwenna Fairchild-Taylor

Mezzo-soprano: Georgia Burashko

Tenors: Zachary Rioux, John-Michael Scapin

One cover (alternate) singer has also been named in case of illness.

Tickets ordered online or by phone are $25, $20 seniors and arts workers; or $30 at the door.

Tickets and information may be obtained here or by calling 416-362-1422. Free parking is available.  

All of the singers will have taken part in the IRCPA’s one day Encounter with internationally celebrated Canadian soprano Adrianne Pieczonka. Ms Pieczonka herself was a former participant in an Encounter with iconic Metropolitan Opera Coach Joan Dornemann in the 1980s. As she recently wrote, “I still recall the aria I sang and the comments and tips Joan offered. It was very exciting for me to work with this renowned coach from New York.” Besides suggestions on artistic skills, Ms Pieczonka will have provided valuable career information and guidance, stressing the need for professionalism and striving for excellence.

A post-concert reception will celebrate the IRCPA’s 35th anniversary. During the event, one of the singers will be chosen to receive a coveted IRCPA Career Blueprint.  The recipient will spend three days at the National Opera Center in New York, where new photographs, video and audio recordings, website consultation, mentoring with professionals, and more are provided.

NAME A SCHOLARSHIP: Each of the singers will have attended the Encounter on a scholarship in the name of an important Canadian musical artist past or present, donated by private individuals through the IRCPA’s third Name a Scholarship campaign.

Scholarships or other donations honouring an artist or arts worker in support of the IRCPA and its programs may be easily made here or by telephone, 416-362-1422. Tax receipts will be issued by the IRCPA or Canada Helps.

The selection of singers was made by the IRCPA’s vocal advisory group – all well experienced artists who agree that it is more difficult each year to make the selection:  Brett Polegato, currently performing in Ireland; Theodore Baerg in London, ON; Adrianne Pieczonka, just  back from Paris; Kathy Domoney, artist manager; and Mary Morrison, master teacher.

The International Resource Centre for Performing Artists is a non-profit, charitable organization founded in 1983 by award-winning, innovative artist manager/producer Ann Summers Dossena. Its goal is to assist Canada’s musicians to achieve sustainable, fulfilling careers that meet or exceed their goals. An ever-growing number of musicians have been empowered to succeed through the IRCPA’s programs.

The IRCPA acknowledges with thanks the support of the Toronto and Ontario Arts Councils, the Jack Weinbaum Family Foundation, the Canadian Opera Company, The 519, The New Classical FM. private donors, partners, sponsors and volunteers.

Current members l/r: Karl Kramer-Johnsen, French Horn; Nejamin Fingland, clarinet; Gretchen Pusch, flute; Adrian Morejon, bassoon; Gerard Reuter, oboe.

An Encounter with New York’s Pulitzer Prize Winning DORIAN WOODWIND QUINTET for Wind and Brass Players or Ensembles.

  • Deadline to Apply: October 12, 2018
  • Encounter: Saturday, October 27, 2018, 2:00 PM to 4:30 PM

The original Dorians met and worked together at the Tanglewood Music Festival. Now in their current generation, they continue international touring, commissioning and recording, most recently with jazz pianist, Billy Childs. They have generously accepted our invitation to conduct an Encounter in Toronto, prior to their concert for Mooredale Concerts, the next day.

Wind and Brass players or Chamber Ensembles are invited to perform briefly for artistic feedback/career ideas. Hear first-hand how to build sustainable careers over 60 years! Deadline October 12, 2018

Wind and Brass players or Ensembles are invited to perform for feedback and career ideas.

Hear first-hand how to build sustainable careers over 60 years.! The original Dorians met and worked together at the Tanglewood Music Festival in 1958- 59.
Now in their 3rd generation, the current members 
continue international touring, commissioning and recording, most recently with jazz pianist, Billy Childs. 

Recognized by critics, audiences, and colleagues alike for its polished and passionate performances, the Dorian Wind Quintet is known worldwide as one of chamber music’s pre-eminent and longest continuously active ensembles. The Quintet has travelled around the world – concertizing in 48 of the 50 United States and Canada, touring Europe eighteen times, and playing throughout the Middle East, India, Africa and Asia. The Dorian made history in 1981, as the first wind quintet to appear at Carnegie Hall.

Read more

Since its inception at Tanglewood in 1961, the Dorian has collaborated with many of the most transcendent and legendary artists in the world of classical music during the 20th and 21st centuries, including: Phyllis Bryn-Julson, Jean Casadesus, Phyllis Curtin, Lukas Foss, the American Brass Quintet, Claude Frank, Lorin Hollander, Ruth Laredo, Minoru Nojima, Kevork Mardirossian, Jean-Pierre Rampal, James Tocco, Mary Beth Peil, and the Apple Hill String Quartet.

The Quintet has appeared at numerous festivals, including the Stravinsky Festival at Lincoln Center, the International Festival in Warsaw, Caramoor International Music Festival, North Carolina New Music Initiative, Newberry Spring Festival (Great Britain), Ontario’s Stratford Festival, San Luis Obispo Festival, Chamber Music Festival of Aguascalientes, Mexico and the New American Music Festival in Sacramento. The Quintet has served as the resident ensemble for the Mannes College of Music, Brooklyn College, Hunter College and the State University of New York. The group was in residence at Dartington Hall and Newberry (both in England), the Tanglewood Music Festival, and for over 10 years, at the Festival Institute at Round Top, Texas.

To date, the Dorian is responsible for nearly 40 commissions of 20th and 21st century wind music from major composers, including: Luciano Berio, Joan Tower, Mario Davidovsky, Bruce Adolphe, Lukas Foss, Jacob Druckman, Billy Childs, Lee Hoiby, David Del Tredici, Sir Richard Rodney Bennett, and George Perle. The Dorian Quintet’s commission of George Perle’s Wind Quintet No. 4 won the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 1986, making history as the first Pulitzer ever awarded for a wind quintet. The group has recorded on the Vox, CRI, Serenus, New World, and Summit Records labels.

The Dorian Quintet partners with the Pro Musicis foundation, expanding and restructuring its outreach efforts in New York City – bringing chamber music of the highest quality to residents of assisted living facilities, rehabilitation facilities, hospitals, schools, community centres, and retirement communities. Its goal is to provide access for audiences that are prevented from attending regular concert venues, spread joy and inspiration to people in difficult situations, and for the Quintet to continue enriching its beloved New York City community.

The members of the Dorian Wind Quintet are each highly regarded performers, associated with other prominent performing ensembles, venues, and musical institutions, who have united out of a mutual passionate commitment to the advocacy and performance of the wind chamber music repertoire.

In Other News …
President of the IRCPA, Eleanor Friedland, welcomes two new members to the IRCPA Board of Directors.


David Alvarez

Originally from Colombia, Canadian marketing consultant David Alvarez is a  graduate of Queen’s University and Toronto’s Harris Institute, and is a specialist in digital marketing and social media for artists and arts organizations. David is also a volunteer for Artists’ Legal Advice Services (ALAS) and is currently spearheading a digital outreach initiative involving the production of an educational YouTube series for artists. As a hobby, David does guitar setups and repairs for musicians, bands, and recording studios in Toronto.

During his undergrad at Queen’s University he provided various professors with website services, and as vice-president of Queen’s Music Club, coordinated and
oversaw artists’ showcases and concerts. David also organized weekly jam sessions and played lead guitar in a psychedelic rock band.

At the Harris Institute he studied music production, video game design, content strategy, and artist marketing. His essay on Hip-Hop culture gained the attention of
faculty and students.


Feodor Ploujnikov 

Russian-Canadian Feodor Ploujnikov is an insurance professional under the IFC umbrella responsible for several roles in the Direct to Consumer Distribution unit. Feodor is currently involved in sales, training development, and employee engagement projects.

With a strong background in sales, marketing and business operations, he is devoted to establishing opportunities for Toronto artists to showcase their work in new and creative ways. Feodor is committed to developing a professional environment which acts with integrity through transparent communication and nurturing space.

Together with independent artist Aida Kalonji, Feodor is dedicated to the successful delivery of new and original audio and visual content and focused on strategic artist development, planning and administrating the production of audio, video and live performance projects.

David Alvarez, Toronto
Feodor Ploujnikov, Toronto

Events 2018

Newsletter June, 2018

Congratulations to IRCPA member Natalya Gennadi
on the nomination for the Dora Mavor Moore Award!

Soprano Natalya Gennadi was one of ten artists chosen to participate in the IRCPA’s Encounter with Sondra Radvanovsky, in 2016. She was chosen by Ms. Radvanovsky as one of two artists to spend 3 days n New York at the National Opera America Center for the IRCPA Career Blueprint.  In May 2017 she auditioned for and made her debut in the title role of Tapestry Opera’s premiere of the new opera Oksana G.  Fast forward… May 2018.  In Natalya’s words:
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 Osborn 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.

May 2018 Round-table Meet-Up
Whose Career is it Anyway

Hot Topics:

Careers in corporate structure
Classical and pop managers/agents
Musicians’ Rights
Social Media Strategy and Digital Marketing 


Ann Summers Dossena
Founder/Director IRCPA, artists’ manager/classical.

Leonardo Dell’Anno
Toronto-based producer, filmmaker and artist manager, currently representing jazz singer-songwriter Ori Dagan.

Julia Train
Senior Manager of Communications and Outreach at the Musicians’ Rights Organization Canada (MROC).

David Alvarez
Social Media Specialist at the IRCPA, consultant for social media strategy and digital marketing for Really Records and the IRCPA.

Artists: Keep Your Rights!  Watch Video

In this video, we highlight some of the key issues with Underground Sounds, a program coordinated by the TTC and Universal Music Group.

Please share with artists and those who care for them. 

In the Works

As part of our mandate to provide valuable resources to performing artists, we are happily in the throes of updating our strategic plan of 2015 because we have outgrown it faster than we anticipated! 

Thanks to the Toronto Music Advisory Council, local music organizations, including the IRCPA, met for the first time on June 5th, to discuss how we can all collaborate to establish and sustain a creative hub – a physical and virtual space for all performing artists to come together and have access to the music industry and all other resources. 

Something for EverybodyMeaningful Information and Resources:

80% of our members who attend our workshops said they benefitted from new information, new colleagues and collaborations.

Networking is a crucial aspect of your career, and our workshops and round table discussions are a great way for you to expand your professional network!

Under the Umbrella of the IRCPA, you are Invited to bring projects to us for promotion /production and/or presentation to give yourself time to practice and prepare for your performances…(requested by artists in the survey and encounters).

Future plans include the IRCPA Jazzmobile projected for the summer of 2019. Getting music to the public and artists to performing live! Help us get this up and running!

As Stakeholders, please think about Volunteering with the IRCPA, here’s how:

  1. Volunteer help with social media during our crowdfunding campaign in the fall.
  2. Offer your ideas of workshops with experts and resources.
  3. Don’t keep it to yourself –  mention the programs to your friends and colleagues, as well as people who might help financially, or who are experienced as board members. (we have a succession plan)
  4. Survey results show that 52% of our members heard about the IRCPA through word of mouth.
  5. Donate a few hours – have fun putting our archives together – you’ll be surprised who and what you’ll find there!

 For your information…

The IRCPA was created as a charitable organization and has been supported by private professionals since 1983.  As pros, active in the field, we didn’t need staff or administration. We used our own money to pay expenses and donated our services. The donors are now not able to keep up with the expanding needs. However, we want to continue to provide resources from our 30 plus years of experience in building and managing careers, so we are asking artists and other stakeholders to volunteer some time to fill in the gap. It’s also good experience for artists to know the responsibilities of people employed and known as the support system who make things happen on stage.

Donations are also welcome with our thanks, here’s how: click here.

My book “Getting It All Together” a handbook for artists published by Scarecrow Press in the USA in 1985, is at York University library and the Reference Library downtown.  It’s still used internationally in Europe, Asia and Israel.  The career section is still valid. The international section is not, since the Berlin Wall came down. It’s a quick read and might be helpful.

We look forward to seeing you at the Round Table Discussion on Representation; Managers/Agents, on May 30th, 2018.


IRCPA videos of the past
including the 
Encounter with Sondra Radvanovsky 2016 
plus Savvy Musician Workshop.

Ms. Radvanovsky currently stars in the COC’s  production of Anna Bolena.
She is “regarded as the finest interpreter of the role in this generation”
Toronto Star, April 23, 2018.

What’s up at the IRCPA?

What’s next and how to get involved.

The IRCPA continues in its mission of making unique, targeted career resources available to musicians, connecting them with one another, with artistic coaches and with leaders in the industry for knowledge exchange, coaching and employment opportunities Members are independent musicians, graduates, who no longer have the institutional resources as well as emerging and mid-career artistes in transition – instrumentalists, vocalists, ensembles, composers and conductors, who need resources to nurture artistic growth, training to manage the business side of their careers, and performance opportunities to keep their artistic skills sharp. The IRCPA fills these needs through its 2017-2018 series of events.  Musicians of all genres are welcome to participate also in monthly open discussions.


The IRCPA requires all artist participants in its events to be IRCPA members. Membership is without cost and just a click away. Check it out here.
Finally, this project serves emerging arts administration professionals, as well as developing managers and agents: the IRCPA employs them to run workshops and discussion groups, in turn giving them skills and experience they can leverage as they build their careers.

Events 2017


1) Singers Encounter Brett Polegato, October 20

 2) Singing Stars – Next Generation – Public Gala Performance, November 6th 

3) Business of Music Workshops

   a) Branding, Marketing and Social Media with Lara Harb, November 25
   b) From Rags to Reasonable! Financial Management / Accounting / Planning for Artists with Chris Enns, December 2
   c) Artists New to Canada with Marcelo Puente (Chile) and Shahriyar Jamshidi (Kurdish Iran), December 3 

Branding, Marketing and Social Media with Lara Harb

Social media manager and Music Theatre singer Lara Harb will provide musicians with tools and techniques for branding and social media marketing.

Saturday, November 25, 2017
519 Church Street, Toronto
From 10:00 am to 4:30 pm
Tel. 416.362.1422

Are you a musician feeling overwhelmed with promoting yourself online? Does the idea of a Tweet make you anxious? Join Lara Harb, social media strategist and personal branding specialist for artists as we explore all aspects of digital marketing. From getting your website set up to promoting yourself on Soundcloud. Whether you are new to marketing or a marketing pro, this workshop is for you!

Lara Harb

From Rags to Reasonable! with Chris Enns

Chris Enns, active opera tenor and certified financial planner, will introduce the basics of financial management in the morning and will speak about advanced financial planning in the afternoon.

Saturday, December 2, 2017
20 St. Joseph Street, Toronto
From 10:00 am to 4:30 pm
Tel. 416.362.1422

For people who don’t have traditional lives, or who feel alienated by the language of finance.

Christopher Enns

Artists New to Canada
with Marcelo Puente (Chile) and Shahriyar Jamshidi (Iranian Kurdistan)

Marcelo Puente and Shahriyar Jamshidi, recent newcomers to Canada, will share their experiences establishing music careers in this country, providing guidance and suggestions for newcomer artists facing the same challenges they did.

Sunday, December 3, 2017
918 Bathurst Street, Toronto
From 10:00 am to 4:30 pm
Tel. 416.362.1422

Marcelo Puente and Shahriyar Jamshidi

Encounter 2017


Thank You, Brett!

 The IRCPA and the singers are deeply grateful to baritone Brett Polegato for generously making time in his demanding schedule to share his knowledge and expertise with our young professionals on November 6.


Baritone Clarence Frazer, recipient of the International Resource Centre for Performing Artists (IRCPA) 2017 Career Blueprint Award, speaks thoughtfully about his chosen career as an opera singer, in an interview with Jenna Simeonov of Schmopera. An illuminating read.

Singing Stars: The Next Generation

Concert, Monday, November 6, 2017
Zoomer Hall, home of Classical 96.3 FM
Featuring 10 singers in a program of opera arias with pianist Rachel Adrist.

“I thought last night (concert 2017) was a huge success and I felt tremendously proud to be a part of the Encounter and in these 11 young singers’ careers.  We definitely need this kind of opportunity in Canada…Congratulations on a very successful endeavour. I look forward to seeing the encounters grow in the coming years.” 
Brett Polegato, Baritone


“I wanted to take a moment to thank you for the truly special experience we lived on Monday night. I have never sung for a live radio/video broadcast, and I can’t thank you enough for offering me this opportunity. If there is ever anything I can do to help your IRCPA cause, please do not hesitate to ask. I greatly enjoyed working with Brett, having the chance to get feedback from someone of his calibre of artistry is invaluable. I do hope these sorts of things continue in the future, alongside this partnership with Classical FM. As you know, young singers rarely get this sort of exposure, in a low stress, positive environment – a balance between high performance and enjoyment I have rarely felt. If for nothing else, I feel empowered by this experience! My most sincere thanks”

 Jean-Philippe  (Lazure), Tenor


Launched in 2016, the Name a Scholarship campaign will enable all singers to apply without financial burden. Donors are invited to contribute a $400 scholarship in the name of an important Canadian musical artist past or present. To do so, they may email  ann.dossena1957@hotmail.com, mail a cheque payable to IRCPA to 43 Bright Street, Toronto M5A 3H5, telephone 416 362 1422 or click the blue button beside. Tax receipts will be issued.

These scholarships significantly enhance the recipients’ biographies, and remind them, as well as the general public, to take pride in and draw inspiration from Canada’s musical heritage.

Canadian artists honoured:  

2016:  Clarice Carson, Louis Quilico, Ermano Mauro, Joan Hill, Lois McDonall, Maureen Forrester, Karina Gauvin, Ruby Mercer, Judith Forst, Mary Morrison.

2017:  Riki Turofsky, Jon Vickers, Louis Quilico, Clarice Carson, Eugene Kash, Stuart Hamilton, Jane Archibald, Sondra Radvanovsky, Adrianne Pieczonka, Barbara Wolfond and Carl Little.


At the conclusion of the November 6 concert, one of the 10 singers will be chosen to receive a coveted Career Blueprint. The recipient will spend three days at the National Opera America Center in New York, where new photographs, video and audio recordings, website consultation, mentoring with professionals, and more is provided.

In 2016, the inaugural year of the IRCPA’s Career Blueprint award Soprano Natalya Gennadi and Mezzo-soprano Marjorie Maltais were the recipients.

Thanks in large part to her award, Natalya Gennadi was selected for the title role of Tapestry Opera’s new creation, Oksana G. in spring 2017, and received wide praise for her performance. Marjorie Maltais debuts with Orchestre Metropolitan this season, sings the Christmas Oratorio with Elmer Iseler Singers, Messiah with the Milwaukee and Kitchener Symphonies and Elijah with Peterborough Symphony.


“Just wanted to add that if you need a list of mentors and speakers I can forward you the info. I’m really looking forward to getting the recordings, they have some excellent equipment and I got to work with a brilliant pianist.  Thank you once again, it was a bit surreal after all to be there. One of the agents even knew me from Oksana G and so his advice was very personally tailored, let’s say.  My head is still spinning with the excitement and all of the information.  Thank you, Ann, for all your work and support.”   

Natalya Gennadi, soprano
August 27, 2017


“I am leaving New York today full of ideas and dreams. I received valuable tools who can help me bring my young career to the next step and I know that this team of experts will be there for me beyond the Blueprint session. I now feel ready for the upcoming audition season. I am proud of what I will be presenting and cannot wait to see the outcome. Thank you so much to you Ann, and to the IRCPA.  Just finished the Career Blueprint session at Opera America. It was an incredible three days here in New York. I received so much information and feedbacks, I can’t wait to show my new press kit, website and recordings!  Once again, I can’t thank the International Resource Centre for Performing Artists (IRCPA) enough for this opportunity.

Marjorie Maltais, mezzo-soprano
September 10, 2017

Li Koo (ircpa board member), Clarence Frazer, Brett Polegato
Pianist Rachel Andrist
Baritone Clarence Frazer, 2017 recipient of the IRCPA Career Blueprint Award
Soprano Natalya Gennadi, 2016 recipient of the IRCPA Career Blueprint Award
Mezzo-soprano Marjorie Maltais, 2016 recipient of the IRCPA Career Blueprint Award

Events 2016 


The IRCPA wants to thank all the participants of THE SAVVY MUSICIAN Workshop, it was great to see you all.

On Sunday November 13, 2016, at the Long & Mcquade hall, the IRCPA presented The Savvy Musician Workshop, with jazz and classical pianist David Cutler plus guests from Chamber Music America, Europe’s International Art Managers Association (IAMA), and North American Performing Arts Managers and Agents (NAPAMA).


A Life in Music: BIG Ideas on Career & Financial Success
This interactive workshop by arts entrepreneurship guru David Cutler unveiled a variety of uncommon ideas that help musicians of all disciplines to thrive. Success as a musician requires much more than talent and hard work.


For the first time in their history, members of two important international artist management organizations came together “on the road” in Toronto – IAMA, from Europe and NAPAMA. Peter Freeman of IAMA, and Tim Robinson, NAPAMA board member, described their organizations and representation for artists.

Read more

PLUS: At the invitation of the IRCPA, the CEO of Chamber Music America, Margaret Lioi, described the services and benefits available to Canadian musicians, including showcases in New York, networking with the more than 6,000 members, 25% of whom are jazz artists. Jazz pianist and composer Billy Childs is the recently elected president.

Robert Baird, author of the Crossing Borders guides, gave border crossing tips including getting visas and work permits, and dealing with customs inspections when touring.


10 am – 11:30: Introduction – workshop with David Cutler
11:30 12:00: Robert Baird discusses border-crossing issues
12:00 – 12:20 pm: Introduction of Margaret Lioi of CMA by Ron Davis
12:20 – 12:40: Introduction – Peter Freeman of IAMA

12:40 – 13:00: Introduction – Tim Robinson, NAPAMA board member
13:00 – 14:00: Free Lunch available to maximize networking
14:00 – 16:00: Workshop with David Cutler
16:00 – 16:30: Wrap/Networking

David Cutler’s IRCPA Savvy Musician Workshop. November 13, 2016
Margaret Lioi, Peter Freeman, Robert Baird, David Cutler, Tim Robinson.
Tim Robinson (NAPAMA), horn player Amelia Shiels, pianist Rachel Peacock

with CEO Margaret Lioi
November 13 – Toronto, Canada

What is Chamber Music?

CMA defines chamber music as music composed for small ensembles, with one musician per part, generally performed without a conductor.

The term once referred only to Western classical music for small ensembles, such as string quartets. But today chamber music encompasses myriad forms, including contemporary and traditional jazz, classical, and world genres.

Who is Chamber Music America?

Margaret M. Lioi, CEO

Thank You, Sondra!

The IRCPA and tonight’s singers are deeply grateful to soprano Sondra Radvanovsky for generously making time in her demanding schedule to share her knowledge and recommendations with us last week.

As one of the participants writes:

“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 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 can one day do the same.”

Please be advised that the programs are subject to change.

If you are not already a member, we invite you to join IRCPA, get involved and stay in the loop!

Membership is without charge

  • To get the most from membership, get involved by contributing ideas, bringing your challenges and colleagues to the table for networking, “talking shop” or sharing experiences.
  • We welcome volunteers to help with members’ news, the Round-Table Discussions, Focus Groups or Brainstorming sessions.
  • Until we have a permanent home, smaller group events (discussions etc.) are held in party rooms or living rooms of willing and able volunteers

The IRCPA serves both as a community hub for networking musicians, and as an incubator where career-enhancing programs help artists meet or exceed career goals.

Keep Us Informed!

Performances, CD or DVD launches, and other important news or events by members are important. Your news will be shared on our social media, presenters, media, programmers, and friends of the IRCPA.

From League of American Orchestras

Updated information from the League about new executive order on U.S. travel restrictions

Updated information from the League about new executive order on U.S. travel restrictions

 The White House has revoked the executive order concerning international travel announced on January 27, 2017 and has issued a new executive order that takes effect on March 16, 2017. While the legal and arts communities continue to study the order more fully, the League of American Orchestras’ Artists from Abroad website has been updated with information about key ways the new rules intersect with travel by artists from Sudan, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen. In addition to restrictions on travel by artists from those countries, global changes include immediate suspension of the Visa Interview Waiver Program (VIWP); all nonimmigrant visa applicants must have in-person interviews. The elimination of the VIWP option will create more demand for consular appointments, so artists should allow extra time for the visa approval process. Vetting and screening procedures will be heightened at all levels of the immigration process. Artists from Abroad provides arts-specific guidance on the immigration and taxation procedures needed to present international performing guest artists in the U.S. Click here for more information.

Posted March 9, 2017

Behind the US Justice Department ruling about music-licensing royalty agreements

“The American Justice Department announced on Thursday that it had concluded a two-year investigation into the complex world of music licensing and decided against making changes to the regulatory agreements that govern ASCAP and BMI, two large clearinghouses for performing rights that process about $2 billion in royalty payments each year” for composers and music publishers, writes Ben Sisario in Friday’s (8/5) New York Times. “BMI quickly said it would challenge the decision in federal court, and ASCAP said it would ‘explore legislative solutions’ to the problems of music licensing in the digital age.… Since 1941 [ASCAP and BMI] have been bound by regulatory agreements called consent decrees. Two years ago, both organizations asked the Justice Department to change these agreements … to secure fair royalty rates in the digital era…. The Justice Department [instead] added a requirement, saying that for ASCAP and BMI to comply with the existing regulations, they must offer ‘100 percent licensing’ of their songs. Many songs have multiple writers, and those writers don’t always belong to the same rights society…. The Justice Department is giving the music industry a year to comply… It is unclear how this would happen, but industry executives say it could include the creation of new databases to share data that previously was proprietary.”

Posted August 10, 2016

Ian Smith, Chairman of the European Music Commission, has given this statement:

Dear members and friends of the European Music Council,

I write as Chair/President of the European Music Council to express my deep regret and sorrow that at yesterday’s referendum, the UK voted to leave the European Union by a narrow margin of 52% voting to leave and 48% voting to remain. The EMC remains at the core of my being and my responsibilities as Chair are if anything strengthened by this regrettable vote. I am happy to report that Scotland voted by a clear majority of 62% to remain as part of the EU and that could, of course lead, not only to the break up of Europe, which we all fear, but the break up of the UK too.

The majority vote has come almost entirely from an English-based populace who fear continuing immigration and want to retain control of the UK which is, in my view a misplaced priority and fails to grasp that we are stronger together. From a cultural and artistic perspective this is certainly the case and is why the European Music Council is strong and that strength comes from our members and our shared priorities and vision for music as a universal language that knows no barriers wherever it is practiced across all genres, all abilities and for the benefit of all peoples.

We will remain strong and focussed on our European and global agenda and I hope it is clear that what has just happened in the UK must make us all vigilant and ensure that we unite through the common language of music that is and remains our passion.

Ian Smith, Chair of the EMC


Visas: seeking more expedience, not expense!

This week, the League led a broad coalition of national performing arts organizations calling for immediate improvements to the U.S. visa process for international artists. Amidst lengthy processing delays, U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) has proposed making it more costly to apply for the required visas for foreign guest artists, increasing the filing fee by 42% from $325 to $460. The date for implementing the proposed fee increase has not yet been set. The League has submitted comments on behalf of orchestras – and in partnership with a national nonprofit performance arts coalition including the American Federation of Musicians, Performing Arts Alliance, The Recording Academy, and many others – urging USCIS to make immediate improvements to the artist visa process.

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Proposed Legislation to Help Touring Canadians Enter U.S.

April 11, 2016 – As recently reported, visa processing delays by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) service centers have become a major problem for Canadian touring artists and U.S. presenters. In an attempt to resolve the issues, a bipartisan legislation was recently introduced in the Congress.

The proposed “Bringing Entertainment Artists to the States” (BEATS) Act is intended to streamline the process of obtaining a P-2 classification for Canadian artists.

The P-2 classification is for artists and entertainers, individually or as a group (including essential support personnel), performing in the United States under a bilateral, reciprocal exchange program. The only P-2 programs at the moment are conducted under the auspices of the American Federation of Musicians (with the Canadian Federation of Musicians) and Actors’ Equity (with the Canadian Actors’ Equity Association).

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Under the BEATS Act, Canadian artists would be able to file a P-2 petition for admission into the United States with an immigration officer at any Class A port of entry located on the border of the United States and Canada, or at any pre-clearance station at a Canadian airport, right on their way into the US. The Act would also provide Canadian artists the flexibility to alter the dates and venues of performances listed in the original petition. The only stipulation is that the additional performances or engagements cannot be more than one third of the performances or engagements listed on the original petition.

The proposed Act however has limitations. First, it would only assist Canadian artists applying for a visa through one of the P-2 union reciprocal programs that are currently established with the American Federation of Musicians and Actors’ Equity. Second, artists choosing to process their petition at a port of entry would run the risk of seeing the petition turned down by a border official, which would result in last-minute cancellations. Third, it is unlikely that Congress will pass the Act before the November election.

In spite of this, the Beats Act, just like the Arts Require Timely Service Act, is another positive step towards raising awareness of the challenges related immigration for Canadian artists touring in the United States.

Sources: Canadian Independent Music Association and Canadian Federation of Musicians

New Ivory Rules Support Musical Instruments.

On July 6, 2016, new rules will take effect related to both international travel and domestic commerce with musical instruments that contain small quantities of African elephant ivory. The League played a key leadership role in national conversations with White House officials, top leadership at U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), Congress, and conservation organizations to successfully seek solutions that would address urgent conservation concerns while also protecting international cultural activity.

The rules broaden access to travel permits, allow for domestic interstate commerce in musical instruments containing small quantities of ivory, and very helpfully clarify that legally-crafted musical instruments are not contributing to the African elephant poaching and trafficking crisis.

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In announcing the rules to reverse current travel restrictions and provide opportunities for ongoing domestic interstate commerce in musical instruments, the USFWS stated that, “We listened carefully to the legitimate concerns raised by various stakeholder groups and, as a result, are allowing commonsense, narrow exceptions for musicians, musical instrument makers and dealers…to trade items that have minimal amounts of ivory and satisfy other conditions. These items are not drivers of elephant poaching and do not provide cover for traffickers.”

What does that mean?

For international travel, the new rules remove the current prohibition on travel with musical instruments purchased after February 25, 2014 that legally contain African elephant ivory. This removal of the purchase date restriction is a significant improvement. By July 6, the USFWS will issue a revised Director’s Order clarifying the policy change, and musicians who purchased instruments after February 25, 2014 that legally contain ivory will be eligible to apply for a travel permit.

That sounds good, but there will still be problems with over-zealous Customs officials.

Under the new rules, a musical instrument that contains African elephant ivory may qualify for a travel permit if the worked African elephant ivory meets all of the following criteria:
– The African elephant ivory contained in the instrument was legally acquired and removed from the wild prior to February 26, 1976;
– The instrument containing worked ivory is accompanied by a valid Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) musical instrument certificate or equivalent CITES document;

– The instrument is securely marked or uniquely identified so that authorities can verify that the certificate corresponds to the musical instrument in question; and

– The instrument is not sold, traded, or otherwise disposed of while outside the certificate holder’s country of usual residence.
This is not over yet.

Further requests of the music community related to easing international travel restrictions will be under consideration in separate U.S. rulemaking procedures, and as CITES is renegotiated in 2016.

For more information, review the 114-page rule and the Fish and Wildlife Service’s FAQs.

Here’s how to board Airberlin with a viola or violin

Fiona Stevens has nailed it:

I had a very pleasant conversation today with Frau Unger from Airberlin head office who has helped many of us violinists in the past. She allows me to post the following procedure for taking violins on board until the wording of Airberlin terms & conditions is changed.
Anyone wishing to take a violin/viola on board should write to medspecialrequest@airberlin.com stating their flight & booking number, and the dimensions & weight of their instrument case. They should then receive written confirmation that they will be able to take the instrument as handluggage at no extra cost.

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For anyone wondering why, whilst top management has decided to change policy in favour of musicians, it is taking so long for the official wording to be changed: this is (much the same as my recent post re Eurowings) because changing the wording of general terms & conditions requires every department (including legal) to ok the new wording, and this simply takes time.

From Slipped Disc

Isabel Overton Bader Canadian Violin Competition:

April 26 – 29, 2017 Queens University, Kingston, Ontario. Application Deadline: December 5, 2016.




A new Canada-wide Music Composition Competition

McGill University’s Schulich School of Music has announced a new competition open to all Canadian composers age 35 or younger.

The competition will be funded by a $1 million donation from McGill alumnus Dr Graham Sommer.

The Graham Sommer Competition for Young Composers will “shine a spotlight on the best young composers from across Canada, bringing them to the attention of the Canadian public and the international musical world,” said Schulich School of Music’s Interim Dean, Julie Cumming.

The first annual competition is slated to begin in the Spring of 2017 and will commemorate Canada’s 150th and Montreal’s 375th-anniversary celebrations. Contest details will be release later this year.