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Talk to us, tell us your challenges.

Questions? We welcome your questions. If we don’t have the answers, we’ll find out.
More information is available by calling (416) 362-1422 or email

Encounter with Renata Scotto. 1990

Careers In Focus

The IRCPA provides a forum for musicians and their support systems according to their changing needs. We welcome questions. If we don’t know the answers, we’ll find out!

Workshops: (Spring and Fall)

To connect individual musicians with one another, with artistic coaches, other professionals, and current international leaders in the industry for knowledge exchange, business practices, and employment opportunities. Topics are chosen from artists’ requests and from focus groups where challenges are discussed and identified. They have included: Business practices, Negotiation, Contracts, Mediation, Entrepreneurial planning, Proposals, Bookings, Promotion, Social Media, Visas and Work Permits.

Artists are encouraged to be proactive, develop their skills, export their services, and retain their home base in Canada. The exchange of information in these sessions has visibly lessened frustration and enhanced networking for artists, as well as the panelists who often find it beneficial.

This program is especially helpful to artists new to Canada who need assistance in integrating professionally in their new country.

“These sessions helped me to understand better how things work in this sector.”

“As a newcomer to Canada…I must confess the IRCPA is one of the most resourceful workshops.”

“Thank you for the 5-part wardrobe outline for the classical (baroque) singer….I felt overwhelmed at the time, but have recovered enough now to start tackling this issue.”

“Most importantly, IRCPA connected me easily to professionals now playing key roles in my re-branding.”

Career Moves Workshop, Nov. 2011
Encounter with Joan Dornemann, 1991

Encounters with Master Artists & Experts (Spring and Fall)

The purpose of this program is to give emerging and mid-career artists short-term access to master artists or experts, who are usually inaccessible in a nurturing environment for feedback and guidance. Participants have expressed the importance to them of meeting new colleagues and networking in these close and intimate encounters. Some of Canada’s most noted artists have participated in Encounters as students.

“Greetings from Vienna. As a young singer aspiring to become an opera singer, I had the good fortune to benefit from the IRCPA Encounter with Joan Dornemann, which was a revelation.” Adrianne Pieczonka.

How Do Encounters 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

Encounter with Janet Bookspan
Encounter with Joan Dornemann, 1991

Business in Performing Workshops

Hot Topics: Business practices; Negotiation, contracts, mediation; Entrepreneurial planning; Social media-networking

A panel of professionals in diverse areas of the cultural industry gives practical advice on the business of performing, contracts, negotiation, long-range planning and expectations.
Access to managers, publicists, critics and employers is vital for each performer to understand what is expected of them in the industry. How the industry in North America functions and why. How the industries in Europe and Asia function differently. How to perform and develop the career in each system, and at the same time meet family commitments and responsibilities.

David Cutler’s IRCPA Savvy Musician Workshop. November 13, 2016
IRCPA Career Management Workshop 2015

Who’s Who in the Industry Panel Workshops

• Presenters, managers, government, business, artistic programmers, administrators, sponsors, donors
• Who makes decisions – why or how

Alexa Patrenko, Boris Brott, Chris Lorway

One-on-one Mentoring (year-round)

Mentoring is available upon request for both soloists or chamber music ensembles.
Informal sharing of knowledge, skills, information and resources on specific issues, challenging musicians to move beyond their comfort zone and to enhance their professional and personal growth.

“After listening to Edna Landau (co-founder, IMG Artists’ Mgt) in Careers in Focus in 2011 and a great session with a mentor, I’m feeling much more confident that I can market my group. What a great resource.”

Clarice Carson mentors singer. 1993

Round-table Discussions:

Discussions are scheduled throughout each year and on request.
Exchanging ideas, discussing challenges, meeting new colleagues, gaining confidence, and deciding on the best next steps to take.

“The world of management and career development…does not have to be confusing or overwhelming. The management workshop gave tremendous insight and much practical advice.”

Encounter with Renata Scotto, 1990

Feedback Auditions

Offers artists an opportunity to perform their audition repertoire and receive constructive feedback from a panel of industry professionals. Panelists evaluate the visual presentation, preparation and artistic skills. Artists will also find this a safe environment in which to experiment.

Ron Holgerson

Brain Storming

Finding solutions for specific ideas, problems or questions.



Career Advice: At the height of their careers, high profile artists are generous with their insights

Artistic Guidance: Offered by artistic directors, conductors or experts in the field

Wardrobe Suggestions: Personal Shoppers can be arranged to develop professional wardrobe for and including auditions, rehearsals, performances, dressing room receptions, fundraising receptions and photo shoots

International Relations and Markets: Employers are chosen from major international producing and presenting organizations whose jobs are to program festivals, productions, opera or touring programs.

Norman Campbell, Film Director CBC Television, with a student


Traditionally, following Encounters, the IRCPA has presented participating artists in public performances. Because of lack of funds these performances have not be presented recently.
Plans are to reinstate these performances next season.

10 singing stars of tomorrow
Singing Stars of Tomorrow Concert. Glenn Gould Studio, 1993

Special Events

The IRCPA has hosted many special events. Highlights include the visits to Toronto of
Simonetta Puccini, Granddaughter of the composer from Italy, and the late Dame Eva
Turner, famous voiceteacher from the UK.
Read more in Archives.

Clarice Carson, Dame Eva Turner, Ann Summers. 1986

National Network

The IRCPA National Network is being reinstated across Canada. Thanks to a grant from the McConnell Foundation in 1999, a national network was created when workshops were given in British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Quebec and Nova Scotia. Plans to Skype workshops in Toronto to other cities may begin with the November 13 “Savvy Musician” Workshop.

Teachers, musicians or arts leaders, outside Toronto, who are interested, are welcome to join our Network.
For further information email, or call 416.362.1422.

CBC filmshowing "Tosca", Carson in title role, Quilico as Scarpia


Violinist needed mentoring in 2014 is now with management and launching a recording. She is recipient of a rare violin from the Canada Council collection for the second year.

Pianist from Taiwan participated in event for artists new to Canada in 2015. She discovered that collaborative pianists are paid. She went home with a new market for her services.

Jazz Pianist participated in management workshop in 2015, is now invited to Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2016. He needed collaborative musicians he can’t afford to travel. IRCPA was instrumental in obtaining a string quartet from the Scottish Chamber Orchestra to accompany him in his own music in several performances in August 2016.

Singer, who is also a percussionist, participated in management workshop in 2015, was confused about his marketing as one or the other. Advised, he now has two websites and two careers.

The videographer who created the video benefited from this episode also since he had the same problem in his career. He now has three websites, offering three types of services.

We look forward to seeing everyone at the upcoming events.


Please be advised that the programs are subject to change.

Opera Director, Leon Major; Coach, Joan Dornemann; Toronto Star Critic, William Littler. 1993
Summers, Carson, Dornemann