About us

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Established in 1993 by Oshawa violinist John Beaton, the Durham Youth Orchestra provides young musicians with the enriching experience of performing music by many great composers, including Bach, Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, Mendelssohn and Tchaikovsky. The goal of the DYO is to nurture the artistic and personal growth of young musicians through the experience of playing orchestral masterpieces. The DYO provides the wonderful opportunity for young people with a passion for classical music to develop their musical skills and hone their talent in an orchestra setting!

The Durham Youth Orchestra performs in a minimum of three concerts each season. The orchestra’s involvement in the community includes educational concerts presented to Durham area students. Through these efforts, orchestra members gain valuable performing experience and help contribute to the musical culture of Durham Region.

John Beaton earned a B.A. (Honours Music) from the University of Western Ontario and a B.Ed. from the University of Toronto. While at Western, he studied violin for five years with Prof. Yuri Mazurkevich, a graduate of the Moscow Conservatory and former student of David Oistrakh, and conducting with Prof. Deral Johnson. He has attended workshops in Suzuki Violin pedagogy at Queen’s University, the University of Guelph and Wilfrid Laurier University. Mr. Beaton has been a member of the violin sections of Orchestra London and the Oshawa-Durham Symphony Orchestra. He is the founder/music director of the Durham Youth Orchestra, and has been a busy violin and viola teacher in Oshawa for over 20 years.

 

Paul Otway is a freelance trumpet player in Southern Ontario. He works with several orchestras including the Windsor Symphony, Ontario Philharmonic, Niagara Symphony, and the Peterborough Symphony. Paul most recently played principal trumpet in the musical “Sousatzka” and has played in numerous Mirvish productions including The Wizard of Oz, Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music, Wicked, The Phantom of the Opera and Les Miserables, and Dancap Productions including My Fair Lady, Anne of Green Gables, South Pacific, and West Side Story. Paul has also performed in several productions at the Shaw Festival. Freelance work has allowed him to play with many well-known artists including, in 2015, Idina Menzel and Diana Krall. Paul’s playing has been recorded on several CDs, and broadcast on CBC Radio with a variety of ensembles. Paul can be seen in the movie, “Fever Pitch” (look for the trumpet player!). He has performed for live audiences in 36 states, and 7 provinces.

The Durham Youth Orchestra is a non-profit corporation and a member of Orchestras Canada. The orchestra is governed by a Board of Directors elected by the general membership. The DYO encourages active participation of parent volunteers for the activities and maintenance of the orchestra.

Music Director

Assistant Music Director

President

Past-President

Vice-President

Treasurer

Secretary/Membership

Concerts

Directors

John Beaton

Paul Otway

Rocco Lombardi

Dave Thompson

Julian Smerdon

Donna van Bilsen

Genevieve Letts

Milan Kliska

Larysa Anisimov

Paul Cardwell

Shannon Knights

Jon Lepage

Elizabeth Parker

Ted Warren

 

 

Featured Alumni

Meagan Turner

Violinist/Violist

Praised for versatility and fiery interpretations, Meagan Turner remains in high demand as a soloist, chamber player, and orchestral musician throughout Ontario. Beginning her studies in Suzuki violin at age 8, Meagan has since studied with renowned pedagogues throughout Toronto, including Etsuko Kimura, David Zafer, and Erika Raum. Making her orchestral debut at age 10, Meagan has been invited to perform at the provincial and national levels on many occasions. A frequent prizewinner in festivals throughout the province, Meagan has also been awarded several Silver Medals from the Royal Conservatory of Music for top provincial standings in violin performance. She enjoys orchestral playing, having held several section violin and leadership positions in the Durham Youth Orchestra, Mooredale Youth Orchestras, Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra, National Youth Orchestra of Canada, Orchestré de la Francophonie, University of Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Guelph Symphony Orchestra, and the Ontario Philharmonic. As a soloist and chamber musician, Meagan has had the opportunity to perform and attend masterclasses with Annalee Patipatanakoon, Jacques Israelievitch, Mark Fewer, Jean Lamon, Ivars Taurins, Johnathan Crow, Alexandre de Costa, Elissa Cassini, Anton Kuerti, James Ehnes, Henning Kraggereud, the Cecilia Quartet, the Gryphon Trio, the New Orford Quartet, and the Brentano Quartet. Meagan completed her Bachelor of Music at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Music, studying with Erika Raum. She is currently at the Julliard School of Music studying for her Masters in Music and Viola Performance.

Rod Gonzaga

Violinist

Position: Software Architect in enterprise software consulting firm in Toronto with clients in areas such as banking, investment fund management and health insurance.

Education: Hon. BSc., University of Toronto (St. George), Software Engineering Specialist and Human Biology Major

Playing an instrument alone is one thing. Playing in a musical ensemble with your peers and friends is another. I’ve been taking private violin lessons since I was 8 years old, but it was really in ensemble playing like in DYO that I feel music came to life for me. Between the connection with other similarly minded and motivated young people, positive peer pressure, healthy competition, a shared creative experience, and the long-lasting friendships that are forged along the way, there are few other opportunities like playing in an orchestra. I strongly believe that the social, intellectual and emotional growth that comes from these opportunities carry over into academic and professional life, even if you’re chosen path is not towards becoming a professional musician.

Chelsie Vaillancourt

Flutist

Chelsie began her flute studies at the age of seven under the tutelage of Dr. Pandora Bryce. Currently, she studies with TSO (Toronto Symphony Orchestra) Associate Principal Flutist, Julie Ranti. As a grade 10 Honour Roll and Performing Arts student attending O’Neill CVI in Oshawa, Chelsie strives to balance her musical talent with outstanding academic ability. She has been a member of two youth orchestras and a quartet in Durham Region. Among her many awards and honours, she placed first at the OMFA’s (Ontario Music Festival Association) Provincial Finals in the summer of 2012 and second in 2013. This summer, through a rigorous audition process, Chelsie was selected to appear and play her flute in a national commercial for the TD Bank. Equally strong in the academic arena, last year she was the recipient of the Durham District School Board’s “Fannie Hislop Award” for having achieved the highest overall grade average.

Kevin Odorico

Cellist

Kevin first began his studies in music on the violin at the age of 4. After playing the violin for six years, he decided to switch to the cello and began his studies with Joowon Kim. Between 2004 and 2011, Kevin has been an active member in numerous local youth orchestras, which include: The Durham Youth Orchestra, The Academy Symphony Orchestra at the Royal Conservatory in Toronto, and the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra. During that time, he was a part of numerous chamber ensembles which performed at concerts, weddings, and charity functions. To further his studies in music, between 2006 and 2009 he attended the Young Artists Performance Academy at the Royal Conservatory. He has participated in many local music festivals as well as the Ontario Provincial Music Festival where he has won numerous awards and scholarships. Kevin completed his Bachelor of Music in 2015 at Western University in London, Ontario, where he studied cello performance under Professor Thomas Wiebe.

What Our Audience Says

I am pleased to convey my sincere appreciation of the Durham Youth Orchestra. In addition to hearing members perform at our Inaugural Council Meeting and at the recent Mayor’s Fundraiser at Trafalgar Castle, I have had the pleasure of attending many concerts at St. George’s in Oshawa and seeing the DYO perform with the Ontario Philharmonic at the Regent Theatre. These talented young musicians enhance the cultural richness of our town and region. My best wishes for the continuing success of the Durham Youth Orchestra. Don Mitchell

Mayor, Town of Whitby

In the many years I’ve been associated with the Durham Youth Orchestra as Honorary Patron, I’ve been thrilled by every concert. I’ve also been thrilled to witness the progress of kids from tiny beginners to brilliant performers who go on to elite schools such as Julliard.

The secrets to all these successes are predictable but so very difficult – great kids, a brilliant maestro in John Beaton, and immensely loving and hard-working parents and volunteers.

‎I extend my congratulations to all and look forward to many more great concerts.

With very best wishes,

Dr Gary Polonsky

Honorary Patron, Durham Youth Orchestra

I have been to two concerts performed by the DYO and have been absolutely amazed at the talent and discipline of these young people.

I sit there and close my eyes and allow the music to surround me and enter my soul.   By closing my eyes I don’t pick out any one instrument or performer and simply experience.  When I open my eyes again I continue to be amazed that these are young people performing challenging pieces and doing it beautifully.   And they are enjoying it!

I’m hooked!!!

Bobbie Drew

Regional Councillor, Durham Region

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