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HomeEventsCentral Toronto Branch Virtual Workshop: "Panel Discussion on BIPOC Music & Composers"

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Central Toronto Branch Virtual Workshop: "Panel Discussion on BIPOC Music & Composers"

Panel Discussion on BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour) music and composers

Where: Online via ZOOM
Who: Open to all ORMTA members
Cost: FREE!

Elaine Lau (piano, host/moderator)
Denise Williams (vocal, host/moderator) Peteris Zarins (piano)
Dr. Heather Taves (piano, composer)
Dr. Afarin Mansouri (vocal, piano, composer) Saman Shahi (piano, composer, conductor) Beverley McKiver (piano, composer)
Marcus Nance (vocal)
Anne-Marie Ramos (vocal)

Panelist Bios:

Marcus Nance is equally at home in opera, theatre, concert and cabaret. The New York Times described him as, “a thrillingly powerful bass baritone” and Backstage NY said he has “a voice

that flows like melted butter.” Marcus Nance’s credits include nine seasons at the Stratford Festival, two seasons at the Shaw Festival, Jesus Christ Superstar and Baz Luhrmann’s La Boheme on Broadway and many more theatre, opera and orchestral performances all across North America. His CD, The Voice NextDoor, can be found oniTunes and; For more info, visit

Dr Afarin Mansouri is an award-winning composer and musicologist and has collaborated with organizations such as Seattle Opera, Tapestry Opera, Canadian Opera Company, Queen’s University and You Dance National Ballet of Canada. She is the recipient of Canada 150 Medal for her opera Forbidden that gained national and international attention. Her Audio Opera “Little Heart”, published by Centredisc, was nominated for Louise Applebaum Composition Award for Young Audience in 2020. As an educator and researcher, Afarin focuses on topics such as emotions in creativity, story telling and spiritual intelligence. Her PhD dissertation is on the topic of Children and Youth’s opera and its role on developing intellectual skills. For more information, please visit

Beverley McKiver is an Ottawa-based pianist, composer and teacher who frequently collaborates with instrumentalists, choirs and singers. She has completed residencies at Native Earth Performing Arts in Toronto and the Banff Centre for the Arts. In 2019 her “Odaabaanag” song cycle commissioned by Jumblies Theatre and Soundstreams in Toronto was performed at Toronto’s Harbourfront. Recently she was awarded a Canada Council Digital Originals grant to compose and perform a piano solo suite inspired by the floral emblems of Canada’s provinces and territories. Beverley is Anishinaabe from Lac Seul First Nation in Treaty 3 territory and grew up in Dryden, Ontario.

Canadian born Armenian-Indian soprano,
Anne-Marie Ramos has established herself in the world of oratorio, opera and musical theater. Ms.Ramos is a graduate of the University of Toronto vocal music program, where she performed with the opera school division. While a student, she gained notoriety in the musical theatre and operetta world with such roles as Mabel in Gilbert and Sullivan‘s Pirates of Penzance, Elsie in Yeoman of the Guard, as well as Maria in West Side Story. Professional engagements have included: soprano soloist in Mozart’s Requiem, Mendelssohn’s Elijah and Brahm's Requiem with Guelph chamber choir and Musica Viva orchestra; and Rossini’s Stabat Mater and Mahler Symphony #4 with

Scarbrough Philharmonic Orchestra. Other treasured roles that have brought Ms.Ramos acclaim have included: Princess Tuptim in The Stratford Festival of Canada’s production of The King and I; Goddess Diana in Shakespeare’s Pericles; Sydney in The National Arts Centre production of Abigail Richardson’s Dora Mavor award winning Sanctuary Song; and most recently Countess in The Marriage of Figaro. This past year, Ms.Ramos made her Koerner Hall debut as the Soprano soloist in Bach’s Christmas Oratorio.Ms. Ramos was a featured artist, alongside The Nathaniel Dett Chorale, at The Glenn Gould Foundation honouring of the great Jessye Norman. She was soprano soloist in the world premiere of Hosea, an oratorio, at Koerner Hall. Further engagementsinclude soprano soloist in Mendelssohn’s Psalms with the Scarborough Symphony Orchestra, and Songbook Series with the internationally acclaimed Tapestry Opera. Ms. Ramos most recently debuted, as Mother Abbess, in The Sound of Music with the internationally acclaimed Vancouver Arts Club Theatre. Ms. Ramos was recently honoured the prestigious Tyrone Guthrie Award from The Stratford Festival of Canada for her contribution to the arts.

Saman Shahi is an active and sought-after composer, pianist and conductor based in Toronto. Saman is a Member of the Canadian League of Composers, the Canadian Music Centre as well as a SOCAN. He is a co-founder and the Executive Director at ICOT, Music Director at the Peterborough Concert band, and a teaching artist with the Canadian Opera Company. Saman's debut composition album "Breathing in the Shadows" has been released by Leaf Music in 2020.

Heather Taves is one of Canada’s most acclaimed and beloved pianists, a career she melds with those of composer, improviser, and writer. Her openness, warmth and humor connect with people as she presents music by diverse composers, including Anishnaabe composer Beverly McKiver, Israeli composer Oded Zehavi, Palestinian-Canadian composer John Kameel Farah, Turkish composer Can Kazaz, jazz pianist Julian Joseph, and many more. An Associate Professor at Wilfrid Laurier University, she was an invited speaker at the International College Music Society Summit on 21st Century Music School Design. Follow her daily recording posts at

Peteris Zarins is a performing artist and educator. He is an instructor of piano and theoretical subjects at the Royal Conservatory, and Music History at the Taylor Academy of the Glenn Gould School. He is a member of the College of Examiners, where holds the designation of Chief Examiner Emeritus. With Elaine Rusk and Dr. Thomas Green, is a compiler of the upcoming Royal Conservatory Piano Repertoire series, and Syllabus revision. Of particular interest, in fact a priority, has been creating a more diverse and inclusive representation of composers and compositions. Peteris has been specifically researching the piano works of Black composers from historic figures such as Florence Price, William Grant Still, and

George Walker to contemporary artists Tania Leon, Errolyn Wallen, Anthony Davis and Pamela Z.

Sunday, January 31, 2021, 3:30 PM until 5:30 PM
Additional Info:
Central Toronto Branch
Registration is not Required
Payment In Full In Advance Only