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Guest Conductors

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Kathleen Allan 
Guest Conductor 2023

Kathleen Allan is the incoming Artistic Director and Conductor of the Amadeus Choir of Greater Toronto and is the Artistic Director of Canzona, Winnipeg’s professional Baroque choir. Originally from St. John’s, NL, Ms. Allan is in high demand as a conductor, composer and clinician and is equally comfortable working in early, contemporary, and symphonic repertoire. Until 2019, Ms. Allan served as the Director of Choral Studies and Associate Conductor of the Symphony Orchestra at the Vancouver Academy of Music and was the Associate Conductor of the Vancouver Bach Choir. She was the 2016 recipient of the Sir Ernest MacMillan Prize in Choral Conducting which accompanied her role as Apprentice Conductor of the National Youth Choir of Canada. In 2015, Ms. Allan made her Asian debut conducting Handel’s Messiah and Bach’s Christmas Oratorio in Japan. She is a founding co-Artistic Director of Arkora, an electric vocal chamber consort dedicated to blurring lines between the music of our time and masterworks from the ancient repertoire. 

Her compositions have been commissioned, performed and recorded by ensembles throughout the Americas and Europe and have been featured at two World Symposiums on Choral Music. Her collaboration with Labrador youth choir Ullugiagâtsuk was featured as part of the 150th Canada Day celebrations at  Unisong 2017 in Ottawa. She is published by Boosey and Hawkes, Cypress Choral Music, and is a MusicSpoke composer. Also an accomplished soprano, she has appeared as a soloist with the National Broadcast Orchestra, Berkshire Choral Festival, and the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. In addition to freelancing regularly in Canada and the US, she has performed with the Vancouver Chamber Choir, Early Music Vancouver, the Arnold Schoenberg Chor (Vienna), Clarion Choir (New York City), Skylark Vocal Ensemble (Atlanta), and the Yale Schola Cantorum. She holds a degree in composition from the University of British Columbia and a master’s degree in conducting from Yale University. 

Active conductor, scholar, clinician, and adjudicator, Dr. Jean-Sébastien Vallée is a rapidly rising conductor on today's concert music stage.  Dr. Vallée is Director of Choral Studies and Chair of the Conducting Area at the Schulich School of Music of McGill University in Montréal. Prior to his appointment at McGill University, Dr. Vallée served as Director of Choral Studies at California State University, Los Angeles, and was on the choral faculty of the University of Redlands (California).

Ensembles under his direction have sung for the American Choral Directors Association and California Music Educators Conferences, and were awarded first and second places at the San Luis Obispo International Choral Competition in 2011. In 2015, Maestro Vallée was the runner-up for the American Prize in Choral Conducting, and two of his ensembles were awarded a the American Prize in Choral Music.

Dr. Vallée holds degrees from the Université Laval, the Université de Sherbrooke, the University of California, Santa Cruz, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Dr. Vallée is also founder and director of INSPIRAVI, a 20-voice Los Angeles based professional chamber choir, former artistic director of the Mountainside Master Chorale in Los Angeles, artistic director of the Ottawa Choral Society, and director of the choir of the Church of St. Andrew and St. Paul in Montréal. Maestro Vallée recently conducted J.S. Bach’s St. John Passion with Ensemble Caprice, recorded an album of sacred music with the choir of St. Andrew & St. Paul, recorded California Voices an album of choral music by California Composers with the Mountainside Master Chorale, and traveled to China to guest conduct and offer conducting masterclasses. Upcoming activities include a residency at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, guest conducting and masterclasses in China, and a participation to the 11th International Symposium on Choral Music to be held in Barcelona.


Jean-Sébastien Vallée

Guest Conductor 2019

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Lydia Adams

Guest Conductor 2017

As an ambassador of the Canadian Music Centre and hailed by the CMC as “the new leading exponent of the Canadian choral composer”, Lydia Adams has dedicated her career to the growth of Canadian choral music. She is Artistic Director of both the Elmer Iseler Singers and the Amadeus Choir of Greater Toronto, national leaders in commissioning, premièring, performing and recording Canadian choral works.  In the fall of 2016, Lydia was appointed director of the Western University Singers.

A native of Glace Bay, Nova Scotia, Ms. Adams received her musical education at Mount Allison University, New Brunswick; the Royal College of Music and the National Opera Studio, London, England. She has conducted choral works of Canadian composers including Somers, Freedman, Applebaum, Watson Henderson, Hatzis, Daley and Togni. She has toured extensively and guest conducted throughout Canada and the United States, and recently conducted a tour of the world’s first Cree opera, Pimooteewin: The Journey, by Tomson Highway and Melissa Hui. An innovative programmer, Ms. Adams has included over 50 new commissions in the past 13 years. Her own compositions are performed worldwide.

Dr. Adams has been honoured by the City of Scarborough, the Women’s International Network, and the Ontario Choral Federation. In 2003, she received an Honorary Doctorate from Mount Allison University for her service to music in Canada. She is one of 74 featured stage artists in V. Tony Hauser’s national Stage Presence 2009 portrait exhibition and publication.

In June 2012, Dr. Adams was announced as the winner of the Roy Thomson Hall Award of Recognition, part of The 2012 Toronto Arts Foundation Arts Awards.

In June 2013 Lydia Adams won the Ontario Premier’s Award for Excellence in the Arts in the Artist category, with the following citation: “As the conductor of the Amadeus Choir of Greater Toronto for 30 years and of Canada’s Elmer Iseler Singers for 15 years, Lydia Adams has consistently promoted and programmed music by both time-honored and contemporary Canadian composers, while at the same time promoting young Canadian artists, many of whom have gone on to establish a career in singing.”

Most recently, Ms. Adams was a co-recipient of the Parks Canada CEO Award for Excellence (2016) for her collaboration on the music drama presentation The Bells of Baddeck (Lorna MacDonald, Dean Burry) and is honoured to have been appointed as Visiting Associate Professor in choral studies at the Don Wright Faculty of Music, Western University, commencing in the fall of 2016.

One of Canada’s foremost choral musicians, Robert Cooper is also Artistic Director of Chorus Niagara, the Opera in Concert Chorus and the newly created Ontario Male Chorus.  He taught for several years as a member of the Choral Department, Faculty of Music, University of Toronto and has had the honour of conducting the National Youth Choir of Canada, the Ontario Youth Choir (1979, 2007, 2016) and a Celebration of Canadian Choral Music at Carnegie Hall. As a superb choral trainer and conductor, Mr. Cooper has provided strong artistic mentoring to singing youth in the Toronto Mendelssohn Youth Choir as well as the Orpheus Choir Sidgwick Scholars and Vocal Apprentice Programs, influencing over 2000 young adult singers.


Over his career Mr Cooper has prepared choruses for many international conductors including Helmuth Rilling, Sir David Willcocks, John Rutter, Sir Andrew Davis, Charles Dutoit, and the late Robert Shaw and Elmer Iseler.


In May 2016, Robert was awarded Choral Canada’s Distinguished Service Award. This prestigious, national award is given in recognition of significant, transformative, and long-term service in building, nurturing and promoting choral music in Canada.

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Robert Copper

Guest Conductor 2016


Mark Sirett

Guest Conductor 2015

Conductor, composer, pianist and organist, Mark Sirett (b. 1952) is the founding Artistic Director of the award-winning Cantabile Choirs of Kingston, Ontario, Canada.  He is a native of Kingston and holds both masters and doctoral degrees in choral conducting and pedagogy from the University of Iowa.  Dr. Sirett has taught at the University of Alberta, the University of Western Ontario and Queen’s University.

Dr. Sirett has won two international awards in conducting: the Jury Prize for Imaginative Programming and Artistry at the 2002 Cork International Choral Festival, and Outstanding Conductor at the 2004 Young Prague Festival.  In 2009 he was the recipient of the President’s Leadership Award presented by Choirs Ontario for his contribution to the choral art in the province.  His composition, “The Stars Point the Way” was honoured as Outstanding Choral Composition 2010 by the Association of Canadian Choral Communities. Recently he was awarded Distinguished Alumni of Grant MacEwan University, Edmonton.

Dr. Sirett is also an award-winning composer whose works are frequently performed by some of Canada’s leading ensembles. Commissions have included works for the National Youth Choir of Canada, the Amabile Youth Singers, Ottawa Regional Youth Choir, Elora Festival Singers, University of Iowa and the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir. His published works are found in the catalogues of Boosey and Hawkes, Oxford University Press, ECS Publishing, Walton, Hinshaw, Alliance, Santa Barbara, Carus Verlag, Augsburg/Fortress, Alfred and Canadian International.

A proud native of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, Kellie Walsh is the Founder and Artistic Director of Lady Cove Women's Choir, Co-Founder and Artistic Director of Newman Sound Men's Choir, and Artistic Director of Shallaway: Newfoundland and Labrador Youth in Chorus. She also conducted the senior chamber choir, junior high choir, and the multi-award winning treble choir at St. Bonaventure's College, as well as the senior choir of the Basilica of St. John the Baptist.

Kellie also enjoys a busy schedule as a workshop clinician and adjudicator. In August 2009 she was guest conductor for the Nova Scotia Youth Choir summer program and in February 2010, she conducted the first-ever Pan Labrador Youth Choir as part of Festival 500 Labrador. Kellie has worked with such internationally-acclaimed conductors as Maria Guinand of Venezuela, Sir David Willcocks and Alan Hazeldine of London, England, Jon Washburn of Vancouver, Pinchas Zukerman of the National Arts Center Orchestra in Ottawa, and Helmuth Rilling of Germany.

She holds Bachelor's degrees in both Music and Music Education from Memorial University, in addition to a Master's degree in conducting, having studied with Dr. Douglas Dunsmore, Dr. Donald Buell, and Maestro Marc David. Kellie serves as a sessional instructor for choral music and music education for Memorial University's School of Music.

Kellie was named Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council's Emerging Artist for 2008, for her contribution to arts and culture in our province, particularly the choral sector.  Most recently, in March 2013, Kellie received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, an award honouring significant contributions and achievements by Canadians.

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Kellie Walsh

Guest Conductor 2014

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