Toronto Arts Council Commissions Iman Habibi to Compose for a Consortium of Pianists

The most gratifying music-making experiences take place in the company of friends. I am grateful to Toronto Arts Council for providing the commissioning funds for a new 12-15 minute solo piano piece to be completed in 2020. I feel so fortunate to have the support of a number of distinguished pianists and dear friends (listed below), who have endorsed this project and expressed an interest in programming the newly commissioned piece in future seasons. Their talent inspires me, their accomplishments humble me, and their support drives my creative energy.


If you are interested in joining this consortium, please fill out this form


Kate Acone

Kate Acone is an American pianist and pedagogue currently based in Toronto. Once a zoology major spending her time dissecting sharks, she is now an international performer and presenter, with performances in The American School in Switzerland, in Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Room, and with several orchestras. Her academic work has been presented at MTNA’s 2019 National Conference, and she received MTNA’s 2018 MarySue Harris Studio Teacher Fellowship. She is an alumna of the University of Oklahoma (BM) and the University of Michigan (MM). She is currently a DMA student at the University of Toronto.
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Melody Yvonne Chan-Li

Award-winning pianist, Melody Yvonne Chan-Li, is a vibrant and versatile artist who engages in numerous musical projects throughout Canada and abroad. A seasoned recital soloist, she is constantly finding new ways to engage a larger diverse audience group. Her most recent appearances include performing as a concerto soloist with the Gateway Theatre Orchestra and giving solo performances in Italy. Her highly praised live performance of Denis Gougeon’s Piano-Soleil has been broadcasted on RCF Radio in France. She completed both her Masters and Doctoral degrees on a fully funded fellowship at the University of Toronto.
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Amy I-lin Cheng

Born in Taiwan, pianist Amy I-Lin Cheng has appeared on the concert stage in the United States, Germany, Switzerland, Denmark, Taiwan, Brazil, Canada, France, and Israel. She has been described by the New York Concert Review as a pianist whose “control of the keyboard is complete, technique easy and relaxed, with a wide range of touch.” Late pianist Claude Frank describes her as “a brilliant, sensitive, imaginative and most beguiling pianist.” Cheng’s live performances have been heard on WGBH, KCSC, WHYY, La Radio Suisse Romande-Espace 2, and NPR. She has presented recitals at venues such as the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Merkin Concert Hall in New York City, Weill Recital Hall in Carnegie Hall, and National Concert Hall in Taipei, as well as on concert series across the United States.
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Monica Chew

Monica Chew is an Oakland pianist. In 2017 she released her first solo album, Tender and Strange, featuring works by Bartók, Janáček, Messiaen, Takemitsu, and Scriabin. A “gifted player with an affinity for deeply sensitive expression” (Whole Note), she has been featured on KPFA and radio stations across the United States. She started composing in 2017 and couldn’t be happier about it. Prior to 2015, she worked nearly a decade as a principal software engineer on security and privacy at Mozilla and Google. She lives in Oakland with her husband, an 1899 Steinway B, a clavichord, and a disused violin. Read More…


Andrea Christie

Canadian pianist Andrea Christie is a versatile performing artist with a flair for late-romantic works and a passion for contemporary music.  Equally at home as soloist and chamber musician, she is the pianist of the NYC-based Parhelion Trio, an all-female ensemble that is dedicated to performing new and adventurous music. Recent (and upcoming) collaborations include performances with Lisa Bielawa (vocalist with Philip Glass Ensemble), members of Eighth Blackbird ensemble, Wet Ink Ensemble (for Kate Soper’s new opera premiering in 2020), vocalist Shara Nova, soprano Rachel Schutz, cellist Antonio Hallongren, and violinist Anne Sophie Andersen.
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Leah Claiborne

Pianist, scholar, and educator, Dr. Leah Claiborne, promotes diversity in the arts by championing piano music by Black composers in her performances, research, and teaching. In 2017, Dr. Claiborne was the first pianist to be awarded the Rackham Predoc Fellowship at the University of Michigan. Dr. Claiborne has performed across the United States as well as Germany, Italy, Japan, and the Czech Republic. In October of 2019, Leah was awarded the Father Merlett Award by the Pro Musicis International Competition which was awarded to a single competitor for her high level of performance and commitment to social outreach. Having received her undergraduate degree from Manhattan School of Music, and Masters of Music and Doctorate of Musical Arts degrees from the University of Michigan, Dr. Claiborne currently teaches piano and Music of the African Diaspora at the University of the District of Columbia.

Leslie Dala

Leslie Dala is the Music Director of the Vancouver Bach Choir, the Associate Conductor and Chorus Director of Vancouver Opera, and the Music Director Emeritus of the Vancouver Academy of Music Symphony Orchestra. He has conducted throughout Canada and in Italy, France, the Czech Republic, China, Taiwan and the United States. Recent highlights include his debut at Carnegie Hall leading a massed choir of singers from Canada and the United States in a performance of Mozart’s Sparrow Mass; the world premiere of The River of Light by Brian Current and Rossini’s La Cenerentola during the Vancouver Opera Festival; William Bolcolm’s opera Dinner at Eight as well as Max Richter’s The Four Seasons Recomposed at the 2018 Wexford Festival in Ireland. Read More…


John Dupuis

John Dupuis is a classical pianist based in Vienna, Austria. Originally from Canada, he holds Piano Performance degrees from McGill University and the University of British Columbia. After receiving his Master of Music degree, he undertook further studies with some of Canada’s most eminent pianists, as well as internationally acclaimed American and European artists. Mr. Dupuis has appeared in concert as soloist and in collaboration with orchestras, chamber ensembles, and singers in North America, Asia and Europe. Germany’s Südwest Presse described his Chopin playing as “sparkling” and his interpretation of Schubert’s Fantasie “Der Wanderer” was lauded by Bluethner Piano Canada as “one of the best”. His upcoming recording of Schubert will be released in spring 2020.
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Edward Enman

Edward Enman is a musician who thrives off of the vitality of live performance, new music creations, and the continued re-interpretation of the extensive breadth of music for the piano.

Edward holds a Doctorate of Music from l’Université de Montréal and his versatility and sensitive collaborative energy has seen him engaged as a pianist and music director at the Segal Centre for Performing Arts, Fountain School for the Performing Arts, Acadia University School of Music, and at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa. His award-winning compositions have been widely performed and enthusiastically received and he is currently based in Montréal.
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Parisa Golshan

Parisa Golshan started taking piano lessons from late professor Farman Behboud when she was seven years old. She studied harmony and counterpoint under the supervision of Shahrokh Khajenoury, and later continued her studies with Alireza Mashayekhi (composition) and Farima Ghawamsadri (piano). Parisa Golshan has presented numerous performances at Niyavaran and Arasbaran cultural centers, Roudaki Hall, and Tehran University. She has played as soloist with Iranian Orchestra for New Music, the Contemporary Music Orchestra and Yarava Music Group. She has won awards at several piano competitions, including Tehran Music Group Competition. Parisa can be reached at: PGolshan7(at)gmail(dot)com


Deborah Grimmett

Described as “electric” and “absolutely breathtaking” (CiTR Radio), and “a true tour de force” (Musetta Stone), pianist Deborah Grimmett’s performances have been heard throughout North America and Europe in major concert halls such as Auditorium Santa Croce (Italy), Norges Musikkhøgskole (Norway), Espace Carpeaux (France), Ganz Hall, and Sherman Clay Steinway Hall (US), Centennial Theatre, and The Chan Centre for the Performing Arts (Canada). She has appeared as soloist with Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Ann Arbor Camerata, Dexter Orchestra, and in concert with Dearborn Symphony Orchestra, Vancouver Philharmonic Orchestra, and NOVO Ensemble, among others. Deborah will be releasing her debut solo album, Lineage, in 2020.
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Madeline Hildebrand

Acclaimed Canadian pianist Jon Kimura Parker describes Madeline Hildebrand as “an extraordinary young artist whose communicative skills convey the essence of all that she plays. Her pianism is of the highest level, and she has an instinctive understanding of beautiful sound.”

Madeline is currently pursuing a Doctorate of Musical Arts in Piano Performance at Stony Brook University, New York, where she studies with Gilbert Kalish and Christina Dahl. Earlier piano studies with Judith Kehler Siebert at the University of Manitoba were followed by a Masters in Piano Performance from the University of British Columbia under the tutelage of distinguished pianist, Jane Coop. Madeline’s piano career has taken her coast to coast in Canada and the U.S.A, to Italy, and to Romania upon invitation of the European Cultural Arts Festival.
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Niayesh Javaheri

Niayesh Javaheri was born in Tehran, Iran in 1995. She started her musical education at the age of six with Keyvan Ramezani and later studied with Farimah Ghavamsadri. Javaheri has had performances in the Biennale of Tehran Group for Contemporary Music and has received an award for her solo performances as well as a Letter of Appreciation for her performances with different ensembles. She graduated from Conservatory of Music and Dramatic Arts – Vienna in 2017, where she studied with Aya Mesiti and Tamara Atschba. In recent years, she has worked on contemporary music and premiered many pieces. In 2014, Niayesh Javaheri released the “Contemporary Music in Iran” compact disc, released by Mahoor, which compiles works of the Persian composers.
Niayesh’s SoundCloud…


Matthew Li

Vancouver-raised pianist, Matthew Li, has garnered praise and attention for combining intellectual interpretations with explosive virtuosity. He is active in both the West and the East coast of Canada, and has recently graduated with the Doctor of Musical Arts program (DMA) at the University of Toronto. In 2015, he won the university’s annual DMA Competition for all instruments, and was invited to perform at the Thursdays at Noon recital series in February, 2016. Dr. Li made his orchestral debut in China with the Xiamen Philharmonic Orchestra in 2006. He has since performed across Canada and also in the United States, Italy, Austria, China and Hong Kong. Dr. Li has a growing interest in exploring the realm of modernist and contemporary music.
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Andrea Lodge

Andrea Lodge has been hailed as a “Must-See” (The Telegram, St. John’s), and her performances have been noted as “Jarring and compelling” (Washington Post). A specialist in the performance of contemporary music, she was awarded top prizes at the Eckhardt-Gramatté Canadian National Competition for the Performance of New Music. Andrea lives in New York City where she performs regularly as piano soloist and with Hypercube, a cutting-edge new music quartet of saxophone, percussion, guitar and piano/accordion. Andrea is an integral part of Nief-Norf, a contemporary music organization and summer festival focused on bringing together new ideas in performance, composition and research. She holds a DMA from Stony Brook University.
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Evan Mitchell

Pianist Evan Mitchell’s recent highlights include solo performances on the prestigious Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts series (Chicago), at Merkin Concert Hall (NYC), and on the series Cliburn at the Modern; concerti with the symphony orchestras of Dallas and Fort Worth; and recitals with such major figures as double bassist Gary Karr, flutists Leone Buyse and Jim Walker, and clarinetist Corrado Giuffredi. 

Evan holds degrees from TCU and the IU Jacobs School of Music, where his principal teachers were John Owings, Arnaldo Cohen, and the late José Feghali. He teaches at Tarrant County College and serves as President of the Fort Worth Music Teachers Association.
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Nicholas Phillips

Described by the New York Times as a “talented and entrepreneurial pianist” and an “able and persuasive advocate” of new music, Nicholas Phillips’ playing has been praised for its “bejeweled accuracy” (Fanfare) and as “razor-sharp yet wonderfully spirited” (American Record Guide). A Professor of Piano at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, he maintains an active schedule as a soloist and collaborative artist having performed all across the United States. He has also given solo recitals and performances in Europe, South America, Asia, and Africa. An active recording artist and champion of living composers, he has released 5 critically acclaimed CDs. Phillips is a Yamaha Artist.
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Avan Yu

One of Canada’s most compelling young pianists, Avan Yu has been praised for his “glittering virtuosity” (West Australian) and his “astonishing sensitivity” (La Presse). He has performed extensively throughout Europe, North America, Asia and Australia and at venues such as Carnegie Hall, Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Philharmonie in Berlin, Salle Cortot in Paris, and Sydney Opera House. As a sought-after guest soloist with orchestras around the world, he has performed over twenty-five different piano concertos with orchestras such as the National Arts Centre Orchestra, Vancouver Symphony, Victoria Symphony, Symphony Nova Scotia, Sydney Symphony, Auckland Philharmonia, Hong Kong Philharmonic, and Dresden Philharmonic, collaborating with conductors and musicians such as Pinchas Zukerman, Rafael Fruehbeck de Burgos, Bramwell Tovey, Christian Arming, Juanjo Mena, Yo-Yo Ma, and Johannes Moser.
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