Guest Clinicians 2017 / 2018
James Gourlay (Tuba Soloist, Conductor)
- Thurs. Oct. 19 – Brass Chamber masterclass 1-3pm Walter Hall, Faculty of Music, U of T
- Thurs. Oct. 19 – Wind Ensemble Rehearsal 3-5pm Boyd Neel, Walter Hall, Faculty of Music, U of T
- Fri. Oct. 20 – Low Brass masterclass 10am-12pm, Walter Hall, Faculty of Music, U of T
Dr. James Gourlay was born in Scotland, where, at the age of ten, he was “volunteered” to play in his school brass band. Being the tallest in class, he was serendipitously given the tuba, an instrument he loves and continues to promote all over the world.
After much success as a solo champion, Gourlay entered the Royal College of Music but left after a short time to become the Principal Tuba of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra at the age of eighteen. He continued working at the BSO for ten years, then performed for an additional ten years with the Orchestra of the Zurich Opera. Gourlay’s career as a chamber musician and soloist continues to flourish. He has been a member of the Philip Jones and English Brass ensembles with which he has toured the world, and also continues to perform as a soloist extensively. He has recorded five solo CDs, the latest being British Tuba Concertos recorded for the Naxos label with the Royal Ballet Sinfonia, which has since received international critical acclaim.
Gourlay’s early work within the Brass Band Movement forms a vital component of his creative output. After early success with the Brass Band Berneroberland, he became music director of the Williams Fairey Band with which he won the English Masters and British Open contests. Gourlay has also been the professional conductor of the Grimethorpe Colliery and the Etoiles, with which he has won the Swiss National Championships, the Swiss Open Championships, and second place at the European as well as at the World Brass Band Championships.
Gourlay’s commitment to music education is a continuing passion. He has been Head of Wind and Percussion at the Royal Northern College of Music and Deputy Principal and Music Director at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. He holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Salford University, a Masters degree from Leeds University, a Fellowship of the Royal Northern College of Music, a Fellowship of the London College of Music, and is also a recipient of the Henry Iles Medal, presented by the Worshipful Company of Musicians for services to the Brass Band Movement. Currently, Gourlay is International Vice President of the International Tuba and Euphonium Association and Artistic Director of the River City Brass.
Christopher Gongos (Associate Principal Horn, Toronto Symphony Orchestra)
- Stay tuned for Masterclass date and location!
Sponsored by Yamaha
Christopher Gongos is one of Canada’s most respected horn players. Originally from Edmonton Alberta, he has been a member of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra since 1998, where he holds the position of Associate Principal Horn. Before moving to Toronto, Christopher had been a member of the Winnipeg Symphony, the Hamilton Philharmonic, the Kitchener Waterloo Symphony and the Canadian Chamber Ensemble.
In addition to his work with the TSO, Christopher is an avid chamber musician and soloist.
Christopher received his formal education at the University of Alberta where he earned his Bachelor of Music degree in Performance, as a student of Kay McCallister. He then pursued graduate studies at McGill University where he studied with John Zirbel. He was a member of the National Youth Orchestra of Canada and a Fellow at the Tanglewood Institute.
As a dedicated teacher, Christopher maintains studios at the University of Toronto, Faculty of Music and the Glenn Gould School. He has also given masterclasses at universities across the country, and has been on the faculty of Domaine Forget in Quebec.
Christopher Gongos is Yamaha Performing Artist.
Karen Donnelly (Principal Trumpet, National Arts Centre Orchestra)
- Sun. March 25 10am-12pm – 90W, Upper Jazz, Faculty of Music South Campus, 90 Wellesley St W, Toronto
Sponsored by Yamaha
Following three successful seasons (1996-1999) as Acting Principal Trumpet of the National Arts Centre Orchestra, Karen Donnelly was unanimously appointed Principal Trumpet in October 1999, and continues to enjoy each year with this wonderful ensemble.
A native of Regina, Saskatchewan, Karen picked up a trumpet for the first time in her elementary school band program and she was hooked. Her formal training includes a Bachelor of Arts in Music program at the University of Regina and later a Master’s of Music from McGill University.
Karen held the position of Principal Trumpet with Orchestra London (Canada) from 1994-1996, and performed with many ensembles in southwestern Ontario during her time there.
Since she burst on the Ottawa scene in 1996, Ms. Donnelly has done concerts and interviews for CBC (French and English), performances with the Ottawa Chamber Music Festival, Rideau Lakes Brass Quintet, and the large ensemble, Capital BrassWorks. In 2008, Capital Brass Works released its third album, “Gabriel’s Sister” featuring Ms. Donnelly as soloist.
Karen has been featured with professional orchestras, community amateur orchestras, and many local school bands. These include the National Arts Centre Orchestra, Thirteen Strings Chamber Orchestra, Kington Symphony, Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra London, Hannaford Silver Street Band, Maple Leaf Brass Band, Parkdale Orchestra and the Regina Catholic Schools Honour Band.
Music education has always been, and continues to be, very close to Karen’s heart. Her work with the Rideau Lakes Brass Quintet and Capital BrassWorks creates opportunities for educational concerts and workshops in schools. Through the NAC Music Education programs, Karen has given master classes in Switzerland, Mexico, China, United States, United Kingdom and Canada from coast to coast. Ms. Donnelly joined the teaching staff at the University of Ottawa in 2002, and since 2009, Karen has been assisting with the Leadingnote “Orchkidstra” program.
Peter Sullivan (Principal Trombone, Pittsburgh Symphony)
- Stay tuned for date and location!
Sponsored by Yamaha
In the fall of 1999, Peter Sullivan was appointed Principal Trombone of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra by Mariss Jansons. Canadian-born Sullivan came to Pittsburgh following a long and fruitful tenure as Solo Trombone with the Montreal Symphony under Charles Dutoit.
Sullivan has performed as a soloist on many occasions with several orchestras including the Pittsburgh and Montreal Symphonys. In 2006, he performed the world premiere performance of Jennifer Higdon’s Trombone Concerto with Sir Andrew Davis and the PSO.
Apart from his activities in Pittsburgh, Sullivan performs regularly across North America, Europe and Asia as soloist and chamber musician alongside the world’s leading brass players. He is a regular visitor to Japan, playing and teaching at the Pacific Music Festival in Sapporo, the Suntory recital hall in Tokyo, the Hamamatsu Summer Academy, as well as performing solo recitals in Osaka. In China, Peter is involved with the Canton International Summer Music Academy and performed and gave master classes at the Tian Jin and Beijing Conservatories in April of 2006.
Aside from countless orchestral performances in the great concert halls of Europe, Sullivan has performed at the Ascoli Piceno Brass Festival in Italy, and was featured in Christian Lindberg’s Trombone Concerto in Bunol, Spain with the composer on the podium. Sullivan was also the first prize winner in the 1990 Umea International Solo Competition in Sweden.
Here at home, Peter Sullivan has given concerts and clinics from coast to coast, including master classes at the Juilliard and Manhattan schools in New York City, The Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, the Glenn Gould Academy in Toronto, coaching at the New World Symphony and the Banff School and tours with the Summit Brass and the Music of the Baroque in Chicago. He has been heard across Canada in recital on CBC radio and on NPR with his colleagues in the Pittsburgh Symphony Brass.
Presently, Sullivan serves on the faculties of Duquesne and Carnegie Mellon universities in Pittsburgh, following 15 years as adjunct professor at McGill University in Montreal. For the past few years, he has been working with the Yamaha Corporation on the development of their new line of orchestral trombones, the prototype of which he plays every week with the PSO.
Joe Alessi (Principal Trombone, New York Philharmonic)
- Thurs. April 5 1:30-4 – Walter Hall, Faculty of Music, U of T
Joseph Alessi was appointed Principal Trombone of the New York Philharmonic in the spring of 1985. He began musical studies in his native California with his father, Joseph Alessi, Sr. As a high school student in San Rafael, California, he was a soloist with the San Francisco Symphony before continuing his musical training at Philadelphia’s Curtis Institute of Music. Prior to joining the Philharmonic, Mr. Alessi was second trombone of The Philadelphia Orchestra for four seasons, and principal trombone of L’Orchestre symphonique de Montreal for one season. In addition, he has performed as guest principal trombonist with the London Symphony Orchestra in Carnegie Hall led by Pierre Boulez.
Mr. Alessi is an active soloist, recitalist, and chamber music performer. In April 1990 he made his solo debut with the New York Philharmonic, performing Creston’s Fantasy for Trombone, and in 1992 premiered Christopher Rouse’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Trombone Concerto with the Philharmonic, which commissioned the work for its 150th anniversary celebration. His most recent appearance with the Philharmonic as soloist was in world premiere performances of William Bolcoms’ Trombone Concerto in the summer of 2016.
Mr. Alessi is currently on the faculty of The Juilliard School; his students now occupy posts with many major symphony orchestras in the U.S. and internationally. As a clinician for the Edwards Instrument Co., he has also given master classes throughout the world and has toured Europe extensively as a master teacher and recitalist. He has performed as soloist with several leading concert bands, including the U.S. Military Academy Band at West Point, U.S. Army Band (Pershing’s Own), and the U.S. Marine Band (President’s Own). In addition, he has performed with the Maria Schneider Orchestra, the Village Vanguard Orchestra, and has recorded with jazz greats, J.J. Johnson and Steve Turre.
Mr. Alessi was invited by the International Trombone Association to record a solo disc of newly composed works, which was distributed to the Association’s membership of 5,000 trombonists. in early 1999 and is now available as Beyond the End of the Century through Summit Records. Recently, his recording of George Crumb’s Starchild on the Bridge record label, featuring Mr. Alessi as soloist, won a Grammy Award for 1999–2000. Other recordings featuring Mr. Alessi are with the Canadian Brass (Sony Classical and Philips Records). Further information about Mr. Alessi can be found on his website, www.slidearea.com.