Teachers’ Biography


Dr. Araxie Altounian
holds a “Médaille dor” in piano performance from the Ecole national de musique et dart dramatique de Val de Maubu France, and a Ph.D. in Musicology from the Universit Saint-Esprit Kaslik, Lebanon. Her musical activities include performances both as soloist and as accompanist, as well as several lectures. She is also the author of several articles. Her first book, “Boghos Gélalian, l’homme, le musicien, l’oeuvre” will be published shortly. Since 1992 Araxie Altounian has been living in the Toronto area. She maintains a private piano studio in Thornhill, and is a staff member at the Euromusic Centre of Music Studies in Markham. She is the past president of the North York Branch of the Ontario Registered Music Teachers’ Association.

Mr. Douglas Au is a popular name among bands and jazz circle in Asia and North America.
He has toured extensively and frequently performing a wide range of musical styles on guitar, bass, vocal and keyboard. Douglas is also much sought after as an adjudicator in numerous singing auditions and music contests. He studied jazz at Humber College and piano at the Royal Conservatory of Music. His approach in teaching is to provide an encouraging environment without pressure, make every lesson fun and memorable. His easy going mannerism, broad range of knowledge and experience in various musical styles make him extremely popular with students and parents. Douglas is now accepting students in guitar and bass at Euromusic.

Mr. John Bailey holds an ARCT diploma from The Royal Conservatory of Music. He studied with Slavka Nikolova, Wilhelm Kempf, and Madeline Bone, and has attended master classes with Leon Fleisher and Karl Ulrich Schnabel. Mr. Bailey has served as a festival adjudicator and conductor of workshops across Canada. He is a contributor to Royal Conservatory of Music publications and has been a member of the College of Examiners since 1962. He was a faculty member at Toronto Associated Conservatory of Music until 2001. He also serves as an honourary advisor for the Markham Music Festival.

Mr. Kwok-Wai Chan studied and graduated from McGill University in Montreal. He has many years of teaching experience and is the author of a number of textbooks. His cultural sociological approach to teaching Music History makes his lectures interesting and effective. In class his multimedia teaching environment the use of audio, video, paintings and electronic sound and images (in classes where computer systems are available) provides the students with an all round, unique, and satisfactory learning experience. His detailed and comprehensive sets of Music History Notes are student-orientated. They effectively help students understand the lectures as well as prepare for the RCM Examinations. His philosophy in education is that learning itself is enjoyable and rewarding, and in his classes the students always reap the bonus receiving excellent results in the RCM Examinations, obtaining first class honours with distinction.

Ms. Louise Cheung holds an ARCT Teacher’s Diploma with the Royal Conservatory of Music; she completed her undergraduate studies in Science and Teacher Education at the University of Toronto. She is a full-time Ontario Certified teacher and is currently the Department Head of Science and Technology at a secondary school under the Toronto Catholic District School Board. Her teaching philosophy is to inspire and educate the young generation to love and enjoy what they learn. She maintains a busy private piano studio with students of all ages and levels. Being an organist in church and at school, Louise is also an active participant of various community events.

Mrs. Lina Chan graduated from McGill University studying Music and Psychology. She also holds the LRSM Diploma in Music Theory and LTCL Diploma in Piano Teaching. She has been on the board of directors for the Music Scarborough Festival since 1989. Mrs. Chan is a very experienced teacher; she has taught high school music and prepared students for both piano and theory courses for RCM examinations for over 20 years. She places great emphasis on the application of theories, and problem solving in her lecture. Her unique academic background, diverse teaching experiences and practical approach in class make her teaching effective even in classes of diverse student background. Her teaching is result-oriented, and her students have always achieved excellent standings in the RCM Examinations.

Ms. Ada Chen a music graduate from the Hong Kong Baptist College, was a prize student of Prof. Yuen-Shun Shiu. As a teacher, Ada has produced many top performers, and her students have always achieved first class honours with distinction on RCM Examinations. Her teaching method is a blend of patience, affection and energy with a great deal of fun and high expectation. In addition to her teaching, Ada is greatly involved with community music activities; she is one of the founding members of the Markham Music Festival.

Ms. Alice Chan holds ARCT diploma from the Royal Conservatory of Music. She studied piano with Ms. Patricia Lemoine as a student at Euromusic and began her teaching career at Euromusic while completing her ARCT Teacher’s. She is a dedicated teacher with experience working with children of all ages, encouraging her students to reach their full potential through various motivational approach that best suit their personalities and learning styles.

Mr. Tony Chong a member of the College of Examiners of the Royal Conservatory of Music, is a graduate of the University of Toronto, majored in music theory. He studied piano with Clifford Poole and composition with Samuel Dolin. He is actively involved with many musical events and performances especially with the North York Board of Education, The Gilbert and Sullivan Society and Cathedral Bluffs Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Chong has joined the Euromusic teaching staff since February 1994. His superlative teaching and careful preparative for the theory examinations are reflected in the high standing of the students in all theoretical courses. His method is direct, precise, responsible and highly organized.

Ms. Joanne Chou holds an ARCT from The Royal Conservatory of Music and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toronto. While at the RCM, she studied with Pauline Leung and George McElroy. She has performed as a soloist and is an active accompanist for violinists and choirs. Ms. Chou is an examiner of the College of examiners at the Royal Conservatory of Music Examinations.

Mr. John Graham Originally from Toronto, has been a member of the Piano Faculty at the Royal Conservatory of Music for over thirty years. In addition, he maintains a private studio in North York and currently teaches at the Euromusic Steinway Piano Gallery in Markham. Mr. Graham is a senior examiner and has been with the RCM College of Examiners since 1983, actively examining across Canada, all grades and musical disciplines. Mr. Graham is frequently in demand as a piano adjudicator for festivals, also R.C.M. and O.R.M.T.A. auditions with experience at all performing levels. He has served on numerous committees and executive positions for The Royal Conservatory of Music (including the RCM Faculty Association President,) RCM Examinations, Frederick Harris (which also includes development and publications for the RCM syllabus and repertoire books,) and the Registered Music Teachers’ Association.Mr. Graham is a graduate of the Royal Conservatory of Music and of the University of Toronto. His principal teachers were Madeline Bone and Karl Ulrich Schnabel in New York. As a performing pianist, he has performed extensively in the Toronto area giving both solo and duo piano recitals as well as working occasionally as an accompanist. Mr. Graham has now been teaching private piano for more than thirty five years, has taught at all levels of instruction including A.R.C.T., Licentiate, Fellowship diplomas and is sensitive towards the needs of young and older performers alike.

Mr. John Gaspar holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toronto, majoring in Music History and an ARCT diploma from the Royal Conservatory of Music. He was a faculty member of The Royal Conservatory of Music from 1974 to 1993 and has been a member of the College of Examiners for RCM Examinations since 1985. He has been a contributor to a number of RCM publications including the New Piano Series Student Guides. He is a member of Ontario Registered Music Teachers Association and serves on the executive of the RCM Alumni Association. He taught music history and appreciation through the Toronto District School Board and has prepared students for RCM Examinations in piano, theory and history with high standing.

Dr. Thomas Green has received a Bachelor of Music from McGill University, a Masters of Music
from Universite de Montréal, and a PhD from Brandeis University. His piano teachers included Clifford Poole, Lucille Brassard and Yvonne Hubert. He also received a Diplôme d’accompagnement from the École Vincent d’Indy in Montreal following studies with John Newmark. Dr. Green has taught music history at McGill University, the University of Toronto, and the University of Windsor. For several years he served as senior editor at the Frederick Harris Music Co., Limited. He has also adjudicated at music festivals across Ontario and has presented RCM Examinations workshops across Canada. Currently he maintains a large class of piano students and teaches music history and harmony at the Academie Ste. Cecile and at his private studio in Windsor. Dr. Green was recently appointed to Chief Examiner of the Royal Conservatory of Music,College of Examiners.

Mr. Samuel Ho holds a Music Masters Degree in Performance from the University of Toronto and a Diploma from the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, China. He studied with David Zafer, Lorand Fenyves, Robert Levine, Rennie Regehr and Andrew Dawes. A former faculty member of the RCM and teaching assistant to Professor David Zafer at the University of Toronto, Mr. Ho has performed for the Kingston Symphony Orchestra, Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Orchestra, U of T Symphony Orchestra & Chamber Orchestra and Festival Symphony Orchestra, Courtenay, B.C..

Ms. Mimi Kam holds diplomas in both ARCT Piano Performer and ARCT Piano Teacher with the Royal Conservatory of Music. She graduated with an Honours Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Toronto, followed by a Bachelor of Education degree at Ontario Institute for Studies in Education/University of Toronto. She has enjoyed a productive teaching career in classrooms, while maintaining a busy private piano studio. Mimi believes the journey of education should be rewarding and enjoyable, her method of instruction is designed with young students in mind, blending patience, affection and humour with a sense of excellence.

Dr. Kevin Lau holds a doctorate degree in music composition from the University of Toronto, and currently teaches theory courses at Euromusic Center. Dr. Lau was Composer-in-Residence for the Mississauga Symphony Orchestra from 2010 – 1012, as well as Resident Composer of the Banff Centre Summer Arts Festival in 2012. Kevin has written music for over a dozen films, including the feature documentary UFOs: A Secret History, which aired on the History Channel. In 2010, he was awarded the Karen Kieser Prize in Canadian Music for his composition Starsail. Kevin also possesses great enthusiasm and an extensive knowledge of music theory. He can convey musical concepts with ease, clarity and accuracy in his teaching. He is currently appointed The Toronto Symphony Orchestra RBC Affiliated Composer.

Mr. James Lawless is a graduate of the Faculty of Music, University of Toronto, and the Royal Conservatory of Music. He has been a faculty member of the Royal Conservatory of Music since 1964 and teaches in both the community school and the Glenn Gould Professional School. From 1992-1998 he served as Chief Examiner of RCM Examinations and now holds the title of Chief Examiner Emeritus. Mr. Lawless has traveled throughout Canada and the United States as an examiner, adjudicator, public speaker and workshop clinician, and has served on the executive of the Canadian Music Festival Adjudicators Association. Through his years of experience and dedication, James Lawless has earned a growing respect from colleagues and fellow musicians across North America.

Ms. Grace Lin holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Western Ontario, studying with Professor John Paul Bracey. She teaches piano, theory and history from beginner to ARCT level. In 1994, she founded the Euromusic Centre for Music Studies, where she works as an administrator, principal and teacher. She heads the Markham Music Festival as well as the Ars Prima Music Foundation. She serves on the board of directors for Music Scarborough, Canadian Music Competition and is currently the Centre Representative for the Royal Conservatory of Music in Markham, Ontario.

Mr. George McElroy began his musical studies in New Brunswick with Thelma Smith. Later in Toronto, he studied piano with Gordon Hallett, organ with Clifford McAree, voice with Ruth McAree, and violin with Barnett Taylor. Mr. McElroy is a former faculty member of The Royal Conservatory of Music and served as administrator of the Scarborough branch from 1965 to 1973. He has been a member of the College of Examiners since 1966. He was a founding member and teacher at the Toronto Associated Conservatory of Music. Mr. McElroy is an active festival adjudicator and lecturer on piano pedagogy; he is also an honourary advisor for the Markham Music Festival.

Mr. Reginald Miller holds Associate, Licentiate and Fellowship diplomas from the Trinity College of Music, London, England, a Bachelor of Music and a Master of Music from the University of Toronto and has completed three years of study in Paris with Nadia Boulanger in Fontainebleau. Mr. Miller is active as a festival adjudicator and has performed extensively in Canada and France. He has also taught theory at the University of Toronto along with classes on Piano Literature. Mr. Miller has also coached singers in the performance of lieder. Currently, Mr. Miller maintains a busy class of private piano students, and is a member of the Ontario Registered Music Teachers Association. Mr. Miller is also on the faculty of Royal Conservatory of Music Summer School teaching Harmony courses.

Dr. Dany Nachman holds a Bachelor of Music from McGill University in Montreal, a Master of Music and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the renowned Manhattan School of Music in New York. He has studied with Arkady Aronov, Dorothy Morton and Raymond Lewenthal, and has performed in masterclasses of Menahem Pressler, Anton Kuerti, Gary Graffman and John Browning. He has participated in the summer music festivals of Orford, Quebec and Parry Sound, Ontario. Dr. Nachman has performed numerous solo and chamber music recitals in New York City, Montreal (including Pollack Hall), Northern Ontario, Michigan and recently, Indiana University in Bloomington. He has a featured soloist with the Sault Symphony Orchestra on a number of occasions, including performances of Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy, conducted by Dr. Elmer Iseler.

Since 1991, he has been an adjunct professor of music at Algoma University College and a full time faculty member of the Algoma Conservatory of Music in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, teaching piano and courses in theory, history and music appreciation. He has given a number of masterclasses and has lectured in Algoma University’s Colloquium Series. He was the piano division coordinator for the Kiwanis Music Festival of Sault Ste. Marie from 1998 to 2001.

Mr. Yaroslav Pugach holds a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance with distinction and a Masters of Music in Piano Performance with distinction from the Glinka State College of Music and Rimsky-Korsakov State Conservatory in St. Petersburg, Russia respectively. His many accomplishments include performances with various orchestras in Canada, Europe, Russia and Republic of Korea, 2nd prize in International Competition in Liguria, Italy, CD recordings of piano works by Scriabin and Prokofiev and St. Petersburg TV’s music program “Miaskovsky and Prokofiev”. Yaroslav has taught extensively in St. Petersburg, Russia, Seoul, Republic of Korea and Canada, and consistently produced high calibre pianists, many of whom have won in national and international competitions in Russia, England, Italy, Korea and Japan.

Mr. Ilia Shekhtihin graduated from the Azerbaijan State Conservatorium of Music with a Diploma in Teaching, Chamber Music and Accompaniment as well as a Masters Degree in Performance.
Additionally, he has extensive solo, chamber music and teaching experience as Senior Lecturer in the Azerbaijan State College of Music and throughout Europe, Israel and Canada. His students are the top prizewinners of the Canadian Music Competition (CMC) and often pursue professional careers in music.
Credentials: M.Mus., Teacher’s Dip.

Ms. Marina Simonian is originally from Yerevan, Armenia, where she began her extensive career as a musician. In 1979, she graduated from the R.Melikyan Music College with honours and later graduated with an MA, with Honours and a triple specialization as a Piano Teacher, Accompanist, and Chamber Orchestra Soloist from the Komitas State Conservatory of Yerevan. She held a position as Piano Teacher and Lecturer at Tigranyan Music School, earning the prestigious title of “Promising New Teacher” several times early on in her career. Subsequently she served as a Piano Professor and Accompanist at the Komitas State Conservatory of Yerevan where aside from her role as Professor, she prepared and accompanied students for examinations, concerts, and National-level Competitions for over a decade, working with renowned professors’ students like renowned cellist Prof. Geronti Talalyan. In Canada, her students include ARCT graduates, as well as winners of various festivals such as the Markham Music Festival, Yip’s Music Festival, NCM Festival, the Kiwanis Festival, and others. As Marina continues to teach piano to students of all ages and levels, her philosophy is to ensure that all of them enjoy every single lesson they take and continue to work hard, facing every new challenge with ongoing curiosity and interest.

Ms Pearl So came from a family of musicians tracing to her grandfather’s generation. Her mother taught her piano since age four, and by fifteen, she has already obtained ARCT, performance Associateship Diploma from The Royal Conservatory of Music. Pearl has studied under many well known pedagogues in Toronto, with Larissa and Vladimir Niurenberg, also as a scholarship student under Prof. Marietta Orlov as well as Alla Zacarelli at The Young Artists Performance Academy of The Royal Conservatory of Music.
Over her illustrious years as a top young pianist, Pearl has won countless awards, trophies, scholarships at Kiwanis Music Festival, Markham Music Festival, Music Scarborough, Ontario Registered Music Teachers Association and Canadian Music Competition etc. Pearl has appeared as soloist and collaborative pianist in numerous musical events. At one most memorable concert, she performed with The Chinese Canadian Choir of Toronto at the Mississauga Living Arts Centre, under the baton of Prof. Yan Qiao Wang. She also took part in teaching, performing and accompanying at the Thornton Academy Summer Camp.
Working towards completing her Advanced Piano Pedagogy course, along with her solid music background and enriched artistic experiences, Pearl is eager to share her knowledge, enthusiasm and passion for music with her students.

Mrs. Hasmig Surmelian M.MUS. M.A. D.M.A.
Mrs. Surmélian has a distinguished career as a concert pianist and is recognized as an eclectic and virtuous interpret. She has recorded several commercial CD’s and her career includes Recitals, Solo Performances with Orchestra and Chamber Music Concerts.
Professor Surmélian is holder of the highest awards and distinctions at the Royal Conservatory of Brussels, French Ministry of Culture and International Competitions. Her teaching experience spans over 25 years in European conservatories and music schools. She has a twin vocation as a pianist and violinist and professes both instruments.
Mrs.Surmélian is a RCM Registered Teacher and active member of the Ontario Registered Music Teacher’s Association (ORMTA).
She is fluent in both English and French.

Mr. Derek Szeto holds ARCT diploma from the Royal Conservatory of Music. He entered Euromusic Centre at age 6, studying piano under Grace Lin and theory under Tony Chong. As a typical home grown musician, Derek totally understands the need and aspiration of the students. His lessons are full of energy and fun with high expectation and great enthusiasm.

Mr. Ka Kit Tam is a foremost pedagogue and performer. He was a professor of piano at The Royal Northern College of Music in England as well as Hong Kong University, Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts and Hong Kong Baptist University. Upon immigration to Canada, Mr. Tam continued to teach extensively. His students are winners in local and international piano competitions around the world, in Holland, Poland, and England. Mr. Tam also served as adjudicators for various music festivals and piano competitions. He is also a much sought after piano soloist, chamber musician, and collaborative artist, from coast to coast as well as in Asia, Europe, and North America. Mr. Tam has graced in numerous concert halls, working with world renowned artists including Anne Sophie Mutter, Tadeunz Strugala, Long Yu, etc. As a Chinese Canadian pianist and teacher, he was featured in a documentary on Omni Television.

Mr. Richard Tam holds a Master’s and Bachelor degree in Applied Science and Engineering from the University of Toronto. His passion for music never diminished since studying at an early age at Euromusic. A favorite student of Mr. Tony Chong, Richard passed all RCM theory courses with First Class Honours with distinction, which led to his ARCT in piano performance diploma. Richard has taught many children and young adults piano and theory, tailoring and implementing his methods to suit the students’ needs, and in turn, helping them to reach their personal goals and achieve excellent grades.

Mr. Aaron Tsang is a Canadian composer of music for multimedia and contemporary music. His music has been performed by TorQPercussion Quartet, the Cecilia String Quartet, the Sneak Peek Orchestra, Akemi Akachi from Nagata Shachu, and also read by the St. Lawrence String Quartet. Most recently, Aaron has been active as a videogame composer primarily composing music for Capcorn Interactive. The titles Aaron scored for Capcorn includes: Smurfs’ Village, Zombie Café, MaXplosion, Monster Pet Shop, Dream Park and Smurf’s Grabber. In December 2011, Aaron also composed music to a Tim Horton’s television commercial featuring hockey star Sidney Crosby, with strings performed by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Aaron currently teaches at the University of Toronto, Faculty of Music. He also has extensive experience in teaching RCM theory courses, especially in the area of Rudiments and Harmony. Aaron graduated with an M.Mus degree in composition (2009) and a B.Mus in composition (2007), both from the University of Toronto under the tutelage of Christos Hatzis.

Ms. Christine Turgeon holds ARCT Teacher’s and Piano Performance diplomas from the Royal Conservatory of Music and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Toronto. She has studied with well-known teachers such as G. Seim, George McElroy, Xenia Kushpeta and Boris Berlin. Ms. Turgeon has taught at the Royal Conservatory of Music, Scarborough Branch, and was former co-director and past president of the Toronto Associated Conservatory of Music. She has been a member of the Royal Conservatory of Music Alumni Committee and a former member of the Ontario Registered Music Teachers’ Association. Ms.Turgeon is a piano and theory examiner for the RCM. Also she worked for Scientists in School for several years as a workshop presenter. At the present time, Ms. Turgeon runs a busy private music studio in Scarborough and teaches at Euromusic Centre in Markham. Ms. Turgeon works with students at all levels but especially enjoys teaching young beginners and students with special needs.

Ms. Alice Yeung Holds a diplomas in ARCT Piano Teacher with The Royal Conservatory of Music. Graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degrees at the University of Toronto, minor in music history and culture. Studied with Mr George McElroy.Teaches piano from beginner to ARCT Level.

Mr. Peteris Zarins holds the title of Chief Examiner Emeritus of The Royal Conservatory Examinations and a senior member of the College of Examiners for practical and theoretical subjects. Mr. Zarins is a pianist, educator, clinician, writer and music arranger. He is a graduate of The Royal Conservatory, University of Toronto and earned a Master’s Degree in Piano Performance with a minor in Music History and Pedagogy from the University of Michigan. His piano instruction was principally with Gerald Rutledge at The Conservatory. He studied piano pedagogy with Boris Berlin and Margaret Parsons-Poole, piano with Patricia Parr at the University of Toronto and Benning Dexter at the University of Michigan, and undertook collaborative piano mentorships with Avrahm Galper, Jean MacPhail, and Roxolana Roslak and advanced music history studies with Glenn Watkins and Richard Crawford.

Mr. Zarins is the co-author, along with Janet Lopinski and Joe Ringhofer of the three volume series Explorations in Music History. He is a member of the faculty of The Royal Conservatory and Taylor Academy Glenn Gould School.

Ms Cherry Zhang holds a Bachelor Degree in Musicology from China and Master Degree in Piano Performance from University of Western Ontario, studying under the tutelage of Professor John Paul Bracey. She has participated and won many awards in national and international piano competitions and music festivals.Cherry enjoys working with students of all ages from beginners to senior citizens, and she is bilingual in both English and Chinese Mandarin.Her goals in teaching is to develop in students, a comprehensive understanding of music making, building on enjoyment, productive practicing, and creativity, always motivating them to realize their full potential and reach new height.

Ms. Phyllis Zhong holds a Master Degree in Music from Birmingham Conservatory where she was a prized student of Philip Martin and Simon Nicholls. She obtained a Bachelor Degree in Music Performance from Xiamen University where she performed widely in China, Hong Kong, England as well as Canada.
Phyllis’ teaching experience is extensive. It expanded across the continent from China to Toronto. Her teaching method emphasize on inspiring and encouraging her students, helping them to fully understand music rather than pressuring them to practice. Her piano lessons are fun, creative and encouraging while achieving high marks in examinations and competitions.

Ms. Ariel Zhu holds both a Master of Music and a Postgraduate Diploma in Performance from The Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, as well as a Bachelor of Music from the University of Glasgow. Ariel has taught piano extensively in China, Scotland, and Canada. Her excellent interpersonal skills, classroom tact and diplomacy established her as a friendly and loving teacher full of motivation and encouragement. Her careful and thorough piano lesson planning and preparation also reflect on her demands on her students’ performances. Ariel maintains a very busy piano studio at home and at Euromusic.

NOTE: The information provided above is strictly for reference only to those who have an interest in pursuing musical training at Euromusic Centre and is not to be used at any time for commercial, advertising and marketing purposes. Should you require additional information about the qualifications and experience of our teacher staff, you may contact us at 905-475-3876 or visit us at 2651 John Street Unit #8, Markham during our office hours and we will be more than happy to assist you.