Teachers’ Biography


Dr. Andrew Aarons Canadian pianist Andrew Aarons has given performances in such prestigious venues as the Carnegie Hall in New York; the Manuel Theatre in Valletta, Malta; and the Wigmore Hall in London. He has been heard on live radio in Canada and the United States, and has frequent return engagements to North America. He has been soloist with numerous orchestras, including the National Academy Orchestra, Toronto Philharmonia, and L’Orchestre Symphonique de Québec.  Andrew is featured exclusively on the Introductory CD recordings which accompany the 2008 ABRSM edition of the Complete Beethoven Piano Sonatas, edited by Barry Cooper.  Having been a student of Marc Durand and Leon Fleisher in modern piano and Colin Tilney in period instrument, Andrew was more recently a pupil of late Yonty Solomon (modern piano) and David Ward (forte-piano).  Andrew holds a degree of Master of Music in Advanced Performance (Distinction) from the Royal College of Music (RCM), London.  Most recently, Mr. Aarons completed his degree of Doctor of Music with Prof. Andrew Ball at the RCM; Andrew’s research focused on the concept of quality sound and tone production on the modern piano, and its practical application in artistic interpretation and performance.  When he’s not researching, giving master classes, teaching, or performing, Andrew produces a series on YouTube called ‘Ask a Pianist’, wherein he demonstrates complex artistic concepts that underpin high-level performance on the piano.

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. 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.

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. 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.

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.

Ms. Cheryll Chung holds a Masters of Music in conducting from the University of Toronto, where she studied with her mentor Dr. Doreen Rao, and Maestro Raffi Armenian. She was twice recipient of the Elmer Iseler Fellowship during her Masters program, where she worked with the Elmer Iseler Singers. She has also received the John O. Mc Kellar Scholarship for her work in Music Education, and the Ellen Battell Stoeckel Fellowship for her work as a conductor at the Yale Summer School of Music – Norfolk Chamber Music Festival.  She is founder and artistic director of the Cantabile Chamber Singers, and conducts the Taylor Academy Choir and Royal Conservatory School Children’s Choir at the Royal conservatory of music. Boris Lysenko is a huge influence on her playing and teaching. She learned how to instill the love of music and piano pedagogy from Marina Geringas. She enjoys teaching students of all ages and believes that it is never too late to learn anything!

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.

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.

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.

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.

Mr. James Lawless is a graduate of the Royal Conservatory of Music and The Faculty of Music, University of Toronto, Mr Lawless studied piano with Earle Moss and Pierre Souvairan, theory with George Coutts and Dr. F.J. Horwood, and vocal and instrumental accompanying with John Coveart, Askel Schlotz and Kathleen Parlow. In his early teaching years 1962 –1963, he was a music instructor at St Michael’s Choir School in Toronto. He became a faculty member at The Royal Conservatory of Music in 1964 where he taught in both the Community School and the Glenn Gould School until his retirement in 2002. He is a former Branch Administrator for the Royal Conservatory of Music, was Academic Advisor to the Royal Conservatory of Music Affiliate Teacher Network, and a member of the RCM Faculty Association and Academic Council. From 1992 to 1998 he served as Chief Examiner for RCM Examinations and now holds the title of Chief Examiner Emeritus. Mr Lawless joined Euromusic teaching faculty in 1997. He has also been involved with music programs for handicapped children and adults, and has held positions as church organist and choir director.

James Lawless traveled widely throughout Canada and the United States as adjudicator and workshop clinician, and is a Past President of the Canadian Music Festival Adjudicators’ Association. He has also attended numerous Music Teachers’ National Association conventions in the United States as a guest lecturer. Mr. Lawless is author of a number of music theory publications used extensively by teachers in Canada and abroad. 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. In her capacity as a piano teacher, Royal Conservatory and Markham Music Festival coordinator, Ms. Lin continues to enjoy helping students develop their musical potential as well as sharing her knowledge and passion with others.

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.

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.

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. Lydia Sun holds an ARCT Diploma in Piano Performance from the Royal Conservatory of Music, studying under the tutelage of Mr. Alan Hobbins and theories under Tony Chong. She is a graduate from Ryerson University holding a Bachelor of Commerce ( honours) Degree.For many years, Lydia has been working as a practical examination invigilator for RCM examinations at the Markham Centre. Lydia’s passion for music led her to a full understanding in teaching from beginners to high levels. By observing the students’ behaviour and attitude before, during, and after every lesson Lydia is able to instil her enthusiasm and hard work to them.She is also constantly developing and enriching herself with new teaching strategies to enhance students’ interest and establish innovative perspectives of music for her students.

Mrs. Hasmig Surmelian (Piano, Violin)

Mrs. Surmélian has a distinguished career as a concert pianist including  Recitals, Solo Performances with Orchestra, Chamber Music Concerts and  several  recorded CD’s .

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 Europe and with a twin vocation as a pianist and violinist she professes both instruments.

Mrs.Surmélian is a RCM Registered Teacher and prepares her students to all levels of examinations  up to ARCT and LRCM (Licentiate Diploma in piano performance).
She is fluent in both English and French.

Credentials:D.M.A., M.A., M.M.

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.

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.

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 instructors, 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.