Classical Context

2017-2018 season

alice hong


Alice Hong is an international award-winner both as a violinist and composer recently featured on CBC’s 2018 edition of “30 Hot Classical Musicians Under 30” and has appeared as a composer-performer for the Atlanta Symphony’s Conversation of Note series with Robert Spano. As a violinist, Alice has toured with Heifetz Institute of Music’s Heifetz on Tour as well as Lincoln Center Stage on Holland America Line touring Alaska and the Northwest Pacific. She has performed her own compositions at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, Spoleto Festival USA, and Heifetz on Tour and has also played with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Charleston Symphony Orchestra, and Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony as a substitute violinist. As an avid chamber musician, Alice has performed alongside esteemed musicians such as James Ehnes, Frans Helmerson, Mihaela Martin, Jonathan Crow, and Barry Shiffman, among others. Her performances have been featured on CBC Radio, WABE 90.1 Atlanta and WSMR 89.9 Tampa. Alice holds degrees from Rice University's Shepherd School of Music as a Dorothy R. Starling Foundation Scholar and the Cleveland Institute of Music, and she is currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Toronto as a Harold Carter Foundation fellow studying privately with Jonathan Crow.


As a composer, Alice has had compositions performed in Hungary, Netherlands, China, Czech Republic, Canada, the United States, and featured in film-scores for Studio3D productions. Her works are published by Edition MatchingArts and have won multiple awards from the ASCAP Morton Gould Awards as well as first prizes at the International Keuris Competition, Carl E. Baldassarre Composer-Virtuosi Competition, NorCal Viola Society Commission Contest, Pikes Peak Composition Competition, and third prize along with the audience prize for the 2018 Lands End Ensemble Composition Competition. Her pieces have been performed and read by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Ludwig Symphony Orchestra, CIM Symphony Orchestra, Amersfoort Youth Orchestra, and members of the New York Philharmonic, Toronto Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, Canadian Opera Company, Rolston String Quartet and Cypress String Quartet, among others. 



Alexis Meschter

 Michael Bridge will be performing an exciting recital featuring music from his new solo album  in Classical Context's upcoming concert in May 2018.

Michael Bridge will be performing an exciting recital featuring music from his new solo album  in Classical Context's upcoming concert in May 2018.

Award-winning violinist Alexis Meschter has performed as a soloist and chamber musician in North America and Europe. In March, Alexis was invited to join the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra on their four-city tour of Poland as part of their first international tour in thirty years. Previously, Alexis was the first prize winner of the William Marbury Competition at the Peabody Institute and of the LISMA Foundation International Competition on Long Island, NY. In past seasons, he has studied and performed at The Banff Centre, Scotia Festival of Music, Summit Music Festival, Casalmaggiore International Music Festival, and the National Symphony Orchestra Summer Music Institute. A firm proponent of performing music across many genres, Alexis performed at the TED Summit Concert at The Banff Centre with the cellist Joshua Roman, the Nigerian singer Iyeoka, and the Kenyan rock star Blinky Bill and his band. Alexis also strives to bring his music to under served communities and diverse spaces, partnering with the Creative Access Program in Baltimore as well as the Yellow Barn Music Haul Initiative on tour across the United States. He is also a founding member of Project MainStream, a YouTube channel dedicated to the appreciation of both classical and popular music, featuring the collaborations of classical musicians. Alexis Meschter studied at the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and is continuing his studies with the renowned Russian violinist and teacher Victor Danchenko at The Glenn Gould School of The Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. He is a recipient of the Pierre L. Morrissette Family Foundation Scholarship.


Maxime Despax


Originally from Gatineau, Quebec, violist Maxime Despax studied at the Conservatoire de musique de Gatineau, the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal and the University of Toronto, where he studied with Emmanuel Beaudet, Jocelyne Bastien and Teng Li. He is now pursuing a Doctorate in Musical Art at the University of Toronto studying with Teng Li. Maxime has attended several music festival such as the Banff Centre and the Mozarteum Summer Academy in Salzburg. Currently, his career is focused on orchestral and chamber music. He has subbed with the Toronto Symphonic Orchestra and is a member of the Orchestre Symphonique de Gatineau.


Christopher Hwang


Canadian cellist Christopher Hwang expresses his passion for music as a devoted soloist, chamber musician and collaborator. He has won numerous first prize awards such as the Teccler and Forster Cello Competition, Canadian Music Competition and the National Music Festival. Mr. Hwang made his first solo debut with the Kitchener-Waterloo Youth Orchestra and soon after solo with the University of Toronto Symphony Orchestra and CAST Orchestra. Mr. Hwang has attended many music festivals across North America and has performed in masterclasses with world-renowned artists including Janos Starker, Steven Isserlis, Gary Hoffman, Jian Wang and many more. Mr. Hwang has received a Bachelor Degree from the University of Toronto, Master of Music and Artist Diploma at Yale University, and a Graduate Diploma at the New England Conservatory under the tutelage of Lawrence Lesser.


Rashaan Allwood

 Rashaan will be hosting and performing the piano music of Messiaen in October in a concert titled "Bird Song"

Rashaan will be hosting and performing the piano music of Messiaen in October in a concert titled "Bird Song"

Rashaan Allwood is a graduate of the University of Toronto where he studied piano performance with Professor James Parker and organ with Professor Kevin Komisaruk. He is currently pursuing a Master of Music in Organ and Church Music at McGill University and studying with Professor Hans-Ola Ericsson. He is a keyboard player of great versatility. As a pianist, organist, and harpsichordist, he has played in a variety of settings, including performances with the Orchestre Symphonique de Montreal, and the University of Toronto’s Collegium Musicum. Rashaan was the first prize winner of the Concours d'orgue de Québec in 2017 and of the Canadian National OSM Manulife competition in 2016 for the organ category. He also won second prize in the Wadden Sea International Organ Competition and the Lynnwood Farnam Organ Competition in 2017. Rashaan uses cohesive programming, lecture recitals, and multimedia performances to engage audiences. This has led to performances at venues such the Canadian Opera Company Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre, the Maison Symphonique in Montreal, and St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, UK.

Andrew James Clark

 Andrew James Clark will be accompanying Alice Hong on stage in February 2018 presenting the music of Ives and Bartok.

Andrew James Clark will be accompanying Alice Hong on stage in February 2018 presenting the music of Ives and Bartok.

Andrew James Clark is a multi-faceted Canadian composer currently residing in Toronto. While pursuing composition studies at the University of Toronto and serving as the composer in residence of the University of Toronto’s Wind Ensemble, he simultaneously serves as the Artistic Director of Classical Context, a concert series founded by students from the University providing a hybrid of new music and traditional repertoire to general audiences through lecture presentations. Andrew also holds the position of principal pianist at Heron Park Baptist Church. His piece The Valley of the Dry Bones was recently published by Counterpoint Library as part of their young composers series and he was also recently granted a conducting apprenticeship with Orchestra Toronto to be carried out during the months of March and April 2018. Recent awards include The University of Toronto’s 2016 Gordon Cressy Student Leadership Award in recognition of Andrew’s efforts in sustaining a music therapy program for elderly homeless musicians located in the downtown core. He has also been awarded the Gabriella Dory Prize in Music and the William Erving Fairclough Scholarship for graduating with the highest standing in U of T’s Undergraduate Composition Program, while also being the chosen recipient of the CNEF Eamonn O’Loghlin scholarship merited by his writings concerning the negative impacts of consumerism on our artistic culture. Andrew is currently employed as a theory and harmony classroom teacher in Scarborough’s Musical World F.A. Group, and as a Piano teacher at Dixon Hall’s Music School.