Classical Context

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. 



Rashaan Allwood

Classical Context - Rashaan Allwood

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.

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.


Clarisse Tonigussi

Head Shot Clarisse Tonigussi.jpg

Clarisse Tonigussi has always had a deep love of music. As a child she spent countless hours at the piano playing the songs that sprung into her head and enjoyed everything that her voice and the beautiful sound of the piano had to offer. She furthered her love of music at the University of Toronto and received an Undergraduate degree in Voice Performance, graduating with Honours as well as a Masters degree in Voice Performance studies. In the 2017/18 season Ms. Tonigussi was seen performing across Canada with The Canadian Women Composers Project, was a soloist with the Barrie Lyrica Chamber Choir, a performer with the Toronto group the Hedgerow Singers, and the featured soloist with the touring company Opera Luminata. In the past, she has performed roles such as Emmy Perth in the opera Der Vampyr, Papagena, and the First Spirit in The Magic Flute. Her chorus appearances include Romeo et Juliette, The Mikado, The Student Prince, and The Merry Widow. She will premiere the roles of Gwendolyn and Heather the Hysterical Harp in the new musical Jack & the Beanstalk by William Lavigne. Clarisse is thrilled to share with audiences the music of Canadian women composers in a series of concerts this 2018/19 year. 

Jungmin Lee


Violinist Jungmin Lee has toured internationally as a chamber musician and orchestral player, and is an avid proponent of violin pedagogy. She has made her Spanish concert debut under the sponsorship of the SHE Foundation, performing on a 1770 Giovanni Battista Guadagnini violin with the generous support of George Heinl and Co., and has performed for renowned musicians including Joshua Bell, Menahem Pressler and Ilya Kaler. She has collaborated with Soovin Kim as the principal Violinist for performances of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, and has been invited to perform at Lincoln Center as the first prize winner of the National Artists competition in New York. As an orchestral player, Jungmin has held principal roles under the batons of Leonard Slatkin, David Effron, Arthur Fagen, Giancarlo Guerrero and others, and has been a section violinist with Carmel Symphony Orchestra, Terre Haute Symphony Orchestra, Camarata Orchestra, and National Academy Orchestra. She holds degrees from Indiana University and McGill as the recipient of Indiana University Presidential Scholarship and the McGill Graduate Excellence Fellowship. Her mentors have included Mimi Zweig, Federico Agostini, and Denise Lupien, and she is currently pursuing her Doctor of Musical Arts from University of Toronto with Jonathan Crow. 

Andrew James Clark

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.