Michael Esch - Piano, Theory
Michael Esch holds a Doctorate of Musical Arts degree in Piano Performance from Rice University where his teachers included Robert Roux and Jon Kimura Parker. His other major influences include his first teacher, Rosemary Collins, and coachings with Rebecca Penneys, Lazar Berman and Anton Kuerti.
Dr. Esch has been featured in numerous recitals throughout Canada including the Glenn Gould Studio for the CBC, and for the Canadian University Music Society. He has also appeared in concert throughout Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, the United States and Germany, as well as various centers in the far east. He has performed with numerous orchestras in Canada, and has collaborated with a number of acclaimed artists including the Belgian violinist Michael Guttman and the eminent violist, Rivka Golani, as well as the Canadian Sinfonietta Chamber Players. The Canadian Composer Robert Rival has composed and dedicated the work ‘6 pieces for Piano’ (found in the ARCT and LRCM repertoire lists) for Michael. Dr. Esch is a featured pianist on the RCME 2015 Piano Syllabus CD set.
Michael has enjoyed grant support from the Chalmers Foundation, and is a multiple grant recipient from the Canada Council for the Arts. A sought after adjudicator in Canada, Michael has adjudicated festivals at the Provincial level for the O.M.F.A., ORMTA, SMFA, NSMFA, PABC, the Canadian Music Competition 50’th Anniversary National Tour and the Glenn Gould School Concerto Competition, the Cresendo International Piano Competitions among many others. He is a senior examiner for RCM examinations and is a regular masterclass clinician for the Phil and Eli Taylor Young Artist Performance Academy at the RCM.
A sought after teacher, Dr. Esch's students have been featured in major GTA recital venues including Koerner Hall, The Glenn Gould Studio, the University of Toronto Arts and Letters Club, Markham Theatre, as well as Carnegie Recital Hall in NYC. They have been featured in concert with important orchestras Ontario and Europe, and in masterclasses with major artists in prestigious international music festivals such as the Morningside Music Bridge and John O'Conors 'Beethoven Boot Camp'.
Recent achievements of Dr. Esch's students include: winner of the CFMTA National Piano Competition, First Prize winners in the Crescendo International Competition, GOCCA Int, Winners of the ORMTA Young Artist Tour (2), National Gold Medal Winners for the RCM Licentiate Diploma (2), the youngest candidate to have earned the LRCM with Distinction, and as well as Prize Laureates at the Berlin and Boston Intl Amateurs competition.
Dr. Esch has taught at Wilfrid Laurier University and has served on staff at the Glenn Gould School/RCM since 2007. In September of 2010 Michael and his wife opened the Esch Music Academy in Markham Ontario. Michael is a Top Teacher Award recipient from Steinway and Sons and was recently awarded a 2020 Teacher of Distinction Award from the Royal Conservatory of Music. Michael has served on Faculty at the University of Toronto since 2021.
Jessica Esch - Piano and Theory
Jessica has over 30 years of private piano studio instruction and professional accompanying experience in Canada and the United States. Her major teachers have included the revered Canadian pedagogues James Anagnoson at the Royal Conservatory of Music with whom she obtained the A.R.C.T. Performer’s Diploma, and Dorothy Morton - with whom she received a Bachelor of Music Degree (Distinction in Performance) from McGill University. She has also coached privately with Steinway Artist Robert Roux.
Jessica has also pursued additional studies at a number of important summer Music Festivals in Europe and at the Chautauqua Institute of Higher Learning in New York. Jessica’s students have enjoyed considerable success in various levels of Royal Conservatory of Music examinations, at local music festivals/contests in the Greater Toronto Area and at the OMFA Provincial Finals. In addition to her piano studio, Jessica is active within the greater arts community in the G.T.A. She served as the official accompanist for the Toronto Taiwanese Choir from 2004-2005 and has accompanied professionally for numerous R.C.M. exams and recitals.
She is a former orchestra manager of the Canadian Sinfonietta, one of Toronto’s most dynamic chamber orchestras, and presently volunteers in various capacities for that orchestra. Jessica is a natural in working with pre-college talent, and young children. She exudes a warm, nurturing persona, while at the same time challenges her students with a focused and structured lesson environment. In addition to her piano credentials, Jessica is one of the few certified Canadian instructors of Musikgarten; an internationally recognized program introducing babies, toddlers and young children to the wonders of music.
Henry Janzen - Violin. Viola, Chamber Music
Henry Janzen’s formative influences include Masterclasses with Menahem Pressler and William Primrose at the Banff School of Fine Art coupled with advanced studies in New York City with renowned pedagogues Lillian Fuchs, Arianna Bronne, Raphael Bronstein and Nathan Gordon.
Teaching positions include the University of Western Michigan, Wayne State University and University of Western Ontario. For the past 30 years Mr. Janzen has taught in the Orchestral, Applied and Chamber Music areas at the University of Guelph. For the last 20 years he has been Principal Conductor and Music Director with the Hart House Orchestra, University of Toronto with almost annual touring including Europe and a performance Carnegie Hall, NYC to celebrate 40 years of the HHO.
In addition to regular orchestral and opera performances he has been heard in performances across North America and Europe including Prague, Salzburg and Vienna. Mr. Janzen has appeared with such diverse groups as the New York String Ensemble, Greenwich (Connecticut) Choral Society and Rackham Symphony Choir.
Some of his memorable performance opportunities were the private funeral ceremony for Henry Ford II; with Lloyd Bridges in the TV movie “In the Nick of Time”; performances at the Premier Centre in Detroit with Gladys Knight and the Pips; the installations of first Archbishop and then Edmund Cardinal Szoka and a mass for 100,000 people with Pope John Paul II as the officiant.
Susan Chang - Musikgarten, Piano and Theory
Susan holds a Master of Education Degree (M.Ed) from York University, as well as a BA (Hons.) in Children's Studies and Diploma in Piano Performance. Her teaching passions include early childhood education, creative dance curriculum and drama education. An advocate for arts education as an empowering curriculum she finds joy and fulfillment in teaching music to children and parents.
She is a certified and internationally recognized instructor of Musikgarten, a leading program for music study at the earliest of ages, and has presented workshops and classes in Musikgarten throughout the Far East and Ontario.
Charis Wong - Voice
Charis Wong is a recent graduate from the University of Toronto’s Voice program, with an Honours Bachelor's Degree in Music Performance. In 2016, she obtained her ARCT in Piano Performance studying under Dr. Michael Esch. She began teaching voice and piano lessons in Markham in 2013 and has since discovered a passion for helping young children and youth discover their own love for music. She places a high priority on creating a safe environment for students to express themselves freely, as well as on developing a strong sense of discipline and confidence through music.
Aside from teaching, Charis loves to perform! With COSI Connection she has performed roles such as Rose Maybud in the musical Ruddigore, and most recently performed the role of Galatea in Dean Burry’s one-act opera Il Giudizio di Pigmalione.
Lauren Esch - Piano and Theory
Lauren Esch made her third appearance with the CBSO under the direction of Maestro Norman Reintamm in November of 2019. Lauren holds an ARCT in piano performance with First Class Honours/Distinction ranking, and will complete her LRCM in January 2022.
Lauren has enjoyed much success as a performer over the years. In addition to her 3 concerti appearances with the CBSO, Lauren has also performed Richard Herriot’s Dance Rhapsodie Canadienne with the Canadian Sinfonietta in celebration of Canada 150. The work was subsequently dedicated to Lauren by the composer.
Lauren has performed at Carnegie Hall in NYC, and in important GTA recital venues including Markham Theatre, the Richmond Hill Theatre for the Performing Arts, the Toronto Steinway Series, and on Classical 96.3fm. She is a former top scholarship winner in the Crescendo International Piano Competition, and has won many awards including being a National Finalist in the CMC, Winner of the ARCT Class in the 2017 ORMTA Provincial Finals, and top pianist scholarships in numerous GTA Festivals. In February of 2020, Lauren performed a recital at Victoria College (University of Toronto), hosted by former CBC and NPR host Eric Friesen.
Her primary teacher was her father, Dr. Michael Esch. Lauren has performed in masterclasses for William Aide, Alain Lefèvre, Jamie Parker, the Dutch pianist Paul Komen, John O'Conor, James Anagnoson, and Curtis Institute professor, Meng Chien Liu.
Lauren is currently pursuing her Bachelor's in Piano Performance at the University of Toronto, where is she is studying with Professor Jamie Parker. She is also building a strong reputation as a piano teacher in Markham, where her students have excelled in recent examination and festival sessions. She recently participated in the 2023 Vancouver International Piano Sessions.
Dalen Cubillos - Piano, Jaz Piano, Theory
Dalen Cubillos has enjoyed considerable success in music festivals, competitions and exams, including receiving First Class Honours on his Grade 10 RCM piano exam, and winning the Gold Medal for RCM Keyboard Harmony in the Vancouver region. He is well-versed in a variety of musical styles, including classical, jazz and pop. While piano is his primary instrument, he is also performs on alto sax and drums.
He has won first place in multiple festivals for piano in BC, including winning the top scholarship from the Yarilo Contemporary Music Society, as well as being accepted to study at the prestigious Orford Music Academy. Dalen also composes a variety of music in his free time, and is a gifted improviser.
Dalen has been privileged to perform at the Maple Ridge ACT Centre, the Place Des Arts in Coquitlam, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, and Walter Hall in Toronto. He has performed in masterclasses with pianists such as James Parker, Enrico Elisi, and Stephen Philcox.
Dalen is currently pursuing a Bachelors of Piano Performance at the University of Toronto under the tutelage of Dr. Michael Esch. He past teachers include Alma Petchersky, and Anna Levy. Dalen participated at the Vancouver Piano Sessions where he took classes with John Perry and Steven Spooner.