Orchestra Academy

Established in 2014 by COC Music Director Johannes Debus, and developed in collaboration with The Glenn Gould School at the Royal Conservatory of Music, the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Music, and the Schulich School of Music at McGill University, the COC Orchestra Academy offers student musicians professional insight and experience in their pursuit of a career in an opera orchestra.

In this intensive three-week program, participants experience how an operatic performance comes together, how to prepare their part of a score, and the development and improvement of an orchestra over the course of rehearsals and performances. Each student musician is paired with a mentor from the COC Orchestra to provide one-on-one guidance.

“The COC Orchestra Academy immerses participants in the complex and collaborative world of opera, offering experiences that can’t be replicated in a standard university or conservatory training program,” says COC Music Director Johannes Debus. “There is more to being part of an opera orchestra than playing an instrument and the participants will benefit from the expertise of some of the most important and respected figures in the industry across a variety of fields, from world-class artists and musicians, to members of the COC’s technical and administrative staff. This holistic training approach is an opportunity aspiring young musicians can’t get anywhere else in this country.”

From January 16- February 8, 2020, five string players will have the unique opportunity to gain insight and understanding of what it means to perform in a professional opera orchestra. Activities include:

  • Performing in the pit for Hansel & Gretel with the COC Orchestra under the baton of Johannes Debus
  • Participating in all orchestra rehearsals and auditing other important musical and technical rehearsals in the preparation process of Hansel & Gretel
  • Group and one-on-one coachings/sessions with mentors from the COC Orchestra
  • Preparing and performing a program of vocal and instrumental chamber music with COC Ensemble Studio artists in the Free Concert Series in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre
  • Introduction to vocal technique, lyric diction, dramatic preparation and general stagecraft
  • Roundtables, specialist sessions, backstage tours and lectures with COC artistic and production staff
  • Networking opportunities and career support
The program is open to string players under the age of 28 currently enrolled or within 1 year of graduation from The Glenn Gould School at the Royal Conservatory of Music, the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Music, the Schulich School of Music at McGill University, or the University of Western Ontario’s Don Wright Faculty of Music.

Applicants must be referred by a member of the COC Orchestra and/or the Head of the string faculty of one
of the partner institutions. Applicants will be contacted with more information and to set up an audition time.

For questions or inquiries, please email [email protected] 

- Applicants must be available for the entire duration of the Orchestra Academy: Jan 16 – Feb 8, 2020
- Applicants must be available for a live audition in Toronto on Nov 6, 2019
- If selected for the program, applicants will be required to join the TMA if not already members of AFM (joining fee will be covered by the COC)
- Travel and accommodation for out-of-town students selected to participate in the program will be covered by the COC

2019 Orchestra Academy Members

  • Joella Pinto, violin (The Glenn Gould School)
  • Gloria Yip, violin (University of Toronto)
  • Carolyn Farnand, viola (University of Toronto)
  • Erin Patterson, cello (Schulich School of Music, McGill University)
  • Allison Rich, cello (University of Toronto)

2019 Orchestra Academy Mentors

  • Jayne Maddison, first violin
  • Paul Zevenhuizen, second violin
  • Sheila Jaffé, viola
  • Paul Widner, assistant principal cello
  • Tony Flynt, principal bass

Members of the COC Orchestra and the Orchestra Academy participate in the program voluntarily.

Phone: 416-363-8231

Toll Free: 1-800-250-4653

Contact Page

Facebook Twitter Instagram Youtube