Ottawa Symphony Orchestra

OYOA Faculty

Music Director

John Gomez

Vancouver-born John Gomez received his musical education at the University of British Columbia where he studied with Esther Glazer, and at the Meadowmount School of Music, where he studied with Ivan Galamian and Paul Makanowitzky. Before joining the National Arts Centre Orchestra as a charter member in 1969, he was Principal Second Violin of the Vancouver Symphony, and Concertmaster of the National Ballet of Canada Orchestra and the Stratford Festival Orchestra. ... more ...

Ottawa Youth Orchestra

Donnie Deacon



Born in Glasgow, Scotland, Donnie Deacon studied at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music. He continued his studies at the Yehudi Menuhin School in London under the tutelage of Natasha Boyarskaya and Lord Menuhin. He finished his schooling at the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia with Jaime Laredo and Ida Kavafian.

Mr. Deacon has performed all over the world with such distinguished orchestras as the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Ulster Orchestra, BT Scottish Ensemble, London Soloists, Concerto Soloists of Philadelphia, Pablo de Sarasate Orchestra, and the Orchestra of the Curtis Institute of Music. He became principal second violin with the National Arts Centre Orchestra in 2001, the youngest player to do so in the history of the Orchestra. He has also been guest Concertmaster of both the Vancouver Symphony and The National Arts Centre Orchestra.

As an advocate for Canadian music, he has given the world premiere of Gary Kulesha's 2nd violin concerto and William Rowson's violin concerto.

Mr Deacon was named Resident Artist in the Community for the National Arts Centre in 2016 which sees him teaching and conducting all over Ottawa.

Mr Deacon is currently also the Music Director of the Ottawa Chamber Orchestra.

Lara Deutsch


Section Coach, OYO Winds

Named one of 2015's "Hot 30 Under 30 Canadian Classical Musicians" by CBC Music, flutist Lara Deutsch is a versatile soloist, orchestral, and chamber musician. Lara recently filled the position of Assistant Principal Flute & Piccolo in the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra during the 2016-2017 season and has since returned to the Ottawa-Montreal area. As a freelancer, Lara performs regularly with the National Arts Centre Orchestra and with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, and has also performed with the Thirteen Strings Chamber Orchestra, the Niagara Symphony Orchestra, the National Academy Orchestra, the National Youth Orchestra of Canada, the Banff Festival Orchestra, and l'Orchestre de la francophonie.

A passionate competitor, Lara was a first prize winner of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra's 2014 Standard Life Competition, at which she was awarded a total of seven prizes. Additionally, she was the Grand Prize Winner of both the National Arts Centre Bursary Competition (2014) and the Canadian Music Competition (2010), as well as a prizewinner at the 2016 Concours Prix d'Europe. In recognition of her promise, Lara was a past recipient of the Astral Artist Prize and of the Salsinger-Tani Gold Medal for Excellence in Performance.

As a recitalist, Lara has appeared in concert halls in Canada, the United States, Hungary, Germany and Austria, frequently collaborating with pianists Philip Chiu and Fred Lacroix. Recent engagements have included her debut recital for CBC Radio as part of the CBC/McGill Series and two solo recitals during the Montreal Symphony Orchestra's Virée Classique. She has also had the pleasure of appearing as a concerto soloist with numerous ensembles, notably with the National Arts Centre Orchestra, the McGill Symphony, and the Ottawa Chamber Orchestra.

Lara is the first flutist to have been featured on noncerto, the world's only channel exclusively for classical music videos. A selection of over twenty videos are available online, highlighting some of her favourite chamber music collaborations, particularly her ensembles Duo Kalysta (with Emily Belvedere, harp) and woodwind quintet, Kaleio, as well as with Philip Chiu, piano.

Lara is a graduate of McGill University, where she completed both her Master's (2014) and Bachelor's (2012) degrees on full scholarship under the tutelage of Timothy Hutchins and Denis Bluteau.

Karen Donnelly


Section Coach, OYO Brass

Karen Donnelly was appointed Principal Trumpet of the National Arts Centre Orchestra in October 1999 following three successful seasons as Acting Principal Trumpet. As a member of the Rideau Lakes Brass Quintet, she is very active in giving educational concerts and workshops in schools. Also a member of the large ensemble Capital BrassWorks, Karen is very involved in the organization and presentation of this group’s highly successful concert series held in Ottawa. Karen joined the teaching staff of the Music Department of the University of Ottawa in 2002.

Dominique Moreau


Section Coach, OYO Percussion

Dominique is an Ottawa-based professional timpanist and percussionist. Holder of a Master's degree in music from the University of Ottawa, he is a regular member of the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra, and has been featured as soloist. He has played with ensembles such as the Ottawa Choral Society and the Chamber Players of Canada and is a freelancer in the Ottawa music scene. Dominique is also involved in music education in Ottawa, coaching many high school percussion sections as well as giving clinics and teaching privately. He has been director and coach of the Beginner Pecussion Ensemble at the Academy since 2012. His experience as a conductor includes the University of Ottawa Community Concert Band, and more recently, the Ottawa New Horizons Band.

Ottawa Junior Youth Orchestra

Angus Armstrong


Conductor / Brass Coach

Angus Armstrong began his studies of music in 1975 at the University of British Columbia. In Ottawa, Angus has performed with the National Arts Centre Orchestra and is an active member of the freelance music community, playing in groups across the spectrum of musical genres. He is also a member of the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra, Principal Trombone of l'Orchestre de chambre de Gatineau, and a member, writer and music arranger for Capital Brassworks, a group of 14 of Ottawa's leading brass and percussion players. Angus is trombone instructor at the Conservatoire de musique de Gatineau, professor of trombone at Carleton University, conductor of the Pembroke Symphony Orchestra and Music Director of the Ottawa Junior Youth Orchestra (since 1997). He has written and arranged music for the CBC, has served as adjudicator for the Kiwanis Music Festival, and has coached players of brass instruments at the Ottawa Youth Orchestra Academy

Karoly Sziladi Jr.


Section Coach, OJYO Strings

Karoly Sziladi is a graduate of McGill University, the Canterbury High School Music Program and the Ottawa Youth Orchestra Academy (OYOA) with many years of experience as a private teacher. He performed and toured with the National Arts Centre Orchestra for over ten years, was a member of the Thirteen Strings chamber orchestra and is a former concertmaster of the Thunder Bay Symphony.

Anna Petersen

Section Coach, OJYO Winds

Anna Petersen joined Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra as Second Oboe and English horn in 2013. She held previous positions as Principal Oboe of the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra and section oboe of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. She has appeared as Principal Oboe with the Pittsburgh and Detroit Symphony Orchestras, The Florida Orchestra, and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, with whom she made her Carnegie Hall debut.

Anna has been a soloist with the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra, Symphoria, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, the Lake Placid Sinfonietta, and the Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra and has performed as a finalist in the Coleman Chamber Music Competition. She earned her Bachelor of Music Degree and Performer’s Certificate from the Eastman School of Music. Her primary teachers include Richard Killmer and Suzanne Geoffrey.

In addition to her musical life, Anna is also an internationally certified yoga teacher, having completed her 200-hour teacher training in Bali, Indonesia.

Zachary Pulak


Section Coach, OJYO Percussion

Zac has been an active freelance player since he began his studies at the University of Ottawa in 2010. He was awarded a Bachelor of Music (performance) in 2014. His drive and commitment have allowed him to perform with the best ensembles that the city has to offer including the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra, the Ottawa Choral Society, the Central Band of the Canadian Armed Forces, the Chamber Players of Canada, the National Arts Centre Orchestra, and the Ottawa Baroque Consort, among many others. His numerous festival credits include work with Music and Beyond, Ottawa International Chamber Festival, Prince Edward County Music Festival, Francofest, Bluesfest, and INNERchamber. Highlights of his career so far include performing as a soloist with the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra (May 2015) and taking part in the 2013 national tour of the National Youth Orchestra of Canada. In addition to his work as a performer, Zac coaches the percussion section of the Ottawa Junior Youth Orchestra and holds a small studio of private students.

Beginner Bassoon

JoAnn Simpson



Ottawa native, bassoonist JoAnn Simpson has worked as principal bassoon of the Municipal Symphony Orchestra of Caracas, Venezuela and has worked with the National Arts Centre Orchestra, the Montreal Symphony, the Quebec Symphony and BBC London. She has appeared as soloist with the Municipal Symphony Orchestra of Caracas and the Maracaibo Symphony, Venezuela; the Municipal Symphony of Montevideo, Uruguay, L'Orchestre de Chambre de Hull Quebec, Quebec and the 13 Strings of Ottawa. She has been recorded in recital and chamber music on numerous occasions by CBC Radio and Radio Canada. Presently Jo Ann Simpson is professor of bassoon at the Conservatoire de Gatineau, Quebec and The Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam New York. Jo Ann maintains a private bassoon studio and freelances in Ottawa/Gatineau.

Beginner French Horn

Debra Larocque



Debra Larocque began playing French Horn in grade 7 at Sir Winston Churchill Middle School. She joined the OYO while attending Merivale High School. After earning her BMus in Performance at the University of Ottawa studying with Daniel Gress (ret. NACO), she continued her studies at Indiana University. At IU she obtained her Master's in Music Horn Performance under the guidance of Richard Seraphinoff (natural horn specialist), Douglas Sturdevant (ret. NACO), and Myron Bloom (ret. Cleveland Orchestra). As a student, Debra also played in the National Youth Band and the IU Conductor's Orchestra. Since finishing her studies, she has played as a sub for the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra, the National Arts Centre Orchestra, and l'Orchestre Symphonique de Gatineau. She has been coaching the Beginner Horn Ensemble since 2010.

Percussion Ensemble

Dominique Moreau



Dominique is an Ottawa-based professional timpanist and percussionist. Holder of a Master's degree in music from the University of Ottawa, he is a regular member of the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra, and has been featured as soloist. He has played with ensembles such as the Ottawa Choral Society and the Chamber Players of Canada and is a freelancer in the Ottawa music scene. Dominique is also involved in music education in Ottawa, coaching many high school percussion sections as well as giving clinics and teaching privately. He has been director and coach of the Beginner Pecussion Ensemble at the Academy since 2012. His experience as a conductor includes the University of Ottawa Community Concert Band, and more recently, the Ottawa New Horizons Band.

Junior and Intermediate Brass

Bryan Parker



Junior Winds and Recorder Ensemble

Nadia Lemaire




Beginner and Intermediate Chamber Winds

Beverley Robinson



Originally from Guelph, Ontario, Beverley Robinson moved to Ottawa in 1984 to pursue her musical studies at the University of Ottawa where she received a Bachelor of Music in Performance. Her principal teachers have included Jean-Guy Brault, and Robert Cram, both formerly of the National Arts Centre Orchestra. In addition to working with flutists Robert Langevin and Jeanne Baxtresser, Beverley was a participant in the summer programme at the Banff Center for the Arts where she studied with the late Samuel Baron of the Julliard School and with British flute pedagogue Trevor Wye.

Senior Chamber Winds

Shauna McDonald



Shauna McDonald joined the Ottawa Symphony as principal clarinetist in September 2008, at the same time becoming a member of the clarinet faculty at the University of Ottawa. She also performs frequently with the National Arts Centre Orchestra. In September 2009, Shauna began coaching the Senior Wind Ensemble at the Ottawa Youth Orchestra Academy, a position she shares with OSO colleague Susan Morris.

Shauna began her clarinet study with Stephen Robb in Vancouver, B.C. She subsequently played and toured with the Vancouver Youth Symphony Orchestra until graduating high school. Shauna then moved to Montreal to study clarinet at McGill University with Robert Crowley. After finishing her degree in performance, Shauna was offered a full scholarship to pursue a Master's degree in Performance with Larry Combs at DePaul University, Chicago, Illinois.

Shauna has been a two time prize winner in the Elora Music Festival, has performed the Mozart Clarinet Concerto with the Pembroke Symphony Orchestra and several concerts at the Ottawa International Chamberfest. She has presented masterclasses for the National Arts Centre Master Musician program and keeps a full private studio.

Beginner Strings and Primary Strings

Yvrose Philippe-Auguste



Yvrose Philippe-Auguste was born in Haiti where she studied the violin. At 16 she was invited to go for the first time to a summer camp in Boston at Tanglewood for one month and toured the USA with the Haitians orchestra.

After High school, she got a scholarship to attend the University of Greensboro in North Carolina where she studied violin with David Moskovitz. One year later she got married, and was also accepted at the University of Minnesota. Later on she transferred to St Olaf College in Minnesota where she got her Bachelors in Music, violin concentration.

After graduation Yvrose went back to Haiti where she taught music and the violin, viola, cello, theory, chamber music, for 16 years at her own music school. She also taught at the Holly Trinity Primary School where she started learning and playing the violin herself. She was often guest soloist and conductor for the holy Trinity Philharmonic Orchestra. While in Haiti Yvrose attended workshop regularly in the USA on the Suzuki method with Rhonda Cole for 16 years.

Yvrose moved to Ottawa in 1998, since then has taught violin and viola for the Suzuki School of Music, the Ottawa Youth Orchestra Academy (OYOA), and at her own private studio.

She played with most of the orchestras here in Ottawa, now she has a string trio with her two sons Lewis (cello) and Olivier (viola).

Yvrose has a deep understanding of the value of music in the life of a child. She believes that every child should have the opportunity to have the gift of music. She goes to Haiti every chance she gets to teach and help provide music education to kids of all background. She also collects instruments and music sheets from friends and students to send to Haiti whenever she has the opportunity to do so. She is fully committed to this mission that allows her to participate in the music education of underprivileged children in Haiti.

Last year Yvrose was awarded the Paul Harris Fellow for her work in Haiti.

Beginner Double Bass

Joshua Bullen



Born and raised in Ottawa, Joshua Bullen has been an active member of the Canadian classical music community for more than a decade. He began playing double-bass at the age of 13, having studied violin and electric bass previously. His private studies in Ottawa included tutelage by Marjolaine Laroche and Rob Alderidge. Joshua attended the Schulich School of Music at McGill University, in the studio of Brian Robinson. He received his B.Mus in Classical Performance in 2013, and continued to freelance in Montreal with numerous orchestral groups and Opera companies, including OPMEM, Stu&Jess productions, and l'École supérieure de ballet du Québec.

In 2015 Joshua returned to Ottawa to pursue the Orchestral Studies Diploma at the University of Ottawa, studying with John Geggie, a childhood idol of Josh's. He is pursuing a Master's in Music at the same school starting in the fall of 2016, in the studio of Joel Quarrington. In addition to his musical career, Joshua has extensive training and experience in working with youth, having spent his summers as a high performance sailing coach on the Quebec circuit.

Junior Strings Ensemble

Brigitte Amyot



Born in Joliette (Lanaudière, Québec) Brigitte began her violin lessons at age six with Father Rolland Brunelle. From that point on, lessons, music camps, youth orchestras, competitions and summer jobs as a strolling violinist in French cuisine restaurants have all contributed to define a musical way of life where discipline, pleasure, love and humor team up with work and flexibility.

Graduated from McGill (bachelor degree in performance) and University of Ottawa (Masters in chamber music), Brigitte studied under Mr. Hratchia Sevadjian, Mrs.Eva Lupas, Mrs.Sonia Jelinkova and Mr. Calvin Sieb. Brigitte moved to Ottawa in 1991 and taught string classes at Ecole Secondaire Publique De La Salle (1991-1994) and at Ecole Massé (1998-2000). She was a member of Ottawa Symphony Orchestra (1992-2001) and a member of L'Orchestre des concerts symphoniques de Gatineau. From 2004 to 2007 Brigitte was concertmaster for Ottawa Chamber Orchestra.

Proud mother of Emma, Jessie and Aidan, Brigitte teaches violin in her private studio and conducts the Junior Strings 1 ensemble at the Ottawa Youth Orchestra Academy. She founded Brigitte’s artistic camp in 2002 and the project “The more strings the merrier” in 2007.

Free lance musician, she works regularly with different organizations of Ottawa-Gatineau such as Thirteen Strings, Orpheus, Savoy Society, Musica Viva, the Harea String Quartet and Virtuosi Orchestra. Brigitte is a member of the Orchestre symphonique de Gatineau since it’s inception in September 2007.

Intermediate Strings Ensemble

Sandra Van Barr

Sandra Van Barr


Sandra Van Barr was born in Etobicoke and started her cello studies at the age of 11. She went on to attain her Hon. B.A .(Music and English), B.Ed. (Music) and M.A. (Teaching) at the University of Western Ontario and McMaster University, where she was a Rhodes scholarship nominee and studied cello with Zdenik Konicek. She received numerous scholarships and awards in each of her years of study.

Over the years, Sandra has played with the TSYO, the Niagara Symphony and the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra. Beginning in 1990, she worked as a strings teacher for grades 6-8 and then as a secondary school Music Department Head. In this position, she received an award of excellence for teaching and founded a successful award-winning secondary school strings program.

Throughout her career, she has continued to teach cello in her private studio.

Senior Strings Ensemble

Polly McCombe

Polly McCombe


Polly McCombe, conductor of the Senior Strings is originally from Montreal. In 1983, she obtained her B. Mus. degree at the University of Ottawa where she studied violin with John Gomez. She later continued her studies with Mauricio Fuks in Montreal. She enrolled in string pedagogy courses at the University of Western Washington State & the University of Hawaii and while there participated in masterclasses with Sidney Harth & Gerald Fischbach.

Through the 1980s and 1990s, she played as assistant concertmaster of the Ottawa Symphony, was a member of Thirteen Strings, was principal 2nd violinist of the Nepean Symphony Orchestra, played as a member of the Hull Chamber Orchestra and the Opera Lyra Orchestra. During that time she set up her teaching studio and in 1986 became conductor of the Junior Strings 2 of the National Capital Music Academy. For 2 years she lived in Virginia & was a core member of the Shenandoah Valley Symphony Orchestra.

In 1994 she returned to Canada and to the OYOA. She presently plays in the Ottawa Symphony and free-lances in the Ottawa region. She now lives in Merrickville where she teaches extensively at home and in the Kemptville / Smiths Falls area.

Harp Ensembles

Michelle Gott



Recently praised for her "exquisite playing" by The Ottawa Citizen, Michelle Gott is a versatile harpist dedicated to the presentation of traditional repertoire and to the creation of new works in collaboration with emerging composers. As an orchestral musician, Ms. Gott has appeared with the New York Philharmonic, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and the Boston Pops. Ms. Gott has been featured as a soloist with the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra, the Atlantic String Quartet, and at Lincoln Center as winner of the 2009 Juilliard Concerto Competition. An avid performer of contemporary music, Michelle has worked with luminary composer and conductor, Pierre Boulez, as a member of the Lucerne Festival Academy Orchestra in 2009 and 2011 in Switzerland.

As a teacher, she has coached young harpists for the pre-college programs of the Juilliard School, the Manhattan School of Music and the Interschool Orchestras of New York. She also served on harp and music theory faculty for three summers at The Performing Arts Institute in Pennsylvania. Michelle earned her Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from The Juilliard School and is currently a Doctorate of Musical Arts candidate. For more information, please visit www.michellegott.com.

Pre-School Music I & II

Jennifer Martinez



Jennifer is an active Music Educator in the Ottawa area. She teaches grade 7 and 8 Music in the school system during the week, as well as the winds and brass teacher at "The leading Note Foundation" with Orkidstra and she leads an adult group of Ottawa New Horizons Band. Jennifer's passion is sharing the joy of learning and making music with her students. Her qualifications as a Music Specialist and a Special Education Specialist enrich her teaching style and her experience of over 20 years working with preschool children.

Preparatory Music I & II (6-8 yrs)

Leslie Bricker



Leslie Bricker holds a Bachelor of Music in Education from University of Toronto and a Bachelor of Education from the University of Ottawa. She has Master Class certification in the Orff philosophy music education, and has studied Choral Technique and Dance in both Canada and the United States.

Leslie has extensive experience in music education with children from 3 to 14 years of age. She has designed and taught music programs in Elementary Schools and Conservatories of Music; in addition, she has directed Orff Ensembles, choirs and musical theatre. Leslie recently retired as an elementary music specialist with the Ottawa-Carleton Board of Education.

Leslie is involved in teacher-training across Canada.  She has taught Orff certification courses at universities in Ottawa and Nova Scotia and has offered workshops focusing on the Orff approach for provincial and national music organizations across the country. A published author in local and national music journals, Leslie has written numerous articles on the links between music, language, drama and dance.

Leslie is a past National President of Music for Children-Carl Orff Canada-Musique pour enfants, and is an honorary life member of the Ottawa Orff Chapter.