Markham Symphony Orchestra & String Chamber

EPHRAIM CHEUNG, MUSIC DIRECTOR

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Alvin Tung has established himself as one of Canada’s most brilliant virtuosi by securing numerous first prizes in many different competitions across North America.  His honours have included winning the silver medal at the prestigious Tokyo International Guitar Competition, becoming the first Canadian in the thirty five year history of the competition to ever win a prize.  He is also a two time consecutive first prize winner of the Canada Council National Grant Competition and Canadian National Music Competition (CMC).

Tung was the youngest Doctoral (DMA) guitar recipient from the Eastman School of Music studying under Dr. Nicholas Goluses where he was a scholarship student.  At Eastman, Alvin Tung received the honour of becoming the first guitarist to ever win the school’s coveted Performer’s Certificate.

Alvin Tung has appeared as concerto soloist with orchestras across Canada, the United States, and Asia.  Highlights in his career have included appearing as guest soloist with the Mississauga Symphony Orchestra to inaugurate the grand opening of the Living Arts Centre.  In addition, he has made recital and chamber music debuts at the Glenn Gould Studio, the George Weston Recital Hall, Roy Thompson Hall, Muskoka Lakes and Ottawa Chamber Music Festivals and the Taipei International Guitar Festival.   He will record his fourth CD and perform the Western Suite, a concerto for guitar and orchestra by American composer Christopher Fazzi which he gave the Canadian premiere.

At the age of 25, Dr. Tung was appointed to the faculty of the University of Toronto to instruct guitar and chamber music.  In addition to his responsibilities at the University, he is in great demand nationally as an adjudicator and clinician and has given master classes internationally.  He has taught at the Taipei International Guitar Festival, the Algonquin International Music Institute, and the International School of Musical Arts.  He was also appointed to the faculties of the Weathersfield Summer Music Festival in Vermont and the Silver Bay Summer Music Festival in New York. His students are among the finest young musicians in the country having won numerous first and grand prizes at national and international music competitions.  Dr. Alvin Tung performs on a 1989 Paulino Bernabe and a 1978 Jose Ramirez generously donated by his patron, Colin Robert Fraser.  In addition, he is also under the generous patronage of renowned Canadian luthier Peter Daniels, who built “le Sorcier” for him in 2002.

Xiang Yu is regarded as one of today?s most talented and creative young violinists in the world. His astonishing technique and exceptional musical talent have won him consistent critical acclaim (the Strad, String magazine, ect.) and enthusiastic audience response worldwide for his solo recitals, orchestral engagements, and chamber music performances. 
Xiang is the 1st Prize winner of the prestigious Yehudi Menuhin International Violin Competition 2010, together with the Bach Prize and the Audience Prize. He also won the 2nd prize of Wieniawski International Violin Competition (2006) as the youngest prize winner; 3rd prize of Michael Hill International Violin Competition (2011); 2nd prize and the Best Commissioned Work Prize of 25th Irving M. Klein International String Competition; 1st prize and the Best Chamber Music Performance prize of the BadenWürttemberg International Youth Music Competition (2005).  
As an active young soloist, Xiang has performed more than 20 concerts in venues throughout the world, including Konzerthaus Berlin (Germany), Shanghai Grand Theatre (China), Wianiwski Hall (Poland), the Grand Theatre of Calgary (Canada), Victoria Concert Hall (Singapore), Oslo Opera House & Troldsalen Bergen (Norway), Auckland Town Hall (New Zealand), Bennett-Gordon Hall, and Boston Jordan Hall(USA). Xiang also appeared as a soloist with world-leading orchestras such as the National Theatre Symphony Orchestra, Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, Norwegian Broadcasting Orchestra, Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, Young Euro Classic Orchestra, Auckland Symphony Orchestra, and Oslo Philharmionic Orchestra. 
In addition to his solo career, Xiang is also an active chamber musician. Since the age of fourteen, he has regularly presented chamber music concerts in China with repertoire ranging from Joseph Haydn to Alfred Schnittke. His ?Xiang Quartet? not only won the 1st prize of Bode Cup Chamber Music Competition, but also premiered many contemporary chamber music masterpieces in China, including Ullmann?s String Quartet No.3 and Hartmann?s String Quartet No.1. Xiang has also been invited to numerous renowned summer festivals such as Kronberg Academy (Germany), Verbier Academy(Switzerland), Yellow Barn Festival(USA), Morningside Music Bridge(Canada), Steans Institute for Young Artists at the Ravinia Festival(USA). He has worked and performed as a young artist with such artists as Walter Levin, Zakhar Bron, Christian Tetzlaff, Nicolas / Ana Chumachenco, Pamela Frank, Kim Kashkashian, Ida Kavafian, Miriam Fried, Frans Helmerson, and Paul Katz. 
Born in Inner Mongolia, Mr. Yu received his early training from Qing Zheng in Shanghai. He is now studying at the New England Conservatory in Boston with Prof. Donald Weilerstein on full scholarship and NEC merit award. In addition, he is also a recipient of the NEC Presidential Scholarship, Rising Star Scholarship, and Irene M. Stare Scholarship in Violin.

Canadian Chinese violinist, Mercedes Cheung (Zhang梅賽得斯), speaks fluent French, English, Spanish and Mandarin. Mercedes has already performed in some of the greatest international scenes, including her 2012 Carnegie Hall debut where she featured the complete Paganini's 24 Caprices by heart at age 10. She is the youngest ever (age 10) to have recorded Paganini's 24 Caprices on DVD and CD, all in one take, released in May 2012.  Mercedes made her public six years old solo recital , with 2-hour artistic virtuosic program, all performed from the heart at Markham Theatre, Canada. Her orchestral debut at the age of 10, with the Markham String Chamber Orchestra, performing Vivaldi's "Winter" Concerto from The Four Seasons at Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts, and a month later, she performed as soloist in Sarasate's Zigeunerweisen with the Markham Symphony Orchestra at the Markham Theatre. In 2014, Mercedes was at age 12, one of twelve gifted violinists around the world up to age 27, selected to participate with a full scholarship in the Crans-Montana Classics Master Classes in Switzerland, and has been chosen by Shlomo Mintz to solo with him to give a dazzling performance of Vivaldi's Concerto for Four Violins with the National Chamber Ensemble "Kiev Soloists" at the closing concert in "Centre de Congres Le Regent" in Switzerland. Mercedes won the Metrowest Symphony Orchestra Young Artist Soloist in 2015 - 2016 Season in Boston. On October 30, 2014, Toronto TV has Broadcasted Mercedes' Solo Violin Recital, featured in Flato Markham Theatre for Performing Arts Diamond Series: Artists Concerts, and she will return to the concert season coming 2019-2020.  Mercedes was the Silver Medalist of the "2014 Teen's Talent Show"- American Youth Talent and  Arts Competition in New York.  She has been awarded full scholarships from three major institutes namely the Juilliard School, the New England Conservatory of Music and the Phil and Eli Taylor Performance Academy for Young Artists of the Toronto Royal Conservatory of Music. Mercedes has been documented and interviewed by international and national televisions as well as radio stations, and she has been interviewed and performed in almost all televisions and newspapers in Canada. Televisions include Sinovision (New York), “Canada AM” National TV, City TV, Rogers, Fairchild, Omni, and Talentvision CTV. Mercedes was interviewed live on air and has invited to be a guest performer on TVOKids for their special "Music" day which aired on Christmas and New Year's Day 2013. Radio stations include Toronto Newstalk 1010, Buffalo WNED Classical FM 94.5.  Online and local newspapers include Sing Tao Daily, Ming Pao, World Journal, Markham Economist and Sun, and Markham Review, Whole Note & "Toronto Life" Magazine. Mercedes was also featured in full pages of "Le Nouvelliste" and "Sixieme Dimension" newspapers of Crans-Montana, Switzerland. Mercedes is the Winner of the prestigious 2010 Achievement and Civic Recognition Award (ACRA) in the Cultural Category (Markham, Canada) along with two other category winners: Seneca College President, David Agnew (ACRA-Technology Award) & Co-Founders of "Free the Children", Craig & Marc Kielburger (ACRA-Community Award).  Mercedes has performed in master classes and has taken lessons with Shlomo Mintz, Zakhar Bron, David Cerone and Sungsic Yang. She also took lessons with Kim Kashkashian, Ilya Kaler, Robert Lipsett. Joel Smirnoff, and Paul Kantor as well as master class with Soovin Kim.  In 2011 and 2013, she was invited twice to perform as guest artist at the Banff Centre Summer Music Artists Concerts by the Artistic Director, Barry Shiffman. Mercedes currently studies at Juilliard with Donald Weilerstein, Li Lin, and her father, Ephraim Cheung. Mercedes' upcoming performances including: solo recital at Paul Hall, Lincoln Centre, New York, USA on January 12nd 2019 and with Ontario Philharmonic Orchestra as Guest Concertmaster on December 22nd & 23rd, 2018 Christmas Concert in Oshawa, Canada.  Mercedes plays on a Giovanni Paolo Maggini 1623.

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