Concert Organizer


Jackalyn Short, soprano

Canadian soprano Jackalyn Short has sung leading lyric coloratura roles with every major opera company and orchestra in Canada. Internationally, she has performed in many U. S. cities, and also in Korea, Japan, Singapore, New Zealand, England and Israel. Roles range from Alcina to Donna Anna, Gilda to Anne Trulove. She has been a regular performer on CBC’s Saturday Afternoon at the Opera, and Two New Hours, and has been the recipient of several Canada Council grants and scholarships.

Ms. Short has been a faculty member of the NUOVA opera program in Edmonton, HSOF in Halifax, COAA at Western and also Opera on the Avalon in St John’s, Nfld. Recently she founded Music Theatre on the Thames, a summer intensive program at Western. ( 
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Speakers & Performers

Ted Baerg, tenor

Theodore Baerg continues to enjoy a long and celebrated career, with the New York Philharmonic, San Francisco Opera, Canadian Opera Company, Glyndebourne Festival (England) and the Tapei Chamber Orchestra - just four of his international destinations. He has performed in opera and concert on virtually every major stage in Canada and many in the United States. In addition to more than 80 operatic roles, Ted was heralded as Emile DeBecque in the hit Stratford Festival production of South Pacific. He is a popular star for orchestra evenings devoted to the works of Strauss, Lehar, and "The Best of Broadway."

Prof. Baerg has performed many world premiere operas and concerts including Mario and the Magician and The Golden Asswith the Canadian Opera Company. His operatic repertoire ranges from the title role in Alban Berg’s Wozzeck to Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus. His concert repertoire includes many of the oratorio greats. He has performed recitals and masterclasses across Canada and the United States. His discography includes a DVD of Turandot (Ping) with the San Francisco Opera as well as two CDs, La Mystique D'Amour (with Irena Welhasch Baerg) and Enchanted Evenings.


During the summer months he has taught at numerous young artist programs including La Musica Lirica in Italy, Opera Nuova in Canada, FIO Americas in Brazil. Prof. Baerg’s students have been engaged in many of Canada’s professional young artist programs.

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Marianna Chibotar-Rutkevich, piano

MARIANNA CHIBOTAR-RUTKEVICH is an accomplished Concert Pianist, holding a Masters Degree in Piano Performance and Literature and Musicology, and a Post-Masters Degree in Piano Performance and Pedagogy from the State University of Kishinev in Moldova, where she also held studio as an Associate Professor of Piano. She has been privileged to have studied with some of the most internationally renowned piano masters and legendary pedagogues from Russia, the Ukraine, Romania, Germany, Holland, Brazil and Australia.

Having performed internationally playing numerous solo recitals, concertos, and chamber music, Marianna has honed her talents as a pianist and has further developed her special commitment to music. As an accomplished performer she has received many awards and scholarships recognizing her musicality, technical virtuosity, and subtle artistry; and has been praised in newspapers for her unique sound quality. The most noteworthy international competitions and festivals include those held in Prague (Czech Republic), Athens (Greece), Rotterdam (Netherlands), Bucharest (Romania) and Etlingen, (Germany), Moscow (Russia).


While maintaining an active performing schedule, she is also a dedicated teacher. Marianna is currently on the piano faculty at, the Don Wright Faculty of Music, University of Western Ontario, as a Piano Instructor and Collaborative Pianist, performing as a piano soloist, and chamber music soloist. Highly demanded for collaborating with vocalists and instrumentalists she holds respect as a teacher, a mentor to her students and as a pianist. Her students have distinguished themselves at the national and international levels, winning top prizes in a number of national competitions, and being accepted into prestigious universities and graduate schools.Recently, she has been honoured to perform live for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Radio and Television, to appear as the official Pianist for the Canadian Music Competition, and the Provincial and National Music Competitions. Frequently requested to participate as a Conservatory Examinator, Competition Adjudicator and clinician, she also maintains a full studio of private piano students in London, Ontario.


Patricia Green, mezzo-soprano

Acclaimed for “singing with a poignancy and molten resonance,” Patricia Green’s active career includes an international presence in operas, oratorios, recital and chamber music in such illustrious halls as Concertgebouw, Carnegie Hall, Merkin Hall, Glazunov Hall and the Kennedy Centre. Soloist with leading orchestras and organizations l’Orchestre de Radio-France, the Dutch Radio Philharmonic, the National Symphony (DC), the Northern Israel Symphony, the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, Opera Parallèle, Washington Bach Consort, BluePrint Project San Francisco, Vancouver New Music, the U.S. Memorial Holocaust Museum series, the Paranjoti Chorus, New Music Concerts Toronto, Soundstreams Canada, Bethlehem Bach Society includes work with leading conductors Pierre Boulez, Leonard Slatkin, Nicole Paiement, Peter Eotvos, Pascal Rophé, and Sir David Willcocks.

Known for remarkable versatility and exceptional musicianship, she has created over 30 world premieres and worked with acclaimed composers such as Pierre Boulez, R. Murray Schafer, György Ligeti, Lasse Thoresen, Lori Laitman, Emily Doolittle and Laura Schwendinger. Look for her 3 solo recordings on the award-winning Blue Griffin label and 9 other recordings on Albany Records, Newport Classics, and Naxos.


In demand as a judge/clinician, she has adjudicated the Eckhardt-Gramatté Competition, the Canadian Music Competition, and provincial Music Festivals. Ms Green has taught masterclasses across China, in Italy, the U.S. and Canada. During the summer, she teaches at the summer opera program La Musica Lirica, in Novafeltria, Italy. She has given concerts across China, and created the first International Institute for Voice and Piano at CUMT, Xuzhou.Prof. Green loves to share her passion for singing and enjoys the personal process of development with each singer. Past students are in professional young artist programs, singing internationally, and are professors in the U.S. and Brazil.


John Hess, piano

Pianist John Hess grew up in Canada, studying music at the University of Toronto, where he received the W. O. Forsythe award for Outstanding Graduating Pianist.  Further studies took him to the University of Michigan, as a full fellow, where he received a Doctorate of Musical Arts in Collaborative Piano with Martin Katz. Since 1997, John has been Head of Collaborative Piano Studies at The Western University, Canada, where he was most recently awarded the 2014 Faculty Scholar Award.

Over the past thirty years, John has pursued two concurrent music strands – art song and contemporary music. Always in demand as a recital partner, notable singers he has partnered include Joseph Calleja, Jane Archibald, Erin Wall, Krisztina Szabo, Valdine Anderson, Maureen Forrester, and Ben Heppner, with whom he has toured extensively in Canada over the past fifteen years.   At Canada’s Banff Centre for the Arts, John was a permanent vocal coach for the esteemed Academy of Singing. In October 2013, John was presented with the Opera Canada Ruby Award in recognition of a distinguished career as musician, producer, conductor and educator in the Canadian operatic community, and particularly for his work with Queen of Puddings Music Theatre.


In the current season, along with his university work, John is touring with Queen of Puddings’ productions in Europe, and performing chamber music concerts throughout Canada. Additionally, he is the Co-Director of Amhráin ar an Nua-Nós, a new long-term Canada-Ireland project to commission, create, and produce a body of original contemporary art song and chamber opera, written solely in the Irish language.


James Hibbard, piano

James Hibbard holds Licentiate and Fellow Diplomas from Trinity College, London England. He studied with Reginald Bedford and has participated in masterclasses given by Nadia Strycek in Quebec, and Norman Shetler, Balint Vazsonyi and John Ogdon at the Institute for Advanced Musical Studies in Switzerland. He is director of music at Calvary United Church in London. Recently he performed all the Chopin Etudes in Oregon, U.S. and at Western on both modern and period pianos.

James and his wife Tina Yanchus perform as the Yanchus-Hibbard piano duo. They have been heard several times on CBC Radio’s Mostly Music and Arts National. They also have performed and coached chamber music together for 11 years at the Kincardine Summer Music Festival. They currently teach at Western University’s Don Wright Faculty of Music, and are both much in demand as music festival adjudicators. They have maintained a large class of piano students for more than 40 years.


Aaron Hodgson, trumpet

Trumpeter Aaron Hodgson has been praised for his “exquisite musicianship and assured composure” (International Trumpet Guild) and his “outstanding lyrical trumpet playing” (Hartford Courant). A prize-winner in the Ellsworth Smith and OSM Standard Life competitions, Aaron has been broadcast nationally as a soloist by CBC Radio and featured as a concerto soloist with l'Orchestre de la Francophonie at Canada's National Arts Centre. His orchestral performances include appearances with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra and the Calgary Philharmonic led by conductors such as Neeme Jarvi, Sir Neville Marriner and Helmuth Rilling. He can be heard on Naxos and Analekta records as principal trumpet for recordings of Bach's Magnificat, Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique and the complete symphonies of Beethoven and Brahms. Learn more


Committed to expanding the trumpet's capabilities and audiences, Aaron is a founding member of the Reveille Trumpet Collective ( Reveille has presented engaging, multimedia performances at the Banff Centre and the Sound Symposium Festival, and contributed to the commissioning of many new solo and chamber works for trumpet. Aaron is also a member of Reverb Brass, a quintet dedicated to exciting performances of contemporary works. After several years at Memorial University of Newfoundland, in 2012 Aaron joined the faculty of the Don Wright School of Music, Western University. Aaron holds a Doctor of Musical Arts from Yale University.

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Simone Luti, piano

A native of Lucca, Tuscany, orchestral conductor and pianist Simone Luti is quickly gaining recognition and acclaim for his musical instincts and sensitivity on the podium and at the keyboard.  He has conducted on the podiums for such organizations as  The Musical Festival in Ticino Locarno, Switzerland, in Albania at the Opera Theatre in Tirana, the Symphony Orchestra of Bacau, Romania, and the International Opera Theatre of Philadelphia (in Teatro degli Avvaloranti, Città della Pieve; Teatro Mancinelli, Orvieto; and The University of Performing Arts, Philadelphia).  At the keyboard, Mr. Luti has performed as a solo and collaborative pianist in recitals, opera galas, and chamber groups for theatres and musical institutes throughout Italy, Austria, Switzerland, and Belgium, playing. Of note was his debut at the Lucerne Festival playing for soprano Irina Lungu.

As part of his musical training, Mr. Luti studied piano with Gloria Belli, Konstantin Bogino and Fabrizio Papi while his formal studies in composition were overseen by Pietro Rigacci.  To date, his compositions have been performed in Lucca, Pisa, and Florence to enthusiastic audiences.  It was during his compositional studies, however, that his passion for opera blossomed.


He went on to earn academic scholarships to study opera, firstly at the Teatro Verdi in Pisa, and afterwards in Milan at the Academy for performing Arts associated with the Teatro della Scala (Accademia d'arti e mestieri dello spettacolo del Teatro alla Scala) getting specialized both in repertoire and music didactics related to opera house. During this time, he studied conducting with Vittorio Parisi at the Academy of Giuseppe Verdi in Milan, and at the Accademia Chigiana in Siena with Gianluigi Gelmetti.

He is currently the Artistic and Musical Director of AEDO: he recently conducted Suor Angelica, Gianni Schicchi, Così fan tutte , Don Giovanni, The turn of the screw, Le nozze di Figaro, Butterfly, La Cenerentola and Die Zauberflote, in Lucca and in Amsterdam. He is also the Head Coach of Opera program at Western University, London Ontario.

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Mel Martin, violin

Mel Martin accepted an invitation to join the performance faculty at Western University in 2005, bringing to his post a wealth of experience as one of Ontario's most highly sought after teachers. He has held the position of Section First Violinist with London Symphonia (formerly Orchestra London) since 1981, where he has also served as Concertmaster and Assistant Concertmaster, and has been featured as soloist on several occasions.

Mel also serves as Concertmaster of the Stratford Festival Orchestra. In addition to chamber music collaborations at Stratford Summer Music, Mel has performed solo and chamber music recitals in Canada, the United States, and Mexico. A student of Francis Chaplin at Brandon University, and one of the youngest members of the National Youth Orchestra, Mel went on to earn a Bachelor's degree in performance at Indiana University with James Buswell and Franco Gulli, and a Master's degree at the University of Michigan under Paul Makanowitzky and Charles Avsharian.


Jackalyn Short, soprano

See biography above under “Concert Organizer”.

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Christine Tithecott, piano

Christine Tithecott holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Piano Performance and Pedagogy from the University of Iowa, as well as a MMus in Performance and a BMus (Honours) in Music Education from the University of Western Ontario. She has worked previously at Iowa State University in Ames, IA.

In high demand as a clinician and adjudicator, Dr. Tithecott presents master classes for young pianists and workshops on pedagogical topics for piano teachers throughout North America. She has presented lectures at national conferences for the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) and the Canadian Federation of Music Teachers’ Associations (CFMTA). Christine is a member of the Canadian Music Festival Adjudicators Association (CMFAA), and a clinician for the Ontario Registered Music Teachers Association (ORMTA). Additionally, Dr. Tithecott has served as en editor for Conservatory Canada’s New Millennium Series.

An avid performer, Dr. Tithecott has had the opportunity to perform as a solo and collaborative artist throughout Canada, USA, and Europe. Christine has a strong passion for performing and promoting contemporary repertoire, and has performed with numerous new music ensembles including Ensemble 319, and The CNM Ensemble (Iowa City, IA).

Christine currently resides in London, where she is on faculty at Western University’s Don Wright Faculty of Music. She also works as a collaborative artist, and maintains a full studio of private piano students.


Adrian Wright, cello

The major part of Adrian Wright's work as a cellist was spent as a member of the National Orchestra of Wales in Cardiff, U.K. The broad repertoire of a BBC orchestra and significant resources of the BBC made this an interesting time. During his years in the U.K., Adrian was able to work with a number of orchestras on a freelance basis. He had experience as a cello teacher in school and private studio settings and learned much from some consultation lessons that he had with the inspirational cello teacher Joan Dickson. Later several years of lessons with an Alexander Method Teacher taught him much about natural, active and effective posture and technique.

Presently Adrian is enjoying a varied professional life. He is a lecturer at the Don Wright Faculty of Music in the Music Education Dept. helping aspiring high school teachers understand the cello and cello technique, is a cello instructor in the Performance Dept. has a private studio, plays in a number of chamber ensembles and freelances, mainly with Orchestra London. Increasingly important to him is his work with the new and expanding El Systema Aeolian program in East London, Ont.


Adrian received his training as a cellist from the Royal Academy of Music in London, U.K. and prior to that three years with the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain had a considerable influence on the course of his life.

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Tina Yanchus, piano

Tina Yanchus holds a Bachelor of Music and Master of the Science of Music degrees from the Juilliard School in New York City, where she studied with Jacob Lateiner and Joseph Raieff. As a performer she has played both in recital and with orchestras in Canada and the United States.

With her husband James Hibbard in the Yanchus-Hibbard piano duo, she has performed extensively, and been heard several times on CBC Radio's Mostly Music and Arts National. They have performed and coached chamber music together for 11 years at the Kincardine Summer Music Festival. They currently teach at Western University’s Don Wright Faculty of Music, and are both much in demand as music festival adjudicators. They have maintained a large class of piano students for more than 40 years. Some of these students have furthered their studies at prestigious institutions, such as the Juilliard School, Eastman, Columbia University and the Glenn Gould School.



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Thank you to Western University and its Don Wright Faculty of Music for their continued support and encouragement.

We respectfully acknowledge the history of the traditional territory on which this university stands and this concert is being held. We would also like to respect the longstanding relationships of the three local First Nations groups of this land and place in Southwestern Ontario.