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2019 Student Recognition Awards Judges

Akiko Tominaga

Akiko Tominaga - Performance, Piano

'An amazing assurance and strength...and most of all, the maturity and the imagination of a true interpreter.' (Gingras, La Presse)
'Her sound is captivating, delicate, crystalline; her phrasing elegant and intelligent. Above all, one appreciates the humility and sobriety of her artistry...' (Gauthier, Ottawa Citizen)

Since her solo debut in 1992, playing the Rachmaninoff Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Akiko Tominaga has performed at various venues and concert halls in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Japan. Her solo and chamber performances have been broadcasted on C.B.C. and Radio-Canada. This season, she is performing with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra in their production of the Saint-Saëns Carnival of the Animals, as well as a recital with cellist Johanne Perron featuring French composers. Last year featured a solo recital at the Knox Church in Calgary as well as at the University of Lethbridge. Her recital entitled “Postcards from Afar” received much acclaim in Ottawa in the Master Piano Recital Series. An avid chamber musician, she has collaborated with notable musicians as Diana Cohen, Franklin Cohen, Teng Li, Roberto Diaz, and Norman Fischer. She is a founding member of the piano trio Trio Lajoie (violinist Ariane Lajoie, cellist Julie Hereish) based in Montreal. She holds a Bachelor of Music Degree from the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music where she studied with Eleanor Sokoloff, an Artist Diploma from the Royal Conservatory of Music studying with John Perry, and a Doctorate of Music from the Université de Montréal under the guidance of Marc Durand. She has been invited to give master classes, lectures and adjudicate festivals in Alberta. She is currently on the faculty at the Mount Royal Conservatory in Calgary.

Allyson Lyne

Allyson Lyne - Performance, Strings

Allyson started violin at the age of 3 as a Suzuki violin student in Edmonton with Yoko Oike Wong. She completed a Bachelor of Music (Performance) at the University of Toronto and a Masters of Music (Performance) at the Université de Montréal. Twenty-five years of performing in Québec included playing, touring and recording with the Montréal Symphony, Montreal Chamber Orchestra (concertmaster), Montreal Baroque Orchestra and I Musici de Montréal.  Back in Edmonton since 2005, Allyson played for several years with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra and now teaches full time in addition to conducting Orchestra 3 for Edmonton's Music Enrichment Program. Allyson is President of the Alberta String Association.

Cara Lianne McLeod

Cara Lianne McLeod - Performance, Voice

Cara Lianne McLeod is a Canadian soprano praised for her "enviable clarity of tone" (Opera Canada). Recognized as a vibrant and generous artist both on and off stage, she inspires audiences with her distinct voice and compelling honesty in operas, recitals, and programs. Ms. McLeod made her operatic debut in COSĪ FAN TUTTE and most recently performed Annina in LA TRAVIATA with Edmonton Opera. She made her company debut with Edmonton Opera in the role of High Priestess in AIDA and subsequently sang Berta in IL BARBIERE DI SIVIGLIA, and then as a cover, went on to successfully perform the role of Donna Elvira in DON GIOVANNI. Other credits include Nedda in PAGLIACCI with Mercury Opera, Contessa in LE NOZZE DI FIGARO with Operafestival di Roma, and Micaëla in CARMEN with Calgary Concert Opera Company and Vancouver Island Opera. She has also frequently appeared as a guest artist with Opera NUOVA.

In recital and concert, Ms. McLeod has appeared as a featured soloist with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, Vancouver Island Opera, Red Deer Symphony, and Calgary Concert Opera Company, as well as Mercury Opera "A Night at the Opera." As the soprano soloist for the Alberta Symphony Orchestra (ASO), Ms. McLeod toured throughout Alberta, under the direction of Emilio De Mercato, and has subsequently appeared with Maestro De Mercato in numerous recitals. She was honoured to perform the National Anthem at the Alberta Legislature for Canada’s 150th birthday, returned in 2018, and appeared in her third year as a guest soloist there with the ASO during Celebrate the Season 2017.

In addition to her performing, Ms. McLeod has been teaching private voice lessons for over 15 years. She cares deeply for her students and focus on their individual needs, encouraging them to reach their full potential. Cara is also a sought-after adjudicator and clinician. In 2018 she was a mentor for the Artist in Residence program with the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, and as a result of that work, was inspired to create workshops entitled “Find Your Voice: Exploring Expression & Creativity through Singing” to empower women of all ages to sing. She most recently returned to Fort McMurray to adjudicate the Oilsands Rotary Music Festival.

“Cara McLeod (Donna Elvira)…both theatrically and musically effective.”
Opera Canada

Laurie Matiation

Laurie Matiation - Performance, Brass, Winds and Percussion

Originally from Brandon, Manitoba, Laurie is currently Assistant Principal/Third Horn with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra. She began her professional career in 1978 as second horn of the Atlantic Symphony, and has been a member of the CPO since 1983.

Laurie received a Bachelor of Music Degree with Distinction in Performance at Brandon University, and later continued her studies in Chicago, Banff, and Arizona. Some of her teachers have included, William Gordon, Dale Clevenger, and Thomas Bacon.

In addition to her orchestral duties, Laurie is a passionate teacher, and believes that all can achieve their goals and dreams with proper guidance, inspiration, and support. She conducts workshops and clinics, and is teacher of horn at the University of Calgary, and Mount Royal University Conservatory, where she is also Artistic Director of the Academy and Advanced Performance Program - a program specifically designed for students who wish to work on their Performance skills and self-confidence.

In her down time, Laurie enjoys camping, cooking, gardening, and spending quality time with family.

Lyle Bennett

Lyle Bennett - Community Service

Lyle grew up in Moose Jaw SK and joined the local community band at the age of 8 playing trumpet and later switched to euphonium.  He graduated from the University of Regina with a Bachelor of Education with a major in biology and minor in music.  He taught in Swift Current and Regina until 1978 when he joined St. John's Music.  Lyle retired as an owner and Vice President of St. John’s Music in 2013 after 35 years in the music business.

His career included significant volunteer work serving on the Board of Directors for Music Alberta, National Association of School Music Dealers, Alberta Band Conference, Kiwanis Music Festival, Alberta International Band Festival, Calgary Board of Education Fine Arts Standing Committee and the Coalition for Music Education in Canada, to name a few.

He has been an Optimist International member since 1981 and co-founded the Optimist Band Festival in Regina, and is currently the Secretary Treasurer of the Optimist Club of Calgary.

Lyle is married to Wendy and they have 2 sons.