Masterclasses and Special Guests

The following renowned artists are a sample of the masterclasses available to students and the general public throughout the year. Please check this page frequently for updates as more guest artist masterclasses are confirmed.

For all "Voice Fridays" events, including some masterclasses, please visit the Voice Fridays home page.

To learn more about the Music Education Seminar Series, please visit the Seminar Series home page.

Additional events can also be found on our Artists in Residence page.

If you are a faculty member at the Don Wright Faculty of Music and would like to add more to this list, please email with the details.

Masterclasses and Special Guests 2018-2019

Jean-Guy Boisvert, clarinet – September 12*
Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018, 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m., Studio 242
*Revised date - originally scheduled Sept. 13

Michele Capalbo, (BMus'90) soprano – September 28 & 29
Friday, Sept. 28, 2018, 1:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m., vKH
Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018, 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m., vKH

Karin Schasny, BMus, RMT, LAE – September 28
Body Mapping: What Every Musician Needs to Know About the Body
Friday, Sept. 28, 2018, 3:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m., PDT (all musicians)
Friday, Sept. 28, 2018, 6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m., PDT (pianists)
*This workshop is sponsored by the Undergraduate Gift Fund.

Sara Davis Buechner, piano – October 6
> visit Parsons and Poole webpage to learn more

Adrianne Pieczonka, soprano – October 20
> visit Music Building Grand Opening webpage to learn more

Johannes Möller, guitar – October 26
Friday, Oct. 26, 2018, 2:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m., vKH

Michael Ouzounian, viola – November 2
Friday, Nov. 2, 2018, 2:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m., Studio 242
*This masterclass is sponsored by the Undergraduate Gift Fund.

Jennifer Orchard, violin – November 21
Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2018, 8:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m., vKH

Yael Weiss, piano – January 26
Saturday, Jan. 26, 2019, 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m., vKH
*This masterclass is sponsored by the Undergraduate Gift Fund.

Jean Marchand and Brigitte Poulin, piano – February 1
Friday, February 1, 2019, 2:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m., vKH

Prior to this event, Jean and Brigitte will be giving a talk on Thursday, January 31, at 7:30 p.m., Music Building, Rm 254.

Jean and Brigitte will also be performing as part of our Fridays at 12:30 concert series, Friday, February 1, at 1 p.m., Music Building, von Kuster Hall.

Helmut Lipsky, violin – March 3
Improvisation Workshop
Sunday, Mar. 3, 2019, 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m., MB 254
*This masterclass is sponsored by the Undergraduate Gift Fund.

Russell Braun, baritone – March 3
Sunday, Mar. 3, 2019, 12:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m., vKH

Stephan Moccio, piano/composer – March 15
Friday, Mar. 15, 2019, 2:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m., vKH

Stephen, along with his manager, James Porter (BA’86) will cover topics such as composing, songwriting, recording, producing, performing, working with James, as his manager - and being an artist in the 21st century.

Prior to this masterclass, Stephan will be performing as part of our Friday's at 12:30 Concert Series.

To hear more from Stephan Moccio today (March 15), “Moccio & Friends” perform Live at Aeolian Hall as part of JUNOFest. For complete details and ticket purchase information, visit The Aeolian website.

Jarrett McCourt, tuba - April 5
Masterclass details TBA (contact Sasha Gorbasew at for more details about the masterclasses). Alumnus Jarrett McCourt, BMus'13, tuba, is performing with the Western University Wind Ensemble at 8 pm on Friday, April 5, in Paul Davenport Theatre. Visit the Events Calendar for detailed event information.

Recent Guest Artist Masterclasses

Saxophone masterclass with Jonathan Nichol and Jeffrey Loeffert
Clarinet masterclass with Marie Picard
Parsons & Poole (piano) masterclass with Charles Richard-Hamelin
Voice masterclass with Brett Polegato
Viola masterclass with Daniel Scholz
Brass masterclass with Canadian Brass
Piano masterclass with Ilya Poletaev
Viola masterclass with Teng Li
Piano Masterclass with Fred Pattison Piano Competition adjudicator Enrico Elisi
Voice masterclass with Johannes Debus, Music Director, Canadian Opera Company
Woodwind masterclass with Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet
Voice masterclass with Liz Upchurch
Clarinet masterclass with Kornel Wolak.
Parsons & Poole (piano) masterclass with John O’Conor.
Voice masterclass with Kathleen Kelly, opera conductor and coach.
Viola masterclass with David Rose.
Masterclass with Duo Concertante: Nancy Dahn, violin; Timothy Steeves, piano
Violin masterclass with Marie Bérard, best known as concertmaster of the Canadian Opera Company Orchestra.
Piano Masterclass with Fred Pattison Piano Competition adjudicator, David Jalbert.
Saxophone masterclass with Jeffrey Heisler, part of Heisler-Yeh Duo.
Piano masterclass with I-Chen Yeh, part of Heisler-Yeh Duo.
Violin Masterclass with Elissa Lee, Ensemble Made in Canada.
Horn Masterclass with Adam Unsworth, Associate Professor of Horn, University of Michigan.
Piano masterclass with Peter Vinograde, an outstanding interpreter of J.S. Bach and contemporary composers.
Saxophone and Drum set masterclass with Noa Even and Stephen Klunk.
Parsons & Poole masterclass with James Anagnoson, Dean of The Glenn Gould School.
Voice masterclass with internationally-renowned Canadian soprano Edith Wiens.
French Horn and Chamber Music masterclass with Radovan Vlatkovic.
Violin masterclass with violinist/conductor Victor Yampolsky, Northwestern University.
Various voice workshops and masterclasses with Kathleen Kelly, University of Michigan School of Music.
Voice Masterclass with Music theatre / Pop music master teacher, and distinguished alumna, Elaine Overholt.
Masterclass with renowned Canadian pianist, Jimmy Brière.
Piano preparations/Extended techniques masterclass with pianist, Sandra Joy Friesen.
Masterclass with saxophonist, Allison Balcetis.
Masterclass with saxophonist, Justin Massey.
Masterclass with flutist, Lisa Nelsen.
Two masterclasses with violinist, Fernando Pereira, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Masterclass with violist Teng Li, Toronto Symphony Orchestra principal viola.
Masterclass with saxophonist, Phil Pierick.
Lecture and Masterclass with composer and conductor Sir James MacMillan, visiting from Scotland.
Masterclass with Quasar Quatuor de Saxophones.
Masterclass with visiting composer, John Beckwith

Masterclass and Special Guest Biographies

Helmut Lipsky

Born in Germany, Helmut Lipsky, grew up in Switzerland, where he studied violin with Concertmaster Abraham Comfort of the Winterthur Collegium Musicum Orchestra at the Zurich Conservatory in Switzerland, graduating with a bachelor and a concert diploma in performance and pedagogy. As a member of the Collegium Musicum Orchestra, he toured Switzerland and France, under the baton of, and accompanying, the pianist Géza Anda. He then, at the age of 19, continued his studies in New York, working for three years with Professor Ivan Galamian. Later he was a pupil of the international acclaimed violin soloist Itzhak Perlman at the Brooklyn Conservatory, where he obtained a Master’s Degree of Arts under his tutelage. He was awarded the Presidential Scholars Award from the Council of the City of New York for his merits as a violinist and his academic work. Shortly after he toured the US with chamber music ensembles (The New York Players, The Masterplayers), and as a soloist with orchestras in Switzerland and the United States.

Resident of Montreal, Québec, Canada, since 1980, Helmut Lipsky established here his creative musical platform, the MELOSPHERE with a consortium of outstanding musicians, with which he still collaborates today on a multitude of projects for the stage, CD, television, radio, film, multimedia, theatre and dance productions.

Lipsky is very active on the national and international music scene as a violinist, composer, improviser and teacher in the realms of classical music, jazz, tango, world and contemporary music. He has taught at several universities and colleges – including Université de Montréal, McGill and Concordia University – and is now professor at the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal for violin, chamber music and string improvisation. During the summer, he has taught, among other summer schools, at the Domaine Forget International Festival, the Camp musical des Laurentides, Camp musical de Lanaudière, the Thüringische Sommerakademie in Germany as well as the Interharmony – Sulzbach-Rosenberg International Music Festival and the Interharmony International Music Festival in Italy. In the summer of 2016, he cofounded the ground-breaking Clazz International Music Festival, where classical music, Jazz, crossover styles and improvisation are being taught side by side. Many of Lipsky's former students have distinguished careers as performers and/or play in major Symphony Orchestras around the world, founded or are members of renowned ensembles in a variety of musical genres or participate in Cirque du Soleil productions.

As violinist and composer, Helmut Lipsky has recorded many radio and television programs and has participated with his own ensembles – mainly under the name MELOSPHERE – at numerous important festivals in North America, as well as touring regularly in Europe, where he performed with his group, among many other venues in Berlin, Bruxelles, Budapest, Zurich, Milan etc. and as part of the prestigious “New Jazz” Series at the Montreux International Jazz Festival in Switzerland. A regular participant at the Montreal International Jazz Festival, he opened with MELOSPHERE shows of artists like Miles Davis, Dave Brubeck (Lanaudière International Music Festival), Stéphane Grappelli (Québec International Music Festival) and Toots Thielemans (Royal Palace of Brussels). He has also written music for cinema, presented at and winning top prizes in Festivals around the world, the theatre, multimedia exhibitions as well as for special occasions, like his Harbour Symphony for violin, ship sirens and church bells performed at Montreal Harbour or his Concerto for Violin and Chainsaw as the opening event of the Third Symposium en art de l’Abitibi-Témiscamingue in Amos, Québec, Canada. In December of 2015, he participated as composer and performer in the Memorial Concert for the Euthanasia victims of the Castle Grafeneck in Germany. His duets for two violins “Voyage à deux” Vol. 1 and 2 and various chamber orchestra works are very popular with students and professionals of any age group and are being played in many countries and were presented at the ASTA (American String Teacher’s Association) in 2017. His works have been published by Les Éditions Doberman in Canada, by Ovationpress in the US and by Müller & Schade in Switzerland.

Helmut Lipsky recorded many critically acclaimed CDs under his and his ensembles’ name and has collaborated with renowned artists like Andreas Vollenweider, David Darling, Angèle Dubeau and her ensemble La Pietà, Jeremy Cohen's Quartet San Francisco, André-Gilles Duchemin, Gilles Vigneault, Claude Léveillé, Karen Young, Michel Donato, James Gelfand, Matt Herskowitz and François Richard on various projects. He has won several prestigious awards: among others the coveted Prix OPUS for his album Helmut Lipsky – MÉLOSPHÈRE – Tempi con Variazioni, featuring the well-known soprano Suzie LeBlanc in 2011, and First Prize at the International competition of the worldwide community of French language radio stations. Proclaimed member of the “Ordre de la musique française”, he was three times nominated for Best Album at the Felix Awards, twice for Best Concert of the Year by Les Prix OPUS, Best Violinist by the National Music Awards in 2006, and was invited several times as Presenter at the well-known Idea City Conference of Moses Znaimer in Toronto. Helmut Lipsky has received several funds from the Canadian Arts Council and the Quebec Cultural Ministry.

Since the summer of 2017, he is now also a member of the popular ensemble Quartango, which has recorded many albums, has won several distinguished prizes (among others a Juno Award for Best Album) and has toured internationally.

Stephan Moccio

Classically trained impresario, Oscar® and 3 time Grammy®-nominated artist Stephan Moccio is an LA -based Canadian producer, songwriter, composer, recording artist and musician behind some of music’s most massive, inescapable hits. In 2013, Moccio co-penned the quintuple-platinum song “Wrecking Ball” for Miley Cyrus. Following the song’s success, Moccio quickly became one of the industry’s most sought-after and in-demand producers and songwriters, going on to co-write and co-produce the two end credit songs for the film Fifty Shades of Grey: the quintuple-platinum "Earned It" (The Weeknd) and "I Know You" (Skylar Grey), which appeared on the film’s platinum selling soundtrack. Previously, Moccio co-wrote the Celine Dion hit “A New Day Has Come”, which spent 21 weeks at #1 on the Billboard AC chart, and marked Celine Dion’s record-breaking comeback in 2002. He also produced and co-wrote the quintuple-platinum song “I Believe” for the 2010 Winter Olympics. Avril Lavigne's critically acclaimed come back single “Head Above Water” released in September, which Moccio co-wrote and produced, spent 4 days at #1 on iTunes Worldwide chart. He is currently producing songs, he has co-written for Celine's new album, at his Santa Monica studio. Recent and upcoming collaborations include Labrinth, Ester Dean, Dua Lipa, Justin Tranter, Ross Golan, Lykke Li, Jamie Cullum, Paloma Faith and Noah Cyrus. Stephan is a purple and proud Western alumnus (BMus ’94).

Michael Ouzounian

Michael Ouzounian was born in Detroit, where he studied with Ara Zerounian and Nathan Gordon, principal violist of the Detroit Symphony. Continuing studies with Abraham Skernick, principal violist of the Cleveland Orchestra, Mr. Ouzounian performed a wide range of operatic, symphonic, and chamber music in a student orchestra founded and conducted by James Levine at the Cleveland Institute of Music. In 1972, at the age of 21, he joined the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra as principal violist.

As guest artist at the Ravinia Festival for 18 summers, Mr. Ouzounian performed as soloist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, as well as a large repertoire of chamber music. In New York, he has been heard as chamber musician, and as soloist with the MET Orchestra in Strauss's Don Quixote (recorded by Deutsche Grammophon), and the Concertantes of Mozart and Bolcom at Carnegie Hall. Mr. Ouzounian has also served on the faculty of the Verbier Festival in Switzerland.