Shawn Bennett

Shawn Bennett is a dynamic conductor, educator, arranger, trombonist and choral singer from Clarenville, Newfoundland and Labrador. He holds Bachelors degrees in Music Performance (Trombone) and Music Education from Memorial University of Newfoundland, as well as a Masters of Music degree in Orchestral Conducting from the University of Toronto. Shawn has served as Associate Conductor of the UofT Campus Philharmonic since 2021, and has conducted numerous professional and educational ensembles throughout his career both at home and abroad. Some of these include l’Orchestre Métropolitain de Montréal, l’Orchestre Symphonique de Québec, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra Toronto, the University of Toronto Symphony Orchestra and Wind Symphony, the University of Redlands Symphony Orchestra, Wind Ensembles, and MacMillan Singers (CA), the Newfoundland Symphony Youth Orchestra, the Shallaway Youth Choir (NL), and the “Off the Cuff” Community Choir (NL), for whom he served as Artistic Director from 2017-2019.

Shawn has had the pleasure of learning from many beloved and respected conductors throughout his studies and travels, including Yannick Nézet-Seguin (OM, Philadelphia Orchestra, Met Opera), Kensho Watanabe (Philadelphia Orchestra, Met Opera), Daniel Raiskin (Winnipeg Symphony), Otto Tausk (Vancouver Symphony), Jonathan Girard (UBC), Michael Newnham (OT), Prof. Uri Mayer, Dr. Gillian MacKay and Dr. Jamie Hillman (UofT), Dr Nicholle Andrews and Prof. Co Boi Nguyen (University of Redlands), Charles Gambetta (Embodied Conducting Institute), Kellie Walsh (Shallaway Youth Choir), and Dr. Jason Caslor (Arizona State University). 

​Shawn is generously supported by the Canada Council for the Arts, and has been the recipient of such prestigious recognitions as the University of Toronto Fellowship in Music, the OSOTF Feldbrill Fellowship, the Newfoundland and Labrador Centennial Study Award, the Bo Ying Wat Endowed Scholarship and the Friends of Music Endowed Scholarship from the University of Redlands, and the Shallaway Choral Scholarship. 

Shawn is based in Toronto, ON on the traditional territory of many nations including the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat peoples, where he lives with his wife, Leah, and teaches instrumental music at the Sterling Hall School. He is a fierce advocate for composers from underrepresented backgrounds, and has in the last two years alone championed works by Violet Archer, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Reena Esmail, Augusta Holmès, Jessie Montgomery, Florence Price, and Clara Schumann.

Shawn Bennett Website

Brennan Schommer

From Swift Current, Saskatchewan, Brennan began conducting during his first year at the University of Toronto with Skule Choir. Soon after, Brennan became the principal conductor of Skule Orchestra from 2016-2020. Since then, he has been a guest conductor for Hart House Orchestra and Summerhill Orchestra, and a brass instructor for the children’s summer programs at the Oscar Peterson School of Music.

Brennan’s background in trumpet, voice, and piano has led to his involvement in various community orchestras, choirs, and small ensembles throughout Toronto, while working in Rail and Transit Engineering as a Trackwork Designer during the day.

Carlos Vasquez

Originally from Venezuela, Carlos began his musical studies on violin at the age of 10, and later on clarinet under “El Sistema” the world-renowned program of musical immersive training started in 1975 by José Antonio Abreu.

Carlos actively participates in the musical community within Toronto, performing on both clarinet and violin with many orchestras in the GTA including Kindred Spirits Orchestra, Orchestra Toronto, Counterpoint Community Orchestra, Greater Toronto Philharmonic Orchestra, North York Concert Orchestra, Oakville Symphony, among others.

Outside of music, he holds a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering, a Construction Management Post Graduate Diploma and works full time as a Construction Coordinator.

Suzanne Yeo

Suzanne Yeo is a Toronto-based conductor, pianist and vocal coach known for the intensity and sensitivity of her interpretations. Having graduated from the University of Toronto with an M.Mus. in piano performance (after a stint as a doctoral candidate in the German department at Princeton University), she gravitated towards collaborative piano and conducting, in large part due to a long-standing affinity for opera and Lieder. She is a co-founder and music director of Opera Sustenida (one of whose productions was recently selected as a finalist in the 2023 OPERA America Excellence in Digital Opera Awards), where she serves variously as pianist or conductor, depending on the needs of the production, and has been assistant conductor at Toronto City Opera since 2021, conducting a performance each of NabuccoCavalleria rusticanaDon Giovanni and Die Fledermaus in the last 2 seasons.