Ann Denny - Soprano
Ann Denny is a soprano based in Halifax NS who studies with tenor Jason Davis. Ann’s performance credits include singing at Upstream’s Open Waters Festival with her free folk trio Mother of Girl, JazzEast’s Out Like a Lion festival, Nocturne: art at night, G&S musical theatre, White Rabbit open art project. Ann sang for a season in the chorus of the Icelandic National Opera, has done solo work with Lenard Whiting’s Tryptych ensemble in Toronto, and performed in medieval music productions at Hart House at UofT. Ann is also the Co-executive director of Youth Art Connection (YAC), a charity she co-founded with her husband Ryan Veltmeyer in 2012 to assist diverse youth to build careers through the power of the arts. Ann’s passion is for sharing new ideas and nuanced emotions through the art of singing!



Jackson Fairfax-Perry - Composer
Jackson Fairfax-Perry is a composer and saxophonist based in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He recently completed a degree in composition under Dr. Jérôme Blais at Dalhousie University, where he also studied saxophone with Chris Mitchell. Jackson has composed for numerous soloists, ensembles and organizations, including percussionist D’Arcy Gray, Vocalypse Productions, and Upstream Music Association. His current projects include a new work for pianist Barbara Pritchard and a piece for the Dalhousie Symphony Orchestra. As a saxophonist Jackson has performed in a variety of styles and with many artists, including Scott MacMillan, Jean Derome, Scott Thomson, Jerry Granelli and the Jubilee Swing Orchestra.



Caroline Whalen - Soprano
Hailing from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Caroline Whalen is an accomplished, young soprano with a great passion for performing. Her recent roles include Dido in Dido and Aeneas, Dorabella in Cosi Fan Tutte, and Gianetta in The Gondoliers with Symphony Nova Scotia. Caroline spent the past two springs performing with Opera Roadshow, a program that tours an opera for children throughout Newfoundland and Labrador. She has coached with Graham Johnson, Jake Heggie, François LaRoux, and Rosemary Landry at the Vancouver International Song Institute, a three-week intensive art song program. She has also had the pleasure of working in master class with Lynne Dawson, Measha Brueggergosman, and Sally Dibblee. Caroline recently graduated with a Master of Music in Performance and Pedagogy from Memorial University of Newfoundland, studying with Dr. Caroline Schiller, and holds a Bachelor of Music from Acadia University. 








Opera From Scratch 2014
(In order of singer / composer pairing)
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Andrew Machum - Baritone (singing adjunct roles in Matt Frey and Shuying Li's mini operas)
Andrew Machum is a seventeen year old singer / song writer, piano player, and amateur music producer living in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He has performed in various events for the United Way, the Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia, and the Titanic 100th Anniversary Concert and has opened for and performed alongside such talent as Molly Thomason, Ian Sherwood, and Bruce Guthro. When he was 15, he earned Top 16 placement on the YTV show “The Next Star”, after 4000 people auditioned across Canada. He has studied singing with Andrea Jeffrey and is presently studying with Janice Jackson. He spends most of his time recording and producing covers for his Youtube Channel and is beginning to write his own material. Last summer, he participated in the Berklee College of Music’s Five-Week Summer Performance Program and has been accepted as a full time student in this prestigious school this coming fall.


Matt Frey - Composer
Matt Frey (b.1980) is a Brooklyn-based composer of contemporary concert music, both for vocal and instrumental ensembles.  In 2014, his opera The Fox and the Pomegranate, won the Pellicciotti Opera Prize.  Frey's concert music has been performed by groups including the JACK String Quartet, the West Point Woodwind Quintet, the NYU Symphony Orchestra, and Play, the Manhattan Wind Ensemble, Washington Square Winds, and Contemporaneous. Frey is a recent graduate of the Masters program in Music Composition at New York University where he studied with composers Joan La Barbara and Julia Wolfe.  He is also known as a curator and event producer, mainly through his activities as co-founder of the West 4th New Music Collective (W4), a cooperative of NYC-based composers and performers.  As a co-director of W4, Frey recently mounted the co-written oratorio Moby Dick: Extracts on Death and Other Curiosities for a sold-out performance in Brooklyn, co-produced by MATA and Contemporaneous.

Lauren Bryant-Monk - Soprano
Lauren’s love affair with opera started at just seven years old. She holds a BAH in Music and Early Modern Studies from the University of King’s College and Dalhousie, where she studied with Lucy Hayes Davis and Marcia Swanston. Her interest in new music has lead to previous partnerships with young composers and she premiered Michael Robson’s Delirium Amoris for Soprano and Viola in 2012. Recent Performances include Exsultate, Jubilate with the Halifax Music Co-op, Fortuna/Damigella (L’incoronazione di Poppea) with the Centre for Opera Studies in Italy, and Morgana (Alcina) and Euridice (Orfeo ed Euridice- Gluck) in an evening of scenes with the Halifax Summer Opera Festival. In September, Lauren pursues a MMus in Literature and Performance at Western University where she will be studying under John MacMaster.

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Krystyna MacKay - Soprano
Krystyna is an Ontario native with a love of performing. While studying French and economics in university, she spent any spare time she had on stage. She had most recently performed in the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (TAG), A Chorus Line (GCP), the King and I (GCP) and was the musical director of RENT with the Brock Musical Theatre troop. Krystyna currently studies voice privately with Janice Jackson. She is very grateful to be able to participate in this program and is looking forward to learning from the other participants and mentors involved.


Sarah Albu - Soprano
Sarah Albu is a dynamic and versatile vocalist who specializes in the creation, development and performance of contemporary performance at the intersection of music and theatre. Her self-produced solo album, trickpony, was released independently in May 2013 and features the solo vocal works of eight emerging and established Canadian composers. Sarah studied voice, theatre and performance art at Concordia University and the University of Manitoba's Contemporary Opera Lab.  She continues her study of voice under the mentorship of Halifax soprano Janice Jackson.  Recently, she sang the title role in Sir Peter Maxwell Davies' mono-drama Miss Donnithorne's Maggot with Montreal’s acclaimed Ensemble Paramirabo.  2015 projects include: a chamber opera based on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein in collaboration with guitarist Marc-Olivier Lamontagne, video artist Julien Robert and Bradyworks’ Emerging Artist series, as well as 2 roles in the Vocalypse Production Miss Fortune's Portmanteau, an inter-arts project based on the lives of 5 Victorian Women of Halifax.


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Sophie Dupuis - Composer
Sophie Dupuis is a Toro
nto-based composer interested in new music for small and large ensembles and in intermediary arts. Dupuis has composed for a variety of soloists and ensembles including the Toy Piano Composers Ensemble, Architek Percussion, University of Toronto Wind Ensemble, gamUT, Dalhousie Symphony Orchestra and Dalhousie Chamber Choir. In 2012, her work for wind ensemble won the University of Toronto Wind Ensemble composition competition and was premièred the following year. Dupuis has taken part in workshops such as the Orford Creation Workshop, Array Workshop for Young Composers and Opera from Scratch. She had the chance to hear her orchestral compositions read by two major Canadian orchestras, Symphony Nova Scotia and Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Future projects include a commission for Thin Edge New Music Collective and Orchestre Symphonique du Haut-St-Jean. Dupuis is currently doing her doctorate of composition at the University of Toronto.

Fiona Ryan - Composer
Fiona Ryan is an award-winning Toronto-based composer originally from Nova Scotia. In 2013 Fiona participated in the CMC/CLC Emerging Composer Mentorship program, and she has been a member of Toy Piano Composers collective for five years. Fiona completed a Doctorate in composition at the University of Toronto in December 2012, studying composition with Chan Ka Nin, James Rolfe, and Christos Hatzis. Fiona currently works as music director at Church of the Messiah, Toronto. In 2011 Fiona received a Socan Foundation Young Composers Award - Sir Ernest MacMillan Award (third prize) for her Orchestral composition Re:Play. Fiona completed a Bachelor of Music at Dalhousie University in 2002, and a Master of Music in Composition at Newcastle University, UK in 2004. Fiona can be found online at

Jayani Abeysekera - Soprano
Jayani Abeysekera is very excited to participate in Opera From Scratch. She received her M.D. from Dalhousie University and BSc. from Queen’s University. She is in her final year of pediatric residency at Dalhousie and will be starting pediatric cardiology training at the University of Alberta in 2015. During her studies, she continued vocal lessons with Lucy Hayes-Davis, participated in ensembles, and performed featured solos at events and fundraisers. She won the Oratorio, Opera, Senior Voice, and Sheila Piercey Voice Awards at the 2014 Halifax Kiwanis Music Festival, received the Top Senior Vocalist Award in the 2007 Fredericton Kiwanis Music Festival, was a provincial finalist at the 2005 Ontario Music Festival Provincial Competition, and a selected semi-finalist in the nationally televised show “Bathroom Divas”. Previous roles include: Laurie (selections from The Tender Land), Woodstock (You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown), Nightingale of Samarkand (Once Upon a Mattress), and Evillene (The Wiz).


Anna Höstman - Composer
Anna Höstman has had her works performed in Canada, China, the U.S., Mexico, the U.K., Italy and Russia. Her one-act opera on dementia with a libretto by P.K. Page was premiered by the Victoria Symphony and broadcast by CBC radio. From 2005-8, Anna was a resident composer of the Victoria Symphony Orchestra. In 2013, she received the Toronto Emerging Composer’s Award to write a quartet for early instruments based on walking 200 kilometers of the Camino de Santiago in Spain. Anna’s recently- completed DMA in composition focused on the chamber works of experimental Toronto composer, Martin Arnold. Anna studied composition with Gary Kulesha and James Rolfe at the University of Toronto, and Christopher Butterfield and Gordon Mumma at the University of Victoria where she completed her Master’s degree. In 2014, Anna was the recipient of the K.M. Hunter Award for Classical Music.

Karianne Pasma - Soprano
Praised by Opera Canada for her “brilliant and expressive soprano” and “extensive vocal range,” soprano Karianne Pasma is from London, Ontario. Recently, Karianne performed the title role in Alcina with SOLT in Toronto, and toured Northern Ontario with Opera2Go. Previously, Karianne placed 2nd at the NYCO Mozart competition, and performed with the NYCO orchestra in a Mozart gala. Her roles include Angelica in Suor Angelica (COSI), Pamina in Die Zauberflöte (HSOW), the Sandman and Dewfairy in Hänsel und Gretel (Opera NUOVA), and the Sandman in Too Many Sopranos (UWOpera). On the concert stage, Karianne appeared as the soprano soloist in Mozart’s Missa Brevis in B, Haydn’s The Seasons, and Bach’s Magnificat. Karianne has performed in several public masterclasses, working with Carrie-Ann Matheson and Wendy Nielsen. Karianne holds a Master of Music from the University of Western Ontario, where she studied with Jackie Short, and an undergraduate degree from Calvin College. 

Shuying Li - Composer
Composer Shuying Li began her musical education in her native China. Upon completing a double major at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, she won a scholarship to study at the Hartt School in Connecticut. She now attends the University of Michigan, pursuing a master’s degree under the tutelage of Michael Daugherty.  Shuying has received prizes and recognition from, including the International Alliance for Women in Music, the NAfME Composers Competition, the Seattle Symphony’s “Celebrate Asia” Composition Competition, the Melta International Composition Competition, the Florence String Quartet Call for Scores, the Foundation for Modern Music’s International Robert Avalon Composition Competition, the American Prize, the MacDowell Club of Milwaukee Young Composer Competition, the International J. Dorfman Composition Competition, the Chinese New Performing Arts Start Competition, and the Qingdao City Piano Competition, among others. She received an Edward Diemente Award for excellence in composition from the Hartt School Composition Department upon graduation. For more information, please visit