Meet the musicians of the 2024 NACO Mentorship program

A female cellist smiles during an orchestra rehearsal, surrounded by focused fellow musicians.
Cellist Évelyne Méthot is one of several musicians returning to the NACO Mentorship Program in 2024. © Curtis Perry

As the calendar inches closer to April 29, anticipation mounts at the National Arts Centre, where we eagerly await the arrival of a group of 44 outstanding young musicians. From April 29 to May 17, the NAC will be transformed into a hub of musical inspiration and professional growth, as musical talents from Canada and around the world meet to embark on a transformative journey with dedicated mentors in Alexander Shelley and the NAC Orchestra.

The participants

Before the baton is raised and the first note is played, let us introduce you to the remarkable participants and where they’re from or currently based:

Armand Birk (Brentwood Bay, BC, Canada)
Soo Jin Chung (New York, NY, USA)

Ellen Allers (Ottawa, ON, Canada)
Justin Azerrad Kendall (Ottawa, ON, Canada)
Siti Sarah Binti Razlin (Manchester, UK)
Hannah Corbett (Maple, ON, Canada)
Liana Fonseca (Winnipeg, MB, Canada)
Qiyue He (Toronto, ON, Canada)
Sonia Hellenbrand (Montréal, QC, Canada)
Kanon Itoh (Tokyo, Japan)
Katrina Johnson (Calgary, AB, Canada)
Delia Li (Ottawa, ON, Canada)
Maria Mondiru (Laval, QC, Canada)
Patrick Paradine (Ottawa, ON, Canada)
Emma Reader-Lee (Victoria, BC, Canada)

Alexander Beggs (Calgary, AB, Canada)
Julien Haynes (Montréal, QC, Canada)
Emily Kistemaker (Ottawa, ON, Canada)
Ellis Yuen-Rapati (London, ON, Canada)
Sofia Morao (Montréal, QC, Canada)

Amos Friesen (Montréal, QC, Canada)
Justine Lefebvre (Montréal, QC, Canada)
Évelyne Méthot (Montréal, QC, Canada)
Aidan Fleet (Gatineau, QC, Canada)

Double basses 
Gene Waldron III (Cincinnati, OH, USA)
Philippe Chaput (Montréal, QC, Canada)

Catherine Chabot (Montréal, QC, Canada)
Aram Mun (Montréal, QC, Canada)
Félicia Lévesque (Montréal, QC, Canada)

Emily Brownlee (Saint John, NB, Canada)
Luca Ortolani (Ottawa, ON, Canada)

Andrew Neagoe (Richmond Hill, ON, Canada)
Tyler Song (Langley, BC, Canada)

Eric Li (Richmond, BC, Canada)
Maxwell Ostic (Ottawa, ON, Canada)

Jacob Merrill (Norman, OK, USA)
Bethany Vaughan (Evanston, IL, USA)

Rachel Cote (Winnipeg, MB, Canada)
August Haller (New York, NY, USA)
Ho Hin Kwong (Philadelphia, PA, USA)
Laurianne Paradis (Outremont, QC, Canada)

Yori Lang (Montréal, QC, Canada)
Felix Regalado (Minneapolis, MN, USA)

Bass trombone 
Malena Lorenson (Red Deer, AB, Canada)

Brandon Figueroa (Tofino, BC, Canada)

Leigh Wilson (Ayer, MA, USA)

Honoka Shoji (Montréal, QC, Canada)

Naomi Gem Batiancila (Edmonton, AB, Canada)

Orchestra personnel management
Natalina Scarsellone (King City, ON, Canada)

NAC Orchestra Mentorship program

Participants will work side-by-side with NAC Orchestra members, under the guidance by Music Director Alexander Shelley, immersing themselves in three weeks of full-time learning, rehearsing, and performing. Hailing from various corners of the world, these passionate artists share a common goal: to take their orchestral careers to new heights.

Amidst the intensive rehearsals and enriching mentorship experiences, the participants of the Mentorship Program will have the opportunity to showcase their newfound skills in concerts at Southam Hall. We extend a heartfelt invitation to music enthusiasts to witness these remarkable performances, either in person or via live broadcast (May 9):

Montero’s Latin Concerto
May 8-9, Southam Hall

Featuring the Canadian premiere of Gabriela Montero’s Latin Concerto, the program will also include Ravel’s enchanting Daphnis et Chloe. As a special treat, the concert on May 9 will be offered as a free broadcast, allowing music lovers worldwide to experience the magic live and on-demand.

Ray Chen, Mendelssohn & Mahler
May 15-16, Southam Hall

Prepare to be swept away by Mahler’s monumental fifth symphony, a towering masterpiece that explores the depths of human emotion with unparalleled intensity. Acclaimed violinist Ray Chen will join the orchestra for a performance of Mendelssohn’s timeless violin concerto.

But the program offers more than just performance training. It’s a holistic experience designed to nurture every aspect of a musician’s growth. Participants will have the opportunity to attend a myriad of captivating events, ranging from masterclasses to mock auditions, artist talks, and mental health and wellness sessions. The program’s curriculum is thoughtfully curated to provide participants with a comprehensive toolkit for success as a full-time professional musician. When the 2024 Mentorship Program draws to a close in late May, participants will have not only performed in concert with a world-class orchestra, but they will emerge as well-rounded individuals equipped to navigate the complexities of a modern orchestral career.

Applications for the 2025 NACO Mentorship Program will open in fall 2024.

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