RCM ARCT Performance in Piano and Violin, and Piano Licentiate of London (England) College of Music; B.Mus. and MMus in Trumpet Performance, Boston University.
During high school, Dr. Neal Andrews earned ARCT diplomas in both piano and violin from the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto as well as the Piano Licentiate of the London (England) College of Music. These achievements combined with his trumpet skills led his piano teacher (the renowned Edward Parker) to dub him the future “one-man conservatory.”
While earning both the master and doctoral degrees at Boston University, Neal performed on numerous occasions at Boston’s Symphony Hall as 1st trumpet with the BU Symphony Orchestra. At that venue, a reviewer noted Neal’s performance to “merit special commendation.” Also during his time in Boston, Neal served as teaching assistant at the Boston University Tanglewood Institute.
Dr. Andrews’ abilities on trumpet have received national recognition in both Canada and the United States. In Canada, these were recognized early with a CBC Galaxie Rising Star award (2003) as “Best Classical Musician Under 16.” In addition, Neal twice represented his home province of BC at the National Music Festival (FCMF).
In the United States, Neal’s university ensembles were repeatedly selected to participate in the U.S. National Trumpet Competition, most notably in 2009 when his trumpet ensemble placed 3rd nationally. More recently, Terry Everson, professor of trumpet at BU, recommended Neal to perform a series of concerts with the Rodney Marsalis Philadelphia Big Brass.Neal was a founding member of the Andromeda Quintet, a professional brass quintet in Boston. He also played soprano cornet for 5 years with the New England Brass Band under the direction of the composer/arranger Stephen Bulla whose recommendation led Neal to join Toronto’s Weston Silver Band.
Neal has been teaching piano, violin and trumpet for many years and is very excited to be a part of our team of teachers at CMC.
2019 Stingray Rising Star Award recipient and 2020 International Clarinetist Corona Competition first prize winner Virginia MacDonald has established herself as a respected and sought after musician in the Canadian jazz scene. Virginia has worked extensively as a leader and side woman at several venues across Toronto including Koerner Hall, The Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, The Jazz Bistro, and The Rex Hotel. She has performed in Canadian and International jazz festivals including The Cambridge Jazz Festival, the Jaipur Jazz & Blues Festival, the TD Toronto Jazz Festival, the TD Markham Jazz Festival and the Cape Breton Jazz Festival.
Virginia has had the opportunity to work internationally in the United States, India, and Europe. Recently, Virginia appeared on Juno Award-winning saxophonist Kirk MacDonald's album "Generations" alongside the great Harold Mabern. Known for her lyrical and soulful clarinet playing, Virginia has been described as a "powerful new voice in the Canadian scene" by Juno Award-winning bassist Mike Downes. Virginia is a proud Rovner products ambassador.
In addition to her busy performance schedule, Virginia is an in-demand educator and has given masterclasses at McGill University, the Global Music Institute, and the True School of Music. Virginia is a faculty member at the Bob Mover Academy of Music. Virginia is so happy to be part of the CMC team, where she teaches clarinet and saxophone!