Forest City String School

Delight must be the basis and aim of this art.

Faculty & Staff

Violin & Viola

Patrick Burroughs - Founding Music Director

Patrick Burroughs

Patrick Burroughs began his study of the violin at the age of nine in Victoria, BC, and later continued his musical studies at the Banff Centre School of Fine Arts under Clayton Hare, Harmon Haakman and Thomas Rolston. He holds an Honour BA (Music) and a Master’s Degree (Music Education) from the University of Toronto, and attended special classes in the United States with Helen Bacchus de la Fuente, Joseph Gingold and John Kendall, and in France with Alfred Loewenguth.

In 1970, in conjunction with his private teaching studio, he founded the Bach Youth Ensemble for gifted string students in Toronto and, with that orchestra, toured Canada and France. Through his pedagogical and administrative pursuits at the University of Western Ontario, the Banff Centre, the Canadian Festival of Youth Orchestras as well as through numerous other musical events and professional organizations, he has become well known in the fields of music education, orchestral development, and is a strong proponent of the Suzuki Talent Education approach to teaching and learning.

During his twenty year tenure with the Woodstock Strings (1977-1997), he conducted concerts with many of Canada’s leading artists including Shauna Rolston, Marueen Forrester, James Campbell, Mark Dubois, Martin Beaver, Scott St. John, Corey Cerovsek, the Yanchus & Hibbaard Piano Duo, the Toronto Children’s Chorus and the Amabile Youth Singers (London).

In 1979, he was presented with the Woodstock Medallion for his cultural contribution to the Woodstock community, and, in 1982, he was awarded a Citation by the American String Teachers’ Association “in recognition of distinguished leadership and service.” In 1987, he was elected to the Board of Directors of the Rabin International Consortium on String and Orchestra Education. In 2012, Patrick was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal by the Canada Council.

He is the founding President and Music Director of the Forest City School for Talent Education (since 1987), a private music performance school (violin, viola, cello, harp and guitar) based on the Suzuki pedagogical approach to teaching and learning. Students from this program have distinguished themselves at many levels in Conservatory examination, music festivals, and the Canadian Music Competition.

Professor Emeritus, University of Western Ontario, Patrick Burroughs is well known among teachers for his work in education, in the private studio, as a festival adjudicator, examiner, and for his workshop presentations. Professor Burroughs resides in London, Ontario, with Bonnie, his wife, with family nearby.

Heather Braden

Heather Braden

Despite once quitting the violin at the age of 4, Heather Braden has enjoyed a rewarding teaching and performing career that began in Calgary, Alberta over 20 years ago. She picked up the violin again at age 5 and has never looked back. Since then, she has graduated from Mount Royal College with a Diploma in Music Performance and later from the University of Western Ontario with both a Bachelor of Music and a Bachelor of Education.

Heather believes strongly in the Suzuki method and has completed numerous training courses with the Suzuki Association of the Americas. For the past two summers, she was on the faculty for the Southwestern Ontario Suzuki Institute in Waterloo. Heather has taught for the London Suzuki Parents’ Association as well as the Children’s Talent Education Centre and the Montessori School. In 1999 she found her niche teaching for the Forest City School for Talent Education.

Although Heather teaches both violin and viola, she is found most frequently performing on the viola. Over the years, she has played with many groups including Orchestra London Canada, the London Concert Players and her string trio, Festivo Strings.

Currently with a studio of over 30 students, Heather has found her passion in teaching music. In working to develop the whole person beyond her studio, she has become certified in Reiki, Healing Touch and Yoga. In her process of living, loving and learning, you may also find her snuggling with her two black cats, Shadow and Sylvester.

Heather Brandon-De Souza

Heather Brandon-De Souza

Heather Brandon-De Souza grew up in a Suzuki family with a piano teacher mom, fiddling and performing countless Bach Doubles with her siblings. She studied violin at Western with Dr. Robert Skelton and voice with Alvin Reimer. After completing a BMus (Honors Performance, Voice), Heather obtained a BEd in the Artist in the Community Education program at Queen's University, with a focus on arts education opportunities beyond the traditional classroom setting.

She spent two years teaching elementary school music in London, England before relocating to Chicago. In Chicago, Heather appeared onstage with companies such as Haymarket Opera Company, Light Opera Works, and Vox3 Vocal Collective. She taught elementary school music, and ran a full studio of private violin, voice, and piano students. Now back in London, Ontario with her family, she is singing with Chor Amica and musical directing for Original Kids Theatre Company.

Arianna Carlucci

Arianna Carluccis

Arianna Carlucci has a Bachelor of Music with Honors in Music Education from the University of Western Ontario.

Her focus was on the violin, and she performed in the UWO Symphony Orchestra as well as the Early Music Studio Ensemble. She participated in the Teaching the Violin to Children workshop at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, led by notable pedagogues Mimi Zweig and Darcy Drexler, and has both observed and participated in Music Together classes, a music and movement program for young children.

Arianna taught at Forest City Talent Education for the past year, working alongside Mary Lou Hunter in the Pre-Twinkle and Twinkle classes, which was a natural fit considering her own musical upbringing was in the Suzuki Method.

She also teaches private students of various ages and has a passion for teaching young children. Arianna assists with and leads musical activities at the Preschool of the Arts, and has volunteered in the public elementary school system doing the same. She believes that every child is capable of learning music, and loves to see her students reap the vast benefits of doing so.

Nic Carlucci

Nic Carlucci

Nic Carlucci is a freelance violinist and violin instructor throughout South-Western Ontario. As a passionate teacher, he works as a primary violin instructor at the Wilfrid Laurier University String Acadamy, and he has spent several years building his private violin studio, working with students of all ages and abilities. He has also taught with and built curriculum for Forest City Talent Education, El Sistema South London, and El Sistema Aeolian. As an advocate for music in the community, Carlucci has coached the violins of the London Youth Symphony, and adjudicated for the Rotary Club Music Festival and Magisterra Soloists Young Performer’s Award.

A keen interest in chamber music has led him across North America and parts of the Southern Hemisphere in both his studies and as a performer. Carlucci frequently performs with several ensembles throughout the province, most notably Magisterra Soloists International Chamber Players (of which he is also a core member of the administrative team), London Symphonia, and Quartet di Altezza. He has participated in three tours with Magisterra Soloists, which have included destinations within Ontario, Quebec, and Brazil.

His education includes a master’s degree in Violin Performance and Literature with Professor Annette-Barbara Vogel from The University of Western Ontario, a Chamber Music Diploma with Professor Jerzy Kaplanek and the Penderecki String Quartet from Wilfrid Laurier University, and an undergraduate degree in Music Education with Instructor Mel Martin from The University of Western Ontario.

Jordan Clayton

Jordan Clayton

Jordan Clayton is a young, passionate violinist and violin teacher based in London, ON, whose involvement in music education extends already over 15 years.

Jordan completed his Honors Bachelor of Music Degree in Violin Performance at Western University in 2010 under acclaimed violinist, Prof. Annette-Barbara Vogel. Jordan has enjoyed the opportunity to study chamber music with Prof. Tom Wiebe, Scott St. John, and members of the Quatuor Arthur Leblanc, among others.

As a violin teacher, Jordan finds the work of building students’ musical instincts and technical skills immensely fulfilling. While he employs the Mother Tongue philosophies of Dr. Suzuki, he also finds rich inspiration in the methods of Létourneau, Flesch, Sevcik, Schradiek, Mazas, Wohlfahrt and others.

In 2012, Jordan received his Bachelor of Education degree from the University of Ottawa. In 2015, after working outside of the university walls, Jordan returned to London to study with his mentor as a graduate student. In collaboration with Prof. Vogel, Jordan co-founded the exciting new Canadian string ensemble, Magisterra Soloists, for which he is now a core musician and the Educational Coordinator. Jordan is dedicated to developing and transmitting the art of classical music through both his performing and teaching. Alongside his work as a private teacher, Jordan is on faculty at the Forest City School for Talent Education and with El Sistema South London. Jordan’s enthusiasm for arts and culture goes far beyond the concert hall. He loves to cook and discover new foods, and delights in good meals with good friends. He is bilingual and is actively involved in the French Canadian community. At 6’6’’, Jordan prides himself on being one of Canada’s tallest violinists!

Leah Grandmont

Leah Grandmont

Leah began studying the violin with Professor Patrick Burroughs at age 3 and graduated from Wilfrid Laurier University (WLU) with a Bachelor of Music – Honours Performance (Violin) in 2018 from the studio of Dr. Jeremy Bell.

Leah was a member of the National Youth Orchestra of Canada in 2017 for their Canada 150 celebration tour and in 2018’s European tour which included Canada, Germany and Scotland. Her stage credits as a violinist, singer and actress include: Women of Country (Victoria Playhouse Petrolia 2015 (VPP)), The VPP Jamboree (2014, 2015), Fiddler on the Loose 2 (VPP 2014), Mark Payne’s East Coast Kitchen Party (VPP 2018) and Ghost (Drayton Entertainment – St. Jacobs 2018).

She will be on stage in Vigilante at the Grand Theatre in February 2019. As a member of the Stacey Kay band, Leah appeared on America’s Got Talent in Los Angeles and New York (2015). She has been a featured soloist with the Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber Orchestra, London Community Orchestra and the London Youth Symphony and has performed with London Symphonia in several concerts. She attended the FCTE program for 14 years.

Jesse Grandmont

Jesse Grandmont

Jesse has been playing the violin since the age of 3 and has been fiddling around ever since. After completing his Bachelor’s degree in music at Western University, Jesse has become an avid performer in the London area, bowing his way through many genres from classical to country, and jazz to rock. Jesse has been a faculty member at the Forest City School For Talent Education since 2008 and also leads string workshops, orchestral clinics and improvisation training sessions in schools and studios across Ontario.

Jesse’s performances have taken him across Canada and internationally, playing with artists such as Ben Vereen, Jann Arden, Ben Harper, Barrage, David Rogers, Eric Ethridge and Jaydee Bixby. Jesse is currently an active member of the Stacey Kay Band with whom he performed on the 2015 season of America's Got Talent. Also an avid theatre performer, Jesse has played for many of Canada’s top theatre companies including The Stratford Festival, Rainbow Stage, Drayton Entertainment, The Grand Theatre and as a recurring cast member at the Victoria Playhouse Petrolia where has performed in over 30 productions as a violinist, singer, actor and dancer.

Anita Louwerse

Anita Louwerse

Violinist and music teacher Anita Louwerse joined the faculty at Forest City Talent Education in 2009 shortly after her family moved to London. She is a creative and passionate teacher who loves to share her joy of playing the violin.

As a child Mrs. Louwerse began her violin studies in the Suzuki Method and progressed into a more traditional approach as she prepared for University. In 2001 she graduated from Sir Wilfred Laurier University with a BA in Honours Performance. She was a student of Dr. Jeremy Bell and the Pendereki String Quartet. She also studied with Jamie Parker of the Gryphon Trio, the Cavani String Quartet and the Ying String Quartet. Mrs. Louwerse is also a trained soprano and studied voice with Patricia Pascoe while at Laurier.

While living in Vancouver, she played with the Burnaby Symphony Orchestra as well as the Vancouver Philharmonic Orchestra. In Montreal, she played with the Musicians of the World symphony Orchestra and co-founded the Arco con Alito ensemble. Here in London, Mrs. Louwerse enjoys being a community musician, a private teacher and a stay at home Mom.

Katie McBean

Katie McBean

Katie McBean began studying the viola at age 14 in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. In her decade as a violist, she has performed across the country excelling in both music festivals and competitions, including the NAC Young Artists program, Scotiafest, Northern Lights Bluegrass Festival, London Kiwanis Rosebowl, LMSF, Saskatchewan Provincial Music Festival, and the National CMFC Festival.

In addition to her solo career, Katie is passionate about chamber and orchestral performance. She attended the National Youth Orchestra for three consecutive summers, and has been employed as a violist for the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra London, and WePlayOn. She also performs with the new Rebel Heart Collective and subs with the Magisterra Soloists, both chamber ensembles based in London Ontario.

Katie is finishing her fourth and final year of a concurrent degree at the University of Western Ontario in French Literature and Music Education with Sharon Wei. She hopes to attend teachers college next year to continue her passion of teaching.

Madeline Speller

Madeline Speller

Madeline began playing the violin at the age of 3 and has had the pleasure of playing in ensembles and orchestras across Canada, from BC to Newfoundland, as well as in Bulgaria, Italy, and Germany. She has been a section leader of many orchestras, most notably as the Principal Second violin of the German-Scandinavian Youth Orchestra in Berlin, Germany, and Concertmaster of Mediterranean Opera Orchestra in Sicily, Italy. Currently, she is the Principal Second violin of the Stratford Symphony Orchestra for her second season.

Madeline holds a Bachelors Degree in Violin Performance with a minor in Psychology and a diploma in Chamber Music Performance from Wilfrid Laurier University, studying with the Penderecki String Quartet. She is in the process of finishing her Masters of Violin Performance and Literature at Western University. As a teacher she is the director and curriculum developer of the violin program at Arts 4 All Kids, the senior and intermediate instructor at El Sistema South London, and the Twinkle and Suzuki Book 1 teacher at the Forest City School for Talent Education. She and her partner have adopted and co-parent two rabbits and a cat, and she enjoys finding great cafes in any city to which violin has brought her.

Mikela Witjes

Mikela Witjes

Emerging Canadian violinist Mikela Witjes hails from Kingston, Ontario. She holds a Bachelor of Music and Masters Degree in Violin Performance from Western University where she studied with Prof. Annette-Barbara Vogel. A freelance violinist and teacher, Mikela has performed in a variety of orchestral and chamber ensembles across Southwestern Ontario on both modern and baroque violin. She has twice toured the country with the National Youth Orchestra and has attended summer music festivals including Orford Arts Academy, Scotia Music Festival and Domaine Forget.

She is a founding member of local chamber ensemble Magisterra Soloists both as a violinist and administrative coordinator. Mikela is passionate about teaching and keeps an active private studio while continuing to perform regularly.

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