Music Committee

David Dacks (Chair), is a Toronto-based music advocate who constantly champions innovative forms of audio expression and its social impacts. He became Artistic Director of the Music Gallery in January 2012 and has since produced four seasons of acclaimed, genre-bending programming. Prior to joining the Music Gallery, David was the editor of Exclaim Magazine’s coverage of jazz, R&B, reggae, experimental music, and global grooves. His work has also appeared in the Grid, CBC Music, Weird Canada, BlogTO, Paste and Musicworks. His journalism expertise has been acknowledged with selections to both Juno Award and Polaris Music Prize juries. David was a Grand Juror for the Polaris Prize in 2011. He was a programmer and host at University of Toronto radio station CIUT-FM for 25 years and produced four documentaries for CBC Radio. David has lectured at the University of Toronto and the International Academy of Art And Design.

Kathleen Allan is the Artistic Director and Conductor of the Amadeus Choir of Greater Toronto, and Artistic Director of Canzona, Winnipeg’s professional Baroque choir.  Originally from St. John’s, NL, Ms. Allan is in high demand as a conductor, com​poser and clinician and is equally comfortable working in early, contemporary, and symphonic repertoire. Recent guest conducting engagements include the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Victoria Symphony, Regina Symphony Orchestra, Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra, Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, and Early Music Vancouver. In 2015, Ms. Allan made her Asian debut conducting Handel’s Messiah and Bach’s Christmas Oratorio in Japan, and in 2016, she was the recipient of the Sir Ernest MacMillan Prize in Choral Conducting. She is a founding co-Artistic Director of Arkora, an electric vocal chamber consort dedicated to blurring lines between the music of our time and masterworks from the ancient repertoire. A passionate educator, she was a Visiting Professor of Conducting at Western University from 2019-2021 and now serves on the music faculty at the University of Toronto where she teaches conducting to undergraduate and graduate students. Ms. Allan’s compositions have been commissioned, performed and recorded by ensembles throughout the Americas and Europe and have been featured at two World Symposiums on Choral Music. Her music is published by Boosey and Hawkes, Cypress Choral Music, and she is a MusicSpoke composer. Also an accomplished soprano, she has appeared as a soloist with the National Broadcast Orchestra, Berkshire Choral Festival, and the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. In addition to freelancing regularly in Canada and the US, she has performed with the Vancouver Chamber Choir, the Arnold Schoenberg Chor (Vienna), Skylark Vocal Ensemble (Atlanta), and the Yale Schola Cantorum. She holds a degree in composition from the University of British Columbia and a master’s degree in conducting from Yale University. 

Tanya Charles Iveniuk. A native of Hamilton, Ontario, with roots in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, violinist Tanya Charles Iveniuk has performed across North and South America, and the Caribbean. Recipient of the Women’s Art Associate of Canada – Luella McCleary Award, the Gabriella Dory Prize in Music, and the Hamilton Black History Council’s John C Holland Award, Tanya received a Bachelor of Music (Violin Performance) from the University of Toronto, and an Artist Diploma (Orchestral Performance) from the Glenn Gould School.  Currently, she is a violinist with Ensemble du Monde (Guadeloupe), Toronto Mozart Players, Sinfonia Toronto, and the Odin Quartet.  Her former posts include concertmaster and soloist with the Colour of Music Festival Orchestra (COMF) and the COMF Virtuosi (SC, USA).  Outside of the classical genre, Tanya enjoys playing in musical theatre productions for companies such as Mirvish Productions and The Shaw Festival Theatre.  She also is a violinist with Toronto-based mariachi band, Viva Mexico Mariachi, and has recorded and performed alongside many mainstream artists of various genres such as David Usher, Shad, K-Os, the Transiberian Orchestra and Stevie Wonder.  Tanya is a dedicated educator, and an in-demand string adjudicator and clinician abroad as well as in Ontario.  She is on the Education Outreach Team for Ensemble du Monde in Guadeloupe and has also been an instructor in Ajijic, Jalisco, Mexico for the Centro Regional de Estudios Musicales program and in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines for the White Chapel Music Studio.  Tanya is a Sessional Lecturer at the University of Toronto-Faculty of Music in the Education department and is also on faculty at two music schools that service the youth-in-need from high-priority areas of the City of Toronto:  The Regent Park School of Music and Axis Music.

Menon Dwarka. Born in Guyana, Menon Dwarka returned to Canada after almost 20 years in New York City, serving as Music Program Director for the 92nd Street Y, Harlem School of the Arts and Greenwich House. Trained as a composer, Menon has expanded his activities to include advocacy work on behalf of the arts and culture since his return to Toronto in 2013. Menon has served as: Board Member of the Canadian Opera Company, as well as chair of the COC's EDI committee; Member of City of Toronto’s Economic Development and Culture Thought Leader Panel; Support Lead for the Metcalf Foundation’s Creative Strategies Incubator; Member of the inaugural cohort of the Banff/Toronto Arts Council Cultural Leaders Lab. Menon has also led several Canadian organizations including 918 Bathurst, Arts Etobicoke and Soundstreams.

Marion Newman. Kwagiulth and Stó:lo First Nations, English, Irish and Scottish mezzo-soprano Marion Newman "sings with rich, opulent tone, and her  delivery pulses with the multiple meanings of her duplicitous existence." (Opera News) and she has been noted as "a show stealer" (BBC Music Magazine). Highlights of Marion's recent seasons include Dr. Wilson in Missing, by Brian Current and Marie Clements, and the lead role of Noodin-Kwe in the world premiere run of Giiwedin, a First Nations opera by Spy Dénommé-Welch and Catherine Magowan. In a recital for the Women's Musical Club of Toronto, Marion sang the world premiere of Bigiiwe, by Canadian Ojibway/Odawa composer Barbara Croall. International appearances include performances  in the Czech Republic and Germany as Don Ramiro in Mozart's Die Gärtnerin Aus Liebe and Ericlea in Il Ritorno di Ulisse and a tour in Lithuania with the Ergo Ensemble. As part of the Banff Centre new music programme, she toured  France with Richard Dubelski's What's Goin' On. On the concert stage, Marion has performed with the Victoria Symphony, Vancouver Symphony, National Ballet of Canada, Portland Baroque  Orchestra, CapriCCio Vocal Ensemble, The Elmer Iseler Singers, San Francisco Conservatory Orchestra, Kingston Symphony, Symphony Nova Scotia, Elora Festival Singers and the St Lawrence Choir. Marion's discography includes The Lesson of Da Ji, with Marion in the title role. Released in 2016, this disc won Critics Choice  in Opera News. Other recordings include five discs with the Aradia Ensemble for Naxos: Polly by Samuel Arnold, Sacred Music by Vivaldi, and many more. Marion made her orchestral debut at the age of sixteen with the Victoria Symphony, not as a singer, but as a pianist, performing Mozart's Piano  Concerto K. 488 in A Major. She holds a Bachelor of Music in piano performance from the University of Victoria and a Master of Music with Distinction in vocal performance from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

Shakura S’Aida. You may have spotted Shakura S’Aida performing in Dubai, Australia, Rwanda, Europe or Russia, in her 4 woman tribute to Nina Simone, The Nina Project or acting in TV shows like TITAN’S, Schitt’s Creek or Batwoman. This versatile vocalist and consummate entertainer has been consistently thrilling audiences with her powerful pipes for years and has blown audiences away with her scorching vocal style, uncanny ability to deliver powerful original songs and to get deep into the guts of the most venerable standard.  As a veteran of the international music scene, she’s shared the stage with musicians like Jimmy Smith, Lee Oskar (WAR), and Keb Mo’ and is also an award winning solo artist. After a 10 year hiatus, Shakura is back in the studio; this time with co-producers Donna Grantis (Prince/3rd Eye Girl), Keb’ Mo’ and Roger Costa (Jeff Healey). Whether she’s speaking Swiss-German, French or English, Shakura instantly connects with her audience — and at the same time richly demonstrates the multiculturalism that Canada prides itself on.