David Dacks, Co-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.
Charity Chan is the Performing Arts Manager at the Aga Khan Museum. Her professional experience includes roles as a producer, presenter and artist within the performing arts, with an emphasis on music and multidisciplinary collaborations, sound art, and multimedia projects. She has worked across a range of genres, disciplines and cultures, with diverse artists and organizations, primarily in Canada, the United States, Europe and Latin America. In Toronto, she has worked with organizations such as Pride Toronto, Yonge-Dundas Square and the Ontario Science Centre. Prior to Toronto, Charity worked in Montreal and the United States, where she maintained an active career as a producer and composer/performer, working with organizations such as Suoni per il Popolo, Productions SuperMusique, McGill University, Wilfrid Laurier University and Princeton University. Her artistic collaborations have included work with artists such as Fred Frith, Roscoe Mitchell, Elliott Sharpe, Pauline Oliveros, and Frank Gratkowski; her music is found on Innova Records, Tzadik, Ambiances Magnetiques and Carrier Records. She has conducted residencies at the Onassis Centre in Greece, as well as at the Reykjavik Art Museum (Hafnarhus), and has been a presenter/lecturer at, among others, the Guelph Jazz Festival, the University of British Columbia, and Northwestern University.
In a world where almost everything — people, music, cultures — get labelled and slotted into simple categories, Cris Derksen represents a challenge. Originally from Northern Alberta she comes from a line of chiefs from NorthTall Cree Reserve on her father’s side and a line of strong Mennonite homesteaders on her mother’s. Juno nominated classically trained cellist and composer braids the traditional and contemporary, weaving her classical background and her Indigenous ancestry together with new school electronics to create genre-defying music. Derksen has performed Nationally and Internationally with some of Canada’s Finest Including; Tanya Tagaq, Buffy Sainte Marie, and Naomi Klien, to name a few.
Tracy Jenkins is co-artistic and executive director of Lula Music and Centre which presents year-round jazz, salsa and global music series, the annual Lulaworld festival and many cultural workshops for youth. While most of these activities take place at the Toronto venue Lula Lounge, Tracy oversees many strategic partnerships that allow LMAC to expand its reach, regionally and nationally. Tracy’s recent projects have included Canada’s first Women in Percussion festival, the development of the world/Latin music label and publishing company Lulaworld records and a series of workshops and panels on diversity in the music industry (spearheaded by Polyphonic Ground). Tracy serves on the board of directors for Music Canada Live, the Dundas West BIA and the Toronto Music Advisory Council. She is co-chair of the MCL’s Regional Advisory Committee on venue sustainability.
Etmet Musa aka Ayo Leilani is a queer, Ethiopian/Eritrean, singer/songwriter, the Co-Founder and Director of Toronto based music and multi media collective/ label 88 Days Of Fortune, a member of feminist based electro dub hop group, Above Top Secret (fka Abstract Random) and a solo artist under the name Witch Prophet. As the Co Founder and Director of 88 Days Of Fortune she has helped organize, host and sustain an artistically diverse, bimonthly showcase of local and international talent, financed music videos and albums, and provided a platform for musicians and artists to showcase their talents since 2009. As an artist, she has shared the stage with and opened for acts like: Diana King, Shad, Njena Reddd Foxxx, Rae Spoon, Zaki Ibrahim, Lido Pimienta, Kae Sun, TheeSatisfaction, Shabazz Palaces, LAL, Lucas Silveira and Michie Mee. Toured Europe twice; playing shows in Paris, Amsterdam, London and Berlin, as well as performed at music festivals like: Black Women Rock, Manifesto, Wavelength, Pride Toronto, Soul Of Brooklyn, Montreal Jazz Festival, Ottawa Capital Pride, Allied Media Conference, Afro Punk, CMW, Inside Out, Under The Volcano and International Women’s Fest. Leilani has independently released two mix tapes “Bonjour” 2009 and “Ayo x Exile” 2010. Along with a handful of singles from 2013-2015. She also has written songs and sang on two Abstract Random albums “Disrupt Dis Reality Bluuuurd’ 2010 and “Siren Songs” 2012 and has additional vocals on the Shad album “Flying Colours” 2013. Currently, her band Above Top Secret released their self titled album via Daps Records + 88 Days Of Fortune with distribution through Outside Music in July of 2016. Her solo projects “H.P.B” and “The Golden Octave” as Witch Prophet, are due for release fall of 2016 + Spring of 2017.
From his beginnings as a boy treble with Derek Holman, to Toronto Mendelssohn Youth Choir under Robert Cooper, Mitchell Pady went on to study voice and composition at Western University, and has had the great fortune to work with many other visionary choral conductors, including Sir David Willcocks, Helmuth Rilling, Paul Hillier, Tonu Kaljuste and Kaspars Putnins. As a conductor, he has worked with orchestras and choirs across Canada and is in demand as a festival adjudicator and clinician. Mitchell is the artistic director of both The Cellar Singers and Oriana Women’s Choir, and since 2004, has been the choral director for the Interprovincial Music Camp. Since its inauguration in spring 2017, Mitchell has been the music director and conductor of Acquired Taste, a project-based amateur choir of professional instrumentalists coordinated by Pocket Concerts. In their 2017-2018 season, Mitchell was a guest conductor for the Elmer Iseler Singers, leading the women at their Toronto Symphony Orchestra appearance in Holst’s The Planets, the EIS series concert featuring David Lang’s The Little Match Girl Passion and Gabriel Fauré’s Requiem, as well as conducting the reprisals of David Lang's The Little Match Girl Passion at the Music and Beyond Festival in Ottawa and The Festival of the Sound in Parry Sound. Mitchell began working with the National Youth Orchestra of Canada in their most recent season as the choral director, co-ordinating the commissions and coaching the young musicians to acclaimed performances of two new works by Marie-Claire Saindon and Matthew Emery. He sings professionally with the Elmer Iseler Singers under Lydia Adams, and Choir 21 with David Fallis, and has been featured as a pops soloist under the baton of Howard Cable, and as a jazz singer across Toronto. Mitchell has recorded for Naxos, Perimeter Records and Centrediscs.