Pianist Patricia Tao, founding member of the Guild Trio for ten years, leads an active career as performer, teacher, and concert organizer. As pianist of the prizewinning Guild Trio, she performed throughout the United States and Europe and was awarded the position of Trio-in-Residence at the Tanglewood Music Centre. As a soloist, Dr. Tao toured Europe and the United States as an Artistic Ambassador under the auspices of the USIA and for Columbia Artist’s Community Concerts series.
She has commissioned and premiered numerous works, including William Bolcom’s Spring Trio, and Sheila Silver’s To the Spirit Unconquered, which she recorded on the CRI label. She has also recorded on the Centaur and Con Brio labels. Dr. Tao received her undergraduate education at Harvard University, a master’s degree with distinction from Indiana University and her doctorate from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, where her principal teachers were Leonard Shure, Gyorgy Sebok and Gilbert Kalish. She has given master classes at numerous schools in North America, Europe and China and has held performance residencies in East Hampton, NY, Stony Brook University, and the University of Virginia. She is Professor of Music at the University of Alberta, where she teaches piano and chamber music.
Hailed as a “young musician with a bright future,” "a Rockstar of the Cello," and noted for his “spirited and fiery performances,” Rafael Hoekman grew up in St. John’s, Newfoundland. His principal teachers were Theo Weber, Yuli Turovsky and Shauna Rolston.
As a young soloist, Rafael first attracted attention by winning First Prize at the Orford International Competition. He has since appeared as soloist with the Edmonton Symphony, I Musici de Montreal, the Calgary Philharmonic, the Quebec Symphony, the Newfoundland Symphony, Sinfonia Toronto, the University of Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Etobicoke Philharmonic, the Sudbury Symphony, and the Red Deer Symphony. As a chamber musician and founding member of the Tokai String Quartet, Rafael won Fourth Prize in the Banff International String Quartet Competition. He has been heard all across Canada on CBC and on tours for Jeunesses Musicales and Debut Atlantic. He counts as his chamber music partners James Ehnes, Alexander Tselyakov, Anton Kuerti, and the St. Lawrence String Quartet.
Prior to joining the Edmonton Symphony as Principal Cello in 2015, Rafael was a member of several Canadian Orchestras, and has served as Principal Cello of the Colorado Music Festival Orchestra. Rafael is a passionate teacher and enjoys working with aspiring cellists as a faculty member at the University of Alberta. Rafael lives in Edmonton with his wife, cellist Meran Currie-Roberts (also of the ESO), and their two children, Sam and Anastasia.
Canadian violinist Robert Uchida has been hailed for his “ravishing sound, eloquence and hypnotic intensity” (Strings Magazine).
Robert joined the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra as Concertmaster in 2013, having previously held the same position with Symphony Nova Scotia for seven years. Robert was also invited to perform as Associate Concertmaster of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra in the 2005–2006 season. Engagements as a guest leader have included projects with the Netherlands Radio Chamber Philharmonic, Royal Flemish Philharmonic and the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.
Robert’s CD recordings include Requiem 21.5: Violin Concerto by Tim Brady for CentreDiscs, which won Classical Recording of the Year at the ECMAs, and the Sonata for Unaccompanied Violin by Andrew Violette for Innova Records.
A passionate teacher, Robert serves on the faculty at the University of Alberta and has held teaching positions at Acadia University, the Manhattan School of Music and the National Arts Centre of Canada’s Young Artists Program. His students have continued their studies at the Juilliard School, Manhattan School of Music and Guildhall School in London, and perform in ensembles in North America and Europe.
Robert holds a Master’s Degree in Violin Performance from the Manhattan School of Music in New York and a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Ottawa. His teachers have included Patinka Kopec, Heratch Manoukian, David Stewart and Pinchas Zukerman.
Robert loves volunteering and is honoured to have been inducted into the Ronald McDonald House’s Character Club in Edmonton. He performs on a rare 1770 Guadagnini violin with Vision Solo Titanium strings by Thomastik-Infeld Vienna.