Suzuki Music Faculty

SuzukiMusic faculty members are professional musicians and music educators who have received specialized training at universities and Suzuki institutes across Canada and the United States. They bring many years of teaching and performing experience to the school. For address and availability information, visit the SuzukiMusic Faculty Directory.


Brandon Wilkie


Cellist Brandon Wilkie grew up in Pembroke, Ontario where he began playing cello at the age of 13. After high school, Brandon had the opportunity to study with several teachers including Paul Marleyn at the University of Ottawa and Shauna Rolston at the University of Toronto. Before moving to Ottawa, Brandon was based in Toronto, where in addition to working as a performer and teacher, he was also the cellist of the Arkadas String Quartet. As a member of the Arkadas, Brandon had the opportunity to perform at music festivals in Banff and San Francisco as well as throughout Ontario. Brandon’s teaching responsibilities in Toronto included a small number of private students and a two year post as Assistant Music Teacher at Fieldstone Day School, where he led young strings students in group classes.

Brandon considers it a great privilege to be a faculty member of SuzukiMusic where he is able to share his love for music with talented young students.

Margaret Tobolowska


Margaret Tobolowska is a dynamic, versatile, and multi-faceted artist. Not only does she perform as a solo recitalist and chamber musician, Margaret is passionate about teaching and working with cellists of all ages, at all stages. Born in Toronto, Margaret began playing the cello at the age of twelve and was admitted to the University of Toronto when she was sixteen. Margaret received her Bachelor of Music in Performance in 1992 and continued, on full scholarship at the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. She is a recipient of many prizes and scholarships, including three consecutive Canada Council Arts Grants to continue her studies abroad. Following her graduation from the Curtis Institute of Music in 1994 with an Artist Diploma, she immediately won a position with the Vancouver Symphony. In January 1999 she became a member of the National Arts Center Orchestra.
She has performed at many internationally prestigious Chamber Festivals in North America and Europe, including: the Ravinia Festival in Chicago, the Verbier Festival in Switzerland, the Schleswig-Holstein Festival in Germany, Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen, Le Domaine Forget in Quebec, the Festival of the Sound in Parry Sound, Ontario, the Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival, the Lanaudiere Festival, and the McGill Chamber Orchestra series.
Margaret is also the creator of two storytelling CD’s for young children. ‘A Cello for Chelsea’ and ‘Zara the Maggini’ are two musical stories that she arranged, composed and authored, specifically designed to inspire and entertain children. They have been greeted with much applause from audiences and critics.
‘Cellist captivates young, young at heart – Tobolowska tells a tale of girl whose life changes after she discovers the cello. Tobolowska provides the narration along with some luscious cello playing, and the enterprise is a real charmer…’ Ottawa Citizen.
Margaret has been captivated by the philosophy and writings of Dr. Shinichi Suzuki and firmly believes that ‘Every Child Can’. She completed her Suzuki Book One training at the Suzuki Institute at PhoenixPhest 2010 with the extraordinary cello pedagogue Dr. Tanya Carey. Margaret joined the National Capital Suzuki School of Music in the fall of 2010 and is very excited to be sharing all her experience and knowledge with her students. As teaching and children are at the heart of Margaret’s work, she co-founded and is the Artistic Director of The Leading Note Foundation, which provides music opportunities to children who would otherwise not have the opportunity. This El Sistema inspired program has over 100 children singing and playing their hearts out through the OrKidstra and KidSingers youth music programs. In her own words: ‘Our program is far more than a music program; it is a way to reach out to these children and give them a common language (our children speak 24 different languages!) that breaks down barriers and grows an empathetic and caring community. Our program is not only about musical excellence, it is about excellence in teamwork, excellence in caring, and excellence of the heart’ Margaret is passionate about teaching and has given masterclasses in Canada, the United States, and Mexico. She has taught at the University of Ottawa and at the National Arts Center’s Summer Music Institute. Visit for more information and to hear Margaret play.



Tamara Zea


Born in Serbia, Tamara came to Canada in 2002 and has since lived in Ottawa, Ontario. She started playing flute at 12 and has gained experience in performing on many different occasions. Tamara has been a part of the Ottawa Serbian Theatre since 2005 which has allowed her to grow her versatility as a performer through musical theatre as well as grow her passion for music, dance and art. Teaching has also always been a part of her passion and she has gained experience teaching children of all ages through the years.

Tamara is ECC trained and has taken her Suzuki training with Kelly Williamson and David Gerry at the Great Lakes Suzuki Flute and Recorder Institute.

She has been a Suzuki musicianship teacher since January 2014 and flute teacher since 2015. She is excited to share her love of music with her students as well as grow her own experience as a teacher and performer.

Tamara’s Suzuki flute studio is located in Hull close to the Byward market in Ottawa.


Chela Escudero


Chela Escudero has been teaching Suzuki Guitar in Ottawa for many years. She is currently one of the Headstart Program teachers, for children aged 2-4, at the National Capital Suzuki School of Music. Chela has completed registered Suzuki teacher training for Suzuki ECC (Every Child Can) and Guitar Books 1 through 5 with the Suzuki Association of the Americas. She took her Suzuki training with William Kossler and Andrea Cannon. Chela has also completed Suzuki Early Childhood Studies in Prenatal through Early years with Sharon Jones and Dorothy Jones at the London Ontario Thames Valley Suzuki School ( Chela received her AMI (International Montessori Association) diploma in 2005. The Montessori Method aims for the fullest possible development of the whole child. Chela also graduated as a Kindermusik educator in 2007.  Chela is part of the Peruvian Folklore group and she has collaborated on different occasions teaching children Afro-Peruvian dances. Chela is currently continuing her own guitar studies with Daniel Srugo. She speaks Spanish, English and French.

Daniel Srugo


Daniel Srugo graduated with a diploma in classical guitar from the Conservatory of Buenos Aires, Argentina. In addition to teaching, he has an active career as both a professional arranger and performer. Daniel has performed extensively in both Argentina and Canada , and enjoys performance of traditional Argentinian folk music, sephardic songs, and tangos, in addition to the standard classical guitar repertoire. He has arranged children’s songs, background music for musicals, and traditional sephardic music. He has extensive teaching experience, and has undertaken training in Suzuki guitar pedagogy with David Madsen and William Kossler from book 1 to 5. Daniel is trilingual, and can offer private lessons in English, French or Spanish


Carol Deaville


Carol Deaville received her B.A. in Music Education from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota. Since 1995 she has received extensive Suzuki training from noted teachers such as Daphne Hughes, Edward Kreitman, and Kimberly Meier-Sims. From 1996 to 2006, she taught at the Brantford Suzuki String School in Brantford, Ontario, where she was a colleague of Virginia Little. Included in her Suzuki experience are private violin lessons, groups and orchestra. She has also prepared students for Royal Conservatory practical and theory exams. While living in the Hamilton area, she studied with Adele Pierre and played in various ensembles including the McMaster Chamber Orchestra and Symphony Hamilton. Her studio is located in the Fisher Glen area, west of Prince of Wales and south of Baseline.

Keite Gularte

Keite's Picture

 Keite Gularte received her B.Mus in Violin and Viola performance from Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, where she is originally from. She received her M.Mus in violin and viola – pedagogy and performance – from University of Houston, Texas. Most recently, Keite concluded her M.A in Music Culture at Carleton University, Ottawa.  Since a very early age, Keite is an active musician performing with many artists from Brazil and abroad. She worked as violist (principal and assistant) in Symphonic Orchestras in her hometown prior to moving to Canada. Since 2006, she has been teaching in diverse scenarios such as University projects, social projects and music studios.  Keite tries to keep the balance between her love for teaching, her performing skills and her endless interest for more knowledge.

Essie Liu 

Essie Liu

Essie Liu is a Violin and Early Childhood Teacher certified by Suzuki Association of the Americas. Ms. Liu has enjoyed working with students of all ages from diverse backgrounds since 2009. Her combined passion for teaching and cultural exchange has driven her to experience different parts of North America and Asia for training, conferences and observations.

Ms. Liu has played with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, Calgary Arts Orchestra (Principal Second), Tri-Tone Tap Dance Ensemble (First Violinist), Western Symphony Orchestra (Assistant Concertmaster), Niagara Symphony and Kingston Symphony. Ms. Liu also performs on Baroque violin and electric violin. As the founder of the, she recently serves as the Board of Director of Ottawa Chamber Orchestra.

Ms. Liu holds a M.Mus in Literature and Performance (Violin) from Western University, a B.A (Music) from China and Queen’s University (Full-scholarship Exchange), as well as a Montessori Infant Toddler Teacher Diploma (TMI). You can easily find Ms. Liu in the library, kitchen, classroom, salsa studio and tennis court; wherever there are inspirations for teaching,art and life.

Ms. Liu teaches bilingually in English and Chinese. Her studio is located in Kanata Lakes.

Janice Mah


Born and raised in Lethbridge, AB, Janice has been playing music since she was 5. She moved to Ottawa in 2001 and completed her Bachelors in Music Performance under the tutelage of David Stewart in 2003. She has been an active musician, performing as soloist with the Lethbridge Symphony Orchestra, playing in orchestra settings as well as pursuing chamber music with Catherine Donkin. She has played for such dignitaries as the past 2 Governor Generals of Canada as well as the Royal Highnesses of the Netherlands. Through it all, she has maintained her passion and love of teaching since 1997!  Starting September 2015, Janice is taking on the position of full time Strings Teacher at Canterbury HS.

Judy Olmstead-O’Regan


Judy Olmstead-O’Regan has been a Suzuki teacher since 1982. To better understand the Suzuki Method, she travelled to Matsumoto, Japan, to study with Dr. Suzuki. She took classes with him, seven days a week, for two months in 1987. She holds a Bachelor of Music in Violin Performance from Brandon University and Suzuki Teacher Training courses from institutes at Ithaca, N.Y., Guelph, Kingston, and Steven’s Point Wisconsin. She is a founding member of the Suzuki Association of Ontario. Judy has played in Symphony Nova Scotia, The Atlantic Symphony, Symphony P.E.I., The Regina Symphony, Symphony New Brunswick and the Trinity Chamber Ensemble (Toronto). She has been the Suzuki violin parent to her two teenaged daughters, both of whom attend Canterbury High School Arts Program in the Strings Program. As a trio, Judy and her daughters frequently perform classical and fiddle music. They have performed at the Black Sheep Inn, Tulip Festival, Art in the Park, and regularly perform at retirement residences and charity events. Some of Judy’s students are members of the Canterbury High School Arts Program. Some have participated in the Kiwanis Music Festival. Others have won awards through the Ottawa Youth Orchestra Association. Judy has been a Faculty member of The National Capital Suzuki School of Music (SuzukiMusic) since 1995.

John Matthew Pohran


Starting serious violin study with Derek Aird in Niagara Falls, John then moved on to pursue music study at Syracuse University where he was also occasional section Vln I with Syracuse Symphony.  While in Syracuse, John studied violin with Louis Krasner and Heifetz pupil Elizabeth Matesky, and was quartet-coached by the Julliard quartet on a weekly basis.   Returning to Canada to study at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto John became involved with the Toronto freelance and back-up recording scene along with occasional performances as section Vln I with the Toronto Chamber Players.  He also made frequent trips to the St. Catharines area where he was a regular Vln I member of the St. Catharines Symphony.

A Suzuki teacher since 1977 in the Sudbury area at Cambrian College, John’s fulltime teaching schedule saw him giving lessons to close to 60 students per week.  This also included weekly trips to the Manitoulin area where he had set up and maintained a successful Suzuki teaching program on the Island.  John’s major American Suzuki summer pedagogical influences at Wisconsin ; Ithaca; Ann Arbor included bk I-IV (Metro/Mary Kozak, Margery Aber, Lorraine Fink, Pat Hermann, John Kendall, Doris Preucil, Rhonda Cole), & bk V-VIII (Tom Wermuth, Kay Slone, Carol Smith, Jeff Hoff and Phyllis Young).

His days at the University of Western in London, where he received an Honours Mus Bac & Specialist in Music Education; & subsequent Bachelor of Education were also spent teaching vln privately and performing with Orchestra London as section Vln I.  Main vln teachers in London at UWO Faculty included Robert Skelton and Yuri Mazurkevich and  Univ orchestra/ chamber coaching by Simon Streatfield, Ralph Aldrich.   John was also invited to perform monthly concerts with the Univ of Western faculty ensemble which was a real treat.

In 1983 John moved to Ottawa from London to accept a position as a teacher of Music [String specialist] at the new Arts program of Canterbury High School where many local Suzuki string students have since chosen to attend for their high school years. John’s active music schedule in addition to full time teaching responsibilities at Canterbury included performing vln with various professional freelance opportunities within the Ottawa area; conducting a Youth Orchestra for the National Capital Music Academy, joining the Hull Chamber Orchestra as a founding Vln I member for monthly concerts, joining the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra as section Vln I, and soon becoming part of the faculty of the newly-formed National Capital Suzuki School of Music in 1984.

Never one to turn down musical opportunities, John while at Canterbury In 2002 was offered and jumped at the chance to co-pioneer and lead the interaction with major national and worldwide video-conferencing networking music sites using advanced MUSIC GRID technology [then-state of the art]  Part of his responsibilities included teaching violin online to northern isolated native students using Suzuki-based instruction with the students.  It was very effective and proved to be a huge success.  This new online networking technology which now is commonplace internet everywhere, pioneered the way for the potential increase and demand for internet technology in the Ottawa school systems and John was very pleased to have taken part in its inception.

In 2003-2004 John was named the recipient of the Arts Recognition Award for Secondary Music by the Advisory Committee on the Arts of the Ottawa Carleton District School Board.  Ten years later In May 2013, John was also nominated as a finalist and became one of the recipients of the coveted National Capital Educator’s Awards – a real honour for him to be recognized by his students and his colleagues.  Two years later in Oct 2015 John was awarded the new Ottawa-based Marjorie Loughrey Lifetime Achievement in Arts award for his service within the OCDSB music world.

After 32 yrs as a CHS Music teacher, John officially retired as the last original Arts Staff hired in 1983 from Canterbury High School musical scene at the end of June 2015. He now continues to freelance on violin in the Ottawa region while also maintaining an active role as a sought-after private violin/viola teacher.  He is especially grateful and very pleased to have mentored and subsequently passed on his school strings baton to Janice Mah – who is also a current Suzuki school faculty.  John’s many years of string training have also helped tremendously with one of his musical passions which he still continues with to this day – that of arranging and writing both technical exercises and repertoire for advanced strings.

Speaking of passing up the baton – John was also the original Musical Director for the Greely Players Community Musical Productions since it’s inception in 1990 until this past year 2018.  His ongoing passion for conducting musicals was evident in the continued success of every show that was presented in the community.  The annual GP pit orchestra was originally made up in the past by talented music students from Canterbury.  John idea was to chose students for the pit since it gave them the opportunity to potentially apply for and receive an annual GP financial scholarship for post-secondary study – which many of them did.  The last recent two GP productions in particular saw the overall level pushed to even higher new musical heights and John is pleased to have been part in the setting of the new musical standard as its Music Director.

John currently continues to teach private students in his studio located in the Greely area.  Interested students may contact him for potential availability of lessons.


Alexandria Givens
DSC_0039_edited-1Alexandria Givens, B.Mus., M.Mus., B.Ed., is a classically trained voice, piano, and theory teacher, as well as a performer and choral director in the Ottawa-Gatineau region. Alexandria is the recipient of many scholarships and awards such as the Senior Scholarship Winner in the NATS 2016 vocal competition and the Gold Recipient for the Kiwanis Shield Competition.

Alexandria has played many roles on and off the stage; she has sung roles such as the Queen of the Night in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, Rosalinde in Johann Strauss’ Die Fledermaus, Laurette in Bizet’s Le Docteur Miracle, Fiordiligi in Mozart’s Così fan tutte, and has sung many recitals around the Ottawa-Gatineau region and Northern Ontario. She received her Masters of Music at the University of Ottawa under Christiane Riel and is currently working towards her Bachelors of Education. Alexandria has worked in both secondary and elementary schools, as well as worked as the special events coordinator for Music and Beyond, where she worked towards making music education accessible to everyone in the Ottawa-Gatineau region. As the Artistic Director at the National Capital Suzuki School of Music, Alexandria seeks to create opportunities for all students, parents, and teachers to experience the joy and creativity in music education and performance.  She believes in inclusive and differentiated education, as well as incorporating play in all types of classes for all ages.  Alexandria works as a voice and musical awakening teacher with l’École de Musique de l’Outaouais Inc., is the choral director at Lycée Claudel and has a private voice, piano, and vocal therapy studio in Gatineau. Always seeking new opportunities, Alexandria looks forward daily to working in a rich musical community!