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Music Director

Kristian Alexander

Kristian Alexander

M.Mus., M.A., D.E.S.S.G.O.C.

Mr. Kristian Alexander is the founding Music Director and Principal Conductor of the Kindred Spirits Orchestra, the founding Music Director of the International Music Academy and the founding Artistic Director of Markham Contemporary Music Festival. He was also the founding Music Director of the Mozarteum Symphony Orchestra in Sofia (Bulgaria), the first privately own art organization in Eastern Europe dedicated to the performing and recording of compositions by Mozart. Mr. Kristian Alexander conducted Cairo Symphony Orchestra, Internationale Bach-Collegium and Gächinger Kantorei in Stuttgart, the Mozarteum Symphony Orchestra in Sofia and the Windsor Symphony Orchestra, the Opéra de Montréal Orchestra, the Royal Conservatory of Music Symphony Orchestra (Toronto), Oakville Chamber Orchestra, Guelph Symphony Orchestra, Etobicoke Philharmonic Orchestra, Vaughan Symphony Orchestra in Canada. In 2013, Maestro Alexander was chosen "Man of the Year" by the International Biographical Centre in Cambridge (England) for his contribution to the field of classical music.

Mr. Kristian Alexander has worked with internationally renowned conductors Charles Dutoit, Gustav Meier, Marin Alsop, Helmuth Rilling, John Morris Russell, Nurhan Arman, David Agler, and Nedialko Nedialkov. He also collaborated with soloists Christina Petrowska-Quilico, Jacques Israelievitch, Ann Hobson Pilot, James Parker and André Laplante. He recorded several live concerts for the International Bachakademie (Stuttgart), the National Radio Broadcasting Company and the National Television of Bulgaria. Mr. Kristian Alexander conducted in many major concert halls in Europe, Africa and Canada: Cairo Opera House, Roy Thompson Hall, Ettore Mazzoleni Hall and the CBC Glenn Gould Studio in Toronto, Lieder Halle in Stuttgart, Bulgaria Hall and the National Palace of culture in Sofia, among others.

Since the beginning of his tenure as Music Director of the Kindred Spirits Orchestra in 2009, Mr. Kristian Alexander has performed a vast repertoire that includes Beethoven's, Brahms', Mendelssohn's and Schumann's symphonies as well as all major instrumental concerti by Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Mendelssohn, Tchaikovsky, Chopin, Grieg, Schuman, Sibelius, and Saint-Saëns. In 2011, Mr. Alexander and the Kindred Spirits Orchestra has forged an important artistic partnership with the creation of Markham Contemporary Music Festival, an annual event that has brought to life great pieces of the 20th century, including Lutoslavsky's Symphonic Variations, Stravisnky's Symphony No. 1, Philip Glass' Concerto for violin and orchestra No. 1, Honegger's Pastoral d'été and others. Mr. Kristian Alexander is also avid supporter of Canadian contemporary music, having performed with the Kindred Spirits Orchestra compositions by Garry Kulesha, Brian Current, Larysa Kuzmenko, Daniel Friedman, Kevin Lau, James Campbell and Constantine Caravassilis. Mr. Alexander has also given the Canadian première of John Williams' "On Willows and Birches" and the world première of James Campbell's Concerto for harp and orchestra.

Mr. Kristian Alexander speaks fluently English, French, Russian, and Bulgarian and has a working knowledge of Italian, German, Czech, Latin, Greek, and Hebrew languages. In addition to master degrees in orchestral and choral conducting, music theory and history, he also holds degrees in anthropology, psychology, theology, and arts management from academies and universities in Toronto, Montreal, Stuttgart and Sofia. Mr. Kristian Alexander has also been a mentor for many young musicians and conductors through various positions he held at the International Baccalaureate Organization in England, theNew Bulgarian University in Sofia, as well as, in Canada, at the Atelier lyrique de l‘Opéra de Montréal, the International Music Academy, the International Bilingual School, the Weldon Park Academy and the London French School. He has also published articles on philosophy of music in major scientific journals and research papers for the Bulgarian Academy of Science, the University of Toronto and the Université de Montréal. Mr. Kristian Alexander has been a recipient of several awards from the Canada Arts Council, London City Council, Université de Montréal, Internationale Bachakademie (Stuttgart), the Mozarteum Internationale Stiftung (Salzburg), Open Society Foundation (New York), Pro Helvetia Foundation (Bern) and the National Music Academy (Sofia).

IMA Faculty


Antonia de Wolfe, M.Mus., B.Mus., D.Mus.
Lili Imastounian, D.Mus., B.F.A.
Suzanne Marfise, M.Mus., B.Mus.
Marina Grigoryan, M.Mus., B.Mus.
Mariko Der Avanesian, B.F.A., D.Mus.
Dianne Hughes, B.A., ARCT
Takouhi Kehyaian, D.Mus., B.A.
Werner Chan, M.Mus., B.Mus.
Vladimir Dounin, PhD, M.Mus., M.A.
Elena Eremeeva, M.Mus., B.Mus.


Leonid Sprikut, Ph.D., M.Mus., B.Mus.
John Mills, M.Mus., B.Ed.


Paul Williamson, M.Mus., B.Mus.
Marina Grigoryan, M.Mus., B.Mus.
Takouhi Kehyaian, D.Mus., B.A.
Elena Eremeeva, M.Mus., B.Mus.



Arpad Josephson, D.Mus., B.Mus.

John Mills, M.Mus., B.Ed.
Ross Au, M.Mus., B.A.
Pedro Tironi, M.Mus., M.A., B.Mus., B.A.


Kristian Alexander, M.Mus., M.A., B.Mus., B.A., D.E.S.S.G.O.C.

Antonia de Wolfe

Antonia de Wolfe

M.Mus., B.Mus., D.Mus.
Piano Studies and Interpretation, Music Theory

Ms. Antonia de Wolfe has graduated with a degree in piano performance from the George Enescu Institute of Music in Bucharest, Romania and, later, with another degree from the Central School of Music affiliated with the P. I. Tchaikovsky State Conservatory in Moscow. She has also graduated from the Academia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome, where she studied with Sergio Perticaroli, and has earned a Master in Music (piano performance) degree from the University of Toronto. In addition, Ms. de Wolfe has studied with Maestro S. Petricaroli at Mozarteum Hochschule für Musik in Salzburg (Austria). Ms. de Wolfe has given several recitals and concerts in some of the finest concert halls in Bucharest, Moscow, Rome, Paris, Salzburg, and Toronto. She has also taught piano at the Columbus Centre, Cosmo school of Music, and Koffler Music School. As a collaborative pianist and accompanist, she has been in great demand for several productions of the Centuries Opera Association, Toronto Opera Repertoire, Palestrina Choir, Etobicoke Centennial Choir, and others.  As soloist she has performed many works including Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat Major, Op. 19. and most recently Schnittke’s Concerto for piano and strings with Kindred Spirits Orchestra led by Maestro Kristian Alexander. Ms. de Wolfe is a registered teacher with Royal Conservatory of Music.


Lili Imastounian

Lili Imastounian

D.Mus., B.F.A.
Piano Studies, Music Theory

Mrs. Imastounian has earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts (with Honours) from York University (Toronto), along with a Diploma in Musicology, a Diploma in Piano Pedagogy, and a Diploma in Piano Performance. She brings to the International Music Academy over 25 years of valuable experience teaching piano and theory to students of all ages and levels. Mrs. Imastounian has been on the Faculty of New Conservatory of Music, Federal Conservatory of Music, Scarborough Parks and Recreation, and School for Music and Art. In addition to a great passion for teaching music she also has a passion for languages; she speaks fluently English, French, Russian, Armenian, and Arabic. During the past almost three decades, Mrs. Imastounian has prepared over 1,000 students for various competitions, recitals, concerts, and examinations. Mrs. Imastounian is a registered teacher with the Royal Conservatory of Music.

Suzanne Marfise

Suzanne Marfise

M.Mus., B.Mus.
Piano Studies, Music Theory

Ms. Suzanne Marfise has graduated with honours from the University of Toronto, after earning an ARCT in piano performance and music theory from the Royal Conservatory of Music. She has taught piano and theory in the Greater Chicagoland in the Illinois (USA) where she was also an Accredited member of the Chicago North Shore Music Teacher's Association. After moving to Toronto in 2004, Ms. Marfise has established herself as an expert in teaching piano to all ages. She strives to develop and interpret teaching concepts as required, in order to maintain the student's interest while, at the same time, keeping the required curriculum at the forefront. She has taught piano of different genres including, classical, jazz, blues and pop/Broadway, as well as music history, harmony, and voice. She provides a well-balanced learning experience that focuses on building strong technical background and flourishing self-expression. Her students are consistently prepared to graduate with 1st Class Honours and Honours with Distinction from the Royal Conservatory of Music, from the early beginners to the Associates of the RCM (ARCT).

Marina Grigoryan

Marina Grigoryan

M.Mus., B.Mus.
Piano Studies, Vocal Studies and Music Theory

Mrs. Marina Grigoryan graduated from the Faculty of Music Pedagogy and Psychology of the Moscow State University of Pedagogy. She also holds several degrees from Russian Music Colleges. Mrs. Grigoryan taught piano (Royal Conservatory of Music as well as pop and jazz), voice (classical, jazz, Broadway and pop), theory (all levels), harmony (both classical and jazz), ear-training, improvising, composition as well as choir conducting and jazz ensembles. She possesses a vast knowledge and is very passionate about teaching music as part of creating well-rounded students with freedom of self-expression through music, strong technical skills and excellent performance habits. Mrs. Grigoryan also has developed workshops in waltz (traditional and jazz); Polka; Rag-time; Boogie-woogie; Blues (jazz); Bossa nova (latin jazz). Mrs. Grigoryan is a registered teacher with the Royal Conservatory of Music.

Mariko der Avanesian

Mariko der Avanesian

B.F.A., D.Mus.
Piano studies and interpretation, Music Theory

Born in Japan, Ms. Der Avanesian earned Bachelor of Fine Art from Osaka College of Music. She continued her study in Paris, France at Ecole Normale de Musique de Paris for Diplome Superieur d’Execution (6eme division professionelle, piano performance). She has performed numerous concerts, recitals and also appeared as a concerto soloist in Japan, France and Canada. She participated in several music festivals such as the International Keyboard Institute and Festival (New York), the Toronto Summer Music Academy and Festival (Toronto), Scotia Festival of Music, Academie International d’interpretation de Piano (France) and Flaine Musique Festival (France). Among her teachers were world-renowned pianists Alicia de Larrocha, Menahem Pressler (Beaux ArtsTrio), Peter Frankl and Andre Laplante. As a piano teacher, she has more than 25 years of experience and successful in teaching any level of students at any age. She has a great ability of communication with students to tailor the lessons to fit each students needs, goals and skills. Her passion and love of music transforms any music lesson to a joyful musical experience filled with beautiful artistic moments and fun challenge. Any student will find her/himself to be a motivated self-learner. Ms. Der Avanesian is a registered teacher with the Royal Conservatory of Music.

Dianne Hughes

Dianne Hughes

Piano Studies, Music Theory

Ms. Dianne Hughes has earned a bachelor in arts degree from York University and an ARCT from the Royal Conservatory of Music. She has also studied with Margaret Fabrizio at Stanford University, California. Since 1976, se has taught piano and theory to students from all ages and various backgrounds. In addition, Ms. Hughes plays harpsichord, recorder, and cello, provides piano accompaniment for RCM examinations and is the author of 18 pieces for piano. Ms Hughes is a member of the Ontario Registered Music Teachers Association (ORMTA) and is a registered Teacher with the Royal Conservatory of Music.

Takouhi Kehyaian

Takouhi Kehyaian

D.Mus, B.A.
Piano and voice studies, Music theory

Ms. Kehyaian was born in a family of musicians in Aleppo, graduated with a Diploma in music and theory from the Aleppo Conservatory of Music and further studied piano and harmony with renwoned professor Hrant Kevorkian. With over 30 years of practical knowledge and experience, Ms. Kehyaian brings efficiency and motivation to every piano lessons. She emphasizes the development of technical skills to support musicality while adjusting her methods to her students ;earning style and natural capabilities. Ms. Kehyaian helps students of all ages and abilities to discover their passion in studying music. As a former Principal of Parsegh Ganatchian Music School and music professor at the Karen Jeppe Armenian College in Aleppo, she managed and assessed annually over 375 students. She works in conjunction with parents and students to set consistent and attainable goals while inspiring, instructing and creating positive learning experience for her students.

Werner Chan

Werner Chan

M.Mus., B.Mus., D.Mus
Piano Studies and Interpretation, Drums/Percussion, Music Theory

Born in Hong Kong, Werner Chan started to learn piano at the age of 5. At the age of 11, he had his first piano recital in the local church and became the accompanist for the Don Bosco Choir for 7 consecutive years. He secured a place to study music at the Hong Kong Academy for the Performing Arts (HKAPA) and obtained a Diploma of Music in 2001. In September of the same year, Werner received the Conservatory Ovation (Piano) Award and the International Chancellor’s Award, to study music at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, USA. He graduated with distinction with a Master’s degree in Music in 2007. Mr. Chan has over 15 years of piano teaching experience. He started his piano teaching career in 2001 as a private in-campus tutor. Mr. Chan teaches students ranging from very young age to adults and seniors. He adapts his teaching style according to the personal learning style of his students. He is patient, observant and can establish good rapport with his students in no time. Mr. Chan shares his passion for music with others and makes the music lesson a stimulating and joyful experience to those who learn with him. On the other hand, with students of higher grades, Mr. Chan would focus a lot on interpretations of works of various composers, leading to achieving high marks in the RCM examinations and competitions. In tune with his belief in life-long learning, Mr. Chan continues to polish his piano teaching techniques by taking courses of pedagogic nature. Apart from teaching piano and music theory, Werner has been performing piano publicly in Toronto. In the past, he performed in the Open Score Salon Series of University of Toronto; the Opus One home concerts for classical music; the 2015 and 2016 Concerts hosted by the Ontario Cross-Cultural Music Society. In August 2016, Werner was invited to perform as the pianist of the Broadway Rock Musical “Rent”, a two-and-half hour production presented by the Markham Youth Theatre. Mr. Chan is a registered RCM teacher and a member of the Ontario Registered Music Teachers Association (ORMTA). He speaks fluently French, Mandarin and Cantonese.

Vladimir Dounin

Vladimir Dounin

PhD, M.Mus., B.Mus.
Piano studies and Interpretation, Music Theory

Vladimir Dounin was born in Russia in the family of a military doctor and a kindergarten teacher. When he was a student at Kazan Music College, there was no music teacher in his mom's kindergarten, so Vladimir was invited to teach young children to sing and dance, when he himself was only 14 years old. A year later, he was invited to teach at the music school, and another year later he began working in the opera house as a vocal coach and accompanist. At 17, Vladimir entered the Moscow Conservatory and graduated with honors. After graduation, he worked as a soloist in the philharmonic society in the city of Sochi, and then was an assistant professor to Prof. V. Nielsen at the St. Petersburg Conservatory (post graduate school, Ph.D. in music). In 1970 he was one of the winners of the All-USSR competition. In the following years, Vladimir worked as a concert pianist, opera chorus master and music teacher in Russia, South Africa, and then in Canada. He worked with internationally-renowned concert performers and Opera singers of Russia, Europe and America. Vladimir wrote many articles on"pianostreet.com, pianoworld.com and recorded many videos on "You Tube" related to piano pedagogy.

Elena Eremeeva

Elena Eremeeva

D.Mus., M.Mus., B.Mus.
Piano Studies and Interpretation, Music Theory

Ms. Elena Eremeeva was born and educated in St. Petersburg , Russia were shehas graduated with a Diploma in Music from the Pedagogical College as well as a Choir Conductor, piano and voice teacher. She is currently a Choir Director at the Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Toronto. With experience in teaching piano and voice in Canada since 1995 for all ages and levels, she is giving her students great opportunities to perfect heir performance skills, improve their confidence and showcase their talents.

Leonid Sprikut

Leonid Sprikut

Ph.D., M.Mus., B.Mus.
Woodwinds and Brass, Music history and Theory

Mr. Sprikut holds a MMus in Music Education from the University of Toronto , as well as Master of Music in Performance Diploma cum laude from the Moscow P. Tchaikovsky State Conservatory, and a Bachelor of Music in Performance Diploma cum laude from Moscow State Conservatory Music College. He also holds a Bachelor Degree in Wind Ensemble Conducting from Moscow State Conservatory Music College. As a professional clarinettist and saxophonist Mr. Sprikut has been affiliated with many symphony and chamber orchestras around the world, such as Moscow State Ministry of Education Symphony Orchestra (Principal Clarinet), Moscow State Academy of Music Opera Theatre (Principal Clarinet), New Jerusalem Symphony (Principal Clarinet), Israeli Operetta Theatre (Principal Clarinet), and was a member of a Moscow State Conservatory Woodwind Quintet.

As a soloist, Mr. Sprikut performed in Russia , Israel , USA , Canada , and has taken part in various International Music Festivals, such as International Klezmer Music Festival in Zfat , Israel. Among his teachers were the internationally renowned Vladimir Sokolov (Principal Clarinet for The Moscow State Symphony Orchestra and Professor of Clarinet at the Moscow State Conservatory) and Dr. Scott Bridges (Professor of Music and Clarinet at the Alabama University School of Music). Mr. Sprikut started teaching in the early 1980’s, while a student at the Moscow State Conservatory and was one of the founders and first teachers at the Special Music School for Woodwind Instruments in Moscow , Russia. Later, in Israel he worked as a teacher for a Music Project of the Municipality of Jerusalem and was a Music Director of The Youth Jerusalem Wind Orchestra, where his duties included selection of repertoire for the Orchestra, auditions, public relations, and foreign tours. He has taught wind instruments, piano, and music theory privately and in groups at his studio, at varous schools and at the Music College. Mr. Sprikut has been affiliated with iMA since 2006. He is experienced and successful in teaching students at different levels and ages from 7 to 70. Mr. Sprikut is also the conductor of the iMA Jazz ensemble, which successfully performed at the IMA summer music Festival in 2009. His students constantly win local and international music competitions, hold principal positions in students’ and professional bands and symphony orchestras, and participate in a variety of musical activities in Canada and abroad.

Mr. Sprikut gives master classes and adjudicates music competitions and festivals in Israel , Russia and Canada. He is a member of Ontario Music Teachers Network and a Teaching Assistant in the instrumental class at the University of Toronto. Currently, Mr. Sprikut is a PhD Candidate at the University of Toronto where his research interests include music pedagogy and culture. His research papers were accepted and presented at several international conferences, such as 2010 international Conference in Multidisciplinary Research in Music Pedagogy at the University of Ottawa, Canada, and the ISME World Conference 2010 in Beijing , China. Mr. Sprikut possesses strong knowledge and excellent skills for teaching the classical style, as well as the jazz, folk, and music of modern composers. Determined to bring out the best of his students, Mr. Sprikut is one of the most highly recommended teachers in the GTA. He has been teaching wind instruments, piano, and music theory for over 25 years. Mr. Sprikut is a registered teacher with the Royal Conservatory of Music and is fluent in English, Hebrew, Russian.

John Mills

John Mills

B.A., B.Ed.
Guitar Studies, Ukulele, Music Theory

Mr. Mills has earned his Bachelor of Education degree from York University and music certification from University of Toronto. He brings over 25 years of teaching experience to the International Music Academy in various guitar styles, music theory and numerous bluegrass instruments. For many years, Mr. Mills taught all the concert band instruments for the Toronto District School Board. His youth stage bands performed at Ontario Place and numerous Community Centers, while his choirs were featured on children’s television. He organized Master classes for the Scarborough night studies programs for many years, along with teaching at various music schools throughout the city. As a performer, he was lead guitarist for the Arrivals for two years before touring with the Elvis Memories retro show. His caring, unique, multi-resource approach to teaching has met with measured success throughout his instructional career. Mr. Mills is a registered teacher with the Royal Conservatory of Music.

Paul Anthony Williamson

Paul Anthony Williamson

M.Mus., B.Mus.
Vocal Studies and interpretation

Canadian lyric tenor Paul Williamson has “a startlingly rich voice” (Edmonton Journal) and is now taking his place on the operatic and concert stages of Canada. With a Bachelor of Music degree from the Houghton College School of Music in New York, a Masters degree in Opera Performance from State Glinka Conservatoire of Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, Paul continued his vocal studies under Robert MacLaren at the University of Manitoba. In 2007, while a student in the Opera Diploma program at the University of Toronto, he starred as Nemorino in Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore, where he was reviewed by Opera Canada as “a very pleasing tenor with Italianate colour, lovely phrasing and even the requisite sob” who can “play with his voice for nuance and has lots of power when needed.”Fluent in Russian, Paul appeared as the Czar with Toronto’s Opera in Concert in Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Snow Maiden in April 2008. The Globe and Mail declared “High tenor Paul Williamson, as the czar, had some ecstatic moments; his springtime aria was a high point” while Opera Canada’s review of this performance stated, “lyric tenor Paul Williamson impressed as the czar.” As an opera apprentice with the University of  Manitoba, Paul performed the role of Wilhelm in school tours of Dean Burry’s popular The Brothers Grimm. He recently starred as Umberto in Rossini’s La Donna del Lago with Opera in Concert. Oratorio performances include Bruckner’s Te Deum (University of Toronto Combined Choirs and Orchestra), Britten’s St Nicolas Cantata (Tryptych, Toronto), and the Beethoven Mass in C with MasterWorks of Oakville. Mr. Williamson  placed second in the Barry Alexander International Vocal Competition in New York 2007/8.

Mr. Williamson sang the role of Finn in Glinka’s Ruslan and Ljudmila in October 2010 with Opera In Concert and debuted with the Thunder Bay Symphony in Handel’s Messiah in November of that same year. nbsp;In 2011, he debuted with the both Toronto Philharmonia in their Bel Canto series and at Heliconian Hall in the Birthday Series: Pyotr Tchaikovsky. In 2012, he debuted the role of Don Carlo with Opera By Request to glowing reviews and sang the role of Remus in an opera entitled Treemonisha by Scott Joplin with the Nataniel Dett Chorale at Koerner Hall in May 2012. Mr. Williamson’s recent appearances include singing Manrico in Verdi’s Il Trovatore with Opera York (Toronto) in November 2013, his debut at Carnegie Hall as tenor soloist in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the New York Festival Orchestra, and again at Carnegie Hall in March 2014 as tenor soloist in Mozart’s Requiem, and Beethoven’s Choral Fantasia.

Arpad Josephson

Arpad Josephson

D.Mus., B.Mus.
Violin Studies and Interpretation, Music Theory

Arpad Josephson has earned a Bachelor of Music in Violin Performance from the University of Western Ontario (London) and a Diploma in Orchestral training from the Royal Conservatory of Music (Toronto). He has over 20 years of experience performing with Symphony Hamilton, Windsor Symphony, Niagara Symphony, Oshawa Symphony, Oakville Chamber Orchestra, Hamilton Camerata, Ensemble Unterweg, and Royal Conservatory of Music Symphony Orchestra. He has also taught violin, piano, and music theory at Hamilton School of Music.

Ross Au

Ross Au

M.Mus., B.A.
Guitar Studies and improvisation, Music Theory

Ross Au holds a master’s degree from the University of Toronto in the field of music performance. He specializes in classical guitar and is armed with the pedagogical tools necessary to prepare students for university auditions and Royal Conservatory examinations. Ross has won several competitions across the GTA, composed film music for animation studios, received multiple scholarships, and was appointed concertmaster in the University of Toronto Guitar Ensemble for two consecutive years. He has studied under renowned Canadian guitarists, Jeffrey McFadden and David Occhipinti. Along with his expertise in classical music, Ross is also fluent in many styles of the electric guitar and has performed on mandolin and banjo for the opera productions of Don Giovanni and Les Larmes du Couteau, respectively. In each of his students, Ross instills core values such as expressiveness, technical mastery, musical literacy, self learning, and above all else – the enjoyment of making music.

Pedro Tironi

Pedro Tironi

M.Mus., M.A., B.Mus., B.A.
Guitar Studies, Music Theory

Mr. Pedro Tironi has graduated with a Master of teaching degree from the University of Toronto, Master in Advanced Music Performance Studies with a specialization in Classical and Contemporary Music Instruments from the Catalunya University (Spain), Bachelor in Music Therapy form the University of Salvador in Buenos Aires (Argentina), and a Bachelor in Arts from the University of Chile. Mr. Tironi has given solo recitals and concert performances in Spain, Germany, France, the United States, Chile and Argentina. After winning the First place at the International Guitar Competition in Santiago de Chile he has taught guitar at the prestigious music schools MusicActiva and Becaire in Barcelona (Spain). In Toronto (Canada), he has taught at the Cosburn Middle School and the Samuel Hearn Middle School through the Toronto School District Board.


Mr. Tironi brings over 10 years of teaching acoustic, classical, electric and jazz guitar privately and in various music schools. Ms. Tironi creates a positive learning environment by incorporating engaging lessons that specifically promoted performing, listening, and analytical skills. He creates a variety of lessons and activities that incorporate technology, various instruments and images to give students a well-rounded education along with challenging and engaging learning experience. In addition, Mr. Tironi teaches classical and pop/rock while implementing a unique music pedagogy and extended instructional strategies. He is fluent in English and Spanish.


Music education is an asset to our life. It has many positive effects on the emotional and intellectual growth of people of all ages. It provides a sense of pride and accomplishment and offers many opportunities for a quality family time.

It enhances productivity and it adds value to your life. It is about dream fulfillment, hope and passion.

The mission of the International Academy of Music is to unlock human potential through various forms of music and arts. To people believing in the changing power of music, we offer a high quality private education at affordable prices guided by inspiring and motivating professionals.

Benefits - Why Choose IMA?

Sometimes, students who have been excelling in playing a musical instrument or singing for a year or longer, may lose their interest and motivation. They may find learning about music not as thrilling and exciting as it used be in the beginning. Through thorough research we have concluded that often those are the students who were taught without taking into consideration their natural learning style. Everyone learns in a different way: some people are more visual, others are more auditory, or kinaesthetic (tactile), or intellectual. Discovering the personal learning style is of utmost importance for constructing a proper method of teaching that would vary substantially from one student to another. International Music Academy is one of the very few private music schools in the world that offers with a complimentary initial assessment. The purpose of the assessment is to discover the personal learning style of the person, his/her basic motor and auditory skills as applied to music, and to elaborate a personalised programme tailored to the individual goals and objectives of the student. As a result, we have achieved one of the highest student retention rates in the industry in Canada – 89% over a 3-year period of time.

Here are some the most important reasons why you should choose studying at the International Music Academy:


International Music Academy

Other private music schools


We focus exclusively on music education, not on sales. We are a private music school, not a store. Most organizations offering music lessons are actually stores that focus exclusively on rental and sales of musical instruments and provide with some lessons “on the side”.

Offical Awards

Consumers’ Choice Award for best private music school in the Greater Toronto Area.

The Royal Conservatory of Music Gold Medal for Teaching Excellence.

Тhe York Region Character Community Award.

Markham Board of Trade Business Excellence Award finalist.


Official Status

Our programmes are also approved by the York Catholic School Board. None.


Our teachers have all a Master degree in Music (some have a Ph.D.). They have all a minimum of 10 years of teaching experience and are all registered with the Royal Conservatory of Music. Often young and/or inexperienced, without formal degree in music education.


We provide with initial free assessment (aptitude test) to determine the student’s strengths and teaching opportunities. Then we elaborate an individual programme for a specific student taking into consideration individual learning styles and differences. Pre-set methods, curricula, and music books that are used for all type of students.


We are open 7 days a week and our schedule is very flexible: you choose the day and the time of your lessons. You may be offered some options.

Choice of Instrument

We offer private instruction in all musical instruments and voice (except percussion and harp), as well as all levels of music theory, history, harmony, counterpoint, pedagogy, and conducting. Often limited.

Performing Opportunities

We organize two large scale festivals (Winter and Summer), in addition to several recitals, local festivals, and competitions. Usually once a year, in May-June.

Evaluation Reports

We provide with detailed written report cards twice a year (in December and June), in addition to verbal feedback. Mostly verbal and you have to ask for it.

Tuition Fee

Our fees are very competitive and often lower than other private music schools. We also offer discounts for families with more than one child attending the IMA. We have never turned back anyone because of financial concerns. For us education comes first. Often too high for what you get.

Student Progress

Our students learn faster and better than average. Often slower than you expect.

Complimentary tickets

We regularly offer complimentary tickets for concerts at Flato Markham Theatre. This way, our students can get inspired by watching performances by professional musicians. None.


International Music Academy is a proud supporter of the following community groups, non-for-profit organizations, and charities:

  • Kindred Spirits Orchestra
  • Kiwanis Music Festival
  • Markham Scatting Club
  • Markham Swimming Club
  • Markham Music Festival
  • Markham Jazz Festival
  • Markham Arts Council
  • North York Music Festival
  • Project HUMAN (Bayview Secondary School)
  • Richmond Hill Music Festival
  • Royal Conservatory of Music
  • World Vision
  • York Region Battle of the Bands
  • York University Right Actions Fund


About the iMA Teachers

  • “For a mother who knows very little about music, having her son performing at the CBC Glenn Gould studio, it’s like a dream coming true. No doubt how great the boy’s teacher must be! Xianxin first music teacher made him love music and trumpet, and you are the one who really took him into music and made music part of his life. No words can tell how thankful are we for your teaching.” (Lucy D.)
  • “I thank you again for your amazing patience with me and the encouragement and positive attitude continually shown. My biggest success was learning I could play faster than I thought possible! I wish you much success in another school year!” (Kathryn B.)
  • “Mr. A. is very professional, strict but encouraging. My child came with bad experience with previous teacher. Mr. A. re-invited his confidence in music!” (Joanna C.)
  • “I am lucky to have a teacher who is patient and understanding. She shares new ways of understanding and reading music.” (Suzette C.)
  • “Ms. P. is absolutely excellent, couldn’t expect better and this is the main reason we continue to keep our child enrolled.” (Antoniette S.)
  • “Mr. A. has a deep knowledge of music and learning around it. He uses an encouraging approach to initiate interest and continuous improvement.” (Maria P.)
  • “I really like my son’s teacher. He seems happy to teach my son.” (Tania C.)
  • “IMA teachers are friendly, humble and respects us.” (James F.)
  • “Ms. D. is very respectable and professional and genuinely wants the child to improve.” (Amy M.)
  • “Ms. D is a punctual and nice teacher. She gives time to the students while teaching without getting frustrated.” (Rajshri P.)
  • “My child’s teacher is very patient and encouraging.” (Lisa B.)
  • “Mr. A. is punctual, responsible, professional, perfect teacher for my daughter. She loves to play violin because she finds encouragement from her teacher.” (Ann W.)
  • “My teacher is friendly and does not hesitate to repeat anything or any part of the lesson.” (Sheela V.)
  • “My children like their teacher. They find her very friendly and she is able to keep them interested in music and they respond to her teachings.” (David H.)
  • “My children and I really like the IMA teachers. They are patient, responsible and caring.” (Catherine T.)
  • “Mr. A. makes music fun, tries to make child excel in a fun manner and is always professional. He also understands child’s need and looks for the best method to teach her.” (Neera C.)
  • “He teaches music that my daughter likes in addition to the regular pieces.” (Joseph S.)
  • “He is very kind and a great teacher.” (Chi P.)
  • “She has excellent teaching skill, is friendly, knowledgeable and always encouraging and motivating.” (Arlene L.)
  • “I am very pleased with my child’s teacher. She is very friendly and very knowledgeable.” (Laura A.)
  • “My daughter now seems to enjoy playing the piano and does not need to be asked to practice. She just does it on her own.” (Annissa L.)
  • “The teachers at the IMA are responsible, kind, professional, and caring, very encouraging and motivating.” (Jean H.)
  • “My teacher is patient and very knowledgeable.” (Casandra A.)
  • “I am lucky to have a very experienced teacher with highly developed profesisonal skill. I enjoy taking classes with him.” (Josh L.)
  • My daughter’s teacher in Suzuki violin is Mr. B. She is so animated with him. He is very good to her and gives her enough inspiration to get her thru. Perfect match to Myer. (Myra O.)
  • Rizgar is fun-loving and truly a professional with a great attitude. Irina is gentle and warm-hearted and a truly nurturing and pleasant individual. (Rose Mary H.)

About the iMA

  • “We are very satisfied. Caring, knowledgeable, a professional presentation from front desk to teacher.” (Joanna C.)
  • “We are completely happy and proud to say our son is a student at the IMA.” (Ranganat R.)
  • “IMA is perfect for music newcomers as well as for experienced musicians to reach the next level. Looking forward to my next lesson.” (Maria P.)
  • “It has been a wonderful experience for both my daughter and I. I am utterly impressed at their combined friendliness, professionalism, great customer and client service on top of their high-qualified staff to provide the best instructions in whichever instrument you select.” (Myra O.)
  • “It has been absolutely an enriching experience. The music appreciation from the teachers has been contagious and has transferred to my sons. They both look forward to the iMA experience.” (Rose Mary H.)
  • “Very professional-teachers; children learn so fast on whatever instruments they play; teachers are always in touch with our children’s improvement.” (Gina J.)
  • “I thank the IMA for their hard work… the service is great and personal; you feel like you are important here...” (James F.)
  • “Very good, very professional.” (Tom T.)
  • “We’ve got a progress report card: what a surprise! Also thank you for the Happy Birthday card.” (Li Xiao)
  • “Teaching music to a child whether or not they are musically gifted is an honorable and hopefully rewarding experience to both teacher and child!” (Amy M.)
  • “A convenient and professional music school near my home, its affordable as well as it provides a pleasant learning experience for my kids.” (Rajshri P.)
  • “We’ve had a very good overall experience at the IMA. My daughter is very much enjoying piano lessons.” (Lisa B.)
  • “I love the IMA serious learning environment. It is a professional school…” (Ann W.)
  • “I look forward to both my child and I to learn music together. I look forward to have my husband start music when he feels ready!” (Vicki M.)
  • “IMA really cares about the kids and their learning. My children improved better than ever and enjoy the practice at home.” (Catherine T.)
  • “I appreciate the possibility to have both my children taking lessons during the same time.” (Catherine T.)
  • “My child has learned so much in a matter of a few months compared to her 4 years of music.” (Neera C.)
  • “I am impressed with the inviting atmosphere, the staff, the décor, the teachers’ qualifications, the affordable tuition fee, and most over the fact that IMA took the time to understand my children’s needs.” (Amy M.)
  • “I appreciate the fact that IMA prepares for RCM exams and has only qualified teachers.” (Neera C.)
  • “I am happy with the flexibility to have my child and I taking lessons at the same time.” (Vicki M.)
  • “The iMA is a very nice place to study, offer excellent teachers at reasonable price. (Arlene L.)
  • “iMA is an institution that you can trust for your child in terms of music.” (Shaheena S.)
  • “It’s great! I’m learning a lot.” (Rob C.)

About the iMA Facilities

  • “The teaching studios are absolutely fantastic. Undoubtedly the best I've seen in the area.” (George L.)
  • “I like that children are supervised when parents are not present.” (Alpa G.)
  • “I like the IMA high standard facility and its professional instructors.” (Maria P.)
  • “The waiting area is very good. It offers coffee and tea, lots of chairs, coat hangers, magazines...” (Antoniette S.)
  • “I love the waiting area. The décor is modern and simple.” (Amy M.)
  • “The waiting area is relax, quiet, neat and clean. Excellent!” (Ann W.)
  • “The waiting area is very comfortable, clean and professional.” (Susan A.)
  • “The waiting area is spacious, clean, warm, cozy, organized, with calm colors, and offers variety activities for all.” (Neera C.)
  • “I like the free drinks, the TV, the comfy seats with pillows, the fish tank” (Sylvia W.)

Work at IMA

Thank you for your interest in teaching positions with our school. This page will give you an idea of our philosophy of teaching and our ideas on how our school can best meet the needs of our students and teachers.

School History and background

The International Music Academy was founded in 1996 and quickly established itself as the expert in private music education in York Region. The School has won several awards, such as:

  • top 100 educators in the world Award of the International Biographical Centre (Cambridge)
  • the Consumers’ Choice Award for best music school in the GTA.
  • the Royal Conservatory of Music Gold Medal for Teaching Excellence.
  • the York Region Character Community Award.
  • Markham Board of Trade Business Excellence Award finalist.

Educational Philosophy

We realize that most of our students will not become professional musicians. We strive to provide a fun but educational environment with well-organized administration and first-rate equipment and facilities.

Sometimes, students who have been excelling in playing a musical instrument or singing for a year or longer, may lose their interest and motivation. They may find learning music not as thrilling and exciting as it used to be in the beginning. Through thorough research we have concluded that often those are the students who were taught without taking into consideration their natural learning style. Everyone learns in a different way: some students are more visual, others are more auditory, or more kinaesthetic (tactile), or intellectual. Discovering the personal learning style is of utmost importance for constructing a proper method of teaching that would vary substantially from one student to another. International Music Academy is one of the very few private music schools in the world that provides with a complimentary initial assessment. The purpose of the assessment is to discover the personal learning style of the student, his/her basic motor and auditory skills as related to music, and to create a personalised programme, tailored to the individual goals and objectives of the student.

Why teach with us?

There are several places you can teach music around the GTA. Why should you consider teaching with us?

As music teacher you can either teach privately in your house or in students homes, or you can teach in a music store or a music school – both have upsides and downsides. If you teach in your home or go to students’ homes, the upside is that you can keep all of the money you charge to the student. Since you have no expenses like rent, maintenance, an office administrator or marketing/advertising you do not have to pay out a percentage to overhead costs. There are also downsides to teaching in your home or your students’ homes. It can be hard to keep your schedule constantly full with new students. Getting a full schedule can be difficult and expensive if you have to run classified ads or small newspaper ads. Even if you are a good, well-liked teacher it can take a long time for referrals and word-of-mouth to fill your schedule. If you are driving to a student’s houses you also have to factor in the driving time between students which limits the amount of teaching you can actually do.

The other downside of teaching on your own can be the difficulty in enforcing your attendance and payment policies. No one likes being a collection agent. It can be difficult to concentrate on your teaching while trying to keep track of who owes money and to make sure you are paid.

If you are teaching on your own it can also be difficult to enforce your teaching policies and have your time respected. For example, if a student tells you they are going to Disney World for the next two weeks, it can be difficult to still make them pay for their lesson time. Many students will refuse to pay for those missed lesson because they will think: “I’m not getting my lesson so why should I pay?”

Chances are you can’t book another student in that lesson time for just 2 weeks, so if you don’t charge the student in Disney World, you have just lost 2 weeks of pay. If that scenario happens a couple of times per month it can greatly reduce your earnings.

Now let’s look at teaching at a music school. The downside is you don’t get paid as much per student. Teaching rates that in-home teachers and music schools charge are usually pretty similar. So the pay per student to the teacher is lower because of commercial rent, several ads in newspapers, magazines, directories, websites and directories, paying salaries to office administrators 7 days a week, maintenance cost, utility and other overhead expenses. The upside can be having a consistently full schedule of students each day. Being paid a little less per student but having 10 or 11 students in a day will mean you earn more overall.

Another upside to teaching at our music school is that you do not have any collection hassles. You only have to focus on the teaching. Also our music school provides a professional educational environment that is stimulating to the students. It is also free from distractions found in a home such as ringing phones or doorbells, TVs and noisy family members.

Those are the general differences between teaching on your own and teaching in a music school or store.

Here are the reasons why music teachers choose to teach at our school over all other choices:

1. A constant flow of new students to keep schedules as full as possible

Over the course of the year, students can move or quit. This can leave a teacher with gaps or holes in their schedule. Most student register and start lessons in September. Most music schools only advertise in late August and September for new students. At our school, however, we spend a lot of money on advertising and marketing year round to keep our teacher’s schedules as full as possible. Each year we spend over $50,000 on advertising in newspapers, yellow pages, direct mail, community publications and other media to constantly attract new students. We are continually registering new students for our private music lessons even during typically slower registration months like May to June.

2. Full time administrative support

In many small music studios there is no receptionist on duty. This means that the teachers are faced with administration details when they should be concentrating on teaching. We have full time front desk administrative staff 7 days a week to handle routine questions and details that arise. From scheduling to collecting fees or arranging an accompanist for recitals, these details are handled by our administrators not the teacher. This means the teacher is free to focus on teaching and not get bogged down by administration.

3. Employee’s benefits

You will get many benefits of being employed in our school:

  • Salary direct deposit
  • Dedicated personal teaching studios
  • Complimentary office services (mail, telephone, fax, WiFi)
  • Christmas/Hanukkah gifts
  • Employees dedicated parking
  • Staff lounge with fridge and microwave
  • Unlimited Starbucks gourmet coffee, large selection of tea, hot chocolate
  • Ongoing teacher’s professional development through RCM and IMA monthly newsletters, specialised articles, and magazines.
  • Teachers achievements recognitions through the IMA monthly newsletter and e-blasts.
  • Discount on books, CDs and accessories.
  • Bus stop in front of the school
  • Shopping centre within 50 m
  • Services within 50 m
  • Park within 100 m

If you are interested in joining the International Music Academy Faculty, please submit your résumé and contact information via e-mail to director@internationalmusicacademy.ca, attention to Human Resources Department. No phone calls, please. Only suitable applicants will be contacted for an interview.