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Year XXIV, No. 1 (January 2020)


Rustin S., guitar
Asiya S., piano
Caio C., voice/guitar
Baveethan L., piano
Megan W., piano
Merveille U., piano



Rachel D., Aakavi V., Orion S., Michael B., Athena D., Krish P., Zoe M., Aryan P., Adanya R., Abigaelle D., Brooklyn L., Kate C., Asiya S., Pranav V., Sophia L., Jayden Y., Jadyn Y., James A., Deeksha Y., Lucy Z., Catherine M.




January 1. New Year’s Day. School is closed.
January 6. Christmas (Orthodox).
January 11. RCM mock examinations.
January 15. Markham Music Festival registrations deadline.
January 13-25. RCM practical examinations.
January 17. PA day (YR) – elementary
January 31. PA day (YR)







Many IMA students will be taking their examinations in the second half of January. Under the guidance of their inspiring teachers, students have worked very hard to prepare long and demanding programs. We wish them success!



The IMA is offering to all students who are registered for RCM examinations an opportunity to play their entire program prior to their examination. The mock examinations for the upcoming RCM Winter session is scheduled at the IMA – Stouffville recital hall on Saturday, January 11, 2020.  There are many advantages of playing the examination program in public prior to the examination. Students gain more confidence, become aware of passages that still need more practicing and perform better at their examinations.



If you are ready to purchase a high quality pre-own piano through one of the IMA commercial partners, 3 of your lessons at the IMA will be free. Call our Office or e-mail Office@InternationalMusicAcademy.ca for more information. Pre-own piano is a great investment that comes at an attractive price, with a free tuning and delivery.



We have been very pleased with the continuous success of our students. They have improved a great deal and we share their excitement with their families, friends, neighbors, and schoolmates. We appreciate your interest towards our programs and services. We are always very happy to welcome new students of all ages, levels, and instruments to the iMA. Please tell your friends about your experience with the International Music Academy.

Do you know someone who is thinking of taking music lessons or who has children who may be interested in getting their hands on a musical instrument or singing? Do you know a teenager who needs a high school OAC credit? Do you know an adult who has wanted for a long time to learn how to play a musical instrument but has never had the time or inclination? Please tell them about the IMA.

As an appreciation for your referral, we will give you a $30 credit for each new student who registers at the International Music Academy as a result of your referral. As we value your friends as much as we value you, we will offer to each referred student a $30 credit as well.



Stay in touch and follow the IMA latest news on Facebook. Visit Facebook and become a friend of the International Music Academy.



The IMA offers personalized Gift Cards that could be used as thoughtful birthday, holiday, bar/bat Mitzvah, graduation gift or for any other occasions as well as to encourage someone to start learning a musical instrument or singing. The card can be used for any products or services.

The gift card is available for any amount. As cards are personalized with the name of the person who will receive it as well as with the name of the person who purchase it, requests have to be made 1 day in advance. Cards can be ordered in person, by phone at 905.489.4620 or by e-mail at info@InternationalMusicAcademy.ca. At the time the card is ordered, a non-refundable $5 deposit is required. The full value of the card is paid upon pick-up (and the deposit is credited towards the purchase price). Payments can be made by any major credit card, cheque or cash as well as through the accounts of the IMA Clients.





4, 1710                     PERGOLESI, Giovanni Battista
4, 1874                     SUK, Josef
6, 1838                     BRUCH, Max
6, 1872                     SCRIABIN, Alexander
7, 1899                     POULENC, Francis
25, 1913                   LUTOSLAVSKI, Witold
27, 1756                   MOZART, Wolfgang Amadeus
31, 1797                   SCHUBERT, Franz Peter

Where you born or do you know someone who was born on the same day as these famous composers? Drop us e-mail at info@InternationalMusicAcademy.ca to let us know.



Ramon Taranco, B.Mus.

Guitar studies and interpretation

Ramon Taranco was born in Havana Cuba to a Mexican-American mother and a Cuban father. The family immigrated to Toronto, Canada when Ramon was 5 yrs old. As a teenager, Ramon taught himself to play guitar and soon was playing in Rock, R ‘n B, and Blues bands. He also studied violin and played in his high school’s orchestra. After hearing Andre Segovia perform at Massey Hall, Ramon was inspired to play classical and Spanish solo guitar music so he embarked upon six years of studies at Toronto's Royal Conservatory of Music. Ramon studied Classical guitar with Norbert Kraft, Carl van Fleggelin, Eli Kassner, world-renowned Cuban classical guitarist Leo Brouwer, and with British master, John Mills. He studied solo jazz guitar with the legendary Lenny Breau and jazz improvisation with former Duke Ellington band member, flugelhorn player, Fred Stone. While living in NYC, Ramon studied with flamenco guitar master Dennis Koster.

As a guitar teacher, Ramon has experience on many levels. While still a student at the RCM, Ramon received a teaching position at the Koffler Centre for the Arts under the direction of then TSO conductor Victor Feldbrill - a position he held for four years. While still living in Toronto, Ramon received four Ontario Arts Council "Artist in the Schools" teaching grants that opened the doors for Ramon to teach improvisation and guitar in four Toronto area high schools. During this time Ramon further educated young people through performances of his concert/lecture program "A Guitar for All Seasons" which he presented in numerous schools, colleges and libraries all over Ontario - as a member of Prologue to the Performing Arts and on his own. Ramon was also the music consultant, band coach, and guitar instructor for the film P.C.U. (20th Century Fox). In 1994 Ramon moved to NYC where he taught guitar lessons in his private studios in Manhattan and Queens and also at the Astoria School of Music. Ramon currently teaches at Markham’s International Music Academy and is preparing to record his third CD of original music.

As a composer Ramon has received both Toronto Arts Council and Ontario Arts Council grants for composition. As a recording artist, he received an Ontario Arts Council Multi-Cultural recording grant and a F.A.C.T.O.R recording grant. Taranco later became a F.A.C.T.O.R adjudicator. Ramon's compositions have been featured in films: “L'Hombre” for the Canadian Film Center and NYC documentary, “Poverty Outlaw.” Ramon has released two CD's of original music which have received airplay in fifty countries (for example Radio Havana, Cuba; and Spanish National Radio) and have placed in the top 10 of world beat, blues, jazz and roots music radio charts.

As a performer of classical, blues, jazz, and worldbeat music in the Toronto music scene, Ramon played solo, in duos and in bands: live on CBC radio shows (Morningside, Musical Friends), and in concerts (Hart House Theater U of T, Harbourfront’s Waters Edge Café and Brigantine Room, St. Lawrence Centre, Ontario College of Art, Laurentian University) in clubs and in restaurants (The Riverboat, Top of the Senator, C'est What.) While residing in New York for 18 years, Ramon frequently performed on radio (WBAI). As a soloist and in duos with (jazz violin, percussion, blues harmonica) and band situations, Ramon has performed in concert at the Guggenheim Museum of Modern Art’s World Beat Jazz series ,Bronx Museum of Modern Art African Heritage Day, The Queens Museum of Art, Harbor Jazz Festival, Manhattanville University, Monroe College, New York State University @ Stoney Brook, Hellenic Cultural Center, Javits Center Latin Heritage Month celebration for the City of NY, Newark Public Library( blues concert celebrating Martin Luther King Jr's birthday ) Brooklyn Academy of Music Majestic Theater: onstage guitarist in small ensemble for the opera "Missionaries" by Liz Swados; in NYC night clubs, restaurants and bars such as The Groove, Izzy Bar, Fannies, La Belle Epoque, Mozart Cafe, Finally Freds, Rose’s Turn and Cornelia Street Cafe: Soul of the Blues Festival.

Mr. Taranco was happy to answer a few questions for our students and parents:

1. What do you like most about teaching? Teaching is hard work but it always feels good when students start to make progress.  Also the social aspect of teaching, interacting with all the students and their different personalities can be fun.

2. How do you inspire students to practice more? A teacher has to be very passionate about music.   This passion can sometimes trigger the students’ own passion for music.  A teacher has to be or to do three different things for the student.  First, he inspires the student by playing for the student. Second,he is a coach, a music trainer instilling the virtues of hard work and repetitious practice.  I often tell students the most important thing I will teach them to do is how to practice.  Playing a musical instrument, especially guitar, is a very physical act requiring strength and stamina.  "Without discipline there can never be happiness."  (Siddartha). Third, he has to try and make learning music a little fun.  A teacher with a good sense of humor and a sense of fun is going to reach more students and make the learning experience a easier to take. 

3. What roles does performance play in student’s development? Performing and hard practice get the maximum out of a player.  If you can do both you will be a complete player.  Performing no matter how or where will always raise your standard of playing.  For the amateur their are student recitals, performance exams, playing at the local church, at school for your friends, in a family setting - any chance to perform for anybody will force you to raise your level.  My favorite opporutnity for students is the open mic venue; the pressure to perform  will do wonders for your playing.

4. Who are your favourite composers? I love many different types  of music classical, pop, jazz, blues, rock, R & B.  For classical composers I love Bach, Beethoven, Bartok and Mozart.  For jazz, I love Mingus, Coltrane, Miles Davis, Roland Kirk, Monk, blues Skip James, SonHouse, JB Lenoir, Earl King, Albert King, Freddie King, T Bone Walker. I love country guitarist Don Rich (Buck Owens Band). Can't forget my favorite Jimi Hendrix oh well you get the idea.

5. What was the last piece of music (sheet music or a recording) you purchased for yourself? The last CD I bought was Stevie Wonders "Inner Visions".  The most recent pieces I worked on were a solo guitar arrangement of Dave Brubeck’s jazz hit "Take Five", arranged for guitar by Jorge Morel and Chet Atkins.  Also "A Little Blues"  - a solo jazz guitar composition by one of my teachers, the legendary Lenny Breau. Also, Gershwin and Prokofiev - I love his piano sonatas.  I believe they are the modern equals to Beethoven’s piano sonatas.  



Bernadette Bantug

What instrument do you play? –  I play the piano.

How long have you taken lessons? – It has been about 2 years since I have taken the lessons for piano.

Who are your favourite musical artists? –  I don’t really have a favorite music artist, but for a genre I do love Underground R&B.

What are your other hobbies, besides music? – Singing is pretty much everything I do as a hobby my music is quite broad. I also do a lot of performances and talent shows and I love dancing.

Favourite food? – I really like Chips.

What is the coolest thing you’ve learnt in your lessons in the past three months? –  I feel like there’s a lot I’ve learned in the past 3 months, but the coolest thing I would say is learning to play the music to LaLa Land and Bohemian Rhapsody.

Do you have any performance coming up? – No, I don’t but may be in future.

E-mail to info@InternationalMusicAcademy.ca a photo of yourself (or your child) together with the answers of the questions above. The deadline for submissions is the 15th of every month. We will feature you in one of the next issues of the newsletter.



Surprise! Year’s end finds classical music and opera thriving in Toronto

By John Terauds | Special to the Star
Monday, December 23, 2019

As we cast away from the second decade of the 21st century, are classical music and opera a listing and creaking galley on the verge of being swamped by a storm at sea, or a wide-body jet boldly flying over the turbulence below? 

For the better part of this new millennium, those who think of themselves as wise have been heralding the end of the traditional concert- and opera-going experience. Yet the obvious signs say otherwise.  In this city the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Canadian Opera Company and Tafelmusik have grown their endowment funds — money collected from lovers of classical music, period-instrument performance and opera — to total nearly $100 million collectively.  The Royal Conservatory of Music sells out pretty much every piano recital at Koerner Hall months before the performance date.  Toronto now has a half-dozen respectable miniopera companies run by people with creativity and drive, if not money.  The conservatory and the universities continue to graduate dozens of incredibly talented and capable young musicians and singers into the working world every spring. 

Every music presenter has some sort of educational outreach program in place. Collectively, they have the potential to reach just about every primary and secondary student in the Greater Toronto Area each school year.  The Regent Park School of Music, El Sistema Toronto, the Hammer Band and other feisty non-profits provide free or extremely low-cost music lessons to children in our most at-risk communities.  And then there’s the relentless building and refurbishing of performing arts spaces in and around the GTA. The latest was the mayor of Pickering announcing a new performing arts centre last summer, as part of a new “town centre” development. The Ontario Philharmonic will be one of its anchor users. The more we talk about the end of classical music and opera as we know it, the more new shoots seem to spring up. So the future is bright, right? Pretty much. We are living through a huge change not only in how people consume information, but in how we get our entertainment.

We no longer plan ahead the way we used to. The sources of information about upcoming concerts and operas are more specialized and fragmented. And there are more choices than ever before, including all the entertainment options that don’t involve leaving home during a flurry of lake-effect snow. The baby boomers have been the core supporters of the performing arts over the past couple of decades. They have disposable income and now, in their retirement years, they have the time to devote to hobbies and passions. But retirees also start to worry about driving or going out at night. People continue to buy concert and opera subscriptions, but the marketers have had to loosen the rules to make the dates and choices flexible. It’s difficult for the bumper crop of young music-school graduates to find steady work.

So many of them are starting new opera companies and organizing their own concerts. Toronto violist Rory McLeod and his wife, pianist Emily Rho, run something called Pocket Concerts, performed in people’s homes. We even have something like this for opera, traditionally the biggest and most expensive form of theatre. The Bicycle Opera Project has shown us how a 400-year-old art form can find new life in a backpack and on two wheels. Both of these little companies were born in the past decade. And there will be many more to come in the next. Like our information networks, classical music is specializing, fragmenting and going new places. Between our changing world and the handover of the baby boomers to younger generations of fans, I suspect we’re going to see a storm or two to shake up the big, old institutions before the next decade is out. The Toronto Symphony is not out of the financial woods. And the Canadian Opera Company is not selling as many tickets as it should. But we have more and better-quality music and opera than ever before in our history, and there’s no apparent reason why this should change.

Classical music and opera are not an old wooded sailing ship about to break into pieces in a fierce storm. They are the thin, iridescent film of soap bubbles stretched and borne aloft by the breath of eager, expectant believers. There continue to be fresh converts every year and every decade, because the music is so irresistible.



Text Box: REFER A NEW STUDENT and GET ONE FREE LESSON!  When you refer a new student to the IMA, who registers for lesson, you will get one free lesson for every new student. So, if you refer the IMA to 2 new students, we will give you 2 free lessons; for 3 new students – 3 free lessons etc. Fill in the coupon below and leave it with the IMA Office administrator.   Your name: ______________________________  Name of the new student: __________________  You can print or photocopy this coupon as many times as you need. Cannot be combined with any other offer. Text Box: International Music Academy GIFT CERTIFICATE for new students only  ONE FREE LESSON Call the IMA Office at 905.489.4620 (Markham) or 905.640.6363 (Stouffville) to schedule your first lesson. Once scheduled, the lesson cannot be rescheduled. Cannot be combined with any other offer. No refunds, no exchanges.

Call us in Markham at 905.489.4620 or in Stouffville at 905.640.6363 to start your musical journey today!

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