We are proud to showcase the talent that makes Kawartha Youth Orchestra a premier music education organization.

Take a moment to learn more about our incredible team!

Orchestral Ensembles

Maziar Heidari

Lead Conductor

Iranian-Canadian conductor, composer, and pianist Maziar Heidari has significantly impacted Canada’s community music scene. A Master of Composition graduate from the Art University of Tehran, Maziar has served as composer, conductor, and pianist with the Iran National Music Orchestra. Relocating to Toronto in 2010, he earned a MMus in Conducting from the University of Toronto and has held prominent conducting positions with Orchestra Toronto, Hart House Orchestra, and the University of Toronto Symphony Orchestra.
Maziar‘s accolades include the Tirgan Festival trophy, an RBC Top 25 Canadian Immigrant award, and the Canada 150 Medal. As co-founder of the Iranian-Canadian Composers of Toronto (ICOT) and Music Director, his leadership earned him a position as a judge for the JUNO Awards.
Heidari Music, founded in 2014, is Maziar‘s Toronto-based music school. As an active freelance educator, Examiner for the Royal Conservatory of Music, and member of ORMTA and CFMTA, Maziar is deeply involved in music education. With numerous published compositions and performances in ensembles worldwide, Maziar serves as an associate composer with the Canadian Music Centre, a professional member of SOCAN, and a board member of Orchestra Toronto. 

Martin Gladman

SKYO Percussion Conductor

IKYO Percussion Instructor

Martin Gladman is a percussionist and multi-instrumental musician holding an Honours Degree in Performance from Wilfrid Laurier University. Martin has worked supporting music programs in schools and community groups from St. Catharines to Owen Sound, including work as a drum teacher with Waterloo Music. While residing in the Kitchener-Waterloo area, he performed with groups including the Wellington Winds, Royal City Big Band, Kitchener Waterloo Community Orchestra, Cana Brava Latin Band, as well as pop bands including Used Parts and Omega.

In 2006 Martin returned to WLU, and continued on to University of Western Ontario’s Faculty of Education, where he graduated with Honours and won the Music Award. After his studies, Martin relocated to Northumberland and worked as an elementary music teacher for the Durham District School Board. Martin spent over a decade bringing the joy of music to students, running programs involving concert band, ukulele, recorder, voice, and hand drums. He also performed with local groups including the Peterborough Symphony Orchestra and the L’il Big Band, as well as pop performances with the Hilltop Project and as a solo acoustic artist.

Mark Vining

IKYO Conductor

Mark Vining is the head of music at Crestwood Secondary School He has been teaching and directing ensembles for over thirty years. Mark began his professional music career as a singer at St. James Cathedral Choir at the age of eleven. In high school he fell in love with woodwind instruments and continued his study of saxophone at Humber College with Mark Promane and Eddie Sossin. After two years he transferred to the University of Toronto music department as a classical clarinetist studying with Joe Orlowski, David Bourque and Ron Chandler,  and played sax in the jazz bands with Phil Nimmons. As well as teaching at Crestwood he has taught at Courtice SS, Kenner CVI, Clarke HS, and Port Hope HS Where he started a string program. Before moving to KPRDSB, Mark was a music teacher for many years in the Peel District School Board.

Saskia Tomkins

Strings Instructor, Beginner Lessons & JKYO

UPBEAT Senior Instructor- Viola

Saskia Tomkins is a master musician of Violin/Fiddle Viola, Cello and Nyckelharpa. She is classically trained with a folk background and a B.A.hons. in Music (Jazz), and she won All Britain Champion Irish Fiddler.

Over the years, Saskia has worked with many musicians, including:  Jimmy Bowskill, The Chieftains, Kim Doolittle, Tim Edey, Tim Garland, “Jabbour”, Robb Johnson, Sonja Kristina (Curved Air), Ron Korb, James McKenty, Crispian Mills (Kula Shaker), David Newland, Donald Quan, “Sin E”  Ted Staunton , “Sultans of String”, Miranda Sykes, “Uriah Heep”, Lotus Wight (Sam Allison), Ken Whiteley, “Al-pha-X” and Astrid Young, her husband Steáfán Hannigan and son Oisín Hannigan, and a plethora of other amazing musicians, actors and dancers!

Her theatre work includes: Originating the “Celtic-ifying” of the broadway hit “Come From Away”; The English Shakespeare Company and Michael Bogdanov; 4th Line Theatre, Ontario;  Sadler’s Wells Theatre, London UK;

Saskia’s current personal projects include Steáfán & Saskia with Steáfán Hannigan, the instrumental jazz/roots duo 2ish, with Brandon Scott Besharah; the Celtic crossover group Cáirdeas and the jazz trio Marsala and the Imports. She frequently plays with Sultans of String and in the Maple Leaf Jug Band. Saskia is principal 2nd violin for Quinte Symphony Orchestra, and also teaches privately from her home near Cobourg, Ontario. and runs workshops at festivals.

Rachel Duketow

Strings Instructor, IKYO
UPBEAT Senior Instructor- Violin

Rachel has been playing violin since she was four years old, and is proficient in both violin and piano. Rachel has completed multiple music theory, violin and piano exams through the Royal Conservatory of Music, and won the Level 8 String Solo Concert Group last season with the Kiwanis Music Festival. She continues to work toward higher musical goals every year.

Over the years, Rachel has performed both classical and Celtic music concerts with her family, Rhythm and Grace Music – Duketow, across Canada. With her family, Rachel has had opportunities to take part in three seasons of a musical children’s series with Salt + Light Media.



Sally Wolf

Flute Instructor

Sally joins the KYO staff as flute and recorder teacher having a well established studio practice in Peterborough, ON. She received her Performance Diploma on flute from the Royal
Conservatory in the Hague, the Netherlands. While in the Hague she also studied Baroque
Flute and learned Recorder and has, over the years, led an Early Music Ensemble, coached
Chamber Music ensembles and taught flute for Cammac/LakeField Music; and currently
teaches Flute at Lakefield College. In 2014 she was awarded the outstanding teacher award
from the Peterborough Registered Music Teachers. Her students have gone on professionally in music, as well as participated as amateur music lovers in many of Peterborough’s flourishing Bands and Orchestras.

Age Smies

Trumpet Instructor

Age (Aga) Smies, is a very experienced orchestra and band conductor and musician.
With degrees in performance, conducting, education and mediation, he either permed or conducted some of the finest bands and orchestras in Europe and Canada.
Many of his students became professional musicians and teachers. He promises that his love of music is contagious, so you better beware!

UPBEAT! Downtown

Saskia Tomkins

Lead Strings Instructor, JKYO

UPBEAT Senior Instructor- Viola


See bio under Orchestral ensembles

Andrew Randall

Cello Instructor, UPBEAT

Andrew Randall is a long-standing member of the musical community in Northumberland County.  Having started his musical education in church choir, Andrew quickly developed his love of music. Andrew started his instrumental music education on clarinet, then continued on to play the flute, baritone sax and oboe. He always loved string instruments and took up the cello in his preteen years. Through years of private instruction, he quickly became proficient.

Andrew is one of the three original creators of Journey Through the Arts – a week-long summer program that immersed children in the arts.  The program still operates in Port Hope over 17 years later. Andrew is also a founding member, coach, and alumnus of La Jeunesse Youth Orchestra.

In past years, Andrew has been a long-standing member of the Northumberland Orchestra and Choir and frequent volunteer with the kids at Song in Port Hope.

Today, Andrew’s musical abilities are most utilized in the church community where he and his cello are in high demand.

Andrew is of the firm belief that music education is an important part of all children’s artistic development.

Rachel Duketow

Strings Instructor, IKYO
UPBEAT Senior Instructor- Violin

see bio under Orchestral Ensembles



Katarina Thompson

Senior Instructor- Violin


Katarina is a second-year history and law student who is attending Trent University. Her love of music started when she played with the Menuhin Foundation Youth Orchestra in Bermuda, and grew stronger from that point onward. She has been playing the violin for 10 years, and has been continuously involved with orchestras and music throughout that time.  This will be her 6th year of involvement with the Kawartha Youth Orchestra. Starting as a member of the Senior Youth Orchestra, Katarina realized her ability to help others when she helped mentor musicians in the Junior and Intermediate orchestras. She was involved with UPBEAT! Downtown last year as an assistant violin instructor, and is thrilled to be returning to the program this year. When she is not making music, Katarina loves to create visual art and write; she also has experience as a competitive swimmer and is a qualified National Lifeguard.

Anna Eidt

Senior Instructor- Choir

Originally from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Anna benefited from a strong public music education before taking her intense love of choral singing to London, Ontario and then to the Toronto District School Board where she taught vocal music and English for eight years. After a brief dabble in some visual arts and community-centered entrepreneurship, Anna is delighted to be jumping into arts education in Peterborough.

Since her very first choir rehearsal in grade four to conducting at Massey Hall, Anna has relished in the power of group singing to foster connection, compassion, and joy. Anna is dedicated to helping young musicians develop vocal confidence, listening skills, and artistry that will translate to all their future endeavours.

Anna conducts the Peterborough Children’s Chorus Youth Choir, and teaches music in the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board. She holds a Bachelor of Music and Bachelor of Education from the University of Western Ontario.

Joanna Currie

Senior Instructor- Horn

Joanna is a French horn player studying Mathematics in the Teacher Education Stream at Trent University. She has been involved in several music ensembles, including The Ottawa Children’s Choir, the Ottawa Regional Youth Chorus, the Ottawa Youth Orchestra, the Ottawa Pops Orchestra, and the National Capital Concert Band.

With these ensembles, Joanna has had the opportunity to perform across the globe, including in France at the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge and at the Notre-Dame Cathedral, as well as several locations across Eastern Canada.

Joanna is in her second year playing with the Senior Kawartha Youth Orchestra and is very excited to be joining the KYO team.



Cormac Culkeen

Youth Activities Leader

Cormac is a youth worker, songwriter, composer, and vocalist who lives and works in their hometown of Nogojiwanong/Peterborough, Ontario. Cormac is the vocalist of the duo Joyful Joyful, where noise and drone soundscapes are created that reference sacred music and traditional folk. Cormac is a frequent collaborator and co-conspirator, and has sung and created work with visual artists, filmmakers, and dancers, as well as other recording artists.

Cormac enjoys teaching and leading group singing, and has led workshops at Hillside Music Festival, MAW vocal arts, and Rock Camp for Girls. Cormac has worked with children and youth for many years, and is currently the Director of Youth and Family Ministries at All Saints’ Anglican Church where they have significant connection and involvement with neighbourhood families.



Operations & Support Staff

Carolyn Hoy

Operations Manager

Carolyn Hoy has been involved in the Peterborough arts community since 2006. Carolyn sang with the Peterborough Children’s Chorus for 16 years. After graduating from the choir Carolyn joined the Board of Directors, and in 2019 took on the role of administrator for the organization. Carolyn now sings with the Electric City Singers in Peterborough and has joined the Kawartha Youth Orchestra team to help further arts in the Peterborough community. Carolyn actively advocates the importance access to the arts plays in the lives of children and youth and is excited to be joining the Kawartha Youth Orchestra team this season.

Colin McMahon

Program Manager

Colin McMahon is a producer, composer, musician, and administrator from London, Ontario. Colin completed his D.M.A. in composition from the University of Toronto under Gary Kulesha and has gone on to compose operas, chamber music, and produce an album with folk band “Lo & the High Road”. With a deep love of community music-making from years of choir, youth theatre, and session playing, and with experience in music education, charity development, and community engagement Colin is eager to expand and maintain KYOs exceptional and high quality programming. 

Samantha Haagstrom

Administrative Assistant

Samantha was born and raised in Peterborough. After several years in Texas and Colorado, she is happy to be back home and serving the families of our community. 

In addition to a long history of administrative work, Samantha has extensive experience working with children and youth. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Christian Education and has worked as a childcare provider, Sunday School director, and youth leader. The KYO is the perfect place to combine her administrative skills with her love for children and heart for our city.

Board of Directors

Bryce Porter

Chair of the Board
Business and Finance, Human Resources

Bryce Porter is a former KYO alumni and cross-functional executive and consultant who has dedicated his career to helping businesses reach their full potential, having spent over 10 years of experience working with organizations in the technology, food & beverages, hospitality and private equity / venture capital industries across several global markets. From ideation to implementation, Bryce specializes in optimizing the operational strategy and customer experience, driving growth across a range of industries, and is well-known as a champion for his team members and bases his approach on the foundational belief that an organization’s people are its most valuable asset.

In addition to joining the KYO board of directors in December 2022 he is the founder and chief consultant at Porter’s Management Group. Bryce’s accomplished career has seen him in a variety of leadership roles, including EVP of Acquisitions and Operations, VP of Operations, VP of Customer Experience, Managing Partner, and Managing Director. Some of his key achievements to date include leading a portfolio of teams from more than 60 unique software companies that have driven more than $1.2B in revenue, supporting and overseeing many hundred-million dollar acquisition projects, and directing portfolios of more than 100 locations across North America.

Bryce is excited to be able to help the Kawartha Youth Orchestra grow and develop, working to help the KYO create a deeper impact on the community.

Joy Simmonds

Vice Chair & Community Engagement Committee


Joy has taken to the organization like a fish takes to water; she’s jumped in with both feet and is immersed within the Orchestras Program, as well as volunteering in UPBEAT!, our barrier-free, after school music program. Joy is also a musician and her passion for music carries over into the community as she empowers youth!

Joy first fell in love with the cello when it was randomly handed to her in grade 5 music class. After elementary school, there followed a long hiatus, but she never lost sight of her passion for the deeply layered and rich tones of the cello. She started to play in earnest again when her son Danny began lessons. She played alone quietly in her home until her first transformative experience at Lakefield Music Camp. There she was catapulted into the world of communal music making. She joined the Board and was Chair for 6 years.

Currently a member of the Peterborough Symphony Orchestra, The Red Room Quartet (flute, clarinet, viola and cello) and the Strong Song Chamber Ensemble, Joy is passionate about any kind of music-making. Professionally, she taught for 15 years in inner city Toronto schools. After moving to Peterborough, she transitioned to social work, providing psychotherapy and play therapy to children, adolescents and families before retiring 2 years ago.


Jennifer Keelan

Director, Past Chair

Jennifer Keelan is a PhD researcher in the field of public health policy and history of science and technology. She is also the co-founder of a technical and scientific consulting firm based in Ontario. A recipient of the Ontario Career Scientist award, she was a faculty member at the University of Toronto where she taught Public Health Policy (Dalla Lana School of Public Health) and history of science and medicine. She also held an adjunct faculty position at the newly named Concordia University of Edmonton, in Alberta where she taught in the Public Health Certificate Online Programs. Her areas of research include public understanding of science, vaccine policy and anti-vaccinationism. She joined the Kawartha Youth Orchestra Board in the Fall of 2022.


Peter Harris

Secretary & Instrument Librarian Committee

Peter Harris was raised in Northern Ontario where he was taught by a former member of the Montreal Symphony to play cello. He attended University of Guelph where he obtained his BSc in Biology. Upon graduating, Peter went to Africa where he did a two-year placement as a CUSO volunteer in a remote village in Nigeria. Upon his return, Peter obtained his B.Ed. at the University of Toronto and taught for 30 years with the Trillium Lakelands School Board. In 1999, Peter began teaching e-learning courses as a founding teacher in what is now Ontario’s largest and longest running e-learning school. Peter has played in several community and university orchestras and continues to play with the Peterborough Symphony Orchestra.

Peter Hanmore


Peter Hanmore has happily returned to the board of the KYO as a Director in 2020, having served as President and Librarian many years previous. Starting in high school Peter had a strong interest in music, and it was particularly rekindled when his daughter joined the KYO playing French horn. He enjoys helping to provide youth with opportunities to play and learn about music in an environment that would otherwise be unavailable to them locally. Peter has an H.B.Sc. Forestry degree (Lakehead U) and GIS Application Specialist diploma (SSFC) and works for the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry as a Geographic Information Systems programmer/analyst. When not at work, Peter actively plays trombone and euphonium in several musical groups including the Peterborough Symphony, a brass quintet, and various pit orchestras. He also runs a pet photography business.

Emily McCaveney


After completing her J.D. at the University of Ottawa, Emily McCaveney returned to her hometown of Peterborough to begin her career as a lawyer at LLF Lawyers LLP where she currently specializes in real estate and contract law. Emily developed a love for music at a young age, gaining experience with a wide variety of instruments both individually and in ensemble settings before discovering her most loved instrument: her voice. Emily joined the Board in June of 2023, feeling a connection to KYO’s mission of empowering youth through music, and providing an avenue for youth and young adults to also discover their passion.

Teresa Laton


Lisa Dixon


Timmi Brady