Violin and Cello
Kyra is a Toronto-based multi-instrumentalist, originally from Winnipeg, Manitoba. She started studying piano at the age of four under the Royal Conservatory of Music program. Her music studies carried her to Toronto, where she has written, performed and collaborated with numerous musical groups over the past 20 years in cello, violin, viola, piano, and melodica.
Kyra sits as the Associate Principal Cellist for the Toronto Philharmonic Orchestra and other local orchestras. Also active in the pop and folk scene, she has performed at NXNE, Toronto Indie Week, Canada Music Week and has graced the stages of Luminato, TIFF and Canada’s Walk of Fame to name a few.
Known for her talent to write beautiful cello lines, she has studio recorded cello for numerous Toronto artists and has a special love for performing in Toronto’s musical theatre community. As a freelance cellist, she enjoys performing in any situation and can flex her style from club scene to wedding event.
Kyra enjoys an active and rewarding lifestyle, dividing her time between toy design, music and other entrepreneurial activities.
Violin and Viola
Velma Ko began violin studies and orchestra training in Victoria, BC under the tutelage of Dorothy Francis, Harry Gomez, Samuel Spinak, and Dorothy Evans. She obtained her BMus (Performance) from Brandon University, Brandon Manitoba, studying with Dr. Frances Chaplin, violinist with Brandon University Piano Trio, formerly Halifax Piano Trio. In her final year at Brandon University, she won a tour of western Canada under the auspices of Young Artists of Canada. Later, she obtained her BEd (secondary stream) from University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario.
Her orchestra experience started while in elementary school and continued through high school. During her senior year, she was a recipient of a Kiwanis Festival scholarship that enabled her to play with the Victoria Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Otto Werner-Mueller. For two summers she was a member of National Youth Orchestra enjoying stays in Montreal with a tour of the Atlantic Provinces and in Toronto. After Brandon, Manitoba, her violin studies continued with Margaret Pardee at Meadowmount School of Music, Elizabethtown, NY on scholarship from Brandon University and a Canada Council Grant and on Long island NY. On her return to Canada, she settled in Toronto, taking further studies with David Zafer.
As a freelance musician, Velma has played with Oshawa Durham Symphony, Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, Hamilton Philharmonic, Toronto Symphony, Edmonton Symphony, Okanagan Symphony, Prince George Symphony, and Southern Tier Symphony (NY) Orchestras.
Now retired from professional orchestral playing, private and public school teaching, she continues as a violist with community orchestras, NYCO, OPO, GTPO, and RHPO, and musical theatre groups in the southern Ontario area. She has been active with chamber music ensemble opportunities, one of which is the Rosedale Quintet, a piano quintet group. Life continues to be an exciting adventure.
Darren studied the piano from the age of seven and after many years of comprehensive music studies, he ultimately chose to attend business school and to continue his piano studies privately. Darren is a CPA and his career involves roles as an income tax and financial advisor as well as an accounting and finance professor. After many years away from the piano and developing a successful career, he came back to the piano with a vengeance and has since tackled monumental works such as concertos by Rachmaninoff, Brahms, and Tchaikovsky. In recent years, Darren has had the opportunity to perform in numerous capacities as a chamber musician and as a concerto soloist in concertos by Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, and Grieg with various orchestras in the US.
Having taken part in the Toronto Summer Music Festival Community Program every year since 2015, his focus is primarily on the chamber music repertoire. He founded the Rosedale Quintet with other members of the program to pursue further performance opportunities. As a lifelong learner, Darren is continuing his piano studies under the guidance of Dr. Michael Berkovsky and Dr. Gwendolyn Mok, both of whom have provided him with invaluable support.
Outside of music, Darren is an accomplished and competitive marathon runner who finds running the perfect (temporary) escape from the demands of daily life.