Cellist & Music Arranger
In love with cello for as long as she can remember, Beaux Strings founder Sybil Shanahan first began playing at the age of 3. Upon returning home from 7 years lived first in Amsterdam, then Switzerland pursuing her professional music training, Sybil became immersed in the world of weddings. She quickly recognized the need for high quality arrangements of contemporary wedding music for strings, performed by highly skilled musicians who perform together regularly. Beaux Strings was born in 2011 to celebrate love with the beautiful sound of strings. Working with an elite pool of 10 musicians, Beaux Strings accepts limited engagements per year to guarantee personalized service all overseen by Sybil. Please meet the team below.
More about Sybil:
She received her Master’s Degree in Performance from the Conservatoire de Lausanne, in Switzerland, and her Bachelor of Music Performance from the Amsterdam Conservatorium, in the Netherlands. A native of Toronto, her formative years of training happened at the Young Artists Performance Academy of the Glenn Gould School. Passionate about chamber music, Sybil currently performs with the Tadioli Duo, the all female Solidaridad Tango Orchestra, freelances with several orchestras across Canada and is an enthusiastic cello teacher in the Toronto area. Performing in both large and small venues, Sybil has shared the stage with such internationally known artists such as Seal, and has 4 commercially released classical recordings to her credit.
Sybil has been a winner in several music competitions, including the Rovere d’Oro chamber music competition in Italy, and the Elora Young Performer’s Competition, the Gooderham Music Scholarship and the Bill Weatherspoon “Most Outstanding Performance” in Canada. To date, she has performed across Canada, Europe, South Africa and hopes to add South America to that list soon. Besides her classical engagements, Sybil can be heard on numerous albums and film scores where she has recorded for a wide variety of artists and recently appeared on a national television commercial. When not involved in musical projects, Sybil can be found on her iSUP, bike, making travel plans, or fawning over her two lovely kitties.
Personal website: www.sybilshanahan.com
Photo by Matthew Golem Photography.
Meet The Team
Tanya Charles received a Bachelor of Music in Performance from the University of Toronto, an Artist Diploma in Orchestral Performance from the Glenn Gould School at the Royal Conservatory of Music and is an alumnus of the National Academy Orchestra of Canada. Currently, she is a core member with Sinfonia Toronto, and is the second violinist with the Odin String Quartet. Abroad, Tanya is the Concertmaster of the Colour of Music Festival: Virtuosi Ensemble in South Carolina, and has participated as a featured artist with the Scotiabank Northern Lights Music Festival, in Ajijic, Jalisco, Mexico. As a Sessional Lecturer at the Faculty of Music at the University of Toronto as well as a Teaching Artist at both the Regent Park School of Music and Axis Music, Tanya aims to train and inspire through music education. Tanya plays on a violin crafted by Toronto-based luthière, Itzel Ávila, made in 2014.
Violinist-violist Brenna Hardy-Kavanagh’s passion for chamber and orchestral music has taken her all over the world, with performances in Canada, the United States, Brazil, Ireland, England, Wales, Germany, Italy, Poland, and Romania. Recently appointed to the viola section of the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, Brenna is the founding violinist of the Amarok Ensemble, violist in the Bach from the Heart quartet, and orchestra manager of the Against the Grain Theatre Ensemble. She has performed with such groups as the Art of Time Ensemble, Soulpepper, Tapestry Opera, and Pocket Concerts, and served as interim principal second violin of the Regina Symphony Orchestra for part of the 2017-2018 season. She plays on a 2002 violin by Ottawa luthier Guy Harrison and a 2005 viola by Toronto luthier John Newton.
Polish born cellist Dr. Dobrochna Zubek has established herself as a versatile artist dedicated to a wide-ranging musical repertoire and committed to exploring boundaries between artistic disciplines. A soloist, chamber musician, and orchestral cellist, and educator whose evolving and multi-faceted career has taken her to a number of cities in Europe, Asia and North America. Over the years she has collaborated with variety of artists such as Peter Gabriel, José Carreras, Shauna Rolston and Gioconda Barbuto.
Zubek has held an orchestra position with the Orquesta Sinfonica del Estado de Mexico (2009-2012) and on festival stages she has participated as a soloist at Geneé International Ballet Competition, (2019) Banff Center for Arts and Creativity (2019) and Ottawa Chamberfest (2016) to mention the most recent. She has given a series of masterclasses in Poland, Canada, USA, and in China. Some of them as a part of the University of Toronto’s Faculty of New Music Festival held in Chinese Universities in Guiyang, Chengdu, and Hong Kong.
Brooke Stewart began her studies at the age of five and graduated from Memorial University of Newfoundland with her Bachelor Degree in Music Performance. Brooke began playing in orchestras at the age of 15 and served as the Assistant Concertmaster of the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra and Newfoundland Sinfonia in their 2010-2011 seasons. She has performed orchestral works in Russia and Poland and in 2011 traveled across Canada performing with Canadian indie-rock band, Hey Rosetta! She has recorded with numerous artists including Platinum Blonde, and enjoys collaborating with musicians of all styles and genres. Brooke co-founded Beaux Strings along with Sybil in 2011. Active with Beaux Strings from 2011-2017, Brooke is currently taking a leave of absence as she pursues a Master of Social Work.
Violinist Natalia Zielinski Chaturvedi began playing violin at a young age, first taught by her mother. She immediately fell in love with the expressive qualities of the instrument and never looked back. In 2012, she earned a Masters Degree in Violin Performance at the University of Manitoba, funded by the prestigious Manitoba Graduate Scholarship. She studied under international prizewinner Dr. Oleg Pokhanovski, and pursued performing opportunities that took her across Canada, the United States and to Europe. Natalia shares the stage with such acclaimed touring acts as Josh Groban, Il Divo, The Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Anne Murray, Abba Mania, Leahy, and Romanza. Now she is presenting a unique blend of classical and contemporary music ranging from Bach to Beyoncé, which is sure to melt the hearts of audiences young and old!
Violinist Hua-Chu Huang, a youthful and versatile musician, brings a wealth of experience in solo, chamber, and orchestral playing. As a passionate performer of new works in addition to canonized repertoire, Mr. Huang recently collaborated with flutist Carol Wincenc in the Canadian premiere of Yuko Uebeyashi’s Misericordia at the Banff Centre, and also presented Andrew Norman’s Gran Turismo at Toronto’s New Music Festival, 21C. Mr. Huang has appeared in concert with Philippe Djokic, Lynn Stodola, Denise Djokic, Barry Shiffman, and the new music ensemble suddenlyLISTEN; he is also the founder of Asterisk*, a Toronto-based conductorless chamber orchestra. Mr. Huang has recently received his Artist Diploma as a Temerty Family Fellow at The Glenn Gould School of The Royal Conservatory of Music, studied with Paul Kantor and Barry Shiffman; having previously earned his Bachelor of Music from Dalhousie University under the tutelage of Philippe Djokic
Alice Kim has been actively teaching and performing chamber and orchestral music. Her recent appearances as an orchestral player include with National Academy Orchestra of Canada, Toronto Concert Orchestra, London Symphonia (former Orchestra London Canada) as a sub-cellist, and North York Concert Orchestra as a guest principal-cellist. She received her Masters in music for cello performance at University of Toronto, studying with Shauna Rolston and Joseph Johnson. During her undergraduate studies at McGill University with Matt Haimovitz, she was a member of Uccello ensemble and is featured in the CD Album “Meeting of the Spirit” which was nominated for Grammy’s Award in 2010.
JUNO award winning harpist Angela Schwarzkopf concertizes throughout North America as a soloist, chamber musician, and orchestral musician and with many top chamber music, choral, and orchestral organizations. The first harpist to receive a Doctorate of Music in harp performance in Canada, she is now teaches at the University of Toronto, the Glenn Gould School, and at McMaster University. Outside of her university teaching, Angela maintains a thriving studio of private students in Toronto and is an harp examiner with the Royal Conservatory College of Examiners. Angela is Second Vice President and Director at Large for the American Harp Society and a contributor to the international publications Harp Column and the American Harp Journal and serves on the editorial board of the latter. As an advocate for new music, she has worked on commissioning projects with many prominent composers. Most recently, Angela released her album, detach, of all new Canadian music won the 2020 JUNO award for Classical Album of the Year: Solo or Chamber.
Saskia Tomkins, moved from the UK to Ontario in 2007 with her family, bringing with them a wealth of musical talent and experience. Saskia’s musical abilities on bowed strings are wide ranging, from classical to Celtic, to Django-jazz, to songwriter accompaniment. She completed a BA in Jazz and popular music. She has played with countless artists in many genres, and recorded on over 60 albums for other artists and several with her own groups. Saskia is also the All Britain Champion for Irish Fiddle. In Canada, Saskia has worked at 4th Line Theatre for 8 seasons. She was commissioned to co-write the music with Steafan Hannigan for "Driving Miss Daisy" at The Capitol Theatre, Port Hope, and developed the music for the Broadway hit, "Come From Away", also with Steafan. She is principle 2nd violin in Quinte Symphony Orchestra and frequently plays with Kim Doolittle and David Newland as their fiddler.
Naomi Barron, cello
Currently based in Toronto, Naomi Barron enjoys a multifaceted career as a soloist, chamber musician, orchestral player and educator. She performs regularly with groups such as the Toronto Symphony and Canadian Opera Company and has recorded live in studio for CBC radio. An avid chamber musician, Naomi’s experience includes recent collaborations with such renowned artists as Isabel Bayrakdarian and Robert McDonald as well as performances with Group of Seven and Against the Grain. A seasoned orchestral musician, Naomi has performed under the batons of such celebrated conductors as Lorin Maazel, Zubin Mehta, Seiji Ozawa, Simon Rattle, Daniel Barenboim, Riccardo Chailly, Valery Gergiev and Placido Domingo. She is a former member of the internationally acclaimed Orquesta Palau de Les Arts Reina Sofia in Valencia, Spain (under the direction of Lorin Maazel and Zubin Mehta) as well as former co-principal cellist of the Orquesta Sinfonica de Tenerife. Naomi spends her summers in beautiful southern Oregon where she is in her nineteenth season as principal cellist of the Britt Festival Orchestra.
Trained as a classical violinist, Toronto musician Alex Cheung is continuing his journey through many different musical genres. He performs folk, Celtic, pop/rock, country, R&B, jazz, bluegrass and classical music. Alex's proficiency in improvisation and arrangement has given him the opportunity to collaborate with many artists and bands, including Julie C, Kat Goldman, Philomene Hoffman, Luke Jackson, the late Kenny Maclean, the Big Sound, Celtic band Up All Night, bluegrass/roots band Often Running, and acoustic 80's band the McFlies.
In 2006, Alex entered the "Shock the Monkey Remix Competition" hosted by Realworld Records and earned an honourable mention by Peter Gabriel himself. Born and raised in Hong Kong, Alex picked up a 1/8-sized violin for the first time at the age of five. Alex has always had a passion for live music. His influences include classical maestro Itzak Perlman, Joshua Bell, the late Stephane Grappelli, Celtic fiddlers JP Cormier and Troy MacGillivray. The artist from whom he draws most inspiration is the late Martyn Bennett.