2019 Festival Adjudicators

Mary-Elizabeth Brown – Strings

Praised by critics for her “impeccable accuracy and rhythmic precision” (Christophe Huss, Le Devoir) and “ability to unfold bittersweet magic” (Rhein Main Presse) Canadian violinist Mary-Elizabeth Brown delights audiences around the world as a concerto soloist, recitalist and concertmaster. In recent seasons, she has appeared as an invited soloist with orchestra more than forty times in Europe, Asia, North and South America, playing numerous national television and radio broadcasts including the 2014 New Years live-to-air broadcast from Nanjing, China. As a chamber musician, she has shared the stage with esteemed chamber music colleagues at festivals including Festival Campos do Jordao (Brazil), Mozarteum Uruguay, The White House (USA), the Aldeburgh Festival (UK), Arts and Letters Club of Toronto, Indian River Festival, Elora Festival and Banff Summer Arts Festival (Canada). Her recording of the last 3 Mozart Violin Concerti for new Mozart Effect recordings were released worldwide in 2017. A champion of innovation and new music, she premiered the world’s first concerto for 3D violin and orchestra in the fall of 2018 after spending 2 years as the lead musician on Canada’s only nationally funded 3D Printed Instrument initiative.

Equally at home as a concertmaster, Mary-Elizabeth is recognized internationally as “superbly confident in her role as leader” (Norfolk Times) and “an outstanding concertmaster” (El Adelantado, Spain). To date, she has led nearly 1000 concerts on 4 continents under the direction of some of the most noted conductors of our time: at the invitation of Lorin Maazel, she led orchestra of the Young Artists from the Met production of Rape of Lucretia; recorded Verdi’s Requiem under the baton of Placido Domingo; toured South America playing Scherezade with Carlos Miguel Prieto; joined the Beijing Symphony Orchestra for their 2017 North American tour, and was the solo violinist for the recording of John Burge’s Flander Fields Reflections that won the 2009 Juno for best composition. She currently holds the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra's Bielak-Hartmann Concertmaster's Chair where she also oversees the mentorship program in partnership with the University of Ottawa.

Mary-Elizabeth is a passionate advocate for music education at all ages. She has followed parallel paths as a performer and pedagogue for nearly 2 decades as a sought-after teacher, clinician, adjudicator and speaker in Canada and abroad. Her initiative, Strings Around The World, makes music education and teacher training accessible to violinists worldwide and facilitates yearly outreach projects in developing countries. She is a member of the Royal Conservatory of Music's College of Examiners, a licensed Kindermusik Educator and trained Suzuki teacher. Mary-Elizabeth began studying the violin in her local Suzuki program at the age of 5 and holds degrees from the University of Toronto and l’Université de Montreal where she completed her doctorate as a Schmeelk Research Fellow. Her principal teachers and mentors include David Zafer, Mark Skazinetsky, Ilya Kaler and Jean-François Rivest. She plays on a 1766 Giuseppe Gagliano violin on permanent loan from an anonymous donor.


Rick Humphrey – Instrumental

Mr. Rick Humphrey was a Music Educator for the Scarborough Board of Education and the TDSB for over 30 years.  During that time, he taught Music in both Elementary and Secondary Schools.  

Mr. Humphrey is a Graduate of the Faculty of Music at the University of Toronto where he was a Bassoon major.  He earned his ARCT Performers degree in piano with the Royal Conservatory of Music and was an Organist and Choir Director at Guildwood Community Presbyterian Church.  Mr. Humphrey is also recognized as a national and international expert in workshops and conducting English Handbell ensembles, having presented in Japan, Australia, the United States, and Canada.  He has a Masters of Education from Central Michigan University. 

Mr. Humphrey co-conducted the All Scarborough All-City Wind Symphony along with Canadian composer, Donald Coakley.  As a Music Consultant, he organized the Scarborough Board of Education Music Festival which annually involved over 15000 student musicians in performance venues across the city and the Scarborough Music Camps at Camp Manitouwabing and Camp Olympia.  Recently, he acted as Camp Director for Music by the Lake, a residential Music Camp for Toronto District School Board students from Grades 6 to 12 at Camp Wahanowin.

He retired, after having been a Vice-Principal at Dr. Norman Bethune C. I. where, in addition to his Vice-Principal duties, he coached the Bethune Jazz Band, a group that received invitations to the Nationals of MusicFest Canada consistently and received numerous awards.  His career has been a varied one as a Teacher teaching band, vocal, and strings in the classroom, as a Curriculum Consultant for the Scarborough Board, and as Curriculum Co-ordinator for the Toronto District School Board, East Division.  

In his retirement, Mr. Humphrey as been active as an adjudicator, supplying as a Vice-Principal when needed, a sailor, and is currently a member of the Amadeus Choir of Greater Toronto.

Dr. Karin Di Bella– Piano

Dr. Karin Di Bella is an accomplished pianist and educator. She has appeared as a concerto soloist with orchestras in the United States and Canada (including the Niagara Symphony) and has an active collaborative career with percussionists, string players, wind players and vocalists around the continent. 

Previously on faculty at the Glenn Gould School of the Royal Conservatory of Music, Dr. Di Bella is currently Associate Professor of Piano at Brock University where she teaches studio piano, master classes, accompanying, keyboard harmony, piano literature and piano pedagogy. She is also sought after as an adjudicator for music festivals across Canada and is a senior piano examiner for the Royal Conservatory of Music. 

Her areas of expertise include contemporary Canadian repertoire, particularly the works by Jack Behrens, music and politics of the 1920s and 1930s, and historical instruments and techniques of the 18th and 19th centuries. Her CD Variants: Solo Piano Music of Jack Behrens is available for purchase through the Canadian Music Centre (, on iTunes, or for streaming on the Naxos database.

Eric Shaw – Vocal

Tenor Eric Shaw has established an international reputation through performances at a number of renowned musical centres. From Wexford to Lincoln Center to Tanglewood and Genoa he has been lauded for “singing and acting with fluent ease and charm” (Michael Kennedy, Sunday Telegraph, London, UK). Heard in New York with Botstein and the American Symphony Orchestra in Schumann’s DAS PARADIES UND DIE PERI at Lincoln Center,  he was in Toronto for the World Premiere    of Chan Ka Nin’s THE WEAVING MAIDEN for Soundstreams, in ROMÉO ET JULIETTE as Tybalt for Opera Ontario and at the Sugar Creek Festival of Song in the U.S. for Ramiro in LA CENERENTOLA. He sang the Evangelist in Bach’s MATTHAUS PASSION with the Victoria Symphony and Ramiro in LA CENERENTOLA at Teatro Massimo Bellini in Catania.

In 2007-2008, he debuted with the National Chorale in New York in DIE SCHÖPFUNG and sang Rossini’s PETITE MESSE SOLENNELLE for the Grand Philharmonic Choir (Kitchener-Waterloo) and the Bach Elgar Choir of Hamilton. As well, he reprised his role in DIE DREI PINTOS for Toronto’s Opera in Concert, sang Bach’s Passions in Toronto and Peterborough, and appeared for Manitoba Opera in JASON AND HANNA. His 2008-2009 schedule included performances with the Vancouver Island Symphony, Regina Philharmonic Chorus, and the Guelph Chamber choir singing works of Beethoven, Handel and Bach.

Other engagements included Mozart’s REQUIEM for the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, MESSIAH for the Elora Festival Singers and Okanagen Festival Choir and a return to the Wexford Festival for Donizetti’s RITA and Haydn’s DIE SCHÖPFUNG. As well he was featured in DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE by Toronto’s Opera Atelier and Schafer’s THE PALACE OF THE CINNABAR PHOENIX for Patria Music Theatre.

Proficient in French, English German and Italian, he debuted at the Wexford Festival as Gaston in DIE DREI PINTOS by Weber/Mahler (recording later released by Naxos) and returned for Claudio in Braunfels’ PRINZESSIN BRAMBILLA, also a Naxos release. His Italian debut came in Bologna in Schubert’s DIE FREUNDE VON SALAMANCA and further performances in Italy have included the title role in CANDIDE in Genoa. At Tanglewood he created the role of Philip the Handsome in RAGE D’AMOUR and he returned to Lincoln Center with Botstein and the American Symphony Orchestra singing the role of Tum Tum in Hindemith’s DAS NUSCH NUSCHI. In Canada Mr. Shaw appeared as the White Stag in the World Premiere of R. Murray Schafer’s THE ENCHANTED FOREST. The Jubilee Hall was the scene of his debut at the Aldeburgh Festival where he was featured as Lysander in Britten's A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM.

Mr. Shaw was chosen for the Calgary Opera’s production of Weill’s SEVEN DEADLY SINS and further recent engagements have included Idreno in Rossini’s SEMIRAMIDE for Opera in Concert, MESSIAH in Hamilton, Ontario, CARMINA BURANA for the Victoria Symphony, Nanki Poo in MIKADO for Toronto Operetta Theatre and Bach’s ST. JOHN PASSION with the Fanshawe Chorus of London, Ontario. He has also appeared with Opera Lyra Ottawa, Pacific Opera Victoria, the Grand Philharmonic Choir and in Bangor, Maine, singing Orff, Handel, Johann and Richard Strauss and Bach. Past seasons have been highlighted by IL BARBIERE DI SIVIGLIA with the Kingston Symphony, Puccini's MESSA DI GLORIA with the Hamilton Philharmonic and Bach's MAGNIFICAT for the Melos Ensemble in Kingston. The McGill University graduate was also heard as Leo in the Canadian operetta, LEO THE ROYAL CADET for the Toronto Operetta Theatre and was engaged by Utah Opera for Almaviva in IL BARBIERE DI SIVIGLIA, St. Brioche in MERRY WIDOW and Bardolfo in FALSTAFF. Other roles include Le Pecheur in LE ROSSIGNOL, Little Bat in Floyd’s SUSANNAH, Ralph in H.M.S. PINAFORE, Inkslinger in PAUL BUNYAN, Frederic in PIRATES OF PENZANCE and Belfiore in LA FINTA GIARDINIERA. He has appeared in Mozart's MASS IN C MINOR with the Amadeus Choir of Toronto and on radio in CREATION, MESSIAH, and JUDAS MACCABAEUS.

Eric Shaw is McGill University graduate in Voice and Harpsichord and has attained a Masters in Opera Performance from University of Toronto.  He is currently running a full time voice studio and working with the Toronto District School Board as a music supply teacher and accompanist.  Eric appears regularly as a choral clinician and conductor with various Toronto choirs such as the Bel Canto Singers and Serenata Singers.  He has also directed music theatre productions such as THE WIZARD OF OZ for Arts Integra, at Markham Theatre.  Most recently, he has directed the operas Carmen and Don Giovanni for the Soo Theatre in Michigan.

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