MEET THE MUSICIANS

Who We Are

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EVA TONCHEVA

VIOLIN

Ms. Toncheva obtained her Bachelor of Music degree in Violin Performance jointly from the University of Lethbridge and the University of British Columbia in 2018. She enjoys being immersed in Calgary’s rich musical community, offering her services both as a performer and as a teacher. She is currently serving as concertmaster of the Rocky Mountain Symphony Orchestra, is a founding member of contemporary string ensemble Stringendo, and regularly performs with Symphony of the Kootenays, Kamloops Symphony Orchestra and other orchestral and chamber ensembles throughout Southern Alberta and BC. Eva is currently the violin teacher on faculty at the Asylum for Art. When her violin is in its case, she enjoys climbing the Rocky Mountains and practicing mindfulness meditation.

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ANGELA SMART

VIOLIN

Angela Smart is a Calgary-based violinist and pianist who has been an active part in the music community in Calgary for more than the past decade. Having obtained both her Master of Music (MMus) and Bachelor of Music (BMus) specializing in violin performance from the University of Calgary, Angela has a diverse skill set of teaching and performing on multiple instruments. 

 

During her studies at the University of Calgary, Angela served as concertmaster for the University Orchestra, as well as a violinist in the U of C faculty String Quartet, while maintaining an active freelance and teaching career. As a soloist, Angela was invited to perform the Sibelius Violin Concerto with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra in 2020, after successfully competing in the RBC Concerto Competition. She has performed with many international recording artists such as Michael Buble, Il Divo, 2Cellos and many more. 

Prior to devoting her studies exclusively to music, Angela was a highly trained ballerina, which provided her with a unique, highly developed kinesthetic awareness. During her graduate studies, Angela received the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Grant from the Government of Canada for her research in how movement affects violin performance and pedagogy. Movement and it’s technical and performance practice integration, is a large component of Angela’s unique performance and teaching style. 

As a freelance performer, Angela enjoys performing in a variety of capacities both domestic and abroad. As an orchestral musician, she has, and continues to perform with numerous local and international ensembles including: the Academia Europea dell’Opera Orchestra (Italy); The Rocky Mountain Symphony (Alberta); Symphony of the Kootenays (British Columbia) and many more. Recently, Angela has been a founding member in several new Calgary-based ensembles including the Stringendo Ensemble; the Fretless Femmes; and the Bridgeland Quartet. Aside from her classical endeavors, Angela can often be found performing Hip-Hop and R&B selection as an electric violinist in a variety of venues ranging from art galleries to cocktail lounges and nightclubs around the city. 

 

When she is not performing, Angela is extremely passionate about teaching and sharing the joy of music with others. She has been heading a full-time private music studio in the Calgary area since 2014, and frequently appears as a guest-lecturer for various masterclasses in and around the city.

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ANDREA POON

VIOLA

Andrea completed her BMus in performance with honours from the University of Toronto, her MMus in performance, as well as her Pre-Doctorate Diploma (D.E.P.A) from l'Université de Montréal. Andrea has been very fortunate to have studied with Fiona Carnie, Katharine Rapoport, and Jutta Puchhammer-Sédillot. 

 

As an avid ensemble musician, Andrea has had the opportunity to play with many diverse chamber ensembles and orchestras across the country and Europe. In 2019 Andrea, along with Timepoint Ensemble, premiered Ghost Opera as after completing a residency at the prestigious Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. Currently based in Calgary, Andrea enjoys her busy teaching schedule as a private violin/viola instructor and faculty member of the Amici String Program. When Andrea isn't teaching, she enjoys participating in the City's wonderful music community. 

MARIA VANDER HOEK

CELLO

Maria Vander Hoek grew up in Calgary and was born with a passion for music. She started playing cello at a very young age, participating in the Academy of Music at Mount Royal and perfomed frequently in the Kiwanis Music Festival. She began her Bachelor of Music Performance degree at the University of Calgary, moved to Victoria, BC and graduated from the University of Victoria in 2006.  She moved back to Calgary in 2012, currently teaches the cello at Long and Mcquade and is the assistant principal in the Rocky Mountain Symphony Orchestra, stepping in as principal when necessary.  She also freelances, performing at weddings and social functions around town. She was a cellist in the Raven Baroque ensemble in Victoria, and now plays with various ensembles in Calgary. She is currently part of the Listeso String Quartet performing Candlelight Concerts around the city, as well as Oculus string quartet and Uptown Strings.  She has also performed in the Prince George Symphony Orchestra, the Kamloops Symphony, and the Calgary Civic Symphony Orchestra.

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