Kai Leung, Associate Conductor

Kai Leung, Associate Conductor

Kai Leung holds a Bachelor of Music from the University of Toronto, where he studied voice and composition. He is the Artistic Director of the Modern Sound Collective, where he conducts Concreamus, Datsuzoku, Sehnsucht, and Frisson. He also serves as the Associate Conductor with the Orpheus Choir of Toronto, and as the Assistant Conductor and Composer in Residence at St. Clements Church. Kai sings baritone with the TMSingers and the Schola Cantorum of St. Basil’s Catholic Church. Kai is also the conductor and choir manager of the Toronto Festival Singers, the professional synagogue choir at the Song Shul.

Kai is the 2020 recipient of the prestigious William and Phyllis Waters Graduating Award from the University of Toronto Faculty of Music. This award is presented each year to one graduating student from any stream who is deemed to have the greatest potential to make an important contribution to the field of Music. During his time at UofT, Kai was also awarded the 2019 Arthur Plettner Scholarship, the 2019 Richard I Thorman Award, and the 2018 Lloyd Bradshaw Prize.

During his undergraduate years, Kai studied composition with Roger Bergs. His works have been performed by the Vancouver Chamber Choir, Resonance Youth Choir, the Amadeus Choir of Greater Toronto, the Vancouver Youth Choir, Modern Sound Collective, and many other choral groups around Canada, the United States, and Europe. Kai is the winner of the 2023 Debbie Fleming prize for choral composition, presented by the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir.

Former Associate Conductors

Elise Naccarato

2017 – 2020

After completing her Master in Music (Choral Conducting) in 2017, she has been privileged to receive incredible opportunities. Elise is currently the Associate Conductor of Chorus Niagara, under the leadership of Robert Cooper. She has apprenticed with Michael Zaugg and Jon Washburn – two of Canada’s other finest choral leaders – and is the Artistic Director and founder of a women’s choir, Myriad. Internationally, Elise was the runner up in the JP Vitols International Conducting Competition and was the sole representative for Canada as the conductor of the Hamilton Estonian Choir at the 2019 Estonian Song Festival. She looks forward to seeing what the future has in store!

Walter Mahabir

2015 – 2017

Walter is a graduate of St. Michael’s Choir School and York University (BFA Classical Voice), and has sung with the Orpheus Choir of Toronto, Ontario Male Chorus, the Ottawa Bach Choir, the Nathaniel Dett Chorale, the Cantabile Chamber Singers and the Canadian Men’s Chorus. His early career as a music teacher and conductor began at the Regent Park School of Music, continued through his term as Apprentice Conductor with the Orpheus Choir, and led to the position of Assistant Conductor for the 2016 Ontario Youth Choir under Robert Cooper’s mentorship.

After completing his Master’s Degree in Choral Conducting at the Schulich School of Music in Montreal, Walter has embarked on a journey of learning and conducting in Berlin, Germany.

Greg Rainville

2008 – 2015

Greg is a graduate of the Crane School of Music and the University of Toronto, where he received his Masters in Conducting. He is a two-time recipient of the Elmer Iseler Fellowship in Conducting. Greg has been honoured to work and study with such conductors and educators as Robert Cooper, Dr. Doreen Rao, Noel Edison, Agnes Grossman and Dr. Raffi Armenian.

Greg is Co-Founder and Artistic Director of the Canadian Men’s Chorus, which champions the creation of new Canadian choral music. Founded in 2010, the Chorus has had the privilege of premiering over 40 new Canadian choral works, and has performed in various festivals and special events across Ontario. With the Canadian Men’s Chorus, Greg has been recorded as part of Aaron Jensen’s album titled From Sea to Sea.

 As a major advocate of the creation of new and unique Canadian music, Greg has secured a place in the next generation of Canadian conductors. He has emerged as a dynamic conductor, vocal coach and music educator with an extensive traditional and contemporary classical repertoire. He has worked with concert choirs, church choirs, live theatre, and vocal students across Ontario and beyond. Greg is often called upon to lead masterclasses and workshops.

Brian Wismath

2006 – 2008

Brian began his education in choral music as a chorister in the Toronto Mendelssohn Youth Choir under Robert Cooper’s direction. After completing a Bachelor of Music at Queen’s University, he received a Master of Music in Choral Conducting from the University of Arizona.

Currently based in Victoria, BC, Brian is music director of Vox Humana Chamber Choir, Civic Orchestra of Victoria, Linden Singers of Victoria, Victoria Choral Society, and Victoria Conservatory of Music Chorale. He is in demand as a clinician and has served as director of Vancouver Peace Choir, University of Victoria Chamber Singers and Tucson Masterworks Chorale, associate conductor of Orpheus Choir of Toronto and Chorus Niagara, and assistant conductor of St. Jacob’s Youth Choir (Stockholm, Sweden), Ontario Youth Choir and Opera in Concert Chorus (Toronto).

A passionate advocate for the performance of new music, Brian has commissioned and premiered numerous works by composers from around the world.

In 2017 he was awarded the Herbert Drost Award by the British Columbia Choral Federation in recognition of his work, dedication and efforts that have provided positive long-term effects on the British Columbia choral community.

(L to R) Greg Rainville, Brian Wismath, Elise Naccarato, Walter Mahabir