She was a member of the University of Toronto Opera Orchestra and University of Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Leaning towards her passion for children’s music education she mentored under Dorothy
Jones and obtained here ECE Suzuki training in 1996. Dini continued her Violin and ECE studies at the San Francisco Conservatory.
She began teaching Suzuki in Toronto in 1993 with TCI (Toronto Children’s Institute for Music and the Arts). In 1995 she taught with the Toronto Board of Education, six schools including violin, viola, cello and bass. In 2002-2004 she taught violin in London Ontario at CTEC (Children’s Talent Education Center).
She currently is director of her own violin academy in Stratford, Ontario. The renowned school Stratford Strings Academy provides violin training for all levels of Suzuki and beyond. Royal Conservatory exams are highlighted in the curriculum past grade 4 level. The Stratford Strings Academy provides its violinists with weekly group classes, many performance opportunities, master classes, and summer camps, Disney performing excursions and exchanges with other violin schools throughout the world.
She is founder and director of the scholarship based, charitable, youth ensemble the ‘Kathleen Parlow Quartet’, which provides young string players from South Western Ontario the opportunity to train and embrace chamber music.
She is currently married to Canadian Operatic Baritone James Westman and enjoys watching their son’s Liam and Hardy discover the violin and cello respectively.
For five years she was a member of the Stratford Symphony Orchestra and currently freelances as a violinist.
Mus.B, Music Education, University of Toronto with Honors
Berlin, Germany - August,1987, International Suzuki Conference
Dublin, Ireland – August 1995, International Suzuki Conference
Chicago, Illinois - 1994, 6th American Suzuki Teachers Conference
Chicago, Illinois -,1996, 7th American Suzuki Teachers Conference
Minneapolis, MN, 2004 - American Suzuki Teachers Conference
Suzuki Violin Book 1A ( 1993) - Michelle George , Chicago
Suzuki Violin Book 1B ( 1993) - Michelle George, Chicago
Intro To ECE ( 1996) – Dorthy Jones, London, Ontario
Suzuki Violin Book 3 (2005)- Karen Kimmit, Waterloo, Ontario
Suzuki Violin Book 4 ( 2004) - Edward Kreitman, Waterloo, Ontario
Suzuki Violin Book 5 ( 2004) - Edward Kreitman, Waterloo, Ontario
Violin Comparison Overview Book 6+ (1998) - Louise Beherend – Stanford California
Suzuki Violin Book 6+ (1997) Alice Joy Lewis– Stanford California
Dini studied violin at the Royal Conservatory with renowned teacher Clara Schranz. She completed her grade 10 Royal Conservatory with honors and distinction. Dini then studied with Lorna Mcdonald and Helen Simmie and obtained with honors her Bachelor of Music Education degree from the University of Toronto.
Professor: University of Western
Please contact for available lessons in Stratford, Ontario
"Baritone James Westman's passionate performance as Germont, showed wide dramatic range and superb vocal control. His keen sense of theatric expression kept the audience riveted to his every utterance."
– Opera News, Robert Coleman, 2014
Canadian baritone James Westman has appeared in many of the world’s leading opera, recital and concert halls. Westman’s versatility and artistic sensibility has earned him the highest praise from audiences and critics of Grand Opera, Oratorio, Art Song, Baroque, Chamber and Modern classical music.
He has premiered many new operas; Richard Danielpour’s Margaret Garner, Kevin Puts’ Silent Night, André Previn’s A Streetcar Named Desire, Neil Weisensel’s Riel: Heart of the North and the title role of Bramwell Tovey’s The Inventor. His Career has encompassed over 35 years of singing over 60 roles on the opera stage, and over 40 oratorios/symphonic works.
His signature role, Germont in Verdi’s La Traviata has been heard in over 200 performances with major companies, including San Francisco Opera, Canadian Opera Company Houston Grand Opera, Opera Bordeaux, Florida Grand Opera Cologne Opera, Chicago Lyric Opera, L.A. Opera, Vancouver Opera, Vienna State Opera, Graz Opera, Santa Fe Opera, and the English National Opera
Mr. Westman enjoys the dynamic intimacy of art song recitals. He has performed recitals in many leading predominant recital halls; Wigmore, Carnegie, Musikverein, Roy Thompson, Morgan Library, Koerner Hall, Matsumoto, Snape Maltings, NAC, Royal Albert, Queen Elizabeth, Rudolfinum, Bastille, Kammermusiksaal, St. David, Sheldonian, Herbts, Alice Tully, Avery Fisher, and Palacio de Bellas Artes. He has collaborated with many great pianists such as Martin Kats, Malcolm Martineau, Warren Jones, John Churchwell, Graham Johnson, Craig Ruttenberg, Simon Lepper, John Greer, Brian Zeger, Pierre Valet, Jeewon Park and Willaim Aide. Composers that have composed art songs specifically for Mr. Westman are; John Greer, John Hawkins, John Beckwith, Derek Holeman, Srul Irving Glick, Bramwell Tovey, Larisa Kuzmenko, Gary Kulesha, Robert Aitken, André Previn, and Scott Tresham.
Formerly a successful boy treble, Mr. Westman was a member of the American Boys Choir, the Paris Boys Choir and the Vienna Boys Choir. He was the first boy to perform and record the fourth movement of Mahler’s Symphony No. 4, (Child's View of Heaven) and toured this work with the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra in Austria, Poland, Czechoslovakia, East and West Germany and Russia. He had the great opportunity to perform Mahler’s Fourth Symphony with the great Leonard Bernstein at age twelve.
Mr. Westman placed first in all international competitions in which he has participated; including ‘Concert of the Nation’ /Mexico (1983), San Francisco Opera ‘Merola Competition’ (1998), the ‘George London Competition’ (1997), the D’angelo Competition (1997), the ‘Jeunes Ambassadeurs Lyrique’ (1996), and the ‘Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation’ (1999). ‘Marylin Horne Foundation Award’ (1999). In June of 1999 he was a finalist and the audience favorite award winner at the Cardiff Singer of the World Competition.
In recent years Mr. Westman has garnished praise for his vocal training of professional young opera singers in ensembles and Universities/Conservatory programs throughout the world. The University of Toronto, Laurier, UBC, Ottawa University, Carleton, York University, University of Buffalo, Penn State, Michigan State University, South Louisiana University, San Francisco Conservatory, Beijing Conservatory, Santa Fe Opera, Pittsburg Opera, St Louis Opera, Utah Opera, Calgary Opera, Ottawa Lyra, Montreal Opera and Stanford University.
Recent seasons included; Canadian Premiere, Calgary Opera, Lt. Gordon in Kevin Puts’ Silent Night; New York Philharmonic, Handel’s Messiah; New York Philharmonic, Orff’s Carmina Burana; Pacific Opera Victoria, Enrico in Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor; Opera Lyra Ottawa, Count Almaviva in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro; Canadian Opera Company, Germont in Verdi’s La Traviata; Quebec Opera, Scarpia in Puccini’s Tosca; Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Rimsky Korsakov’s Mozart and Salieri; National Arts Orchestra, Brahms’s Requiem with the new chief conductor Alexander Shelley. In 2017, Mr Westman performed and recorded the role of Sir John A. Macdonald in Harry Somers’ Louis Riel with the Canadian Opera Company - co-production/recording with NAC Orchestra celebrating 150 years of Canadian history. James sang the Doctor In Barber’s Vanessa in Ireland’s Wexford Opera Festival and sang the role of Enrico in Lucia for Utah Opera. He made his Rigoletto debut in 2018 with Montreal Opera and his Nabucco debut with Quebec Opera, May of 2019. He recently performed La Traviata with Manitoba, Victoria, Edmonton and Montréal opera companies in a joint production. This year he will be singing Rigoletto in Edmonton, Dallas and Spain.
Westman has recorded with Decca, BBC, CBC, Naxos, Opera Rara and Centre Disc. His recordings have been nominated for four Juno’s and two Grammy’s. James Westman hosts on CBC radio 2, ’This is my Music’ and will contribute to CBC’s Saturday Afternoon at the Opera.
“Internationally acclaimed Canadian Baritone, James Westman, acts as impressively as he sings, stealing the show.”
– London, England Financial Times, 2013
“In the title role of Rigoletto, James Westman impressed with a flinty, menacing baritone that could turn tender or pathetic on a dime.”
– Opera Canada, 2018
“Nabucco, The technique is confidently unfaltering, with highs of an impressive ease, a creamy legato and a stamp of a beautiful roundness.”
– Backtrack, 2019
PIANO ACCOMPANIST- JACKIE OLSEN
Jackie Olsen started her musical training at a young age with piano lessons at age 3, violin at age 10, and flute instruction upon entering high school. Throughout the remainder of high school, she mainly focused on her piano studies and volunteered as an accompanist for fellow students in the music program. She has participated in many musical events and competitions and has achieved her A.R.C.T. from the Royal Conservatory of Music. Although she did not pursue an education in the field of music but graduated with an Engineering degree at the University of Waterloo, her love of music has never ceased and she is passing it onto her children. Currently, she is the accompanist for the Stratford Strings Academy and, for the last few years, has accompanied her own children as well as many other students in Stratford involved in the Kiwanis Music Festival and Royal Conservatory exams. She enjoys working with children and helping them develop their talents in music. Her busy life also includes being a stay-at-home mom to her 5 children.