Profiles Search » Cassandra Leshchyshyn, ON

Cassandra Leshchyshyn, ON

Toronto , Ontario , CANADA

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01. How old were you when you started playing your instrument?/ Quel âge aviez-vous quand vous avez commencé à jouer votre instrument ?
4 years old

02. Why did you choose your instrument?/ Pourquoi avez-vous choisi cet instrument ?
Since I was only four years old when I began playing the violin, my parents chose the instrument for me and encouraged me to play. My older sister, who I looked up to very much, played violin as well. This also encouraged me to play the instrument when I was a child.

03. Describe some of your professional goals./Décrivez quelques-unes de vos ambitions professionnelles.
I intend to complete my undergraduate degree in violin performance at the University of Toronto and to then pursue a Masters degree whether in Toronto or abroad. In terms of a career I look to become a professional orchestral musician - whether in a symphony orchestra, a ballet orchestra, or as part of an opera company. As well, I plan to be involved in chamber music, as I believe it to be a vital component of classical music. Lastly, I would like to be a private teacher.

04. What are your other interests and/or hobbies?/ Quels sont vos autres intérêts ou passe-temps?
I enjoy running, travelling, as well as outdoor activities like skiing, hiking, and camping. Academically, I am interested in classics - anything having to do with ancient Greece or Rome. I am also a big fan of Il Volo - a group of three young Italian tenors from Italy. I have attended many of their concerts which I have all thoroughly enjoyed. I even managed to meet them and have a look inside their tour bus! I also love to watch the television series Parks and Recreation, The Mindy Project, and Friends.

05. Do you write/arrange your own music?/ Êtes-vous compositeur ou arrangeur de votre propre musique ?
My teacher once made me write a cadenza for the first movement of Mozart's Concerto No. 5 - I wonder what Mozart would have thought of my efforts...other than that I have not done any arranging or writing, but believe that it would be interesting to try it out sometime, and that it is a valuable skill to have as a musician.

06. Who is your favourite classical musician?/ Quel est votre artiste (musicien) préféré ?
There are too many wonderful classical musicians who I look up to to be able to choose only one favorite…but I’ll say that I most admire those musicians who are skilled in performing in various settings including orchestral and chamber settings, as well as in solo recitals and as a soloist with an orchestra.

07. What is your favourite piece of music?/ Quel est votre morceau préféré ?
Usually it is what I am working on at the time. Right now, that would include the NYOC’s repertoire for this summer! In particular, I’m looking forward to learning Ligeti’s first string quartet, since I have yet to play a chamber piece of the contemporary classical music genre. Also, as part of my preparation for a jury, I am working on a piece that I take a particular liking to – Beethoven’s Romance in F major.

08. What is your favourite concerto for your instrument?/ Quel est votre concerto préféré pour votre instrument?
Like the “favorite musician” question it is difficult for me to decide only one

09. For returning members: What is your fondest memory from a previous session and/or tour?/ Pour participants vétérans : Quels sont vos souvenirs préférés de la session ou tournée précédente de l’ONJC ?
My fondest memory of my NYOC experience last year has to be the concert we performed in Montreal’s basilica, Notre-Dame. Regardless of the fact that it was quite hot and muggy in the church, the energy in the church from both the audience and musicians on stage was incomparable to that of any other concert in which I have ever performed. It was a free concert for the audience and since it was during the summer the city was packed with tourists, many of which apparently appreciated and enjoyed our music! Further, the church itself is beautiful, and it was such a treat to be able to play in such a gorgeous space.

10. What made you decide to pursue classical music?/ Pourquoi avez-vous choisi une formation en musique classique ?
I have played the violin throughout my childhood but began to think about it more seriously in high school - particularly when I became a member of the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra. I admired the professionalism of my friends and colleagues, as well as of the coaches and conductors. From this professionalism comes dedication, team work, patience, leadership, musical creativity, and fun, which are all elements that I most look forward to in my pursuit of a classical music career.

11. What do you think is the biggest challenge you face in your pursuit of a career in music?/ Quel est le plus grand obstacle à surmonter afin de poursuivre une carrière en musique ?
The biggest challenge that I face in my pursuit of a career in music is firstly, finding an orchestral position after completion of my formal education. So many students graduate from music conservatories and universities each year, and there are only limited orchestral positions available. The second challenge is finding a job in Toronto - the city in which I was born and raised and would love to continue living in and eventually working in.

12. Why did you choose to apply to NYO Canada?/ Pourquoi avez-vous choisi de poser votre candidature pour NYO Canada?
I believe that the NYOC provides the ultimate orchestral experience and more for young classical musicians. Not only do members have the opportunity to learn, rehearse and perform major orchestral works and chamber music with guidance from professional musicians from around Canada, but we have the opportunity to travel and perform multiple concerts around the country. Further, it is exciting to be able to meet and work with young musicians from across Canada. The NYOC provides this educational, fun, and fulfilling experience with a scholarship covering most of the cost of the trip as well as an additional $1000 scholarship upon successful completion of the program, which as students we greatly appreciate.

13. How do you feel you will benefit from participation in NYO Canada?/ Comment bénéficierez-vous de votre participation dans le programme de NYO Canada?
Through participation in the NYOC I feel that I will develop the orchestral experience needed to be part of a professional orchestra. These are skills that I highly value, as being in a professional orchestra is both a career and a life goal of mine. Not only will we expand our orchestral repertoire, but we will also gain performance experience - we will perform at nine formal concert as well as in chamber concerts.

14. Were you accepted to any other summer music programs this year?/ Avez-vous été accepté/e à tout autre programme musical estival cette année?
Yes, I was accepted to two other programs which are both in Quebec - Domaine Forget and Orford Academy.

15. If you weren’t touring with the NYO Canada, what would you be doing during the summer?/ Si vous n’étiez pas en tournée avec NYO Canada, que feriez-vous cet été?
I would most likely be attending one of the two summer music programs listed above, working, practicing, travelling, and relaxing.

16. What was the proudest moment of your music career thus far?/ Jusqu’ici, quel est le moment de votre carrière musicale qui vous a apporté le plus de fierté?
The high point of my musical career was spending last summer with the NYOC. Not only did my musical career benefit from the experience, but I was also very fortunate to have made so many close friendships with musicians from across Canada. I’m so glad that we kept in touch throughout the year and I so look forward to returning this summer!

17. What scholarships, if any, have you been awarded in the past year?/ Quelles bourses, le cas échéant, avez-vous remporté au cours de la dernière année?
I have been awarded the William Fulton and Caroline Doherty Fulton Memorial Scholarship for 2013, as well as the Nick Gelmych Violin Scholarship for 2014, both by the Faculty of Music Schloarships and Awards Committee at the University of Toronto. As well, I have been designated a University of Toronto Scholar.