Zimfira Poloz, Artistic Director
Zimfira Poloz is a highly respected conductor, educator and adjudicator with a distinguished international reputation. She has been decorated with numerous awards in her long career, including the Honoured Representative of Education of the Republic of Kazakhstan Award, the city of Hamilton’s V.I.P. Award, and more recently, the Ontario Art Council’s Leslie Bell Prize for Choral Conducting. She is invited regularly to serve as clinician for festivals, lead workshops for educators, and jury International Choir Competitions, including the World Choir Games.
Ms. Poloz is the Artistic Director for both the Young Voices Toronto and the Hamilton Children’s Choir; in addition to her global travels as clinician and conductor, she teaches Vocal Pedagogy for Young Choirs at the University of Toronto. Ms. Poloz is a specialist in the Phonopedic Method of Voice Development, created by Professor V. Yemeljanov of Russia, an innovative educational program which includes voice development, coordination and training.
Ms. Poloz first established her musical credentials in Kazakhstan, founding the country’s first Choir School. In addition to her duties as Principal of the school, she served as Artistic Director and Conductor of the school’s Concert Choir, “Koktem”. Under Ms. Poloz’s direction, “Koktem” attained top international choral status and was a frequent prize-winner in choral competitions and festivals around the world.
Conductor, Brio & Allegria Choirs
Tracy Wong hails from Malaysia and is a choral conductor, music educator, vocalist, collaborative pianist and arranger. She is currently the Artistic Director of the Mississauga Festival Youth Choir. Tracy holds a Master in Music Performance (Choral Conducting) at the University of Toronto (U of T) under the tutelage of Dr. Hilary Apfelstadt and will begin her studies in the Doctoral in Musical Arts (Choral Conducting) program at the same faculty in September 2015. At U of T, she was the Assistant Conductor of the U of T Women’s Chamber Choir (2013-2015) and was nominated for the Faculty of Music Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award 2014. She also holds a degree in Piano Performance from the University of Newcastle, Australia, and was awarded the Madge Hoy Prize for the best final year pass in Piano Studies. She was a member of The University of Newcastle Chamber Choir, Australian National Champions for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) Choir of the Year 2006. Tracy has diplomas in both piano performance and voice from the Australian Music Education Board and Trinity College London.
Tracy worked for 7 years in Malaysia as Assistant Academy Director of Young Choral Academy (YCA) Malaysia. At YCA she was the conductor of the Kuala Lumpur Children’s Choir, Artistic Director of the Naturally Vocal Youth Chamber Choir and Harmonix Youth Choir and Assistant Music Director for adult community choir Young Kuala Lumpur Singers, all of whom travelled extensively and received local and international awards. Tracy was the guest conductor for the 1st Brunei Choir Festival (2012) and 10th Malaysian Choral Eisteddfod (2011). She has also competed internationally to much success with her pop and jazz a cappella vocal quartet and was nominated by the Malaysian Music Industry Awards for Best Group Performance.
Originally from the Maritimes, Brenda O’Connor is a graduate of Mount Allison University and the University of Western Ontario where she received the Don Wright and Dawson Woodburn Awards for excellence in music education. After receiving her Bachelor of Education degree, Brenda taught elementary school music at the largest independent school in London, Ontario, was director of the junior music program at Colborne Street United Church, and taught the Orff component of a Sistema-inspired after-school music program. Since moving to Toronto to pursue a masters degree at the University of Toronto, she has been working with Young Voices Toronto as an assistant conductor.
Brenda is passionate about providing opportunities for youth to experience choral music at a high level. She was awarded the inaugural New Brunswick Choral Federation Youth Achievement Award for her efforts to help establish a New Brunswick Youth Choir, and for her involvement on the New Brunswick Choral Federation Board of Directors and with the Association of Canadian Choral Conductors. As well as her work as a music educator and advocate, she is also an avid choral singer and a proud former member of many choirs, including the Canadian Chamber Choir, the National Youth Choir of Canada (2004 and 2006), the Nova Scotia Youth Choir (2004), and the Fredericton SchoolGirl Choir. Currently, Brenda sings with the Tallis Choir of Toronto.
Sheldon is a graduate of St. Michael’s Choir School in Toronto and of the Faculty of Music (B.Mus. Theory and Composition) at the University of Toronto. He has extensive choral experience, serving as Director of Music and Organist for more than a decade at St. Clare’s Church (Toronto), as Choirmaster for the Appleby College Chapel Choir (Oakville) and as piano accompanist to the Oakville Children’s Choir for seven seasons. He has been accompanist to YVT since 2006.
Sheldon has also written many fine choral compositions, many of which have been performed by Young Voices Toronto, some of which have won national awards and some of which have been published by Alliance Music Publishing (Texas) and Rhythmic Trident Music Publishing (Vancouver). You can learn more about Sheldon and his musical work at
Based in Toronto, Amy Seulky Lee is a versatile musician who performs as both collaborative and solo pianist. Ms. Lee made her solo debut with Vancouver Metropolitan Orchestra in 2010 and has since performed in recitals across British Columbia in venues, such as Vancouver Art Gallery, The Terry Fox Theatre, and The CBC Studio 700. Recent concerts have included appearance at The Robert Gill Theatre with Summer Opera Lyric Theatre as a music director of Handel’s Julius Caesar, Toronto’s Evergreen Brick Works for Azure Awards Gala, Canadian Music Centre, Metropolitan United Church noon hour concert series, and Rossini’s La Cenerentola with Accademia Europea Dell’Opera under conductor Simone Luti in Italy.
Ms. Lee received her Masters of Music degree from University of Toronto where she studied with Steven Philcox and holds a Bachelors of Music degree from University of British Columbia, where she studied under the tutelage of Dr. Terence Dawson. Throughout her career, she has had the privilege to work with world-renowned musicians, including Leon Fleisher, Graham Johnson, Rena Sharon, André Laplante, and Warren Jones, to name a few. Ms. Lee is alumni of Orford Music Festival and Vancouver International Song Institution and has been the recipient of MRPM Art Council Scholarship, The Pearl Kerr Mossfield Memorial Scholarship, and The Grant F Hurst Memorial Scholarship.