Suzuki Music Faculty

SuzukiMusic faculty members are professional musicians and music educators who have received specialized training at universities and Suzuki institutes across Canada and the United States. They bring many years of teaching and performing experience to the school. For address and availability information, visit the SuzukiMusic Faculty Directory.


Margaret Tobolowska


Margaret Tobolowska is a dynamic, versatile, and multi-faceted artist. Not only does she perform as a solo recitalist and chamber musician, Margaret is passionate about teaching and working with cellists of all ages, at all stages. Born in Toronto, Margaret began playing the cello at the age of twelve and was admitted to the University of Toronto when she was sixteen. Margaret received her Bachelor of Music in Performance in 1992 and continued, on full scholarship at the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. She is a recipient of many prizes and scholarships, including three consecutive Canada Council Arts Grants to continue her studies abroad. Following her graduation from the Curtis Institute of Music in 1994 with an Artist Diploma, she immediately won a position with the Vancouver Symphony. In January 1999 she became a member of the National Arts Center Orchestra.
She has performed at many internationally prestigious Chamber Festivals in North America and Europe, including: the Ravinia Festival in Chicago, the Verbier Festival in Switzerland, the Schleswig-Holstein Festival in Germany, Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen, Le Domaine Forget in Quebec, the Festival of the Sound in Parry Sound, Ontario, the Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival, the Lanaudiere Festival, and the McGill Chamber Orchestra series.
Margaret is also the creator of two storytelling CD’s for young children. ‘A Cello for Chelsea’ and ‘Zara the Maggini’ are two musical stories that she arranged, composed and authored, specifically designed to inspire and entertain children. They have been greeted with much applause from audiences and critics.
‘Cellist captivates young, young at heart – Tobolowska tells a tale of girl whose life changes after she discovers the cello. Tobolowska provides the narration along with some luscious cello playing, and the enterprise is a real charmer…’ Ottawa Citizen.
Margaret has been captivated by the philosophy and writings of Dr. Shinichi Suzuki and firmly believes that ‘Every Child Can’. She completed her Suzuki Book One training at the Suzuki Institute at PhoenixPhest 2010 with the extraordinary cello pedagogue Dr. Tanya Carey. Margaret joined the National Capital Suzuki School of Music in the fall of 2010 and is very excited to be sharing all her experience and knowledge with her students. As teaching and children are at the heart of Margaret’s work, she co-founded and is the Artistic Director of The Leading Note Foundation, which provides music opportunities to children who would otherwise not have the opportunity. This El Sistema inspired program has over 100 children singing and playing their hearts out through the OrKidstra and KidSingers youth music programs. In her own words: ‘Our program is far more than a music program; it is a way to reach out to these children and give them a common language (our children speak 24 different languages!) that breaks down barriers and grows an empathetic and caring community. Our program is not only about musical excellence, it is about excellence in teamwork, excellence in caring, and excellence of the heart’ Margaret is passionate about teaching and has given masterclasses in Canada, the United States, and Mexico. She has taught at the University of Ottawa and at the National Arts Center’s Summer Music Institute. Visit for more information and to hear Margaret play.

Brandon Wilkie


Cellist Brandon Wilkie grew up in Pembroke, Ontario where he began playing cello at the age of 13. After high school, Brandon had the opportunity to study with several teachers including Paul Marleyn at the University of Ottawa and Shauna Rolston at the University of Toronto. Before moving to Ottawa, Brandon was based in Toronto, where in addition to working as a performer and teacher, he was also the cellist of the Arkadas String Quartet. As a member of the Arkadas, Brandon had the opportunity to perform at music festivals in Banff and San Francisco as well as throughout Ontario. Brandon’s teaching responsibilities in Toronto included a small number of private students and a two year post as Assistant Music Teacher at Fieldstone Day School, where he led young strings students in group classes.

Brandon considers it a great privilege to be a faculty member of SuzukiMusic where he is able to share his love for music with talented young students.


Tamara Bogunovic


Born in Serbia, Tamara came to Canada in 2002 and has since lived in Ottawa, Ontario. She started playing flute at 12 and has gained experience in performing on many different occasions. Tamara has been a part of the Ottawa Serbian Theatre since 2005 which has allowed her to grow her versatility as a performer through musical theatre as well as grow her passion for music, dance and art. Teaching has also always been a part of her passion and she has gained experience teaching children of all ages through the years.

Tamara is ECC trained and has taken her Suzuki training with Kelly Williamson and David Gerry at the Great Lakes Suzuki Flute and Recorder Institute.

She has been a Suzuki musicianship teacher since January 2014 and flute teacher since 2015. She is excited to share her love of music with her students as well as grow her own experience as a teacher and performer.

Tamara’s Suzuki flute studio is located in Hull close to the Byward market in Ottawa.


Chela Escudero


Chela Escudero has been teaching Suzuki Guitar in Ottawa for many years. She is currently one of the Headstart Program teachers, for children aged 2-4, at the National Capital Suzuki School of Music. Chela has completed registered Suzuki teacher training for Suzuki ECC (Every Child Can) and Guitar Books 1 through 5 with the Suzuki Association of the Americas. She took her Suzuki training with William Kossler and Andrea Cannon. Chela has also completed Suzuki Early Childhood Studies in Prenatal through Early years with Sharon Jones and Dorothy Jones at the London Ontario Thames Valley Suzuki School ( Chela received her AMI (International Montessori Association) diploma in 2005. The Montessori Method aims for the fullest possible development of the whole child. Chela also graduated as a Kindermusik educator in 2007.  Chela is part of the Peruvian Folklore group and she has collaborated on different occasions teaching children Afro-Peruvian dances. Chela is currently continuing her own guitar studies with Daniel Srugo. She speaks Spanish, English and French.

Daniel Srugo


Daniel Srugo graduated with a diploma in classical guitar from the Conservatory of Buenos Aires, Argentina. In addition to teaching, he has an active career as both a professional arranger and performer. Daniel has performed extensively in both Argentina and Canada , and enjoys performance of traditional Argentinian folk music, sephardic songs, and tangos, in addition to the standard classical guitar repertoire. He has arranged children’s songs, background music for musicals, and traditional sephardic music. He has extensive teaching experience, and has undertaken training in Suzuki guitar pedagogy with David Madsen and William Kossler from book 1 to 5. Daniel is trilingual, and can offer private lessons in English, French or Spanish


Carol Deaville


Carol Deaville received her B.A. in Music Education from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota. Since 1995 she has received extensive Suzuki training from noted teachers such as Daphne Hughes, Edward Kreitman, and Kimberly Meier-Sims. From 1996 to 2006, she taught at the Brantford Suzuki String School in Brantford, Ontario, where she was a colleague of Virginia Little. Included in her Suzuki experience are private violin lessons, groups and orchestra. She has also prepared students for Royal Conservatory practical and theory exams. While living in the Hamilton area, she studied with Adele Pierre and played in various ensembles including the McMaster Chamber Orchestra and Symphony Hamilton. Her studio is located in the Fisher Glen area, west of Prince of Wales and south of Baseline.

Janice Mah


Born and raised in Lethbridge, AB, Janice has been playing music since she was 5. She moved to Ottawa in 2001 and completed her Bachelors in Music Performance under the tutelage of David Stewart in 2003. She has been an active musician, performing as soloist with the Lethbridge Symphony Orchestra, playing in orchestra settings as well as pursuing chamber music with Catherine Donkin. She has played for such dignitaries as the past 2 Governor Generals of Canada as well as the Royal Highnesses of the Netherlands. Through it all, she has maintained her passion and love of teaching since 1997!  Starting September 2015, Janice is taking on the position of full time Strings Teacher at Canterbury HS.

Judy Olmsted-O’Regan


Judy Olmstead-O’Regan has been a Suzuki teacher since 1982. To better understand the Suzuki Method, she travelled to Matsumoto, Japan, to study with Dr. Suzuki. She took classes with him, seven days a week, for two months in 1987. She holds a Bachelor of Music in Violin Performance from Brandon University and Suzuki Teacher Training courses from institutes at Ithaca, N.Y., Guelph, Kingston, and Steven’s Point Wisconsin. She is a founding member of the Suzuki Association of Ontario. Judy has played in Symphony Nova Scotia, The Atlantic Symphony, Symphony P.E.I., The Regina Symphony, Symphony New Brunswick and the Trinity Chamber Ensemble (Toronto). She has been the Suzuki violin parent to her two teenaged daughters, both of whom attend Canterbury High School Arts Program in the Strings Program. As a trio, Judy and her daughters frequently perform classical and fiddle music. They have performed at the Black Sheep Inn, Tulip Festival, Art in the Park, and regularly perform at retirement residences and charity events. Some of Judy’s students are members of the Canterbury High School Arts Program. Some have participated in the Kiwanis Music Festival. Others have won awards through the Ottawa Youth Orchestra Association. Judy has been a Faculty member of The National Capital Suzuki School of Music (SuzukiMusic) since 1995.

John Matthew Pohran


Starting violin with Derek Aird in Niagara Falls, John moved on to study music at Syracuse University; the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto and the University of Western in London [where he received an Honours Mus Bac, & Specialist in Music Education, & Bachelor of Education). While in Syracuse, John studied violin with Elizabeth Matesky, Louis Krasner, and was quartet-coached by the Julliard quartet on a weekly basis. Teachers in London at UWO Faculty included Robert Skelton and Yuri Mazurkevich and orchestra/ chamber coaching by Simon Streatfield, Ralph Aldrich.

A Suzuki teacher since 1977 in the Sudbury at Cambrian College [which included weekly trips to the Manitoulin area] John’s major American Suzuki pedagogical influences included bk I-IV (Metro/Mary Kozak, Margery Aber, Lorraine Fink, Pat Hermann, John Kendall, Doris Preucil, Rhonda Cole), & bk V-VIII (Tom Wermuth, Kay Slone, Carol Smith, Jeff Hoff and Phyllis Young).
In 1983 John moved to Ottawa to accept a position as a teacher of Music [Strings] at Canterbury High School where many local Suzuki string students have chosen to attend for their high school years. John’s active music schedule in addition to fulltime work at Canterbury included conducting a Youth Orchestra for the National Capital Music Academy, joining the Hull Chamber Orchestra as a founding member, joining the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra, and soon becoming part of the faculty of the newly-formed National Capital Suzuki School.

John continues to be the Music Director for the Greely Players Community Productions since it’s inception in 1990 with the annual pit orchestra being been primarily made up of talented music students from Canterbury. In 2002 John was offered and jumped at the chance at Canterbury to pioneer and lead an interaction with major worldwide video-conferencing networked music sites using advanced MUSIC GRID technology teaching violin online to northern isolated native students using Suzuki-based instruction with the students – it was very effective. This “new” online networking technology pioneered the way for an increased demand in the Ottawa school system and John was very pleased to have taken part in its inception.

John was named the recipient of the 2003-2004 Arts Recognition Award for Secondary Music by the Advisory Committee on the Arts of the Ottawa Carleton District School Board. Ten years later In May 2013, John was also nominated as a finalist and became one of the recipients of the coveted National Capital Educator’s Awards – a real honour for him to be recognized by his students and his colleagues.

After 32 yrs as a CHS Music teacher, John officially retired from Canterbury High School musical scene at the end of June 2015 and now continues to freelance on violin in the Ottawa region while also maintaining an active role as a private violin/viola teacher. His many years of string training have also helped tremendously with one of his musical passions- arranging string music -most of which was used mainly for Canterbury ensembles during his time there along with some community use… and now possibly for potential professional use.

Now that he is finished his time with Canterbury John is looking to further augment his Suzuki teaching studio and pass on his love of music!
John’s Suzuki violin and viola studio is located in the Greely area (south of Ottawa).

Jonah Poplove


Jonah Poplove began violin studies at the age of 3 with the National Capital Suzuki School of Music. Growing up in Ottawa, he was privileged to study with Leslie Wade and Donnie Deacon on violin as well as with Rennie Regehr on viola. Jonah attended the strings program at Canterbury High School and furthered his musical education at the Cleveland Institute of Music and the University of Ottawa.

Jonah has had the good fortune to have performed around the world as an orchestral musician. He served as co-principal violist of the National Youth Orchestra of Canada during its 2012 North American tour as well as during its residency in India in the summer of 2013. Jonah is also active as a chamber musician in the Ottawa area. Recent highlights include being selected to perform at the National Arts Centre as part of the University of Ottawa’s chamber program and in Ottawa Chamberfest’s Rising Stars competition. This past summer, Jonah was honoured to be a guest artist at the Caroga Lake Music Festival in upstate New York.

Jonah’s love for music has lead him to explore a multitude of styles. He has experience performing with rock bands, sitting in on folk and jazz sessions, and improvising with spoken-word artists. He enjoys exploring creative techniques on string instruments and is particularly excited by the possibilities of playing and singing at the same time.

Jonah is incredibly excited to be back to the school that fostered his musical growth as a teacher! As a recent ‘Suzuki child’ himself, he has a wealth of experience to draw on in his teaching. Jonah completed his ECC and book 1 training with Margot Jewell at SOSI in the summer of 2015. His studio is located in the Westboro area.

Essie Liu Zixuan

Essie Liu

Essie Liu is a Violin and Early Childhood Teacher certified by Suzuki Association of the Americas. Ms. Liu has enjoyed working with students of all ages from diverse backgrounds since 2009. Her combined passion for teaching and cultural exchange has driven her to experience different parts of North America and Asia for training, conferences and observations.

Ms. Liu has played with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, Calgary Arts Orchestra (Principal Second), Tri-Tone Tap Dance Ensemble (First Violinist), Western Symphony Orchestra (Assistant Concertmaster) and Kingston Symphony. Ms. Liu also performs on Baroque violin and electric violin, where she loves exploring various tastes.   

 Ms. Liu holds a M.Mus in Literature and Performance (Violin) from Western University, a B.A (Music) from China and Queen’s University (Full-scholarship Exchange), as well as a Montessori Infant Toddler Teacher Diploma (TMI). Ms. Liu is proud of her dual career as a freelance musician and a Montessori educator. You can easily find Ms. Liu in the classroom, library, kitchen, salsa studio and tennis court; wherever there are inspirations for teaching,art and life.

 Ms. Liu teaches bilingually in English and Chinese. Her studio is located in Westboro and Kanata area.


Alexandria Givens
DSC_0039_edited-1Alexandria Givens received her Masters of Music in Vocal Performance at the University of Ottawa with Christiane Riel. An energetic performer, Alexandria seeks to inspire audiences and students to immerse themselves in the beauty and fun of music. As a versatile musician, she is an active performer in the Ottawa-Gatineau Region with performances ranging from choral works and oratorios to the opera stage, directs choirs in the region, and maintains a voice, vocal therapy, and piano studio. Alexandria believes in inclusive and differentiated education, as well as incorporating play in all types of classes for all ages.

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