Alessia Disimino


Toronto-based violinist Alessia Disimino is recognized for her thoughtful musicality and instinctive interpretations. Described as “one of Toronto’s finest violinists” (Snapd Beaches/Danforth), she is the co-founder and violinist of the Bedford Trio, concertmaster of the North York Concert Orchestra, and founder and Director of Strings at the North York String Academy, where she teaches the violin on a private and group class basis and curates the violin program. Alessia is a graduate of the University of Toronto’s Master of Music in Performance (Hons.) as a scholarship student of Dr. Timothy Ying, and also obtained her Bachelor of Music in Performance (Hons.) with a Minor in English, with Annalee Patipatanakoon of the Gryphon Trio.

Most recently, the Bedford Trio was announced as the inaugural Irene R. Miller Piano Trio Residency ensemble at the University of Toronto for 2018-2019, and was invited to extend their residency for the 2019-2020 season. The Trio was one of only two ensembles invited to participate in this past summer’s Toronto Summer Music Festival, where they worked side by side with renowned artists such as the members of the New Orford String Quartet and the Dover Quartet, Barry Shiffman, Yegor Dyachkov, and Desmond Hoebig. In 2018, the Bedford Trio competed and were finalists in the Anton Rubinstein Chamber Music Competition in Dusseldorf, Germany. They have been featured at the Sony Centre (Xenia Concerts), the Faculty of Music’s “Thursdays at Noon” concert series, Toronto’s LISTEN UP! outreach and educational programme in Etobicoke, and various recital series throughout the Greater Toronto Area. Recipients of Ottawa Chamberfest’s 2018 Career Development Residency ensemble, the group has also worked with the esteemed artists of the Gryphon Trio and What Make’s It Great’s Rob Kapilow. During her time at the University of Toronto, Alessia served as concertmaster of the University of Toronto Orchestra and Opera, and as a soloist and chamber musician, has performed in master classes for Jonathan Crow, Erika Raum, Mark Fewer, Jeanne Lamon, Lara St. John, Gryphon Trio, Menahem Pressler, and the Juilliard String Quartet, amongst others. Alessia is also an active freelance violinist in Toronto, and performs with various ensembles in Vaughan and the Greater Toronto Area.

A recipient of numerous awards, Alessia was awarded the Gordon Cressy Leadership Award for her extracurricular contributions to her community and to the University, and also received an Ontario Graduate Scholarship (2017). Previous awards include Gerhard Kander Graduating Award for Violin, the Suba Institute Award for Performing Excellence, the Felix Galimir Award for Excellence in Chamber Music (2015), and the Women’s Musical Club of Toronto Centennial Scholarship (2014). Alessia holds her Associate of the Royal Conservatory of Toronto (ARCT) in Violin Performance (First Class Honours with Distinction), is an alumnus of the RCM’s Young Artist’s Performance Academy and the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra, and has attended summer study programs including the Tafelmusik Baroque Summer Institute, the Orford Academy, and the Domaine Forget Academy. For her pedagogical training, Alessia has also attended the University of Toronto Wind Conducting Symposium and the Indiana University Violin and Viola Teacher Retreat.

Alessia is equally passionate about teaching and community outreach. She has provided violin instruction on a private basis for students of all ages and levels, performs regularly in music ministry at her parish, and with the Bedford Trio, and North York Concert Orchestra has performed outreach concerts for numerous senior residences and hospitals throughout Toronto. In her spare time, Alessia loves to write poetry, commission paintings, and read books on a variety of subjects, including English literature, Fiction, Theology, and translations of Classical literature.
To learn more about Alessia and the Bedford Trio, please see: and

Elena Spanu

Principal Second Violin

Elena Spanu started playing the violin when she was three. She began her studies at the Royal Conservatory of Music and continued to develop her skills at the University of Western Ontario where she received a Bachelor of Musical Arts. It is at Western where she discovered Baroque violin and moved on to complete an Artists Diploma in Baroque violin at the University of Toronto under the direction of Jeanne Lamon and other members of Tafelmusik.

Elena is currently a free lance violinist. She plays with orchestras and chamber groups in and outside of Toronto. In addition to classical music she also specializes in Irish and old time fiddle. Elena is a trained Suzuki violin teacher. She is the director of the Toronto Suzuki Studio and a faculty member at the North York Suzuki School of Music.

Elena is very excited to be playing with the North York Concert Orchestra this year and looks forwards to the programs ahead.

Stelth Ng @ Triple Pointe Media

Rosalind Zhang

Principal Cello

A proud resident of North York, Rosalind Zhang is a multi-instrumentalist, educator, and performer who credits her colourful experiences to her artistic upbringing. With a family of musicians, she grew up to the sound of music in her household, and began lessons as soon as she was able to reach the piano bench. Several years later, a desire to make music with others was recognized and cello was added as a second instrument. She spent her formative years immersed in a fast-paced curriculum that strived for both artistic and academic excellence at the Claude Watson School for the Arts, where she received additional training in acting, improvisation, movement, visual arts, creativity, and dance.

Throughout high school, it was important for Rosalind to maintain both piano and cello concurrently. She obtained certification as an Associate of the Royal Conservatory in Toronto in Piano Performance before accepting her admission to the University of Toronto Faculty of Music, majoring in cello alone. One degree and another certificate later, she moved to New York and continued her cello studies at the Manhattan School of Music. Before graduating, she was offered a job to stay and work there as staff, which allowed her to cultivate her administrative and organizational strengths while balancing a performing and teaching career. Her playing is shaped by the influences of her teachers: Shauna Rolston, Julia Lichten, Michel Strauss, Ming-Yao Sheng, Wang Yang, Meizhi Bi, and of course, her mother.

She joined the China National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA) on their 2017 US Tour, where they performed in Carnegie Hall (New York), Symphony Center (Chicago), Davies Symphony Hall (San Francisco), The Kimmel Center (Philadelphia), Hill Auditorium (Ann Arbor), and Memorial Hall (Chapel Hill). In October 2018, Rosalind performed at the sold-out “Ocean of Dreams” event at the 10,000-seat Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai. She also recorded solo cello lines for the soundtrack of the 2019 critically-acclaimed Chinese animated film, “White Snake”. Recently she has been touring with Mark Rowswell a.k.a. Dashan (大山) across Canada, building cultural bridges through musical poetry and comedy.

Over the years, Rosalind has been incorporating more improvisation, humour, and theatre into performances. She is also exploring the realm of education, searching for a more holistic approach. Using unconventional teaching methods that include interactive storytelling of composers’ lives and rote learning, she helps students foster a genuine interest in music, and has garnered a following in Canada, the US, China, and Europe.

When she is not making music, Rosalind cultivates her other interests. She is an aspiring polyglot who wants to see, discover, and make more connections in the world. She is passionate about the environment and strives for a zero-waste and plant-based lifestyle. She chooses to be a lifelong learner who continues to find wonder in new experiences everyday.

Wesley Brenneis

Principal Double Bass

Hailing from St. Albert, Alberta, Wesley Brenneis is a freelance double bassist and educator. He left small-town Alberta to study double bass at the University of Toronto under the tutelage of Paul Rogers where he now holds his Bachelor of Music Degree.  Prior to this, Wesley also received an Artists’ Diploma in Jazz and Contemporary Music from the Grant MacEwan University in Edmonton.

An active performer, Wesley has appeared with the University of Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Kindred Spirits Orchestra and, in 2015, the National Youth Orchestra, participating in their across-Canada tour.To further his training Wesley has attended workshops such as the Orford Music Festival in Quebec, and the WaBass Music Festival at the Curtis School of Music. He has also appeared in master classes for many distinguished artists including Joel Quarrington, Ali Yazdanfar, Joseph Conyers and Ranaan Mayer.

Wesley is a three-time recipient of the Francis Winspear Scholarship, Friends of the Anne Burrows Foundation Scholarship and the Dixieland Jazz Society award from Grant MacEwan University. He is currently the Principal Bassist of the North York Concert Orchestra.