The Richmond Hill Philharmonic Orchestra was founded in 2008, to enrich the lives and the cultural climate of the community through the presentation of concerts and educational programs, liaise and collaborate with other arts organizations and community groups, and provide diverse performing opportunities for musicians from York Region. In essence, the RHPO is a community orchestra for the community. A not-for-profit organization, the orchestra depends on funding from gifts, grants, fundraising projects, and by performing concerts. Richmond Hill Philharmonic Orchestra is comprised of   professional, amateur, and talented university and high school student musicians. The age range of the musicians span 13 years old to those with significantly more life experience. The orchestra represents cultures from across the globe and its musicians practice daily professions from every area of the community.

The orchestra’s inaugural performance at the Gala Opening of the Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts on February 28, 2009 was an opportunity for the orchestra to make a genuine impact on and fortify ties to the community. Since then, the RHPO has presented unique concerts regularly in the Richmond Hill community, performs a five-concert season at the Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts, and special concerts throughout each season. The RHPO Chamber Players include harmoniemusik, string, woodwind, and brass ensembles, who are in high demand to perform at various events in Richmond Hill and beyond. They have performed for community fundraising events, ceremonies and celebrations. The RHPO has forged special partnerships with Seneca College, School of Communication Arts, the “York Region Writers,” “Writers’ Community of York Region (WCYR),” local artist Mari Nicholson, young artists from the community, and George St. Kitts, his band, and singers from the Toronto production of the Lion King. Last season, we formed new partnerships with the “Not Affiliated Big Band,” Shirley V. Ting (artist), Barbara Fris (soprano), Broadway star, Robert Pilon, and continued participation in special events and new ties to the community, including what promises to be a long-lasting partnership with “The Great Lakes’ Touring Chorus,” who joined us on our Last Night At The Proms concert.

Performances by the RHPO feature the finest orchestral repertoire (classical and pops), presented with a landscape of visual stimulation and interactive elements that celebrate music from across the ages and the globe. The RHPO is grateful for the support of the Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts, the audience members who attend our concerts, and our growing collection of wonderful people serving as volunteers.

In addition to playing concerts with the Richmond Hill Philharmonic Orchestra, many RHPO musicians also provide music for special occasions and are eager to share their talents in solo, chamber, and ensemble settings.

The RHPO is continually seeking musicians to expand the orchestra and welcomes  applications from musicians on our website. We also invite interested members of our community to join the RHPO organization as volunteers.

RHPO Board of Directors

The RHPO is a Not for Profit organization, incorporated in the province of Ontario and granted Charitable Status by the CRA.  Operation and management are conducted by a team of dedicated volunteers from the community, overseen by a Board of Directors, in accordance with the Corporation’s by-laws.

Jacques is a business-focused results-oriented lawyer with over 20 years of experience in a wide range of fields including broadcasting, information technology, sales, marketing, manufacturing, distribution, telecommunications and intellectual property, both in Canada and around the world. He is currently the Vice-President, General Counsel and Privacy Officer at Numeris

Jacques has extensive management experience, including mentoring, coaching and guiding high performance, business focussed legal teams providing advice and support on major contractual, intellectual property, litigation and regulatory matters in fast moving, rapidly evolving and complex industries (media, broadcasting, technology and mobile telecommunications). Jacques also brings significant experience in strategic planning and corporate governance.

Jacqueline is a member of Richmond Hill Philharmonic Orchestra flute section since 2014. Jacqueline’s love of the arts has been evident in her personal and professional life. In her adult life, she always finds time to perform in woodwind ensembles and orchestras.

From a young age, she felt compelled to introduce many to the arts by inviting friends to concerts/events—often exposing those to classical concerts and concert halls for their first time. This love of the arts translated into 30-year career in arts administration with an emphasis on building audiences and fundraising for orchestras, theatres, opera and ballet companies. Jacqueline held leadership fundraising/development roles with both cultural organizations (orchestras, performing arts centers) and higher education including the University of Colorado, College of Music. She held a board position for the Entrepreneurship Center for the College of Music, University of Colorado.  For the majority of her career, Jacqueline was President and CEO of Artsmarketing Services Inc. (AMS). With over 500 employees, AMS provides marketing and fundraising services for non-profit arts organizations throughout Canada, United States and Australia. Some of the clients included the ROM, AGO, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, National Ballet of Canada, National Arts Centre, Carnegie Hall, San Francisco Ballet, National Symphony Orchestra (DC), Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, The Cleveland Orchestra, and Sydney Symphony. 

Over the last few years, Jacqueline has focused her professional life within the life sciences. Currently she is the Vice President, Talent and Training for the Centre of Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine (CCRM-Toronto) and OmniaBio (Hamilton).

Jacqueline received a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and Psychology from the University of Rochester (Rochester, NY), and a Masters in Arts Administration, from Columbia University (New York, NY).

She is married to Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s violinist James Wallenberg, and has high school age twins, Joshua and Fern. 

Lisa, a graphic designer and illustrator has lived in Richmond Hill since 1986. She has more than 25 years experience in business management and marketing for companies such as Famous Players, Cineplex Odeon and Computerland in addition to being a partner in a national commercial/industrial electronics distribution firm. Inspired by her lifelong love of the arts, Lisa is committed to bringing the world of art and culture to today’s youth.

Qazim Kallushi is a General Manager.  Possessing strong leadership qualities and experience of various senior management position in orchestra administration, Qazim has networked extensively within the orchestral community across Canada and internationally.

Qazim has been the RHPO’s General Manager since March 2017. He has served as General Manager of Masterworks of Oakville, Chorus & Orchestra in 2010-2011 and Managing Director of the Albanian National TV Symphony Orchestra from 2005 to 2007. Since 2011 he is also the Executive Director for the Greater Toronto Philharmonic Orchestra.

Qazim studied arts administration at Humber College’s Arts Administration Program and the University of Waterloo’s Manage Culture Program. In addition, he has attended professional development programs organized by Cultural Careers Council of Ontario, Orchestras Canada and League of American Orchestras. He is a member of ISPA (International Society for the Performing Arts) and IAMA (International Artists Managers Association).

Doug graduated from McGill University in 2000 with a Licentiate of Music in performance. During his studies, he enlisted in the Canadian Armed Forces as a Bass Trombonist in the Band of the Ceremonial Guard in Ottawa, and following graduation, became a member of the Royal Regiment of Canada in Toronto. In 2008, Doug joined the newly created Richmond Hill Philharmonic Orchestra as a volunteer musician.

In his professional life, Doug has enjoyed a 20-year career in the Financial Services Industry as a compliance officer for large investment management firms.

Elisabet is a retired Oil industry administrative professional with considerable experience in all aspects of administration, including executive assistant, project management, customer service representative and customer service training.  She has been an active member of the RHPO board since its inception in 2008, serving in roles including: Secretary, acting Treasurer, President and Director.

Elisabet is an active member and volunteer of the Richmond Hill Garden and Horticultural Society and of the Garden Knitters of the Toronto Needlecraft Guild.  She also spent two years teaching knitting to new Canadians at an Inner City School in Toronto.

 

Jessica V. Kun, a native of Toronto, Canada, is Conductor and Artistic Director of the Richmond Hill Philharmonic Orchestra.

She completed a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Conducting at Arizona State University, where she conducted the Wind Symphony, Wind Ensemble, Chamber Winds, and the Lyric Opera Theatre. She holds Bachelor of Music and Bachelor of Education degrees from the University of Calgary (Canada), Master’s Certificate in Conducting from the University of Calgary Wind Conducting Program, and a Master of Music degree in Musicology from the University of Manchester (England), where she conducted the Symphony Orchestra, chamber ensembles, and the New Music Ensemble, as well as civic, professional, and youth orchestras and new music ensembles across the country.

She has conducted string and full orchestras, symphonic and jazz bands, chamber music, contemporary music ensembles, and opera. She has taught and conducted musicians at all levels, from novice to professional, and has written articles for Canadian Music Education journals and curriculum documents for the Ontario Ministry of Education.

Dr. Kun dedicated many years as a University Professor, where she taught conducting and orchestration and conducted Contemporary Music Ensembles, Wind and Symphony Orchestras and Chamber Music. Her research includes the development of conducting and conducting pedagogy, using digital media, and further studies into emotional contagion and effective gestural communication. Dr. Kun is a sought after teacher of conducting and is active as a conductor, adjudicator, and clinician in North America, Great Britain, Europe, and South America.

Mark, a professional consulting engineer, brings over 20 years of experience in the business world, with project management and executive management experience. He has been an active member of the RHPO since its inception, and has served on the board since its creation.

Heather has been involved with community based organizations and companies in Richmond Hill since the 1970’s, Lion’s club, Scouts Canada, Classicomm, soccer club, HTS and now the RHPO.  Raised in Richmond Hill from the age of 6 and still live here. She has almost always worked for companies in Richmond Hill. Studied at U of T. Richmond Hill is HOME!

Versha is a retired healthcare executive. She held the role of Chief Operating Officer of Trillium Gift of Life Network (TGLN), Ontario’s organ and tissue donation and transplantation agency, for 14 years and was the Interim President and CEO/Executive Lead for a year leading TGLN’s transition into Ontario Health.  Versha has a Master’s degree in Health Administration and a bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry from the University of Ottawa. 

Versha’s strength is translating vision to strategy, strategy to plan, plan to execution and execution to measurement. She has a proven track record of leading organizational growth and delivering high quality outcomes and optimal client experience.
Over the course of her career, Versha has earned awards for her outstanding work and has co-authorized publications related to organ donor registration, an area of strong interest, where she led the transformation of Ontario’s organ donor registration to a world class system and more than doubled Ontario’s organ donor registration rate. 
Versha has chosen early retirement and is actively pursuing a variety of personal goals including giving back to the community.  Versha is excited to be part of the RHPO as a board member and contribute towards its objectives.

Frank is Chief Financial Officer and a corporate finance executive with over 20 years of experience in leadership, financial management, and investment banking. His experience in mergers and acquisitions and corporate finance expands over a wide range of industries, including real estate, industrial and manufacturing, power and infrastructure, mining, and consumer sectors in Canada, the US, and other parts of the world.

Frank is also an entrepreneur with a successful track record of building, managing and growing businesses. He is also a visual artist with a love for performing arts and classical music. He brings his experience in strategic planning, corporate governance, and best practices in financial management, along with his knowledge of marketing and communications and his passion for music and arts to the RHPO Board of Directors.

Frank holds a Bachelor of Applied Science and Engineering in Mechanical and Industrial Engineering from the University of Toronto, Master of Business and Administration from Schulich School of Business, York University, and Masters in Professional Accounting from Albers School of Business and Economics, Seattle University.

The board is assisted by an Advisory Council, a group of distinguished members of the community, with experience in various areas of business, arts, and community governance.

David West, Mayor of Richmond Hill

Dave Bigelow

Majid Jowhari, MP

Costas Menegakis

Justin Mooney, Legal Advisor

Hon. Reza Moridi, MPP

Claire Willison