What’s up at the IRCPA?

What’s next and how to get involved.

The IRCPA continues in its mission of making unique, targeted career resources available to musicians, connecting them with one another, with artistic coaches and with leaders in the industry for knowledge exchange, coaching and employment opportunities Members are independent musicians, graduates, who no longer have the institutional resources as well as emerging and mid-career artistes in transition – instrumentalists, vocalists, ensembles, composers and conductors, who need resources to nurture artistic growth, training to manage the business side of their careers, and performance opportunities to keep their artistic skills sharp. The IRCPA fills these needs through its 2017-2018 series of events.  Musicians of all genres are welcome to participate also in monthly open discussions.

Events 2018

Workshops May


Representation: Managers and Agents, early May 2018 (date tbd)
This workshop consists of a morning panel discussion and Q&A led by five Canadian managers/agents from diverse sectors of the music industry; and an afternoon session in which these professionals meet one-on-one with workshop participants. The managers/agents include Toronto-based Kathy Domoney (opera singers/directors/conductors), Robert Missen (music theatre/touring); Richard Flohil (Jazz/Public Relations); Ottawa-based Judith Humenick (jazz), and Laurelle Favreau (classical soloists/ ensembles), based in Connecticut.


Artist-Manager Working Relationships: Jazz singer Ori Dagan and Manager Carl Berger, early May 2018 (date tbd)
In this workshop, jazz singer Ori Dagan and his manager Carl Berger will discuss their working relationship as a partnership, along with a host of issues related to artist management. They will also outline the process of creation, recording and distribution of recorded music.


Who’s Who in the Industry: Programmers, early May 2018 (date tbd)

Robert Harris
, journalist Globe & Mail.

Derek Andrews, Luminato Festival, Hugh’s Room
Jonathan Bunce, Wavelength Festival
Loie Fallis, Toronto Symphony
Mervon Mehta, Koerner Hall
Jennifer Taylor, Music Toronto. 

How and Who determines what we hear in our clubs, festivals or concert venues?

Buy Tickets: $75 (ask about our 3 for 1 deal save $50)
Details subject to change


Workshops will be scheduled to pre-date or coincide with Canadian Music Week in Toronto, May 7–13

Kathy Domoney
Richard Flohil
Laurelle Favreau
Derek Andrews
Robert Missen
Judith Humenick
Ori Dagan
Jonathan Bunce
Mervon Mehta


The IRCPA requires all artist participants in its events to be IRCPA members. Membership is without cost and just a click away. Check it out here.
Finally, this project serves emerging arts administration professionals, as well as developing managers and agents: the IRCPA employs them to run workshops and discussion groups, in turn giving them skills and experience they can leverage as they build their careers.

Events 2017


1) Singers Encounter Brett Polegato, October 20

 2) Singing Stars – Next Generation – Public Gala Performance, November 6th 

3) Business of Music Workshops

   a) Branding, Marketing and Social Media with Lara Harb, November 25
   b) From Rags to Reasonable! Financial Management / Accounting / Planning for Artists with Chris Enns, December 2
   c) Artists New to Canada with Marcelo Puente (Chile) and Shahriyar Jamshidi (Kurdish Iran), December 3 

Branding, Marketing and Social Media with Lara Harb

Social media manager and Music Theatre singer Lara Harb will provide musicians with tools and techniques for branding and social media marketing.

Saturday, November 25, 2017
519 Church Street, Toronto
From 10:00 am to 4:30 pm
Tel. 416.362.1422

Are you a musician feeling overwhelmed with promoting yourself online? Does the idea of a Tweet make you anxious? Join Lara Harb, social media strategist and personal branding specialist for artists as we explore all aspects of digital marketing. From getting your website set up to promoting yourself on Soundcloud. Whether you are new to marketing or a marketing pro, this workshop is for you!

Lara Harb

From Rags to Reasonable! with Chris Enns

Chris Enns, active opera tenor and certified financial planner, will introduce the basics of financial management in the morning and will speak about advanced financial planning in the afternoon.

Saturday, December 2, 2017
20 St. Joseph Street, Toronto
From 10:00 am to 4:30 pm
Tel. 416.362.1422

For people who don’t have traditional lives, or who feel alienated by the language of finance.

Christopher Enns

Artists New to Canada
with Marcelo Puente (Chile) and Shahriyar Jamshidi (Iranian Kurdistan)

Marcelo Puente and Shahriyar Jamshidi, recent newcomers to Canada, will share their experiences establishing music careers in this country, providing guidance and suggestions for newcomer artists facing the same challenges they did.

Sunday, December 3, 2017
918 Bathurst Street, Toronto
From 10:00 am to 4:30 pm
Tel. 416.362.1422

Marcelo Puente and Shahriyar Jamshidi

Encounter 2017


Thank You, Brett!

 The IRCPA and the singers are deeply grateful to baritone Brett Polegato for generously making time in his demanding schedule to share his knowledge and expertise with our young professionals on November 6.


Baritone Clarence Frazer, recipient of the International Resource Centre for Performing Artists (IRCPA) 2017 Career Blueprint Award, speaks thoughtfully about his chosen career as an opera singer, in an interview with Jenna Simeonov of Schmopera. An illuminating read.

Singing Stars: The Next Generation

Concert, Monday, November 6, 2017
Zoomer Hall, home of Classical 96.3 FM
Featuring 10 singers in a program of opera arias with pianist Rachel Adrist.

“I thought last night (concert 2017) was a huge success and I felt tremendously proud to be a part of the Encounter and in these 11 young singers’ careers.  We definitely need this kind of opportunity in Canada…Congratulations on a very successful endeavour. I look forward to seeing the encounters grow in the coming years.” 
Brett Polegato, Baritone


“I wanted to take a moment to thank you for the truly special experience we lived on Monday night. I have never sung for a live radio/video broadcast, and I can’t thank you enough for offering me this opportunity. If there is ever anything I can do to help your IRCPA cause, please do not hesitate to ask. I greatly enjoyed working with Brett, having the chance to get feedback from someone of his calibre of artistry is invaluable. I do hope these sorts of things continue in the future, alongside this partnership with Classical FM. As you know, young singers rarely get this sort of exposure, in a low stress, positive environment – a balance between high performance and enjoyment I have rarely felt. If for nothing else, I feel empowered by this experience! My most sincere thanks”

 Jean-Philippe  (Lazure), Tenor


Launched in 2016, the Name a Scholarship campaign will enable all singers to apply without financial burden. Donors are invited to contribute a $400 scholarship in the name of an important Canadian musical artist past or present. To do so, they may email info@ircpa.net, mail a cheque payable to IRCPA to 43 Bright Street, Toronto M5A 3H5, telephone 416 362 1422 or click the blue button beside. Tax receipts will be issued.

These scholarships significantly enhance the recipients’ biographies, and remind them, as well as the general public, to take pride in and draw inspiration from Canada’s musical heritage.

Canadian artists honoured:  

2016:  Clarice Carson, Louis Quilico, Ermano Mauro, Joan Hill, Lois McDonall, Maureen Forrester, Karina Gauvin, Ruby Mercer, Judith Forst, Mary Morrison.

2017:  Riki Turofsky, Jon Vickers, Louis Quilico, Clarice Carson, Eugene Kash, Stuart Hamilton, Jane Archibald, Sondra Radvanovsky, Adrianne Pieczonka, Barbara Wolfond and Carl Little.


At the conclusion of the November 6 concert, one of the 10 singers will be chosen to receive a coveted Career Blueprint. The recipient will spend three days at the National Opera America Center in New York, where new photographs, video and audio recordings, website consultation, mentoring with professionals, and more is provided.

In 2016, the inaugural year of the IRCPA’s Career Blueprint award Soprano Natalya Gennadi and Mezzo-soprano Marjorie Maltais were the recipients.

Thanks in large part to her award, Natalya Gennadi was selected for the title role of Tapestry Opera’s new creation, Oksana G. in spring 2017, and received wide praise for her performance. Marjorie Maltais debuts with Orchestre Metropolitan this season, sings the Christmas Oratorio with Elmer Iseler Singers, Messiah with the Milwaukee and Kitchener Symphonies and Elijah with Peterborough Symphony.


“Just wanted to add that if you need a list of mentors and speakers I can forward you the info. I’m really looking forward to getting the recordings, they have some excellent equipment and I got to work with a brilliant pianist.  Thank you once again, it was a bit surreal after all to be there. One of the agents even knew me from Oksana G and so his advice was very personally tailored, let’s say.  My head is still spinning with the excitement and all of the information.  Thank you, Ann, for all your work and support.”   

Natalya Gennadi, soprano
August 27, 2017


“I am leaving New York today full of ideas and dreams. I received valuable tools who can help me bring my young career to the next step and I know that this team of experts will be there for me beyond the Blueprint session. I now feel ready for the upcoming audition season. I am proud of what I will be presenting and cannot wait to see the outcome. Thank you so much to you Ann, and to the IRCPA.  Just finished the Career Blueprint session at Opera America. It was an incredible three days here in New York. I received so much information and feedbacks, I can’t wait to show my new press kit, website and recordings!  Once again, I can’t thank the International Resource Centre for Performing Artists (IRCPA) enough for this opportunity.

Marjorie Maltais, mezzo-soprano
September 10, 2017

Li Koo (ircpa board member), Clarence Frazer, Brett Polegato
Pianist Rachel Andrist
Baritone Clarence Frazer, 2017 recipient of the IRCPA Career Blueprint Award
Soprano Natalya Gennadi, 2016 recipient of the IRCPA Career Blueprint Award
Mezzo-soprano Marjorie Maltais, 2016 recipient of the IRCPA Career Blueprint Award

Events 2016 


The IRCPA wants to thank all the participants of THE SAVVY MUSICIAN Workshop, it was great to see you all.

On Sunday November 13, 2016, at the Long & Mcquade hall, the IRCPA presented The Savvy Musician Workshop, with jazz and classical pianist David Cutler plus guests from Chamber Music America, Europe’s International Art Managers Association (IAMA), and North American Performing Arts Managers and Agents (NAPAMA).


A Life in Music: BIG Ideas on Career & Financial Success
This interactive workshop by arts entrepreneurship guru David Cutler unveiled a variety of uncommon ideas that help musicians of all disciplines to thrive. Success as a musician requires much more than talent and hard work.


For the first time in their history, members of two important international artist management organizations came together “on the road” in Toronto – IAMA, from Europe and NAPAMA. Peter Freeman of IAMA, and Tim Robinson, NAPAMA board member, described their organizations and representation for artists.

Read more

PLUS: At the invitation of the IRCPA, the CEO of Chamber Music America, Margaret Lioi, described the services and benefits available to Canadian musicians, including showcases in New York, networking with the more than 6,000 members, 25% of whom are jazz artists. Jazz pianist and composer Billy Childs is the recently elected president.

Robert Baird, author of the Crossing Borders guides, gave border crossing tips including getting visas and work permits, and dealing with customs inspections when touring.


10 am – 11:30: Introduction – workshop with David Cutler
11:30 12:00: Robert Baird discusses border-crossing issues
12:00 – 12:20 pm: Introduction of Margaret Lioi of CMA by Ron Davis
12:20 – 12:40: Introduction – Peter Freeman of IAMA

12:40 – 13:00: Introduction – Tim Robinson, NAPAMA board member
13:00 – 14:00: Free Lunch available to maximize networking
14:00 – 16:00: Workshop with David Cutler
16:00 – 16:30: Wrap/Networking

David Cutler’s IRCPA Savvy Musician Workshop. November 13, 2016
Margaret Lioi, Peter Freeman, Robert Baird, David Cutler, Tim Robinson.
Tim Robinson (NAPAMA), horn player Amelia Shiels, pianist Rachel Peacock

with CEO Margaret Lioi
November 13 – Toronto, Canada

What is Chamber Music?

CMA defines chamber music as music composed for small ensembles, with one musician per part, generally performed without a conductor.

The term once referred only to Western classical music for small ensembles, such as string quartets. But today chamber music encompasses myriad forms, including contemporary and traditional jazz, classical, and world genres.

Who is Chamber Music America?

Margaret M. Lioi, CEO

Thank You, Sondra!

The IRCPA and tonight’s singers are deeply grateful to soprano Sondra Radvanovsky for generously making time in her demanding schedule to share her knowledge and recommendations with us last week.

As one of the participants writes:

“I left the Encounter feeling inspired, motivated and eager to get to work in the practice room. The amount of information and knowledge I gained is quite frankly immeasurable; the technical advice I got from Sondra while working with her was literally priceless. Sondra said that it is her duty to give back to the art form and pass along the torch to the next generation of opera singers. I, too, hope that I can one day do the same.”

Please be advised that the programs are subject to change.

If you are not already a member, we invite you to join IRCPA, get involved and stay in the loop!

Membership is without charge

  • To get the most from membership, get involved by contributing ideas, bringing your challenges and colleagues to the table for networking, “talking shop” or sharing experiences.
  • We welcome volunteers to help with members’ news, the Round-Table Discussions, Focus Groups or Brainstorming sessions.
  • Until we have a permanent home, smaller group events (discussions etc.) are held in party rooms or living rooms of willing and able volunteers

The IRCPA serves both as a community hub for networking musicians, and as an incubator where career enhancing programs help artists meet or exceed career goals.

Keep Us Informed!

Performances, CD or DVD launches, and other important news or events by members are important. Your news will be shared on our social media, presenters, media, programmers, and friends of the IRCPA.

From League of American Orchestras

Updated information from the League about new executive order on U.S. travel restrictions

Updated information from the League about new executive order on U.S. travel restrictions

 The White House has revoked the executive order concerning international travel announced on January 27, 2017 and has issued a new executive order that takes effect on March 16, 2017. While the legal and arts communities continue to study the order more fully, the League of American Orchestras’ Artists from Abroad website has been updated with information about key ways the new rules intersect with travel by artists from Sudan, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen. In addition to restrictions on travel by artists from those countries, global changes include immediate suspension of the Visa Interview Waiver Program (VIWP); all nonimmigrant visa applicants must have in-person interviews. The elimination of the VIWP option will create more demand for consular appointments, so artists should allow extra time for the visa approval process. Vetting and screening procedures will be heightened at all levels of the immigration process. Artists from Abroad provides arts-specific guidance on the immigration and taxation procedures needed to present international performing guest artists in the U.S. Click here for more information.

Posted March 9, 2017

Behind the US Justice Department ruling about music-licensing royalty agreements

“The American Justice Department announced on Thursday that it had concluded a two-year investigation into the complex world of music licensing and decided against making changes to the regulatory agreements that govern ASCAP and BMI, two large clearinghouses for performing rights that process about $2 billion in royalty payments each year” for composers and music publishers, writes Ben Sisario in Friday’s (8/5) New York Times. “BMI quickly said it would challenge the decision in federal court, and ASCAP said it would ‘explore legislative solutions’ to the problems of music licensing in the digital age.… Since 1941 [ASCAP and BMI] have been bound by regulatory agreements called consent decrees. Two years ago, both organizations asked the Justice Department to change these agreements … to secure fair royalty rates in the digital era…. The Justice Department [instead] added a requirement, saying that for ASCAP and BMI to comply with the existing regulations, they must offer ‘100 percent licensing’ of their songs. Many songs have multiple writers, and those writers don’t always belong to the same rights society…. The Justice Department is giving the music industry a year to comply… It is unclear how this would happen, but industry executives say it could include the creation of new databases to share data that previously was proprietary.”

Posted August 10, 2016

Ian Smith, Chairman of the European Music Commission, has given this statement:

Dear members and friends of the European Music Council,

I write as Chair/President of the European Music Council to express my deep regret and sorrow that at yesterday’s referendum, the UK voted to leave the European Union by a narrow margin of 52% voting to leave and 48% voting to remain. The EMC remains at the core of my being and my responsibilities as Chair are if anything strengthened by this regrettable vote. I am happy to report that Scotland voted by a clear majority of 62% to remain as part of the EU and that could, of course lead, not only to the break up of Europe, which we all fear, but the break up of the UK too.

The majority vote has come almost entirely from an English-based populace who fear continuing immigration and want to retain control of the UK which is, in my view a misplaced priority and fails to grasp that we are stronger together. From a cultural and artistic perspective this is certainly the case and is why the European Music Council is strong and that strength comes from our members and our shared priorities and vision for music as a universal language that knows no barriers wherever it is practiced across all genres, all abilities and for the benefit of all peoples.

We will remain strong and focussed on our European and global agenda and I hope it is clear that what has just happened in the UK must make us all vigilant and ensure that we unite through the common language of music that is and remains our passion.

Ian Smith, Chair of the EMC


Visas: seeking more expedience, not expense!

This week, the League led a broad coalition of national performing arts organizations calling for immediate improvements to the U.S. visa process for international artists. Amidst lengthy processing delays, U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) has proposed making it more costly to apply for the required visas for foreign guest artists, increasing the filing fee by 42% from $325 to $460. The date for implementing the proposed fee increase has not yet been set. The League has submitted comments on behalf of orchestras – and in partnership with a national nonprofit performance arts coalition including the American Federation of Musicians, Performing Arts Alliance, The Recording Academy, and many others – urging USCIS to make immediate improvements to the artist visa process.

Musical America Magazine offers an online marketing program.
Check out the showcase opportunities.

Make your international debut with the Musical America Artist Showcase

The Artist Showcase is an online marketing program available to performing artists all year long, with targeted reach to key performing arts decision-makers, buyers of talent, artist managers and others who can be influential in the advancement of your career.

The Artist Showcase page includes your photo, bio, audio, video, reviews, discography and more. Click here to see the full Artist Showcase Gallery. Musical America pro-actively promotes the Artist Showcase: a dedicated e-blast is sent quarterly to Musical America’s mailing list of 26,000+ industry professionals.

Find out about all that is included! Please click here for more information and affordable costs.

Contact us and we will be glad to give you a call to answer your questions.

Proposed Legislation to Help Touring Canadians Enter U.S.

April 11, 2016 – As recently reported, visa processing delays by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) service centers have become a major problem for Canadian touring artists and U.S. presenters. In an attempt to resolve the issues, a bipartisan legislation was recently introduced in the Congress.

The proposed “Bringing Entertainment Artists to the States” (BEATS) Act is intended to streamline the process of obtaining a P-2 classification for Canadian artists.

The P-2 classification is for artists and entertainers, individually or as a group (including essential support personnel), performing in the United States under a bilateral, reciprocal exchange program. The only P-2 programs at the moment are conducted under the auspices of the American Federation of Musicians (with the Canadian Federation of Musicians) and Actors’ Equity (with the Canadian Actors’ Equity Association).

Read More

Under the BEATS Act, Canadian artists would be able to file a P-2 petition for admission into the United States with an immigration officer at any Class A port of entry located on the border of the United States and Canada, or at any pre-clearance station at a Canadian airport, right on their way into the US. The Act would also provide Canadian artists the flexibility to alter the dates and venues of performances listed in the original petition. The only stipulation is that the additional performances or engagements cannot be more than one third of the performances or engagements listed on the original petition.

The proposed Act however has limitations. First, it would only assist Canadian artists applying for a visa through one of the P-2 union reciprocal programs that are currently established with the American Federation of Musicians and Actors’ Equity. Second, artists choosing to process their petition at a port of entry would run the risk of seeing the petition turned down by a border official, which would result in last-minute cancellations. Third, it is unlikely that Congress will pass the Act before the November election.

In spite of this, the Beats Act, just like the Arts Require Timely Service Act, is another positive step towards raising awareness of the challenges related immigration for Canadian artists touring in the United States.

Sources: Canadian Independent Music Association and Canadian Federation of Musicians

New Ivory Rules Support Musical Instruments.

On July 6, 2016, new rules will take effect related to both international travel and domestic commerce with musical instruments that contain small quantities of African elephant ivory. The League played a key leadership role in national conversations with White House officials, top leadership at U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), Congress, and conservation organizations to successfully seek solutions that would address urgent conservation concerns while also protecting international cultural activity.

The rules broaden access to travel permits, allow for domestic interstate commerce in musical instruments containing small quantities of ivory, and very helpfully clarify that legally-crafted musical instruments are not contributing to the African elephant poaching and trafficking crisis.

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In announcing the rules to reverse current travel restrictions and provide opportunities for ongoing domestic interstate commerce in musical instruments, the USFWS stated that, “We listened carefully to the legitimate concerns raised by various stakeholder groups and, as a result, are allowing commonsense, narrow exceptions for musicians, musical instrument makers and dealers…to trade items that have minimal amounts of ivory and satisfy other conditions. These items are not drivers of elephant poaching and do not provide cover for traffickers.”

What does that mean?

For international travel, the new rules remove the current prohibition on travel with musical instruments purchased after February 25, 2014 that legally contain African elephant ivory. This removal of the purchase date restriction is a significant improvement. By July 6, the USFWS will issue a revised Director’s Order clarifying the policy change, and musicians who purchased instruments after February 25, 2014 that legally contain ivory will be eligible to apply for a travel permit.

That sounds good, but there will still be problems with over-zealous Customs officials.

Under the new rules, a musical instrument that contains African elephant ivory may qualify for a travel permit if the worked African elephant ivory meets all of the following criteria:
– The African elephant ivory contained in the instrument was legally acquired and removed from the wild prior to February 26, 1976;
– The instrument containing worked ivory is accompanied by a valid Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) musical instrument certificate or equivalent CITES document;

– The instrument is securely marked or uniquely identified so that authorities can verify that the certificate corresponds to the musical instrument in question; and

– The instrument is not sold, traded, or otherwise disposed of while outside the certificate holder’s country of usual residence.
This is not over yet.

Further requests of the music community related to easing international travel restrictions will be under consideration in separate U.S. rulemaking procedures, and as CITES is renegotiated in 2016.

For more information, review the 114-page rule and the Fish and Wildlife Service’s FAQs.

Here’s how to board Airberlin with a viola or violin

Fiona Stevens has nailed it:

I had a very pleasant conversation today with Frau Unger from Airberlin head office who has helped many of us violinists in the past. She allows me to post the following procedure for taking violins on board until the wording of Airberlin terms & conditions is changed.
Anyone wishing to take a violin/viola on board should write to medspecialrequest@airberlin.com stating their flight & booking number, and the dimensions & weight of their instrument case. They should then receive written confirmation that they will be able to take the instrument as handluggage at no extra cost.

Read More

For anyone wondering why, whilst top management has decided to change policy in favour of musicians, it is taking so long for the official wording to be changed: this is (much the same as my recent post re Eurowings) because changing the wording of general terms & conditions requires every department (including legal) to ok the new wording, and this simply takes time.

From Slipped Disc

Isabel Overton Bader Canadian Violin Competition:

April 26 – 29, 2017 Queens University, Kingston, Ontario. Application Deadline: December 5, 2016.




A new Canada-wide Music Composition Competition

McGill University’s Schulich School of Music has announced a new competition open to all Canadian composers age 35 or younger.

The competition will be funded by a $1 million donation from McGill alumnus Dr Graham Sommer.

The Graham Sommer Competition for Young Composers will “shine a spotlight on the best young composers from across Canada, bringing them to the attention of the Canadian public and the international musical world,” said Schulich School of Music’s Interim Dean, Julie Cumming.

The first annual competition is slated to begin in the Spring of 2017 and will commemorate Canada’s 150th and Montreal’s 375th-anniversary celebrations. Contest details will be release later this year.