The SPOGreatMusic Podcast Series: S02E01

Release Date: October 1, 2021

Host: Dr. Daniel Mehdizadeh | Throughout Scarborough, there are multiple excellent music programs. This includes a broad offering from those found in our public schools, to after school and weekend youth music programs. This includes vibrant and free programs run by Sistema Toronto, Axis Music, St. Paul’s L’Amoreaux Anglican Church, and more. There is an East Indian music program lead by Esther Mithradeva, an award-winning violinist in Scarborough. Scarborough Arts runs the East Youth Collective Program, which included the Sister Sound System, created through an artistic and personal development program for young women of colour. The program was led by the entertainer and entrepreneur, Dynesti. As well, the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus has an excellent music program.

Interviewees: Andres Tucci-Clarke (Managing Director of Sistema Toronto), Roger Mantie (Associate Professor of Music and Culture at the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus) and Tony Leong (Music Teacher at Sir Oliver Mowat Collegiate Institute and Conductor of the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus String Orchestra).


Here’s some additional information and pictures on our special guest interviewees for this episode:

Andres Tucci Clarke, Managing Director, Sistema Toronto

Canadian of Uruguayan and English descent, cellist Andres Tucci Clarke grew up in Toronto and began his cello studies at the Dixon Hall Community Centre. He completed a Master’s of Music Degree with Paul Marleyn at the University of Ottawa in 2009. Since then Andres has been teaching and freelancing in the Greater Toronto Area (and sometimes farther a field). He has also spent time working at The Sound Post, one of Canada’s most reputable string shops where he has learned a lot about the violin/cello business and repair. While pursuing his Master’s degree, Andres was a member of the Vida String Quartet.  The Vida Quartet played together for two years, performing in the International Haydn Festival in Montreal, and in local concert series in the Greater Toronto and Ottawa regions.
Andres completed a Honours Bachelor of Music at Wilfrid Laurier University in 2007, studying with Simon Fryer –  then cellist of the Penderecki String Quartet. He has also studied with Paul Pulford and David Hetherington and participated in master classes with cellist such as; Colin Carr, Gregor Horsch, John Kadz, Matt Haimovitz, Brian Manker, Julian Armour and Yegor Dyachkov. Although centred around chamber music, Andres’ musical interests span from the earliest Baroque to the 21st Century and he is continually trying to broaden the scope of his repertoire.

Andres has been a participant in many summer music festivals, notably the Orford Arts Centre in Orford, Québec, Tafelmusik Baroque Summer Institute in Toronto, Ontario, Wilfrid Laurier Beethoven Seminar and QuartetFest, and the Lake District Summer Music Festival in the United Kingdom. He is also an alumnus of the National Youth Orchestra of Canada.

As a teacher, Andres has taught private cello lessons, group classes and coached chamber ensembles.  Passionate about bringing music to school aged children, he has been on faculty of Toronto District School Board Downtown Summer Strings Programme since 2007, and a volunteer with them since 2001. Andres is also on faculty at The Toronto School for Strings.

Andres also plays cello with the Scarborough Philharmonic Orchestra and often conducts the Sistema Choir at SPO Holiday Concerts.

Outside of music Andres enjoys photography, road biking, cross country running, and hiking.

You can learn more about Andres on his website and LinkedIn profiles. Learn more about Sistema Toronto on their website.

Sistema Toronto is a performing partner with the Scarborough Philharmonic Orchestra. Image and logo courtesy of Sistema Toronto.


Roger Mantie, Associate Professor of Music and Culture, University of Toronto Scarborough Campus

Roger Mantie’s teaching and scholarship, informed by his fourteen years as a school music educator in Manitoba, emphasizes connections between schooling and society, with a focus on lifelong engagement in and with music and the arts. He is on the editorial boards of Bulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education, Action, Criticism, and Theory for Music Education, International Journal of Community Music, Journal of Popular Music Education, and the Canadian Music Educator, and is co-editor of the Oxford Handbook of Music Making and Leisure (2016) and the Oxford Handbook of Technology and Music Education (2017).

You may also be interested in an interview he did for the Digitizing Education series, which can be found here.

For more, visit

Photo courtesy of Carry The Tune.


Dr. Tony Nam-Hai Leong, Educator, Conductor of University of Toronto Scarborough Campus String Orchestra

Educator and conductor, Dr. Tony Nam-Hai Leong completed his Ph.D. at the University of Toronto, in addition to a Master’s degree in Computer Applications. His research includes the intersections of string music education, technology, adolescents, and community music, which has been featured in various publications including the Canadian and Ontario Music Educators’ Association Journals. An advocate for mental well-being and social change through accessible and lifelong engagement in music-making, Dr. Leong centers community engagement at the core of his work.

A clinician and presenter on string education and technology in the music classroom, Dr. Leong has guest lectured undergraduate and graduate courses at the University of Toronto, York University, and the University of Western Ontario, among other engagements across Canada and the USA.  He currently serves as MusicFest Canada’s Chairman of the Orchestra/Strings Division; Past-President (2016-2018) and member of the Ontario Music Educators’ Association Board of Directors; Executive Member of the Canadian Music Educators’ Association, co-founding member of the Ontario Strings Association; Conn-Selmer Educational Clinician; and has been a past member on the Board of Directors of the Coalition for Music Education in Canada. With a passion for music education at the public and post-secondary levels, Dr. Leong is a conductor and lecturer with the University of Toronto Scarborough String Orchestra; an instructor at Queen’s University; and Head of the Performing Arts Program at Sir Oliver Mowat C.I..


If you can help with a donation to ensure the SPO can keep up the great work, please consider a montly or one-time donation through You’ll also receive a tax receipt issued by It’s easy, safe, and secure.

Click here to return to our 2021/2022 SPOGreatMusic Podcast Series listings.

Click here to go to our 2021/2022 SPOGreatMusic Performance Series listings.