Mary-Elizabeth Brown, Founder and Director
Mary-Elizabeth is likely the the first person you'll encounter at Strings Around the World - she meets every student and family before they begin lessons to ensure a good student-teacher match and the best learning experience we can offer.
Mary-Elizabeth Brown, Founder & Director; Violin Teacher
Canadian violinist Mary-Elizabeth Brown enjoys parallel careers as a performer and teacher. In concert, she has delighted audiences around the world and earned accolades for her “ability to unfold bittersweet magic” (Rhein Main Presse) and “perfect command of her instrument” (Florsheim Zeitung). As a pedagogue, students and teachers alike have recognized her teaching as "a rare experience of brilliance."
In addition to being the Founder and Director of Strings Around The World Inc., Mary-Elizabeth is a sought-after teacher, clinician, adjudicator and speaker. She has facilitated workshops in the Aldeburgh Young Musicians Program and the Neojiba Project (Salvador, Bahia, Brasil), led the 2008 Sembrando Talentos project in Montevideo (in collaboration with Mozarteum Uruguay), played an integral role in the development of the El Sistema program in London, Canada and designed the most recent string curriculum for the Bahamas Music Conservatory in Nassau. She has been a clinician for numerous public and high school string retreats and workshops in Canada and abroad.
Closer to home, Mary-Elizabeth has spent nearly 15 years as a successful private studio teacher of pupils ranging from "twinklers" to teenagers eager to pursue performance careers and adult amateur musicians. Her students have been successful in competitions at the local, provincial and national levels, and can be found in some of Canada's top music performance programs. A firm believer in Shinichi Suzuki's "Every Child Can" philosophy, she welcomes the opportunity to teach all children, including those with learning disabilities and other challenges.
In recent seasons, she has toured as a soloist in Europe, Asia, North and South America, and has appeared at the Festival Campos do Jordao (Brazil), Mozarteum Uruguay, The White House (USA), the Aldeburgh Festival (UK), Arts and Letters Club of Toronto, Indian River Festival, Elora Festival and Banff Summer Arts Festival (Canada). In addition to being heard on numerous radio and television broadcasts, she has recorded for Cambria Records, EMI, Marquis, Hanssler Classic and GLOR Classics.
Equally at ease as a concertmaster, she has led nearly 1000 concerts on 4 continents under the direction of some of the most noted conductors of our time: at the invitation of Lorin Maazel, she led orchestra of the Young Artists from the Met production of Rape of Lucretia; recorded Verdi’s Requiem under the baton of Placido Domingo; toured South America playing Scherezade with Carlos Miguel Prieto, led multiple performances of Shostakovich with Vasily Petrenko, and was the solo violinist for the recording of John Burge’s Flanders Fields Reflections that won the 2009 Juno for best composition. She served as concertmaster of YOA Orchestra of the Americas from 2006-2008, and led the Britten-Pears Orchestra from 2007-2009. From 2006-2015, she was Associate Concertmaster of Orchestra London Canada, and has been Concertmaster of the award-winning chamber orchestra Sinfonia Toronto since 2007.
Mary-Elizabeth started The Concertmaster Project - a long-term endeavour aimed at using mentorship relationships to help document and preserve the art of being a concertmaster - in 2013 with the generous help of the Ontario Arts Council. Included in the project are mentors Rainer Küchl (Vienna Philharmonic), David Kim (Philadelphia Orchestra), Jonathan Crow (Toronto Symphony) Stephanie Gonley (English Chamber Orchestra), Markus Daunert (Mahler Chamber Orchestra), Noah Bendix-Bagley (Berlin Philharmonic), and Leon Spierer (Berlin Philharmonic, retired).
Mary-Elizabeth began studying the violin in her local Suzuki program at the age of 5 and holds degrees from the University of Toronto and l’Université de Montreal where she received the Prix d’Excellence en Interpretation in 2006. Her principal teachers and mentors include David Zafer, Mark Skazinetsky, Ilya Kaler, Vladimir Landsman and Leon Spierer. She has soloed in masterclasses with Regis Pasqier, Pierre Amoyal, Sylvia Rosenberg, Jean-Jacques Kantorow, Pamela Frank, Pinchas Zukerman and the late Lorand Fenyves. She studied pedagogy with Allen Lieb, Ed Kreitman, Roger Steig, Ann Montzka and Martha Shackford.
Mary-Elizabeth plays on a 1766 Giuseppe Gagliano violin on loan from an anonymous donor.