Amanda Goodburn – Violin

Before moving to Canada in the summer of 2001, Amanda Goodburn pursued her studies in both England and South Africa, where she distinguished herself as a critically acclaimed young violinist.  During her undergraduate studies at the University of Stellenbosch, Amanda performed with the major South African orchestras, and was the winner of two major awards to facilitate overseas study – the Mabel Quick Overseas Bursary and the Sasol Music Prize competition.  These successes, in addition to a full scholarship, enabled her to continue her graduate studies at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. 

While in England, Amanda performed at numerous music festivals as a chamber musician. She led the Goodburn String Quartet, whose performances at the yearly Royal Northern College Chamber Music festivals included the UK premier of John Corigliano’s String Quartet; this quartet also collaborated with cellist Antonio Lysy, and played in masterclasses with the Arditti, Endellion and Emerson Quartets. As a member of the Strydom/Goodburn piano duo, Amanda performed recitals in northern England and in Bath at the famous ‘Pump Room’.  Amanda was fortunate in being given the RNCM’s Amati violin to perform on for the final year of her studies.  During this year, she won the Samro Music Prize in South Africa and the RNCM’s Paganini Prize, achieved a place in the Hallé Orchestra’s Professional Experience program, and graduated with both a Professional Performance and Advanced Performance Diploma with distinction.

Once her studies in England were complete, Amanda visited Canada, intending only to attend the summer masterclasses at Banff. With three years and a Masters degree from the University of Toronto behind her, Amanda now calls Toronto her home. She was featured as soloist with the University of Toronto Symphony Orchestra and Orchestra Toronto in performances of the Brahms Violin Concerto;  and has also performed with Arraymusic, the Mooredale and ARC Ensembles. and with the Tokai String Quartet, of which she is a founding member. She became a member of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra in September 2004.

Csaba Koczo – violin

Csaba Koczo was born in Hungary, and started his violin studies in Yugoslavia at the age of eight. In 1990 he moved back to Hungary to study in Budapest at the Bela Bartok Conservatory, and subsequently attained his bachelor’s degree with distinction at the College of the Liszt Ferenc Music Academy. He came to Toronto in 1999 to study with Lorand Fenyves and Erika Raum. He received his Artist Diploma at the Glenn Gould School and later, as the recipient of the H. Carter scholarship, attained his masters degree at the University of Toronto.

Csaba was a prize winner in the National Violin Competitions in both Yugoslavia and Hungary, and in the Leo Weiner International Competition. He also won the concerto competition of the Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber Orchestra, performing the Beethoven Violin concerto.

Csaba has performed with numerous European chamber groups, including the Sandor Frigyes Chamber Orchestra where he acted as principal second violin and toured Hungary and Italy. As a member of the Weiner Quartet he participated at the Vienna-Prague-Budapest Summer Academy in Semmering (Austria) and played for the members of the Bartok, Prague and Amadeus Quartets.

Since moving to Canada, Csaba has performed as a chamber musician or soloist in a variety of concert series in and around Toronto, collaborating with artists such as Shauna Rolston, Scott St. John, Douglas McNabney, Erika Raum, Etsuko Kimura, Olivier Thouin, and Mayumi Seiler. He is a founding member of the Tokai string Quartet and the Seiler Strings Chamber Orchestra. In addition, Csaba is assistant principal second violin of the Canadian Opera Company, and also holds a position in the Canadian National Ballet Orchestra.

Yosef Tamir-Smirnoff – Viola

Yosef Tamir-Smirnoff grew up in Moscow, and at the age of 6 he began studying the violin at the Tchaikovsky Institute of Music with Irina Kouznetsova.  He subsequently studied violin and viola in Tel Aviv with Leonid Rozenberg, but had chosen viola as his principal study by the time he immigrated to Canada in 1995.  Yosef then studied in Montreal with Alexei Dyachkov, the former violist of the Shostakovich Quartet, and in Bloomington at Indiana University where he was the teaching assistant of Alan DeVeritch and the recipient of the Nina Neil Scholarship.  After graduating from Indiana with an Artist’s Diploma, Yosef moved to Toronto to study with Steven Dann at the Glenn Gould School.

Yosef has occupied the position of principal violist with the UBS Verbier Festival Chamber Orchestra, Indiana University Philharmonic Orchestra and I Musici de Montreal (as guest principal), and has performed with some of the world’s greatest conductors – James Levine, Yuri Temerkanov, Kurt Mazur, Yuri Bashmet, Mstislav Rostropovich, Kent Nagano, Wolfgang Sawallisch and Paavo Jarvi. He recently won the position of Associate Principal Viola with the Kitchener Waterloo Symphony Orchestra.

Yosef has enjoyed considerable success in numerous competitions:  he won first prize in the Prix d’Expression Musicale Solo Competition, the International Chamber Orchestra Concerto competition and the Kuttner Quartet Competition, and second prize in both the American String Teacher’s Association and Montreal Symphony Orchestra Solo Competitions. 

Yosef is also a highly sought-after chamber musician and has collaborated with many eminent musicians.  In 2003, the St Petersberg Quartet invited him to perform with them during their tour of Mexico and the U.S. He has also performed with the Ying Quartet, Pinchas Zukermann, Jonathan Crow, Ruth Laredo, Ilya Kaler and Toronto’s ARC Ensemble (with Erika Raum and David Louie among others), and his performances have been broadcast on NBC Television, CBC Radio and WQSR radio.  Yosef joined the Tokai String Quartet in October 2003.

Rafael Hoekman – Cello

Rafael Hoekman grew up in St. John’s Newfoundland and began his musical training with his parents at the age of three. He first attracted attention by winning First Prize at the Orford International Competition in 1998.  This award led to performances of the Boccherini Concerto with I Musici de Montreal and a subsequent CD on the Amberola Label.  In quick succession, Rafael garnered awards and recognition from competitions including the Montreal Symphony Competition, the CBC Young Performers Competition, the CMC Stepping Stones Competition, and the Debut Young Artists Competition.  Most recently, Rafael won

the audience award and the second prize in the Quebec Symphony’s Canadian Concerto Competition.

Rafael has appeared as a featured soloist and chamber musician at venues throughout Canada. He regularly collaborates with Toronto Pianist Angela Park.  Most notably, the duo collaborated in March 2003 for a concert at La Chapelle Historique du Bon Pasteur in Montreal, and in Deep River (Concerts at Home). Other recent Canadian appearances have included the Elora Festival with members of the Penderecki String Quartet, the Festival of Sound with Denis Brott, Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi, and Denise Djokic, the Mooredale Series, Glenn Gould Studio (Music Around Us), the Music Gallery, University of Toronto Faculty Artist Series, and Rolston Recital Hall in Banff. Rafael has been featured on CBC’s “Take Five”, “Music Around Us”, and on several Newfoundland-based programs. In addition to performing with I Musici de Montreal, Rafael has appeared as soloist with the Newfoundland Symphony, the Mooredale Ensemble, and the University of Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Etobicoke Philharmonic, and most recently with the Quebec Symphony Orchestra.

Canadian Cellist Denis Brott remarked on CBC radio: “Rafael is a man of integrity.  He will have a very significant career and will add tremendously to the musical life in Canada”.  Rafael completed his Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Toronto with Shauna Rolston, and in 2002, he was awarded a Chalmers Grant from the Ontario Arts Council to pursue his Master’s Degree. A member of the Tokai String Quartet and principal cellist of Sinfonia Toronto Chamber Orchestra, Rafael plays on a 1956 Giuseppe Lucci cello kindly on loan from the Banff Centre.