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Monument to Multiculturalism (1985) by Francesco Perilli outside of Union Station, Toronto, Ontario. 
Photograph by Paul Bica, "Reach Toronto," 2008.

Tickets: $40

Purchase tickets here

One ticket allows access to the following: 

a) recital of Christina Petrowska Quilico;

b) the Worlds Apart conference and recital series.

Pianist Christina Petrowska Quilico will perform a recital of works related to the theme of multiculturalism in Canada. 


Saturday, May 25, 2024 at 7:30 PM

MacMillan Theatre, 80 Queens Park, Toronto, ON M5S 2C5


Christina Petrowska Quilico has been appointed to the Order of Canada, the Order of Ontario, and the Royal Society of Canada for her interpretations of contemporary Canadian music. 

The Canadian Encyclopedia calls Christina Petrowska Quilico “one of Canada’s most celebrated pianists. [She is] a noted champion of Canadian composers.“ 

“An extraordinary talent with phenomenal ability… dazzling virtuosity,"

The New York Times.


Recital Program

Larysa Kuzmenko: Victims of Chernobyl

Larysa Kuzmenko: Dance Diabolique

David Jaeger: Lament for the People of Ukraine

Ruth Schonthal: The Canticles of Hieronymus

Oskar Morawetz: Suite for Piano

Peter Paul Koprowski: Rhapsody on a theme of Brahms.

The Conference & Recital Series 

Application due date for conference presenters: February 19th, 2024

Conference Dates: May 25th–26th, 2024

Location: Walter Hall, University of Toronto, Faculty of Music 80 Queen’s Park, Toronto M5S 2C5

Director: Dr. Daniel Jordan

Co-organizer: Prof. Robin Elliott 


Sponsors: Jackman Humanities Institute & Faculty of Music, University of Toronto

Worlds Apart will be a two-day conference and recital series that explores how refugees and displaced peoples in Canada have used music to “fill” cultural absences, create diasporic communities, and build intercultural bridges since 1945. After the Allied victory at the end of the Second World War, the four largest waves of refugees entering Canada have been directly connected to East-West geopolitical tensions (e.g. the 250,000 Central and Eastern Europeans who fled Communism between 1947-1952; the 60,000 Vietnamese and Cambodians who fled communism between 1979-1980 [Molloy et al., 2016]; the 60,795 [and counting] Syrians who fled civil war since 2011 prior to the recent natural disaster; and the 137,797 [and counting] Ukrainian citizens who have arrived since 24 February 2022 as emergency three-year temporary residents [Government of Canada, 2023]). Consequently, this period in Canada’s migration history is distinguished by the profound impact of (post-)Cold War conflicts. These same events have informed Canada’s divergent approaches to nation-building at home and its exertion of “soft power” abroad.

Ultimately, it was a group of Ukrainian Canadians, led by linguist Jaroslav Bohdan Rudnyckyj (1910-1995) and politician Paul Yuzyk (1913-1986), who successfully petitioned the Canadian federal government from 1963-1971 to adopt an official policy of “multiculturalism” (Prymak, 2019). Since then, one of the Government of Canada’s core strategies for nation-building has been to represent and revive the cultural traditions of its diasporic communities (Bissoondath, 1994). Nowhere has this approach been more clearly pursued than through music (Ghorayshi, 2010). Musical performance can inspire nostalgia for an absent homeland, producing creativity and moral codes that “govern a community’s identity and sense of belonging” (Jordan, 2023: 13). Literature on how states incorporate incoming refugees in their nation-building and public diplomacy campaigns tends to focus on monolithic national brands (Cevik and Efe Sevin, 2017; Fosler-Lussier, 2015). But how can constructivist, multicultural approaches to nation-building be developed and communicated—especially by self-described cultural “mosaics” or “melting pots” like Canada? Worlds Apart will inspire researchers and performers to consider how musical expressions of Canada’s growing and ever-changing refugee and diasporic communities have intersected with perceptions of multiculturalism and Canadian-ness at home and abroad.

Participants in Worlds Apart are encouraged to present a proposal for a recital or academic paper related to one or more of these questions:

  • What is the role of collective nostalgia, cultural absence, and musical performance in building Canada’s refugee and diasporic communities?

  • What role has music played as a metaphor and concrete arena for intercultural dialogue between Canada’s refugee and diasporic communities and other residents/citizens?

  • What role do refugee and diasporic music and culture play in Canadian cultural diplomacy?

  • How do Canadian funding bodies, composers, performers, and critics determine the ethnic symbolism and value of refugee's and diasporic communities' musical performances?

Purchase tickets here

All academic presentations will be considered for chapters to be published within an edited book with Oxford University Press. 

Please send questions to

The Program

9:45 AM: Welcome Address

  • Daniel Jordan (University of Toronto): “A Brief Reflection on ‘Multiculturalism,’ Music, and ‘Canadian-ness’

10:00 AM: Papers (A)

Sean Bellaviti (Toronto Metropolitan University): “Salsa Pioneers: An Ethnographic Account of Toronto’s Earliest Salsa Musicians”

For a city of its size, language, and northernly location, present day Toronto is home to an unusually vibrant salsa scene. Every weekend of even the coldest of Canadian winter months, one can reliably find bands of 10-plus musicians performing in clubs and community centers for salsa enthusiasts of all ages and backgrounds. And it has been this way for the better part of three decades. With every new “wave” of migrants or refugees from one or another Latin American country, Toronto’s salsa scene grew ever larger and culturally diverse. In contrast, the city’s first salsa bandleaders in the 1970s and 1980s made do with considerably fewer human resources and economic opportunities. Their bands featured a mixture of newly-arrived Latin American musicians and local graduates of Toronto’s degree-granting jazz programs. For most of these pioneering musicians, salsa was an exciting albeit unfamiliar genre that they learned through a careful study of imported recordings, by attending multiple rehearsals, and sometimes on the bandstand.

This paper explores this earliest phase of Toronto salsa scene. Drawing on extended ethnographic and archival research, it offers an account of both the challenges that this city’s first salsa musicians had to overcome and the rewards offered to salsa performers. In so doing, this paper contributes to a growing body of research on the community life of Toronto’s ever-expanding Latin American communities.

Anneli Loepp Thiessen (University of Ottawa): “What is Mennonite Music? Congregational Song, Cultural Allegiances, and Canada’s Changing Musical Landscape”      

When approximately 8,000 Russian Mennonite refugees arrived on Canadian shores in the years following World War II, they were accompanied by the trauma of religious persecution, forced (and sometimes voluntary) involvement in Hitler's regime, and the broader shock of constant displacement from the war (Epp 1987). Newcomers – like my grandparents – were welcomed into Mennonite congregations, which grew exponentially in the mid-to-late 20th century. A hallmark of these communities was their four-part a capella singing, a musical lineage that survived the trip across the Atlantic. Traditional hymns sung in German served as a reminder of the homeland, and a nostalgic tie to the faith to which they clung.

As the Canadian musical and religious landscape has evolved, Mennonite communities have faced both internal and external pressure to adapt their musical practices (Dueck 2017). With the majority of Mennonites around the world today located in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, and with an increasing awareness of the importance of singing in inclusive ways (Loepp Thiessen and Graber 2023), Mennonite music in Canada can no longer solely be defined as the four-part a capella singing of our ancestors. An increasing awareness that “Mennonite” does not equal “white European Mennonite” complicates musical allegiance. While hymnals from white European Mennonite communities in the 1950s reveal predominantly unaccompanied German hymns, Mennonite communities today draw on a range of musical traditions: from folk to gospel to pop-style. Indeed, the most recent Mennonite hymnal reflects an unprecedented breadth of musical style (Kauffman 2020).

Using my own family musical history as a database in the absence of formal repositories on Russian Mennonite music, this presentation tracks beloved Russian Mennonite songs for their inclusion across Mennonite hymnals published from 1946–2020. How has the Russian Mennonite musical lineage been sustained in published hymnals, and how has it been left behind? How has the pursuit of cultural memory been held in tension with the desire for musical assimilation? Recognizing hymnals as the material embodiment of stories (Graber 2004) and repositories for memory (Nafziger and Kropf 2001), I interrogate how these musical archives chronicle the story of diasporic musical evolution.

Michelle Assay (King’s College, London & University of Toronto): “‘I, too, was once a musician’: When Migrant Voices Fall Silent: The Case of Iranian Western Art Musicians

Asked why he refused to flee his country despite increasing pressures, Iran’s star filmmaker, Abbas Kiarostami, replied that if a tree is uprooted to a foreign soil, it would no longer bear fruit, or if it did, that the fruit would not be as good as in its original place: ‘Such is the rule of nature’. Music by nature, perhaps more than any other art form, is readily mobile and suited to be ‘taken along’ (Gratzer et. al., 2024). But are musicians so suited? What conditions determine and encourage the continuity of creativity among first-generation immigrants?

Focusing on the Iranian immigrant society in Canada, this paper looks for the often-untold stories of social- and self-silencing. For this, I interleave critical reflection on theories and studies of migration and integration with elements of auto-ethnography and oral history, contextualising personal experiences within both ‘host’ social structures and those of ‘home’ as represented by the diaspora. In my search for the untold, I have chosen to focus more on Western Art Music than traditional or ‘home’ music, in the hope of addressing another conspicuous gap. I argue that immigrant representatives of Western Art Music have faced not only fierce competition with their often more technically skilled Western counterparts, but also the expectation, not least from the diaspora, that they should continue to relate to their former homelands: this despite the associated traumas.

11:30 AM: Performance and Q&A

INTERWOVEN (ensemble) with Sean Wang (violin), University of Toronto & Glenn Gould School, RCM

Between Worlds for Shamisen and String Quartet by Michael Ippolito (b. 1985).

12:30 PM: Lunch Break

1:30 PM: Papers (B)

Karen Dubinsky (Queen’s University) & Freddy Monasterio (Humber College): “Cuba’s Canadian Musical Diaspora”

Toronto is home to one of the largest concentrations of Cuban professional musicians outside the island. In the brief span of two decades, this group of Cuban diasporic musicians — supported by a community of artists, fans, promoters, managers, producers, DJs, dancers, photographers and event organizers — have carved out a space for Cuban music and culture in Canada’s largest city. What does Toronto’s emergence as global trade route and cultural corridor for Cuban music tell us about Cuban and Canadian imaginaries and hemispheric relations?   This presentation draws from interviews with forty Cuban  (and Cuban-adjacent)  musicians in Canada, as well as our podcast Cuban Serenade  on the history of Cuban music in Canada  

Previous studies of musical diasporas have explored how immigrant musicians contribute to cities self-promotion as culturally cosmopolitan as well as how music acts as a resource for diasporic identity and memory. We build on this work and extend such questions. Transnational musical circulation is always shaped by national circumstances. Canada is a country with a small Cuban diaspora but huge appetite for Cuban tourism. It is a settler-colonial country with a multicultural population and racially restrictive immigration practices. How have dislocated communities of Cubans negotiated Canadians' particular blend of affection for and resistance to Caribbean immigrants? How have performers and audiences contributed to representations of exoticism and consumerist display? 

We explore the social spaces that Cuban diasporic musicians and their allies have created in contemporary Toronto, the relationship between these musicians, their supporters, and their urban experience in multicultural Toronto.  We analyze the way in which these spaces are linking Cuba and Canada together as well as the role of this North American cultural metropolis as an emerging trade route for Cuban music.  We will also consider the relationship between transnational cultural circulation and state policy.  What does a focus on bottom up rather than state centered knowledge creation yield?  It is in this register -- the relations formed at the people-to-people level, that reputations and policy foundations are made.    


Chris Greencorn (Queen’s University): “‘The contemporary relevance of the Canadian mosaic in its traditional aspects’: Folk Music Research and Multiculturalism at Canada’s National Museum”

This paper tracks a paradigm shift undergone by folk culture researchers at the National Museum of Canada in the decade leading up to Canada’s federal official multiculturalism policy in 1971. As the nation at large shifted from a discourse around “founding races” (British and French, and sometimes, in a very limited sense, Indigenous) to one of “other ethnic groups” and “multiculturalism within a bilingual framework,” so too did folklorists, particularly those studying folk music under the aegis of the country’s primary cultural repository. In the early 1960s, folk music collection and research at the Museum shifted from almost exclusively British, French, and Indigenous foci to, predominantly, “non-aboriginal minority cultural groups” (Roy 1973: 48), which encompassed established minority communities but also the many refugees, displaced persons, and other diasporic groups that entered Canada in the postwar period. Moreover, this shift was initiated well in advance of the findings of the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism and the multiculturalism policy that resulted from it, but clearly proceeded in a kind of dialogue with them. In this paper, I attend to the work of the Museum’s Folklore Section and later Canadian Centre for Folk Culture Studies (CCFCS) head Carmen Roy in orchestrating this shift, and the kinds of rhetoric used to relate the CCFCS’s historical activities to its present reality. Faced with rapidly expanding expectations of the hitherto rather marginal discipline of Canadian folklore, Roy and the CCFCS quickly found themselves in the position of fulfilling, with limited resources, a fascinatingly contradictory mandate “to preserve and to uncover the contemporary relevance of the Canadian mosaic in its traditional aspects” (Roy 1973: 51), implicitly for all of Canada’s non-Indigenous minorities. Examining how they attempted to do so affords a greater understanding of the symbolic value and expediency of diasporic folk musics in Canada’s burgeoning multicultural era.

Anais Kelsey-Verdecchia (University of Toronto):  “‘Art Should Be Dangerous!’: Anti-colonialism in R. Murray Schafer’s And Wolf Shall Inherit the Moon”

R. Murray Schafer (1933–2021) is a Canadian composer who leaves behind a complicated legacy. In his writing he espouses some challenging views which contemporary scholars have addressed and taken issue with, particularly with regards to Schafer’s treatment of Indigenous artists and source materials. Accusations range from unintentional cultural appropriation to racism and perpetuation of the oppression of Indigenous peoples. Conversely, Schafer actually viewed himself as a victim of colonization, describing how the Canadian classical music scene was an affect of European influence to which we remain “enslaved”. He observed with dismay that many Canadians appeared “quite content to accept [their] musical stimulation from […] foreign-inspired copies.” With his Theatre of Confluence, a collection of musical/theatrical works including the Patria cycle, Schafer proposed an alternative. Throughout the cycle of operas comprising Patria, Schafer pushes the boundaries of our inherited colonial musical traditions to the limit – and in the epilogue, And Wolf Shall Inherit the Moon, he breaks the boundaries and creates an artistic experience that is fundamentally anti-colonial. While I believe Schafer’s contributions to be important, worth sharing, and worth protecting, I do not wish to gloss over the more harmful or problematic parts of his legacy. For this reason, my talk will begin with a discussion of some recent criticisms lobbied against Schafer and against the Wolf Project, as it is commonly known. One of these critics (Dylan Robinson) will also provide the basis of my argument for inherent anti-colonialism in Schafer’s Wolf Project.

3:00 PM: Performance and Q&A

Taddle Quartet with Veronica Zupanic, violin (University of Toronto)

Sivunittinni for string quartet by Tanya Tagaq (b.1975) and arranged by Jacob Garchik

3:30 PM: Coffee & Tea Break

4:15 PM: Papers (C)

Daniel Jordan: “Tālivaldis Ķeniņš’s ‘A Letter from Siberia’: Political Exiles as Canadian Cultural Diplomats” (University of Toronto)

This paper explores how composer Tālivaldis Ķeniņš (1919-2008) connected Western Latvian diaspora in Toronto to citizens within his occupied homeland during the end of the Cold War. Through his music, Ķeniņš played a pivotal role in reshaping the identity of a nation striving for independence amid geopolitical turmoil. By tracing his personal and professional networks, his musical output, and his reception in Latvia and Canada, I investigate the role played by exile diaspora in unofficial transnational exchange and state-endorsed cultural diplomacy during the Cold War, a period characterized by heightened ideological division, geopolitical tensions, and cultural rivalry.

A peculiar aspect of what Latvians today consider to be their national “academic” music of the latter half of the twentieth century is that much of it was written in exile; besides Ķeniņš, this includes figures with central roles within the Latvian musical canon such as Arnolds Šturms (1912–1999), Jānis Mediņš (1890–1966), Ādolfs Ābele (1889–1967), amongst others. To gain a clearer understanding of how this national identity intersects with the history of Latvia diaspora, I draw upon Stèphane Dufoix’s (2008) concept of “exile polity,” which he defines as the political and cultural dynamics of groups challenging the ruling power or occupier in their homeland, striving to uphold or regain national sovereignty and identity from abroad. During the Cold War, Latvian diaspora in the Western bloc claimed to preserve their national music in exile, aiming to distance themselves from the Sovietization of Latvian culture in their occupied homeland—a stance Dufoix characterizes as an “antagonistic mode” of diaspora. I explore how these barriers contributed to the imagining of “two Latvias” after 1945 within Canada’s Latvian exile diasporic community.

Robin Elliott (University of Toronto): “The Second Viennese School Arrives in Canada”

Arnold Schoenberg’s emigration to the United States in 1933 and his subsequent career there is a well documented and frequently studied historical phenomenon. Much less well known is the story of how various members of his musical circles in Vienna emigrated to Canada and made important contributions to the postwar cultural life of this country. This talk will outline the story of how these musicians, including the singers Emmy Heim and Ruzena Herlinger, the CBC producer Franz Kraemer, the pianist Karl Steiner, and the university professor Alfred Rosé, all made their individual ways to Canada during and after the Second World War and reestablished their musical careers here. Although none of them contributed to the spread of Schoenberg’s twelve-tone technique as composers (and for that matter, neither did Schoenberg’s sole Canadian pupil, Jean Coulthard), these musicians did bring first-hand experience of the artistic and cultural milieu of early twentieth-century Vienna in which Schoenberg and his associates flourished, and they shared this knowledge with their Canadian pupils and acquaintances. Other musicians who did not emigrate to Canada but made professional visits here in the postwar era, such as Ernst Krenek and Julius Schloss, also brought with them first-hand experience of the Second Viennese School, which they shared with music students in Toronto and Montreal. In addition to a brief outline of the stories of these individual refugee Viennese artists, this talk will also describe and evaluate the impact of these musicians on the cultural life of Canada in the postwar era. 

5:15 PM: Performance and Q&A

  • Tetiana Cherneta, bandura (Borys Grinchenko Metropolitan Kyiv University)

6:15 PM: Dinner Break

7:30 PM: Final recital and Q&A

Christina Petrowska Quilico (CM, OOnt, FRSC)



Walter Hall, Toronto
May 25th, 2024
7:30 PM

Recital Program:

  • Larysa Kuzmenko (b.1956), “In Memoriam – For Victims of Chernobyl” (1997)

  • Larysa Kuzmenko, “Dance Diabolique” (1997)

  • David Jaeger (b.1947), “Lament for the People of Ukraine” (2022)

  • Ruth Schonthal (1924–2006), “The Canticles of Hieronymus” (1975)

  • Oskar Morawetz 91917–2007): “Suite for Piano” (1968)

  • Peter Paul Koprowski (1947): “Rhapsody on a theme of Brahms” (1990)

This performance is graciously sponsored by the Jackman Humanities Institute and the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Music. It marks the culmination of the concert and conference series directed by Dr. Daniel Jordan, titled “Worlds Apart: Music, Nostalgia, and Absence in Canada’s Diasporic Communities since 1945.”

Biography of the artist:

(text from

The Canadian Encyclopedia describes Christina Petrowska Quilico as “one of Canada’s most celebrated pianists. Equally adept at Classical, Romantic and contemporary repertoires, she is also a noted champion of Canadian composers.” Petrowska Quilico taught piano and musicology at York University from 1987 until 2022, when she was named Professor Emerita, Senior Scholar. She has been appointed to the Order of Canada, the Order of Ontario and the Royal Society of Canada.” She won the Oskar Morawetz Prize awarded by the Ontario Arts Council in 2023.

Petrowska Quilico is the recipient of the Friends of Canadian Music Award from the Canadian Music Centre (CMC) and Canadian League of Composers and was selected as one of the CMC’s Ambassadors of Canadian music. She has been on the CBC lists of “20 Can’t-Miss Classical Pianists” and “Canada’s 25 best classical pianists”. She was also a co-winner of the inaugural Harry Freedman Recording Grant Award.

She has received significant recognition for a lifetime devoted to her art.  CBC Radio Two named her to the In Concert Hall of Fame, celebrating the greatest Canadian classical musicians of all time, past and present.  Quilico has received 3 President’s Esteemed Research Awards in 2021, 2022 and in 2023 for Distinguished Honours. When the Order of Canada appointments were announced in 2020, Christina Petrowska Quilico was cited “for her celebrated career as a classical and contemporary pianist, and for championing Canadian music.” Her 2023 schedule attests to this citation, with the launch of two new CDs on the Canadian Music Centre’s Centrediscs label. Shadow & Light: Canadian Double Concertos by Larysa Kuzmenko, Alice Ping Yee Ho and Christos Hatzis, recorded with violinist Marc Djokic and Sinfonia Toronto conducted by Nurhan Arman, . Blaze, featuring solo piano music by Ho, makes its debut in April. The concerto CD is funded by the Ontario Arts Council and FACTOR.

Further recordings are in the works. In fall 2022, Petrowska Quilico received a $30,000 grant from the Canada Council for the Arts for composer Frank Horvat to create More Rivers, a solo piano suite that she will record and tour. Inspired by her three-CD recording of the massive Rivers cycle by Ann Southam, the initiative also involves developing further projects related to music and the environment. Another new CD will feature the premiere of Nocturnes by, which uses several of her own poems as inspiration.

Not to be overlooked are her concerto performances in 2023. On March 25, she gave the Toronto-area premiere of the Piano Concerto in One Movement by African-American composer Florence Price, with the York Chamber Ensemble and Music Director Michael Berec. And on October 21, she performed the Piano Concerto by Polish composer Witold Lutosławski with the Kindred Spirits Orchestra and Maestro Kristian Alexander and Lutoslawski’s Paganini Variations.

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