2021 Adjudicators

2021 Adjudicators

Junior Piano I – Tara Scott

TARA SCOTT is one of Atlantic Canada’s most renowned collaborative pianists. Her love of teaching and performing has led her to pursue staff accompanist positions at Western, Dalhousie, Acadia, and Mount Allison Universities. She has performed extensively with singers, instrumentalists and choirs across Canada.

Tara is the principal Music Director and Pianist for Maritime Concert Opera, based in Lunenburg NS. With MCO, she has performed eighteen full-length operas and has conducted chamber orchestras for two productions. She co-founded, with Nina Scott-Stoddart, Halifax Summer Opera Workshop, an opera training program with fully staged productions, now in its sixteenth season. She has worked as Music Director for Eastern Front Theatre, Essential Opera, Acadia’s Singing Theatre and has performed with Opera Nova Scotia, Opera New Brunswick and Halifax Theatre for Young People.

Tara maintains a busy private piano studio in Dartmouth NS and is on faculty at the Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts. She has adjudicated extensively for music festivals throughout the Maritimes and has worked as piano examiner for Mount Allison and the Maritime Conservatory. She is also the accompanist for Dalhousie’s Collegium Cantoru, directed by Gary Ewer.

Tara received a Bachelor of Music Degree in piano performance from Mount Allison University, under the tutelage of Dr Janet Hammock. She studied with Dr John Hess at Western University, receiving a Master’s degree of literature and performance in collaborative piano. Originally from Grand Bay-Westfield NB, Tara now resides in Dartmouth with her husband and three children.


Junior Piano II – Megan Hatheway

Megan Hatheway grew up in Fredericton, where she began studying piano at the age of 8. In 2002, she began her undergraduate studies at Southern Wesleyan University, in Central, South Carolina, concentrating in piano performance. In 2006, she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Music.

Following her undergraduate degree, Megan began her graduate studies at the University of Georgia. There she studied piano with Dr. Richard Zimdars and piano pedagogy with Dr. Pete Jutras. While at UGA, she taught private piano lessons and group piano classes through the UGA Community Music School. In 2008, she graduated with a Masters of Music in Piano Pedagogy and was awarded the Athon-Hughes-Cook Piano Pedagogy Award.

Upon completing her degree, Megan moved home to Fredericton to begin teaching. Over the next several years, she built a teaching studio of over 60 students of various ages and levels and was actively involved in the Fredericton Music Teachers’ Association and the New Brunswick Registered Music Teachers’ Association.

In August 2016, Megan moved to Lower Sackville, Nova Scotia where she is a member of the Nova Scotia Registered Music Teachers’ Association. She has adjudicated festivals in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.


Junior Vocal I – Maureen Batt

Maureen Batt is celebrated for her “rich, warm sound and masterful acting” (Opera Canada). Maureen’s solo career is focused on promoting Canadian classical contemporary repertoire by collaborating with established and emerging composers to commission, première, and re-perform their works. Her debut album, Lady of the Lake includes song cycles by Schubert and Halifax-based composer Fiona Ryan and was nominated for Classical Recording of the Year (2018) by ECMA and Music Nova Scotia. She is also featured on Saman Shahi’s album Breathing in the Shadows with Tara Scott on piano. Aunt Helen, an opera short EP will be released on Leaf Music in May 2021 with Simon Docking on piano. Maureen’s second album, with music by Greg Harrison and lyrics by Tom Belding, will come out later in 2021.

Maureen is the co-artistic director of Essential Opera—an opera company founded in 2010 with Erin Bardua. Essential Opera celebrated its 10th anniversary with two opera short films of works by Canadian composers Anna Pidgorna and Monica Pearce. In 2015, Maureen founded Crossing Borders, a contemporary classical recital series which has toured programs of art song, opera arias, musical theatre, and electronics to the United States, Canada, and Colombia. Crossing Borders has given 15 world premières and has given composers and works many Canadian/American/Colombian premières. Maureen also sits on the national board for the Canadian Music Centre.

Her formal training includes a Master of Music from the University of Toronto, a Bachelor of Music from Dalhousie University, and a Bachelor of Arts from St. Thomas University (French and Spanish). She has received grants from the SOCAN Foundation, Ontario Arts Council, Canada Council for the Arts, SSHRC, FACTOR, Music Nova Scotia, and Arts Nova Scotia.

Maureen has been on faculty at the Halifax Summer Opera Festival for Massenet’s Cendrillon, Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea, Händel’s Alcina, and returns this year for Offenbach’s Orpheus in the Underworld. She is a frequent festival adjudicator, and teaches and offers workshops online. She is delighted to return to the New Brunswick Festival of Music—one of the music festivals that helped shape her career.

Maureenbatt.com • FB: @maureenbattsoprano • Twitter: @operaredhead • Insta: @maureenbattsoprano


Junior Vocal II – Robyn Vaughn Cathcart

As a tenor, voice teacher, director, coach, clinician and academic, Mr. Cathcart is a multi-faceted, dynamic and in-demand artist whose forty year career spans the worlds of opera, musical theatre, jazz, pop, concert performance, commercial performance and recording. With over 200 productions, concerts and recital appearances to his credit, he has resided as a member of the Voice Faculty at the Victoria Conservatory of Music, Victoria, BC. Additional tenures in the west have included being Co-Director of the renowned Opera Studio at the VCM, and Artistic Director of the Triple Threat Musical Theatre. He is also the founding Artistic Director of Enter Left Productions, and has served as Associate Director of the historic Savoy Theatre in Glace Bay, NS.

In the mainstream Mr. Cathcart’s work has been seen and heard by hundreds of thousands of people across Canada, the United States and Europe in his collaborations with “The Canadian Tenors” and “Tenore”. A recipient of numerous awards, prizes, grants and scholarships, Mr. Cathcart is also a published author. Additional areas of expertise include design, enhanced performance techniques and yoga.

As an adjudicator and clinician, Mr. Cathcart’s inspirational teaching was received with great acclaim at the 2009 Greater Victoria (Victoria, BC) Performing Arts Festival, and he has served as workshop specialist with the SingYourJoy Young Adult Chorus and the Daniel Lapp’s Joy of Life Choir, both of Vancouver Island, BC. He has also prepared students for competition at both the Provincial and National level, having coached a Federation of Canadian Music Festivals top vocalist. Since returning to his native Cape Breton in 2012, he has consistently adjudicated throughout all the Atlantic Provinces for numerous music festivals.

Mr. Cathcart’s students have been accepted into undergraduate, graduate and diploma programs (performance and comprehensive, music and theatre) at The University of Victoria, The University of British Columbia, The University of Toronto, The University of Montreal, Mount Allison University, Acadia University, The Randolph Academy For The Performing Arts, The Canadian College of Performing Arts, AMDA (American Musical and Dramatic Academy) and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music; his students have also merited top scholarships in their respective fields.

Singers from Mr. Cathcart’s private voice studio have appeared on the professional and pre-professional stages in productions with Pacific Opera Victoria, UBC Opera, The Victoria Conservatory of Music Opera Studio, The Victoria Conservatory of Music, Opera Nuova, and St. Andrew’s Arts Council Opera Workshop for Advanced Singers, Neptune Theatre, The Savoy Theatre and Highland Arts Theatre.

Mr. Cathcart is the owner/operator of “Sing: The Cape Breton Voice Studio” and was awarded a Cape Breton Vitality Award in 2014 for his contributions and leadership in the Arts & Culture Sector of Cape Breton Island. Mr. Cathcart has also nominated as one of the area’s top entertainers by The Cape Breton Post.


Junior Strings – Martha Gregory

Martha Gregory grew up in Rochester, New York where she studied violin, piano and voice at the Hochstein School of Music. The Eastman School of Music, and Roberts Wesleyan College. She attended Our Lady of Mercy High School for Girls  from 1968-1971 and was in every musical the girl’s school and the boy’s school had those 4 years. Her early administrative training was at Hochsteins where she worked her way up to assistant to the Dean of the School to help pay for her and her siblings’ lessons. She also spent summers working for the Federal government programme to bring arts to the Inner Cities .

Her string studies involved classical and Suzuki methods. In College, she worked at a Major in Music Education and Classical Voice with double minors in Violin and Piano. Marrying in 1974, she moved to Toronto and continued her Voice Studies with Megan Rutledge at the Royal Conservatory of Music and free- lance performing with many orchestras. She also taught for The Toronto District School Board in an outreach programme for strings in Cabbagetown schools.

When she established a private studio in Pickering in 1982, that she still maintains she also spent 12 years touring with the Jean McDonald Singers, performing in Choral, Opera and Musical Theatre. She is enjoying the challenge of online teaching this year.

Jean was also her first introduction to the Music Festival world by entering her in local competitions. She did win all her classes, but unfortunately, was too old to go to Provincials by this time, sadly. Jean involved her in the Pickering Rotary Festival and also trained her as first Vice -President in the Pickering Metro East Festival. In 2000, Martha took over the Festival and has run an independent Music Festival, the Pickering GTA Music Festival ever since by herself.

After accompanying her competitors from her local to Provincials she was approached to be a Member of the Provincial Board of Directors. Starting as a Member-At-Large and eventually becoming the President of OMFA, she was President for 8 years and has been Past-President for the last 3 years.

After commiserating with Pam Allen about adjudicators, Pam invited her to try her hand at adjudicating in the Toronto Kiwanis, a daunting task indeed!  Adjudicating has become her passion for the last 13 years.

Since her move to Canada, Martha has enjoyed performing, teaching and promoting Canadian music through her work with music festivals across the country.

She has been performing with the Ontario Philharmonic Orchestra for the last 27 years under Marco Parisotto’s baton and was principal violinist with the Hamstrings of Durham Trio for 12 years, performing at weddings and corporate events. She also enjoyed Christmas Carolling for several years for Corporate and Community Events.

Not long ago she was awarded an Ontario Volunteer Service Award for 20 years.

Martha has been involved with music festivals for the last 32 years and has retired as the Ontario representative on the National Board of Governors.

In between times, she went to Nursing School until she had her first child and spent 7 years working as a Special Ed assistant for the Durham District School Board. Martha has 3 children and 2 granddaughters that, unfortunately, live too far away, in Nova Scotia.

Martha finally became a Canadian Citizen in 2013- being too old to take the test!    Her slice of Heaven is her 2 1/2 acre island in the Kawartha’s where she spends as much time as possible 3 seasons of the year. This is where she also met her husband of 47 years.

In July of 2019 she became the Artistic Director of the Toronto Kiwanis Music Festival, the largest festival of its kind in Canada. She is proud of her local festival that celebrates 20 years this year and having its first virtual festival this February.


Intermediate & Senior Piano – Susanne Hughes

Susanne Hughes is the winner of the gold medal from Western University for high standard in performance. She also is an Associate of the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, as well as the Western Ontario Conservatory of Music in London.

Susanne began her music studies at four years of age, having studied with such distinguished teachers as Katherine Horton, Boris Berlin, George Coutts and Clifford Poole.

Susanne’s professional career began as a teacher on the faculty of Alma College in St Thomas, Ontario. Her musical activities for the past several years have been centred around her studio in Woodstock, Ontario teaching all levels of piano. Many of her students have graduated with first class honours in their Associate Performance from the Royal Conservatory of Music. Susanne has adjudicated extensively at music festival across the country, including the Kiwanis Music Festival of Greater Toronto, St John`s, Nfld., Saint John, N.B. and Calgary Performing Arts Festival in Alberta. Susanne held the position of Director of Music at several churches in her area. She appeared with a recital group at the International Festival of the Sound in Parry Sound, Ontario.

Susanne maintains an active career as a teacher, and is in demand as an adjudicator and music consultant. She has a passion for encouraging students to continue their development in their musical training.

Susanne brings a wealth of knowledge gained through many years of teaching.


Intermediate & Senior Vocal – Michael Donovan

Michael Donovan’s experience as a musician encompasses a wide range of musical styles and forms of expression. As a boy, he studied piano and pursued extensive studies in classical and jazz saxophone at the Conservatoire du Québec. As a teenager, he composed original music for the avant-garde bands with which he performed. He then went on to pursue vocal studies at McGill University, followed by graduate studies in Opera at the Hochschule für Musik in Munich, Germany, with legendary mezzo-soprano Brigitte Fassbaender. Donovan was also a student of renowned Baritone Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, who is acknowledged as the 20th century’s greatest master of lieder. As Fischer-Dieskau’s hand-picked private student at the Hochschule der Künste in Berlin, Donovan was immersed in the historic continuum of Romantic art song interpretation.

Donovan has enjoyed a successful career as a performer of opera, oratorio, art song, chamber music, and new music in Canada, Germany, Switzerland, France and the U.S. He has appeared in leading roles with the Bern State Opera, Stuttgart State Opera, Munich State Opera Studio Ensemble, Opera Vancouver and the Edmonton Opera. He has been a soloist with the Quebec Symphony, the Winnipeg Symphony and Symphony Nova-Scotia as well as with many concert and new music presenters, including Numus (Waterloo), Queen of Puddings (Toronto), BradyWorks (Montreal), Array Music (Toronto), New Music Concerts (Toronto) and, most recently, the Nouvel Ensemble Modern in Montreal.

Donovan is also in demand as an educator—he is currently on faculty at Acadia University and has also been on the voice faculties of Dalhousie University, Wilfrid-Laurier University and York University. He has given master classes at York University, Brandon University, the Glenn Gould School, Chadron State College (Nebraska) and Concordia University. He is also an active adjudicator and consultant for music schools and festivals. As a composer, Donovan has written numerous settings of poems by living Canadian, German, French and Japanese poets. He has also written chamber music and film music. Donovan’s PhD in musicology, which was nominated for the York University Thesis Award, is an inquiry into the deep-ecological significance of the poetic settings of Franz Schubert.

Donovan is also co-founder, co-artistic director of Long Reach Opera Workshop, a Toronto-based opera training program for singer-actors. In 2016 Donovan premiered his project Schubertnow: The Journey Outward, a re-visitation of Franz Schubert’s seminal song cycle Winterreise. Most recently, Donovan premiered his setting of Ode to a Nightingale by John Keats, a song cycle for voice, piano, flute and bassoon.


Intermediate & Senior Strings – Vanessa Mio

Dr. Vanessa Mio is currently an Adjunct Assistant Professor within the Faculty of Education and the Music Education (Continuing Education) departments at the University of Windsor. She is also the Director of the Windsor String Academy and Windsor String Project programs in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. Vanessa completed a Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Studies degree (with a focus on violin pedagogy) from the University of Windsor. Vanessa also earned a Master of Music, a Bachelor of Music, and a Performance Diploma in Violin Performance from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music where she studied violin with Mimi Zweig, Kathleen Winkler, Baroque violin with Stanley Ritchie, and string pedagogy with Mimi Zweig and Dr. Brenda Brenner. Vanessa’s passion for teaching was sparked at Indiana University where she was appointed as an Associate Instructor with the Indiana University String Academy from 2005-2008. Vanessa established the first Canadian model of this preuniversity program at Wilfrid Laurier University, in addition to a unique string pedagogy course for postsecondary performance and music education students at both Wilfrid Laurier University and Western University. Vanessa is thrilled to have recently expanded this program model within the community of Windsor- Essex County through the Windsor String Academy.

As a performer, pedagogue, and scholar, Vanessa is passionate about teacher training and string education research. She was awarded a prestigious national Doctoral Scholarship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) for her doctoral research, where she investigated the remedial strategies of postsecondary violin instructors. She has presented her research at provincial and international conferences (including the International Society for Music Education, the American String Teachers’ Association, the Indiana Music Education Association, the Ontario Music Educators’ Association, and the Canadian Society for the Study of Education).

Vanessa has recently published articles in the Canadian Music Educator Journal, American String Teacher Journal, The Recorder (Quarterly Journal of the Ontario Music Educators’ Association), International Journal of Music Education, and Update: Applications of Research in Music Education. Through her current research interests, Vanessa hopes to contribute significantly to the field of string pedagogy as the scope of her research expands. In July of 2016, she served as the principal investigator of a qualitative study alongside Dr. Brenda Brenner at Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. This research study expanded upon her doctoral research to investigate the perceptions, progress, self-efficacy, and motivation of adolescent violin students as they engaged in remedial pedagogy while studying with Zweig at the Indiana University Summer String Academy.

Vanessa has pursued a variety of professional development opportunities and has become a sought-after clinician, teacher, and adjudicator. Vanessa is a String Examiner for The Royal Conservatory of Music, College of Examiners, and has traveled extensively throughout North America as an Ambassador for the Certificate Program. She has also adjudicated many festivals across Canada, including the upper string division of the Ontario Music Festivals Association Provincial Competition in May of 2017. Vanessa has taught at the Nova Scotia Suzuki Violin Institute in Halifax, NS, attended the Starling-DeLay Symposium for Violin Studies at The Juilliard School, participated in a workshop led by Brian Lewis at the Southwestern Ontario Suzuki Institute, and attended a Retreat for Violin and Viola Teachers at Indiana University Jacobs School of Music.

Vanessa has spent summers touring with the National Youth Orchestra of Canada; participating in the Casalmaggiore International Festival in Italy; teaching in Tuscany for a Professional Teachers Workshop alongside Mimi Zweig; and studying at the Banff Centre for the Arts with the Très Chic Piano Trio (Chamber Music Residency for Pre-Formed Ensembles). Vanessa is a violinist in the Windsor Symphony Orchestra, and has also recently performed with the Penderecki String Quartet and the Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber Orchestra.

Vanessa is a member of the American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada (AFM), Canadian Music Festival Adjudicators’ Association (CMFAA), Ontario Music Educators’ Association (OMEA), Canadian Music Educators’ Association (CMEA), American String Teachers Association (ASTA), and the International Society for Music Education (ISME).


Instrumental – Nicole Strum

Saxophonist and educator Nicole Strum enjoys the multifaceted nature of being a musician: she is equally at home interpreting new works and collaborating with composers, teaching courses in music theory, directing ensembles and facilitating chamber music workshops, and coaching young woodwind players. As a performer, she has been praised for her expressive voice and the intensity of her interpretations; as a studio teacher, her commitment to guiding students to discover their unique musical sensibilities is recognized by her colleagues.

Nicole is a member of two duos focused on contemporary music: with flautist Liesel Deppe she formed Feldsperling Duo, and premiered commissioned works at Arrayspace in Toronto and on the Canadian East Coast; following their debut at Halifax’s Open Waters New Music Festival, the Strum-De Borba duo, with saxophonist Tristan De Borba, capped a 2019 mini-series of performances with a residency at the Lunenburg Academy of Music Performance for its inaugural Saxophone Academy.

Other performance highlights include appearances at the North American Saxophone Alliance’s Regional and Biennial conferences, the World Saxophone Congress, the Society for Composers Inc. Region 10 Conference, the UNCG New Music Festival, Mount Allison University’s Recital Series, the Transitio_MX Festival Internacional de Artes Electrónicas in Mexico City, and as concerto soloist with the acclaimed UPEI Wind Symphony.

Nicole has taught music theory at Kwantlen University and UBC, and saxophone and chamber music at Mount Allison University and UPEI. She is currently on faculty at UPEI, is the Woodwind Specialist for Halifax Regional Arts, and operates an independent studio. She adjudicates at local and national music festivals, leads workshops and clinics, and coordinates Summer Studios, a week-long chamber music workshop for advanced high school wind players held at UPEI.

Nicole holds a performance diploma from the Bordeaux Conservatory, where she studied with renowned French saxophonist Marie-Bernadette Charrier, and a DMA from the University of North Carolina, Greensboro.