Cellist. Performer. Conductor. Composer. Musical Director. Artistic Director. Teacher. Producer. Audio Engineer. MultiInstrumentalist. Dr. Andrew Ascenzo is redefining what it means to be a professional musician in the 21st Century.
As one of Toronto’s most versatile musicians, Andrew embodies a passion for presenting a myriad of musical styles to diverse audiences across Canada. He performs regularly as a soloist and is a member of the Bedford Trio, currently the Irene R. Miller Piano Trio in Residence at the University of Toronto and finalists of the Anton Rubinstein International Chamber Music Competition. In August 2019, Andrew recorded, designed, and performed the electronic component for the world premiere of Rob Kapilow’s recent composition Aprés Maman at Ottawa Chamberfest. As a conductor, Andrew has worked with orchestras and musical theatre groups including York University and Etobicoke Musical Productions, and most recently was the Musical Director and Keyboard/Conductor for Brampton Music Theatre’s Fall 2019 production of Mamma Mia! Andrew is the Artistic Director of Music in the Atrium, a weekly concert series, now in its 23rd season, at Toronto’s Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. Andrew is designing a new genre of concert with renowned music therapist SarahRose Black, combining live performance with narratives of the power of music in health and well-being.
Andrew is a graduate of the Doctor of Musical Arts program at the University of Toronto and recipient of the Tecumseh Sherman Rogers Graduating Award, the highest honour awarded by the Faculty of Music. Andrew studied with Professor Shauna Rolston, and pursued a research interest in repertoire for solo cello and electronics. He holds both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree from U of T. He has also studied privately with David Hetherington and Joseph Johnson, as well as studying jazz and improvisation with Matt Brubeck. Andrew has attended the Banff Summer Music program and had the privilege to study with some of the great cello masters, including Aldo Parisot, Janos Starker, and Raphael Wallfisch.
Dr. SarahRose Black is an accredited music therapist and registered psychotherapist, specializing in palliative care and psychosocial oncology at both the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and Kensington Hospice in Toronto. She is a pianist, vocalist, violinist, and music health educator, and has performed, taught, and presented on her clinical work and research across Canada. As a lecturer and educator, she specializes in educating health care providers in the use of music as a tool for optimal health care. She has presented at conferences, arts-based workshops and medical education events throughout the country.
As founder and coordinator of the inaugural music therapy programs at both the cancer centre and the hospice, SarahRose has introduced models of music psychotherapy for patients with varying diagnoses and psychosocial needs, across varying ages and stages of treatment. SarahRose has published on music and health care, music therapy, as well as oncology, palliative and end of life care in a number of academic journals, as well as The Globe and Mail, The Toronto Star, MacLean’s Magazine, and the Cancer Knowledge Network. Her music therapy specializations include improvisation and songwriting, and her clinical work has been featured on Global TV, Wholenote Magazine, and the West End Phoenix. She is an academic supervisor through Wilfrid Laurier University, and regularly guest lectures at the University of Toronto, as well as within various health care organizations. SarahRose is the recipient of the Ontario Graduate Scholarship, the Michael Kamin Hart Award for Excellence in Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology Care, and a number of academic music education scholarships.
For over fifteen years, SarahRose was a private piano teacher, specializing in Suzuki music pedagogy, before pursuing graduate studies in the field of music therapy. She studied piano with Boris Lysenko and Deirdre Reynolds, and violin with Min Jeong Koh. SarahRose continues to perform as a vocalist and pianist in various health care settings. She holds a Bachelor of Music and a Master of Arts from the University of Toronto, as well as a Master of Music Therapy from Wilfrid Laurier University. She obtained her doctorate from the University of Toronto in February of 2020, including a Collaborative Specialization in Aging, Palliative and Supportive Care across the Life Course. Her doctoral research explored music therapy in the context of assisted dying. SarahRose is the incoming Editor-in-Chief of the Canadian Journal of Music Therapy (September 2020), and continues to teach, research, and provide music therapy and psychosocial care in her daily clinical practice.