Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); }

Emad Zolfaghari is a promising 15-year-old violist from Oakville, Ont., who planned on attending the Morningside Music Bridge summer music program in Boston this month. A tape with his performances of Stamitz’s Viola Concerto, Schumann’s Marchenbilder and Bach’s Suite No. 2 served as an audition, which he passed.

It’s a sweet deal: Morningside offers full tuition scholarships, free transportation, on-campus lodging and meals worth a total value of $7,000.

Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit, putting the kibosh on the trip for Zolfaghari and the rest of the 60 or so students, which included six other Canadians. It was a bummer on a major scale. “I was definitely disappointed,” the musician told The Globe and Mail this week. “There’s no other institute like it. This kind of opportunity doesn’t come around often.”

Story continues below advertisement

As it turns out, however, the opportunity will come around again – next summer, specifically. The directors of Morningside decided that all the students accepted into the 2020 session will be offered a spot in 2021 automatically.

“We’re operating online this summer, but it doesn’t come close to the experience of spending four weeks together, living in a residence, eating in the same cafeteria and rehearsing, practising and performing with everybody,” said Paul Dornian, Morningside’s executive director. “We’re replicating as much as we can online, but the sad reality is that it’s not the same as being on campus on a daily basis.”

Dedicated to serious students aged 12 to 18, Morningside Music Bridge was founded in 1997 by Dornian and Andy Chan of the Chan Family Foundation, the main financial backer. For years the program, administered by the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, operated out of the Conservatory at Mount Royal University. In recent summers, the program migrated to Beijing and Warsaw, but it has now committed to spending each July at the New England Conservatory.

While students such as Zolfaghari and others from all corners of the globe are taking their lessons and master classes on Zoom, the Calgary Philharmonic has posted a number of virtual recitals, concerto competitions and artists in residence concerts online. Winners of the concerto competition finals will be announced on July 30. Cash prizes go as high as $6,000.

Dornian, who is also president and chief executive of the Calgary Philharmonic, describes Morningside as a “boot camp” experience. “It’s fun,” he said, “but you definitely get your work done.” Zolfaghari, who was accepted into the program in 2019 as well as 2020, agreed. “It’s definitely overwhelming at first. But once I got the sense of it, it made me improve.”

Morningside alumni include Chinese pianist Yuja Wang, Polish-Canadian pianist Jan Lisiecki and Teng Li, formerly with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and currently the principal violist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Morningside artistic director.

In addition to Zolfaghari, participating Canadian students this summer include Calgary cellist Luka Coetzee, Toronto-area cellist Eena Yoon, Edmonton pianist Jessica Yuma, Vancouver Bosendorfer enthusiast Ryan Zhu and violinists Duncan McDougall and Tiffany Yeung, also from the Toronto area.

Story continues below advertisement

How good are they?

“There isn’t one of these students who couldn’t walk out on stage in front of a professional orchestra anywhere in Canada and do a very credible job as a concert soloist,” Dornian said.

But first, it’s Boston or bust.

Keep up to date with the weekly Nestruck on Theatre newsletter. Sign up today.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies