Student Musician Profiles

By Sian Last

We live in a city full of creativity and music: you do not need to look far to find guitars being strummed, synthesizers plugged in, or drum beats being kept. U of T students are multi-talented, many of them pursuing music outside of the classroom. Our contributors sat down with a few excellent examples to pick their brains.

Petra Nikolaou

musicianprofilepetranikolauoName: Petra Nikolaou

Year of Study: 3rd

Program: Music Performance

Instrument: Clarinet

Favourite Genre to Play: Classical

Favourite Musician: Sabine Meyer

Biggest Influences: Paul Newman, Kinneret Sagee, James Campbell

With Whom She Has Performed: U of T Wind Symphony, U of T Wind Ensemble, TDSB Youth Orchestra and Band, Toronto Youth Wind Orchestra, Orford Festival Wind Octet, Corktown Chamber Orchestra, Chinese Cultural Centre Orchestra, The Woodchoppers Association.

What is The Woodchoppers Association? This group is comprised of musicians from all backgrounds who play a variety of instruments. The concept is that they improvise as a group; there is no written music or idea discussed before. Through listening, more organised musical ideas emerge and develop. Petra believes that improvisational skills are important for any musician, but finds that they are especially helpful to a classical player, as learning to improvise develops one’s confidence in performing for an audience and one’s ability to listen to oneself and to others.

Proudest Moment/Greatest Achievement: The moment after her first Woodchoppers performance. Petra discovered that even though she was terrified of having to play without music in front of her, she was capable of doing so, and actually enjoyed it. The experience allowed her to realize her own creative potential.

Plans for the Future:
Long-term: Petra plans on getting her Master’s Degree in Performance.
Short-term: Catch Petra performing with The Woodchoppers Association at the Tranzac on the first Sunday of every month, and stay tuned for her Solo Recital at Father Madden Hall on March 30th.

-Maria Sokulsky-Dolnycky

Molly Thomason

musicianprofilemollyName: Molly Thomason

Age: 18

Year: 1st

Program: Sexual Diversity Studies

From: Nova Scotia

Weapons of Choice: Guitar and her beautiful voice

Genre: Pop rock

Biggest Influences: Bob Dylan and Joan Jett/The Runaways

Favorite Thing about U of T: “I love how the campus is integrated into the city; the university does a really good job of giving students access to things happening in Toronto. The university community and the city community are well integrated, and that’s a really attractive part of U of T.”

Molly Thomason is a songwriter, singer, and guitarist hailing from New Scotland. Born in Sidcup, England, she made the Atlantic voyage at the age of two with naught but her wits and two cases of Huggies. She first picked up a guitar in grade six to learn “Iris” by the Goo Goo Dolls. Since then, she’s released two albums: Through the Static and Beauty Queen. She is currently working on a third album, which is being produced by John-Angus MacDonald, lead guitarist for the Trews. So keep your ears open! Molly often plays shows at the Supermarket on Augusta and College. Keep updated with her website:

-Erik Masson

Amity Beach

amity beachWith a sweet, relaxed sound and a trumpet, Amity Beach is developing into one of Canada’s up-and-coming indie bands and now has a connection to the University of Toronto. Though the band calls Grand Bend home, Amity Beach’s front man, Geoff Baillie, is a freshman at Victoria College. Baillie is the band’s lead vocalist, one of two guitarists, and resident glockenspiel-er.

The five-piece labels themselves as “bright indie rock,” which is quite accurate, given the vocal likeness to Givers and the resemblance of their vibrant sound to that of Motherwolf, Tokyo Police Club, and Belle & Sebastian. Given the ease with which Amity Beach fits in with these popular artists, they seem well positioned for future success. Baillie quotes Grizzly Bear and Tokyo Police Club as inspirations for their quirky pop sound which easily reflects their beach-town roots.

The band released its first EP in the summer of 2011. Self-titled, the song set was a collection of three sunny pop rock songs. The band next released a live EP in the spring of 2012, once again self-titled. This featured three equally cheery songs, but what next? At the time being, the band is spread out across several cities and universities. So for now, the world will have to go without a live performance from Amity Beach, however the band does plan to tour consistently over the summer to raise enough money to produce a full-length album. Long-term, Baillie says that the band hopes to sign with a small Toronto-based label. As far as song writing goes, Baillie hopes to grow the band’s sound from “cutesy” to something more complex and mature through the use of different lyrical patterns and themes. For now, though, Amity Beach provides a sunny, sandy escape from the hum-drum of daily life and the chilling cold of impending winter.

One Response to “Student Musician Profiles”
  1. I actually think this particular blog , “Student Musician Profiles Demo Magazine”, very compelling and it ended up being a superb read.
    I appreciate it,Constance

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