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2020 Adjudicators

Dr. John Burge

Dr. John Burge photoDr. John Burge was born in Dryden, Ontario in 1961.  While still in public school in Calgary, he received his Associate Diploma from the Royal Conservatory of Toronto in Piano Performance.  He also holds degrees in Composition and Theory from the University of Toronto (B.Mus. and M.Mus.) and the University of British Columbia (D.M.A.).  Since 1987 he has been teaching at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario where he currently holds the position of Full Professor and has served as Director of Queen's Music.  In recognition of his very successful career as a composer, John Burge was awarded a Queen’s University Excellence in Research and Scholarship Prize in 2013, and in 2014 was inducted as a Fellow into the Royal Society of Canada for his leadership in the arts and composition.

John Burge has written a large body of vocal, chamber, and orchestral compositions.  He is particularly well known for his choral music, which has been performed by such choirs as The Elmer Iseler Singers, The BBC Singers, The Amabile Youth Choir, The Toronto Children’s Chorus and The St. Louis Symphony Children’s Choir.  Many of these choral works have been published by Boosey and Hawkes Music Publishers.

John Burge greatly enjoys working with young musicians and in addition to his teaching duties at Queen’s University, he is in demand as an adjudicator at music festivals across Canada.  From 2001-2003, he was the Composer-in-Residence for the National Youth Orchestra of Canada during which time they premiered his work, Sonic Architecture.  A passionate advocate for Canadian music he was a member of the executive council of the Canadian League of Composers from 1993-2007, serving as President from 1998-2006.  He is currently a board member for the SOCAN Foundation and chairs the board of directors for the Music at Port Milford Summer Music School and Festival in Prince Edward County.


Susan Carscadden-Mifsud

Susan Carscadden-Mifsud has a passion for handbells. They are the focus of her professional life as well as her avocation. She is one of Canada’s most accomplished handbell soloists, a noted conductor, and a clinician who has shared her expertise and love of ringing with directors and choirs across Canada.

Based in Ingersoll, Ontario, Susan is the sole proprietor of Handbell Graces. 

Susan’s formal music education includes an ARCT (Piano Performance), a Bachelor of Music (University of Western Ontario), and a Bachelor of Education (Queen’s University). She has been an elementary school teacher, a private piano instructor, and a music school administrator, but in the world of handbells, Susan ranks among the best.









Susan Gagnon

Susan Gagnon is an SAA Cello Teacher Trainer. Susan Gagnon holds a Bachelor of Music from the University of Western Ontario.

Susan was the recipient of a Canada Council grant to attend masterclasses at the Banff School of Fine Arts with Janos Starker, Aldo Parisot, and Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi. She has played with the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra since 1983.

Ms. Gagnon has been on the faculty of the Royal Conservatory of Music, Toronto since 1984 where she is a Suzuki Department coordinator and a core member of the Young Artists Performance Academy faculty. She is an examiner for the Royal Conservatory of Music and compiled their 2013 cello series. She also is a member of the Canadian Federation of Adjudicators.

Susan is past Chair of the Suzuki Association of Ontario. She has taught at Suzuki Institutes in both Canada and the United States and at Music at Port Milford since 1995.









Deirdre Kellerman

Deirdre Kellerman is an innovative choral conductor based in Ottawa, ON. She is currently the Director of Music at the First Unitarian Congregation of Ottawa and the Assistant Director of the Ottawa Choral Society. She was nominated for the 2018 Leslie Bell Prize for Choral Conducting.

Deirdre has studied with Canada’s leading choral pedagogues and in 2018, she was one of five international conductors accepted into the Banff Centre’s inaugural Choral Art program.

Originally from Nova Scotia, Deirdre sang with Xara Choral Theatre, the Nova Scotia Youth Choir and the National Youth Choir of Canada. She now sings with Aella, a treble vocal ensemble in Ottawa.

In high demand as a vocal coach, Deirdre is passionate about music education and life-long learning and maintains a busy teaching studio.
Deirdre holds a B.Mus in Vocal Performance from Acadia University and a M.Mus in Conducting from the New England Conservatory.






Eric Shaw

Eric Shaw has been singing internationally for 20 years. He holds a Masters degree in voice and opera performance. He is also an accomplished pianist and organist with a bachelor’s degree in keyboard performance, allowing him to accompany students in their lessons.


  • Bachelors degree in Music, McGill University.
  • Masters in Opera Performance, University of Toronto
  • Bachelor of Education, University of Toronto (OISE, 2012)
  • NATS
  • ORMTA (currently holding position of President of local chapter)

Eric has been performing as a soloist in operas, oratorios, and musical theatre for many years. You can see his list of accomplishments at his web site, www.ericshaw.ca