Behind the Baton


Risa Tonita

tinkling the ivories...

Risa Tonita is a vibrant performer who communicates generously with her audiences from the stage. A very versatile musician, Risa is Co-Executive Director, pianist, and singer in the new Tabula Rasa Concert Series, studio pianist and vocal coach for the students of Laurence Ewashko at the University of Ottawa, was rehearsal pianist for the Best of Broadway POPS concert at the National Arts Centre in April, is an independent collaborative pianist, and is a former member of the Amico Piano Quartet (APQ). In February 2016, Risa performed Gershwin’s Piano Concerto in F with the Parkdale United Church Orchestra (Ottawa), and hopes to pursue doctoral studies in solo piano performance in the future.

Risa is very enthusiastic about education, current events, and societal issues and is therefore always reading, studying, and attending concerts - learning new ways of improving as an artist and of contributing to her community. Her love for theatre, dance and drama have led her to many masterclasses, university courses and summer programmes that focus on acting and movement on stage such as Opera Nuova, and masterclasses with The Acting Company; such experiences have contributed to her ability to play with characters in any style of classical music.

In addition to being a dedicated pianist, Risa is a voice teacher with the Bytown School of Singing in Ottawa, and maintains a private studio of piano students. She loves inspiring her students to be creative, to take risks, and to face challenges with enthusiasm. Risa also loves to communicate with audiences as a singer and not-so-secretly dreams of performing on Broadway.

Risa graduated with a Bachelor of Music and a Master of Music in piano performance from the University of Ottawa under the guidance of Frédéric Lacroix, and also holds a Diplôme d’études musicales from a conservatory in France, and an ARCT in Voice Performance. When she needs a break from her musical shenanigans, Risa loves to dance, knit, bake, bike, swim, snowboard, do yoga, read, play board games, and spend time with family and friends.