Fortissimo Academy Music and art teachers in Côte Saint-Luc


Svetlana Klempner

 Svetlana Klempner is a native of Kharkov, Ukraine, where she completed her BA in Piano Pedagogy and Accompanist at the Kharkov Music College. In 1984 she earned her Master’s degree in Piano Performance and Piano Pedagogy under Professor L.I. Lazovaya. Between 1990 and 1998 she lived and taught in Israel. In 1998 after moving to Canada Svetlana continued her studies at the University of Quebec in Montreal (UQAM) under Professor Pierre Jasmin, specializing in Piano Performance. Shortly after she founded a private piano studio, which would later become Music Academy Fortissimo. Svetlana is the winner of the Grand Prix at the prestigious Young Performers Competition in Tashkent, 1973 and the winner of the Concerto Competition at UQAM, 2003. 

At Fortissimo Ms. Klempner teaches piano. 


Julia Gavrilova

Julia Gavrilova was born in Russia and made her debut at the age of five. She studied in Moscow Gnessin Institute of Music with Theodor Gutmann and Eugene Liberman, where she graduated with a Master in Piano Performance and Piano Pedagogy. After moving to Canada in 1991 she continued her music studies at McGill University under Professor Marina Mdivani and obtained her doctorate in Piano Performance. Julia Gavrilova specializes in chamber music and collaborative piano repertoire and appears in concerts as soloist and accompanist. Her playing represents the Russian piano school tradition, going back to Nicolas Rubinstein and Heinrich Neuhaus.Ms. Gavrilova currently teaches piano and piano ensemble classes at the Schulich School of Music and Conservatory of Music at The McGill University. Since 2009 she also holds a principal piano teaching position at Vanier College. 

At Fortissimo Ms. Gavrilova teaches piano and Piano Ensemble. 


Svetlana Pailler

Svetlana Pailler-Melkostupova is a choral conductor and mezzo-soprano, a graduate of the Vladivostok Conservatory of Music, Russia. In 1996 Svetlana became Music Director and Conductor of the Billings Symphony Youth Choral in Billings, Montana. In 2000 her reputation as top-class Choral Conductor followed her to New Hampshire where she became the Founder and Music Director of the NH Choral Academy in Manchester, NH. In 2006 Ms. Pailler was offered a position of the Director of Children’s Choir at the Longy School of Music in Cambridge, MA where she continues to teach presently. 

At Fortissimo Ms. Pailler teaches many pre-school programs, as well as piano and voice. 

Our Faculty


Karen Manucharyan


Karen Manucharyan studied violin in Yerevan Central Musical Special school and continued his edication at Moscow Tchaikovsky conservatory where he graduated in 1989 with a Master in conducting and saxophone.

In 1993 he completed PhD(specialization: opera- symphonic conducting and violin) at Komitas State Conservatory of Yerevan.

Between 1994 and 2004 Karen worked as Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of Presidential Orchestra of the Republic of Armenia. 

He also worked (from 1991 till 2015) in Yerevan Central Musical Special school  and Komitas State Conservatory of Yerevan .

In 2005 he founded Association of Young Saxophonists of Republic of Armenia and served as her chairperson until 2014.

His students were awarded at numerous international comptetions.

He immigrated to Canada in 2015 and works since 2015 in Fortissimo Academy of Music and Arts (Montreal) as violin and saxophone teacher and he is also head of the Fortissimo orchestra. 


Luciné Chaglassian-Balikian

Luciné Chaglassian-Balikian, born in Yerevan, Armenia is a graduate of the Komitas State Conservatory with a Masters degree and a specialization in Violin Teaching at All Levels and Soloist in Violin Playing for Chamber Orchestras. Luciné moved to Montreal in 1986 and further pursued her teaching career at the McGill Conservatory of Music. In her teaching methodology Luciné uses a special approach to children with attention deficit and other related problems. 

At Fortissimo Ms. Balikian teaches violin. 

Our Faculty


Margarita Weber

Margarita Weber, born in Frunze Kirgiztan, started to discover the beautiful world of music at the age of five. In 1985, Margarita completed with honors her BA in Piano Pedagogy and Accompanist. Margarita participated in multiple prestigious competitions. In 1983 she received first place at the “Asia’s Young Pianists” competition which was held in memory of S. Rachmaninov. In 1985, she won the "R. Schubert's Piano Secrets" competition. In 1988 Margarita accepted first place in the "Young Performers” competition, in Vilna. In 1990, Margarita earned with honors her Master's degree in Piano Perfomance, Piano Pedagogy, Soloist in Chamber Orchestra and Accompanist. In 1993, she moved to Montreal and pursued her teaching and performing carrier at the "National Academy of Music" (1993- 2004). 

At Fortissimo Mrs. Weber teaches piano. 


Marineh Ekizyan

Marineh Ekizyan is a musicologist, teacher of theoretical disciplines; pianist, accompanist, chamber ensemble artist. During 9 years of her higher education at the Yerevan State Conservatory she obtained 2 Bachelor’s degrees in musicology and performing art.

In total, Marine has 20 years of studies in music and was honoured with awards of excellence. After her college studies she already started to work as a teacher of music theory and ear training at music school. At the same time, she was actively involved in the art of interpretation. For two years she worked as the pianist for the AYG piano quartet and 5 years as singer in the Yerevan Chamber Choir, with which she participated in numerous concerts and recordings in Armenia and in Europe. Since 2004, as a musicologist, Marine creates and edits scores for printing in collaboration with 4 German music publishing houses.

At the Fortissimo Academy Marine is employed as a teacher of preschool ear training programs, as well as piano and theory teacher, where she continues to share her passion for and her knowledge of music.


Our Faculty



Angelique Mbemba


Angelique Mbemba received her Master's degree in 2001 in teaching classical and modern arts from Katanov State University of Khakassia.

She continued her education in teaching of fine arts in Moscow State University until 2004.

She joined Fortissimo in 2014 and currently teaches fine arts.

Our Faculty


Maria Mestechkin

Maria studied violin with Laura Andriani and Annick Roussin at University of Montreal where she obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Music Classical Performance. Before entering the undergraduate program, she was taught by Natalie Cadotte at CEGEP Saint-Laurent and Luciné Chaglassian-Balikian before that. She also benefited from the advice of teachers such as Laurence Kayaleh, Andrée Azar and Denise Lupien during master classes throughout her years of education. She was also trained by Claude Richard, Jutta Puchhammer and Françoise Gnéri in chamber music. Maria is a former member of Orchestre de la Francophonie and of the Orchestra of the University of Montreal. She has played under the direction of prestigious conductors such as Jean-Philipe Tremblay, Jean-François Rivest, Kent Nagano, Paolo Bellomia, Mathieu Lussier, Alain Trudel and Yoav Talmi.

Our Faculty


Olivia Barnes

Following her First place win for Voice at the National Music Festival in 2018, Olivia Barnes was invited to be Artist-in-residence with Opera McGill.  She was granted her Graduate Performance Diploma in Classical singing from McGill University on scholarship and a Maîtrise en musique from the Université de Montréal.  Recent performance credits include Maud in Sadie Off the Rails, Florence Pike in Albert Herring, Beatrice in Much Ado! (Canadian workshop premiere), Nettie Fowler in Carousel, Queen of the Fairies in Iolanthe, Paquette in Candide, Ruth in Pirates of Penzance and Olga in Eugene Onegin.  Olivia Barnes is also a versatile actress whose work ranges from musical theatre to stand-up comedy to opera.  She plays violin too in a wide-variety of styles from classical to jazz.  Olivia is currently based in Montreal although her work takes her all over Canada.  She is represented by the Amanda Rosenthal Talent Agency. 

Our Faculty


Caitlin Berger

Caitlin Berger is an emerging professional flutist and teacher born and raised in Montreal. She has recently obtained a D.É.S.S. in Flute Performance from the Université de Montréal after obtaining a Bachelor's Degree in Orchestral Performance from McGill University in 2018 under renowned flutist Denis Bluteau. Caitlin had the honour of representing Vanier CEGEP as a finalist of the CEGEPs en Concert solo competition in 2015. Only two years before, Caitlin was the winner of the West Island Youth Symphony Orchestra (WIYSO) Concerto Competition. She recently participated in the first ever international Concours de flûte de Paris, placing in the semi-finals. A devoted orchestral musician, Caitlin was a member of WIYSO from 2010 to 2015. She also held the position of principal flute for three seasons in the Orchestre Symphonique des Jeunes de Montréal (OSJM). Caitlin was an active member of McGill’s Contemporary Music Ensemble, the McGill Wind Orchestra, and the Orchestre de l’Université de Montréal. Caitlin has been teaching young flutists for three years and has a strong passion for pedagogy and self-improvement. 

Our Faculty


Alexandre Solopov

 Alexandre Solopov is Russian-born and has had an extensive music education since the age of nine years old; after studying music in his home city of Vladivostok, he moved to Moscow at the age of 16 years to attend the Moscow Central School of Music. He continued his studies at the renowned Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory from which he graduated in 1994 with excellence, obtaining the equivalences of Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees, having studied with Professors Lev Vlassenko and Mikhail Pletnev. He came to Montreal in 1996 to enrol in the Artist Diploma Program at McGill University. Since his arrival in Montreal, Mr. Solopov has maintained a prolific, professional, performing career as soloist and chamber musician. He also is a composer. He has participated in many competitions at the international level in Europe, Canada and the United States. He has been involved with the film industry in Montreal as piano coach to Angelina Jolie for the film Beyond Borders and his teaching technique is featured in the National Film Board (NFB) documentary film Mr. Mergler’s Gift, directed by Academy Award winning NFB Director, Beverley Shaffer. For more than 10 years he taught piano with the McGill Conservatory of Music of the Schulich School of Music of McGill University. He now directs his own private studio.

Né à Vladivostok en Russie. Alexandre Solopov a poursuivi des études approfondies en musique, en débutant à sa ville natale et suivant, à l’âge de 16 ans, à l’École Centrale de musique de Moscou. De plus, en 1994 il est diplômé avec mention du renommé Conservatoire Tchaikovsky de Moscou où il a étudié avec les professeurs Lev Vlasenko et Mikhail Pletnev. En 1996 il est arrivé à Montréal et il s’est inscrit au programme de diplôme d’artiste de l’Université McGill. Depuis son arrivé à Montréal, M. Solopov s’est produit régulièrement comme soliste et chambriste. Il est également un compositeur. Il a participé aux plusieurs concours au niveau international en Europe, au Canada et aux Etats-Unis. Il était impliqué dans le monde du film à Montréal comme professeur de piano d’Angelina Jolie pour le film Beyond Borders; il est participant important aussi au documentaire de l’office national du Film (ONF) intitulé L’héritage de Monsieur Mergler de la réalisatrice et récipiendaire d’un Oscar, Mme Beverley Shaffer. Ce documentaire souligne la méthode d’enseignement de M. Solopov. Pendant plus de 10 ans, il a été professeur de piano au Conservatoire de McGill de l’École de musique Schulich de l’Université McGill. Actuellement il dirige son propre studio privé.