Music and Events
A musician, social activist, and student of history, Evan envisioned HOW in a moment of clarity. On the 99th anniversary of the assassination of Franz Ferdinand, he conceived of a movement using music and creativity to celebrate peace and remember bravery during the centennial of World War One. A few weeks later on a flight to the Holy Land, the instant his the plane hit the runway in Tel Aviv, a name for the project came to him: Harmony Over War-HOW .
He has since been hard at work preparing for the beginning of the Centennial, penning A Simple Twist of Faith, a musical set in Germany during WWI. The show will go into production in July 2014 as the four year anniversary begins and plans to tour to countries affected by the war a century ago.
Evan studied Music and History at McGill and graduated with Great Distinction in 2007. He then studied acting and theatre in New York City and the esteemed Neighborhood Playhouse conservatory.
He has released and toured with two rock albums as an independent musician as well as producing an original musical.
He has participated in major competitions in various roles, such as contestant, juror and creator. He was the winner of the American Express Room for Thought Contest for Social Entrepreneurship (2011) and the Hallelujah Global Jewish Singing Contest (2012).
Theatre and Education
Naomi Tessler has been working with communities globally for 10 years, using theatre to inspire positive change. She is a graduate of the Masters of Arts program in Educational Theatre for Colleges and Communities, New York University and currently works in Toronto, facilitating, developing and directing Branch Out Theatre workshops and productions with organizations and groups across the Greater Toronto Area. She is passionate about using theatre as a tool for encouraging self-empowerment, self-confidence, environmental awareness, social justice and well-being. Naomi has an extensive background in Theatre of the Oppressed, Playback Theatre, acting, physical theatre, storytelling, directing and playwriting and strives to share these tools with those she works and collaborates with. In addition to being a dynamic facilitator and director, Naomi also works as an actor, playwright, poet, singer and Reiki Master. She believes in uniting communities through theatre to build bridges and break through barriers and looks forward to working with HOW to collaborate with other artists to inspire peace through the arts.
Naomi is the director of A Simple Twist of Faith and is available to conduct workshops around the themes of kindness and generosity when the musical is performed at schools and other institutions.
Sonia Shklarov was born in Moscow, Russia, and has lived and performed in Calgary, Florida, and Pittsburgh. In August 2012, she moved to Toronto, where she performs as chamber musician and soloist, and subs with the Canadian Opera Company, Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, Windsor Symphony, and Niagara Symphony. In December 2013, she won a first violin position with the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra. Sonia has spent summers at the Banff International Music Festival, the National Repertory Orchestra, Las Vegas Music Festival, The Quartet Program, and the National Orchestral Institute, where she served as Concertmaster. As a chamber musician, Sonia has recorded for Pittsburgh radio station WQED 89.3, made her debut in Heinz Hall (Pittsburgh, PA) with the Carnegie Mellon Starling String Quartet, with which she toured to Qatar in 2012, and has performed as part of the Canzona Chamber Players in Toronto. Sonia holds a Bachelor of Music from Lynn University (Boca Raton, FL), where she studied under Elmar Oliveira, and a Master’s in Violin Performance from Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh, PA), where she studied under professor Cyrus Forough. January 14, 2014
Adam brings a love of music and performance to HOW. A history major at McGill University and bachelor of education at University of Toronto O.I.S.E., Adam worked at Camp Oochigeas as an In Hospital Program Specialist for children with cancer at Sick Kids Hospital. He has released an original album called The Waiting Room as well as Explore the Undiscovered, a single that raised money for Ooch. Prior to that he worked at Toronto Heschel School.
Adam played Alex Lurye in A Simple Twist of Faith at the Toronto Fringe Festival and was lauded by various publications for his strong performance.
Rochelle Rubinstein is a Toronto-based printmaker, painter, fabric and book artist. In Toronto, she is represented by loop Gallery and Fran Hill Gallery, where her solo exhibitions are held regularly. In addition, her work has been exhibited in such diverse places as the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Ireland, the Print Triennial in Estonia, the Jerusalem Theatre Museum in Israel, and the McMaster Museum of Art and Chinese Cultural Centre in Canada.
Rubinstein’s work can be found in public collections such as the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the New York Public Library; the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin; and the Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto. She has completed several artist residencies including Women’s Studio Workshop in New York State; Open Studio in Toronto; and the Irish Museum of Modern Art and Aras Eanna Art Centre in Ireland.
As a community arts facilitator, her workshops and projects involving groups such as health workers, battered women, people with eating disorders, and youth at risk, are based upon methods that are central to her own practice: drawing, printmaking, bookmaking and sewing. Rubinstein also curates monthly exhibitions at the Mon Ton Window Gallery in downtown Toronto. Rochelle’s Website
Poetry and Creative Writing
Alisha Kaplan, a native of Toronto, writes poetry and short stories and something in between. Her work often focuses on her grandparents, who were from Hungary and survived the Holocaust. Alisha sees creative writing as a powerful vehicle for connection, illumination and healing. This fall she will begin an MFA in poetry at New York University. She currently lives in Brooklyn.
Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Carousel,The New Quarterly, Branch, Lilith, The Irish Literary Review, Words Without Borders, and elsewhere. She is a winner of the W.B. Yeats Society of NY Poetry Competition and a Lenore Marshall Barnard Poetry Prize; a Pushcart Prize nominee; and a finalist for Glimmer Train’s Short Story Award for New Writers.
Find out more about Alisha and read her writing on alishakaplan.com.
Alisha is fascinated by the legacy of the War Poets, a phenomenon that originated during WWI. She is thrilled to be a part of the collective HOW as the poetry and creative writing expert for the 100 Words for Vimy Ridge contest.
Youth and Mobilization
Danny brings over 10 years of background working on youth development, community mobilization and international development. He has worked and volunteered on 5 different continents. As a public speaker, he has spoken to over 15,000 people about social activism and global citizenship. His connection to his own heritage has been a major focus of his life, he has served as National Program Director of Canadian Young Judaea (CYJ) and organized several rallies to raise action on the humanitarian crisis in Darfur.
In 2006, he was asked to accompany Michaëlle Jean, the Governor General of Canada, as part of a 10 person Canadian delegation on her State Visits to 5 African nations. Recently, Danny served as Campaign Manager for the Tony Blair Faith Foundation mobilizing thousands of volunteers across the world to tackle malaria by building bridges across faith communities.
Education and Entrepreneurship
An educator and entrepreneur, Aron Solomon has over a quarter century of experience in the business of schools and innovation. Formerly CEO of THINK Global School, Aron is the founder of smartswise and SVbstance, as well as a partner in UNFINISHED.
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"Harmony Over War succeeded in its goal of sharing a compelling and important story...Driven by the strength of its performers...The audience definitely enjoyed watching these two men moving towards something greater than they could have imagined... crowd-pleasing play with an important message for its audience" - Mooney on Theatre