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Carol Liu

Founder and Piano Instructor


Founder and piano instructor of Windermere Music Academy.
Carol is originally from China and first became involved with piano at the age of five. Carol was first professionally trained by the distinguished Professor Fang Yi, and later by Ling Zhao Professor of the Central Conservatory of Music. She grew up practicing classical piano and graduated from the Harbin Conservatory of Music (Harbin Normal University Music College). In 2008, after she received her Piano Performance Degree, she moved to Edmonton. In 2016, with her lifelong passion for music, she founded the Windermere Music Academy.

As the founder and principal piano instructor at Windermere Music Academy, Carol is certified piano teacher for both Royal Conservatory of Music and Music For Young Children. Additionally, she has received the Outstanding Piano Teacher Award from the IPPA Conero International Piano Competition and has been recognized as an Excellent Teacher by the North American Steinway & Sons Top Teacher Award. Carol aims to not only teach music but to build her students' confidence and ignite their passion for the art.

Carol's teaching philosophy integrates Eastern and Western methods. She designs her courses around the interests and abilities of her individual students. Over the years, Carol has guided her students through participation in a multitude of piano competitions, both in Canada and internationally. These include the Global International Music Competition, North American Virtuoso International Music Competition, Quebec International Music Competition, IPPA Conero International Piano Competition, and the Canadian International Music Competition. Her students have been awarded a variety of accolades, such as Professional Group Gold Awards, Children's Group Third Place, and Teen Excellence Awards, among other special honors.

Under Carol's tutelage, students boast a 100% pass rate in Royal Conservatory of Music exams across levels 1-10. A majority of her students achieved First Class Honors with Distinction. Carol firmly believes that music is the best gift parents can give to their children, one that provides lifelong advantages. With her 32 years of rich experience in musical education, performance, and teaching, Carol is committed to supporting young musicians in their own journeys.

Emilio De Mercato

Piano Instructor


Emilio is a concert pianist, composer, conductor, and founder of Alberta Symphony Orchestras. Emilio De Mercato holds degrees in piano and composition from the Conservatory of Music “Giuseppe Verdi” in Milan, Italy. He pursued postgraduate studies in piano performance at the Academy “Marziali” in Seveso (Milan) and at the Musik Hochschule in Bern, Switzerland. Since his move to Canada in 2012, he has been extensively performing in Edmonton, across the province and beyond. Emilio has over 20 years of experience teaching students at any level and age. His students have successfully passed RCM exams of any level, prepared for performances and festivals. Emilio also teaches piano masterclasses to support the studies of advanced students interested in pursuing their performing career.

Zoe Hawnt

Flute instructor


A well-recognized musician with over 20 years of experience in teaching flute. Zoe was graduated from Concordia University as a (Music Major) and Grant MacEwan University (Music Major-Theatre Arts). Zoe won provincials for best all-around woodwind 2 years in a row at the Alberta Kiwanis Music festival. Zoe's classes are fun and catered to the student’s needs specifically. She is excited to share any and all tips she can pass along to all her students.

David Leibel

Drums Instructor


Born and raised in Edmonton, this amusing and eccentric musician began his percussion studies at age 16 and later graduated from the music program at Grant MacEwan and possesses a diploma in Contemporary And Jazz Performance. David mixes tradition and innovation in both his playing and teaching style and always bases his lessons around the general goals of the student, while at the same time exposing them to new musical styles and concepts. He is a constant devotee and practitioner in the musical styles of Jazz, Rock, Blues, Afro Cuban, Brazilian, Hip Hop and Funk. David finds considerable fulfillment in imparting a love of music, rhythm, and life to others.

Reneé Perez

Guitar Instructor


Reneé Pérez is a highly motivated and mature classical guitarist who graduated from the University of Alberta in guitar performance.  He is interested in solo and chamber music.  His musical interests also include basso continuo with theorbo and archlute.  Reneé has toured Houston in the USA and northern Portugal—specifically the city of Porto and vicinity—as a soloist and chamber musician, and toured, playing the Fasch D minor concerto for guitar and strings with several string quartets and Venezuelan orchestras belonging to “El Sistema”.  In 2014, he was featured as an emerging solo artist by the Calgary Classical Guitar Society.  Reneé is currently the President of the Edmonton Classical Guitar Society. He is an enthusiastic guitar teacher with ample experience teaching kids and adults of all ages. He enjoys working at the Windermere Music Academy.

​Veronica Chung

Piano Instructor


Veronica teaches piano of all levels and to ages. Veronica has been playing the piano since she was five. She obtained her bachelor's degree and majored in piano from the Department of Music in Tainan University of Technology. After her university graduation, she attended the Tainan University of Technology, Institute of Music and successfully completed a Degree of Master of Music (specializing in Piano).

Veronica has been teaching piano since she was 19 with great enthusiasm. Her students have participated in piano competitions and exams in Taiwan, and all successfully passed. In 2016, she moved and brought her piano teaching experience to Canada and prepared her students for the RCM exams, all of whom also received good grades. She hopes her students will continue to pursue their passion and interest in piano.

Xi Chen

Piano Instructor


Xi has been a professional and experienced piano instructor who teaches piano, and music theory to students of all ages for over 5 years. She was graduated from the University Of Alberta with her Bachelor of Music, and she is also a certified teacher for MYC®. Music For Young Children has been endorsed by the Royal Conservatory of Music as one of the best beginner programs for children.

She always strives to impart a love of music and teach students skills they can use to express themselves musically and cultivate a voice of their own.

Svitlana Remniakova-Ostrovska

Violin Instructor


Svitlana Remniakova-Ostrovska's passion for music began back in Ukraine, where she studied violin at the Music College of Dniepropetrovsk, and then at the Kiev Conservatory of PT chaikovskiy in the class of a David Oistrakh's graduate Elena Buchinskaya. After graduation, Svitlana worked at the State Circus Orchestra, State Television and Radio Orchestra in Kiev, and then at the Dniepropetrovsk Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Gurgen Karapetian and at the Dniepropetrovsk Chamber Orchestra in the Dnipropetrovsk House of Organ and Chamber Music conducted by Anatoliy Abayev.
In 1996, Svitlana's career took a sharp turn, whereby she moved to Egypt and for 23 years had worked at the Cairo Symphony Orchestra in the Cairo Opera House conducted by Ahmed El Saedi. The Cairo Symphony Orchestra has been conducted by many great international guest conductors such as  Daniel Barenboim and others. Among the soloists who have performed with the orchestra are  Mstislav Rostropovitch, Andrea Bocelli, Placido Domingo,Magda Rumiand El Divo, During these years, the orchestra had regularly toured many European and Asian countries with great success.
Since 2019, Svitlana has made Edmonton home, and now she works at the Edmonton Music Academy and is the principal second violin at the Concordia Symphony Orchestra conducted by Danielle Lisboa. Her main passion now lies in the field of teaching violin and organizing opportunities for youth to practice music competitively. Svitlana is the co-organizer of the International String Connections festival.

Valentina Benvenuti 

Guitar Instructor


Valentina began playing classical guitar at the age of 8 years old. She pursued her studies under the direction of Maestro Ferrante Faedi and Maestro Pietro Antinori at the renowned Rossini Conservatory in Pesaro, Italy. In 2016, she earned her Master Degree in Classical Guitar Performance with full marks. Moreover, during her time at the Conservatory, she successfully accomplished examinations in music theory, history of music, harmony, and chamber music.


Since the age of 16, Valentina has been performing as soloist, as well as in various ensembles like guitar and violin duos, guitar quartet and orchestra. Valentina is an extremely motivated and passionate guitar instructor with 10 years teaching experience. She teaches classical guitar, acoustic guitar, and ukulele to students of all ages. Her students have successfully completed the RCM examinations at any levels.

Janet Li

Piano Instructor


Janet started pursuing her professional musical studies at Simon Fraser University, School for the Contemporary Arts. She started playing the piano when she was five, and she had a rich piano performance experience including jazz band, musical theatre orchestra and mixed chorus. In 2017, She participated in Parkland Jazz Band which won a Silver Award at “Music Fest Canada -The Nationals” in Toronto. In 2018, She transferred to the University of Alberta and graduated with a music major with “Maple Leaf Transfer Scholarship”. Janet was a holder of University of Alberta World Sound Art Certificate. Except for piano, she has broad professional knowledge of ethnomusicology, jazz and world music. Janet also did professional training on piano pedagogy and had a close professional study on different young children piano method books. She started teaching piano when she was 19, her rare perfect pitch ability makes her teaching more accurate and effective.

Lyanne Jarillo

Violin Instructor


Lyanne grew up in an artistic family and was surrounded by music her entire life. She began learning violin at age 5 with Marie Gale and at age 13 continued her studies with Ranald Sheen. She studied at McGill University - Licentiate in Music Performance program. She has been teaching for over 25 years all ages and levels and loves sharing her passion and musical knowledge with her students.

Laura Mackay

Vocal Instructor


Coloratura-soprano Laura Mackay earned her Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance at the University of Western Ontario, and received her Master of Music in Voice Performance at James Madisen University in Harrisonburg, Virginia. She has appeared in operatic productions and concerts throughout Canada, the United States, and Europe. Some past performances include Queen of the Night in Die Zauberflöte and Zenobia in Radamisto, both with Accademia Europea dell’Opera in Lucca, Italy, Rosalinda in Die Fledermaus and Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro, both with JMUOpera Theater, as well as Nella in Gianni Schicchi with Luray Opera Theater. Laura is also a proponent of new music, having premiered several works, including the soprano solo in Simon Fink’s song cycle “Unquiet Dreams” at the Staunton Music Festival, and the role of Mona Parsons in Steven Webb’s chamber opera The Patterns of War at the Opera From Scratch Festival in Halifax. Most recently, she has sung with Grande Prairie Opera in their productions of Saul (as Merab), Hansel and Gretel (as the Sandman and Dew Fairy, and Elisir d’Amore (as Giannetta). 

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