Artistic Staff

Colin Clarke – Conductor, Wind Orchestra
Colin Clarke is the Founder and Artistic Director of the Toronto Youth Wind Orchestra program, and maintains an active career as a sought-after conductor, clinician, and adjudicator.

A recipient of the Clifford Evens Award for Conducting at the University of Western Ontario, Colin participated in conducting workshops at the University of North Texas and at the Manhattan School of Music in New York.  While at the International Conducting Workshop in Sofia, Bulgaria, he conducted the symphonies of Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky with the highly celebrated New Symphony Orchestra of Sofia and studied with noted pedagogues Gustav Meier and Rossen Milanov.  Colin made his Carnegie Hall debut in May 2006 with the Toronto Youth Wind Orchestra, and returned to Carnegie Hall in 2011 and 2016.

With a passion for music education and outreach, Colin maintains a commitment to working with young people and the community. He has guest conducted several orchestras and choirs across the country and has led the National Youth Band of Canada.  In November 2020, he was awarded the Ontario Band Association’s Lifetime Membership Award for his contribution to music education in Ontario.

Dan Horner – Conductor, Symphonic Winds
Dan Horner is the head of music at St. Andrew’s College in Aurora, Ontario.. He began his education as a student in Scarborough where he studied trumpet with trumpet player and composer Vince Gassi. Later, while studying at Queen’s University he worked as a research assistant, was the assistant conductor of the Queen’s Symphony Orchestra, and was part time performer with the Kingston Symphony Orchestra. After graduating, Dan spent a number of years teaching at the elementary level, and then began a 17 year run as the head of music at Bayview Secondary School where he lead of a department of 500 and conducted 7 ensembles.

Dan’s work with the TYWO organization has involved collaborations with composers such as Brian Balmages, Samuel Hazo, John Mackey, Frank Tichelli and others. He has also had to privilege of working with Jens Lindemann, Peter Stoll, TorQ, The Shuffle Demons, Cadence, and the Canadian Brass. As an adjudicator, he has enjoyed working with the Music Alive Festival as well as the Golden Horseshoe Music Festival. He has also been a guest lecturer with Ontario Institute for Studies in Education .Dan is also the director of the concert band at the Interprovincial Music Camp in Perry Sound, Ontario.

When not involved with music, Dan spends his time as the assistant director at SHAD-Carleton as well as practicing golf and learning Korean which gives him a legit excuse to watch K-dramas and listen to K-pop.

Jessica Puskar – Conductor, Concert Winds
With a passion for band, Jessica Puskar has built a career in music education as a conductor and clinician. Jessica holds a Master of Music Degree in Literature and Performance with a focus on Wind Studies and Instrumental Conducting from the University of Western Ontario, where she studied with Dr. Colleen Richardson. While at Western, Jessica served as the Associate Graduate Conductor of the Symphonic Band and was a two-time recipient of the Clifford Evens Memorial Conducting Award.

Jessica is the conductor of the TYWO Concert Winds, part of the Toronto Youth Wind Orchestra family of ensembles, as well as Assistant Conductor of the Northdale Concert Band. She is currently on Faculty at Pickering College in Newmarket, where one of her groups recently received a Gold standing at MusicFest Nationals. She is also on Faculty at the Interprovincial Music Camp (IMC) where she serves as Director of the Beginning Band Program. She has served as guest conductor for the Rouge River Winds, the Metropolitan Winds of Toronto, and the Toronto Youth Wind Orchestra. She has been a clinician for the Ontario Provincial Honour Band, the Halton Mississauga Youth Orchestra, and numerous high schools in the GTA and beyond. She had the pleasure of serving as Adjudication Secretary for MusicFest Canada for many years, as well as Hall Manager for the Ontario Band Association (OBA) Provincial Band Festival.

Prior to her Graduate studies, Jessica taught Instrumental Music with the York Region District School Board, where her bands participated in the OBA’s Provincial Band Festival and received invitations to MusicFest Canada. She is the recipient of the OBA’s award for Excellence in Band Development.

Jessica has participated in numerous conducting symposiums including the University of Cincinnati’s with Dr. Glenn Price and Craig Kirchhoff, and the University of Toronto’s with Dr. Gillian MacKay, Dr. Jeffrey Reynolds, and Jerry Luckhardt.

Travis Grubissi – Assistant Conductor, Metropolitan Winds
Travis Grubissi is a conductor, composer, arranger, orchestrator, and freelance trombonist based in Toronto, Ontario. Co-founder and former Music Director of the Media Arts Wind Orchestra at York University, his current appointments include Assistant Conducting with the Richmond Hill Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Metropolitan Winds of Toronto. Additionally he has appeared frequently as guest conductor for numerous ensembles, including the Rouge River Winds, the Toronto Youth Wind Orchestra, and the York University Symphony Orchestra.

Mr. Grubissi obtained his BFA-Music from York University, where he is also currently working to obtain his MA in composition. Travis studied conducting primarily with William Thomas during his time at York University, with supplementary instruction from Lisette Canton. He has attended a number of conducting workshops in Canada and the United States including the OBA Wind Conducting Symposium, and the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music Wind Conducting Symposium, where he had the opportunity to study with celebrated names like Glenn Price, Mark Scatterday, Craig Kirchoff, Paula Holcomb, Dale Lonis, Peter Boonshaft, and Wendy McCallum. Mr. Grubissi’s studies on the trombone were facilitated by Lincoln Centre alumni, Ron Westray.

As an arranger and orchestrator Travis has had the opportunity to arrange or orchestrate music for a variety of ensembles and composers in the GTA such as the Celebrity Symphony Orchestra, the Metropolitan Winds of Toronto, the Toronto Youth Wind Orchestra, and the Halton Mississauga Youth Orchestra, as well as a variety of orchestrations for celebrated Toronto film composers Lesley Barber, and Spencer Creaghan.