A diverse and engaging performer, Toronto-based violinist and pedagogue Carmen Lasceski-Custers has played in numerous settings with a repertoire that spans many genres. Originally from the rolling hills of Wisconsin, Carmen began her musical studies at age three after enrolling in violin lessons. Not long after, she joined her mother, musician Diane Michaels, onstage and the two went on to form the mother/daughter folk duo Side by Side. Together they spent almost twenty years touring Wisconsin performing a variety of programs for audiences of all ages.
Throughout her youth, Carmen’s study encompassed many areas of the arts, including violin, voice, theatre and dance. She began her postsecondary studies at the University of Wisconsin Platteville, where she completed coursework in theatre and also studied violin and voice.
Carmen went on to complete her bachelor's degree (graduating cum laude) in violin performance at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh and her masters degree in violin performance and literature at the University of Western Ontario. While at Western, Carmen was the recipient of a graduate research scholarship, a finalist in the University Concerto Competition and a semifinalist in the London Music Foundation Competition. Previous honours include winning the University of Wisconsin Platteville Concerto Competition and being selected as a Liberace Scholar.
Carmen is passionate about seeking out and creating her own unique performance opportunities and bringing them to fruition. She has organized and completed a seven-city violin/piano duo recital concert series, and a three-city duo violin church concert series across the U.S. In addition, she has performed with the Greater Toronto Philharmonic Orchestra, the University of Western Ontario Symphony and Chamber Orchestras, the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh Symphony and Chamber Orchestras, the Oshkosh Symphony Orchestra and the University of Wisconsin Platteville Symphony and Chamber Orchestras.
Carmen has studied with Klara Fenyö Bahcall, Jaime Weisenblum, Annette-Barbara Vogel, Ferenc Fenyö, Rictor Noren and Mark Skazinetsky. She has studied chamber music with cellist Thomas Wiebe, pianist Eli Kalman, pianist John Hess and cellist Benjamin Shapira. She has attended summer programs at Rocky Ridge Music Center, Prelude Academy and The Clearing.
A skilled and dedicated teacher, Carmen has developed a formidable reputation as a pedagogue. She is an RCM Certified Advanced Specialist teacher, has taught at music schools throughout the States and Canada, worked as a graduate teaching assistant, adjudicated for the American Guild of Music National Convention and Contest and Merriam School of Music Group Festival, worked as a summer festival clinician, given orchestral workshops in both primary and secondary school settings, presented university masterclasses, and had four of her pedagogical articles published on violinist.com. She is the owner and artistic director of Cavatina Violin Studio, where she currently teaches private lessons and coaches chamber music.
Carmen is a member of A.F.M. Local 149.