For as long as I can remember, the performing arts have been a part of my life - woven deep into the the fabric of who I am.

My childhood was spent immersed in what I'm sure felt to my parents, like every dance class, music lesson, and theatre production within a 100 mile radius of their house - and things didn't end there.  My obsession with the arts followed me through university and graduate school, where I continued my studies in violin, voice and theatre.  

I think perhaps, the only thing that can match my love for the performing arts, is my love for creativity.  I love to create, and be creative - period!

It is this dual love affair with the performing arts and creativity, that has shaped the foundation and direction of my work today.  I am passionate about seeking out and creating unique performance experiences that cross genres and tell a story.

I often say, "life can be heavy, so let’s make some happy".  So here's to performing, and here's to creating - and here's to making a little happiness along the way - and sharing it with the world!


Just simply wonderful!
— Sara Strozinsky audience member


Formal Biography


A diverse and engaging performer, Toronto-based violinist, vocalist and pedagogue, Carmen Lasceski-Custers, has worked in numerous settings with a repertoire that spans many genres.  

Carmen’s roots are in the rolling hills of South-Central Wisconsin, where she spent her youth studying many areas of the performing arts including violin, voice, theatre, and dance.  She began her musical studies at age three after enrolling in  violin lessons.  Shortly thereafter, she started performing onstage with her mother, musician Diane Michaels, and the two went on to form the mother/daughter folk duo, Side by Side.  Together they released a studio album, and spent many years touring and performing a variety of educational and entertainment programs for audiences of all ages.

Carmen pursued postsecondary coursework in drama, violin and voice at the University of Wisconsin Platteville, and and went on to complete her bachelors degree in violin performance at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh.  Finally, Carmen completed her postgraduate studies and earned a masters degree in violin performance and music literature at Western University in London, Ontario.

Throughout her academic career Carmen was the recipient of many performance honours and scholarships for violin, voice and drama.  Highlights include; a Western University graduate research scholarship (violin), semi-finalist in the London (Ontario) Music Scholarship Foundation Competition (violin); lead stage rolls in Oklahoma!, Grease, and The Death of and Bessie Smith; a University of Wisconsin Platteville Theatre Scholarship, and a Bea Brecker Music Scholarship (violin and voice).

Carmen's primary teachers include:  Violin - Klara Fenyö Bahcall (WI), Jaime Weisenblum (Canada), and Annette-Barbara Vogel (Canada); Voice - Barbara Burdick (WI), Rebekah Demaree (WI), and Ron Shetler (NYC); Drama - John McCaslin-Doyle (WI), Mike O'Brien (WI), and Bob Luke (NYC).  

Throughout her performance career Carmen has worked as a chamber and orchestral musician, soloist (violin and voice), actress, choreographer, dance teacher, choral singer, and choral conductor.  She enjoys collaborating with other musicians and artists across a wide range of genres, and is passionate about creating her own unique performance projects.  She frequently gives solo classical violin recitals and concert programs that combine both jazz vocals and violin.


Equally passionate about entrepreneurship, Carmen has organized and completed two multi-city chamber music tours (violin) in the U.S.  In addition, Carmen owns and operates Cavatina Violin Studio, in Toronto. 

A skilled and dedicated teacher, Carmen has developed a formidable reputation as a violin pedagogue.  She is a Certified Advanced Specialist with the Royal Conservatory of Music (violin), and has taught at music schools throughout the U.S. and Canada.  She has also worked as a graduate teaching assistant, adjudicated for music festivals and competitions, and worked as a summer festival clinician.  Carmen has given orchestral workshops in both primary and secondary school settings, presented university masterclasses, and had four of her pedagogical articles published.  

Carmen currently maintains a private teaching studio in mid-town Toronto where she gives private violin and vocal lessons.

Carmen is a member of A.F.M. Local 149.