They suffuse pieces written across two-and-a-half decades with assured, richly-felt melancholic beauty that conveys a rare intimacy with the material. ” - Peter Margasak

My Favorite Albums of 2023 Part 2

Out now on Redshift Records

The music is performed in a very personal way, almost as if improvised — a feeling that is rare in recordings of notated music. This is further enhanced by the production, recording, and mastering, which manifest that sense of auditory closeness.” - Sofía Rocha


Linda Catlin Smith

Linda Catlin Smith grew up in New York and lives in Toronto. She studied music in NY, and at the University of Victoria. She taught composition at Wilfrid Laurier University in Ontario (1999-2020) and continues to teach privately and as a guest mentor with universities and ensembles (Arraymusic, Continuum and the Bozzini Quartet). Her music has been commissioned, performed and/or recorded by: BBC Scottish Orchestra, Cikada, Goeyvaerts Trio, Psallentes, Tafelmusik, Trio Arbos, Victoria, Kitchener-Waterloo and Vancouver Symphony Orchestras, Chamber Choir Ireland, Arraymusic, Thin Edge New Music Collective, Apartment House, Continuum, Tapestry New Opera, Via Salzburg, Evergreen Club Gamelan, Exaudi, and the Bozzini, Mivos and Penderecki string quartets, as well as by many soloists including Eve Egoyan, Philip Thomas, Richard Sacks and Elinor Frey. She has had performances at the Tectonics Festival in Glasgow (2017), Huddersfield Festival (2017), Principal Sound Festival (London, 2018) and Louth Contemporary Music Festival in Ireland (2019/2023). The BBC Proms commissioned a new orchestral work (Nuages) premiered in 2019 by the BBC Scottish Orchestra. Several solo discs of her music have been released: Thought and Desire, (Eve Egoyan), Ballad (Eve Egoyan and Andrew Smith), Meadow (Louth Contemporary Music Society); and five recordings: Dirt Road, Drifter, Wanderer and Among the Tarnished Stars (with Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time) and Ballad, with Apartment House on the UK label 'another timbre'. Her works are available through Composers Edition and the Canadian Music Centre.

New release: October 20th, 2023

Afarin Mansouri

Dancing with Love showcases a spectrum of 12 unique shades of love, ranging from the earthy and grounded to the divine and transcendent. Each track weaves together a distinct musical style with the poetry of Eastern Mystic Masters, including two inspiring female spiritual leaders. 

This album is the result of a successful collaboration between esteemed Iranian-Canadian artists, including Mansouri (compositions and lead vocals), Milad Bagheri (tenor), Padideh AhrarJejad (Tar) and Ali Masoudi(Percussion), Cheryl Duvall (Piano) with Thin Edge New Music Collective. The album has been made possible through the kind support of the Ontario Arts Council and Toronto Arts Council, as well as the production work of Cultureland.

The Album is available here:

Afarin Mansouri

An internationally recognized composer, producer, and opera artist, Dr. Afarin Mansouri has a unique and dynamic style that connects her Iranian roots with her Western aesthetic and training. Afarin has received many awards and accolades for her contributions to the Canadian music and operatic scene, including the Canada 150 Medal, the Kathleen McMorrow Music Award, and a nomination for the Louise Applebaum Composition Award. She has been featured in publications such as The Globe & Mail, BBC World, and Opera Canada. Throughout her career, Afarin has collaborated with numerous organizations and festivals across North America, including the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, You Dance National Ballet of Canada, Tapestry Opera, Canadian Opera Company, Loose Tea Music Theatre, Toronto Summer Music Festival, Seattle Opera, Queen’s University, Wilfrid Laurier University, Tirgan Festival, and Toronto Nuit Blanche for SATB Chorus.

Since 2016, Afarin’s compositional focus has been towards the creation of innovative operas and Vocal works. Her approach to opera creates a unique cross-cultural experience for artists and audiences to connect with Eastern cultures, through language, poetry, storytelling, traditional instruments and more.

In 2023, she was commissioned by Opera Renaissance and Early Music Vancouver to composer music for the production of Queen of Cartage, giving The character  DIDO a new voice through Rumi's Poetry. She also composed The Refugees, an uncannily contemporary opera about the rights of refugees, the duties of democratic states, and the complexities of international humanitarianism—told from the perspective of a chorus of exiled women.  Her spiritual Farsi opera, Zuleykha, was produced by Loose Tea Theatre and performed at Toronto Summer Music Festival in 2022. Zuleykha combines Eastern mysticism, symbolism and music within a traditional operatic style;  During the 2022 pandemic, her first digital opera, AITCH ARR was produced in collaboration with Queen’s University, and she self-produced  her first audio opera, Little Heart. Opera Canada called it  “a sweet adventure into cross-cultural storytelling with sound”.  In 2018, Afarin composed Saffronic  as part of the stage production The Journey, Notes of Hope. Opera Canada called SaffronicPowerful. The most memorable highlights of the opera.” Her 2018 opera Forbidden, commissioned and produced by Tapestry opera gained national and international attention during 2018 when it was featured in BBC World, and was featured in the BBC Farsi documentary series, Tamasha.

Her passion for opera and serving the community has led Afarin to found Cultureland Opera Collective, with a mission to produce operas with cross-cultural elements in language, drama, music and design. Amplifying underrepresented and marginalized voices, Cultureland Opera Collective provides a platform for emerging artists to develop their skills, collaborate with experts and showcase their artistic talents.  An opera advocator, Afarin is the first Iranian woman who gave lectures about opera in Farsi language at Canadian Opera Company and make opera more accessible to diverse communities. In 2022, song from her song cycle Asheganeh-ha   was premiered at the Four Season Centre for the Arts as part of the Celebrating Asian Heritage Month with the Canadian Opera Company. 

Afarin’s orchestral prelude, Mithra, the goddess of love and justice, was commissioned and performed by Toronto Symphony Orchestra for their 100th anniversary celebrations in 2022 and immediately became a symbol for the global Women, Life, Freedom movement, representing the voice of all women across the Middle East. 

Her Cantata Humans Arise! which was performed and recorded by Prague Metropolitan Orchestra was broadcast by CBC Radio and Radio Farda to support the Iranian women’s right movement 2022. This piece was selected by CBC program BIG CITY as part of best 2022 shows.

As an academic researcher, Afarin’s PhD dissertation explores the history of children's opera and how opera affects the  development of children’s intellectual skills. As part of her PhD, she developed and published a step-by-step guide for educators interested in developing opera’s with young or amateur participants: ( She has presented lectures, papers and workshops for various institutions including Wilfrid Laurier University, Queen’s University, Canadian Opera Company and Young People’s Theatre. Her workshops cover a holistic approach to creation, with emphasis on the role of emotion during the creative process, soundscape, music intelligence, mystical music, opera history, and composition. In 2014 Afarin also founded Music Nest Academy, where she combines storytelling and singing in her piano teachings.

As a mezzo soprano, Afarin has collaborated with Watershed Festival, Toronto Culture Days, Tirgan Festival and Iranian-Canadian Composers of Toronto (ICOT). Her first vocal album "Dancing With Love" , including 12 love songs based on poetry of prominent Eastern Mystic Masters was Published by Centredisc in Fall 2023. The album is in collaboration between Thin Edge New Music Collective and prominent Iranian-Canadian Musicians.

As an advocate for social and artist equity, she has served as a member of the Canadian Opera Company's DEI committee, the councillor of Canadian League of Composers, as well as the co-founder and past artistic director of Iranian-Canadian Composers of Toronto (ICOT).