Hailing from a highly accomplished musical family with an international reach stretching from Asia, and Europe, to North America, Otello Haddad studied music in both Moscow and Brussels. He holds a Master of Fine Arts in Music Education and Chamber Music from the world-renowned Gnessins Academy of Music (formerly known as the Gnessins Pedagogical School of Music) in Moscow and a Master in Piano Performance from the equally esteemed Royal Conservatory of Brussels. Otello studied under the noted pianist A. A. Alexandrov, as well as under V. P. Starodubrovsky, who held the title of National Artist in his native Russia. In Brussels, Otello worked with renowned pianist and composer Boyan Vodenitcharov, 1983 laureate of the Queen Elisabeth Competition. Otello also participated in one of the International Masterclasses held by the world-famous soloist, Wolfgang Manz, in Trier, Germany. Following his international training as a pianist and pedagogue, Otello Haddad began his performing and teaching career in Amman, Jordan, at the National Music Conservatory, founded in 1986 by the Queen Noor al Hussein Foundation. The Conservatory trains Jordanians and others from the Middle East in classical Western but also Eastern traditions, and aims, through the power of music, to break down cultural barriers. While in Amman, Otello performed regularly at the Royal Cultural Centre, where his performances were highly regarded and appreciated. Following his time in Jordan, Otello became a regular performing artist, both as a soloist and collaborative pianist, at numerous cultural centres and music venues throughout Belgium, and most especially in its capital, Brussels. While in Belgium, he also established a highly successful private teaching studio. In the early 2000s, Otello left Europe to embark on a new journey, settling in Windsor, Ontario, where he has extended family. There, along with his wife, the pianist Valia Van Parys, Otello followed their dream of combining music performance with teaching. He taught piano and music theory at the local Académie Ste. Cécile, then opened a new private piano studio with the goal of training Southwestern Ontario’s musicians of tomorrow. Today, his private music studio is flourishing, with its students regularly winning awards in both local and provincial competitions. Otello is keen to give back to the community and performs regularly. Notably, he has performed at the University of Windsor, the Windsor Public Library, as well as at Assumption Chapel and at St. Matthew’s Anglican Church. Currently he is choir director and pianist at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Windsor. A member of the Ontario Registered Music Teachers’ Association (ORMTA), Otello currently resides in Windsor, Ontario with his wife Valia and their award-winning sons, aspiring pianists Leander and Sebastien.
Otello Haddad has made his mark on Windsor’s musical community over the last 20 years through the excellence of his teaching and his eagerness to share the insights he received and developed during his formative years in Russia, Belgium, and the Middle East. The wisdom he acquired through years of study with eminent pedagogues and the experience he gained performing and teaching Classical music in settings that fostered openness to cultural differences have contributed to his unique pedagogical approach. Otello's students have consistently distinguished themselves in festivals, examinations and concert performances, and his involvement in many facets of Windsor’s development as a growing cultural hub make him worthy of this award. We are proud of his achievements and wish him continued success as a teacher.