Canadian Consulting Engineer

Skule Idol shows engineers’ musical talents

January 4, 2010
By Canadian Consulting Engineer

Classical opera, a popular television show, and engineering science forged an unlikely but delightful match la...

Classical opera, a popular television show, and engineering science forged an unlikely but delightful match last month at the University of Toronto. To celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the Division of Engineering Physics/Engineering Science at the University of Toronto, they held a special competition modelled on the television show, American Idol.

The U of T event, entitled “Skule Idol,” was inspired by one of Engineering Science’s alumni, Isabel Bayrakdarian. She graduated with an honours degree in biomedical Engineering from the University of Toronto in 1996 but immediately went on to pursue her operatic career, winning four Junos, and appearing in major roles at venues around the world, including the Metropolitan Opera, Covent Garden and the Salzburg Festival.

For Skule Idol,”Engineering Science held a singing competition open to its current students and alumni, and the winners were invited to sing duets on stage with Ms. Bayrakdarian at a concert and dinner held December 17 in Hart House Theatre.

There were two joint winners. One, soprano Anne Bornath, P.Eng.  graduated in 1991 and is now an executive with Microsat Systems. She and Bayrakdarian sang Mozart’s “Sull’aria … che soave zefiretto” from Le Nozze di Figaro.


The other winner was Joe Likuski, P.Eng., who graduated in 1982 and is now working in finance and client solutions at RBC. He sang tenor on  Verdi’s “Brindisi” from La Traviata with Bayrakdarian.

They performed with the U of T Faculty of Engineering’s Skule Orchestra,  which boasts 30 years of history, 50 members and is conducted by Alessandro Ariza.

The Engineering Science division was formerly known as Engineering Physics when it was introduced to the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering at U of T in the mid 1930s. It was renamed Engineering Science in 1962 and now has 20% of the faculty’s undergraduate enrolment and 28 different areas of specialization, including infrastructure, aerospace, and nano-engineering.

Isabel Barakdarian and “Skule Idol” winner Anne Bornath sing at the University of Toronto last month.  Photograph by Summer Harris, Courtesy Engineering Science, Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering, University of Toronto.


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