Mike Anklewicz is a Toronto-based musician and educator, specializing in saxophone, clarinet and woodwinds.
Anklewicz is a freelance saxophonist and woodwind player and has performed at some of the top venues in Toronto (Massey Hall, Harbourfront Centre, The Rex Hotel and Jazz Club) and around the world, including recordings and performances in Canada, the USA, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Germany and India. Having extensively studied classical music on the saxophone, he also performs jazz, klezmer, rock, R&B, Balkan and Indian music and is one of the few musicians in North America to play the Alghoza, a rare double flute from the Thar desert straddling India and Pakistan. He returned to India and continued his studies of the Alghoza and Poongi, two traditional wind instruments of the region, in December 2019/January 2020 with the support of a Chalmers Professional Development Grant from the Ontario Arts Council to support this work.
Mike is co-artistic director of Ensemble Topaz, founded in 2016 with dancer Paromita Kar, a combined music and dance company that focuses on Central and South Asian cultural heritages. Ensemble Topaz specializes in music and dance from Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, India, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan. Ensemble Topaz has performed all over Ontario with performances at festivals and private events. In 2019, Mike performed with Ensemble Topaz for a Northern Ontario tour of Festivals of India and performed on the WestJet Stage at the 2019 Tirgan Festival at Harbourfront Centre in Toronto. While 2020 was not a busy year for live performances, he did perform with Ensemble Topaz at the Festival of India and Festival of Colours in Thunder Bay, Ontario and produced several music videos for “Global Rhythms Live,” a world music and dance livestream show that was broadcast online during the pandemic. For this show, Mike produced collaborations with Bollywood composer/producer Sid Mathur (India), violinist Steven Greenman (USA), singer Tamar Ilana (Canada), kemancheh player Hossein Soleimani (Iran/Canada) as well as producing multi-track, multi-instrumental cover songs.
In 2021, Mike has performed with Ensemble Topaz at online festivals such as the Moksha Canada Spring Festival and the Concession Street BIA in Hamilton, Ontario.
Directing the Ensemble Topaz band, Mike has been a recipient of an Ontario Arts Council Recording Grant in 2019 and produced Ensemble Topaz’s recordings which can be heard at SoundCloud. Mike also performed Alghoza and saxophone at the Sindhi Music Festival in Toronto in December 2019.
With Ensemble Topaz, Mike has co-produced several international collaborations including “Pomegranate Garden” that featured Ensemble Topaz and dancer Akmaral Kainazarova from Kazakhstan in 2018 as well as “Hands in Harmony,” featuring Iranian setar player and composer Fariba Hedayati.
Ensemble Topaz has currently begun their Global Rhythms Live! World Music and Dance Digital Concert series featuring and collaborating with performers of different cultures from around the world! The livestream can currently be found at Ensemble Topaz’s Facebook Page and YouTube Channel every Sunday at 4:00 pm Eastern Time (Toronto/New York)
Mike is also the composer, bandleader and founder of KlezFactor, a klezmer-fusion group that has released three critically-acclaimed CDs and had their music featured on television in Canada, Israel and the Czech Republic and heard on radio all over the world. They have performed in Canada, the USA, the Czech Republic and Germany.
Anklewicz holds a Bachelor of Music degree in saxophone performance and composition from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario and a Master of Music degree in saxophone performance from the New England Conservatory in Boston, Massachusetts. He also received a Ph.D. in musicology and ethnomusicology from York University in Toronto, Ontario.
As an educator, Anklewicz has taught for over 20 years, teaching saxophone at a variety of music schools and in private lessons in Canada, the USA and Germany. He has been a faculty member at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto since 2005 and has taught at York University and the Royal Conservatory’s Glenn Gould School. He has been a member of the Royal Conservatory Certificate Program College of Examiners since 2018.