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Toronto Star Insert

MediaPlanet Article & Video Interview

"Eyeing a Future Without Glaucoma"

By Ken Donohue

Published May 2018

“I was born with perfect eyesight, and no one in my family had issues with their vision, but when I was 12 years old I was diagnosed with cataracts in my eyes,” Stelth remembers.


“Complications from the cataract surgery caused glaucoma in one eye.”

The impact for Stelth was sudden and profound. When he was younger, there was a time when he couldn’t see his mother’s face for two years. Today, Stelth has no night vision or depth perception. He bumps into things and often falls trying to navigate stairs and curbs.

None of this has dulled his zest for life. Music became a source of inspiration and expression.


“For a few months after having surgery on both eyes, I was completely blind. Playing the violin and piano lifted me out of my depression,” he says. “I want to find a way to help visually-impaired children experience music and dance.”

With 16 eye surgeries over the past 15 years, Stelth’s teen and early adult years were spent with countless trips to the hospital and visits to the doctor. As glaucoma can often cause swelling in the eye, Stelth was in constant pain, and doctors used several procedures to lower the pressure. While he has a prosthetic in one eye, he has hope that there will be a new discovery that will repair his sight.

“I am thankful for the treatment I received from doctors at the Donald K. Johnson Eye Institute. It’s very exciting to see such passionate doctors and scientists who are dedicated to finding a cure for glaucoma,” he says.

Globe & Mail Magazine

Krembil Research Interview

"Finding New Methods for Detecting Glaucoma"

By Renée Sylvestre-Williams

Published June 2017

Eyes might be the windows to the soul, but they don’t like to give up their own secrets, especially with diseases such as glaucoma.


Musician and filmmaker Stelth Ng should know; he’s spent a decade in and out of the hospital because of his eyes. Stelth, 26, has had more than 16 surgeries in both eyes as a result of various conditions, including cataracts, dislocation of his intraocular lenses, multiple retinal detachments, corneal edema and glaucoma.

As a result, he is completely blind in his right eye and uses his left eye to see.

Outside of his busy teaching and ballet accompaniment schedule, Stelth works with cinematographers, dancers and musicians in Toronto and New York City to create choreographed short films that combine the two art forms.

"When I was 18, subsequent surgeries on my eyes resulted in total blindness for three months. During those months, I turned to the violin and piano whenever I lost faith and became depressed. Not being able to see sheet music actually gave me the chance to envision visual images in my head while I practised. Several years later, when I regained my vision and saw Charlotte Ballet Dancers perform in Chautauqua, [N.Y.,] the connection with visualizing music came full circle back to me."

Meanwhile, until a cure is found, Dr. Trope says the best treatment for glaucoma is early detection.

University Health Network Newsroom

"Grateful Patient Thanks Staff At Donald K. Johnson Eye Institute With Gift Of Music"

 By Jarrett Churchill

Published May 15, 2017

Stelth hopes to expand the initiative in the future in order to bring live music to other patients and programs across UHN.

"Music for me is an escape but also a world of open possibilities regardless of whether I can see or not. I want people who are blind, especially children, to know that there is a world of possibilities out there for them. If you are blind, you can still be an artist; you can be a musician … that realization can be life-changing for anyone struggling with vision loss."

The Chautauquan Daily Newspaper

"Musician Stelth Ng Collaborates With Charlotte Ballet for Second Year"

 By Ryan Lindsay

Published August 4, 2017

The work is set to a movement of string quartet music by Sgroi, a Toronto composer, and Ng said each dancer is meant to “represent their own individual instrument in the string quartet.”


Ng called Sgroi’s piece, Transcendence: Hold On,” a movement that is “absolutely beautiful and haunting.”


He recorded it in May with a string quartet in Toronto.

"The two female leads embody “the upper voices,” the first and second violins, while the two male leads represent “the lower voices,” the viola and cello."

“While anyone who’s listening to the string quartet will hear a duet between the cello and violin,” Ng said, “I want the dance side of it to see the pas de deux happen between the respective female and male dancers.

The Chautauquan Daily Video

"Violinist Stelth Ng and Chautauqua School of Dance Students Busk By The Amp"

 By Hailey Gavin

Published July 17, 2017

Violinist Stelth Ng and students from Chautauqua School of Dance held an Impromptu performance while Chautauquans stood in line to see Sheryl Crow in the Amphitheater July 14, 2017. 

Dancers Karlee Donley, Gabrielle Moore, and Rorey Fraser improvised to Bach's Chaconne in D minor, played on violin by Ng.

The Chautauquan Daily Newspaper

"Violinist Stelth Ng is Learning to Love Dance Despite Losing His Vision"

 By Andrew Manzella

Published August 13, 2016

“I started going to more and more dance shows, and it all started making sense,” he said. “I saw universal body language and expressions. That body language translates into articulation and phrasing in music. So now, when I’m approaching music, I’m thinking, ‘If I was a dancer, how and what would I choreograph to this?’ ”

“If it wasn’t for violin, I wouldn’t have gone to university, and I wouldn’t have met [Israelievitch],” he said, adding he never would have been exposed to other art forms and would not be on the path he walks today.

When Ng is here, he feels like more than a musician.

“You get to be more than your instrument,” he said. “You don’t want to just be a violinist, you want to be a musician, you want to be an artist. That is what Chautauqua has to offer.”

CBC Radio One 91.5 FM Broadcast Interview

Violinist, Stelth Ng's Last Concert with

The Ottawa Symphony Orchestra

CBC "All In A Day"

Interviewed by Alan Neal

Aired November 16, 2015

"It really almost made me forget how important my eyes were.


And you were referring to the visual part; what was interesting for me - and what was so inspiring was that - I had learned for a huge part of my life how to read and play music from sheet music - by reading and using my sight.


And then all of a sudden, I lost my vision, so I relied on recordings and learning a few pieces by ear, and when I did that, all these things that I hadn't paid attention to suddenly came to light.


I started hearing more accurately, and I started seeing things mentally: these visual images - that I hadn't given a lot of attention to before because I was always so focused on these black dots on the music...."

The Chautauquan Daily Newspaper

"Dance Students Try Their Hand At Choreography"

 By Hayley Ross

Published August 14, 2015

Music School Festival Orchestra student Stelth Ng collaborated with dance students for a few of the pieces, including Isabelle Ramey’s contemporary ballet piece “We Found Ourselves Lost.”


Ng will play piano for Ramey’s piece.

Dancers were asked to collaborate with a musician, often from the Music School Festival Orchestra, for their pieces.

This is a good opportunity for musicians to do solo work, which they don’t often get a chance to do, Diamond said.

The Chautauquan Daily Newspaper

"Music Made Visible: MSFO, School of Dance Present Annual Collaboration"

 By Georgie Silvarole & Hayley Ross

Published July 26, 2015

For violinist Stelth Ng, this is the most rewarding performance of the season.

“The dance collaboration was one of my top favorite concerts. They have fantastic programming here, but I think it was really the fact that they visualize what we do,” Ng said.


“They have amazing choreography. Mark Diamond — his choreography is spectacular. . . But he is so aware of these rhythms and how they can translate into vision.”

There is a balance between music and movement, Ng said, that is demonstrated in a collaboration like this.

“We spend so much of our time in front of black dots, essentially. And then it’s our job to make that into sound,” Ng said.


“The sounds that we make, they inspire the dancers and their movements, but in fact, their movements are a representation of maybe what was going on in the composer’s mind. What they visualize is very much in the same mental mindset as what we musicians visualize to inspire ourselves.”

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