Published September 9, 2021
We’re excited to welcome new Faculty joining the VCM team in the 2021/22 school year!
Conservatory School of Classical Music
Dr. Alexander Richards – Discipline: Saxophone
Dr. Alexander Richards is an active pedagogue and performing artist, having appeared in concert in Canada, the United States and Europe. As a concert saxophonist, Alexander has been a featured soloist with ensembles at the University of Victoria Wind Symphony (2011), the University of Minnesota Wind Ensemble (2013), and at the University of North Texas. In addition, Alexander has presented recitals, in both solo and chamber music capacities, at many prestigious festivals and conferences, including the Darmstadt International Musikinstitut, the Texas Music Educators Association conference, and many North American Saxophone Association conferences.
Edwin Gnandt – Discipline: Piano
Recently awarded the designation of “Professor Emeritus of Piano and Music” at Ambrose University in Calgary, Edwin Gnandt has relocated to the beautiful city of Victoria. As of September 2021, he joins the music faculty at the Victoria Conservatory of Music. He continues to enjoy a collaborative career in music as pianist, accompanist, author, adjudicator, competition juror, workshop clinician and international speaker. He adjudicates festivals across Canada and recently as a juror for the Canadian Music Competition (CMC), the National Stepping Stone Competition, the Bosendorfer (BC) Piano Competition and the Steinway Junior Competition.
Elizabeth MacIsaac – Discipline: Choral
Elizabeth MacIsaac, (DMA, Choral Conducting, U. of Washington) has directed choirs of all ages in Canada, France and the United States.
A profound believer in life-long learning and always honing her craft, Elizabeth seeks to generate creative musical engagement along the joyful path of collective singing. In making music a cornerstone in education and a lifelong activity, Elizabeth has received grants for choral outreach to school music classes in the Greater Victoria area, to commission many Canadian choral works and to found a conducting training apprenticeship for aspiring young choral conductors.
Stevan Paranosic – Discipline: Trumpet
Stevan Paranosic is the Principal Trumpet of the Vancouver Island Symphony. Previously he performed as Acting 2nd Trumpet with the Victoria Symphony for 7 seasons and has appeared with trumpet sections of the Vancouver, Kamloops, Prince George, and Okanagan Symphony orchestras.
He holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Windsor and a Masters degree from the University of British Columbia. A big fan of brass chamber music performance, Stevan is active as a member, arranger and organizer of many brass groups. He is a core member of the Festive Brass quartet, which performs at The Butchart Gardens every Christmas season.
School of Contemporary Music
Emily Dubois – Discipline: Fiddle
Growing up in a musical household in Langbank, Saskatchewan, Emily Dubois fell in love with the Canadian fiddle scene as a young child. She grew up attending the Kenosee Lake Kitchen Party music camp where she learned many styles of fiddling from a multitude of famous Canadian musicians. The connections she made there helped create a love of performance, collaboration, and teaching of this rich tradition. Since then she has moved out to Victoria where she has studied under Ivonne Hernandez, performed for 3 years as a member of Coastline, developed Classical teachings and techniques under Simon MacDonald, and completed her diploma for Contemporary Music Performance under Daniel Lapp.
Isaah Contractor– Discipline: Drumkit, Electric Bass
Issah Contractor has joined the Victoria Conservatory of Music Faculty to teach percussion and electric bass for the Chwyl Family School of Contemporary Music. Issah teaches lessons at both the VCM’s main downtown location, and at the Langford location in Westhills.
Born in Canada but having grown up in Kenya, Issah’s formative years were unusual, and provided him with great opportunities to learn music and drumming mostly through experience in professional performance settings. After returning to Canada as a teen, and completing high school in BC, Issah attended the Vancouver Community College as a music major on a full scholarship. Three years later, he was gigging at the top night clubs in Vancouver, as well as performing in creative circles beside various VCC faculty members, such as Francois Houle.
Early Childhood Music
Dylan Marks– Community based
Born and raised in Sooke, B.C., Dylan Marks is a Montreal-based musician recently relocated to Vancouver Island. He has completed a Bachelor of Music in Jazz, with a Minor in Music Education, from McGill University. Throughout his studies at McGill University, where he studied music for early childhood, Dylan learned the practical skills of developing age and skill appropriate music games and activities, as well as Orff, Dalcroze, and Kodaly pedagogical practices. In 2015, Dylan earned a Diploma in Jazz Studies from Camosun College and the Victoria Conservatory of Music.
Noa Kay– Downtown and Westhills
Noa Kay holds a Bachelor of Music Therapy degree from Wilfrid Laurier University, with specializations in Community Music and Psychology. Her passion for music began with singing at a young age, exploring a wide variety of musical genres including classical voice, musical theatre, jazz, pop, and music from around the World. Noa has clinical experience in pediatrics, rehabilitation, long-term care, mental health and special education. Using a client and family centered approach, she is passionate about collaborating with clients to harness individual strengths in order to achieve goals. Noa believes musical interactions can foster connections within clients, their families, and communities.
Nicole Lancaster– Nanaimo
Since a young age, Nicole has been passionate about music and people. After pursuing performance and teaching for some time, Nicole decided to take up music therapy to bridge her passions of bringing music into communities and building relationships with people.
Nicole holds a Master of Music Therapy from Wilfrid Laurier University (2021) and a bachelor’s in music performance (harp) with a minor in psychology (2018). Nicole has extensive experience working with children and youth in a variety of settings, and her master’s research focused on music psychotherapy for existential suffering in palliative care. Her graduate clinical work was in adult oncology at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and geriatrics in long-term care. Nicole’s approach is client centered to meet the unique needs of each individual, while working towards creating an anti-oppressive and intersectional music psychotherapy practice. When she’s not working, Nicole enjoys being active outdoors and is excited to explore her new home on the island.