Alex Chen: Spark to Flame Student Feature

Published February 18, 2021

Meet Alex Chen!

One of the student performers at the 2021 Spark to Flame Online Student Showcase!


Spark to FlameAlex Chen is a singer, collaborative pianist, and vocal coach whose curiosity brings fresh perspectives on a diverse body of musical works. He is currently studying voice with Nancy Argenta at the Victoria Conservatory of Music and has been involved in the Conservatory’s Advanced Voice Workshop, Opera Studio, Baroque Summer Academy, and Song Competitions. In the latter, Alex most recently placed second in the Lieder Competition and third in the English Song Competition. As a faculty member in the VCM’s Piano Department, Alex frequently works with singers in competitions, juries, and recitals, using his training in both voice and piano to explore technical and interpretive possibilities of musical texts. Singing highlights outside of the VCM include several seasons with the Pacific Opera Victoria Chorus, singing in the Luminato Festival’s production of R. Murray Schafer’s Apocalypsis, and choral work with Victoria Baroque, the Victoria Philharmonic Choir, the Western Singers, the University of Guelph Chamber Singers, and Ontario Youth Choir.


How long have you been singing/playing an instrument?

Around 18 years for piano and 15 years for voice


Why did you apply to perform at Spark to Flame?

The opportunity to sing solo operatic repertoire with a string orchestra was too tempting to pass up!


What piece are you performing and why did you choose it? Alex Chen

I’ll be performing Der Vogelfänger bin ich ja and Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen from Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte. These two arias are such great fun and I‘ve always wanted a chance to portray the character who sings them, the birdman Papageno. I am a bit of a bird nerd, so any chance to don some feathers and sing about birds is a joy.


What are your aspirations in music?

My main goals in music are to be creative and productive as both a collaborative pianist and vocal coach. That being said, I’m always open to seeing where the route of singing takes me and I’m happy to explore the opportunities that arise!


Tell me a bit about yourself, outside of music

I quite enjoy the outdoors as well as the rich diversity of flora and fauna! I studied Zoology during a BSc at the University of Guelph and love when I can see wildlife and biology in action. Prior to being inspired to pursue music by mentors like Rosemary Collins, Marta McCarthy, and John Hess, music was just supposed to be a fulfilling hobby for me! If it weren’t for the opportunity of an MMus at Western University, I’d be a veterinarian right now!


2021 Spark to Flame Online Student Showcase

Join us for one of the VCM’s most important and special annual events, the Spark to Flame Online Student Showcase, streamed live this year for the first time! The concert will be livestreamed on the Victoria Conservatory YouTube Channel on Saturday, March 13, 2021 at 7:30PM (PST).

The Victoria Conservatory of Music’s Spark to Flame program supports emerging artist’s development and is open to all students of the VCM. Selected through audition, students are given the opportunity to work with VCM faculty in the weeks leading up to the performance to develop their professional and artistic skills. The final concert is a magical evening featuring students performing with fellow peers alongside professional orchestral musicians as the VCM Chamber Orchestra.

The following students have been selected to perform at this years event:

• Camilo Aybar (clarinet)

• Galen Boulanger (voice)

• Alex Chen (voice)

• Charlie Dutton (piano)

• Lexie Krakowski (cello)

We are so fortunate to be able to live stream this spectacular event. We are suggesting to everyone who enjoys Spark to Flame and the joy of music, to make a $15 donation, or more, in lieu of purchasing a ticket. Your generous support ensures the VCM can continue to bring concerts to our community and keep music education as affordable as possible and accessible to all. Thank you!

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