David Visentin is widely known throughout Canada as a performer, conductor, pedagogue and arts administrator whose leadership and creative experience in the performing arts has successfully advanced classical music from coast to coast. In 2011, founded Sistema Toronto and was appointed as the organization’s President and CEO. Sistema Toronto is a free and uniquely immersive after-school social program through music for at-risk children and youth, modeled after the highly successful program known as el Sistema. For six years, as dean and associate dean of The Glenn Gould School and Young Artists Performance Academy of The Royal Conservatory of Music, David […]
Kyron Basu, baritone, has taught at the Victoria Conservatory of Music since September, 2016. He earned his Diploma in Music and AVCM in Vocal Pedagogy earlier that year, studying with Ingrid Attrot (voice) and Nancy Argenta (pedagogy). As a teacher, Kyron strives to provide a supportive and encouraging lesson atmosphere to help students unlock their musical potential, regardless of experience level. He emphasizes the development of a free, healthy vocal technique capable of expressing a diverse range of music. An enthusiastic performer, Kyron sings regularly in the Victoria area. As a soloist, he has appeared with groups such as Fretwork, […]
Daniel Brandes has been a faculty member at the Victoria Conservatory of Music since 2015, where he has worked and taught in a number of areas. He teaches theory and ear training courses and lessons in the Postsecondary and Music Technology & Creativity program areas, as well as the Creative Impulse, a course focusing on cultivating creative practices. Additionally, Daniel is the program director and lead choir director for the VCM’s ChoirKids program delivered tuition-free through VCM Children’s Music Outreach into underserved schools in the Capital Regional District. As of July 2021, Daniel is the Artistic Director of the VCM’s […]
Based on Vancouver Island, Cari Burdett (2016 VIMA Vocalist of the Year) actively performs, tours self-produced works including her own songs, and produces shows. As Director of Lila Music Centre located in Duncan, Cari brings over 20 years of accumulated education and experience in both the Classical and Popular-Contemporary Genres, and since October 2017 teaches voice/vocals for the Victoria Conservatory of Music, as a faculty member in the Chwyl Family School of Contemporary Music, the Ann & George Nation Conservatory of Classical Music (Voice Dept), and the Department of Postsecondary Studies. […]
One of the active and energetic musicians in Victoria’s artistic community, Dr. Mary Byrne _DSC1043 Low Res Colour_webhas devoted much of her professional life to performing, studying, and teaching the flute. She received a B.Mus. in Flute Performance and Music Education (1985) and a M.Mus. in Flute Performance (1986) at the University of Michigan, and a Ph.D. in Musicology from the University of Victoria, where her field of specialization is the pedagogy and performance practice of the flute performer/teachers at the Paris Conservatoire during the 19th and early 20th centuries. An active teacher, adjudicator, lecturer, recorded artist, and published author (…)
ANNA CAL is trained in the famous tradition of Russian piano schools. She studied at the Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory in St. Petersburg with well-known Russian performers and professors including Vitaly Berzon, Pavel Yegorov and the late Helen Shishko. She holds Master degrees with high distinction in three fields: piano performance, piano pedagogy and collaborative piano. After studying in Russia, Anna spent two years in Rome, Italy where she worked as a soloist and a voice coach. Anna is a senior teacher at the Victoria Conservatory of Music where she teaches piano, piano pedagogy and collaborative piano. She is Director of Collaborative piano and Interpretation in German Lieder Projects. Anna is a frequent performer in Victoria as a soloist and in collaboration with vocalists and instrumentalists.
One of the West Coast’s best jazz guitarists, Rob is also Southern Vancouver Island’s busiest guitar teacher. Rob has accompanied such legends as Tommy Banks, Herb Ellis and Paul Horn, and his playing and composing have received acclaim on recordings by Gord Clements and Roy Reynolds.
Mary is an accomplished violinist, violist and conductor. She was violinist with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra for 17 years. She continues to play violin and viola with the Victoria Chamber Orchestra, the Sooke Philharmonic, and is Principal Viola with the Civic Orchestra of Victoria. She has thirty+ years experience teaching individual violin and viola lessons and group string classes at all levels. She was one of the founders of the Strings Program in the Edmonton Public Schools where she taught for 29 years. She adjudicates music festivals in Alberta and BC and has been an Examiner for Conservatory Canada (formerly (…)
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. […]
Dr. Michael Dias teaches guitar at the Victoria Conservatory of Music. He completed a Bachelor of Music in his hometown of Calgary under Jacob Salomons and a Masters of Music with Dr. Alexander Dunn at the University of Victoria. In 2019 he finished his PhD in musicology with a doctoral dissertation on the manuscript sketches of the Canadian composer, Jacques Hétu (1938-2010). Dr. Dias has published book chapters and journal articles on topics from Wagnerian opera to the creative process and presented his research at international conferences in North America and Europe. As a sessional lecturer, he has taught undergraduate […]
Alexander Dunn has completed extensive summer studies at the Aspen Festival and Sommerakademie Mozarteum. His performances and activities at music festivals include Darmstadt, Salzburg, Vancouver New Music, International Guitar and Lute Institute, Stetson Internatioanl Guitar Workshop, Guitar Foundation of America, Boston GuitarFest, Northwest Guitar Festival, Paracho Festival de Guitarra, Vancouver Festival, Early Music Society of the Islands, CBC Festival de Printemps, Zihuatenejo International Guitar Festival, Appalachian Guitar Festival, Singapore Youth Festival, and many others. Dr. Dunn has performed in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Eastern and Western Europe, Russia, Ukraine, China, Southeast Asia, New Zealand, Japan, South Africa, Cuba, (…)
“Victoria’s Colleen Eccleston is a remarkable singer. She is a gifted songwriter and a very strong rhythm guitarist. Her on-stage ebullience makes her concerts a delight, but she can switch from a carefree song about life on the road to a sobering tale of environmental or interpersonal damage with consummate ease” – The Rogue Folk; “A dangerous blend of skillful song writing and gorgeous vocals makes Colleen an artist whose work is timeless and a must have for any true music aficionado’s collection.” – Naomi De Bruyn, Linear Reflections. After 14 years with The Ecclestons and many adventures on the road (…)
Canadian flutist Marsha Elliott is an acclaimed soloist, chamber musician and educator. Marsha holds a B.Mus. in Performance from the University of Toronto and a M.Mus. in Performance from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, where she studied with soloists Susan Hoeppner and Carol Wincenc respectively. Marsha also spent a transformative year in the Professional Winter Residency Program at the Banff Centre for the Arts. Her past teachers and mentors have included Julius Baker, Emmanuel Pahud and Jeanne Baxtresser among others. As a performer Marsha has toured throughout Canada and the US and has been seen and […]
Awarded the designation of “Professor Emeritus of Piano and Music” from Ambrose University in Calgary, Edwin Gnandt 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 – most recently the Edmonton Music and Performing Arts Festival, as juror for the Canadian Music Competition (CMC), the National Steppingstone Competition, the Bosendorfer (BC) Piano Competition and the Steinway Junior Competition. In September of 2022, Mr. Gnandt served as the Keynote Speaker and Competition Juror for the BCRMTA Provincial Piano Conference. He has been praised by the San Fransisco […]
Wynn Gogol is a music producer, mixer, educator and author who enjoys working in a wide range of genres and styles. With more than twenty years of experience, his work has received Juno nominations, a Maple Blues Award and a Canadian Folk Award. Wynn joined the VCM in 2017 to teach the newly developed postsecondary Diploma in Music Performance course “Composing as Singer-Songwriter”. As a faculty member of the VCM’s School of Music Technology & Creativity, Wynn has since expanded his involvement with the VCM to include teaching digital school notation, as well as recording, mixing, and editing, as part of the VCM’s new Music Technology Lab programming currently under development. […]
Having performed all across Canada, USA and Europe, Damian has been busy changing the way people think about the drums. Born in New Zealand and raised on the west coast of Canada, Damian’s musical diversity has led to performances with some of the finest musicians in the country and abroad. Damian maintains a busy live and studio schedule with his own ensemble and as an in demand freelance musician. Performance highlights have included sharing the stage with Joshua Redman, Albert Collins, Cecil McBee, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Holly Cole, The Shuffle Demons, Buddy Guy, Metalwood, The Paladins, Colin James, The Odds, (…)
VCM Guest Faculty
Each year the VCM is pleased to welcome a number of guest teaching artists to work with our students in one or more program areas. Guest program instructors can either be an existing member of faculty teaching in another program area, or one from our ever-expanding artistic community!
Jonathan Haek is a composer and flutist originally from Portland, Oregon. Dr. Haek is the Director of the School of Music Technology and Creativity at the Victoria Conservatory of Music. He currently teaches Aural Skills courses for the VCM’s Department of Postsecondary Studies, and is the designer, developer, and instructor of the new postsecondary Certificate of Music Technologies program offered in partnership with Camosun College. Jon’s interests lie at the intersections of music, math, and technology. His projects have involved collaboration with modern dance choreographers, free improvisation, interactive and computer music composition, and Fibonacci numbers as compositional tools. Dedicated to […]
Alison is a Certified Althletic Therapist and a student of Manual Osteopathy who works clinically in Victoria treating injuries of all kinds. She currently teaches Introduction to Performance Awareness as part of the VCM/Camosun College Diploma in Music Performance program. Previously a French Horn player, Alison completed a Bachelor of Music in Performance French Horn at the University of Toronto and subsequently went on to study at the Conservatoire de Musique de Quebec. During her music studies she unfortunately experienced a serious injury related to her playing which eventually caused her to switch career paths and inspired her to create […]
Douglas Hensley is an ecclectic and versatile musician who enjoys teaching students of all levels and ages, helping them develop a solid technique which will enable them to play whatever kind of music they choose. Since 2001, he has served with the Victoria Symphony on guitar, lute, mandolin, and banjo, and in 2008 joined Pacific Opera Victoria in Regina. As co-founder and co-director of the Continuum Consort, he explores a repertoire from 12th century Cantigas de Santa Maria to 21st century works written for the ensemble (including commissions funded by the B.C. Arts Council and the Canada Council), on a (…)
Joining the VCM’s Conservatory School of Classical Music Winds & Brass Faculty in November 2019, Dr. Liam Hockley is a versatile musician for whom “alternative or avant-garde approaches to his instrument are only part of the everyday tool kit” (Georgia Straight). Dr. Liam Hockley is a dynamic performer of classical music and passionate advocate for new and experimental music. His repertoire encompasses not only the standard clarinet repertoire from the eighteenth to the twenty-first centuries, but also the results of numerous collaborations with Canadian and international composers on innovative new works. Liam has performed as a soloist or ensemble member […]
Robert Holliston studied at the Victoria Conservatory of Music under Robin Wood and Winifred Scott Wood, and at the University of British Columbia under Robert Rogers. As an accompanist and chamber player he has performed throughout Canada and the USA, England and New Zealand, and has been heard frequently on CBC-Radio. He has recorded CDs with the popular salon ensemble Viveza, trombonist Ian McDougall, tenor Ken Lavigne, his brother Tom Holliston, Show Business Giants, and members of the Hornby Island Ensemble. Robert has collaborated with many of Canada’s leading singers, including Richard Margison, Benjamin Butterfield, Judith Forst, Nathalie Paulin, Susan (…)
Clarinetist Patricia Kostek has a distinguished career as recitalist, symphony orchestra musician and university professor. Her performances have garnered international acclaim and she has been recognized for “…rarely heard clarinet tone, so pure in all its registers” and “complete technical mastery” of the clarinet. Patricia has given recitals and master classes, and served as competition jury member in major cultural centers of Europe, Asia, Canada, the USA, Mexico and South America. She has adjudicated for International Music competitions in Spain, Brazil, Belgium, Paris, Quebec City and Buenos Aires. An active recording studio musician, Patricia has performed on the soundtracks of dozens of television and Hollywood motion picture scores as well as video games. She is Professor Emeritus at the University of Victoria. […]
May Ling Kwok
May Ling Kwok studied with Robin Wood at the University of Victoria where she received her Bachelor of Music. She continued on to doctoral studies with Gyorgy Sebok at Indiana University, and was awarded the Distinguished Performer’s Certificate. Presently teaching at the Victoria Conservatory of Music and the University of Victoria, she is active as a teacher, adjudicator, and concert pianist. Concert tours have taken her to the United States, Mexico, Russia, Western Europe, and Russia. She has appeared as a soloist with the Victoria Symphony, L’Orchestre Symphonique de Montreal, the National Symphony Orchestra of Mexico, the Moscow Philharmonic, the (…)
Nicole Lavallée studied piano at the Victoria Conservatory of Music receiving her AVCM in Performance under Linda Stobbe and her AVCM in Piano Pedagogy with Linda Low and Winifred Scott Wood. She continued her studies at the University of Victoria obtaining her Bachelors with May Ling Kwok and Masters in Music with Bruce Vogt. Nicole is a qualified Kelly Kirby instructor and regularly teaches masterclasses at the VCM. She enjoys teaching students of all ages, performing in the community, and actively works with other indigenous performers and musicologists in Canada in the pursuit of truth and reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples.
Ed studied with Dr. Robin Wood and Arthur Rowe at UVic and Ann S. Miller at Lewis and Clark College. His master classes include John Perry, Gyorgy Sebok and Menahem Pressler. Mr. LeBarron has won numerous awards both locally and nationally. He has performed as guest soloist with numerous orchestras along the Pacific Northwest. He is an active accompanist, soloist and adjudicator. His students regularly receive high honours and honours with distinctions in RCM exams.
Cathy Fern Lewis
Catherine Fern Lewis is renowned as a highly versatile soprano and sound artist. An ambassador and active exponent of Canada’s new music and art scene, Lewis has premiered over one hundred pieces by prominent composers and created her own multi-media works that push the boundaries of performance. Lewis earned a BMus from the University of Victoria, BC; and devoted three subsequent years to vocal training in Europe and Canada, studying under luminaries Frances James Adaskin, Selena James, Mary Morrison and Pierre Bernac. She appears as soloist with symphony orchestras and in recitals of new and traditional music. Her improvisations have (…)
Simon MacDonald began playing the violin at age seven, here in Victoria, British Columbia. Following studies with Frona Colquhoun and Sydney Humphreys, Simon earned his AVCM Teacher and Performance Diploma from the VCM, Bachelor’s degree from New England Conservatory in Boston, and Master’s degree from the Schulich School of Music, at the University of McGill, in Montreal. Simon’s musical education also included performing at music festivals in Europe and North America, including Schleswig Holstein Music Festival (Germany), The Festival of Two Worlds (Italy), the Spoleto Festival (Charleston, South Carolina), Tanglewood Music Festival and Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival (Massachusetts), and at ArtSpring Festival on Salt Spring Island. […]
Canadian-Norwegian mezzo-soprano Kiiri Michelsen is active in performance, teaching (voice/lyric diction), coaching (lyric diction) and research (lyric diction). Voice teaching (Dept of Postsecondary Studies – VCM/Camosun Diploma in Music Performance; Ann & George Nation Conservatory School of Classical Music) The ultimate goal of Kiiri’s teaching approach is the discovery of each singer’s unique sound. In […]
Brenda Morie is an international recording vocalist who has performed in front of audiences of up to 50,000 people in Los Angeles’ Dodger Stadium and Universal Studios, trained in the Bel Canto vocal method, fluent in Latin, Blues, Jazz, Contemporary, Rhythm and Blues to country and folk music. Experienced in voice overs, jingles, narration and radio announcing to theatrical movie releases, Brenda invites you to learn and be inspired to find your “own” voice whether it be as a hobby or to enhance your professionalism. Learn, proper breathing techniques, phrasing, vocal care, approaches to live performances, and recording tips, including […]
Emily Nagelbach, Faculty Department Head, Winds and Brass, Conservatory School of Classical Music. Emily is second flute/piccolo with the Vancouver Island Symphony and principal flute of the Palm Court Orchestra. As a freelance musician, she has performed with many orchestras, including the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Victoria Symphony Orchestra and Pacific Opera Victoria. Emily holds an AVCM from the Royal Conservatory of Music (Toronto), a B.Mus. in Performance and Theory from Wilfrid Laurier University and a M.Mus. in Performance from the University of British Columbia, studying with Amy Hamilton, Lorna McGhee and Camille Churchfield. As a teacher, Emily thoroughly enjoys teaching flute and piccolo to students of all ages and abilities. Her students are part of a vibrant and active studio, performing regularly in recital, masterclass, festivals, and exams. […]
Kelly’s unique and personal approach to music education has a reputation for endearing and inspiring his students. Native to Canada’s West Coast Kelly has travelled internationally as a performer, music creator/writer and session musician. In 2013, Kelly celebrated the award winning debut release entitled “Dimensionaut” with the band “Sound of Contact”, featuring Simon Collins, Dave Kerzner and Matt Dorsey. SoC (Sound of Contact) was mixed by Producer Nick Davis (Genesis, Tony Banks, Mike + the Mechanics, XTC, Marillion…) and received the prestigious “Limelight Award” at the “Progressive Music Awards 2013” held in the UK for “Best New Band” marking an […]
Alex is a graduate of the Manhattan School of Music and has a Diploma of Jazz and Commercial Music from Capilano College. He is a Sessional Instructor of Double Bass at the University of Victoria and has been playing with the Victoria Symphony continuously since 1981. Alex teaches Double Bass at the Victoria Conservatory of Music, for both the Classical Strings program, and also for the Department of Postsecondary Studies. Born in Victoria, BC, Alex is seen often in concerts and gigs, not only in the capital region but also in Sidney, Duncan, Nanaimo and Vancouver. He has performed with […]
Louise Rose has been called a living Canadian treasure. She studied classical voice in Pennsylvania with John Duddy and Todd Duncan; pipe organ with Catharine Brooke Morgan; piano with Oscar Peterson; conducting with Leonard Bernstein and arranging with Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington. Some of her independent studies have been with Carmen McRae, Ella Fitgerald and B.B. King. She has served as artist/mentor in residence at Southern University in Baton Rouge, LA and at The Frank DeMiero and Soundsation Vocal Jazz Camps. Louise is a sought after vocal jazz ensemble clinician. She has played and sung with symphony orchestras in Canada (…)
Thilo Schaller teaches Music Technology courses as part of the VCM/Camosun Certificate in Music Technologies, and works with students via the Camosun Distributed Learning Platform (Desire2Learn). Thilo composes autonomous music as well as for various media contexts. His works have been performed in England, Scotland, Germany, the Netherlands, Austria, Tanzania, Spain, Canada, and Italy. Thilo’s music is often described as contemporary and accessible. His first score for Canadian film was nominated for the Alberta Film and Television Awards in 2014. […]
After touring for two and a half years with the Glenn Miller Orchestra as bassist and arranger, Joey Smith was married in Victoria and moved to Rochester, N.Y. to pursue graduate studies at the Eastman School of Music. For the past 18 years he has been bassist for many local groups and has collaborated with various artists during their stops in Victoria. Joey has written numerous arrangements for such groups as the Glenn Miller Orchestra and the Victoria Symphony, also arranging some of the music for the Commonwealth Games in 1994. Currently, several of his arrangements appear on recordings by (…)
Danuel Tate is a keyboard player and composer of electronic music. He has been writing electronic music for the past 18 years, and his work with the group “Cobblestone Jazz” has given him international acclaim. He has performed extensively at many of the world’s largest music festivals, including three times at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland. In between touring he teaches piano to a range of students. Trained as a jazz pianist, improvising is a large component of his lesson set. He prefers to teach the fundamentals of music theory aurally, and then progresses to reading and writing. Danuel […]
Jennifer Turner is a classically trained soprano with a diverse repertoire that ranges from Baroque, Classical, and Romantic through to avant-garde and Musical Theatre. She earned her M. Mus from the University of Manitoba under the tutelage of Tracy Dahl as well as a Diploma in Music and AVCM in Vocal Pedagogy from the Victoria Conservatory of Music, where she studied with Ingrid Attrot and Nancy Argenta. As a voice teacher, Jennifer welcomes students of all levels, ages, and abilities to explore singing in a safe and supportive environment. Students will be encouraged to discover their unique sound and full […]
Brian Wismath is a faculty member at Victoria Conservatory of Music where he leads the VCM’s Chorale vocal ensemble and directs the VCM’s Summer Choral Intensive program. He has been a guest conductor of Victoria Symphony and Ballet Victoria and has prepared choruses for renowned conductors Robert Cooper, Laurence Cummings, Steven Devine, Robert Franz, Christian Kluxen, Jeanne Lamon, Tania Miller, Michelle Mourre, Giuseppe Pietraroia, Ivars Taurins, and Timothy Vernon. […]
Brian Yoon is currently the Principal Cello of the Victoria Symphony. Since winning First Prize at the 35th Eckhardt-Gramatté Competition, he has been presented in recital from coast to coast, with repertoire ranging from Bach and Beethoven to Shostakovich and Metallica. As a soloist, Brian has recently appeared with orchestras in works by Brahms, Dvorak, Haydn, Lalo, Morawetz, and Schumann. His main teachers include Judith Fraser (Vancouver Academy of Music), Paul Marleyn (University of Ottawa), and Desmond Hoebig (Rice University). Brian has received support from the BC Arts Council, the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Sylva Gelber Music Foundation.