From UBC to the world
UBC Music grads are everywhere. They are winning prizes and earning distinctions, from Grammy Awards and West Coast Music Awards to the Order of Canada. They're forging careers as professional musicians with symphony orchestras, chamber ensembles, opera companies and as soloists. They're singing starring roles at the world’s great opera houses. They're recording, producing, and broadcasting award-winning music. And they're teaching in classrooms both public and private, across the globe.
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Ben Heppner (BMus'79)
The internationally renowned tenor was named a 2016 laureate of the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award for lifetime artistic achievement, and in 2018 was inducted into the British Columbia Entertainment Hall of Fame. He talked about his career at The Singer Behind the Song event.
Suzanne Windsor-Liscombe (BMus’80, DipEd’91, MEd’92, EdD’14)
Suzanne Windsor-Liscombe is passionate about music and education. She is also deaf. Having suddenly lost her hearing in 2010, she can no longer hear music or sing in tune, or do many of the things she used to enjoy as a skilled pianist and singer. But in the aftermath of this life-changing event, she has found her unique calling as an educator-composer and librettist, working around her hearing loss to write children’s operas for elementary students in B.C.’s Lower Mainland.
Hussein Janmohamed (BMus'96, MMus'98, MMus'14)
As a composer, conductor, and teacher, Hussein Janmohamed has built a career using choral music to challenge cultural stereotypes and reframe the conversation about race in Canada. In a recent interview he spoke about founding the Vancouver Ismaili Youth Choir to help Muslim youth understand their dual and often plural identities, and about composing works that marry different cultural traditions, such as choral singing and devotional singing.
Hildegaard Westerkamp (BMus'72)
An experimental composer and producer, Hildegaard Westerkamp pioneered the field of 'sound ecology' by experimenting with painstaking production techniques such as pitchshifting (that is, slowing down and speeding up the recordings), filtering and equalizing, and delay feedback among others. She also opened up what was a male-dominated industry in the 1970's and 80s to younger generations of female producers and innovators. Westerkamp talked about her career in a recent issue of High Notes.
Cris Derksen (BMus'07)
After graduating from UBC with a Bachelor of Music in Cello Performance, Cris Derksen went from student to world-travelling performer. She’s toured with Canadian throat singer Tanya Tagaq, written music for the CBC, and been nominated for a Juno Award. Read more
Debi Wong (BMus'08)
Mezzo soprano Debi Wong believes that opera has the potential to create dialogue about underrepresented groups that all too often it goes unrealized. In her post-UBC career, she has staged ambitious, contemporary takes on classical operatic works such as an LGBTQ-friendly adaptation of Handel's Acis and Galatea. She spoke to High Notes about the challenges of making opera more responsive to modern sensibilities.
Kathleen Allen (BMus'11)
The soloist, choral singer, and composer recently joined the Vancouver Academy of Music as Director of Choral Studies and Associate Conductor of Orchestras. In High Notes she talks about juggling performance, composition, and her new role.
H. Colin Slim (BA'51)
As a young music student at UBC, Dr. H. Colin Slim crossed paths with legendary composer Igor Stravinsky — first as his impromptu driver, later as a performer. The meetings were formative. Dr. Slim went on to become a prominent musicologist and a major collector of Stravinsky's letters, scores, and memorabilia, now housed at UBC Library as the H. Colin Slim Stravinsky Collection.
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Banner image by Tim Matheson