A short guide to undergraduate auditions

Paul Joseph/UBC

Paul Joseph/UBC

By Katherine Evans, Manager of Admissions

Greetings! By now most Bachelor of Music applicants will have received a definitive audition date and time for early March 2019. Some of you may have taken a lot of auditions, or this may be your very first one. It’s a chance for you to get acquainted with the School of Music — our facilities, our faculty, and our current students — and a chance for you to demonstrate the musical skills you’ve been working on! We really want to make the audition process stress-free and enjoyable, so we've put together a few tips.

Planning Your Audition

1.     Leave extra time to get to UBC Music early. Parking is available pretty close to the music building and the bus loop is about a 10-minute walk. You will want to be able to visit the welcome desk in the lobby, settle yourself in a practice room, and have plenty of time to warm up before finding your audition room.

2.     Hydrate & make sure you have something with you to eat.  Food options on campus are growing daily but most are still at least a 10-minute walk away – time you may not want to take from your pre-audition routine. The Music Undergraduate Society will have cookies and coffee available in the lobby.

3.     Ready? Take a deep breath, remember to think of the music, and have a good time!  The faculty is enthusiastic and ready to hear you play or sing your very best.  They love to meet applicants and learn about their talent and potential.


What to expect

How long are the auditions?

Auditions are generally are 15 – 20 minutes long.

What does it feel like when you walk into the audition room?  

The auditions are professional, but definitely friendly. Everyone on the faculty audition panel wants to hear you play your best. One of the faculty or student assistants will usher you into the audition room and make sure that you have a moment to get settled.

Is there an interview portion of the audition?

There is no formal or mandated interview portion of your audition, but in almost all cases the faculty panel will take a few minutes to talk with you about your musical experience – they’ll ask you about something you’ve written in your application essay, or about a piece of music you’ve chosen to perform…it’s an informal opportunity for you all to get to know each other.

Is there a music theory exam or separate sight-singing exam on the day of my audition?

No, there’s no longer a theory exam required. Instead, applicants who are accepted into the BMUS program and choose to attend, will take a theory placement exam in the first week of school.  More details are here: https://music.ubc.ca/new-undergrad-students under “Music Placement Test".

Is a collaborative pianist (accompanist) required at my BMUS audition?

At the undergraduate level, working with a pianist is optional for all auditions except voice. Because a pianist is mandatory for voice auditions, a UBC staff pianist is available free of charge to play at all voice auditions. Anyone auditioning for voice may also work with the pianist of their choice.


A little insight from our faculty...

Richard Epp, vocal coach extraordinaire, plays at about 95% of the voice auditions at UBC. He’s given us a little insight into this process below:

Audition time is exciting at UBC for everyone who works here. We are as excited to hear you and to get to know you as you are to be here. I play for the voice auditions and have played most of the standard repertoire. I am also very good at following singers :)

When I come out to the lobby to bring you into the audition space, I will introduce myself and have a quick look at your music. I may ask for your tempos, but if I start at a tempo that you are not used to, just sing it the way you are used to and I will follow you. If I don’t know the piece I will ask for the tempo and then I may take ten seconds just to look at the music. If you are doing a very obscure piece you can just send me an email with the info.

In the audition the people listening may be writing down notes, reading your file, etc. Don’t let that throw you. They hear many people during the day and the chances are they are writing down things they liked, how beautiful your voice is and how much potential you have, as opposed to what they didn’t like. So, take a deep breath, be confident and have fun.”

Questions or concerns?

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to contact me at katherine.evans@ubc.ca!


Updated from Feb. 21st, 2018

BMus application deadline extended to Jan. 31st

The School of Music has extended the application deadline for prospective Bachelor of Music students to Jan. 31st.

Interested students should visit our undergraduate admissions page for step-by-step instructions on how to apply. For a general overview of the program and the School of Music, visit the Admissions Blog.

Questions can also be directed to Katherine Evans, Admissions Manager, at katherine.evans@ubc.ca.

Please note that the new deadline applies only to the B.Mus. program. Applications for the Bachelor of Arts in Music program are now closed.

The 2019 UBC Concerto Competition winners

D’Arcy Blunston

D’Arcy Blunston

Congratulations to everyone who competed in the 2018/19 UBC School of Music Concerto Competition!

Open to all music students, the annual competition is an opportunity for young musicians to earn a coveted spot as a solo performer with the UBC Symphony Orchestra.

Markus Masaites

Markus Masaites

Competitors select virtuoso works which highlight their exceptional technical and expressive abilities as musicians. There were many entries in the competition and the performance level was extremely high, as always.

Yu-Hsien Lin

Yu-Hsien Lin

This year's winner is D’Arcy Blunson (voice) for her lyrical performance of Britten's Les illuminations de Rimbaud, Op. 18

The first runner-up is Markus Masaites (piano), for his excellent performance of Mozart’s Piano Concerto in No. 18 in B-flat major, K. 456. The second runner-up is Yu-Hsien Lin (piano) for her terrific performance of Schumann’s Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 54.

D’Arcy wins the opportunity to perform as the soloist with UBC Symphony Orchestra on Saturday, April 6th at 7:30 p.m.


Photos: Takumi Hayashi/UBC

Why study at the UBC School of Music?

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By Katherine Evans, Admissions Manager


Hello and thanks for visiting the School of Music's Admissions Blog!

We’re delighted that you're here. If you are a prospective student, this is the space to find out everything you need to know about applying to, and studying at, the UBC School of Music — from the different undergraduate and graduate programs we offer, to our fantastic ensembles, to our internationally renowned (and friendly!) faculty.  

Over the coming weeks and months, we'll share tips on how to navigate the application process and prepare for your audition, and we'll take you inside the School to see what it's like to be a part of our community of scholars, composers, and performers. We'll remind you about deadlines and answer some common applicant questions. So please stay tuned!

In the meantime, let's kick things off with a quick tour of the School and what we have to offer.

The University of British Columbia is a big, diverse institution, with every imaginable academic program and a student body of over 60,000. Within UBC, the School of Music gives you the experience of studying at a small school — we are a community of about 300 undergraduate and 100 graduate students — with the resources of a big, top-ranked university.

Our degree programs

For undergrads, we offer a four-year course of study leading to the Bachelor of Music (B.Mus) and — with the Faculty of Arts — the Bachelor of Arts, Major in Music. For students whose first love is music but who are committed to studying science, arts, education, or business, we also offer dual degreesdouble majorsminorsdiploma programs.

For grad students, we offer Master's and doctoral degrees in three broad fields of specialization: performance, composition, and music scholarship.

Career development — while you study!

As much as possible, the School of Music helps students to explore and develop different career opportunities while still studying. That's because unlike law, medicine or engineering, there is no single path for musicians and music scholars, post-degree. So whether you plan to pursue a career as an orchestral musician, a scholar, an educator, or a producer, you can get a head start by:

Check out our huge concert archive to get a sense of just how good our students are. For starters, here's a clip of UBC Symphony Orchestra and Choirs performing the finale of Mahler's Symphony No. 2

Dedicated, award-winning faculty 

All School of Music students, whether performers or scholars, work closely with our award-winning faculty. Our faculty compose music regularly heard on the world’s stages, perform around the globe, publish in top journals, jury international music competitions, and record critically acclaimed and best-selling recordings. Whatever your interests or instrument, our faculty is friendly and engaged in your learning experience.  Here’s just a short list: 

  • Eric Wilson, cellist and founding member of the Emerson String Quartet

  • Jose Franch-Ballester, clarinetist and chamber musician, hailed by the New York Times for his “technical wizardry and tireless enthusiasm"

  • Alexander Fisher, musicologist and author of Music, Piety, and Propaganda

  • J. Patrick Raftery, tenor and performer with the Metropolitan Opera, La Scala, Royal Covent Garden

  • Dorothy Chang, composer whose works have premiered with the Seattle Symphony, VSO, Pittsburgh Symphony, and St. Paul Chamber Orchestra

In the coming weeks, we'll introduce you to more faculty and take you inside the studios where much of your musical education will happen.

Come visit us and attend a free concert!

Katherine Evans

Katherine Evans

Prospective students can meet faculty members by attending any number of concerts on campus from now until April. We invite you to attend our large ensemble concerts, performed by the UBC Choirs, Bands, and Orchestra, Opera productions held in the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts and the Old Auditorium.

Feel free to contact me for free tickets for certain events. A lot of our chamber music, divisional recitals, and student recitals are already free — just come and see!  If you’re applying from a distance, check out our concerts on Livestream and imagine yourself here!

Questions? 

Do you have questions about the application process? You are not alone! Sometimes the application process can seem complicated. If you'd like to talk to someone about the graduate or undergraduate programs here at the School of Music, please do get in touch. 

Juliet O’Keefe, our Graduate Admissions Secretary, is the point person for graduate program information, and I am your primary contact for the undergraduate (B.Mus. and Diploma) programs. Robert Ablenas is our Music Advisor and can give detailed information about certain programs.


Updated from Nov. 17th, 2017

UBC announces new partnership with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra

Images courtesy of VSO

Images courtesy of VSO

The School of Music is thrilled to announce that it will host the 2019 edition of the VSO Orchestral Institute (VSOI), from June 24 to July 3, 2019.

The VSOI is an orchestral training institute which attracts 100 professional-track musicians from around the world each summer.

This new partnership between the VSO and the School of Music will give the VSOI access to the facilities of one of Canada’s premiere music schools and the stunning Chan Centre for the Performing Arts overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

Auditions for the VSOI are now open.

UBC President Dr. Santa Ono stated: “The University of British Columbia is pleased and proud to partner with the VSO to further music education for youth in Canada and around the world, and we celebrate the involvement of UBC’s School of Music and the Chan Centre for Performing Arts in this innovative summer institute."

“We are thrilled that the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra Institute at UBC is about to become a reality,” Dr. Alexander Fisher, Acting Director of the School of Music. “This partnership with one of Vancouver’s most prestigious arts organizations is a natural step that will benefit young musicians, the VSO, UBC, and the Vancouver arts community at large. We are looking forward to a mutually enriching collaboration that will support the cause of music education in the city, region, and beyond.”

Musical opportunities abound as students play in the Institute Orchestra, rehearse and perform in chamber ensembles, and participate in masterclasses and repertoire classes with outstanding faculty. The VSOI offers performance opportunities including student and faculty recitals, a concerto competition, as well as chamber music performances around Vancouver.

New for 2019 are student conducting residencies under the tutelage of Maestro Otto Tausk and also Maestro Jonathan Girard, VSOI Assistant Conductor and Music Director of the UBC Chamber Orchestra Festival. These highly qualified student conductors will also conduct during the UBC Chamber Orchestra Festival during July 3-10, 2019.

“I am very happy that for my first year as Music Director of the Institute we will be able to work in such outstanding facilities in Vancouver, one of the world’s great cities. I and the musicians of the VSO find this city such an inspiration point for our music making. I am confident that VSO Institute members will share in that same experience,” Maestro Tausk said.

VSO President Kelly Tweeddale added, “The VSO is very happy to be able to partner with the University of British Columbia on the next edition of the VSO Orchestral Institute. Bringing the institute into these exceptional facilities in the heart of our city with its stunning urban architecture, beaches, mountains, and ocean, is going to make Vancouver the place to be this summer for young musicians. Thank you to President Santa Ono and Dean Gage Averill for helping make this partnership possible.”

Media inquiries should be directed to Sarah Yu, VSO Publicist, at 778-239-7676 /  sarahyu@vancouversymphony.ca or to Erik Rolfsen, UBC Public Affairs, at 604-209-3048 / erik.rolfsen@ubc.ca

Read the VSO press release here.

AUDITIONS NOW OPEN

Auditions for the Institute are now open. Musicians ages 15-25 are invited to apply on our website www.vsoinstitute.ca. The VSO Orchestral Institute, on the exquisite Pacific Ocean-front campus of the University of British Columbia, offers young musicians an experience and education like no other. Students are immersed in a collaborative, nurturing musical environment, mentored by musicians of the Grammy and Juno Award-winning VSO and internationally acclaimed music director, Maestro Otto Tausk.

ABOUT THE UBC SCHOOL OF MUSIC & THE CHAN CENTRE FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS

Located at the heart of the University of British Columbia campus in the traditional, unceded territory of the Musqueam people, the UBC School of Music is one of the oldest and largest music schools in Canada. It offers a wide array of degree and non-degree progams in composition, performance, and scholarship and every year graduates young musicians who go on to award-winning careers as professional musicians, teachers, producers, and more.

Since its opening in spring 1997, the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts has earned an international reputation for its striking design, stellar acoustics and exceptional programming. Artists, critics and audiences alike are unanimous in their praise of this multi-faceted facility, winning it a place among North America’s premier performing arts centres. The Chan Centre is part of UBC’s Arts and Culture District, and hosts rehearsals and performances by the UBC School of Music and the UBC Department of Theatre and Film throughout the year.

ABOUT THE VANCOUVER SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA

Founded in 1919, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra is one of Canada’s most active and successful performing arts institutions; the largest performing arts organization west of Ontario and the third largest symphony orchestra in the country.

The VSO performs to an annual audience of over 250,000 people and features more than 50 celebrated guest artists each season. Over 170 concerts are performed annually by the VSO in the historic Orpheum Theatre and numerous additional venues throughout the Lower Mainland. 2018/2019 marks the organization’s 100th season.

High Notes | Fall 2018 Edition

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Welcome to the Fall 2018 edition of High Notes

In this issue, we talk to Juno-nominated pianist John Stetch about his path-breaking career — and his decision to go back to school. We explore the music of glaciers with Director of Orchestras Dr. Jonathan Girard and multimedia artist Deborah Carruthers. And alumna Suzanne Windsor-Liscombe opens up about losing her hearing and finding her true calling as a composer of children's operas.

ALSO IN THE ISSUE

  • Donor Spotlight: Tom Lee Music provides five new pianos for public use across the UBC campus

  • Fall Concerts: Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde, Joel Puckett’s Shadow of Sirius, and slippages — an experimental orchestral work about climate change

  • Research & Publications: Lectures on Korean drumming and cosmology, compositions for piano and voice, and a new book on Monteverdi

  • Alumni Making Waves: A bouncy castle organ, a Volvo commercial, new appointments, and awards galore

  • Beyond the Gates: The Western Canadian Music Awards, a B.C. Entertainment Hall of Fame induction, Bands tour, and more

  • Catching Up with Our Students: Strings and wind students tour with the National Youth Orchestra, the Opera ensemble visits the Czech Republic, and the Silverman Piano Competition winners perform

  • Comings and Goings: Prof. Richard Kurth reflects on his second and final term as director of the School of Music

  • New Recordings: Soprano Simone Osborne releases her début album and John Stetch releases his 16th

  • Playlist: Jaelem Bhate chooses music that changed the way we listen to music

As always, we want to hear from you! Send us your comments and story ideas.

 

Jazz visionary John Stetch goes back to school

Stetch demonstrates his reinterpretation of Chopin's Polonaise in A-flat.

 

By Tze Liew

Over the past three decades, John Stetch has made a name for himself as one of Canada’s most innovative jazz pianists and composers. He has performed with contemporary greats such as Mark Turner and Chris Cheek and has recorded sixteen albums, including his most recent release, Ballads. Yet in the middle of a successful career that has earned him critical acclaim and half a dozen Juno Award nominations, he made the extraordinary decision to come to UBC to pursue an M.Mus in Composition.

“I wanted to get a Master’s because the nature of work and teaching [in music] has changed in many places, and often requires more than just a Bachelor’s degree. I knew I was going to be living in Vancouver, and I’d heard of UBC and its beautiful campus. There wasn’t really a jazz program around, so I thought a Composition Master’s would be a great fit, since I’ve been starting to write some classical chamber music, not just jazz,” he says.

Read the full story

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Improvising the music of glaciers

UBCSO performs slippages on Oct. 5th, 2018

How do you create the music of a glacier?

Artist Deborah Carruthers was grappling with this question when she met Dr. Jonathan Girard, the School of Music’s Director of Orchestras, at a talk last year at the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies. Carruthers was just emerging from months of intensive research into glaciers, on everything from their topography and ecology to their significance in different cultures and the threat they face from climate change.

In her talk she outlined an idea for a ‘graphic’ score — a sequence of images inspired by these enigmatic and threatened landscapes — that musicians could then interpret and perform.

The project seemed a little crazy, even to her. “I am not a musician, so the score was going to have no actual musical notation,” Carruthers says. “But when I explained all of this to Jonathan, he said—”

“I said, Tell me more!” Girard interjects, laughing.

Read the full story

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Lost and found: How Suzanne Windsor-Liscombe lost her hearing and found her true calling

Elementary students perform one of Windsor-Liscombe’s opera-musicals

Elementary students perform one of Windsor-Liscombe’s opera-musicals

 

By Tze Liew

Suzanne Windsor-Liscombe (BMus’80, DipEd’91, MEd’92, EdD’14) 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.

As Head Teacher at Confederation Park Elementary in the Burnaby School District, she and a few colleagues founded an arts-integrated program which saved the school from being shut down – the student body had dropped to only 90 students when they first took over in 2006. She began to compose children’s operas for the curriculum in 2011.

“We were trying to get students to understand what opera was, and also learn something significant about our history [and] society,” she says.

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Calling all music lovers: Tom Lee Music donates five new pianos to UBC

BMus student Serina Mui plays one of the donated pianos.  Photo: UBC Library Communications

BMus student Serina Mui plays one of the donated pianos. Photo: UBC Library Communications

By Joel Bentley

A student sits at the new grand piano in the Music, Art and Architecture Library (MAA). She has headphones on, concealing the sound, so all you hear is the tapping of keys, rhythmic patterns. It feels like a pre-concert ritual—the quiet excitement of something about to be born. Behind the piano there are rows upon rows of sheet music, the largest collection of scores in Western Canada, waiting to be played. The library is muted and subdued, but the piano calls out to music lovers—beckoning them into the world of sound.

“I love playing with and for others and seeing the joy it brings to everyone involved,” says BMus student Zeta Gesme. A third-year double major in Cello Performance and Economics (Honours), Zeta is one of hundreds of students who have discovered joy at the new grand piano in the MAA at the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre (IKBLC). It’s all dressed up in black and white, like a butler waiting. At your service. Zeta uses the piano to practice for her piano exams.

It’s one of five new pianos that Tom Lee Music provided to UBC this year. The pianos can be found at the Walter C. Koerner Library, David Lam Management Research Library, Woodward Library, and the Nobel Biocare Oral Health Centre—the dental clinic.

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Fall concerts available online: Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde, Puckett’s Shadow of Sirius, Poulenc’s Gloria

Watch the latest performances by the School of Music’s large and small ensembles on Livestream and Vimeo:

Poulenc and Vaughan Williams

UBC Symphony Orchestra and Choirs team up for a spectacular, term-ending performance at the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts.

Scenes II

The UBC Symphonic Wind Ensemble performs works by renowned composer-in-residence Joel Puckett, Giovanni Gabrieli, and Kathryn Salfelder. Featuring DMA student and soloist Paul Hung, flute. Watch

Silverman Winners’ Concert

Benjamin Hopkins, grand prize winner of the Silverman Piano Concerto Competition, performs Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 in G Major Op. 58 with UBC Symphony Orchestra. Also featuring competition winners Evgenia Rabinovich, Ayunia Saputro, and Aydan Con. Watch

Mahler, Carruthers and Tsu

UBC Symphony Orchestra perform the Mahler masterpiece Das Lied von der Erde along with Taiwanese composer Tsang-Houei Hsu’s The Splendid Universe, Chinese Festival Overture, Op. 18, and Slippages, an exciting experimental piece based on the graphic scores of artist Deborah Carruthers. Watch

Fall Choral Showcase

The University Singers, Chamber Choir, Choral Union and Combined Choirs sing works by Brahms, Dvořák, Haydn, Schubert, Copland and more. Watch

For upcoming School of Music performances, check out our concert calendar.

Browse more of our recent concerts

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Comings and goings

Dr. Valerie Whitney and Dr. Richard Kurth

Dr. Valerie Whitney and Dr. Richard Kurth

This summer, Dr. Richard Kurth completed his second term as Director of the School of Music. In June he published “A Letter, a Soliloquy, two Duets, and a Sextet,” his reflections on the School and his time at the helm.

Following in his footsteps for the 2018-19 academic year is Dr. Alexander Fisher, in the role of Acting Director, and Dr. John Roeder, as Associate Director for term one, and Dr. Keith Hamel, Associate Director for term two.  Thank you, Dr. Kurth, and welcome, Drs. Fisher, Roeder, and Hamel!  

Dr. Valerie Whitney joined the School of Music as Assistant Professor of Horn , starting in the 2018-19 academic year. An accomplished performer and teacher, Dr. Whitney will play a leading role in the brass division at the School of Music. Her duties will include undergraduate and graduate studio instruction, brass chamber music coaching and coordination, and brass curriculum leadership — all while working in partnership with our accomplished team of VSO principals and other top professionals in the city.

Sessional lecturer and alumna Dr. Laurel Parsons (MA’91, PhD’03) recently accepted a full-time position as Associate Teaching Professor of music theory and aural skills at the University of Alberta.

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New research and publications

Dr. Claudio Vellutini

Dr. Claudio Vellutini

Dr. Claudio Vellutini has been awarded an Insight Development Grant for his research project “Entangled Histories: Opera and Cultural Networks between Vienna and the Italian States, 1815-1848.” Recently, he presented two conference papers on topics related to this project: “Opera Networks between Vienna and the Italian States: Domenico Barbaja and Der Freischütz” at the 20th Biennial International Conference on Nineteenth-Century Music; and "Donizetti's Italianità and Viennese Publishers" at the third conference of the international research network Re-Imagining Italianità: Opera and Musical Culture in Transnational Perspective.

Prof. Stephen Chatman published two new compositions: “Life Has Loveliness,” a work for SATB choirs and piano, and “Six Preludes” for alto saxophone and piano.

Dr. Brandon Konoval published “Pythagorean Pipe Dreams? Vincenzo Galilei, Marin Mersenne, and the Pneumatic Mysteries of the Pipe Organ” in Perspectives on Science (February 2018), and “Is the Essay Dead? Research and Writing in the Humanities at a Research-Intensive University" in Higher Education Review (50th Anniversary Issue, Spring-Summer 2018).

Continue reading research and publications news

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Alumni Making Waves: A bouncy castle organ, a Volvo commercial, new appointments, and awards galore  

Soprano Emily Cheung (BMus’06) in a recent Volvo commercial

 

This November, Carter Johnson (BMus’18) won the grand prize in the 2018 Orchestre Symphonique de Montreal (OSM) Manulife Piano Competition, with his outstanding performance of Prokofiev's Concerto No. 3 in C major, Op. 26. The prize includes a $10,000 scholarship, a performance with the OSM in January 2019, a professional broadcast on Radio-Canada’s ICI Musique, and other performing opportunities. Carter also won first prize in the Canadian Music Centre’s Stepping Stone National Competition in Montreal.

Soprano Emily Cheung (BMus’06) was recently featured in television ads for Volvo’s 2019 SUV campaign.

In August, composer Michael Park (DMA’15) staged a wildly creative concert fundraiser for the Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Vancouver. With the help of organ builder David Quinton, he combined a bouncy castle with organ parts to create a one-of-a-kind instrument that makes music as kids jump inside it. It’s also, Park notes, a “proof of concept” for further musical experiments. In August, Michael also performed a one-man recital of music for speaking pianist, narrating stories about love, death and everything in between at the historic Roedde House Museum in Vancouver’s West End.

Tina Wang (BMus’15) received a Teacher of Distinction award from the Royal Conservatory of Music, in recognition of her work training young saxophonists. She teaches at the Vancouver Academy of Music and co-directs a saxophone ensemble with fellow alumnus Michael Morimoto (MMus’14), in addition to running her own teaching studio.

Continue reading alumni news

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Beyond the Gates: The Western Canadian Music Awards, a BC Entertainment Hall of Fame induction, Bands tour

 
Left to right: Dr. Robert Taylor, Prof. Nancy Hermiston, Jeremy Berkman

Left to right: Dr. Robert Taylor, Prof. Nancy Hermiston, Jeremy Berkman

This November, Prof. Nancy Hermiston was inducted into the British Columbia Entertainment Hall of Fame alongside renowned tenor and School of Music alumnus Ben Heppner (BMus’79). Prof. Hermiston this year also received the Faculty of Arts 2017-18 Dean of Arts Award, the most prestigious award that the Faculty bestows on a colleague, in recognition of her outstanding contributions to creative research, teaching, and service to UBC and the broader community.

In March, Director of Bands Dr. Robert Taylor and the UBC Symphonic Wind Ensemble were invited by peers to perform at the College Band Directors National Association regional conference held at Sonoma State University. The tour included residencies with several of the San Francisco Bay Area’s top high school bands, and culminated in a featured performance at the Green Music Centre’s acoustically-stunning Weill Hall.

In June, the award-winning Turning Point Ensemble — which features UBC faculty members Brenda Fedoruk (flute), Jeremy Berkman (trombone), Ingrid Chiang (bassoon), and School of Music admissions manager Katherine Evans (trumpet) — toured Asia, performing concerts in Taiwan, Beijing, and Singapore. Turning Point also performed this year at the New Opera Days Ostrava Festival in the Czech Republic, where they premiered The Mute Canary by composer Rudolf Komourous.

Continue reading faculty news

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Catching up with our students: UBC students tour with the National Youth Orchestra, the Opera ensemble visits the Czech Republic, and more

Simran Claire

Simran Claire

Six School of Music students and alumni, including Eva Toncheva (BMus’18), violin; Madelynn Erickson, violin; Nina Weber, viola; Emily Richardson, flute; Carlos Savall-Guardiola, clarinet; and Lukas Hildebrandt (BMus’18), percussion, have been accepted to the 2018 National Youth Orchestra of Canada. This summer they embarked on an exciting Canada-European tour, with stops in Ontario and Quebec and in Germany and Scotland.

Mezzo soprano Simran Claire (BMus'18, current MMus student) has won a position with the Glimmerglass Ensemble and will begin performing with the ensemble in June 2019.

The UBC Opera Ensemble had a successful tour to the Czech Republic this past summer, where they performed Rossini’s Italian Girl in Algiers in Teplice, Decin and Jablonec. They returned to Vancouver in August to performed an evening of opera and operetta excerpts at Bard on the Beach. They were joined by members of the Vancouver Opera Orchestra. 

Continue reading student news

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New Recordings

Alumna Simone Osborne (DMPS'09) released her debut album, Simone Osborne: Live in Concert with Anne Larlee. A classical song recital by Osborne, a celebrated Canadian soprano, including works by Mozart, Fauré, Schumann and Canadian composer Matthew Emery (BMus’14). Available on CDBaby, iTunes and Spotify.

Graduate composition student John Stetch released his 16th record, Ballads, an album of “quiet classics from the 1930's to the 1950's that never get louder than mezzo forte. Perfect for non-intrusive background ambience, but also for discerning listeners and tough critics of creative music. All tracks are complete takes with no editing.” Available on CD Baby, iTunes and Spotify.

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Playlist: Music that changed the way we listen to music

By Jaelem Bhate

I’m in my final year of the graduate conducting program here at the School of Music, so I spend a lot of time thinking about big, important pieces of music. The ironic thing about masterpieces is that, over time, they grow so familiar to our ears that they actually become hard to appreciate. We begin to lose sight of what made them so great and so influential in their own time. So even as we celebrate them, we take them for granted.

With that in mind, I thought it might be fun and illuminating to put together a playlist of music that in some way changed how we listen to and experience music. These are works that were pivotal in the evolution of music through the ages, and in many cases were also landmark works for the composers themselves. It has been more than difficult to narrow down this list to only a few works, but here are some tracks and artists in my regular rotation.

Listen to the complete playlist

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Do you have a story? Let us know!

If you're a UBC Music alumnus and you have news to share, please send a note to tyler.stiem@ubc.ca. We're always looking for stories for upcoming editions of High Notes and our other networks.

 

Alumni Making Waves: A bouncy castle organ, a Volvo commercial, new appointments, and awards galore

Soprano Emily Cheung (BMus’06) was recently featured in television ads for Volvo’s 2019 SUV campaign.

Tina Wang (BMus’15) received a Teacher of Distinction award from the Royal Conservatory of Music, in recognition of her work training young saxophonists. She teaches at the Vancouver Academy of Music and co-directs a saxophone ensemble with fellow alumnus Michael Morimoto (MMus’14), in addition to running her own teaching studio.

Stefan Sunandan Honisch (MMus’07, MMus’08, PhD’16) recently published a book chapter, "Virtuosities of Deafness and Blindness: Musical Performance and the Prized Body," in the Oxford Handbook of Music and the Body, edited by S. Gilman and Y. Kim. He also joined the board of the Canadian Centre on Disability Studies.

Carter Johnson (BMus’18)

Carter Johnson (BMus’18)

This November, Carter Johnson (BMus’18) won the grand prize in the 2018 Orchestre Symphonique de Montreal (OSM) Manulife Piano Competition, with his outstanding performance of Prokofiev's Concerto No. 3 in C major, Op. 26. The prize includes a $10,000 scholarship, a performance with the OSM in January 2019, a professional broadcast on Radio-Canada’s ICI Musique, and other performing opportunities. Carter also won first prize in the Canadian Music Centre’s Stepping Stone National Competition in Montreal.

Also at the OSM Manulife Piano Competition, alumna Nicole Linaksita (BSc/BMus’16) won the Orford Music Prize, a scholarship covering accommodation and tuition for an advanced program at Orford Music in 2019. Her other prizes this year include the Tom Cuff Award for Best Performance of a Canadian Work; the Linda Stobbe Memorial Award as the winner of the National Piano Class; and the Marilyn Wiwcharuk Memorial Scholarship for the Outstanding Performance at the Vancouver Kiwanis Festival. She also won first prize in the Senior Category at the Vancouver Metropolitan Orchestra’s Clef Concerto Competition and will be playing with the VMO next season; and placed sixth at the Shean Piano Competition.

Nicole Linaksita (BSc/BMus’16)

Nicole Linaksita (BSc/BMus’16)

Harpist Samantha Ballard (BMus’15) advanced to the semifinals of the 2018 OSM Manulife Harp Competition.

Daniel Marshall (MMus’13) is the new Director of Programs & Communications at the Vancouver Academy of Music.

Antares Boyle (PhD’18) was awarded the prestigious 2018 SMT-40 Dissertation Fellowship from the Society for Music Theory.  Her dissertation project, “Formation and Process in Repetitive Post-Tonal Music,” theorizes how musical segments, processes, and larger forms arise in recent post-tonal works that feature extensive varied repetition. Dr. Boyle completed her dissertation in August and is now teaching at the University of Northern Colorado.

Tuba player and Canadian Army reservist Tony Taylor (MMus’18) performed this summer in the Changing of the Guard ceremony at Buckingham Palace in London, and with the Ceremonial Guard in Ottawa.

Brian Garbet (MMus’13) is working toward a PhD in Composition at the University of Calgary. His dissertation project combines ambient sounds such as the “hum of Windsor” — a mysterious acoustic phenomenon — with the clarinet music of François Houle.

In June, composer Chris Sivak (BMus’09) premiered “Patrick Stewart Bakes a Cake,” a new music video for his string quartet.

Woodwind quintet Fifth Wind — which features flutist Jack Chen (BMus’03) and clarinetist Eileen Walsh (BMus’03) — took part in Our Canada: Forecasting Canadian Wind, a national and international showcase of Canadian composers and wind quintet musicians. The concert series, took place in five cities in September, celebrates the diversity of Canada’s land, people, and cultures. Cris Derksen (BMus’07) and Cameron Wilson (BMus’88) were among the featured composers. UBC School of Music hosted the Vancouver performance in September, featuring Ventos Wind Quintet. Members include Jeff Pelletier (DMPS’10), flute; Morgan Zentner (MMus’07), oboe; Mike Brown (BMus’01), clarinet; Nick Anderson (BMus’07, MMus’09), horn.

Michael Juk (BMus’84) recently joined Hot Air, CBC radio’s long-running weekly jazz program, as the producer.  

Bassist and composer Frederick Schipizky (BMus’74) was commissioned by the Pacific Wildlife Foundation to create Gathering Flock, a new composition for brass. The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra brass quintet performed the piece to open the 2018 Vancouver International Bird Festival and the 27th International Ornithological Congress held in Vancouver, B.C. this past August.


Conductor Al Cannon (DMA’12) recently accepted the position of Assistant Conductor with the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Orchestra on a three-year contract.

In June, pianist Bogdan Dulu (DMA’15) appeared on short notice as concerto soloist with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra for the premiere of Bramwell Tovey’s (LLD’12, honoris causa) new work, Shalimar Variations for Piano and Orchestra.

Michael Park (DMA’15)

Michael Park (DMA’15)

In August, composer Michael Park (DMA’15) staged a wildly creative concert fundraiser for the Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Vancouver. With the help of organ builder David Quinton, he combined a bouncy castle with organ parts to create a one-of-a-kind instrument that makes music as kids jump inside it. It’s also, Park notes, a “proof of concept” for further musical experiments. In August, Michael also performed a one-man recital of music for speaking pianist, narrating stories about love, death and everything in between at the historic Roedde House Museum in Vancouver’s West End.

Alan Corbishley (BMus’98) directed a new production of Side by Side by Sondheim, the Tony Award-winning musical about Stephen Sondheim, at theatres in Vancouver, Kamloops, and Sidney, B.C.

Trevor Hoffmann

Trevor Hoffmann

The Vancouver Metropolitan Orchestra launched its 2018-19 season with a performance of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 and Piano Concerto No. 1 that involved three School of Music alumni, including pianist Libby Yu (BMus’96, MMus’98, DMA’10), artistic director and conductor Kenneth Hsieh (BMus’03), and assistant conductor Kemuel Wong (BMus’08, MMus’10), who gave the pre-concert talk. Premiering alongside the Tchaikovsky pieces was a new work by VMO composer-in-residence and former student Trevor Hoffmann.

This past spring, Simone Osborne (DMPS'09) released her debut album, Simone Osborne: Live in Concert with Anne Larlee, and was nominated for the 2018 Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding Performance – Female (Opera Division) for her role as Adina in The Elixir of Love with the Canadian Opera Company.

Simone Osborne (DMPS’09)

Simone Osborne (DMPS’09)

Marco Del Rio (BMus’14, B.Ed’15) is the composer-in-residence of the Laudate Singers. For the Singers’ recent Celtic Spirit concert he created new arrangements and works for the choir to sing with the North Shore Celtic Ensemble.

Based in North Vancouver, the Laudate Singers were founded by Lars Kaario (BMus’79). Lars is Artistic Director of the choir and is Director of Choral Studies in the Diploma of Music Program at Capilano University where he directs the Capilano University Singers and Capilano University Festival Chorus. He is also the head instructor in the university’s Conducting Certificate Program.

Baritone Sheldon Baxter (BMus’14, MMus’15) recently performed Trouble in Tahiti and Cabaret with the Kammer Theatre of the Semper Opera. He made his mainstage debut at the Semper Opera in Dresden, Germany in August.  

Roydon Tse (BMus’13)

Roydon Tse (BMus’13)

In June, Roydon Tse (BMus’13) won the the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta’s Emerging Artist Award. This is a prestigious prize worth $10,000 and is awarded every two years to emerging artists of all disciplines from Alberta. Below are some links and a video made to accompany the award citation.

In May, Alfredo Santa Ana (MMus’05, DMA’10) premiered three works for string quartet and voice at the Vancouver East Cultural Centre.

Soprano Eva Tavares (BMus’14) sang the role of Christine in The Phantom of the Opera in a North American tour of the musical this year.

Bass-baritone Scott Brooks (BMus’08, MMus’17), baritone Max van Wyck (BMus’11, DMPS’13) and tenor Spencer Britten (BMus’15, MMus’17) are currently performing with Opera Atelier.

This summer, Nat Jay (Minor’04) taught as a sessional instructor in the Digital Music Program at Langara College.

Clara Shandler (BMus’12)

Clara Shandler (BMus’12)

This past spring, Clara Shandler (BMus’12), also known as The Sidewalk Cellist, staged performances on Burnaby Mountain, at MP offices in Vancouver, and at UBC in support of the protests against the Kinder Morgan Pipeline project.  

In May, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra performed The Promised Hand, an exciting new work by composer Iman Habibi (BMus’08, MMus’10). 

In October, Jordan Back (BMus’07) won a seat on the District of North Vancouver council. A former voice student, he also sings with the Vancouver choir Chor Leoni.

Former opera student Matthew Mori is now an otolaryngologist and assistant professor at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. His brother, Michael Mori (BMus’04, MMus’06), is the Artistic Director of Tapestry Opera, which won the 2017 Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding Production in the Opera Division for Rocking Horse Winner, with Michael receiving an award for outstanding direction.

Fall 2018 concerts online

Catch up with our large and small ensembles online! Here are some of the recent concerts you can watch via Livestream and Vimeo:

Poulenc and Vaughan Williams

UBC Symphony Orchestra and Choirs team up for a spectacular, term-ending performance at the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts.

 

Scenes II

The UBC Symphonic Wind Ensemble performs works by renowned composer-in-residence Joel Puckett, Giovanni Gabrieli, and Kathryn Salfelder. Featuring DMA student and soloist Paul Hung, flute.

Silverman Winners’ Concert

Benjamin Hopkins, grand prize winner of the Silverman Piano Concerto Competition, performs Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 in G Major Op. 58 with UBC Symphony Orchestra. Also featuring competition winners Evgenia Rabinovich, Ayunia Saputro, and Aydan Con. Watch on Livestream

Mahler, Carruthers and Tsu

UBC Symphony Orchestra perform the Mahler masterpiece Das Lied von der Erde along with Taiwanese composer Tsang-Houei Hsu’s The Splendid Universe, Chinese Festival Overture, Op. 18, and Slippages, an exciting experimental piece based on the graphic scores of artist Deborah Carruthers. Watch on Livestream

Fall Choral Showcase

The University Singers, Chamber Choir, Choral Union and Combined Choirs sing works by Brahms, Dvořák, Haydn, Schubert, Copland and more. Watch on Livestream


For upcoming School of Music performances, check out our concert calendar.

New Research and Publications

Prof. John Roeder and Assistant Prof. Claudio Vellutini

Prof. John Roeder and Assistant Prof. Claudio Vellutini

Prof. Nathan Hesselink recently spoke at two universities as a Distinguished Speaker for the Association of Asian Studies Lecture Series and presented talks at two international conferences. He gave the lecture “Korean Drumming and Cosmology: Music Reflecting and Shaping Local Culture" at Mt. Allison University (New Brunswick, Canada) and the University of California-Davis (U.S.A.); and he presented "Cross-Cultural Resonance in the Cadential Hemiola” at the Fifth International Conference on Analytical Approaches to World Music in Thessaloniki, Greece, and "Cultural Legacy, Transmission, and Future Prospects for Gochang Nongak" at the 2018 World Forum for Intangible Cultural Heritage in Jeonju, South Korea.

Prof. John Roeder gave three keynote addresses in 2018: at the Analytical Approaches to World Music conference in Thessaloniki, Greece; at the Rocky Mountain Music Scholars conference in Tucson, AZ; and at the Meter Symposium 3 in Sydney, Australia. This summer Prof. Roeder gave lectures at the East China Normal University in Shanghai, and at the 2018 Perspectives on Chinese Contemporary Music Conference, sponsored by the Harvard Shanghai Center.

Dr. Claudio Vellutini has been awarded an Insight Development Grant for his research project “Entangled Histories: Opera and Cultural Networks between Vienna and the Italian States, 1815-1848.” Recently, he presented two conference papers on topics related to this project: “Opera Networks between Vienna and the Italian States: Domenico Barbaja and Der Freischütz” at the 20th Biennial International Conference on Nineteenth-Century Music; and "Donizetti's Italianità and Viennese Publishers" at the third conference of the international research network Re-Imagining Italianità: Opera and Musical Culture in Transnational Perspective.

Prof. Stephen Chatman published two new compositions: “Life Has Loveliness,” a work for SATB choirs and piano, and “Six Preludes” for alto saxophone and piano.

Dr. Ève Poudrier published “Tapping to Carter: Mensural Determinacy in Complex Rhythmic Sequences" in Empirical Musicology Review. The article investigate the influence of style-specific expertise on musicians' ability to find the beat in a passage from Elliott Carter's 90+ for piano (1994).

Sessional lecturer Dr. Maria Virginia Acuña received an SSHRC postdoctoral fellowship for her project, “Cultural Transfer in Mid-Eighteenth-Century Spain: The Italian Castrato in Madrid.” With Susan Lewis, she co-authored a book, Claudio Monteverdi: A Research and Information Guide. She also published two peer-reviewed articles: “Love Conquers All: Cupid, Philip V, and the Allegorical Zarzuela during the War of the Spanish Succession (1701–16),” in Eighteenth-Century Music (March 2018), and “Sobbing Cupids, Lamenting Lovers, and Weeping Nymphs in the Early Zarzuela: Calderón de la Barca’s El laurel de Apolo(1657) and Durón and Navas’s Apolo y Dafne (ca. 1700)” in Bulletin of the Comediantes (2017).

Dr. Brandon Konoval published “Pythagorean Pipe Dreams? Vincenzo Galilei, Marin Mersenne, and the Pneumatic Mysteries of the Pipe Organ” in Perspectives on Science (February 2018), and “Is the Essay Dead? Research and Writing in the Humanities at a Research-Intensive University" in Higher Education Review (50th Anniversary Issue, Spring-Summer 2018).

Harpist and adjunct professor Elizabeth Volpé Bligh published “Cracking the Nutcracker,” a new article in Harp Column about the ballet’s iconic harp part.

New Recordings

CD_John Stetch_Ballads_2018.jpg

Graduate composition student John Stetch released his 16th record, Ballads, an album of “quiet classics from the 1930's to the 1950's that never get louder than mezzo forte. Perfect for non-intrusive background ambience, but also for discerning listeners and tough critics of creative music. All tracks are complete takes with no editing.” Available on CD Baby, iTunes and Spotify.

 
2018+Simone+Osborne+Live+in+Concert+with+Anne+Larlee+|+CD+Cover.jpg

Alumna Simone Osborne (DMPS'09) released her debut album, Simone Osborne: Live in Concert with Anne Larlee. A classical song recital by Osborne, a celebrated Canadian soprano, including works by Mozart, Fauré, Schumann and Canadian composer Matthew Emery. Available on CDBaby, iTunes and Spotify.

 

Comings and Goings

Dr. Valerie Whitney and Dr. Richard Kurth

Dr. Valerie Whitney and Dr. Richard Kurth

This summer, Dr. Richard Kurth completed his second term as Director of the School of Music. In June he published “A Letter, a Soliloquy, two Duets, and a Sextet,” his reflections on the School and his time at the helm.

Following in his footsteps for the 2018-19 academic year is Dr. Alexander Fisher, in the role of Acting Director, and Dr. John Roeder, as Associate Director for term one, and Dr. Keith Hamel, Associate Director for term two.  Thank you, Dr. Kurth, and welcome, Drs. Fisher, Roeder, and Hamel!  

Dr. Valerie Whitney joined the School of Music as Assistant Professor of Horn , starting in the 2018-19 academic year. An accomplished performer and teacher, Dr. Whitney will play a leading role in the brass division at the School of Music. Her duties will include undergraduate and graduate studio instruction, brass chamber music coaching and coordination, and brass curriculum leadership — all while working in partnership with our accomplished team of VSO principals and other top professionals in the city.

Sessional lecturer and alumna Dr. Laurel Parsons (MA’91, PhD’03) recently accepted a full-time position as Associate Teaching Professor of music theory and aural skills at the University of Alberta.