robert taylor

Beyond the Gates: Performances in North America and Asia, a conducting residency, and choral music galore

Corey Hamm and Nicole Ge Li of the Piano and Erhu Project

Corey Hamm and Nicole Ge Li of the Piano and Erhu Project

Dr. Corey Hamm, Professor of Piano, won UBC’s Dorothy Somerset Award for excellence in performance. The award recognizes faculty who have made outstanding contributions to art, music, creative writing, theatre or film. With PEP (Piano and Erhu Project), Dr. Hamm and Nicole Ge Li premiered the full orchestra version of Dr. Dorothy Chang’s double concerto Gateways in Seattle with conductor Julia Tai and Philharmonia Northwest. He also embarked on several tours: a solo piano tour of Asia (Hong Kong, Chonburi, Taipei, Shanghai, Beijing) with masterclasses and lectures, and a debut Atlantic tour with PEP. He performed Prokofiev Piano Concerto No. 3 in Minneapolis with conductor Yuri Ivan, gave three solo recitals with masterclasses in Alberta, and was the pianist for an educational outreach composition program with Vancouver’s Turning Point Ensemble.

In March, Dr. Graeme Langager and the University Singers performed with famed soprano Sarah Brightman at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Vancouver.

Dr. Jonathan Girard conducting the Eastman School Symphony Orchestra

Dr. Jonathan Girard conducting the Eastman School Symphony Orchestra

Dr. Jonathan Girard, Director of Orchestral Activities, led the Eastman School Symphony Orchestra in a concert in Kodak Hall in Rochester, New York in February.  The program included Poulenc’s Orchestral Suite from Les Animaux Modeles, Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 3 in C Major (featuring Fantee Jones, piano), and Franck’s Symphony in D Minor. The concert was the culmination of Dr. Girard’s residency as a visiting professor of conducting at Eastman, where he taught the graduate orchestral conducting students of Neil Varon.

Dr. Girard and Dr. Robert Taylor, Professor of Conducting and Ensembles, presented a special session at the College Band Directors National Association Conference. The session, titled “Maestro Media: Harnessing technology in the evolution of the 21st Century ensemble program,” highlighted the cutting-edge technology they are using with conducting courses and large ensembles at UBC.

In March and April, many different works by Dr. Stephen Chatman, Professor of Composition, were performed across North America. Highlights include the Young New Yorkers’ Chorus performance of Time Pieces in New York, Tapestry Choir and York Chamber Ensemble’s performance of Peace in Newmarket, Ontario, and a special performance of Proud Music of the Storm by the Chorale, an oratorio choir of 150 singers from Bryn Mawr and Haverford Colleges in Haverford, Pennsylvania.

Beyond the Gates

The latest news from School of Music faculty

Dr. Robert Taylor

Dr. Robert Taylor

"Northern Star,” a new composition by Dr. Dorothy Chang, débuted at the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra in October. Dr. Chang composed the piece as part of a large-scale work for orchestra and dancers, in collaboration with four other composers, Vince Ho, Dinuk Wijeratne, Maxime McKinley, and Derek Charke, along with choreographer Yukichi Hattori. The performance is available online, along with a documentary that includes interviews with the composers.

In November, Vern Griffiths performed as soloist and host in his kids’ show Wall to Wall Percussion with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. In the coming months, he will perform the same show with the Edmonton Symphony and Calgary Philharmonic.

Prof. Nancy Hermiston received the Honorary Alumni Award for 2017 from Alumni UBC, recognizing her as “a devoted and enthusiastic educator. She has nurtured the development of many promising young singers, and her willingness to share her love of classical music with the wider community has enriched the cultural life of Vancouver.”

Dr. Robert Taylor recently completed a one-week residency at the Singapore American School, where he worked with band students in grades 6–12, provided professional development sessions for music faculty, and guest conducted a program of 13 works with five different ensembles. 

Standing Wave won the 2017 Western Canadian Music Award for Classical Artist/Ensemble of the Year at BreakOut West for their album New Wave. The ensemble includes UBC Music faculty members Vern Griffiths and Christie Reside, as well as alumni Allen Stiles (BMus ’84, MMus ’86) and A.K. Coope (BMus ’90). The recording includes contributions from composer Michael Oesterle (BMus ’92) and producer Will Howie (BMus ’04).

Turning Point Ensemble

Turning Point Ensemble

As part of World New Music Days, Turning Point Ensemble and Ensemble Contemporain de Montreal (ECM+) performed “Evta,” a new violin concerto by Canadian composer Ana Sokolović, along with works by Bauck, Torio, and Pieniek. The performance featured School of Music Faculty Jeremy Berkman (trombone), Ingrid Chiang (bassoon), and Brenda Fedoruk (flute), as well as alumnus Nick Anderson (horn), and alumni/current students Julia Chien (percussion, BMus ’14) and Sarah Kwok (viola). Watch the performance online

In September, Prof. Terence Dawson was the soloist for a Wednesday Noon Hour performance of Poulenc's "Aubade", with a chamber orchestra comprised of faculty and students, and conducted by Dr. Jonathan Girard. The concert, which also featured Popper's "Requiem for Three Cellos and Piano" (Prof. Eric Wilson, plus DMA students Laine Longton and Oskar Falta) was dedicated to the memory of Prof. Emeritus John Sawyer, and was a celebration of 50 years of concerts in the Music Building. Professor Dawson also sat on the piano jury for the 2017 Federation of Canadian Music Festivals National Competition in Ottawa this summer, where he gave a masterclass. Finally, he was a faculty member at the VSO Summer Institute in Whistler for the third consecutive year.

As a soloist, Dr. Corey Hamm performed Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 3 in C major, Op. 26 with the Vancouver Island Symphony, and had engagements with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Nu:BC Collective, Vancouver Chamber Music Society, and Turning Point Ensemble. With PEP (Piano and Erhu Project, with Nicole Li) he presented four World Premieres and three Canadian Premieres at ISCM World New Music Days, and performed at the Shanghai Conservatory. He was a judge for the inaugural Vancouver International Music Competition and Boesendorfer Piano Competition. 

How to build a cathedral

Dr. Robert Taylor (right) 

Dr. Robert Taylor (right) 

Recently, Dr. Robert Taylor, Director of UBC Bands, was selected as conductor of the Minnesota All-State Symphonic Band — an exciting opportunity to work with the state’s most talented young musicians and their teachers.

But while he has conducted a number of state and provincial honour ensembles in the past, Dr. Taylor notes that the approach in Minnesota is unique: “Normally, these events are “one-offs,” where the guest conductor spends a few days with the ensemble leading to a concert. However, in Minnesota they do a weeklong camp in the summer, followed by a feature performance at the state music educators conference the following spring.” 

This emphasis on continuity allows for the conductor and coaches to take a more ambitious approach both to teaching and performance, with inspiring results.

In August, Dr. Taylor spent a week rehearsing the ensemble with a team of coaches. The students spent time in large ensemble rehearsals, sectional coachings, master classes, and doing other camp activities, such as a talent night where they all showed off their other talents. The week concluded with a recording session and two performances.



LISTEN: The Minnesota All-State Symphonic Band performs Bach's "Prelude and Fugue in G Minor." 



The program was entitled “Cathedrals,” and included works inspired by the music of Pérotin, Bach, Debussy, and Wagner. The program concluded with a performance of Frank Ticheli’s “Angels in the Architecture,” a creative work that includes harmonic whirlies, a solo vocalist, and surround-sound elements.

“For the performance, we surprised the audience with students from both bands performing the climactic chorale from all corners of the auditorium,” Dr. Taylor says of the summer concert.

Then, in February 2017, Dr. Taylor returned to Minnesota to work with the same group of students and to present a session for teachers at the MMEA conference. The weekend concluded with a performance of the “Cathedrals” program at Orchestral Hall, a superb acoustic, for a large and enthusiastic audience of music educators.

"The model is also interesting because there are layers of mentorship in the approach," Dr. Taylor says. "I worked with a number of high school band directors in a conducting workshop, who were at camp doing professional development sessions while their students were attending the camp, and presented a session on rehearsal techniques at the state conference, which I was able to demonstrate during rehearsals with the band.”



WATCH: The Minnesota All-State Symphonic Band performs Ticheli's "Angels in the Architecture."