terence dawson

Winter concerts on Livestream


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


St. John Passion: Our grand, season-ending concert features an epic performance of the Bach masterpiece by UBC Choirs and Symphony Orchestra.

Peter and the Wolf: UBC Symphony Orchestra performs the Prokofiev classic, along with Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite and selections from Satie and Poulenc. With guest appearances by UBC President Prof. Santa J. Ono as Narrator.

Sanglots: Chansons of Love and Loss (Part 1 | Part 2): Terence Dawson, piano, and J. Patrick Raftery, voice, perform beautiful and melancholy works by Bizet, Fauré, Duparc, Barber and Poulenc.  

MOMENTmusic: UBC Symphonic Winds and Concert Winds perform works by John Philip Sousa, Frank Ticheli, David Maslanka, Ira Hearshen, and Aaron Copland

Bernstein, Prokofiev, Nielsen: UBC Symphony Orchestra performs Overture to Candide, Piano Concerto No. 3 in C Major Op. 26, and Symphony No. 4 Op 29. With special guests Carter Johnson, winner of the 2018 UBC Concerto Competition, and Graduate Assistant Conductor Jaelem Bhate.

Unicornis Captivatur: UBC Choirs perform Mendelssohn, Sisak, Mozart, Gjeilo, Gabrieli and Paulus. 

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. 

Our faculty: mastering Rzewski’s De Profundis

By Michelle Keong

Watch Dr. Terence Dawson’s performance of De Profundis, March 4, 2015
at Barnett Hall, UBC School of Music.

Pianists do not often play and speak at the same time—let alone whistle, sing, play a Harpo horn, and use their body and the piano as percussion instruments. Terence Dawson decided to take on the challenge and perform Frederic Rzewski’s De Profundis as a career milestone marker.

Oscar Wilde Photo: Napoleon Sarony

Oscar Wilde
Photo: Napoleon Sarony

Rzewski’s De Profundis has been described as a melodramatic oratorio, in which the pianist recites text consisting of portions of Oscar Wilde’s letter to Lord Alfred Douglas, which was written during the author’s imprisonment in Reading Gaol “I feel overwhelming empathy when I try to simply get my head around the idea that this creative artist was denied books, denied writing material, placed in solitary confinement and sentenced to hard labour for two years,” says Dawson, chair of the keyboard division. “That in and of itself would bring an ordinary man to their knees.”

Eight sections of rhythmically notated recitation are preceded by eight preludes, with the pianist directed to perform simultaneously as speaker, singer, whistler and percussionist. At approximately 30 minutes in length, this performance is no small feat.

“It took patience. And it took a lot of experimentation to figure out what I needed to do to absorb the physicality of playing as well as the emotional demands of the piece,” says Dawson, who read Wilde’s work (De Profundis) in its entirety, as well as biographies and critical works in order to explore more fully what the prolific author went through during those desolate years in prison.

After six weeks of practicing up to seven hours a day, Dawson felt comfortable with the idea of scheduling a date for his first performance of De Profundis.



Dr. Terence Dawson Photo: Joshua McVeity

Dr. Terence Dawson
Photo: Joshua McVeity

“I don’t think I’ve ever put as many hours into a piece to just to figure out how to actually physically play it. You would think that after 50 years, you would know how to practice,” says Dawson. “Learning De Profundis was a different experience because of the writing itself. Rzewski demands it all; variety and drama magnified by the intensity generated by Wilde’s words. The fusion of the music and speech takes the pianist and audience to a new plane.”

Dawson first performed De Profundis at UBC in March, 2015 after returning from a year-long sabbatical. Now he is taking this work on tour, with invitations from universities and colleges from coast to coast including Mount Allison University, and closer to home at Douglas College, Capilano University, and the Universities of Victoria, Calgary and Lethbridge. An encore performance at UBC on October 29thwas preceded by a panel discussion with faculty colleagues focusing on the words of Wilde, the music of Rzewski and the fusion of the two.

“I’ve also found that despite spending countless hours immersed in De Profundis, it still feels fresh every time I play it because the words are so heartfelt,” says Dawson, who was inspired to tackle the work after hearing a performance by New York-based pianist Lisa Moore in 2000. “I think of it as a piece that demonstrates the resilience and the power of the human spirit.”