LSM Newswire

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

UBC School of Music announces three new conductors!

Three (Yes 3!) New Conductors Appointed at the UBC School of Music

Vancouver, B.C. ~ UBC School of Music welcomes three new full-time faculty members: Dwight Bennett as Director of the UBC Symphony Orchestra; Dr. Graeme Langager as Director of Choirs; and Dr. Robert Taylor as Director of Bands. Each brings new energy, excitement, and vision to UBC's performing ensembles and conducting courses. September will be wild and exhilarating when auditions take place and rehearsals begin. Almost every student in the School will be involved performing in, or with, one of these large ensembles.

About the appointments Director of the School, Dr. Richard Kurth said,
"It's a rare and exciting moment in the School's history to welcome three new conductors all at once. Professors Bennett, Langager, and Taylor each bring impressive experience, marvelous musicality, and creative energy to the training and programming of their ensembles, and they will build on the wonderful musical legacies of their precursors--Jesse Read, Bruce Pullan, and Marty Berinbaum respectively. The arrival of the new conductors signals an inspiring new era in the School's trajectory. Indeed, it is a special pleasure to welcome them in the 50th anniversary year of our Bachelor of Music program, a year in which we celebrate all the wonderful contributions and achievements so many have made so far, and in which we also strive for new growth and continue our pursuit of excellence, to the lifelong benefit of our students and their audiences."

Get to know our new faculty members:

Dwight Bennett has an extensive international career conducting orchestras and opera companies around the world. He studied with Karel Ancerl, Julius Herford, Franco Ferrara, Kiril Kondrashin, and Bernard Haitink. After winning first prize at the Heinz Unger Conductor's Competition, Dwight Bennett conducted over 100 performances in North America with the Canadian Opera Company.

Mr. Bennett conducted complete symphonic cycles of Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and Brahms while serving as Music Director and Principal Conductor of the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra and the Windsor Symphony. He has recorded with CBC, Verdi and Bongiovanni. He was Assistant Conductor (Vienna State Opera), Resident Conductor (Canadian Opera Company), Chief Conductor/Head of Music (New Israeli Opera), Artistic Director (Royal Opera Canada), and Principal Guest Conductor (Ukrainian State Symphony Orchestra). He has worked at such Festivals as Gars, Westben and Strasbourg, and conducted numerous orchestral tours of Europe and Asia. Mr. Bennett was Director and Professor of Music at Lakehead University, and later Director of the University of Toronto conducting program and Symphony Orchestra. He has recently conducted in Germany, Austria, Italy, the Netherlands, Ukraine, Czech Republic, Croatia, Canada, Taiwan, Korea, and China, including a new production/DVD of Massenet's Don Quichotte for Teatro Verdi (Trieste) and symphonic programs with the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra. In 2007, he was awarded the title "Commendatore Stella Della Solidariet Italiana" from the President of Italy for his contribution to Italian culture and art.


Dr. Graeme Langager has served as the Director of Choral Activities at the University of Arkansas, and at Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo, California. A native of Lethbridge, Alberta, Dr. Langager received the Doctor of Musical Arts Degree in Choral Conducting from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and the Master of Music Degree in Choral Conducting from California State University, Long Beach. He has studied under Earl Rivers, Stephen Coker, Lynn Bielefelt, and Marc Hafso, and has received additional training from Helmut Rilling, Anton Armstrong, Thomas Davies, John Alexander, and Robert Page. Dr. Langager has taught in California, Ohio, North Carolina and Arkansas. He is sought after as a clinician and guest conductor, and is an active composer and arranger. Dr. Langager has served on the national board of the National Collegiate Choral Organization, and on the boards of the Arkansas and California Chapters of the American Choral Directors Association. Dr. Langager's choirs have been invited to perform at ACDA, MENC, All-State, and IAJE conferences. His choirs have performed throughout Europe and the United States including such prestigious venues as St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, Stefansdom in Vienna, Notre Dame in Paris, St. Nicholas in Prague, and St. Stephen's in Budapest.

Robert Taylor is the new Director of Bands at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, BC, where he will conduct the Symphonic Wind Ensemble and teach instrumental conducting. Prior to his appointment at UBC, Dr. Taylor served as Director of Bands at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, WA, and Chair of the Performing Arts Department at Eureka High School in northern California. He received the Master of Music and Doctor of Music degrees in conducting from Northwestern University and the Bachelor of Arts degree in Trumpet and Music Education from Humboldt State University. His research has been published in GIA's Teaching Music Through Performance in Band series and featured in presentations at several regional and national music conferences. As a passionate advocate of music in the schools, Dr. Taylor has adjudicated numerous music festivals and is in high demand as a rehearsal clinician and guest conductor throughout North America. Past engagements include collaborations with a wide range of international artists from Allen Vizzutti, Gail Williams, and Ingrid Jensen, to Manhattan Transfer and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy as well as frequent appearances with young musicians as principal conductor of the Puget Sound Youth Wind Ensemble and guest conductor of the CODA/ASTA Honor Orchestra, Humboldt Youth Academy Orchestra, and numerous honor groups.


Catch the downbeats of their first concerts at UBC . . .


Dwight Bennett conducts the UBC Symmphony Orchestra offering the overture to Glinka's opera Russlan and Ludmilla, Tchaikovsky's Romeo and Juilet and Symphony No. 10 by Shostakovich on October 9th at 8:00 pm. Soon after Bennett conducts for the UBC Opera Ensemble's production of Puccini's Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi November 5 8.


Graeme Langager conducts the University Singers October 22nd at noon and October 23rd at 8:00pm. Graeme Langager and Dwight Bennett will each conduct a work at the School's big end of term choral and orchestra concert December 5th. This concert brings together the massed choirs of the University Singers and UBC Choral Union with the UBC Symphony Orchestra to perform Bach's Magnificat in D and Beethoven's Mass in C, Op. 86.


Robert Taylor conducts the UBC Symphonic Wind Ensemble October 8th at 8:00 pm. In November concerts are Noon on November 19th and 8:00 pm on November 20th.


All above performances will be held at the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts at UBC

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