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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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The VSO presents Die Fledermaus with the UBC Opera Ensemble!

Vancouver BC The final Pacific Arbour Tea & Trumpets concert of the season features the concert version of composer Johann Strauss Jr.s most popular piece Die Fledermaus. Conducted by Maestro Bramwell Tovey, narrated by Christopher Gaze, and featuring the UBC Opera Ensemble, this 2pm matinee performance takes place on Thursday, May 15th at the Orpheum Theatre.

Created in 1995 by Professor Nancy Hermiston, the UBC Opera Ensemble draws its performers from advanced students in the UBC School of Music and young professionals. The ensemble tours regularly throughout Canada and Europe allowing its students to gain international experience. Having performed excerpts from The Merry Widow together in the 2006-2007 season, the VSO is delighted to be collaborating once again with this ensemble.

The Pacific Arbour Tea & Trumpets series presents six matinee concerts throughout the Season, all on Thursday afternoons at the Orpheum. These concerts feature light classical repertoire with host/narrator Christopher Gaze of Bard on the Beach fame, and are social events in themselves: a small army of VSO volunteers coordinates the serving of tea and cookies an hour before each concert throughout the Orpheum lobby for 2,500+ people each concert. A great way to spend Thursday afternoons, the Tea & Trumpets series has been one of the VSOs most successful series concepts of the last twenty years.

A Synopsis of Die Fledermaus:

Gabriel von Eisenstein has been sentenced to a week's imprisonment for a minor offense. Before he goes to jail, his friend Dr. Falke persuades him to go to a ball being given by Prince Orlofsky. Three years earlier, Falke, dressed as a bat for a fancy-dress ball, was made to walk home in broad daylight as a joke by Eisenstein. Ever since that incident, he has been plotting his revenge. Rosalinda believes her husband is leaving for prison and invites her lover, Alfred, over for a rendezvous. The prison governor soon arrives to arrest Eisenstein and assumes Alfred to be him. Alfred allows himself to be taken off to prison as Eisenstein in order to protect Rosalindas reputation.

At the ball given by Prince Orlofsky, Rosalindas maid, Adele, wearing one of her mistress's gowns, has arrived. Eisenstein flirts outrageously with her, watched by his wife, whom Falke has disguised as a Hungarian Countess. Eisenstein then turns his attentions to the mysterious Countess, who manages to get a hold of his watch during their amorous tte--tte. The ball ends in praise of champagne and swearing of eternal friendship. The clock strikes six in the morning and Eisenstein begins his journey to prison.

Eisenstein arrives at the prison to begin his prison sentence. He is shocked to find he is being impersonated by Alfred and becomes infuriated when he realizes his wife has a lover. Rosalinda counters with the watch the 'Countess' obtained at the ball and his flirting with their maid Adele. Falke arrives just in time to explain it was all a joke in order to get his long awaited revenge. Champagne is blamed for the confusion and they all drink to celebrate reconciliation.


Pacific Arbour Tea & Trumpets Series

Die Fledermaus

Thursday, May 15, 2pm, Orpheum Theatre

Bramwell Tovey conductor

Christopher Gaze host

UBC Opera Ensemble

Strauss Die Fledermaus

Ticket prices $35 (Student, Senior and Subscriber discounts available)

Tickets Available at VSO Customer Service, 604.876.3434; Ticketmaster Charge-by-Phone, 604.280.3311; online at

Series Generously Sponsored By:

Pacific Arbour


Bramwell Tovey, conductor

A musician of striking versatility, Bramwell Tovey is acknowledged around the world for his artistic depth and warm, charismatic personality on the podium. Toveys career as a conductor is uniquely enhanced by his work as a composer and pianist, lending him a remarkable musical perspective.

His tenures as Music Director of the Vancouver Symphony, Luxembourg Philharmonic and Winnipeg Symphony Orchestras have been characterized by his expertise in the opera, choral, and British repertoire. Tovey recently garnered a 2007 Grammy Award and a 2007 Juno Award for his recording with violinist James Ehnes and the Vancouver Symphony. Recently named Principal Guest Conductor for the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl, he works frequently with the Toronto Symphony, Montreal Symphony, Royal Philharmonic and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestras, among many others. He has presided as host and conductor of the New York Philharmonics Summertime Classics series at Avery Fisher Hall since its founding in 2004.

A champion of contemporary music, Tovey developed the highly regarded New Music Festival in Winnipeg, during his tenure as Music Director. As a composer, he was honored with the Best Canadian Classical Composition Juno Award in 2003 for his Requiem for a Charred Skull. Upcoming new works include a co-commission for the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonics respective 2008 summer seasons as well as a full-length opera for the Calgary Opera, The Inventor, to premiere in January of 2011.

Tovey has been awarded honorary degrees, including a Fellowship from the Royal Academy of Music in London, honorary Doctorates of Law from the universities of Winnipeg and Manitoba, and Kwantlen University College, as well as a Royal Conservatory of Music Fellowship in Toronto. In 1999, he received the M. Joan Chalmers National Award for Artistic Direction, a Canadian prize awarded to artists for outstanding contributions in the performing arts.

Christopher Gaze, host

Christopher Gaze is best known as Artistic Director of Vancouvers Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival. Christopher hails from England where he trained as an actor at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. He came to Canada in 1975 and has performed in virtually every major centre across Canada and the USA, including three seasons at the Shaw Festival. He moved to Vancouver in 1983 and founded Bard on the Beach in 1990. In addition to directing and acting with Bard, Christopher is the popular host of many Vancouver cultural events and often shares his insights on the theatre and Shakespeare with school groups, service organizations and local businesses. Christopher was recently honoured with an induction into the BC Entertainment Hall of Fame, Canadas Meritorious Service Medal, an Honorary Doctorate from Simon Fraser University and the University of British Columbia, the BC Community Achievement Award and the 2007 Medallion from the Childrens Theatre Foundations of America.

UBC Opera Ensemble

The UBC Opera Ensemble, under the direction of UBC Voice and Opera Division Head Nancy Hermiston, draws its performers from advanced students and young professionals. The ensemble tours regularly throughout Canada and Europe, produces two fully staged and costumed productions at the beautiful Chan Centre, as well as the lively and informative Opera Tea Series and the David Spencer Endowment Encouragement Fund Concert. Students participate in all aspects of the productions alongside professional singers, conductors, musicians, designers and technicians.

This years productions include Gilbert and Sullivans The Gondoliers, Puccinis La Bohme, and Bachs Johannes Passion (St. Johns Passion). In addition to its regular productions, the Ensemble is a frequent collaborator of such organizations as Bard on the Beach, Vancouver Opera, and the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.


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