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Welcome to the Vancouver Academy of Music. For over forty years VAM has set the highest standard for music education in Western Canada, while providing for Vancouver a facility that serves as a central hub of musical activity. Discover our personalized approach to music instruction  and learn how we can facilitate your pursuit of creative excellence.

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  • Perhaps one of the most common questions a people ask Kalissa when she plays her instrument is, "is that a fiddle or the violin?" What's the difference?" All jokes aside that usually follow this question, Kalissa's answer will eventually tell folks she is a fiddler through and through. That is not to say that she doesn't play classical music, or Jazz, or spent years of her life taking violin lessons. What it does say, is that she has dedicated her life to playing, honouring and preserving the fiddle tradition. That tradition includes several styles such as Irish, Old Time Canadian, Cape Breton, French Canadian, Texas Swing, Celtic, Metis, Bluegrass, Country, Son Huasteco and Son Jarocho. Kalissa has had a lot of musical accomplishments for her tender age. This is no surprise as she began playing violin at the age of 3. By age 12, she made musical history when she was the youngest person ever to win the title of 'BC Provincial Fiddle Champion'. She is a four time Top Ten finalist at the Canadian Grand Masters Fiddle Competition, and her recent work has been nominated for an Independent Music Award and a Western Canada Music Award She began taking lessons with Yasuko Eastman and Sydney Humphreys. Her Fiddling mentors have included Oliver Schroer, Jerry Holland, Calvin Vollrath, Gordon Stobbe, Daniel Lapp, and John Arcand. Kalissa has also had may opportunities to participate and perform in masterclasses led by renown artists such as, Mark O’Connor, Natalie MacMaster, Buddy MacMaster, Alasdair Fraser, Ian Fraser, Brian Hebert, April Verch, and Catriona MacDonald. In addition she has also been a guest teacher at several fiddle camps across Canada, as well as the BC Fiddle Orchestra (House of Music) and has taught at The Royal Conservatory of Music in Victoria. Kalissa has two CD's to her name: Sisters and Later Than Last. In February 2009 she did an extensive tour of England and Ireland in support of these recordings and in May of 2009, Kalissa joined forces with The Paperboys, the Juno Award winning ensemble from Vancouver, BC. She has since toured with them in Germany, Switzerland, France, Luxembourg, England, Canada and The US. Her fiddling and step-dancing has been a great addition to the Folk Fest favourites, and a recent review of a show in Mannheim Germany, called Kalissa the highlight of the show. As her last name suggests, Ms Hernandez is part Latina. Born in Canada to a Chilean father and a Canadian mother, Kalissa grew up in a multi-cultural home where traditional South American music and Cape Breton fiddle music blared from the speakers of the home stereo. In 2011 Kalissa dug deeper into her Latin Roots and helped launch the band Locarno. Their music has been described as “a groove-heavy mix of Mexican Folk, Cuban Son, and Latin Soul”. Locarno's debut CD Una Mas Y Ya Nos Vamos, which prominently features Kalissa, has been nominated for a Western Canadian Music Award and Indie Award. Summer of 2012 will see her playing at several Jazz and Folk Festivals throughout North America, including the Rochester International Jazz Festival, Vancouver Jazz Fest, Victoria Jazz Fest, Calgary Folk Fest, and Toronto Jazz Fest. Kalissa has spent her entire life surrounded by music and playing the fiddle since before she could form full sentences. It's a journey that has taken her all over the world and afforded her some amazing opportunities and some wild and crazy experiences. She loves that lifestyle and the balance between teaching and performing. Her current focus is on writing music for a new CD, touring and teaching, mastering the art of Italian cooking and coming up with more witty comebacks to the question, "is that a fiddle or a violin?'

    Kalissa Hernandez

    6 Questions with Dora Brooks

    Jon Kimura Parker
    One of the most sought-after performing pianists today, Jon Kimura Parker performed an unprecedented array of piano concertos in the 2010-2011 season, including Rachmaninoff No. 3, Brahms No. 2, Tchaikovsky No. 1, Barber, Gershwin, Beethoven No. 4, Beethoven “Emperor”, Grieg, and several by Mozart. A true Canadian ambassador of music, Mr. Parker has given command performances for Queen Elizabeth II, the United States Supreme Court, and the Prime Ministers of Canada and Japan. He is an Officer of The Order of Canada, his country's highest civilian honor. A committed educator, Jon Kimura Parker is Professor of Piano at The Shepherd School of Music at Rice University. He has lectured at The Juilliard School, The Steans Institute, New York University, and Yale University. Mr. Parker frequently brings music to public schools in informal concert presentations. His students have performed with major orchestras across the U.S.  Former student Jade Simmons recently brought the Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition to the world as their webcasting host. “Jackie” Parker studied with Edward Parker and Keiko Parker privately, Lee Kum-Sing at the Vancouver Academy of Music (1975-1977) and the University of British Columbia, Marek Jablonski at the Banff Centre, and Adele Marcus at The Juilliard School. He won the Gold Medal at the 1984 Leeds International Piano Competition.

    Jon Kimura Parker

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