2014 Barbara Clague Results

On Sunday, April 6th, we held the 2nd annual Barbara Clague Festival of Song! We had a lovely afternoon filled with song. Thank you to everyone who attended!

The winners are below:

James Forward ($400)
Tamara Chang ($200)
Leonard Gao ($200)
Meghna Lohia ($200)
Chloe Mackay ($200)
Noah Skarsgard ($200)

Congratulations to everyone who participated! A huge thank you to David Meek, our adjudicator, and to all of our donors and volunteers who made this Festival possible.

It’s the Weekend of Singing!

Barbara Clague Festival of Song
Sunday, April 6th, 2014 | 2:00 pm
Koerner Recital Hall | Free

Our annual Barbara Clague Festival of Song is back for its 2nd year. We have over 15 talented young singers performing on Sunday, April 6th for a chance to win one of five tuition scholarships. Come join us for a wonderful afternoon of singing!

Want a chance to play on a violin made by Stradivarius? Now’s your chance!

Calling all violinists and cellists! The Canada Council for the Arts’ Musical Instrument Bank (MIB) is a program designed to equip talented musicians with a loaned instrument from the bank for a 3-year period. Competition for the instruments is fierce, and is decided by a jury of professional musicians and peers. Over 20 instruments are available for loan, and include historically-significant violins and cellos made between the 1600s to the 1900s. VAM Cello Co-department Head Ariel Barnes and alumni Jonathan Chan are current recipients of the bank.

A representative from the MIB will be at the Vancouver Academy of Music on Tuesday, March 18th from 2:00 to 3:00 pm to give an information session about the program. Order of Canada recipient and renowned violinist Andrew Dawes will also be in attendance. We encourage all aspiring and talented musicians to attend this session and find out more about how the MIB can help enhance your musical career! This session is free to attend.

Andrew Dawes


Find out more information about the Instrument Bank here, and what instruments the bank has here.


VAMSO Orchestra Reading Session…you’re invited!

We’re having an open rehearsal for VAMSO on Friday, March 14th…and you’re invited! We’ll be having a reading session featuring a select number of scores from our Young Composers’ Competition. Joined by guest conductor Owen Underhill (Turning Point Ensemble), each composer will have their composition read by VAMSO as part of their entrance.

Performance Order (in the Koerner Recital Hall):
4:30 pm: Kira Bennett
4:50 pm: Henry From
5:10 pm: Timmy Wang
5:30 pm: Jaelem Bhate
5:50 pm: Break
6:10 pm: Kevin Yan
6:30 pm: Adam Junk

We invite everyone to come out and listen to the next generation of young composers.


Workshop with Jesse Nolan (Blue Man Group)

VAM is pleased to host Jesse Nolan (Music Director, Blue Man Group) on Monday, March 24th for an exclusive workshop! Join Blue Man Group Resident Music Director Jesse Nolan as he presents “Painting With Sound,” a unique workshop that gives attendees a glimpse into the world of Blue Man Group. Dive deep into the music and drumming of the show and explore how the connections between music, art, science, comedy, technology and culture come together to create the one-of-a-kind theatrical spectacle known as Blue Man Group.

About Jesse Nolan

Jesse received his MM in Jazz Studies and Percussion and BA in Music Education from the Indiana University Jacob’s School of Music. In his three years with Blue Man Group, he has performed in the Chicago, Orlando, Norwegian Epic and North American Tour casts. Jesse’s previous performance credits include the West Side Story 50th Anniversary European Tour, Jesus Christ Superstar (w/ Ted Neeley), James Moody, David Baker, Allen Vizzutti, and the Rob Parton JazzTECH Big Band. His playing can be heard on the Buselli-Wallarab Jazz Orchestra’s 2006 release “Carol of the Bells” (Owl Studios). Jesse is also currently Director of Education and Business Development for MashPlant and member of the Jazz Education Network Committee and Vic Firth Education Team. He also owns Big Pear Productions a company specializing in commercial music, recording, audio and video production for clients including Banana Republic, Virgin America, Bergdorf-Goodman and Holiday Inn. In over 14 years as a professional music educator, he has taught at elementary, middle, and high schools throughout the Midwest and has given guest lectures and clinics at dozens of universities all over the globe.

jesse nolan creative regular size

Spring Break Hours

Spring Break will take place this year from Monday, March 17th to Sunday, March 30th, 2014. Regular lessons and classes will not take place during this time.

Building Hours during Spring Break:
Monday – Friday: 9:00 am – 9:00 pm
Saturday: 9:00 am – 6:00 pm
Sunday: Closed

Office hours will be Monday to Friday, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.

All lessons & classes resume Monday, March 31st, 2014.

The Koerner Quartet Concert with Robyn Driedger-Klassen


The Koerner Quartet would like to invite you to our third concert of the season on Friday, March 7th, 7:30pm at the Koerner Recital Hall.

It is a wonderful opportunity to listen and enjoy an evening of chamber music with VAM faculty members Nicholas Wright, Jason Ho, Marcus Takizawa, and Executive Director of VAM, Joseph Elworthy.

We are delighted to be joined by soprano Robyn Driedger-Klassen to perform “Lúa Descolorida” by the Argentinian composer Osvaldo Golijov.

The quartet will also be performing Borodin’s Quartet No. 2, and Tchaikovsky’s Quartet No. 1.

Admission is free and festival seating applies to this concert. Seats will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis. We encourage you to reserve your seats by registering online at the Koerner Quartet website.

Online Registration for Koerner Quartet Concert: Friday, March 7th, 7:30pm

We look forward to seeing you at the concert. Thank you for your support!

Olivia Cho makes her Orpheum Theatre debut with VAMSO


The talented young cellist, Olivia Cho, is making her Orpheum Theatre debut playing  Saint-Saens “Cello Concerto No. 1” with VAMSO on Sunday, February 23rd at 2 p.m.

Playing with an orchestra can be a daunting challenge for any young performer, but Olivia Cho is handling it with a maturity beyond her years. “It was kind of scary at first, playing with a huge orchestra, but since there’s a conductor, I can just follow him, go with his speed, and know that everything will be fine,” she said. “When you play with piano, you can take more liberties than an orchestra because there are over a 100 people in VAMSO.”

Music is a family affair for Olivia. Her father teaches music at Prince of Wales Secondary School, her mother is a singer, and her sister plays violin. “My sister (two years older) helps me a lot,” she said. “She gives me a lot of confidence, and sometimes we practice on our own. She’ll play her violin part while I play the solo part.”

Even her father helps out. “Sometimes Dad accompanies us on the piano, so we’ll play as a piano trio,” she said. “And my mother was a singer and used to be a music teacher in Korea. She even went to Russia to study music. Our family is really musical.”

Most musicians learn to deal with some degree of nervousness before a concert, and some develop routines to help them stay calm and focused before a performance. “No matter what, before every performance, I do get nervous. I just try to concentrate on the music and it seems to make things easier,” she said. “I try not to eat too heavy, and a lot of the time I’ll eat a banana because that helps calm my nerves. My mom is with me before a lot of my performances and she helps warm my hands. It’s kind of weird but it helps.”

To ease their nerves, some performers like to imagine playing to a hall of faceless strangers. Some performers take comfort in that, but not Olivia – she’d much rather be playing for friends and family. “Since it’s my first time playing with an orchestra, I definitely feel more comfortable playing with my friends. And also, my sister is in the orchestra so I can look to her for comfort”.

The “Concerto No. 1” by Camille Saint-Saens is structured as one continuous piece. There are no breaks in between movements and the last movement, Tempo Primo, is considered to be the most virtuosic part of the concerto. This last section also features a coda with new musical ideas. “The coda is my favourite part,” said Olivia. “ I just like the tune and then, how after all the dramatic parts, it dissolves into a happy ending.”

Tickets are available for purchase online until 5:00 pm on Saturday, February 22nd through the VAM website. General admission is $10, and $6 for students and seniors. After this time, tickets are only available for purchase from the Orpheum Theatre ‘Will Call’ window on Nelson Street.

VAMSO performs “Masquerade” by Edward Top


Edward Top is very excited that his work “Masquerade” has another chance to play in Vancouver.

“This was my first piece that I wrote for the VSO back in 2011,” he said. “And before that, I wrote even more complex music. So I thought, OK, this is my first composition for the orchestra so I better write something that is not too edgy and too challenging”.

While this work may not be as complex and technically difficult as Edward’s previous works, it is certainly a great challenge for a student orchestra such as VAMSO.

“Masquerade” is inspired by the painting “Christ’s Entry into Brussels in 1889”, by Belgian artist James Ensor. The painting is a massive work, over 6 feet high and 26 feet long. “It is huge. It’s almost like you are becoming part of it because the characters at the bottom of the painting are larger and are almost like they are coming towards you,” said Edward. “I knew of James Ensor for a long time and I always thought about that kind of crazy, nightmarish painting, with people almost in caricature with masks; it’s something I’ve always been fascinated with. When I saw this painting, I thought it was great. I should do this.”


Although the music definitely has a strong connection to the painting, the work also stands on its own. “It’s quite a narrative piece. It has a lot of elements that are from the painting so I think it would make more sense if people saw it,” he said. “Especially the ending, like the fast bit, then the piece has its own life.”

In the three years since he wrote “Masquerade”, Edward Top has been very active in Vancouver’s cultural scene. He continues to be the composer in residence for the VSO, and is also the Head of Composition at VAM. It’s even possible that the move away from Europe may be influencing his musical sensibilities. “I’m now writing in a more accessible form, maybe just a phase, but writing music that is more playable,” he said. “Here in Vancouver it’s much more open, and it doesn’t matter what style you’re writing because there is less pressure from a longer tradition. I find that really pleasant. Vancouver is very rich musically, I think. It’s like people don’t really know it yet because it almost feels like it’s in a growing process. There are so many composers and ensembles. I think it’s wonderful”.

VAMSO, under the direction of Les Dala, will be performing Edward Top’s “Masquerade” on Sunday, February 23rd, 2pm at the Orpheum Theatre. Tickets are available for purchase online until 5:00 pm on Saturday, February 22nd through the VAM website. General admission is $10, and $6 for students and seniors. After this time, tickets are only available for purchase from the Orpheum Theatre ‘Will Call’ window on Nelson Street.

ThriveCity is BACK!

They’re back! The guys from the Infinitus String Trio are back to present their annual ThriveCity Spring Booster camp.

Deepen your musical learning through the study of different musical styles, such as Latin, Hip-Hop and Jazz. Students will have workshops and activities focused around improvisation, ear training, technique, applied theory and more!

This camp takes place from March 26th to 28 at our location.

There’s only 18 spots available, so register today! Forms can be downloaded here or picked up at the front desk.