Competition Brochures available!

Announcing a portion of our competitions for the 2013-14 school year!

The Young Composers’ Competition is a new competition this year, and gives aspiring composers a chance to explore the art of composition further and a chance to hear their own work being performed by the VAM Symphony Orchestra.

Young Composers Competition Brochure

The VAMSO Provincial Concert Competition is new as well, and invites students from all over BC to compete for a chance to perform a movement of a concerto of their choice with the VAM Symphony Orchestra live on the Orpheum Theatre stage. This competition is open to students playing any instrument (voice included) who resides in BC.

VAMSO Concerto Competition Brochure

Our Senior Secondary Competition is back with a focus on Strings. Open to all secondary school students in BC, the Bjorn & Lori Hareid Annual Senior Secondary Competition is designed to recognize young and talented musicians and support their future endeavours.

Senior Secondary Strings Competition

Interested in applying for a competition? Download one of brochures and mail it along with your payment to VAM!

Good luck to all applying!

An Invitation from Joseph Elworthy and the Koerner Quartet


The Koerner Quartet would like to invite you to the first concert of our 2013/2014 season on Friday, October 18th, at 7:30pm.

As the ensemble-in-residence at the Vancouver Academy of Music, the Koerner Quartet fulfills a mandate to promote the appreciation of chamber music by presenting a series of four concerts per season which are offered free to the public. Three performances feature a guest artist from VAM’s distinguished faculty, with one concert spotlighting an exceptional VAM student in the Rising Star Mentorship program. The Koerner Quartet takes its name from one of VAM’s founders, Ms Ibby Koerner, the namesake for the school’s performance venue, Koerner Recital Hall.

We are pleased to be joined by Hanh Nguyen, guitar, to perform Boccherini’s Guitar Quintet. We will also be performing works by Debussy and Beethoven. This concert is at the Koerner Recital Hall, 1270 Chestnut Street, Vancouver, BC.

Seating for all our concerts will be complimentary for all VAM members and students (a more elegant way of saying “our concerts are free!”). Festival seating will apply to all our concerts. To reserve your seats, we ask that you register online at

As a VAM member, this is a wonderful opportunity to listen to world-class music and for students, it is a chance to observe music making at its highest level.

We hope to see you at our show!

The Koerner Quartet
Joseph Elworthy, Nicholas Wright, Jason Ho, Marcus Takizawa
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Canadian International Summer Harp Institute: Faculty Harp Concert


Four internationally renowned harpists take to the stage with an eclectic and thrilling combination of heavenly classics and sensual Brazilian music, Thursday, August 1 at 7 p.m. at Koerner Recital Hall at the Vancouver Academy of Music, 1270 Chestnut Street, Vancouver. Tickets $20/25 at the door.

All four artists are faculty members of the prestigious Canadian International Summer Harp Institute (CISHI) which attracts students from around the world eager for two weeks of intensive training with these acclaimed performers and teachers.

The concert will feature a delightful combination of classical and Brazilian music — in harp solos and harp ensembles.

“This is a rare opportunity for people to hear these incredible players in an intimate setting, and playing a wonderful variety of music,” said Institute co-founder and Vancouver Symphony principal harpist Elizabeth Volpé Bligh.

Cristina Braga has turned the harp world upside down with her sensual renditions of South American bossa nova classics. With her sultry voice and her powerful and rhythmic harp playing, she wowed MusicFest Vancouver audiences last year with her near-sold-out performance at Christ Church Cathedral.

The principal harpist with the Rio de Janeiro Municipal Theatre Symphony Orchestra has 13 recordings and is considered the world’s leading harp player of Brazilian music. Cristina Braga has performed as soloist with numerous orchestras and has performed and recorded with many leading Brazilian singers. She regularly tours the US, Europe and Japan.

The incomparable Judy Loman is widely recognized as one of the world’s foremost harp virtuosos, having won the admiration of audiences and critics alike across Canada, the United States, Europe and Japan. She has appeared as a guest artist with numerous orchestras including the BBC Symphony. In addition, she was principal harpist with the Toronto Symphony for 43 years and featured as soloist in Toronto and on tour. A prolific recording artist, Judy Loman has had numerous works written for her, many of which have become new “standards” for harpists worldwide.

Completing the quartet are the Institute’s co-founders Elizabeth Volpé Bligh and Gianetta Baril.

Juno award-winning harpist Gianetta Baril has had a distinguished career for over 30 years. While concertizing throughout Germany, France, England, Poland, and the Czech Republic, she consistently received glowing praise for her charming presence, dramatic artistry and spectacular technique. Career highlights include performances behind the Iron Curtain, in some of the great concert halls of Europe and at the World Harp Congresses in Vienna and Paris, as well as a soloist for the Queen, Prince Charles and the late Lady Diana.

Elizabeth Volpé Bligh has been principal harpist of the Vancouver Symphony for 31 years and harp instructor at UBC almost as long. Her career includes concerto performances with the Grammy-winning VSO and other orchestras, chamber music concerts, music festivals, movie soundtracks, recordings and a solo recital at the International Harp Workshop in Crea, Italy in 2012. She has premiered several Canadian works written for her, notably Michael Conway Baker’s Harp Concerto, and will be premiering a new piece by Scott Good at the 2014 World Harp Congress in Sydney, Australia. Reviews have included “a harpist of great skill” (Ray Chatelin) and “achingly lovely playing” (Michael Scott).

Canadian Music Competition 2013 Results

A number of VAM students participated in this year’s Canadian Music Competition, which was held in Sherbooke, Quebec this past month. Congratulations to the students who placed below!

Olivia Cho (cello; Elworthy): 1st place, Strings 12 years
Albert Seo (cello; Elworthy): 1st place, Strings 14 years
Grace Sohn (cello; Elworthy): 2nd place, Strings 13 years
Tate Zawadiuk (cello; Thomson): 2nd place, Strings 15 to 18 years; 1st place, Chamber Music 17 years
Jack Li (clarinet; VAMIS): 2nd place, Winds 12 years

Soundfest Summer Music Camps now open!

VAM is pleased to announce a return of its popular Soundfest Music camps, now with new programs!

For children ages 4 to 10, we are happy to bring back our Junior Soundfest summer music camp, featuring our Brain Boosters, Choir & Percussion Ensemble, and iPad Orchestra. This one-week, half-day program (four weeks available) is ideal for children of all skill levels and instruments!

New this year, we also have our Soundfest Orchestra Summer Music Camp for children ages 8 to 18. Ideal for those more serious musicians who want to hone their orchestra playing skills. In addition to intensive rehearsals, masterclasses and workshops with renowned faculty from the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and Vancouver Opera Orchestra, the week culminates in a co-production with Bard on the Beach’s Young Shakespereans’ Program of Midsummer Night’s Dream!

We’ve also partnered with local musician and music educator Rob Kirkham to present Rockband Soundfest summer music camp! Your child can live out their rock star fantasy in this week-long, half-day workshop (two weeks available). They’ll form their own band, learn how to write songs using Garageband and other digital recording software, and create their own paraphernalia to take home!

Lastly, we’ve brought back our popular Dancefest summer dance camp in a week-long, half-day format (two weeks available). Choose from the Morning Dancefest, aimed for children between 4 to 8 years of age (no experience required) or the Afternoon Dancefest, aimed for children ages 9 and above (previous ballet training required). Explore ballet along with other musical and artistic activities in the Morning Dancefest, and get into the nitty-gritty of ballet training with the Afternoon Dancefest.

Have questions? Check out or give us a call at (604) 734-2301. Register online today before space runs out!

VAM Opera Studio Presents: Susannah

VAM Opera Studio presents: Susannah

The Vancouver Academy of Music Opera Studio presents:

Susannah by Carlisle Floyd
Artistic Director, David Meek
Conductor, John Arsenault
Director, David Walsh
Choreographer, Damon Bradley Jang
Performances June 13, 14, 15 at 7:30 pm. June 16 at 2:00 pm

Written during the McCarthy era, Susannah is based loosely on the Apocryphal tale of Susannah and the Elders. In New Hope Valley, Tennessee, Susannah – a pretty and well-mannered young woman of humble origins – is faced with hostility from her church community. The opera opens at a square dance given by her church; a group of wives, jealous of Susannah’s beauty and the attention it brings from their husbands, are gossiping about her. Mrs. McLean, one of the wives, states that you can’t expect more from someone who was raised by her drunken brother. Finally, the Reverend Olin Blitch, newly arrived to lead the congregation, enters and asks Susannah to dance despite the gossip. Later that evening, Susannah tells her admirer Little Bat – son of Mrs. McLean and her husband, an elder of the church – about the dance; Little Bat leaves abruptly once her brother Sam returns from hunting.

The next morning Susannah is innocently bathing naked in the creek near her home; she is discovered by the elders, who are searching for a baptismal stream. They conceal their lust with outrage and tell the community of her wickedness. Susannah arrives at a church dinner that evening and is sent away, much to her confusion. Later, as she is pondering why she has been shunned, Little Bat tells her that the elders have denounced her for bathing in the nude, and admits that he was coerced into saying she seduced him.

Sam informs Susannah that she must make a public confession in order to be absolved. Though she claims she has nothing to confess, she goes to the service where Olin Blitch is preaching. When she is singled out to come forward, she runs away. Once the service has ended, Reverend Blitch goes to Susannah’s house and offers to pray for her soul; upon discovering that her brother is away, Blitch rapes her.

The next day Blitch, having discovered that Susannah was a virgin, comes to her and begs for forgiveness. He throws herself at Susannah’s mercy, but she refuses to forgive him. When Susannah tells Sam the story he threatens to kill Blitch; he leaves for the baptismal service, carrying his shotgun. Convinced that Susannah led her brother to murder, the community heads to her house to drive her out of the valley. However, Little Bat has warned her in advance, and when the vigilantes arrive she is waiting with a shotgun. They retreat, but she has effectively severed her ties with the community and her world.

(Synopsis adapted from Boosey & Hawkes website)

Adult $25.00
Students, Seniors $20.00

Tickets available at, by phone at (604) 734-2301 or at Metro Theatre on the day of the performances.

Buy tickets for June 13, June 14, June 15 and June 16.

VAM String Quartet Concert with Amanda Chan: Brahms Piano Quintet


The VAM String Quartet will be playing Bela Bartok’s Quartet No.1 and will be joined by special guest Amanda Chan to play Johannes Brahms’ Piano Quintet in F minor. They will also be playing works by Schubert and VAM’s Dr.Jacqueline Leggatt. Please join us for this concert at The Koerner Recital Hall on Sunday, May 26th, at 2pm. Tickets available online and at the doo. Free admission for VAM families and members.

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Changing Lives Beyond Our Borders: VAM Sponsors School in Kenya

Last December VAM hosted a fundraising concert, “Sing For Hope” that raised funds for the New White House Academy (NWHA), a small primary school in Kenya that delivers big changes for the impoverished children of the Sagala Hill region. “Sing For Hope” was initiated and organized by Chloe Hurst, who in addition to being an acclaimed soprano, is one of VAM’s most valued and active faculty members as part of the Voice, Theory, and Early Childhood Education departments. Funds raised from “Sing For Hope” were used to replace the rusted and broken rain-catching gutters, buy new water tanks, and repair the large underground water tank – all desperately needed upgrades for a school that relies on collected rain water as their only water source.

Last Month, VAM collected donated recorders from our generous students that were delivered by Chloe during Spring Break where she led a team of volunteers who taught at NWHA. In Chloe’s words, “Their eyes lit up when they saw that we had brought recorders for them and that they were theirs to keep. NWHA teachers were also eagerly participating and learning so that they can continue to teach with the materials we left them. I will periodically be sending video messages with teaching tips for NWHA faculty”

It is a privilege for VAM to follow the inspiring lead of Chloe Hurst and enter a twinning relationship with NWHA as their primary Canadian sponsor. The transformative power of music and its effect on the development of our children and those abroad is truly exemplified by this initiative. May 12th’s Mark Fewer & Friends concert will be a special benefit for New White House Academy to assist with their targeted goal of raising $10,000, the amount necessary for NWHA to have running water. Thank you for marking May 12th, 7:00pm on your calendar and for supporting this incredible cause.

VAM students advance at the Canadian Music Competition and Chamber Music Festival results

This past week four of VAM’s senior students, Albert Seo, Olivia Cho, Grace Sohn and Jack Li advanced to the national finals of the Canadian Music Competition. This year the national finals will be held in Sherbrooke, Quebec from June 18 to July 2nd. Albert, Olivia and Grace are cello students of Joseph Elworthy, and Jack is a clarinet student of Cris Inguanti.

Congratulations to these four and to all of our students who participated in the CMC preliminaries!

Bottom row (L to R): Albert Seo, Olivia Cho, Grace Sohn; top row: Joseph Elworthy

VAM also held the 30th annual Elsje de Ridder Armstrong Chamber Music Festival this past Friday, April 5th. Over 8 groups from VAM’s CMI program participated for an absolutely stunning evening of chamber music to a packed Koerner Recital Hall audience. They also competed for 8 tuition scholarships from a number of supporting groups and generous donors. This year’s festival was adjudicated by David Gillham, professor of Violin at the UBC School of Music.  Here are the winning groups and their scholarship prizes:

Alina Khvatova, violin; Madeline Hocking, violin; On-You Lee, viola; Nicholas Denton-Protsack, cello – Wallerstein & Van de Velde Scholarship
Hee Soon Yoon, violin; Angela Kim, cello; Sharon Yang, piano – Elsje de Ridder Armstrong Memorial Scholarship
Brian Kang, clarinet; Nicole Chung, cello; Claire Lee, piano – Iby Koerner Memorial Scholarship
Sophia Cho, violin; Olivia Cho, cello; Catherine Wang, piano – Eugenia & Evelyn Lawrence Memorial Scholarship
Vivian Liu, violin; Ray Han, horn; Aydan Con, piano – Provincial Chapter, I.O.D.E. Scholarship
Vivian Liu, violin; Emily Ahn, cello; Aydan Con, piano – Josephine Walton Scholarship
Jenny An, violin; Marko Miletic, viola; Grace Sohn, cello; Victoria Lui, piano – VAM Scholarship
Kathy Chen, violin; Brendan Ling, violin; Zachary Levin, viola; Albert Seo, cello; Candice Chiu, piano – VAM Scholarship 

All 26 participants of the CMI Festival with adjudicator David Gillham, CMI Director Andrew Dawes and VAM ED Joseph Elworthy!

Congratulations to all who participated and to those awesome coaches and teachers who made all of this happen!

Help VAM continue Ms. Armstrong’s legacy in developing young talent. Contact us to see how you can make a difference in music education!

Appointment of new Violin teachers

VAM is pleased to announce the appointment of Dale Barltrop, concertmaster of the VSO, to our world-class roster of violin instructors, as well as Lawrie Hill and Nicholas Wright, who will be taking over as Co-Heads of the Violin program from the honoured Robert Rozek, who will be leaving VAM after 10 years of dedicated service to the school.

Under the leadership of this new team, we introduce a new, comprehensive Violin Program, designed to guide students and empower them with the skills and experiences neccessary for them to become beautiful, inspiring players and outstanding leaders in their communities.

The program consists of a weekly masterclass session with either Ms. Hill or Mr. Wright, and a monthly masterclass seminar with Mr. Barltrop that is open to all VAM students and parents. At the cornerstone of this program is the Concertmaster Apprenticeship Program, which will train a select number of outstanding violinists on how to lead a violin section, how to lead an orchestra and more.

Want to know more information? Check out the Violin Program Brochure.

Welcome Dale, Lawrie and Nick!