MOHAMED ASSANI - Sitar
Mohamed Assani is a sitarist and composer, known for his genre-defying approach to music making. Trained in both Indian/Pakistani and Western Classical music, his music-making seamlessly draws from different genres and cultures with depth and authenticity. According to the Georgia Straight Newspaper, “Assani is both a musician who’s deeply rooted in the artistic traditions of South Asia and a one-of-a-kind innovator who’s bent on ensuring that those age-old forms will survive and grow in the modern era.” Mohamed was nominated as ‘Instrumental Artist of the Year’ for the Western Canadian Music Awards 2021.
Mohamed has brought his sitar to new audiences across the globe through innovative collaborations that have stretched the boundaries of his instrument. Career highlights include co-writing a sitar concerto that was performed by the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, performing for his Royal Highness the Aga Khan and being invited to teach at London’s prestigious Royal Academy of Music. Recently Mohamed was also invited to perform at the residence of celebrity couple Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas.
Mohamed’s musical journey began at Dartington College of Arts in England, where he did a degree in Western Classical and World music. He then went on to learn sitar in the traditional way. He is a senior disciple of Ustad Ashraf Sharif Khan of the Poonch Gharana of sitar players. Mohamed is a leader in his field – forging new paths for his music to develop and grow, while remaining committed to the rich roots from which his tradition has emerged.
Marea Chernoff – Oboe, Historical oboes, Recorder
An active freelance musician based out of Vancouver, Marea is principal oboe with the Kamloops Symphony Orchestra and a member of the Ad Mare Wind Quintet and Cascadia Reed Quintet.
She is involved in early music and historical performance, playing Baroque and Classical oboes and recorders. She has performed with the Victoria Baroque Players, Early Music Vancouver, and Early Music Alberta.
Marea is on the oboe and recorder faculty at several schools, including Capilano University, Douglas College and the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra School of Music where she is also the founder and director of the Recorder Program.
Born and raised in Vancouver, Marea holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of British Columbia, an Artist Diploma from the Vancouver Academy of Music, and a Master of Music degree from Boston University.
Mark D'Angelo - Trumpet
Mark D'Angelo a native of North Vancouver holds a Master of Music Degree from the University of McGill in Montreal, Q.C. Mark is currently Principal Trumpet in the Kamloops Symphony, and Second Trumpet with the Vancouver Island Symphony. He has also performed with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Vancouver New Music, Victoria Symphony, CBC Radio Orchestra, Thunder Bay Symphony, and the American Brass Quintet as an Aspen Music Festival Fellowship recipient. Mark has performed with Ben Hepner, Lila Downs, Lara St. John, Tony Award winner Idena Menzel, Ashley MacIsaac, and can be heard on Hedley’s Double Platinum Juno nominated album “The Show Must Go” Universal, 2009. In 2012 Mark was awarded a Canada Council for the Arts Specialized Travel Grant to study Trumpet in Valencia, Spain. More recently he attended the Banff Centre for the Arts at the Allstar Brass Residency with Jens Lindemann. In 2017 Mark performed the British Columbia premiere of John Estacios Concerto for Trumpet with the Kamloops Symphony. Mark currently holds the position of trumpet instructor at Capilano University, and is a Stomvi Performing Artist.
Brenda Fedoruk - Flute
Brenda is the Principal Flutist with the Vancouver Opera Orchestra, a faculty member of the UBC School of Music, and a core performer with Vancouver's esteemed Turning Point Ensemble.
Present and former students have won recognition as symphonic and chamber players, competition winners and RCM Gold Medal recipients.
Heather Hay - cello
An avid chamber musician, Heather moved to Vancouver to join the Purcell String Quartet. With the Quartet, she has performed in Paris, toured Europe and BC. Guest appearances include California’s Chamber Music West, Cabrillo Music Festivals, plus Pacific Rim and Hornby Festivals. Heather was a member of the CBC Radio Orchestra.
Currently, Heather is Acting Principle Cellist with the Vancouver Opera orchestra, is on faculty at Capilano University and maintains a private studio. She received her Masters of Music from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. She has also studied at Queen’s University and the Banff School of Fine Arts.
EVA HODGE - INSTRUCTOR
Born and raised in the greater Vancouver area, Eva Hodge is an award-winning pianist and music educator. Her piano education followed the RCM method, culminating in a mark of 96 on her ARCT in Piano Performance. Her post-secondary studies began in 2005, with a two year program at Capilano College. From there, she transferred to the University of Victoria where she studied with Bruce Vogt and Michelle Mares. Eva completed her Bachelor of Music Degree in 2009 and Master of Music Degree in Piano Performance in 2011.
Eva has been fortunate to study and perform in Europe on scholarships and tours, with performances in Italy, Austria, Germany and Prague. In 2011, she was selected as a winner in the University of Victoria’s Concerto Competition, resulting in a performance of Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with the University of Victoria Symphony Orchestra. After graduating, Eva attended Opera Nuova in Edmonton where she studied as a repetiteur for Handel’s opera Alcina. A year later, in 2013, Eva attended AEDO, a five week opera program in Lucca, Italy where she studied as a repetiteur for Puccini’s La Boheme.
In September of 2013, Eva began teaching piano, theory and Intro to Singing courses through the Capilano University Community Music School and Continuing Education program. She also worked as a collaborative pianist with singers enrolled at the University of British Columbia’s Music School (2012-2015). In 2016, Eva joined the Music Gallery Academy in West Vancouver, teaching piano, theory and voice. Apart from her private teaching, Eva has worked as a freelance pianist for local events. Currently, Eva offers lessons in piano, singing & theory and teaches Ear Training & Sight Singing at Capilano University.
Saina Khaledi - santour
Saina Khaledi was the winner of the Iranian Santour Festival in 2003. Saina received her diploma from Iran’s most prestigious music school, the Tehran Music Conservatoire. She continued her studies and graduated in Music (Bachelors of Arts) from the Tehran Music University in 2007 at which point she studied with Masters: Mr. Nasrollah Khaledi, Mrs. Soosan Aslani (Dehlavi), and Mrs. Arfa Atraei. Saina has performed in Iran, Austria, Japan, Netherlands, USA and Canada often as a composer, soloist or with groups such as Music On Main, Vashaan Ensemble, Vancouver Intercultural Orchestra (VICO), BC Chinese Music Ensemble (BCCME), Vancouver Symphony Orchestra (VSO), Vancouver Opera Orchestra, Richmond choir, Medusa Society, National Orchestra of Iran Conservatoire, Mellal Orchestra and Hamnavazan Ensemble. She also took part in different music productions and recordings. She currently teaches Santour at Capilano University, Persian Culture and art institute (Percai), Nazanin Academy, as well as private lessons.
David McCoy - piano
David McCoy received a Bachelor of Music (highest graduating average) and a Master of Music Degree in Piano Performance from the University of British Columbia where he studied with Robert Silverman. He furthered his studies at the Banff School of fine arts where he participated in Masterclasses with Gyorgy Sebok, John Perry and Menahem Pressler. In addition to Capilano University, David has had teaching positions at the University of British Columbia, Douglas College and has been an examiner for the Royal School of Music. With over 30 years of teaching experience in post-secondary institutions he has taught numerous competition winners who presentlyhave successful careers in music. David utilizes a methodical and detailed approach to the preparation of performances, juries, competitions and auditions. Technique building strategies include injury prevention. His teaching philosophy emphasizes the unique circumstances and background of each student and seeks to help them achieve their individual goals.
Luis Angel Medina - Guitar
Founder of the Vancouver Classical Guitar Festival, Luis Angel Medina is an avid performer and teacher across North America. He is currently enrolled in the Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) program at the University of Toronto, where he is conducting research on the life and music of the prolific contemporary Mexican composer, Julio Cesar Oliva, under the guidance of acclaimed Canadian guitarist Dr. Jeffrey McFadden. He continues to promote the guitar through public events and performances as well as through his active involvement with the Toronto Guitar Society, where he serves as Director of Operations. Originally from Guadalajara, Mexico, Luis started his musical journey at the University of Guadalajara at age fourteen. He furthered his studies in Vancouver, Canada, at Capilano University and the University of British Columbia, earning multiple awards and scholarships.
Luis obtained his Master's degree from the University of Georgia in Athens under Dr. Daniel Bolshoy's mentorship, receiving the Director's Excellence Award and earning distinctions in his final oral examinations. Luis has performed for prestigious guitar societies across North America, including Vancouver, Calgary, Regina, and Toronto, as well as the Tri-Cities Guitar Society in Washington. He has featured in the International City Music Talents concert and collaborated as a soloist with A Little Night Music Orchestra. Luis regularly teaches, directs ensembles, and performs at festivals and music events in Canada and internationally.
Now serving as Guitar Instructor at Capilano University, Luis supports music students in pursuing their degrees and careers in music. His students consistently achieve remarkable success, including local competition wins, Provincial Festival nominations, high marks in Royal Conservatory of Music exams, and the BC and Yukon Gold Medal from the Royal Conservatory of Music for highest score in the province. Learn more about him at www.medinaguitar.com.
Karen Nakajima (Coordinator) - Theory, ear training & sight singing, Instrumental Ensemble
Karen Nakajima began her studies at Capilano University, completing the Music Diploma program and now holds a Master of Arts in Music Theory and a Bachelor of Music from the University of British Columbia. During her studies, she was recognized with many awards, including the UBC Medal of Music, the Wallace Berry Prize for Music Theory, as well as the Governor General's Collegiate Bronze Medal from Capilano University.
Karen loves understanding how music works. Her goal as a teacher is to inspire and engage students with a deeper understanding of the music they play and listen to, as well as expose them to new music and show them ways of better understanding it.
Siri Olesen - Instructor, Voice & Coordinator
Siri Olesen works as an educator, vocalist, pianist, organist, music director, and administrator. She has been a soloist with Early Music Vancouver, The Pacific Baroque Orchestra, and Chor Leoni Men’s Choir. Her choral credits include The Vancouver Chamber Choir, Elektra Women’s Choir, Phoenix Chamber Choir, and musica intima, where she also served as Artistic Manager. Olesen has a Master of Arts in Arts Education from Simon Fraser University, a Bachelor of Arts in Piano Performance from Augustana University, and a Jazz Studies Diploma from Capilano University. She currently works at Redeemer Lutheran Church as Music Director, and as classroom instructor, vocal instructor, and PMI Coordinator at Capilano University.
Heather Pawsey - Voice
Acclaimed for her “stylistic versatility, clarity, range” (Halifax Chronicle Herald) and “gorgeous operatic power” (Vancouver Sun), soprano Heather Pawsey has performed across North America, Europe and Japan. Honoured as an Ambassador of the Canadian Music Centre — one of only 50 performers and conductors "who have played exceptional roles in shaping the Canadian music scene and raising the profile of Canadian music”—she has premiered over 40 works (many of them written specifically for her), and is a First Prize winner of the Eckhardt-Gramatté National Music Competition. Known for her creation of roles in new Canadian operas (Your Breath My Breath: Dialogue for a Mother and Daughter; One Thousand White Paper Cranes for Japan; Kayoi Komachi / Komachi Visited; Stickboy; Lillian Alling; The Lake / n’-ha-a-itk), Heather is featured in a short film about composer Barbara Pentland, and is the producer and featured performer of the opera documentary The Lake / n’-ha-a-itk, the first and only Canadian opera to be made into a film. As soloist, Heather has appeared with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Turning Point Ensemble, Scotia Festival of Music (Halifax), Aventa Ensemble (Victoria), Vancouver Island Symphony, Land’s End Ensemble (Calgary), Emily Carr String Quartet (Victoria), Music on Main, Sonic Boom Festival, The Little Chamber Music Series That Could, Indian Summer Music Festival, Sonic Boom Festival, and CBC Radio, among others.
Ms Pawsey received a Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance at the University of British Columbia, and continued her training at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity; Britten-Pears School for Advanced Musical Studies (Aldeburgh, England); American Institute of Musical Studies (Graz, Austria); the Young Artists’ Program at the Scotia Festival of Music (Halifax); and with renowned mezzo-soprano Phyllis Mailing at the Vancouver Academy of Music. She has served as judge for the Western Canadian Music and JUNO Awards, the Eckhardt-Gramatté National Music Competition, UBC Concerto Competition, Vancouver Opera Guild Career Development Grant, and the Lieutenant-Governor of British Columbia’s Sing Me a Song Competition. Known as an adjudicator and clinician at music festivals, she has also taught at Douglas College and maintains a busy private studio. The recipient of many scholarships, grants and awards from the BC Arts Council, Canada Council for the Arts, City of Vancouver Cultural Services and numerous Foundations, Heather is the Founding Artistic Director and General Manager of Astrolabe Musik Theatre. She is proud and honoured to be on faculty at Capilano University.
George Roberts - voice, Choir, Lyric Diction
George Roberts received his vocal training at UBC and the Vancouver Academy of Music. He has worked as a singer, choir director, accompanist and coach in the Vancouver area for over 30 years. His philosophy of teaching voice is based on the principle that singing should be as effortless as talking, and he has brought his naturalistic and even sometimes fun teaching style to both the Music Diploma and Jazz Studies programs since 2001.
David Vandereyk - Piano, theory & class piano
David Vandereyk is a regular instructor in the Music Diploma Program where he teaches piano and music theory. He holds a Master of Music Degree in Piano Performance from the University of British Columbia where his principal teachers were Jane Coop and Robert Silverman. David's interest in physiologically based and injury preventive piano technique led him to pursue further studies including the Alexander Technique and Taubman Approach and training with Nelly Ben-Or in London, England and Barbara Lister-Sink at Salem College, North Carolina.
A member of the Canadian Music Festival Adjudicators’ Association, David has given masterclasses and adjudicated music festivals throughout Canada and presented lectures on a wide variety of pedagogical subjects. Recent activities include serving as a juror for the Knigge Piano Competition and adjudicator for MusiQuest, a national music competition in India where David also presented a lecture on Healthy Approaches to Piano Technique. A Senior Piano Examiner for the Royal Conservatory of Music since 1991, David has also served on the Council of Examiners, which is responsible for setting examining and marking standards across Canada and the United States. David maintains an active private studio and his students have been the recipients of numerous awards including Royal Conservatory of Music regional and national gold medals, for highest examination marks in the province and country.
Rebecca Whitling - violin
MEAGHAN WILLIAMS - DOUBLE BASS
Raised in St. John’s Newfoundland, Meaghan completed her undergraduate degree in performance at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto with virtuoso bassist Joel Quarrington. During that time, she also had the privilege of studying with bass legend Gary Karr. Meaghan earned her Konzertexamen with Michael Wolf at the Universität der Künste in Berlin. She also attended the Carl-Flesch Akademie in Baden-Baden, Germany where she studied with Finnish double bass phenomenon Janne Saksala, Principal Bass of Berlin Philharmonic.
Following her studies, Meaghan performed with the Neue Lausitzer Philharmonie in Germany and she was founding member of the Hyogo Performing Arts Center Symphony Orchestra in Japan. Since returning to Canada, Meaghan has performed with ensembles from coast to coast including the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Victoria Symphony and the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra. Meaghan is the Principal Bass of the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra and a member of the Vancouver Opera Orchestra.
A believer in diversity and innovation, Meaghan enjoys working with living composers and expanding the repertoire for double bass. She premiered the Concerto for Cello, Bass, Suona & Dizi by Dr. Ning Wang (Beijing) with the Nu:BC Collective and premiered Placentia Bay: Summer of 1941 for double bass and orchestra by Mark Haney with the Okanagan Symphony in November 2019. Meaghan is a passionate advocate of Canadian design and craftsmanship and performs on a double bass made by Peter Mach (Gatineau, QC) and bows made by Reid Hudson (Duncan, BC) and Max Kasper (Halifax, NS).
Meaghan is grateful to have been supported throughout her career with grants from the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council, the BC Arts Council, and the Canada Council for the Arts. She teaches at Capilano University, privately both in person and online, and at the West Coast Amateur Musicians Society course in Squamish,BC, each summer.