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Click on each teaching musician's name to read the biography.
Jan Amsel holds a Bachelor of Music in Violin Performance from the University of Texas at Austin and a Master of Music in Violin Performance and Pedagogy from the Hartt College of Music. She studied with Andor Toth and Leonard Posner at the University of Texas and Charles Treger at Hartt College. She is currently a member of the 1st violin section of the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, the Kensington Sinfonia, and in a violin/cello duo with CPO cellist Tom Megee. In the summer, she has performed in the Aspen Music Festival, the Banff Festival and the Oregon Coast Music Festival. Ms. Amsel created and is the host of the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra's highly successful Saturday Morning at the Symphony series. She also serves on the CPO Education/Outreach, Program Planning and Player's Committees, and is very active doing educational chamber performances in Calgary schools. In addition to examining throughout Canada as a member of the Royal Conservatory College of Examiners, Ms. Amsel has adjudicated festivals throughout Alberta, British Columbia and in Ottawa, and frequently leads Master Classes. She has taught private and group classes for the Calgary Suzuki Talent Education Society, as well as in the University of Texas String Project. She was also a founder of the Mount Royal College Preparatory Academy program. Ms. Amsel is currently a branch teacher of Mount Royal College Conservatory, and also maintains a private studio.
M. Music, B. Music Trumpet and Music Alive Program Teaching Musician
Born in Canada, raised in Africa and educated in Calgary and Houston, Samantha has been praised for creating truly unique and totally engaging experiences for young audiences. She has traveled internationally as a creative consultant and professional musician. For the past fifteen years, Samantha’s creative efforts have focused on combining her love of music with her desire to enhance arts education in Alberta. Samantha has produced and performed children's presentations for the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, the Calgary Pro Musica Society, the National Arts Centre of Canada, the National Symposium on Arts Education, the Calgary Stampede Showband, and the Banff Centre for the Arts.
In September 2010 Samantha was appointed the position of education advisor for the Calgary Pro Musica society, one of the leading chamber music presenters in Canada.
As a Teaching Musician for the National Arts Centre of Canada, Samantha currently consults and performs in many Alberta Schools. She also teaches private trumpet lessons at her Sun Spot Studio.
Samantha performed the World Premier of her fifth rocky mountain fairy tale, Winter Solstice, with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra in March 2006, a performance she later duplicated with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra on January 19, 2008. Winter Solstice was conceived and created by Samantha for full symphony orchestra and showcases the talents of Canadian composer Keon Birney and Canadian visual artist Lynne Huras. Winter Solstice is the culmination of many years of working with orchestral musicians and Samantha’s dedication to bringing the sound of great music to children in a fun, accessible and educational way.
In 2009 she released her second CD, a jazz fairy tale CD entitled “more rocky mountain fairy tales”, to a sold out crowd in Calgary. Her high energy and fun filled performances have made her a crowd favorite for small and large audiences alike.
If you would like to know more about Samantha Whelan Kotkas please visit her website at www.storyfair.com
Born and raised in Edmonton, Rosemarie Siever holds a Bachelor of Music in Performance from the University of Alberta where she studied with William Street. She also received First Prizes in Saxophone Performance and Chamber Music from the Bordeaux Conservatory (France), studying under Jean-Marie Londeix. Rosemarie has performed with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, the NOWAge Orchestra, and has recorded for CBC Radio (Alberta in concert, Two New Hours, Wednesdays at Winspear). Her freelancing career has allowed her to perfrom across Europe and North America.
Rosemarie Siever can frequently be seen in Edmonton, teaching clinics and performing with the Retrofitz (60's soul/70's disco at www.retrofitz.ca ), and the studio b quartet. She teaches privately and in schools, and has taught at Augustana University College and MusiCamrose Summer Camp. Rosemarie is a Teaching Artist for Learning Through the Arts, a branch of the Royal Conservatory which emphasizes teaching core curribulum concepts through an artistic approach, and she has been a Teaching Musician for the National Arts Centre of Canada since 2006, giving school presentations in both French and English.
Sherryl Sewepagaham is of First Nations Cree/Dene ancestry from northern Alberta and is an Aboriginal Music Consultant with Edmonton Catholic Schools. Sherryl received her B.Ed from the University of Alberta and received national Orff-Schulwerk certification from Carl Orff Canada. She is an experienced elementary music teacher, choir director, and a member of the Alberta Premier's Council on Arts and Culture. Sherryl has been recognized for her traditional songwriting and co-writing with numerous music awards and nominations, including a 2005 Juno nomination, with the Edmonton-based Aboriginal women’s trio Asani. Sherryl is currently the music creator for a children’s cartoon series and a short live animation film. Her passion lies in music education, and she is currently creating a resource collection of children’s Cree and Blackfoot drum songs. Most recently, Sherryl wrote the music and lyrics for the National Arts Centre’s Music Alive Program song, to be shared with elementary schools across Canada.
BEd, BMus. French Horn and Music Alive Program Teaching Musician
Mary Fearon was born in Edmonton and holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Toronto, and a Bachelor of Education from the University of Alberta. While living in Toronto, she performed with many groups including the Canadian Opera Company, the Toronto Symphony, the Toronto Pops Orchestra, the National Arts Centre Orchestra, and the York Brass.
Since returning to Edmonton, she has been a regular performer with the Edmonton Symphony, the Citadel Theatre, Alberta Baroque Ensemble, and numerous chamber ensembles. As a soloist she has been heard in recital at Alberta College, All Saints' Anglican Church, Canadian University College, Festival Place, King’s College, and the McDougall at Noon concert series.
Ms. Fearon has been a guest artist at The Call of the Wild Horn Festival in Cold Lake since its inception in 1998. She has been heard on Our Music, CBC1, and had performed in the Wednesday at Winspear series. She is currently working on a solo CD recording.
Ms. Fearon has been the horn instructor at Alberta College since 1994, and is also in demand as a clinician and adjudicator. In the fall of 2006, she founded Horns A Plenty, a horn choir with over 20 members. She is married with three daughters (two who also play the horn), and an energetic Brittany Spaniel named Beau.
Arlene Shiplett was born and raised in North Battleford, Saskatchewan. She became involved in music at an early age with piano lessons, choir and both school and private band programs. She graduated from the University of Saskatchewan with a Bachelor of Music in Music Education in 1986. Arlene became a member of the Saskatoon Symphony in 1992. For several years Arlene taught Band in rural Saskatchewan and played in the Symphony. Since 2000, she has narrowed her focus to teaching horn at the University of Saskatchewan as well as private teaching and coaching.
Arlene has performed with Prairie Virtuosi, Regina Symphony Orchestra, Brandon Chamber Orchestra, Saskatoon Philharmonic, Saskatoon Opera, North Saskatchewan Wind Symphony and Saskatoon Concert Band.
Her recent accomplishments include winning the Dwaine Nelson Teaching Award, conducting the mass horn choir at the Call of the Wild horn conference, and performing with the International Brass Quintet at the International Peace Gardens. Arlene may be seen every summer performing on the Saskatchewan Western Development Museum's Steam Calliope - one of a few in playing condition in North America. She is married to Lee Springett. They have no children and 7 horns.
Daniel has been playing the fiddle since the age of five, and performs in a variety of fiddle styles as well as classical violin. In 2011, he was the first and only Albertan to win the Canadian Grand Master Fiddle Competition, and was also the recipient of the Prix Sylvie Van Brabant-Excellence en création artistique (2010) by the Regroupement artistique francophone de l'Alberta and the City of Edmonton Arts and Culture Award (2007). Daniel recently had the opportunity to perform at the 2012 London Olympics as a cultural ambassador of Alberta, and has toured with Zéphyr, a French-Canadian dance group, performing at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, Mondial des cultures in Drummondville, the Folkmoot USA Festival in North Carolina, and Festival Interfolk in France. He has six albums to his credit, including two solo albums, Flying Fiddle (2003) and Endless Possibilities (2005), and was nominated for “Young Performer of the Year” at the Canadian Folk Music Awards in 2006. Daniel is also a founding member of Trad’badour, a French-Canadian duo, which has recently completed a school tour of over 90 presentations in Western Canada. Along with a busy schedule of performing, recording, and teaching, Daniel is currently working towards a Master of Music degree at the University of Alberta.
Jacob Pratt, a Dakota/Saulteaux and registered member of the Cote First Nations in Saskatchewan, is currently attending the First Nations University of Canada where he is pursuing a degree in business and intends to pursue a master’s degree. As a young child Jacob’s parents taught him and his sisters how to dance their traditional styles. Jacob now dances what is known as Mens Traditional in the pow wow genre and has expanded his dance from the traditional style to include the Hoop Dance, in which Jacob uses 15 hoops to tell stories by creating different formations depicting animals such as the eagle, bear and butterfly. At 14, Jacob started playing the traditional Native American Flute and after more than a decade of practice, he is now sharing his talents with the world. Jacob released his long-anticipated first CD Eagle Calls in April 2011. As a model, Jacob has worked with many photographers and has been in a number of fashion shows. He has also recently become interested in acting—a natural progression in his already creative career. An experienced motivational speaker, Jacob is passionate about working with First Nations/Native American youth, and his talks address subjects such as cultural preservation, youth empowerment, language revitalization, and education. Jacob also teaches pow wow dance classes and leads workshops on dance and modeling.
September Russell began her musical journey as a band student in Lumsden, Saskatchewan playing flute and saxophone in concert band and jazz band. After graduating, she pursued a degree in Music Education, and in 2004 she received her BMusEd from the University of Regina. In 2009 she finished her MA in Music Theory from the University of Regina, and began teaching Music Theory and Music Appreciation classes at Luther College and the University of Regina.
Currently September shares her passion for music as an educator, music theorist, and saxophone player. She works as a theory instructor at the Regina Conservatory of Performing Arts as well as a Teaching Musician for the NAC Music Alive Program. She is a dynamic presenter, giving lectures in music theory and music appreciation around Regina.
Ken MacDonald is a Canadian horn player from Vancouver, British Columbia. His chamber and solo appearances with orchestras and festivals across Canada have been featured on Canada's national radio service, the CBC. He has earned praise as a “master French hornist” (Globe and Mail) with “an expressive, clean, and beautiful sound” (Hamilton Spectator). He is on the faculty of the University of Manitoba.
Mr. MacDonald attended the University of British Columbia on scholarship with Martin Hackleman, where he won First Prize in the VSO Competition. He has studied with Philip Myers in New York, and other major influences include opera singer Joel Katz of the Royal Conservatory of Music, Alan Civil, Frøydis Ree Wekre, and Roland Pandolfi.
Ken has first horn positions with two of Canada's best-known performing ensembles: the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra since 1997, and the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra since 2001. Prior to these appointments he was first horn of Symphony Nova Scotia and the Vancouver Opera Orchestra. He has also performed with over half of Canada's professional orchestras, including regular appearances with the Vancouver Symphony, the Canadian Opera Company, and many of the other finest ensembles in the greater Toronto and Vancouver areas.
Andrew Balfour is the founder, conceptual creator and Artistic Director of Camerata Nova. In addition to extensive choral experience (singing, directing, coaching and clinician work with a range of choirs in Manitoba), Andrew has become a serious composer and arranger. He also specializes in creating “concept concerts” (Wa Wa Tey Wak, Medieval Inuit, Falls the Shadow) for Camerata Nova, where a theme is explored through an eclectic choice of music, including new works written for the performance, and innovative inter-genre and interdisciplinary collaborations.
Of Cree descent, Andrew started writing his own compositions in 1998. Since then, he has written a body of choral, instrumental and orchestral work, including Gregorio’s Nightmare, Raven Can Tango, Wa Wa Tey Wak (Northern Lights), Fantasia on a Poem by Rumi, Missa Brevis, Medieval Inuit, Kihewetaniy (Eagle Feather), and Voice of the Lake. Many of Andrew’s works have been performed and/or broadcast locally, nationally and internationally. As well, several are featured on Camerata Nova recordings. In 2010, two new orchestral works by Andrew are being premiered: Manitou Sky was performed by the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra (WSO) in June and Oscana will be performed by the Regina Symphony Orchestra in September with Andrew conducting.
Andrew has been involved extensively in editing and arranging music for 20 years. Since Camerata Nova's inception in 1996, he has specialized in arrangements of medieval, Renaissance, early Baroque and Byzantine choral music. Andrew has also produced many experimental arrangements using unusual instruments in conjunction with voice. Camerata Nova is proud to possess a unique choral library, of which many pieces are Balfour arrangements.
Andrew was Curator of the first Indigenous Festival sponsored by the WSO in 2009 and Composer-in-Residence of the same Indigenous Festival in 2010. He also does extensive music education work in Winnipeg schools, primarily as part of the WSO outreach program.
In 2007, Andrew received the Mayor of Winnipeg’s Making a Mark Award, sponsored by the Winnipeg Arts Council to recognize the most promising midcareer artist in the city.