This transformative and life-affirming moment happened at NUOVA Vocal Arts.
If you ask any conductor about the very first time they stood in front of an orchestra, I’m sure every last one of them could recount it all in vivid detail. It’s one of those formative experiences that changes you: a wild ride that’s part terror and part exhilaration, and not something you ever forget. Mine was with Benjamin Britten’s masterful operatic version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. This opera is at times fiendishly difficult and at other times astonishingly beautiful. After having now learned probably about a hundred operas, I still maintain that the last three minutes of this opera is one of the most incredibly beautiful things that’s ever been written. I got to conduct only one performance of this opera, but it was a life-changing magical ride. This transformative and life-affirming moment happened at NUOVA Vocal Arts.
They—teachers and students alike—changed who I was, and many of them continue to teach me what it is to be an artist. These people are the invaluable gift that NUOVA Vocal Arts continues to give.
I guess it’s what they call a “core memory”—the experience of an event that comes to define who you are. It took me a while after this first time with an orchestra to be able to say this with confidence, but I am a conductor. And I started on this path at NUOVA Vocal Arts. I have a lot of incredible experiences burned into my memory from my long history with NUOVA Vocal Arts. I started there first as a student pianist, and I’m grateful to have been invited back enough times that I’ve actually lost count.
Of course, what I’ve learned there is far too long a list to include here. It is a lot of nuts and bolts of how to make music and specifically how to put an opera together. It’s also a lot about finding the confidence to set out—and to keep going—seemingly against all odds sometimes. This is all priceless stuff, and it’s served me enormously well. But it is really about the people. I’m not going to name names here, because inevitably I’ll forget someone (and I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings). So many of my brilliant and beautiful colleagues today from one end of this country to the other, I met at NUOVA Vocal Arts. They—teachers and students alike—changed who I was, and many of them continue to teach me what it is to be an artist. These people are the invaluable gift that NUOVA Vocal Arts continues to give.
Through gritty determination, a ton of hard work and not just a little bit of luck, I’ve managed to accomplish a lot of things I’m proud of by this point in my life.
Through gritty determination, a ton of hard work and not just a little bit of luck, I’ve managed to accomplish a lot of things I’m proud of by this point in my life. I am the Music Director of the wonderful Regina Symphony Orchestra (now in my 7th season!). I was for four incredible years the Associate Conductor of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, as well as the Resident Conductor of Calgary Opera. I’ve done stints with the National Ballet of Canada, and have made my European debut in Germany in 2016. I’ve worked with most of the orchestras across Canada, including those in Toronto, Quebec City, Victoria and Kitchener-Waterloo. This season, I will conduct the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and return to the Glenn Gould School in Toronto for a production of Flight.
Returning to NUOVA Vocal Arts
Last summer, I returned to NUOVA Vocal Arts to conduct an incredible production of The Consul my Gian Carlo Menotti. It’s great to see this vital program still empowering so many young musicians to follow their dreams in this increasingly intimidating industry. I was proud to be there to contribute what I have to offer. And I will always be incredibly grateful.