Leslie Uyeda Celebration

Friday, March 9, 2018 • 7:00pm

Download Program (PDF)

Leslie UyedaYesterday was International Women’s Day. Sean wanted to mark this day by having my Celebration Concert as close to March 8th as possible. Thank you, Sean.

I am very pleased to be associated with a day that means so much to me as a woman and as a composer. As a woman, I understand and support the need for a day to be set aside to recognize women, and girls — all women and all girls — around the world, though I await the time in our society when it will no longer be necessary.

Music is my expression — as a composer, pianist, and conductor. Last summer when I was conducting Cor Flammae — the classically-trained LGBTQ choir, I realized — again, how essential, how visceral, is the need to be heard. To conduct a choir dedicated to singing we are here was both thrilling and empowering for me.

As a composer, I have made a deliberate choice to work with poetry by women. This decision has to do with voice — women’s voices, my voice, and I choose only those poems and texts that resonate deeply with me. I am very happy for the opportunity to share some of this expression with you tonight.

Most of my répertoire is vocal music. Growing up in Montréal, I heard great operatic voices as well as many of the world’s best lieder and art song interpreters. These singers (and pianists!) sparked a love of the human voice in my young ears, and I have loved singers and their collaborative art ever since.

I consider myself extremely fortunate to be a musician. It is a blessing in life to have one’s journey filled with beauty.

I want to thank the four artists performing with me tonight. It has been a joy to work with all of you.

Heather Pawsey has commissioned, premièred and performed, with her particular insight and gift, a lot of my music through the years. The only way I know to thank her adequately is to continue to write more songs for her.

Kathryn Cernauskas, fabulous flutist, has promoted me and my music tirelessly. Thank you Kathryn, for your beautiful playing, and for all your kindness and generosity to me as publisher of The Avondale Press.

AK Coope — what a whiz of a clarinettist! For all you bring to music, to my music, and to new music in Vancouver — thank you.

Rebecca Wenham — a cellist who can play anything, a “fearless multitasker” as Alexander Varty described Becky in the Georgia Strait — thank you for bringing your fresh, dramatic and eloquent playing to this concert.

Thank you to Colin Miles, the former Director of the CMC BC Region, who first urged me to apply to become an Associate Composer. We worked together for years in the orchestra pit at Vancouver Opera, and it has always meant a great deal to me that it was Colin who expressed belief and confidence in my music.

Thank you, Sean Bickerton, Stefan Hintersteininger, and Dave McLaughlin for all your support. You’re all really great guys, and you’ve made the CMC a happ’nin’ place!

And thank you, Kathleen Speakman, my beloved, for all your love and encouragement throughout our years together. You are the sine qua non …


… like near misses
Kathryn Cernauskas, flute; AK Coope, clarinet

Sakura Songs
Vol. 1: waking in spring (Uyeda) • Vol. 2: cherry blossoms (Shields) • Vol. 1: my old cat (Weiss)
Vol. 2: snowing in spring? (Chung) • Vol. 2: sakura (instrumental) (traditional, arr. Uyeda)
Heather Pawsey, soprano, percussion; Kathryn Cernauskas, flute; Rebecca Wenham, cello; Leslie Uyeda, piano

Poem by Brenda Brooks; Music by Leslie Uyeda
Heather Pawsey, soprano; Kathryn Cernauskas, flute; Leslie Uyeda, piano 

Anniversary Toast (arr. for flute, clarinet, and cello)
Kathryn Cernauskas, flute; AK Coope, clarinet; Rebecca Wenham, cello
Featured Emerging Composer

Poem by Amy Lowell; Music by Nova Pon
Heather Pawsey, soprano; Leslie Uyeda, piano

The First Woman
Poems by Lorna Crozier; Music by Leslie Uyeda
1. The First Woman • 2. The Fall of Eve • 3. Dinah, Jacob’s Daughter • 4. Who is She, Then?
Heather Pawsey, soprano; Leslie Uyeda, piano

Lullaby for Maya
Kathryn Cernauskas, flute; Leslie Uyeda, piano

Five Selections from The Sex Lives of Vegetables
Poems by Lorna Crozier; Music by Leslie Uyeda
Vol. 1: Carrots • Vol. 2: Lettuce • Vol. 3: Tomatoes • Vol. 3: Cabbages • Vol. 1: Radishes
Heather Pawsey, soprano; AK Coope, clarinet; Leslie Uyeda, piano

Program Notes

… like near misses

This duo for flute and clarinet owes its existence to the opening motive, which came into my head one afternoon and just wouldn’t leave. This motive seemed to be the beginning of a story or short scene. At the time, I had just completed Oracle Stones, a quartet for soprano, flute, clarinet and piano that was to be performed inside the restored copper mine — now the BC Museum of Mining, near Squamish, for New Music in New Places (a wonderful Canadian Music Centre initiative). After a tour of the old mine, I began to wonder what life had been like for the miners who had worked in that cavernous, damp, cold place. That motive grew into a conversation for two — ghosts of former miners, perhaps? I imagined two spirits entering the mine, looking around, reminiscing. Some of their first recollections are teasing, light-hearted, but as the title suggests, others are quiet and wistful. When I finished the piece, I was left with a feeling that those two might be back … I’m dreaming a sequel…

Of course, insistent motive or otherwise, … like near misses only came to life because of Kathryn Cernauskas and AK Coope, two of Canada’s most outstanding musicians, who played the première. These two extraordinary performers are an inspiration to their colleagues and audiences alike. I am so pleased they are here tonight to play this duo again.

Sakura Songs

I wrote these songs in homage to my Japanese Canadian heritage, which is a huge part of my life. The sound of traditional Japanese music has been in my ears from a very young age. In 1942, my Japanese grandparents and their family were forced to leave Vancouver, where my father and his two sisters had been born. When I began to learn about that dark time in their lives, I decided to compose something to honour them and what they had gone through. I knew that a few years before the war, my grandparents had anonymously given a thousand cherry trees to the City of Vancouver, which were planted in Stanley Park. Most of those trees are gone now, but all the cherry blossoms that decorate Vancouver every spring remind me of my family’s gift to the city.

For the song texts, I chose several of the winning poems from the 2007/2008 haiku-writing contest of the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival. Heather Pawsey and Kathryn Cernauskas were two of the musicians who gave the première of the songs at the Bloedel Conservatory in Queen Elizabeth Park, as part of the 2009 Cherry Blossom Festival. We had to compete with a boisterous macaw, which had perched right beside my keyboard!

Tonight you’ll hear four of the eight Sakura Songs, and my instrumental arrangement of Sakura, Sakura — the familiar and popular ode to the cherry blossom.

waking in spring
waking in spring
I open my eyes and smile —
a cherry blossom
— Leslie Uyeda
cherry blossoms
cherry blossoms collect
at the base of the tree
her painted toes
— Trish Shields
my old cat
my old cat listens
to the falling pink blossoms
under the cherry tree
— Blaine Weiss
snowing in spring?
snowing in spring?
rubber boots and scarf
oh! cherry blossoms
— Alicia Chung

This trio for soprano, flute, piano and pre-recorded whale songs was commissioned by my friend and colleague, soprano Heather Pawsey. It was Heather’s idea to present a concert of Canadian music at the Vancouver Aquarium (another New Music in New Places event) to celebrate the Aquarium’s 50th anniversary year. Heather asked me to compose a trio that would celebrate the beauty, majesty and mystery of whales. I asked Canadian poet and novelist Brenda Brooks to write a poem for this occasion. Brenda’s poem expresses not only a great love of whales, but also our fear for their survival.

Trish Gauntlett, then Manager of Membership Programmes at the Aquarium, gave me access to the Aquarium’s recordings of both orca and beluga songs, which I then incorporated into the music. The trio was performed next to the underwater beluga gallery. Not only could the audience see the great white miracles swimming about during the music, but also they could hear the whales singing back to the performers!

The Aquarium has since changed its policies regarding whales in captivity, but when those great creatures were living there, they gave us an experience none of us will ever forget.


At night wild seas
pull us from our beds. We follow the path
to the high cliffs and gaze out —
hungry for wind-wrought miracles:

the ghosts of drowned horses rushing
the shore, their white manes flying;
or the moon descending
like a fine bowl slipping from a table.

Our eyes go on yearning —
while far below in a hushed darkness fractured by moonlight
boundless miracles turn and glide with illusive ease
and sing to each other in the haunted deeps.

— Brenda Brooks

Anniversary Toast

This trio is an arrangement of a song I wrote for the Song Room, a series of song evenings, started by the late Tom Cone and his wife, designer Karen Matthews. Each concert had four guidelines: all songs had to be under five minutes, and composed for acoustic instruments rather than electronic; each composer was permitted a maximum of four performers; and instrumentation could not include piano, because Tom and Karen didn’t own one. The theme for one particular evening was ‘indiscretion’. I couldn’t resist that topic! The original song was written for soprano, flute/bass flute and cello. Brenda Brooks’ poem is nostalgic, smoky, and sharp, a blend I hope I’ve retained in the instrumental version you’ll hear tonight.


Amy Lowell belonged to the “Imagist” school of poetry, which aimed, in Lowell’s own words: to present an image, to produce poetry that was hard and clear, and sought concentration as the very essence of poetry. In Miscast I, the speaker compares her own mind to a blade, reflecting on its self-made brilliance, deeper and sharper than the superficiality of “passers-by,” and enriched by complex passions.  I was struck by a quality of scintillating bitterness in the poem, as if at a world blocking this mind from fulfillment, and sentencing it to a menial existence. (Lowell lived at a time when, even within prominent families, higher education was not an option for the Lowell women.) I sought a setting with harmonic openness, edgy starkness, and sparkling, slashing gestures that ultimately are deadened through muting of the piano strings.

— Nova Pon


I have whetted my brain until it is like a Damascus blade,
So keen that it nicks off the floating fringes of passers-by,
So sharp that the air would turn its edge
Were it to be twisted in flight.
Licking passions have bitten their arabesques into it,
And the mark of them lies, in and out,
With the beauty of corroded copper patterning white steel.
My brain is curved like a scimitar,
And sighs at its cutting
Like a sickle mowing grass.

But of what use is all this to me!
I, who am set to crack stones
In a country lane!

— Amy Lowell

The First Woman

One of my most treasured moments in my composing life occurred ten years ago at UBC, during the Vancouver International Song Institute Festival (VISI). Heather Pawsey and pianist Rena Sharon (founder of VISI, fabulous pianist, inspired and inspiring teacher) gave the world première of The First Woman.

I love poetry, and had recently read a volume of poetry by Canadian poet Lorna Crozier — Apocrypha of Light. I found the poems terrifying, powerful, fearless, and wonderful. I chose four that I thought would make a cohesive dramatic cycle.

The First Woman is about the silencing of women. It is about the rape of women. It is about the total eclipse of Lilith and the slandering of Eve. It is about the rage of women, but it is also about our wisdom and power.

The First Woman is a long way from some long held expectations of the traditional art song. Ten years ago at the première I received many comments about this cycle, not all of them complimentary. A song about being raped? But now women and men are talking openly about what it’s like to be diminished, to walk in fear, to be assaulted. I hope that The First Woman will add another voice to this urgent social movement that desires and demands equality and respect for all of us.

The subject of The First Woman is not easy to sing about. I would like to thank Heather Pawsey for her deep commitment to this song cycle, and for sharing her own wisdom, understanding, and courage. I composed this cycle for Heather, and you will know why tonight.


We were mothers giving birth
to each other, or we were sisters,
our home the night’s vast womb.
We orbited inside its silky
black cocoon. If Galileo had been
there with his telescope
and blasphemy, he would have named
our double brightness
and I wouldn’t have been so lost.

My hand reached out
and to prove I was the first
the angels tied it with a strong red string,
the origin of scarlet as a curse.
I felt her grow beside me, her spirit curve
against my bones like cream inside a spoon.

We were one creature then,
four-legged, perhaps a fawn
whose hooves had not grown hard,
a calf so strange we would be kept
inside a jar. Then I counted fingers,
counted toes, and she looked back at me.

I, not Eve, brought pain into the birthing room.
I didn’t want to leave her. I clung to the womb
with my nails and teeth, ripped night from day,
eternity from now.

That was my first argument with God.
The second: I wouldn’t lie placid
as a hooked and fatty fish under Adam,
my wings pinned back. For punishment
God banished me and turned my sister into bone,
honed away everything she’d been
when we lay together among stars.

Some nights I wait at the edge of the garden—
how lush it is, how full of anguish.
Light and docile, she walks toward me,
a trail of creatures at her side.
Does she know I’m here? She’s forgotten

my face, forgotten our one smell
as we wound around each other,
her fingers in my mouth, my hand
holding her heartbeat, a wounded wren
I cannot save from grief.


When the animals used to talk to me—
lisp of snail, click of grasshopper’s
exact consonant—there were rumours
a woman with wings roamed the wasteland.
They said she was furred, sleek and shimmering
as a weasel, eyes wells of desert water
where you’d surely drown.

Not knowing what she feared, I washed
the smell of man from my skin,
walked to where the garden stopped
and everything Adam couldn’t name
fell into poetry and silence.

Beside the hawthorn hedge, the forbidden
tart on my tongue, I said Lilith
though I didn’t remember
what it meant, then I said Beloved
and something like a breath lifted
the hair on the back of my neck.

Before I could turn, God’s voice
roared through the leaves
and I glimpsed her wings unfolding,
feathers bewildering the sky.
My own arms rose and I know
the way you know your own sorrow
on this earth, once I was that dear,
that close to her,
once I too could fly.


The afternoon four of my brothers
tied me to a tree, bound my skirts
over my head like a sack so I couldn’t see,
I thought nothing worse could happen.

Years later in Canaan
the prince’s son raped me.
He’s made you a whore,
my brothers said,
and then they killed him
and every man in the city.
Don’t think it had anything
to do with love.

There were ten of them,
older than me.

Every night it seemed
when we were kids,
our parents sleeping,
one of them would
hold me down,
another mount me,
doing nothing really
but pressing his hard
dense body on top of mine.
Baa like a sheep,
one of them whispered,
and we’ll let you go.

Baa, I said, baa,
a third brother’s hand
over my mouth.


She knew each beast and all the secret names
of tree and star and every bird in flight.
All things to her were different and the same.

She scrolled from alphabets of wind and rain
the wasps of winter and a blossom’s blight.
She knew each beast and all the secret names,

the ice that glows inside the smallest flame
when snow in darkness spins the whole world white.
All things to her were different and the same.

She wrote in air the magpie’s thin refrain,
its breviary made of bones and spite. She knew
each beast and all the secret names.

Who is she then who knows each creature’s pain
and how it makes an opening for light?
All things to her are different and the same:

This dust is mother of the orphaned rain,
a full moon wears the barn owl’s face in flight.
She knows each beast and every secret name.
All things to her are different and the same.

— Lorna Crozier

Lullaby for Maya

Lullaby for Maya was composed as a Christmas gift for flutist Kathryn Cernauskas to celebrate the birth of Maya, her first grandchild. Composing this lullaby was my way of celebrating and sharing in this new life. Kathryn later told me that the lullaby did help Maya to sleep, in fact, she fell asleep every night at precisely the same place in the score — bar 89! I’m sure you’ll know where that is.

I would like to dedicate tonight’s performance of Lullaby for Maya to Kathryn’s late husband Barry Cogswell, who died last May. Barry — “Pops” to his grandchildren — was an inspiring human being, a man with a magical touch and a ray of light in everything he did. Sleep softly, dear friend.

The Sex Lives of Vegetables

Lorna Crozier’s seventeen poems about the secret lives of vegetables — The Sex Lives of Vegetables — were published in her volume The Garden Going On Without Us. What a stunning feat of imagination. I chose fifteen of the poems in order to make three volumes of five songs each. I can easily recall what a wonderful time I had writing these songs. I certainly have never looked at a carrot the same way again! Some of the songs are whimsical, others quite serious, some mildly threatening, and some just plain fun. Enjoy your veggies!


Carrots are fucking
the earth. A permanent
erection, they push deeper
into the damp and dark.
All summer long
they try so hard to please.
Was it good for you,
was it good?

Perhaps because the earth won’t answer
they keep on trying.
While you stroll through the garden
thinking carrot cake,
carrots and onions in beef stew,
carrot pudding with caramel sauce,
they are fucking their brains out
in the hottest part of the afternoon.


Raised for one thing
and one thing only,
lettuce is a courtesan
in her salad days.
Under her fancy crinolines
her narrow feet are bound.


Pixie. Pretty Patio.
Red Cushion. No wonder
they all have round heels
and rouge their nipples.


Long-living and slow,
content to dream in the sun,
heads tucked in, cabbages
ignore the caress of the
cabbage butterfly, the soft
sliding belly of the worm.

You know it’s crazy
but they lie so still,
so self-contained, you imagine them
laying eggs
in the earth’s dark pockets,
expect one morning they’ll be gone,
dragging themselves
to the creek behind the house,

making their way
with great deliberation
to the sea.


Radishes flip their skirts in the wind
like a line of chorus girls
throw them over their heads.

If they were singers
they’d be the Andrews sisters.
If they had jobs
they’d be nurses who drive
red sports cars after work.

Every spring you put up with
their flirtations
for the crunch between your teeth
the quick surprise of rain and fire
they’ve saved all season
just for you.

— Lorna Crozier


Leslie Uyeda, Composer

Composer, conductor and pianist Leslie Uyeda was born in Montréal. She studied piano with the late Dorothy Morton at McGill University and William Aide at the University of Manitoba. She has been coach, pianist and conductor with the Canadian Opera Company, L’Opéra de Montréal, Manitoba Opera, Opera Hamilton, the Banff Centre and the Chautauqua Institute of Music in New York. Uyeda was a CBC Radio Music Producer in Winnipeg before moving to Toronto to become the first Executive Producer of Opera for the network.

As collaborative pianist Leslie Uyeda has performed with some of Canada’s best singers — Ben Heppner, Tracy Dahl, Richard Margison, Brett Polegato, Liping Zhang, and Heather Pawsey, who has premièred several of Uyeda’s vocal works. Uyeda has been Chorus Music Director with Manitoba Opera, Opera Hamilton, and Vancouver Opera, where she also conducted several main stage productions, including new operas The Architect (David MacIntyre), and Naomi’s Road (Ramona Luengen). She also conducted her own operas Game Misconduct and When the Sun Comes Out. Last summer Uyeda was guest conductor for Cor Flammae and made a new choral arrangement of the Scottish folksong Dance to your Shadow for their two concerts.

Recent commissions include The Sprung Spring — for Cor Flammae (www.corflammae.com), Je Veux Vivre — an arrangement of Gounod’s aria (from Roméo et Juliette) for clarinet and piano, Incantation — a cross-cultural work for two singers and instrumental ensemble, for Astrolabe Musik Theatre and Turning Point Ensemble, and Midnight Watch — a song cycle for soprano and piano (poetry by Lorna Crozier), performed by Robyn Driedger-Klassen and Terence Dawson at the Vancouver Symphony New Music Festival this past January.

Leslie Uyeda has composed over forty songs to poetry of Lorna Crozier, including earlier cycles The First Woman, White Cat Blues, Plato’s Angel, and The Sex Lives of Vegetables. Last December Uyeda led a workshop of Your Breath, My Breath: Dialogue for a Mother and Daughter — an extended poem in the form of a dialogue written specifically for her by Lorna Crozier. There will be a public performance of this 45-minute duo in June 2018. Uyeda has also composed four song cycles to the poetry of Japanese-Canadian poet Joy Kogawa.

Leslie Uyeda’s music is performed throughout Canada, the U.S. and the U.K. Uyeda is an Associate Composer of the Canadian Music Centre, a member of the Canadian League of Composers and SOCAN. Her music is published by Classica.ca and the Avondale Press (www.theavondalepress.com), now held within the Canadian Music Centre. Leslie lives very happily with her family in Vancouver, where she enjoys Iyengar yoga classes at The Yoga Space, walking her miniature poodle puppy Puff, reading, swimming, being with friends, watching great British TV, and cheering for her team Les Canadiens de Montréal.

Brenda Brooks, Poet

Brenda Brooks was born in Rivers, Manitoba, and grew up in various locales across the country. She graduated from York University in Toronto, and worked for many years at the Canadian Press News Service. She now lives on Salt Spring Island, B.C., where she is working on a novel and poetry collection. She has written two poetry collections, a novel and appeared in anthologies in Britain, Canada, and the U.S.A.

Kathryn Cernauskas, Flute

Flutist Kathryn Cernauskas has made Canadian music a focus of her performing, publishing and recording activities. Her work as a champion of Canadian music includes premiere performances of more than 100 Canadian compositions, a solo CD of Canadian music for flute and publications of Canadian music. While maintaining an active career as a performer, teacher and adjudicator, Kathryn Cernauskas also has served as Coordinator of Music at Douglas College and Chair of the Canadian Music Centre in BC. Her music publishing company, The Avondale Press, now managed by the CMC, published solo and chamber music, including many works by Canadian composers. (www.cernauskas.ca)

AK Coope, Clarinet

AK performs with an eclectic array of ensembles, including the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Vancouver Opera Orchestra, Turning Point Ensemble, Aventa Ensemble, and Vancouver New Music, among others. She is a long-time member of Standing Wave, one of Canada’s leading new music chamber ensembles and is a founding member of the Ad Mare Wind Quintet and the Cascadia Reed Quintet. She can be heard on a wide variety of CD’s and movie soundtracks, including recent releases by Elvis Costello and Dan Mangan and Standing Wave’s own, award-winning, “New Wave.” She is currently a faculty member at both the Vancouver Academy of Music and the VSO School of Music.

Lorna Crozier, Poet

An Officer of the Order of Canada, Lorna Crozier has been acknowledged for her contributions to Canadian literature, her teaching and her mentoring with five honourary doctorates, most recently from McGill and Simon Fraser Universities. Her books have received numerous national awards, including the Governor-General’s Award for Poetry. The Globe and Mail declared The Book of Marvels: A Compendium of Everyday Things one of its Top 100 Books of the Year, and Amazon chose her memoir as one of the 100 books you should read in your lifetime. A Professor Emerita at the University of Victoria, she has performed for Queen Elizabeth II and has read her poetry, which has been translated into several languages, on every continent except Antarctica. Her latest book, What the Soul Doesn’t Want, was nominated for the 2017 Governor General’s Award for Poetry. She lives on Vancouver Island with writer Patrick Lane and two cats who love to garden.

Amy Lowell, Poet

Amy Lowell was born on February 9, 1874 in Brookline, Massachusetts. Born into the prominent Lowell family, she devoted herself to poetry but published nothing until 1910. She wrote in what she called “polyphonic prose” and became a leader of Imagism. Lowell was known for her powerful personality and iconoclasm. She died in 1925 and was posthumously awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1926.

Heather Pawsey, Soprano

First Prize winner of the Eckhardt-Gramatté National Music Competition, soprano Heather Pawsey has performed across Canada, the U.S., and Europe. Named an Ambassador of the Canadian Music Centre — one of only 50 musicians “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. On the concert stage, Heather has appeared as soloist with the Prague Modern Orchestra (Czech Republic), Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Turning Point Ensemble, Aventa Ensemble (Victoria), Land’s End Ensemble (Calgary), Music on Main and Scotia Festival of Music (Halifax), among others. Known for her creation of roles in new Canadian operas—most recently Kayoi Komachi / Komachi Visited (Tomoe Arts); Stickboy (Vancouver Opera); One Thousand White Paper Cranes for Japan (Prague Modern Orchestra) and The Lake / n’-ha-a-itk (Astrolabe Musik Theatre/Turning Point Ensemble), she is featured in the CMC BC short documentary film The Lake about Canadian composer Barbara Pentland. Heather is on faculty at Capilano University, and is the Founding Artistic Director and General Manager of Astrolabe Musik Theatre. Heather is honoured, challenged, moved and inspired by her long, close collaboration and friendship with Leslie Uyeda and her profoundly insightful, sensitive, beautiful music.

Nova Pon, Composer

Nova Pon (b. 1983) has composed over fifty works and her music has been performed on four continents. A recent winner of the CMC’s Emerging Composer Competition and a nominee for a Western Canadian Music Award, performers of her music have included Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Erato Ensemble, Kensington Sinfonia, Rubbing Stone Ensemble, Ensemble Resonance, Sempre la Musica and Ensemble Paramirabo. Her degrees are from the University of Calgary and University of British Columbia, and she continues exploring connections within music, psychology, and philosophy. Recent projects include a commission from Redshift Music for percussion quartet, including microtonal glass marimba and water and glass instruments, and work a for Mark Takeshi McGregor’s upcoming solo flute recording based on the song of the Pacific Wren. She is also a passionate music teacher and flutist, and resides with her husband, daughter, and cats on Bowen Island.

Rebecca Wenham, Cello

Cellist Rebecca Wenham’s performances have been described as “silken, highly refined” (the Globe and Mail) as well as having “extraordinary commitment and maturity” (La Gazette). Her animated playing style is often surprising, dramatic and impulsive, leaving a breathless audience on the edge of their seats. She has performed across North America, Mexico, Europe, Japan and Australia. Formerly a member of the Cecilia String Quartet, she won prizes in the Osaka, Rutenberg, Bordeaux and Banff International String Quartet Competitions, and was a CBC Galaxie Rising Star in 2007. Highlights of the 2015 season included performances of Elgar cello concerto with the Vancouver Philharmonic, Brahms Double Concerto with the Lion’s Gate Sinfonia, and Schumann cello concerto with West Coast Symphony Orchestra. This past May, Music on Main presented Rebecca in a program of solo cello exploring works that highlight divergent musical styles (all composed in the 21st century), from classical to music by jazz cellist Peggy Lee and rock violinist Sarah Neufeld. A member of Microcosmos Quartet since 2011, an ensemble committed to performing music of the last 100 years (or so), she presents programs in intimate settings such as private homes, art galleries, clubs and small halls. Microcosmos Quartet held its inaugural string orchestra mentorship program, the Kessler Academy, in September 2015. Rebecca is principal cello of the Vancouver Opera Orchestra. Her projects have been generously funded by the Canada Council, the BC Arts Council and ProQuartet. She holds degrees from the HARID Conservatory of Music, and from Rice, San Diego State and McGill Universities.