Jean Ethridge Celebration

Friday, October 27, 2017 • 7:00pm

Download Program (PDF)

Jean EthridgeMusic transports me to another world where life is beautiful and ordered. 

When I listen to the music of J. S. Bach, I feel comforted that everything is right with the world. One day, at the Royal College of Music in London, England, everyone was summoned to the auditorium. Sir Yehudi Menuhin, an alumnus, had arrived for his annual visit. He performed J.S. Bach’s Chaconne in d minor. It was an ecstatic experience to hear playing so sublime. I was incredulous, hearing three beautiful cantabile melodies at the same time from a solo violin. I believe that a performer’s intentions are communicated to the listener.

Music transcends words, transcends boundaries, transcends all that is material in this world. An inspired performance conveys so much more than just the notes. Where does music live? Music lives in the space between the tones! The tones are like the walls of a house that contain the life within. Silences create suspense and anticipation. When there is rhythmic continuity, a thread wends its way through a composition. It may be flexible, but must never break.

When I have composed a new work, I listen to it in two ways: as a whole, for the overall effect, and to every microscopic detail. I wonder how other people listen to music. Does the sound wash over them like warm summer rain, do they appreciate the form and construction of the composition? Is their mind somewhere else? Are they bored? Are they engaged in the musical journey? I visualize the instruments performing on the stage, and imagine myself as an audience member hearing the work for the first time. I am very critical. Does it make sense? Do the players enjoy playing it?

My hope is that my compositions might move listeners in a profound way and perhaps even lead them to experience a rare moment of magic.


In 1898, the Rev. J. Millen Robinson, Jean Coulthard’s maternal grandfather, moved with his family to Rossland. In 1899, Dr. Walter Coulthard moved from Toronto to Rossland to practise medicine. On January 12, 1904, Jean Blake Robinson and Dr. Walter Coulthard (parents of composer Jean Coulthard) were married.*

Nina Horvath is from Rossland. Stephanie Nakagawa is from Salmon Arm, where I presently live.

* This information is from Jean Coulthard: A Life in Music by William Bruneau and David Gordon Duke.

Photo Gallery


Sonata in One Movement for Cello and Piano
Luke Kim, cello; Bogdan Dulu, piano

Sonata for Violin and Piano
I. Allegro con fuoco • II. Lament • III. Rondo
Ken Lin, violin ; Bogdan Dulu, piano

Five Songs for Soprano and Piano
I. Capilano Legend (E. Pauline Johnson)
II. Offering & Rebuff (Carl Sandburg)
III. Child Face (Carl Sandburg)
IV. Kaleidoscope (Neil Madu)
V. Punch (Jean Ethridge)
Stephanie Nakagawa, soprano; Nina Horvath, piano

Prelude, Cantillation & Danse Energique
Luke Kim, cello; Bogdan Dulu, piano

Still Stands the Oak
Featured Emerging Composer
Music by Katerina Gimon • Poem by E. Pauline Johnson
Stephanie Nakagawa, soprano; Nina Horvath, piano

The Ballad of Isabel Gunn (excerpts)
Music by Jean Ethridge; Libretto by Stephen Scobie

Act 1: I. Overture • II. Once, in the Fields of Orkney
Act 2: III. Jig • IV. When I Knew • V. And As We Move South • VI. Grass Fires • VII. Lullaby
Stephanie Nakagawa, soprano; Ken Lin, piano; Luke Kim, cello; Nina Horvath, piano

Program Notes

Sonata in One Movement for Cello and Piano

I composed the Sonata in One Movement for cello and piano in November 1991 during the time that I was very distressed about the Iraq-Kuwait war. The Sonata portrays the sadness, chaos, and devastation of war.

The premiere performance was on January 14, 1992, Thunder Bay, Ontario with Christoph Both, cello, Heather Morrison, piano. The work was commissioned by Christoph Both. Subsequent performances were held in Victoria, BC, and in Germany.

Sonata for Violin and Piano

This work was composed in 1966-1967, while I was studying with Jean Coulthard. It is a timeless work which is clear in form, and shows my emerging style. The premiere performance took place on April 11, 1967 at UBC, with Wendy Herbison, violin, and Jean Ethridge, piano.

Five Songs for Soprano and Piano

In 1967, Capilano Legend by Jean Ethridge won first place in a competition sponsored by the Women’s Committee of Vancouver Centennial Association for Art Song for Piano and Voice. The prize was $500. The song is set to text adapted by D. E. Nordstrom from Pauline Johnson’s Legends of Vancouver. The aboriginal legend tells of The Two Sisters who asked that the tribe which had been their ancient enemies, be invited to their celebration of stepping from childhood into womanhood. Their father, the chief, would not deny them their wish. He gave such a feast and potlatch that hostile war-songs ceased, weapons were put down, and Peace and Brotherhood was brought to the land. The two maidens were made immortal by the Sagalie Tyee as He lifted them up and set them on a high place where they have stood for thousands of years. You can see them as you look towards the north and the west, the twin peaks also known as The Lions of Vancouver. Edith Elart, soprano, and Jean Ethridge, piano, premiered Capilano Legend at the University of British Columbia, on April 11,1967.

Jean Ethridge set two poems by Carl Sandburg in 1967. Their beautiful words were challenging and inspiring to set. Child Face is puzzling, and the meaning is not clear. Like music, it means different things to different people. Perhaps it is a dream, perhaps it is a memory. The music is set simply, to create a gentle mood, until a dramatic climax at “blue sea.” Offering and Rebuff is clearly a song of the offering of love being rejected. The range of emotion is wide — from warm and passionate to extreme rage. The ending is very dramatic. Edith Elart, soprano, and Jean Ethridge, piano, premiered Child Face and Offering and Rebuff at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, on April 11, 1967. When setting the poem Offering and Rebuff, I left off the last verse. The poems are from Honey and Salt by Carl Sandburg, copyright 1963, 1961, 1960, 1958, 1953, by Carl Sandburg. Copyright renewed 1981, 1986, by Margaret Sandburg, Janet Sandburg, and Helga Sandburg Crile. Published by Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Orlando, Florida 32887. Used by permission.

One summer, at the Shawnigan Summer School of the Arts, Jean Coulthard was delayed for a week, and Joel Spiegelman from New York taught us twelve-tone technique. Kaleidoscope works really well in that idiom. The lack of tonal centre and pointillistic style expresses the surrealism of the poem. The song, written in 1973, was premiered in 1975 in Victoria B.C. by Anne Clarkson, soprano, and Jean Ethridge, piano. It is for soprano and piano to a poem by Neil Madu.

Punch for Prepared Soprano was composed in 1968 while I was a student at the Royal College of Music in London, England. Josephine Nendick, a soprano who performed a great deal of new music, was a special guest at our composition class. She demonstrated to us some of the different things she could do with her voice. We were each assigned to write a piece using some of the effects, due the following week. The first thing I did was choose a text in the public domain, as there was no time to obtain permission. The result was this song with the address of Punch magazine as its text. The falling minor third doubled by seconds in the piano accompaniment imitates the sound ambulances make in London. The soprano must be prepared to do many unusual things with her voice: speak, use a nasal tone quality, sing out of tune, vibrate, and shout. There is a glissando on the word “press”. “Watling Street” is with a nasal sound, and later the word “street” is shouted. There is a vibrated glissando on the word “Bletchly”, then later an indication to sing it out of tune. The “wa” from Watling is repeated with a nasal tone quality, to imitate the sound of the trumpet using a “wa-wa” mute. “Tling” brings to mind the sound of the bell on the London double decker bus. “Bucks” is short for Buckinghamshire. It is okay to laugh during the performance. Years later, when a student performed Punch at the Shuswap Music Festival in Salmon Arm, the adjudicator said. “A student should not sing this piece! Teachers spend years trying to get their students to not sing that way!”

I. Capilano Legend

The dream-like hills swim into the sky amid their ever-drifting
clouds of pearl and grey.

The smoke of forest fires blurs them till they gleam like opals
in a purple atmosphere.

The slanting rains festoon scarves of mist about their crests
melting into the distance.

Through sun and shadow
they stand immovable.

They were placed there when the Sagalie Tyee
moulded mountains, patterned rivers
where the salmon run.

Once girls with eyes of early spring,
hearts of summer,
they celebrated growth to womanhood
with gifts of life to friend and foe,
their one last wish immortalized in high placed
stone and snow.

— E. Pauline Johnson

II. Offering and Rebuff

I could love you
as dry roots love rain.
I could hold you
as branches in the wind
brandish petals.

Forgive me for speaking
so soon.
Let your heart look
on white sea spray
and be lonely.

Love is a fool star.

You and a ring of stars
may mention my name
and then forget me.
Love is a fool star.

— Carl Sandburg

III. Child Face

There are lips as strange and soft
As a rim of moon many miles off,
White on a fading purple sea.
“Was it there, far- off, real,
Or did my eyes play me a trick?”

A finger can be laid across it,
Laid on a little mouth’s white yearning,
Only as a white rim of moon
Can be picked off a blue sea
And sent in a love letter.
Once a child face lay in the moonlight
Of an early spring night.

— Carl Sandburg

IV. Kaleidoscope

All about me
I felt the invisible
of butterflies singing

It was when I saw the
near a skipping rope

When I heard a rainbowed garden
listening to my mind’s vibrations

And about me
I listened to each tree’s leaf
whisper softly
when played by the wind’s
weaving way

— Neil Madu

V. Punch

The Cranford Press,
Watling Street,
Bletchly Bucks.

— text adapted by Jean Ethridge

Prelude, Cantillation & Danse Energique

In 1978 and 1979 I spent the summers at the Banff Centre in the Composers’ Programme. Along with many rehearsals and performances of our works, we were kept very busy with classes, and private lessons. We were assigned a practice hut in the woods and I composed Prelude for ‘cello and piano there. Premiere: May 22, 1987, Recital Hall, U. of Victoria, B.C.; Martin Bonham, cello, Toshiko Tampo, piano.

Cantillation was originally written for violin and piano in 1982, arranged for violoncello in 1987 and revised in 1999. It is in the 2013 Level 8 RCM cello Repertoire Book.

Danse Energique is a playful and lively piece in rondo form, featuring singing melodies, sul ponticello, sans vibrato, and pizzicato notes and chords on the ‘cello. There are many time signature changes, including a section in which the cello plays in nine-eight time, while the piano plays in seven-eight time. Danse Energique was premiered May 22, 1987 by Martin Bonham, ‘cello, and Toshiko Tampo, piano, at the Recital Hall, University of Victoria, Victoria, B.C. Martin Bonham, ‘cello and Mary Lou Dawes, piano, performed it on February 9, 1990 at Open Space in Victoria, B.C. Each time, it was performed after Prelude and Cantillation. The 2011 version is a revision of the original 1986 score.

Still Stands The Oak

Featured Emerging Composer

Still Stands The Oak was commissioned by baritone Jason Klippenstein in 2016. Set to text by Canadian poet E. Pauline Johnson, the poem describes a giant oak tree: a witness of generations of human history. Having withstood great battles, wars, and terrible storms, the tree is a carrier of these memories and symbol of resilience. This work was recently expanded into a song cycle titled Songs of Trees with two additional E. Pauline Johnson settings. The cycle will premiere in its entirety on November 13, 2017 at 4pm at Roy Barnett Recital Hall.

The Giant Oak by E. Pauline Johnson

(Note: text in italics are additions by Katerina Gimon)

And then the sound of marching armies ‘woke
Amid the branches of the soldier oak,
And tempests ceased their warring cry, and dumb
The lashing storms that muttered, overcome,
Choked by the heralding of battle smoke,
When these gnarled branches beat their martial drum.
Still stands the oak.

The Ballad of Isabel Gunn

Libretto and Synopsis by Stephen Scobie • Music by Jean Ethridge

The opera was workshopped at Kelowna, B.C. in May, 1996. The music director was Roslyn Frantz, the vocal coach, Karen Smith, and the dramatic consultant, Judy Treloar. Elizabeth Scott sang the role of Isabel Gunn. In May, 2007 a demo recording was made of five selections from The Ballad of Isabel Gunn. Alexandra Babbel sang the role of Isabel Gunn, and Pierre Simard conducted members of the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra, recorded and mixed by Stu Goldberg.

The two-act opera would take approximately 2 hours. There are four soloists, plus a women’s chorus and a men’s chorus. James Brown, the baritone, is the narrator.

Isabel Gunn – soprano
David Spence Junior – tenor
James Brown – baritone
John Scarth – bass

The libretto is based on historical records and on the book The Ballad of Isabel Gunn by Stephen Scobie.


(Note: For the sake of convenience, this synopsis refers to the central character as “Isabel.” But it should be noted that this name does not occur in the text until the very last line, and that the secrecy of the name is a major issue throughout.)

Overture for piano trio

A medley of melodies from the opera prepares for the opening of this dramatic saga.

Act One

1806. The Orkney Islands, at the north of Scotland: a bare and elemental landscape. Recruiters from the Hudson’s Bay Company are signing up men to work in Canada, among them John Scarth, who is returning for a second term. Scarth meets a young woman (“Isabel”), and they fall in love. Aghast at the prospect of their separation, she proposes that she disguise herself as a man and accompany him. He tries hard to dissuade her, to no avail. She signs the contract, under the name “John Fubbister.” Also signing is a man called James Brown.

During the crossing, Scarth seems to retreat from her and become more distant. He tells her that they will be posted on opposite shores of the Hudson Bay, and will be separated for the whole winter. Isabel settles to the job and works well, as strongly as any man. The coldest of the winter sets in. Isabel sends a letter to Scarth, carried by James Brown, who is caught in a blizzard and loses three toes to frostbite. In her letter, Isabel recalls their days of love on Orkney, and laments their separation; Scarth’s reply is equivocal. Returning, James Brown reveals to Isabel that Scarth has a Chipewan woman, a “country wife,” by whom he has had two children, both dead. Devastated, Isabel realizes that she has been abandoned in Canada, “nameless and alone.”

Once, in the fields of Orkney for soprano and piano

Act Two

In the spring, a fresh company arrives, including a dashing young man from Fife, David Spence Junior. One of the men of the chorus walks on stage playing a fiddle. Isabel and the men begin to dance to the music of the “Jig”. The men twirl around, changing partners frequently.

Jig for violin and piano

When Davie Spence dances with Isabel, he is incredulous, as he immediately recognizes that “John Fubbister” is a woman, and they fall in love. She whispers to him her true name. Scarth also arrives in Albany, but Isabel spurns him. She and Davie make exuberant love, but then Davie and his men have to leave Albany. Isabel, Scarth, and James Brown head south towards Pembina.

And as we move south for soprano and piano

Suffering morning sickness, Isabel realizes that she is pregnant.

When I knew for soprano and piano

Davie writes a letter pledging his return. Isabel goes to Pembina to meet him, only to find that he has been drowned in a boating accident. Once again she is left alone.

Grassfires are Burning on the Prairie for soprano and piano

Isabel gives birth to a son on December 29th, 1807. Scarth accepts the blame as “seducer” and as father of the child, giving her money before he leaves. Isabel in secret knows that the boy’s true father is Davie. Isabel becomes the object of scorn and salacious gossip, and is set to traditional “women’s work.” At the end of her three-year contract, she and her son are shipped back to Orkney, where they become beggars on the roads. But she does survive, and claims her name.

Lullaby for Soprano and Piano Trio

Once in the fields of Orkney

Isabel Gunn:
Once, in the fields of Orkney:
once, in the springtime season of my heart:
I loved you, John Scarth, I gave you
every secret that my body held:
secrets that even I had never known,
knowing them only in the giving of them,
knowing them
knowing them only when their secrecy was lost.

I came with you
to this land that crushes all the warmth from your eyes,
to this land that stretches my huddled bones
on a rack of nightlong cold:
and now you leave me here:
now your eyes are slammed like a door:
there is no room for me in the arms that hold
another love, another love.

Once, in the fields of Orkney:
once, in the springtime season of my heart:
I loved you, John Scarth, I gave you
every secret that my body held:
secrets that even I had never known,
knowing them only in the giving of them,
knowing them
knowing them only when their secrecy was lost.

Time is the torment, the torment to which my name is signed,
a binding contract.
But no one knows my name.
Only you know my name.
And you have cancelled it with a blotted stroke,
you have left me nameless and alone
in all this emptiness,
in all this waste of winter:
nameless and alone, nameless and alone!

When I knew

Isabel Gunn:
When I knew:
when all the doubts had disappeared:
I would walk from the campfire far, far, far inland
away from the river, into that waste
of rock and muskeg, melting snow:
I would long for my windswept islands,
I would search in vain for the standing stones,
I would kneel and scour my cheeks with the earth
that was not Orkney.
When I knew
I did not tell John Scarth:
but the contest between us is over.
Let him go to his country wife, and my blessings on her
and on their children
dying in Canada.

And as we move south

Isabel Gunn:
And as we move south, the land begins to sing.
It sings the song of prairie grass,
the song of prairie grass,
and often, in the distance, great black herds
of buffalo rolling thunder across the plain.
And then it is pure lyric, rowing the Red
in the late August sun, with the banks slipping by
to the silver notes of the slender birch
like a line of descant tossed in the breeze.
At Pembina, John Scarth continues south:
I scarce have eyes to see him go. The song
is all around, inside me; it only needs
one voice to join, one closing rhyme,
the final harmony of Davie’s laughter:
any day now, they promise. Any day now,
any day.

Grass fires are burning on the prairie

Isabel Gunn:
Grass fires are burning on the prairie,
all day their clouds hang black in the sun.
Grass fires are burning on the prairie,
burning, burning. Burning, burning.

Or like my cousin William Oman
swept from the deck by a single wave
in a dead flat calm on the Solway Firth.

They parcelled up his satin waistcoat
too late, too late, for the fall’s last ship, it will take
a year for it to reach St Monans.

Grass fires are burning on the prairie,
all day their clouds hang black in the sun.
Grass fires are burning on the prairie,
burning, burning. Burning, burning.

Grass fires are burning on the prairie.
Small animals come scattering across our path
in terror.

If we have to abandon the post,
I will not go. I will not leave his grave.

Grass fires are burning on the prairie.
Small animals come scattering across our path
in terror, terror, terror.


Isabel Gunn:
For you were born across the sea
Baloo, baloo, my bairnie-o
For you were born to torment me
Baloo my ain dear bairnie-o

For you were born in wind and snow
Baloo, baloo, my bairnie-o
A sign of death, a sign of woe
Baloo my ain dear bairnie-o

Your father died ere you were born
Baloo, baloo, my bairnie-o
Yet you drew breath one winter morn
Baloo my ain dear bairnie-o

And now we travel here alone
Baloo, baloo, my bairnie-o
On Orkney roads, on Orkney stone
Baloo my ain dear bairnie-o

For you were born across the sea
Baloo, baloo, my bairnie-o
For you were born to comfort me
Baloo my ain dear bairnie-o


Jean Ethridge, Composer

Born in Rossland, British Columbia, I was an only child of doting older parents. Before I could walk I played the piano and made up tunes. My father, who did not read music, played duets with me by ear on the piano. Often we listened to recorded music. He sang tenor in the Trail Male Chorus, as well as in the church choir. I shared his passion for music.

Studying with Helen Dahlstrom, I achieved both ARCT diplomas, Piano Teacher and Piano Performer, before attending UBC to further my music education. I was a good pianist, and won many awards and scholarships, but I particularly wanted to be a composer.

At UBC, I had the great fortune to study theory, and later composition with Jean Coulthard. She was indeed a remarkable teacher. Importantly, she encouraged each of her students to find his or her own voice. She wasn’t swayed by fashion, and always remained true to herself. After I graduated with a Bachelor of Music degree in Composition from UBC, Jean encouraged me to study Composition and Piano at the Royal College of Music, London, England.

Mentoring didn’t end when the formal lessons ended, but continued throughout Jean Coulthard’s life. She was instrumental, along with Alys Monod, in starting the Okanagan Music Festival for Composers, the first one held in 1973. The OMFFC provided opportunities for music competitions, adjudications, and performances of our works. The experience was invaluable.

My husband, Dave Nordstrom, always believed in my talent as a composer and helped me in many ways, both practical and inspirational. He died January 2016. We had celebrated our 50th Wedding Anniversary May 29, 2015. I set a sonnet of his for SSAA, Transcendence, which will be premiered by the Ancora Women’s Ensemble in February, 2018 in Vernon and Salmon Arm.

Thank you to everyone at the CMC BC Region for presenting the Jean Ethridge Celebration concert. It was a great honour to be chosen. Thank you to all of the performers. It is gratifying to hear one’s works well-performed. Thank you to the audience for coming to listen to my music.

Bogdan Dulu, Piano

Bogdan Dulu is an extraordinary musician able to open the world of music to even the most non-musical audience, combining mastery of the piano with the ability to educate and entertain with his engaging speaking style, intelligence, compassion, and humour.

Dulu received a rigorous foundation in the fundamentals of music through specialized education in his native Romania. This led to his orchestral debut at age 12 in a concert broadcast nationally by the Romanian Radio Corporation. It was this institution that significantly contributed to making his name recognized across the country, through multiple live broadcasts of solo and orchestral performances, interviews, and several studio recordings. His recordings represented the Romanian Radio at the Concertino Prague (1997) and EURORADIO New Talent Bratislava (2006) competitions. Bogdan Dulu received the Gold Medal at the 2011 Seattle International Piano Competition. He won the 2005 Yamaha Prize in Romania, followed by wins at the 2006 Liszt-Bartok Competition (Sofia, Bulgaria) and the 2007 William Garrison International Piano Competition (Baltimore, USA). He also participated in other international competitions, including Helsinki (Finland), New Orleans (USA, semifinalist), Honens (Canada, quarterfinalist), Sendai (Japan), Enescu (Bucharest), and e-Competition (USA), among others.

Dulu received coachings from pianists Yefim Bronfman, Richard Goode, and Stephen Hough, and worked with soprano Dawn Upshaw at the Banff Centre. Of note is his association with Canadian composer-pianist Marc-André Hamelin, Dulu being the first pianist to write a doctoral dissertation on Hamelin’s Études. His research involves the performance of these works under the personal guidance of the composer. After studying privately with Ana Pitis in Bucharest while pursuing his Bachelor’s degree, Dulu continued his training with Irina Morozova at Mannes College in New York City and with Jane Coop at University of British Columbia in Vancouver. While in New York, he was an active member of a select global community of graduate students at International House, where he developed a deeper understanding and appreciation for a multicultural environment, and where he received training in public speaking and leadership skills.

Bogdan Dulu toured Eastern Canada in October/November 2015 as a Debut Atlantic artist, and is currently a signed artist with Jeunesses Musicales du Canada. He makes his home in Vancouver, where he becomes a little more Canadian by the day.

Katerina Gimon, Composer

Katerina Gimon (b. 1993 – Burlington, Ontario) is an emerging and award-winning Canadian composer, improvisor, and experimental vocalist based in Vancouver, British Columbia. Recently named as one of Canada’s “hot 30 musicians under 30” by CBC, her compositions have been broadcast and presented across Canada, the United States (most notably at Carnegie Hall), and Europe. Katerina holds a Master of Music in Composition from the University of British Columbia (’17) and an Honours Bachelor of Music degree in Composition and Improvisation from Wilfrid Laurier University (’15).

Luke Kim, Cello

Originally from South Korea, Luke Wook-Young Kim completed his undergraduate studies at UBC, where he received the Catherine-Cooke Topping Memorial Medal for musical excellence. Then, he finished his Master of Music degree as a full scholarship student at UCLA. His teachers include Antonio Lysy, Joseph Elworthy, Eric Wilson, John Friesen, and Kenneth Friedman. Luke participated in masterclasses with renowned cellists such as Lynn Harrell, Janos Starker, Aldo Parisot, Raphael Wallfisch, Paul Katz, and Desmond Hoebig. In the past summers, he attended the Incontri in Terra di Siena Festival, the Aspen Music Festival, and the Early Music Vancouver Programme in which he studied baroque cello under Jaap ter Linden and Tulio Rondon.

Luke has won various competitions and performed as a soloist with the Seoul Symphony Orchestra, the Vancouver Youth Symphony Orchestra, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, the UBC Symphony Orchestra, and the UCLA Philharmonia. He also performed as a guest soloist for the Polish Czestochowa Philharmonic Orchestra, the West Coast Symphony, the Vancouver Metropolitan Orchestra, the Busan Metropolitan Pops Orchestra, and the Busan Neo Philharmonic (Korea). Luke appeared as a soloist with the West Coast Symphony during the 2015/16 season. In March 2015, he was featured as a soloist for Friedrich Gulda’s Cello Concerto, an eclectic work, with the UCLA Wind Ensemble. In addition, Luke has performed chamber music for the Vancouver Winter Chamber Music Festival and the Bridge Musicians International. Luke is a member of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.

Ken Lin, Violin

Violinist Ken Lin enjoys a career in performing as soloist, chamber musician, and orchestra player.  Being the top prize winner of the National Violin competition of Taiwan at age 12, Mr. Lin had already been performing as a soloist across the country at an early age. Mr. Lin holds a Bachelor of Music in Violin Performance with distinction from the University of Victoria, as well as a Master of Music and Professional Studies diploma in Violin Performance from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Being a distinguished scholarship student from both music institutes, Mr. Lin has served as Concertmaster and was the winner of the Concerto competitions, which led him to appear as a soloist with orchestras. As a full scholarship recipient from the Quartet Festival in Waterloo, Aspen Music Festival and the Mendocino Music Festival, Mr. Lin has studied with Sharon Stanis, Ian Swensen, Henry Kowalski and has collaborated with renown artists such as Robert Mann, Gilbert Kalish and Martha Katz. He has appeared in the master class of Charles Castleman, Mauricio Fuks, and as a string quarter member for Juilliard, Cleveland, Lafayette and Penderecki.

After graduating from the Conservatory, Mr. Lin has performed with the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra, California Symphony, Marin Symphony, and Santa Cruz Symphony.  In 2005, he was invited to perform an exclusive concert for the former President of Taiwan, Den Huei Lee, and conducted Master classes throughout Taiwan, Korea, and USA.  As founder of the acclaimed KAS Piano Trio, he toured Asia and North America in 2007 with a 1713 “Wirth” Stradivarius Violin sponsored by Chi-mei Fine Art Ltd, and the Trio’s performances were featured in major radio stations in Asia.  From 2008 to present, Mr. Lin has devoted himself to teaching young talents, and at the same time giving numerous concerts in California, and Vancouver, Canada.  As a section violinist of the Vancouver Opera Orchestra since 2012, Mr. Lin also performs regularly with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.

Nina Horvath, Piano

Nina Horvath is an active musician in the Vancouver scene whether it is on stage or behind the scenes. She is excited to continue to work with the Vancouver Bach Family of Choirs, now as Executive Director. Previously, she has sung with, played piano for and worked as Operations Coordinator for the organization. Raised in Rossland, BC, Nina completed her Teacher’s ARCT before going on to further studies at the University of Victoria, University of Denver and University of British Columbia.

Nina’s greatest passion has always been collaborating with other artists, especially in the creation of new works. She has always been an active leader in the musical community working as a co-founder and director of three new vocal ensembles while in Victoria and as the creator of the First Tuesdays concert series in Denver. As a performer, Nina has been fortunate to perform as a chorister and pianist on three different continents. She has collaborated with artists throughout Canada and the United States with a special focus on vocal and brass music. She is committed to bringing music to small communities like those in her home region of the West Kootenays, where she regularly returns to perform. Nina recently returned to Vancouver after spending a year as a staff pianist and vocal coach at Dalhousie University in Halifax. In addition to her role with the VBC she sings with the Vancouver Cantata Singers, and plays for singers in the college program at the Vancouver Academy of Music as well as continuing to play as a freelance musician in the Vancouver area.

Stephanie Nakagawa, Soprano

Soprano Stephanie Nakagawa has a great passion for Canadian Opera and strongly advocates for the recognition and performance of Canadian operatic works. She created a Canadian Opera Aria Anthology for Soprano that aims to increase the exposure of Canadian opera for both performers and audiences.

Stephanie received her Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Voice and Opera from the University of British Columbia and also holds a Master’s degree from Indiana University and a B.Mus in Opera from UBC (UBC Medal). Stephanie has been a Gerdine Young Artist with the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis and has won numerous awards including the regional winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and first prize at the BC Provincial Festival of the Performing Arts. She also holds ARCT Performance Diplomas in both piano and voice and is the winner of the Voice National Gold Medal from the Royal Conservatory of Music. Stephanie is a recipient of the UBC Wesbrook Scholar, UBC Public Scholars Award, Johann Strauss Foundation Scholarship, BC Arts Council Award, Canada Millennium Scholarship, Jeunes Ambassadeurs Lyriques Laureate, and the BMO National Scholarship.

Stephanie’s stage credits include Susanna (Le nozze di  Figaro), Vixen (The Cunning Little Vixen), Gretel (Hansel & Gretel), Adele (Die Fledermaus), Amy (Little Women), Musetta (La Bohème), Zerlina (Don Giovanni), and Miss Wordsworth (Albert Herring). She has sung with various ensembles including the Aspen Music Festival, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Bard on the Beach, Westcoast Symphony, Prince George Symphony, and the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra. Stephanie is also the music director and conductor of a women’s chamber choir, Coro Cantare.

Stephen Scobie, Librettist

Stephen Scobie was born in Carnoustie, Scotland, in 1943. He has lived in Canada since 1965, completing a PhD at the University of British Columbia, and teaching at the Universities of Alberta and Victoria. In 1980, he won the Governor General’s Award in poetry for McAlmon’s Chinese Opera. Other poetry titles include The Ballad of Isabel Gunn (1987), The Spaces In Between: Selected Poems (2003), Stanzas (2015), and many others. As a critic, he has published widely on Canadian poetry, the city of Paris, and Bob Dylan. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.