2019 Festival Adjudicators

Borealis String Quartet
Borealis String Quartet, Vancouver, BC (Chamber Groups)

One of the most dynamic and exciting world-class ensembles of its generation, the Borealis String Quartet has received international critical acclaim as an ensemble praised for its fiery performances, passionate style, and refined, musical interpretation. Founded in Vancouver, British Columbia in the fall of 2000 and rapidly establishing a stellar reputation, the Borealis has toured extensively in North America Europe and Asia and performed to enthusiastic sold-out audiences in major cities, including New York, Washington, DC, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Rome, Mainz, Shanghai, Taipei, Beijing, Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa and, of course, in their home town of Vancouver.

The Borealis has continued to receive awards and rave accolades from presenters, renowned musicians and critics alike for their artistry. The Borealis was the only classical group to be selected for the Great Canadian Dream Competition which was televised across the nation and as a result, were the only classical musicians to perform for the Prime Minister of Canada at the Parliament Hill in Ottawa for an audience of over 75,000. Since then, they have performed on every music series in Canada. Amongst other awards, their most recent CD was also nominated for the prestigious Golden Melody Award in Asia.

The quartet is frequently seen on television and heard on CBC Radio and other stations across North America and Asia. The Borealis has also filmed music videos including “The Harp” which were debuted at the Vancouver International Film Festival and often broadcast on Bravo Television and the Knowledge Network. Exploring a synergy of classical, fusion, folk and world music, the Borealis has recorded seven CDs which feature the great classics as well as music written especially for them.

Although the Borealis feels strongly committed to the great traditional quartet literature, they actively seek to promote new works and are strong advocates of Canadian music, with quartets by R. Murray Schafer, Omar Daniels, John Stetch and Peter Tiefenbach among others in their repertory. They have also worked closely with and commissioned music from Bramwell Tovey, Imant Raminsh, Kelly-Marie Murphy, and John Oliver to name a few.

In addition to performance, the Borealis has frequently served as jury members for competitions and most recently at the 2012 E-Gre National Competition. The Borealis was the String Quartet-in-Residence at the University of British Columbia for over 10 years and as Visiting Scholars at Green College from 2000-2004 during which time they often performed for dignitaries including the Dalai Lama.

They have also been invited to be the Quartet in Residence at numerous festivals and universities across North America, Mexico, Europe and Asia. From 2012, the Borealis has been the String Quartet-in-Residence at the Casalmaggiore International Music Festival in Italy. Beginning September, 2014, the Borealis will be the Quartet in Residence at Kwantlen University in Langley, BC.

The Borealis String Quartet would like to acknowledge the generous support of the Canada Council and the BC Arts Council. We are grateful for the financial assistance given to further our artistic ambitions and vision as well as enable us bring Canadian music and culture to audiences abroad.

WB Wendy Bachman, Boalsburg, PA (Junior Piano)

Wendy Bachman holds both ARCT diplomas from The Royal Conservatory or Music, a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of British Columbia and a Masters degree in Piano Pedagogy and Performance from Westminster Choir College. Her teachers include Edward Parker, Harold Zabrack, Frances Clark, Louise Goss and Marvin Blickenstaff. Over the past thirty-seven years, Mrs. Bachman has taught in conservatories in Princeton, Minneapolis, Vancouver, and Seattle. In 1990 she was selected to teach and perform at the National Conference on Piano Pedagogy in Chicago. Most recently, Mrs. Bachman taught at The Pennsylvania State University and currently has a private studio in Boalsburg, PA. As a senior examiner with twenty-five years of experience, Mrs. Bachman adjudicates for the Royal Conservatory of Music and has judged numerous venues including Happy Valley’s Got Talent and The Burnaby Clef and Kiwanis festivals. In her spare time, she loves to bake and exercise.
LM Lynda Metelsky, Toronto, ON (Senior Piano)

Lynda Metelsky has been on the piano faculty of University of Toronto since 1983 and on faculty at the Royal Conservatory since 1981, where she served also as Piano Department Head for 16 years. As well, she is on the summer faculty of the International Institute for Young Musicians, USA.

Ms. Metelsky has conducted master classes outside Canada in Germany at the Mannheim School and in the USA at schools including the San Francisco Conservatory, Kansas University and the Hartt School. She has adjudicated competitions in over 25 Canadian cities, adjudicated for the Concourse Musical de France and the SYMFA in Seattle.

Since 1988 she has been a frequent lecturer on piano pedagogy across Canada and the USA and she is a regular presenter at pedagogy conferences, particularly WPPC and MTNA. She is a piano pedagogy instructor at the Royal Conservatory and examines ARCT and Piano Pedagogy for RCM Examinations. She also developed the Teaching Internship Program in the Artist Diploma in Performance and Pedagogy at the Glenn Gould School.

Ms. Metelsky received her Bachelor of Music in Performance from University of Toronto and her Masters in Performance from University of Hartford where she studied with Pierre Souvairan, Luiz de Moura Castro and Karl Ulrich Schnabel.
EJ Edward Janus, Toronto, ON (Intermediate Piano)

Edward Janus has been a member of the RCM Theory and Piano faculty since 1973 and has been a member of the college of examiners since 1978. Mr. Janus also regularly adjudicates Music festivals throughout Canada. During his long tenure at RCM, he also has served RCM administratively as academic head of RCME during which time initiatives such as return of theory exams, August exams, and opening up of exams in the United States were all put into practice. Mr. Janus currently continues to teach piano in a part time capacity.

AB Alexandra Kosachukova Babbel, Kelowna, BC (Intermediate & Senior Classical Voice)

Lyric Soprano Alexandra Kosachukova Babbel, being the only American-born member of her family, has approached her music with a great sense of privilege. Her German mother and Ukrainian father met and married in a displaced persons’ refugee camp after fleeing the Stalinist terror in Ukraine and later immigrated to the United States where Ms. Babbel was born.

Ms. Babbel’s opera career in Chicago included the title role in the World Premiere production of Philip Hagamman’s opera The Aspern Papers and roles with the Lincoln Opera and the Milwaukee Opera Company in Puccini’s La Boheme, performing both the roles of Mimi and Mussetta.

Ms. Babbel has enjoyed Operatic and Concert Solo performances in Canada, Germany, England, Switzerland, Holland, Italy and solo concert tours in Russia and Ukraine including guest appearances with members of the Kiev Conservatory of Music, Moscow’s conductor Evgeny Vechenko, and recital performances in association with the Britten-Pears School.

In addition to training with teachers Galina Vesnevskaya and Kathleen Kaun and Vocal Coaches John Wustman and Joan Dornaman, Ms. Babbel sang in Master Class for Maureen Forester and Elly Ameling. Alexandra Babbel holds a BA in Choral Music Education from the University of Michigan, a MA in Opera Performance from the University of Alberta and Post-Masters Certificate of Performance from Northwestern University, in Evanston, Illinois. She held the faculty position of Voice Department Head at Trinity International University in Deerfield, Illinois before relocating to Canada.
SM Dr. Scott MacLennan, Vancouver, BC (Concert Bands and Orchestras)

Dr. Scott MacLennan is the Music Director of the Kwantlen Polytechnic University Wind Symphony, an adjunct professor at the University of British Columbia teaching conducting, and Music Director at the Byng Arts Academy in the Performing and Visual Arts in Vancouver, B.C. As an in-demand guest conductor, clinician, and adjudicator, he frequently works with ensembles, schools, and festivals in Western Canada. He holds a Bachelor of Music (1988) and a Bachelor of Education (1990) from the University of British Columbia, a Master of Music (2010) in Conducting (Wind Band) from Sam Houston State University, Texas, and a Ph.D. (2015) from the University of British Columbia. He studied conducting with Ken Hsieh, Morihiro Okabe, and Wayne Toews and participated in numerous conducting master classes given by Kazuyoshi Akiyama, Anthony Maiello, Ralph Hultgren, and Robert Ponto. Some of the other specialists he worked with are: Paula Crider, Ed Lisk, Eugene Rousseau, Tim Lautzenheiser, Sam Pilafian, Pat Sheridan, Lowell Graham, Robert Spring, Jan Van der Roost, Robert W. Smith, Allen Vizzutti, and Johan de Meji. With Johan de Meji’s endorsement, Dr. MacLennan conducted the Canadian premiere of his composition At Kitty O’Shea’s in March 2011.

His Ph.D. research involved studying students’ conceptions of ancillary movements (physical movements not necessary in the production of sound) in instrumental music performance. Dr. MacLennan’s teaching philosophy is based upon striving for musical excellence in performance as well as the education of the whole student through an embodied approach to teaching. Through this approach, music performance becomes so much more than just an intellectual appreciation of master works, but a re-examination of “music” as a vehicle for self and group meaning-making. Student engagement is increased through linking conceptual images of past experiences (physical and non-physical) with expressive musical qualities in the music being performed. As well, students become active participants in the decision-making process surrounding the subtle details of their artistic response, while the music director still holds overall artistic license of the music to be played.

Since 1997, he has conducted his award-winning ensembles in various locations throughout the United Kingdom, France, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Italy, China, the United States, and Canada. His ensembles have performed in such notable venues as Carnegie Hall, New York, USA, and Santa Maria della Pieta (Vivaldi’s Church) in Venice, Italy. As an active music educator, he has worked for the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra to edit and draft curriculum for their VSO Connects (Secondary) program, chaired the BC Music Educator’s Association’s Conference Pulse 2006, and currently sits as a board member of the Chamber Music in the Schools Society, BC Band Association, and the Vancouver School Music Teachers’ Association.
SK Steve Kaldestad, Vancouver, BC (Jazz Bands)

Since moving to Vancouver in 2008, Steve Kaldestad has become one of the most in-demand saxophonists on the scene, performing as a sideman with Jesse Cahill’s Nightcrawlers, Jodi Proznick’s quartet, and many other groups. Steve has released 3 CDs on the Cellar Live label to great acclaim including Straight Up featuring the Mike LeDonne Trio and the newest release, New York Afternoon with the Renee Rosnes Trio.

Originally from the prairies, Steve spent the ’90s in Montreal, obtaining his Bachelors and Masters degrees from McGill University. During this time Steve was awarded a grant to study with Lee Konitz in New York.

In 2000, he began an eight-year stint in London, England and joined the Kate Williams Quartet, the Matt Wates Sextet, the Pasadena Roof Orchestra, the Gareth Lockrane Septet, and played regular gigs in the BBC big band, the Humphrey Lyttelton Group and others. He has also played and/or recorded with Renee Rosnes, Denzal Sinclaire, Mike LeDonne, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Peter Bernstein, the Karl Jannuska Group, Kevin Dean and many others.

Steve now resides in Port Moody, BC and teaches at Capilano University. Steve is a D’addario artist and plays D’addario Select Jazz reeds on all his saxophones.
KZ Dr. Kevin Zakresky, Vancouver, BC (Choirs)

Kevin Zakresky is conductor of the Pacifica Singers and the founder-director of Sea to Sky Symphony in Vancouver. He is the past Music Director of the Prince George Symphony Orchestra and this season has conducted the St Louis Symphony, Sudbury Symphony, West Coast Symphony, Vancouver Chamber Choir and in the Spring of 2016 launched the Sea to Sky Symphony in Vancouver. He has recently been appointed Associate Conductor of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses, a touring company that collaborates with orchestras through North America and Europe. He completed his Doctorate at Yale University in 2012.

In Spring of 2016 the Zelda Symphony has brought him to London to conduct the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra (in Wembley Arena) as well as Montreal, Columbus, Charlottesville and Miami with further dates in Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton in the fall.

In December 2013 Zakresky made his CBC/Radio-Canada broadcast debut, conducting Monteverdi, with the Vancouver Chamber Choir and the Vancouver Chamber Orchestra, a performance held at Vancouver’s Orpheum Theatre. In the summer of 2014 Zakresky worked with the BBC Symphony Orchestra in London on an informal mentoring project; he returned to London in August of 2015 for another residency with the BBC.

Zakresky is founding director of the SATB ensemble Orpheum Voices at the Vancouver Symphony School of Music. As part of its inaugural season in 2013, Orpheum Voices sang Fauré’s Requiem with the West Coast Symphony. Since then the group has performed regularly with the Vancouver Symphony and Maestro Bramwell Tovey.

Zakresky received a Doctoral degree in Choral Conducting at Yale University in February 2012; his degree recital featured Cherubini’s rarely-programmed Requiem for male voices and orchestra. At Yale he won the prestigious Aidan Kavanagh Prize for Distinguished Intellectual Achievement, and was director of the University Chapel Choir and assistant conductor of the Yale Camerata. His major teachers were Marguerite Brooks and Simon Carrington, and he coached with Helmut Riling and Stephen Layton. Before studying at Yale he completed a master’s degree in conducting at the University of British Columbia, studying with Bruce Pullan.

He regularly offers master classes and workshops in Western Canada and is a recent winner of the BC Choral Federation’s Youth Music Award. From 2010 to 2012 he was assistant conductor of Chor Leoni Men’s Choir, and the Founder-Director of Chor Leoni’s “MYVoice” program, a choral experience for young men in the Lower Mainland.

He is a past member of the faculty of the innovative Vancouver International Song Institute, serves on the faculty of the BC Choral Federation’s Choral Directorship Course, and acts as an adjudicator and clinician throughout Western Canada. He has held teaching positions at Douglas College and Simon Fraser University.

Since 2013 Zakresky has taught voice and music repertoire at the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra School of Music, in addition to directing Orpheum Voices. He has sung in the Festivale de due mondi in Spoleto, Italy, volunteered for Musicians without Borders in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and led choral workshops and clinics in Hong Kong. He publishes regularly in choral and vocal periodicals.
GS Gail Suderman, Langley, BC (Choirs)

As Artistic Director of Good Noise Vancouver Gospel choir, Gail has drawn on both her classical and academic musical studies as well as her natural abilities as a musician and her long-time love of many styles of contemporary music, including Gospel, R&B, Jazz and Pop Music. Gail began her formal music education at age 5, studying piano. Her piano teacher of note was Georgina Williams, who guided Gail through many years of study, focusing both on solo performing as well as accompanying. Very early on, it was evident that Gail possessed collaborative skills as a pianist. At the early age of eight, she started accompanying the Sunday school choir. Over the next few years, Gail “graduated” to accompanying the adult church choir (beginning at age twelve) as well as solo singers and instrumentalists.

From a young age, Gail pursued a two-path musical life, studying classical piano and learning all she could about gospel music, listening to and performing the music of Andrae and Sandra Crouch, Danniebelle Hall, the Hawkins family, and many others. During her teenage years, Gail introduced many people to the gospel music of the day as well as using her classical training extensively, accompanying instrumentalists and singers and winning awards for both solo piano and accompanying. It was while accompanying singers in recital and for festivals that Gail realized her love of the voice. Wanting to study voice herself, Gail was accepted into several post-secondary voice programs, deciding to attend the University of Victoria as a voice performance major, studying with Jean Letourneau and Bernard Turgeon. Gail received a number of scholarships and awards, receiving the President’s scholarship for undergraduate studies, winning the concerto competition, and was awarded a teaching assistantship in conducting and a fellowship for graduate studies in Voice Performance, graduating with honours.

After several years of singing professionally in Opera and Oratorio, Gail began her teaching career, developing an award winning Choral and Voice program at Gladstone Secondary School in Vancouver. During her time teaching high school music, Gail was featured in the Vancouver Sun by Music Columnist Lloyd Dykk as one of the top Music Educators in British Columbia.

Gail’s musical career has continued to include both classical music and contemporary music. Gail is currently Director of Voice and Choral Music at Kwantlen Polytechnic University and is Artistic Director of Vancouver’s dynamic Good Noise Vancouver Gospel Choir. She also has a successful private voice studio, her roster of students ranging from award-winning Classical singers to R&B, Rock, Pop and Musical Theatre Professionals. Gail gives frequent choral and vocal workshops for High School music teachers, community and church choirs, directs weekend Gospel music workshops, and is in demand as a Performer, Voice Teacher, Guest Conductor, Workshop Clinician, Voice and Choral Adjudicator.
JP Jodi Proznick, Vancouver, BC (Jazz Bands and Combos)

Juno-nominated bassist, composer, bandleader, and educator Jodi Proznick has earned a reputation as one of Canada’s finest jazz artists. She has won numerous National Jazz Awards, including Bassist of the Year in ’08 and’09. Her group, the Jodi Proznick Quartet, was awarded the Acoustic Group of the Year and Album of the Year in ‘08 and the Galaxie Rising Star at the Vancouver International Jazz Festival in ‘00.

In addition to leading her own group, Jodi has performed with many of Canada’s top jazz musicians, including PJ Perry, Don Thompson, Kirk MacDonald, Hugh Fraser, Oliver Gannon, Dee Daniels, Phil Dwyer, and Laila Biali. She is regularly in demand to perform and record with visiting jazz artists including Michael Bublé, Byron Stripling, Michael Feinstein, David “Fathead” Newman, Bucky Pizzarelli, Ed Thigpen, Jeff Hamilton, Peter Bernstein, Charles McPherson, Seamus Blake, George Coleman, Sheila Jordan, Mark Murphy, Harold Mabern, Eric Alexander, and Lewis Nash. In addition to recording her own Juno-nominated CD as a leader, Jodi has been featured on over 30 recordings as a sideman.

Jodi began playing bass at the age of 13 under the direction of her father David, an award-winning music educator. In ‘93, Jodi received the General Motors Award of Excellence, establishing her as one of the top young musicians at Musicfest Canada, and then went on to receive a scholarship to study bass at McGill University in Montreal. After graduating, Jodi played with many of the top musicians in Montreal, including Juno winners Christine Jensen and Renee Lee as well as Montreal greats Andre White and Greg Clayton. She was awarded the IAJE Sisters in Jazz award in ‘98 as one of the best up-and-coming female jazz musicians.

Jodi moved to Vancouver in ‘00, where she now lives with her husband and collaborator, pianist Tilden Webb, and young son Tristan. Her personal highlights include opening for Oscar Peterson in 2004, performing as a featured soloist with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, and recording numerous times for CBC Radio. Another highlight in Jodi’s career was when she was asked to be the featured bassist in the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Winter Games’ closing ceremonies and soundtrack.
SG Sonia Klimasko, Toronto, ON (Violin and Viola)

Sonia Klimasko began her study of the violin at the age of 4 and her earliest memories are of the wonderful times she spent performing in a violin quartet with her sisters. She has devoted the past 35 years of her life to performing, teaching and sharing her love and knowledge of music with audiences, children and aspiring violinists across Canada, the United States, Europe and Mexico.

Ms Klimasko's career extends from performing in the Imperial Room of the Royal York with Tony Bennet, James Brown and the Bob Hope Orchestra to Concertmaster for famed tenor Jan Pearce's Fiddler on the Roof. Her freelance career includes positions as assistant Concertmaster of Wizard of Oz and Anne of Green Gables at the Elgin Theater, performing with PEI's production of Anne of Green Gables, Phantom of the Opera, Hamilton Philharmonic, Windsor Symphony, Scarborough Philharmonic, New Toronto Chamber Players, Thunder Bay Symphony, Toronto Lyric Theater Orchestra, Kingston Symphony, Niagara Symphony, Toronto Pops Orchestra, Toronto Philharmonia, Esprit, Atlantic Symphony, Toronto Philharmonic, Oshawa Symphony, Royal Winnipeg Ballet Orchestra and Les Grands Ballets Canadiens Orchestra. She recently performed 2 seasons with the Northern Lights Music Festival in Ajijic, Mexico and is an alumnae of the National Youth Orchestra and Ontario Youth Concert Band. For the past 35 years, she has played first violin with the National Ballet of Canada Orchestra.

Sonia Klimasko has held the positions of string instructor at the Bishop Strachan School, Cardinal Carter for the Performing Arts and string consultant with the York Region Board of Education. She has presented workshops for the National Film Board, was a founding artist with the Inner City Angels, was on faculty for both the National String Academy in Ottawa and CAMMAC and recorded for CBC on Murray Schafer Epic RA for Centerdisc.

Ms Klimasko is a graduate of the University of Toronto, holding a degree in Performance. Her teachers have included John Moskalyk, David Mankovitz of the American String Quartet & Victor Martin, Concertmaster of the Madrid Symphony Orchestra. Her many scholarships and awards include a RCM Provincial Medal and the Chamber of Commerce Award for Excellence in the Arts which was awarded to Ms Klimasko in 2004.

Sonia Klimasko is an avid fan of pedagogical ideology and an enthusiastic and popular adjudicator and clinician. While maintaining an active performance career and teaching studio she always manages to find time for her passion for writing and is an award-winning gardener and Half Ironman Triathlete. You can read her blogs on the National Ballet website.
MQ Dr. Meijane Quong, Vancouver, BC (Adult Non-competitive Piano)

Dr. Meijane Quong (DMA, Oregon; MMus, McGill; Licentiate Diploma, McGill; BMus, Alberta; AMus, Western Board) has held teaching positions at the University of PEI, University of Oregon and McGill. While on faculty at the University of PEI, Dr. Quong performed solo and duo recitals for CBC (Halifax) and NPR (US). She has performed concertos, solo and duo recitals in Quebec, Ontario, the Maritimes, BC, Yukon, Oregon and North Carolina and has given master classes at the Central Vancouver Island Community Music School, and at Elizabeth Cith State University, NC.

Dr. Quong is on faculty at Kwantlen Polytechnic University and is active as an adjudicator and performer.
BL Ben Lockwood, Vancouver, BC (Woodwinds)

Ben Lockwood is a woodwind multi-instrumentalist (saxophone, flute, and clarinet), composer, born in Bedford, UK, but is currently residing in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Ben graduated Dartington College of Arts in 2003 with a BA (with Honours) in Music (Performance), before moving to London to become a professional musician. He soon became an in-demand musician throughout London and the UK, performing and recording in many different groups and genres, from Big Bands, small group jazz ensembles, Latin / World Music Groups, Pit Orchestras, Pop Bands, and Classical Ensembles. Whilst in London Ben had the chance to perform with groups / musicians that include Jeff Clyne, Nick Page, The Glenn Miller Tribute Orchestra, Trevor Tomkins, Jim Richardson, and Five Star Swing to name a few.

Throughout his career Ben has been lucky enough to play all over the world, including Scandinavia, Russia, Canada, and the Caribbean, and has performed at venues that include The Barbican, Royal Festival Hall, the Royal Albert Hall in London, the 606 Club (London), O’Douls Restaurant and Bar (Vancouver), Cory Weeds’ The Cellar Jazz Club (Vancouver), as well as being featured at the TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival.
Since moving to Vancouver, Canada, Ben has quickly made a name for himself on the local scene, becoming an in demand freelance musician. He has had the privilege of sharing the stage with some of the cities (and Canadas) leading musicians. These include Tilden Webb, Joe Poole, Campbell Ryga, Sharon Minemoto, Julian McDononough, Bill Coon, Saul Berson, Adam Thomas,and Mike Allen. Ben can be seen performing throughout Vancouver and the Lower Mainland with his own group, as well as some of the areas leading ensembles.

Ben runs his own group, playing a mixture of jazz standards, along with original compositions. As well as composing for his own group, he also writes for other various sized ensembles, in different genres of music, and of mixed instrumentation.