My Personal Biography
I believe that we are all fine musician and that everyone should be given the opportunity to participate and be engaged by traditional and contemporary classical music. Music serves to teach everybody how to listen deeply and with open ears, minds, and hearts.
I remember from my earliest music lessons making changes to the pieces I was playing, writing little bits of music that in some way mimicked the composition, and sitting down and making up music at the piano. It seemed obvious to me that after high school I would go on to study music.
Thrilled by the idea of improvisation, I ended up at the University of Manitoba studying jazz piano. Through my jazz studies, I realized I needed more formal structure to study music so I migrated to the classical world. I began studying piano with Charles Horton at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg. In my piano studies, I explored, at the piano, keyboard music from the Renaissance to our own time. Along with my piano studies, I became interested in music theory, finding that through music theory I could begin to understand large swaths of music and have tools to understand and discuss how music has developed and changed through the centuries. Choral singing became an unexpected part of my undergraduate studies.
In 2013 I began as Music Director at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Winnipeg. My goal was to build a collaborative music ministry utilizing and building on the skills of the individual members. In January 2015, through my role at the Cathedral, I founded the St. Mary’s Cathedral Choir School to teach music at the Cathedral and in churches around Winnipeg. At the cathedral, I accompany liturgies from the piano and organ, direct the choir, and collaborate with our cathedral community, our organists, and cantors.
I was fortunate to be able to attend the European American Musical Alliance (EAMA) at La Schola Cantorum in Paris, France in July 2013 and 2014 and to study with pupils of, and in the tradition of Nadia Boulanger. I went to EAMA intrigued by the classical curriculum of species counterpoint, invertible counterpoint, canon, and fugue. I left EAMA with a revolutionized set of ears from studying keyboard harmony.
As a musician, text has become the driving force in my music making. This realization has led me my back to the University of Manitoba to study with Dr. Elroy Friesen in the Master of Music – (Choral) Conducting program. My research involved interviewing conductors, composers, vocal coaches, and singers about their creative process working with text in music. As a composer, I hear music in language, the meter, rhythm, and tone of speech has been an inspiration for my compositions.
In the summer of 2017 I attended the Fresh Inc workshops as a composer in Kenosha, Wisconsin to learn from the experience of the members of the Fifth House Ensemble (Chicago, Illinois) and composers Stacy Garrop and Dan Visconti on developing social and civic outreach and educational programming and musical career and business development: all of the things they do not teach you in music school.
Having recently graduated with my Master of Music degree I am looking forward to working with various levels of choirs and applying the practical lessons I have learned through conducting to composing new repertoire.
In addition to my choral work, I am developing a course for pianists on keyboard improvisation based on my studies at EAMA and my research into the partimento tradition.