MOTIVATION AND PURPOSE:
These days, everyone is working to increase ‘access’ to musical and cultural events in major metropolitan centers. This website is designed to provide an integrated presentation of the full quality and variety of classical music that Vancouver has to offer. And what a display it is! Our principal music organizations, the Vancouver Symphony, the Vancouver Recital Society, Friends of Chamber Music, Early Music Vancouver, the Vancouver Opera and the Vancouver Chopin Society have done a wonderful job of securing devoted subscribers over the years, and continue to do so. However, there is probably still not enough cross-fertilization between these musical cultures to inspire a full awareness of, and energy for, this city’s rich musical resources. At the same time, with the variety of ethnically-diverse newcomers and visitors to this city, plus an often disconnected ‘youth’, we probably need a website more immediately visible and convenient for them to go to. Certainly, this need has been felt in Toronto, and ‘hats off’ to John Terauds for piecing together resources to make his web site, ‘Musical Toronto’ wide ranging in its coverage and appeal. Perhaps it is now time for Vancouver to make a similar statement about itself as a world-class classical music center.
From a technical perspective, the virtue of this website is that it operates essentially as a ‘general clearing house’. By clicking any event, photo or organization, you are immediately taken to the relevant organization’s website for concert details and ticketing. The benefits of this are obvious: it provides a significant additional way for the public to access any organization’s website, thus increasing its general exposure. For the concertgoer, having all events on one calendar and direct access to all websites certainly allows them to see the sheer range of musical experiences available and plan a full musical itinerary around it.
Perhaps the real ‘energy’ of this website comes from all its concert reviews, interviews and articles. These are what provide the ‘feel’ of the musical culture in general and can often give a stronger sense of concert participation to their reader. It is always nice to find out that someone else enjoyed the performance as much as you did, or to find out specific details about a performer’s life and attitude. There is a strong legacy of concert reviews here, going back for a good number of seasons. Anyone who looks at these reviews cannot doubt the sheer array and quality of world class performers that have visited Vancouver on a regular basis.
We have worked to design a website which is visually elegant and inviting, just like the music being played. But it comes together from pieces which are not mainline, and this is probably as it should be, as Vancouver’s ethnicity and demographics evolve. The design and execution strongly involved, and continues to involve, UBC students and the early reviews and interviews follow from the inspiration of the Korea Daily (Vancouver) to publish these in order to bring classical music to their newly-evolving local community. The student participation started in 2011 when we prepared a newsletter of featured concerts, distributed to about 250 interested parties and featuring low-cost tickets. This then evolved into the website, Newman’s Music Update, in 2013. VANCOUVER CLASSICAL MUSIC is the final step towards a fully professional and comprehensive website. It launched in January 2014.
MUSIC BIO: Dr. Geoffrey Newman
While Dr. Geoffrey Newman has pursued an academic career in the social sciences for most of his professional life, he was born into a very artistic family. His father, Gerald Newman was a prolific producer of both music and drama for the CBC in the 1960’s and, later, was a professor of English at Simon Fraser University with a specialization in Shakespeare. His mother, Joyce Newman, was an opera and lieder singer who also recorded for the CBC. His cousin, Richard Margison, is one of Canada’s renowned tenors, who has performed and recorded in the most distinguished opera houses in the world.
In his early years, Geoffrey studied the violin with Kenneth Yunke and Jack Kessler, the latter then being the concertmaster of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and formerly the Associate Concertmaster of The Philharmonia Orchestra of London. He had played in three junior symphony orchestras by age 11. He was also a choirboy and soloist at Ryerson United Church (Kerrisdale) under the direction of organist, Hugh J. McLean. Geoffrey’s career as a music critic apparently started when he was very young, since he was always asked music identification questions by a panel of his father’s friends, who were endlessly comparing recently-released recordings. Geoffrey had a classical record collection of over 100 records by the age of six.
From these early beginnings, Dr. Newman now has accumulated a vast collection of over 20,000 LP’s and CD’s. In his library, there are often as many as 20 different performances of each item in the basic repertoire. At the same time, he has now seen virtually all of the world’s most distinguished orchestras, concert halls, soloists and conductors. His most exciting experiences came from living in New York and London over the period 1985-1996. In his five years in London, he would attempt to visit the either the Royal Festival, Barbican, or Wigmore Halls on a nightly basis. He was also a member of the Friends of the Philharmonia Orchestra and had a similar attachment to the London Symphony Orchestra.
During this period, he remembers fondly a Sibelius symphony cycle under Sir Colin Davis, a Strauss cycle under Wolfgang Sawallisch, a Schubert sonata series with Alfred Brendel, and all the enterprising performances of both the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (under Sir Simon Rattle) and the Lindsay String Quartet. He also recalls the excitement of the opening of the Flanders Festival (with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra) as well as the Prague Spring Music Festival (with the Czech Philharmonic). Of all these experiences, Dr. Newman perhaps cherishes most being able to see one of the ‘parting’ concerts of four of most distinguished musicians of the 20th Century: Sir Thomas Beecham (1961), Sir Adrian Boult (Royal Festival Hall, 1976), Herbert von Karajan (Carnegie Hall, New York, 1988) and Sviatoslav Richter (Royal Festival Hall, 1996).
Dr. Newman taught at the University of Toronto and the London School of Economics before coming to UBC in 2002. He contributes concert reviews internationally to Seen and Heard International and has been Music Columnist and English Liaison Advisor for the Korea Daily since 2009.
HARVEY De ROO
Harvey De Roo came to classical music late, during his final year of high school, through a school outing to hear Antal Dorati conduct the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra at the hockey arena in Regina Saskatchewan. He remembers being overwhelmed and wondering where such music had been all his life—though he did recognize what he knew as ‘The Lone Ranger Music’ from the radio dramas he loved as a child. A year later, upon entrance to university, he discovered the CBC and the LP recording. Such experiences hit him with the force of a religious conversion, and he has been a devout fan of classical music ever since, collecting widely, reading extensively in music history, and undertaking piano lessons and music theory after retirement.
Dr. De Roo taught Old and Middle English and Old Norse languages and literatures in the Department of English at Simon Fraser University for over thirty years. Upon retirement, he taught opera history and appreciation at Simon Fraser’s Seniors Programme at Harbour Centre for eight years. He was founding Secretary and a member of the Artistic Planning Committee of City Opera Vancouver from 2005-12.
Kate Mackin is a native Vancouverite who studied music theory and contemporary philosophy at the University of British Columbia. She has a specialist training in Baroque music but more recently has become fascinated with ‘new music’ as well. Trained as an clarinetist herself, she enjoys playing transcriptions of Baroque keyboard works on bass clarinet as much as painting abstract 'pattern landscapes' based on post-tonal music. She is very committed to community engagement and the perpetuation of cultural focus, and writing about music and understanding its history is a passion for her.
Tony Harris, CISM, CISSP
Tony is a cyber security consultant. He earned his Microsoft Certified Professional degree at the age of 15 and proceeded to be involved in multiple industries throughout his career, ranging from telecommunications to higher education. Tony has a Bachelors of Art degree from the University of British Columbia in American Studies and International Relations, in which during this period he also worked for the Faculty of Science's IT team. Educational affiliates include the Royal Holloway, University of London (M.Sc., Information Security) in the United Kingdom. Tony is also actively involved in a humanitarian organization called Global Perspectives Canada, which strives to improve life of others in third world countries through construction projects such as schools and libraries. Currently, the program is in it's 24rd year and works with the Steve Nash Foundation, as well as local governmental organizations. He built a hurricane-proof cemented walkway for a small village near the town of Labasa, Fiji in July, 2014. The walkway was officially opened by the Ministry of Education in Fiji later in November.
Kelly graduated from UBC as a Wesbrook Scholar in 2016 with a Dual Degree in Piano Performance and Statistics/Economics. Her distinguished list of piano teachers includes Terence Dawson, Bruce Vogt, Murray Nichol, Shirley Kwok, May Lim, Amanda Chan, and Ian Parker. She has twice been a semi-finalist in the Canadian Music Competition and was a former member of UBC Symphony Orchestra. Kelly was able to perform at Showcase Pianos’ opening concert and has assisted in organizing fundraiser concerts for BC Children’s Hospital Foundation. She has also taught piano and music theory to both children and seniors for almost 10 years. Balancing music with a career in business, Kelly works with the Chairman's Council team at RBC Wealth Management and is also a 2019 MBA candidate at UBC.
Yuliya is a graduating student at the Sauder School of Business. She is a co-founder and editor-in-chief of the Sauder Business Review, an active member at the Musqueam ARC Initiative, and a research assistant at Sauder. Yuliya’s piano teacher, Larisa Aleksandrovna, cultivated an abiding love for music and arts that has been with her from a very early age.
Jayeon is a recent graduate of the UBC Music Department, studying piano with Dr. Corey Hamm and traditional Korean and Balinese music with Dr. Nathan Hesselink and Dr. Michael Tenzer. Currently a piano instructor at Long & McQuade Music Education Centre and the Vancouver Contemporary Music Academy, she has participated in everything from the Vancouver International Jazz Festival, Balinese Gamelan and African drumming concerts, to music documentaries for Chinese broadcasting and the CBC. Jayeon has translated Dr. Newman’s concert reviews into Korean for the Korea Daily since 2010 and is also a translator for the entertainment company, Deluxe.
Sherry always knows just when to take a photo! She received her Master’s Degree in English Literature from Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, and worked twelve years for the Foreign Affairs Office, China Telecom, Guangdong Corp. Coming to Canada in 2008, she is currently an administrator with The Mozart School of Music (Burnaby). Her current piano teacher is Dr. Scott Meek.