Graham Yates, Austin, TX (Junior Piano)

Graham Yates completed a master’s in piano performance at Brandon University, Manitoba, Canada with a focus on collaborative playing under Dr. Alexander Tselyakov, whose technical and emotional sensitivity has been compared with Horowitz’s. Prior to that, he studied at Trinity Western University in Langley, British Columbia, Canada with Dr. Sandra Joy Friesen, who continues to inspire him to love all the strange and unusual kinds of music.

British Columbians may have seen Mr. Yates in ensemble performances at Vancouver’s Ryerson United Church’s summer concert series, the Vancouver French Alliance, Surrey’s 2010 Olympic Flashback Ceremony, Langley’s Rose Gellert Hall, Bakerview Church’s “Music on a Wednesday” in Abbotsford, and most of Chilliwack’s choral and orchestral groups. In 2012 and 2013 he was a featured concerto soloist in Chilliwack Symphony Orchestra’s Piano Extravaganza.

In addition to his prolific musical pursuits, Mr. Yates completed a master of business administration from Trinity Western University in order to combine business with his passion for music. For five years, he worked to create opportunities for others to experience the joy of community music-making as Principal of the Chilliwack Academy of Music, as Administrator of the Bakerview Music Academy and as President of the British Columbia Association of Community Music Schools. Highlights included founding an El Sistema-inspired free after-school group music academy for underprivileged children; fostering the creation and development of a children’s choir, a teen choir focusing on popular and contemporary music, an adult ukulele jamming group and a therapeutic drum circle for all ages; and artistic directing a world-class classical music concert series.

Mr. Yates is a member of the International Society for Music Education (ISME) and while residing in British Columbia was active as a board member for two provincial music associations: the British Columbia Association of Community Music Schools (BCACMS – vice-president 2011-2013, president 2013-2014) and Performing Arts British Columbia (PABC), where he assisted in hosting the provincial music festival in Chilliwack in 2013 and Penticton in 2014).

Relocating to Austin, Texas in 2014, Mr. Yates runs a thriving private teaching studio for students of all ages and abilities.
Yuel Yawney, Vancouver, BC (Violin and Viola)

Yuel Yawney has performed extensively in Canada, the United States and the Czech Republic, where he completed his advanced training at the Prague Academy with Joseph Suk. He also studied at the Harid Conservatory in Florida and at Shepherd School of Music at Rice University in Texas. Frequently appearing as soloist and chamber musician, he has been heard at the Kneisel Hall Chamber Music Festival, the Banff Summer Festival, Domaine Forget and the Scotia Festival.
Meijane Quong, Vancouver, BC (Intermediate 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.
Peteris Zarins, Toronto, ON (Senior Piano)

Peteris Zarins is a pianist, educator, author, and composer.

He is a graduate of the Royal Conservatory of Music (A.R.C.T. -Performer, A.R.C.T. – Teacher), The University of Toronto (Bachelor of Music in Performance) and The University of Michigan (Master of Music in Performance, minors in Pedagogy and Music History). His principla teachers were Gerald Rutledge, Patricia Parr and Benning Dexter, though he considers composer Talivaldis Kenins, clarinetist Avrahm Galper, vocalists Jean McPhail and Roxolana Roslak, and historian/author Richard Crawford as personal mentors.

Performances as a soloist and collaborative pianist have included concerts at the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa, the Orford Centre in Quebec, Glenn Gould Theatre in Toronto, Weill Auditorium in New York City, Chicago Symphony Hall and last autumn, a national broadcast in Latvia. He has toured for Jeunesses Musicales, and performed with members of the Latvian National Opera, Canadian Opera Company, Vienna, Swedish, Santa Fe, Houston Operas, as well as members of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Riga Philharmonic, C.O.C. and Esprit Orchestras.

Mr. Zarins has presented workshops throughout Canada, the United States , Korea and Bermuda individually and on behalf of the Royal Conservatory and The Frederick Harris Music Company. He has been a featured lecturer and panelist at several C.F.M.T.A. and M.T.N.A. conferences including the Collaborative Conference in Toronto as well as Albuquerque, Austin, Denver, Milwaukee and New York City, B.C.M.T.A. and the Alberta Music Conference. Festival adjudications include the Calgary Summer Arts, Winnipeg, Windsor, Sunderland, Port Colborne, Oshawa, Orillia, Niagara, Mississauga, Markham, Kingston, Brockville, Barrie, Brantford and Brantford Contemporary Showcase, Victoria, O.R.M.T.A. and R.C.S. scholarships.

He is a member of the faculty of the Royal Conservatory School where he is an instructor of piano, pedagogy, and music history, Phil and Eli Taylor Academy of the Glenn Gould School where he teaches music history. He has served on Academic Council for 20 years, and been chair of the Theory Department. With Janet Lopinski and Joe Ringhofer is co-author of the three volume series Explorations in Music History, and writes weekly aricles on musical topics for the RC and the MILQ website. He has served as the Chief Examiner for Training and Development, academic program manager and regional representative for RCM Examinations, is an on-going member of the College of Examiners in both practical and theoretical subjects. Mr. Zarins holds the title of Chief Examiner, Emeritus.
Kevin Zakreseky, Vancouver, BC (Junior Voice)

Kevin Zakresky is a conductor living in Vancouver, British Columbia. He has recently been appointed conductor of the National Geographic “Symphony for Our World,” debuting the concert in San Francisco’s Davies Symphony Hall on Earth Day, April 22nd 2018. This season sees him conduct the NatGeo Symphony in Chicago, Cleveland, San Jose, Limerick, Monterrey, Columbus, Buffalo, Minneapolis, Madison, Ann Arbor, Edmonton and Calgary.

From 2016-18 he was conductor of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses, a tour that saw him conduct orchestras throughout North America, South America and Europe.

He is the past Music Director of the Prince George Symphony Orchestra and Pacifica Singers (an ensemble affiliated with the Vancouver Chamber Choir) and has recently conducted the St Louis Symphony, Calgary Philharmonic, Vancouver Chamber Choir, Sudbury Symphony, and West Coast Symphony. In 2017 he guest conducted the Fort Worth Symphony in “rePlay: Symphony of Heroes,” a concert of favorite video game music.

Zakresky received a Doctoral degree in Choral Conducting at Yale University in February 2012; 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.

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 Vancouver area.

He is a past member of the faculty of the innovative Vancouver International Song Institute, served on the faculty of the BC Choral Federation’s Choral Directorship Course, and has held teaching positions at Douglas College and Simon Fraser University, and since 2013 has taught voice and music history at the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra School of Music, in addition to directing their choral ensembles.
Alexander Kramer, Vancouver, BC (Cello)

Before emigrating to Canada in 2011 Alex held positions as principal cellist of the Greenville (SC) Symphony and Chamber Orchestra and assistant principal cellist of the Charlotte Symphony as well as being a regular extra player with the Atlanta Symphony. As a soloist, he has performed concertos and other solo works with orchestra by C.P.E. Bach, Dvorák, Milhaud, Fauré, Tchaikovsky and the world premiere of “Voice of the Wood” by the late Russell Peck. Alex now lives in Vancouver with his wife Kathy and their three tuxedo cats Edward, Sal and Vonnegut.
Elaine Higgin Case, Calgary, AB (Intermediate & Senior Voice – Classical, Musical Theatre & Contemporary)

Elaine Higgin Case is a third generation singing teacher who maintains an active private studio and adjudicates throughout Western Canada. She has prepared her students for successful admission to classical and music theatre programs throughout North America. Elaine received the Greg Bond Memorial award for her outstanding contribution to musical theatre as well as the inaugural Royal Conservatory of Music Distinguished Teacher Award. Elaine is married with two daughters and four young grandsons.
Paolo Bertolussi, Vancouver, BC (Woodwinds)

Flutist Paolo Bortolussi is a soloist, chamber artist, and new music pioneer.

Raised in Halifax, Nova Scotia, he has appeared as a soloist and chamber musician across Canada, the US and abroad. A specialist in contemporary music, Paolo is the flutist and co-director of the Nu:BC Collective, a new music and multimedia arts ensemble in residence at the University of British Columbia. To date he has premiered over one-hundred and fifty solo and chamber works, including concerti written for him by Jian-Ping Tang, Dorothy Chang, Aaron Gervais, and Jocelyn Morlock, whose concerto “Ornithomancy”, commissioned with funds from the Canada Council, was premiered by Paolo and the Vancouver Island Symphony in April 2013. In 2016, Paolo released his first solo album, Israfel – music for flute and electronics, on the Redshift label, which includes works by Keith Hamel, Larry Lake, John Oliver, and Kaija Saariaho. The album received two nominations at the 2016 Western Canadian Music Awards, including Artist of the Year.

Currently principal flutist with the Vancouver Island Symphony, Paolo has appeared as soloist multiple times with the VIS as well as the Albany (NY) Symphony, the Canada West Chamber Orchestra, and has performed with the Turning Point Ensemble, the Aventa Ensemble, the Vancouver Opera Orchestra, The Vancouver Intercultural Orchestra, as well as the Vancouver and Victoria Symphony Orchestras. He is a featured soloist on Vancouver Visions, a Centredisc release of Stephen Chatman’s music as well as Mirages, a CD of chamber works by Dorothy Chang. In 2014, Beyond Shadows, The Nu:BC Collective’s first CD was released on the Redshift label, featuring music by Dorothy Chang, Marc Mellits, and specially commissioned works by Brian Cherney and Chris Paul Harman. In November, 2014, Paolo performed and recorded Dorothy Chang’s flute concerto “Flight” with the University of British Columbia Symphony under Maestro Jonathan Girard, which will be released on a CD of concerti by University of British Columbia composers. Recent events also included the world premiere of works by Gabriel Dharmoo and Edward Top on Music on Main’s “Modulus”, a performance of Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto #4 on period instruments, performances and clinics in Taipei, Taiwan, a unique arrangement of Mahler’s seminal work “Kindertotenlieder” by Alfredo Santa Ana, the premiere of a new trio by Dorothy Chang, as well as the world premiere of a triple concerto by Aaron Gervais featuring Nu:BC as soloists with the Turning Point Ensemble.

A graduate of the University of Ottawa (B.Mus) and the Indiana University School of Music (M.Mus, D.M.A), he serves on the music faculties of the University of British Columbia, where he co-directs the Contemporary Players Ensemble, as well as Kwantlen Polytechnic University and Trinity Western University.