Find out more about our 2024/2025 programs, events, exhibitions, fundraising initiatives and more! View the Program Guide

Find out more about our music teachers below.

Aouda Yen

Becky Ho

Christina Krystecki

Christina Neale

Derek Pang

Dina Kholina

Evan Bates

Frank Bond

Garth Preston

Geeta Das

Genevieve MacKay

Herbert Tsang

Irina Jilina

Isaac Juarez-Flores

Jason Overy

Jess Breuer

Jimmy Baldwin

Joshua Dean

Karen Illman

Karen Wood

Katrina Gillis

Kimmie Xiong

Krista Pederson

Krystal Morrison

Maggie Van Wyk

Marjory Purdy

Marysia Niemczyk

Noel McRobbie

Rebecca Blair

Rita Attrot

Robin Chan

Rosie Carver

Sarab Shamoun

Sheldon Friesen

Stefan Nazarevich

Surim Cha

Yurgen Ilaender (Mr. I)

Aouda Yen

Piano and Flute

Ages: 5+ for Piano, 10+ for Flute | Level: Any for Piano, Intermediate for Flute | Exam Prep: Conservatory RCM

Aouda holds a Master of Education degree in Arts Education from Simon Fraser University and a Bachelor of Performing Arts from Capilano University. She is a certified educator of RCM and a member of BC RMTA.

Two of her students were awarded the Gold Medal in Grade 7 Piano from the RCM for the highest exam mark achieved in BC and the Medal in Grade 2 Piano from the BC RMTA Vancouver branch for excellent achievement, respectively.

Her teaching philosophy is to provide a safe and welcoming environment for students to explore, learn and grow.

Becky Ho

Music for Young Children® (MYC)

Miss Becky has an ARCT in Piano Performance, Certificate of Teaching (Music) from The Associated Board of The Royal Schools of Music, U.K. in 2008. From 2007-2019 she was the head teacher of a music program at Tom Lee Music Academy in Hong Kong. She was also one of the program planners and song writers responsible for new teachers’ training for the related program. From August 2002- March 2007, she served as a private piano teacher and course instructor at Salina Cheng Music Academy. She also taught group lessons for early beginners, in a program named “Music for Little Mozarts”. Besides teaching at the academy, Miss Becky taught group courses at Simon Fraser University Day Care Units. During those years, she had instructed over 40 piano students.

Miss Becky has more than 20 years experience in early childhood music education. She has excellent communication and interpersonal skills. She has good command in spoken and written English, Cantonese and Mandarin.

One of her piano students just awarded the Bronze medal in Grade 4 Piano at Steinway Piano Competition 2021.

Her teaching philosophy is to provide the flexibility of teaching. Every student is a unique individual so better listen to what they want and what they like. And hoping every student will bring a smile to her music class.

Christina Krystecki

Piano

Ages: 7+ | Level: Up to Gr. 10 | Exam Prep: RCM

Christina received a master’s degree in teaching and composition from the Academy of Music in Gdansk, Poland. Her work experience in Poland includes performing and travelling with the Gdansk Philharmonic Opera.

Christina has been a music director and organist for several churches in Vancouver and is a Royal Conservatory of Music Affiliate Teacher. She is a founder, leader, producer, actor and singer of the Polish Cabaret: “Kropka nad i . . . .”

Christina regularly prepares students for music festival and RCM exams. She teaches a variety of styles, from classical to jazz. An active performer, accompanist and soloist, Christina constantly searches for new ways to nurture her students’ artistic development and is passionate about sharing her experience. She also never forgets to have fun and that progress takes time and requires patience.

Christina Neale

Music and Movement

Christina is a proud Metis woman exploring her maternal lineage. Music has always been a passion of Christina’s and she has been making sounds and using melody to communicate for as long as she can remember.

Christina was raised in Coquitlam, BC and was involved in various extra-curricular activities such as choirs, musical theatre and figure skating. She attended the Langley Fine Arts School, which sparked her interest in continuing her education in music at the University of British Columbia. Christina graduated with a degree in Anthropology and worked as a consulting Archaeologist, which gave her the opportunity to work with elders in Indigenous territories and learn about their traumas and resilience. She continued this work in New Zealand, working with Maori communities and learning about their unique traditions and culture.

In 2014, Christina decided to pursue Music Therapy and graduated from Capilano University with a Bachelor of Music Therapy in 2021. She is now a Music Therapist accredited in Canada and started Tuned In Music Therapy.

Currently, Christina works with youth and adolescents in psychiatry, kids and adults on the autism spectrum, and seniors in long-term care.

Derek Pang

Violin

Sep 2023-Jun 2024: Offering In-Person and Online Lessons Fridays, Saturdays

Ages: 7+ | Level: Up to Gr. 10 | Exam Prep: RCM, ABRSM

Derek Pang attended the Beijing Central Conservatory of Music, and earned his Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees from the Eastman School of Music.

Derek has been a member of the Hong Kong Chamber Orchestra, the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, the Eastman Philharmonic Orchestra, the Eastman Graduate Chamber Orchestra, the Whitewater Opera Company, the St. Martin Chamber Orchestra, the Richmond Symphony Orchestra and the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra. Derek is a member of the BC RMTA.

Dina Kholina

Piano

Ages: 6-18 only | Level: Up to Gr. 10 | Exam Prep: RCM

Dina Kholina is a Ukrainian-Canadian pianist whose musical path started at age five. She completed 17 years of music education and holds a Master’s degree in Music and Arts from the Ukrainian State Pedagogical University (Kiev, Ukraine).

Playing as an accompanist for various instruments and voice has expanded Dina’s teaching and performing experience. She is a prizewinner of the National Piano Players Competition (Lviv, 1992). In 2003 Dina relocated to Canada where she continues her musical career as a BC RMTA registered piano teacher, accompanist and piano performer. She is in high demand as a piano coach and accompanist for recitals and masterclasses, music festivals, exams and auditions (Kiwanis, Burnaby Clef Society, Richmond, SDMF, St. Thomas College, BCRTMA, RCM, VAM, UBC, VSO, Metropolitan Opera, Vancouver Chamber Choir, Burnaby Lyric Opera and others).

Dina had her first student at age 16, and since then teaching piano has become her passion. She believes that every child is unique, and with a positive and innovative approach, everyone can enjoy playing the piano. Dina’s goal as a teacher is to promote classical music and the best traditions of the Russian piano school (Rachmaninoff, Rubinstein, Scriabin, Horowitz). Dina’s lessons focus on hand position, fingering, posture and quality of sound. She is eager to fill children’s hearts with the joy of music.

Evan Bates

Cello, Guitar, Double Bass

Ages: 6+ | Level: Up to ARCT+ for Cello, Double Bass, Any level for Guitar, Electric Guitar | Exam Prep: RCM

A musician since a very young age, Evan has played a wide variety of music styles and instruments. He has a wealth of experience playing and teaching double bass, electric bass and cello with symphony orchestras, jazz or folk ensembles and touring with both rock and country bands. His talent and professionalism have given him the opportunity to perform with many accomplished musicians across North America, Europe and Asia. 

 

He believes that music is a fundamental part of life and every student can grow through practice and encouragement. 

Frank Bond

Guitar, Bass Guitar, Electric Guitar, Piano, Ukulele

Ages: All | Level: Any | Exam Prep: No

Frank was trained privately by Mr. Faust Pinto. Frank has extensive experience as a live performer in many different musical styles and has written music for television (the CKVU news theme), theatre, film as well as pop tunes. Frank aims to give his students a well-rounded ability on their instrument which will allow them to enjoy playing in whatever style(s) they choose.

Garth Preston

Piano, Composition, Theory

Ages: 5+ | Level: Up to Gr. 8 | Exam Prep: RCM

Garth began his musical education as a child in school and church choirs. He began piano study at the age of nine. He graduated from the Brandon University School of Music in 1982 with a Bachelor of Music and from the UBC School of Music in 1989 with a Master of Arts in Music Theory.

Garth’s Master’s thesis was a comprehensive study of the extreme chromatic harmony in the early music of the 20th century Austrian composer Anton Webern. That study has been cited as a reference in an introductory essay, in an edition published in 2004 by Dr. Matthew Shaftel, on Webern’s early vocal music and also in a paper on chromatic harmony presented to the Society for Music Theory at a conference in Seattle in 2003.

Garth has a wide-ranging background in music having performed as a soloist and accompanist and in various ensembles in such diverse idioms as classical, jazz, rock, country, folk and musical theatre.

His professional activities have also included composing, arranging and adjudicating. Garth began teaching full-time in 1983, working for Yamaha Music Canada in Winnipeg and for the Winnipeg School Division, teaching both piano and guitar. He has been teaching at Place des Arts since 1985 and at the Delta Community Music School since 1987.

Geeta Das

Bass Clarinet, Clarinet, Flute, Saxophone, Trumpet, Trombone, Tuba

Ages: 10+ | Level: Any | Exam Prep: RCM

Geeta is a professional multi-instrumentalist who has been performing and teaching music in Vancouver, as well as around the world, for over 25 years. She has studied music at Douglas College, the University of British Columbia and privately throughout the eastern United States. She is well-versed in a variety of musical styles, including everything from Classical and Jazz, to Latin, Funk, R&B, Reggae and more.

Geeta has had the honour of performing with world-renowned artists such as UK singer/songwriter Adele, rap star Kanye West, UK pop/rock sensation The Heavy, world-famous historic big band The Glenn Miller Orchestra and many more. Geeta has a great deal of knowledge and passion for music that she hopes to share with the community.

Genevieve MacKay

Violin & Viola

Ages: 4+ | Level: Up to Gr.10 | Exam Prep: RCM

Genevieve MacKay is a working musician, educator, arts administrator and writer living in North Vancouver. She is a regular performer and avid teacher of viola and violin, which she has played with the Lions Gate Sinfonia, Plastic Acid Orchestra, Vancouver Chamber Choir, Vancouver Film Orchestra and many other ensembles.

Genevieve holds a BA (English Literature) and an MA (Ancient Culture, Religion, and Ethnicity) from UBC, where she also performed in the UBC Symphony Orchestra and the Early Music Ensemble. Her teaching philosophy is music should be fun and everyone can learn.

Herbert Tsang

Violin & Viola

Ages: 6+ | Level: Any | Exam Prep: RCM

Violinist and conductor Herbert Tsang earned his Master of Music degree from Boston University’s School of Music, where he continued his musical studies at the doctoral level. In addition, Herbert earned the Doctor of Worship Studies degree from the Robert E. Webber Institute for Worship Studies. Herbert is currently the music director of the chamber orchestra SINFONIA MOSAIC and President of Church Music Ministry of Canada. Locally, he has performed with the Vancouver Philharmonic Orchestra and West Coast Symphony as a violinist and conducted the Vancouver Chamber Choir in performance.

With an avid interest in opera and musical theatre, Tsang was the musical director of the Fraser Valley Gilbert and Sullivan Society production of The Mikado and HMS Pinafore. In Europe, he conducted in a production of Le Nozze di Figaro at the East Slovakian State Opera House, Slovak Republic.

A prolific recording artist, Herbert has over 30 recordings produced under his musical direction. Tsang was selected as one of eight Tanglewood II Symposium Scholars in 2007. This international symposium brings together distinguished international scholars to cultivate a new understanding of music learning for the 21st Century. He has been on the music faculty of Place des Arts since 1995. Visit his website at www.herberttsang.com.

Irina Jilina

Piano

Ages: 6+ | Level: Any | Exam Prep: RCM

Irina Jilina graduated from Music College in 1978 and the Conservatory of Uzbekistan (Tashkent) in 1983. Irina worked extensively in music schools in Tashkent city and taught Piano in the Music College of Uzbekistan. After immigrating to Canada in 2002, Irina established herself as a private piano and theory teacher in Vancouver. Irina is a member of the Piano Teachers Federation and a Registered member (#54897) of the Royal Conservatory of Music, as well as a registered member (#3148) of the BC Registered Music Teachers’ Association.

In 2007 Irina founded the Vancouver International Festival of Russian Music in Vancouver (viform.org) and many of her students regularly performed in this annual event. In 2009 Irina accepted a position with Place des Arts where she has been teaching piano and music theory.

Irina’s students participate in a variety of local music festivals and Place des Arts class concerts. Many of her students successfully complete the Royal Conservatory of Music requirements for practical and theory examination at all levels.

Isaac Juarez-Flores

Piano, Music Theory/Harmony

Ages: 6+ | Level: up to ARCT | Exam Prep: Conservatory, RCM

Isaac’s musical style is influenced from music dating back 400 years to present day.  He has earned a Bachelor of Music from the National University of Mexico and an Artist Diploma from the Superior School of Music, both in Mexico City.  He has also earned his ARCT from the Royal Conservatory of Music and Licentiate Diploma from the British Columbia Conservatory of Music.

Isaac has attended many master classes taught by high-caliber performers worldwide and has received numerous medals, awards, and scholarships.  An active performer, Isaac has been featured as a soloist and accompanist in a wide range of styles and musical genres.

A dedicated teacher, many of Isaac’s students have earned high marks in music exams and have placed highly in festivals, including 1st prize winners.

Aside from teaching and performing, Isaac is also an active adjudicator in various music festivals both locally and abroad.

Jason Overy

Percussion/Drums, Intro to Drumset

Ages: 8+ | Level: Any | Exam Prep: No

Jason has a Bachelor of Music in Performance from the University of Victoria where he grew up playing in the Greater Victoria Youth Orchestra and a variety of Jazz, Blues, Rock, Punk and Ska bands.

Since finishing his degree and moving to Vancouver in 1996, he has played, recorded, and toured internationally with many groups of note. He is the musical director for Uzume Taiko, a drum set soloist with OLAM and percussion section leader for the Band of the Fifteenth Field Regiment RCA.

Jason has a great deal of experience playing for musical theatre productions. These include Cabaret, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Oklahoma, The Wiz, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Oliver Twist, Urinetown and several award winning independent productions.

Jason has also played drum set and percussion in a multitude of west coast funk, rock, blues, punk, and ska bands, notably DOA, the Hounds of Buskerville, The Colorifics, The Harpoons and the Juno award winning bluesman Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne.

Jason has studied with some of the world’s great masters, and has taught drum set, hand drums, percussion and taiko to people of all ages locally, nationally, and internationally.

Jason’s other love is martial arts, and he has his Sandan (third degree black belt) in Shotokan Karate-do and travels regularly to Japan with his Sensei to study Budo.

Jess Breuer

Musical Rainbow Babies and Sparkles

My music journey started with the Musical Rainbow program at Place des Arts. Music has continued to be a large part of my life since then, from school choirs to community concert bands and various instruments picked up along the way. My background in early childhood development gives me a unique insight into the role music can play in their growth. Music and movement have always been an important part of my curriculum and I love seeing children learn new skills, engage with songs and instruments, and foster relationships through exploring music together.

Jimmy Baldwin

Acoustic & Electric Guitar, Group Guitar

Ages: 8+ | Level: Any | Exam Prep: RCM

Jimmy is an accomplished and versatile musician who holds a Bachelor of Applied Music Degree in Contemporary Jazz Guitar Performance from VCC School of Music and has been performing and teaching for two decades. As well as skill and experience, he brings great enthusiasm and a deep love of music-making to his teaching. Students will learn and develop basic musicianship skills and guitar techniques while exploring music from various genres and cultures. Students are also encouraged to bring their personal musical tastes and interests to lessons.

Whether solo or as leader of his own Jimmy Baldwin Band; as the co-founding member of 10-piece Afro-beat funk juggernaut Camaro 67; as a member of the electric bebop group the Underdogs; as a performer with top-tier event bands like Five Alarm Funk, Ten Souljers and Supersonic Hearts; or as a gun for various solo artists and one-off appearances, Jimmy is always playing. Since the release of his debut album “Changing Time” in 2013, he has focused on the above-mentioned projects until recently releasing his sophomore album “Lighthouse” in December 2020.

jimmybaldwin.bandcamp.com/

Joshua Dean

Violin

Ages: 6+ | Level: up to ARCT | Exam Prep: RCM

Violinist Joshua Dean is a dynamic artist who is passionate about performing, teaching and innovating. His modern teaching methods are synthesized from the latest ideas in education, neuro-science, psychology, physiology, as well as methods of great masters of violin playing such as Jascha Heifetz, David Oistrakh and Nathan Milstein. In the last ten years, he has traveled to Harvard University, the Juilliard School, and New York University to meet with top researchers and professors and to discuss ground-breaking ideas on violin playing and teaching. He believes that with proper guidance and attitude, every student can master the violin. He places great importance on how to listen to one’s own playing and how to practice at home.

Joshua holds a Master’s Degree from UBC where he studied violin and education. While doing his master’s degree, he was also a Graduate Teaching Assistant in the Faculty of Music Education. He enjoys teaching young students aged 4 to 10, many of whom have won top prizes in local festivals and competitions. Since 2005, his students have achieved highest marks in the province of British Columbia at Royal Conservatory of Music Examinations in virtually all levels.

Joshua is also a top expert in antique string instruments and has been consulted by members of Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Vancouver Opera, and the University of British Colombia School of Music. Aside from violin playing and teaching, he works as an independent appraiser of fine string instruments.

Anyone who is interested in violin lessons with Joshua is welcome to contact him through Place des Arts.

Karen Illman

The Musical Rainbow

In her very first year of school, while playing a purple iris in the spring kindergarten musical, Karen was inspired to explore the world of the performing arts. Since that moment, she has found herself following a winding path full of opportunities and experiences in both Canada and the USA. Growing up in Toronto, Karen participated in youth choral music and attended a performing arts high school, growing and gaining varied musical and dramatic skills along the way.

Music and young children have long been combined passions for Karen. Since graduating with her Music Education degree from Wilfrid Laurier University, Karen has had the joy of providing many children with an early start in music. She enjoys working with all ages as both a private voice teacher and theatre arts director. Karen has also performed as a guest soloist over the years in the various places she has lived with her family. In 2013, Karen began teaching the Musical Rainbow program in pre-schools and daycare centres throughout the Tri-Cities. She relates to this educational program as both a parent and teacher, having had her own daughter study with Mr. I for many years at Place des Arts.

Karen firmly believes that every child is worthy of having meaningful musical experiences in their lives and that early engagement with music helps to shape and impact young learners at every level of development.

Karen Wood

Piano

Ages: 5+ | Level: Up to Gr. 8 | Exam Prep: Conservatory, RCM

Karen Wood has an ARCT in Piano Performance and a Bachelor of Sacred Music from Ambrose College where she studied with David McIntyre. From 2015 – 2017 Karen studied with Marjory Purdy and received her Teacher’s AVCM with Conservatory Canada and qualified for the CFMTA Pedagogy award for the highest mark.

Karen seeks to foster a lifetime enjoyment of music with her students while having fun developing a strong musical foundation, exploring many musical styles and performing at recitals and exams. All ages and experience are most welcome!

Katrina Gillis

Voice

Ages: All | Level: Any | Exam Prep: No

Katrina [Kat] Gillis started singing at the age of 10 and took piano lessons starting at age 6. She has competed in festivals for voice and piano starting at a young age. She found a passion for entertaining while playing popular songs on the piano and singing along, which then led to her writing her own music. She did some post-secondary studies at Mount Allison University in New Brunswick, where she studied Vocal Performance. Throughout university, Kat continued to play the piano by accompanying vocalists, playing in bands and acting as a band director for school productions.

Upon moving to BC, Kat attended Malaspina University (now called Vancouver Island University) for Jazz Performance. This was also where she further developed her skills in creating original compositions, working with bands as a backup singer and keyboard player and as a Musical Director for various musical productions on the island. She also performed her original work around Vancouver.

As a teacher, Kat has brought her focus to strengthening her student’s voice with proper breathing techniques, proper intonation, Semi Occluded Vocal Tract (SOVT) Exercises and agility (embellishment) warmups. She also likes to bring in some fun styles of warmups to inspire her students to practice their warmups more. She also teaches music theory, ear training and recently has been teaching some of her students playing the piano while singing their songs. In the Summer of 2022, she completed “The Injured Singer”, “The Vocal Athlete” and the “Teaching Young Singers” courses from the Shenandoah CCM Institute to bring added focus on taking care of a singer’s voice while singing challenging styles such as Musical Theatre and Pop. She also recently became a Full Member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS).

Katrina is proud to have written and performed a song for the Place Des Arts 50th Anniversary Gala in November 2022. She was inspired by the opportunity and has returned to writing and producing/coproducing music, as well as session work as a writer, piano player and backup singer.

Kimmie Xiong

Piano for Beginners

Kimmie is an experienced and dedicated music educator with a passion for teaching and inspiring young musicians. She holds a Bachelor of Music Education from Wright State University in the US and a Master of Education in Music Education at the University of British Columbia.

Kimmie holds an ABRSM Piano Music Performance Diploma, and an ABRSM Grade 8 Theory Certificate. Her commitment to excellence has been recognized through numerous awards and achievements, including the 2022-2023 Wright State University Music Education Award, the silver prize at the 23rd Santa Cecilia International Piano Competition, and the Faber Piano Competition & Arts Festival 2021 First Prize. Kimmie has also performed as a pianist and piano accompanist for a variety of events and venues.

As an educator, Kimmie is dedicated to creating a positive and supportive learning environment that fosters creativity, critical thinking and personal growth. Kimmie’s teaching philosophy is centred around the belief that music education should be accessible to everyone, regardless of their background or prior experience. Kimmie strives to create a tailored and personalized curriculum that meets the unique needs and interests of each student, while also emphasizing the development of fundamental piano skills. Kimmie is committed to using her expertise and experience to help students achieve their full potential and develop a lifelong love of music.

Krista Pederson

Voice, Piano, Music Theory/Harmony, Collaborative Music and Dance

Ages: 5+ | Level: Up to Gr 8 for Voice, up to ARCT for Piano | Exam Prep: RCM

Krista Pederson is a pianist, singer and teacher in the Tri-Cities region. After being born and raised in Saskatchewan, Krista has enjoyed travelling to and living in many different places for study and adventure.  She studied piano performance with Jacques Després at the University of Alberta and completed a Master’s Degree in collaborative piano with John Hess at the University of Western Ontario.  She has also studied piano and voice in the U.S., Canada, Spain and Austria with dedicated musicians like Alexandra Munn, Christiane Riel, Margo Garrett, Patricia Caicedo and Norman Shetler.  She is pleased her career allows her to perform and share music with the people around her.  Her work includes collaborating with singers and instrumentalists, playing for ballet classes and choirs, teaching, performing and being a mother to her four children. She has performed, toured and recorded with the Vancouver Chamber Choir and more recently, she has joined the Vancouver Cantata Singers and is loving sharing extraordinary performances with those talented musicians.  In 2019, Krista joined the Coastal Sound Music Academy family as a pianist and this year she is thrilled to also be teaching and getting to know more artists at Place des Arts.

Krystal Morrison

Clarinet, Saxophone, Piano, Alexander Technique

Ages: 5+ for Piano, 8+ for Clarinet and Sax | Level: Beginner for Piano, up to Gr. 10 Clarinet, up to Gr. 8 Sax | Exam Prep: RCM

Krystal Morrison holds the position as second clarinet with the Vancouver Island Symphony, and enjoys an active freelance and teaching career in her native Vancouver. A graduate of McGill’s Schulich School of Music and the University of Ottawa, she possesses Master’s degrees in both Performance and Musicology. Krystal began her musical career with the Canadian military, making her debut on Ottawa’s Parliament Hill as a musician in the daily changing of the guard ceremony. Since then she has continued to perform across North America and Europe, and can be heard outside the orchestra playing Argentine Tango, or alongside viola in Duetto di Nuovo.

An enthusiastic pedagogue, Krystal has taught at music schools throughout Canada, from conservatories to Cadet Camps. Her teaching style matches her diverse interests and blends practice and theory, both in the studio and the classroom.

Krystal is also a certified Alexander Technique teacher and member of CANSTAT, the Canadian Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique. She has worked with musicians, actors and dancers to help them find ease in movement and bring new energy to their craft. Whether in masterclasses or one-on-one, she aims to give students a chance to pause, notice their habits, and ask, “is there a different way to approach this?”

www.vancouverislandsymphony.com
Alexander Technique Canada

Maggie Van Wyk

Piano and Theory/Harmony

Ages: 5+ | Level: Gr. 9 Harmony Gr. 10 Piano and History | Exam Prep: RCM

Born in South Africa, Maggie studied at the University of the Free-State in Bloemfontein. There she completed her Bachelor’s degree in Music, majoring in piano and music education. In addition, she completed an Honours Bachelor’s degree in Music Education (Cum Laude), an Advanced Certificate in Arts and Culture Education (Cum Laude) and three levels (Preparatory, Level 1 and Level 2) in Orff Schulwerk. In South Africa, Maggie had a teaching career spanning 20 years; she taught piano, music theory, music history, music appreciation, recorder, ukulele, folk guitar and Orff groups. She was also a director of church and school choirs, as well as an accompanist at churches and music festivals.

In September 2011, Maggie and her family immigrated to Canada. Since then she has been teaching piano, theory, history and harmony at the Bergthorson Academy of Musical Arts. Maggie has prepared many students of all levels for RCM examinations, competitions and festivals; her students are consistently successful, winning medals and awards.

Maggie is a registered member of the BC Registered Music Teachers’ Association, and she is also the Music Director at the St. Laurence Anglican Church in Coquitlam, a position she has held since January 2015.

Maggie believes her purpose as a music teacher is to unlock and develop every student’s musical talent, enabling them to share the joy of music with others.

Marjory Purdy

Piano, Theory

Ages: 4+ | Level: Any | Exam Prep: Conservatory

Marjory began piano lessons at the age of four with her mother Margaret Purdy. She later continued her studies with Robin Wood, Winifred Scott Wood and William Goldenberg.

Marjory’s education includes Performer’s and Teacher’s Diplomas from the Royal Conservatory of Music and the Victoria Conservatory of Music; a Bachelor of Music from the University of Victoria; and a Master of Music and Performer’s Certificate from Northern Illinois University.

She also studied collaborative piano at the doctorate level with Martin Katz at the University of Michigan and participated in various summer programs and master classes in Canada, the United States, and Europe.

Marjory has been teaching for over 20 years. She adjudicates music festivals throughout British Columbia and is an examiner for Conservatory Canada. As a clinician, Marjory presents master classes and workshops on various topics to teachers, students and the public.

Marjory loves teaching all levels from the very young beginner to the advanced piano student. She considers the benefits of music education immeasurable for a child’s emotional, social and intellectual development.

In her teaching, Marjory encourages and challenges students, in partnership with parents, to strive towards excellence within a kind and supportive environment. She believes all children have an artist within, and she aspires to guide students on their journey of learning and discovery.

Marjory’s students are recipients of numerous awards from local festivals, the Registered Music Teachers, and Conservatory Canada; but what Marjory values most is watching students master the things they thought were impossible, and the privilege of sharing time with children as they grow up.

Marysia Niemczyk

Novice Piano Teacher-in-Training

Sep 2023-Jun 2024: Offering In-Person Lessons Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays

Ages: 5-10 only | Level: Beginners only | Exam Prep: No

Marysia began playing piano at age 5 with Margaret Purdy and is now studying for an Associate Diploma from the Conservatory of Canada in Piano Performance and Grade 10 Violin. She is currently studying piano pedagogy with Marjory Purdy. She was awarded medals of excellence for Piano, Violin and Theory 5 in 2014, 2017 and 2018 (respectively). Marysia was also awarded the BC Registered Music Teachers’ Association Scholarship in 2018 and the Harry & Sylvia Novak Memorial Scholarship in 2022. She participates in various music festivals in the Lower Mainland and plays in the Coquitlam Youth Orchestra. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Molecular Biology & Biochemistry from Simon Fraser University. Marysia wishes to share her love for music and create a positive, fun and encouraging environment for others.

Noel McRobbie

Piano, Chamber Ensemble

Ages: 7+ | Level: up to ARCT+ | Exam Prep: RCM

Born in Winnipeg, Canada, pianist Noel McRobbie first received national attention after receiving top prize at the Eckhardt-Grammatté Piano Competition. In addition, he has received prizes at the CBC Début Concert Artist Series, Grand Konzerteum International Piano Competition, Seiler International Piano Competition and the University of Michigan Concerto Competition.

Noel’s solo performances include the Steinway Series at the University of South Florida, the Vancouver Chopin Society, the Eastport Arts Centre in Maine, the Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest, the Seoul Arts Centre and the Asian Composers League at Sejong Chamber Hall.  As a concerto soloist, he has performed with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, the Bulgarian Chamber Orchestra, the Jeonju Philharmonic Orchestra, the Westcoast Symphony, the University of Michigan Philharmonia, Dongduk Women’s University Symphony Orchestra and the New Westminster Symphony.  Recent performances include the Victoria Conservatory of Music Summer Piano Academy, the Turning Point Ensemble and the Canadian Music Centre Concert Series. In addition, Noel is currently performing and recording works by Juno Award-winning composer Michael Conway Baker. His performances have been broadcast on CBC radio, and he was featured in International Piano magazine and KBS television’s Classic Odyssey.

For many years, Noel was a student of Lee Kum-Sing at the Vancouver Academy of Music and the University of British Columbia, where he received an Artist Diploma and Bachelor of Music respectively.  Other teachers include Arthur Greene, Patricia Zander, and Svetozar Ivanov.  He received a Doctorate of Musical Arts in Piano Pedagogy and Performance from the University of Michigan, and a Master of Music from the New England Conservatory.  Previously Noel was Assistant Professor of Piano at Dongduk Women’s University in Seoul, South Korea. Currently, he also teaches at the Vancouver Academy of Music, where he is on the college faculty.

Rebecca Blair

Harp, Music Theory/Harmony, Adult Visual Arts

Ages: 8+ | Level: Any | Exam Prep: No

Music Bio

Rebecca’s career as a musician and teacher has been both rich and varied. Her musical studies began in the classical realm with the clarinet, culminating in 1996 when she graduated with a master’s degree in performance and musicology from the University of Victoria.

Since then, she has focused her interest on Celtic music and improvisation on the harp, attending many Celtic harp workshops all over North America and Ireland, where she studied with such notables as Kim Robertson and Sharlene Wallace.

Rebecca’s approach to playing and teaching the harp draws on her classical background and combines it with her passion for Celtic music. Her teaching philosophy focuses on balancing disciplined technique with improvisation and creativity.

Rebecca regularly gives harp workshops at Place des Arts, which attract students from all over the province. She is active in the Vancouver folk music scene, performing around the Lower Mainland as both a soloist and with groups such as the Maenads and Triskellion.

Rebecca works as a freelance musician, playing at many special events; her audiences have included the President of Ireland and the International Bar Association. She has also applied her skills as a studio musician and has been featured on CD’s such as the Maenads and Orra Chan by Teresa Doyle. Rebecca keeps a busy schedule of teaching and performing, as well as studying Irish dance. Visit her website at www.dancingharp.com.

Visual Arts Bio

Rebecca Blair has been an active member of the arts community in Vancouver, which includes a decade of teaching at Place des Arts. She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from University of Lethbridge and a Master’s of Arts from the University of Victoria. For nine years Rebecca taught drawing courses at Whatcom Community College in Washington State.

Rebecca’s art experiences have also taken her to Italy where she taught for a semester in Florence and attended a fresco restoration workshop in Altamura, Puglia. She has participated in several local art events such as the East Vancouver Cultural Crawl and art shows at Place des Arts. She attends the life drawing sessions at Vancouver’s Basic Inquiry studio.

Rebecca’s body of work focuses on watercolour landscapes and portraits in various media which is inspired by her travels both local and abroad. She is presently writing a book on the 17th-century Dutch artist, Jan Vermeer.

Rita Attrot

Piano

Ages: 6+ | Level: up to ARCT+ | Exam Prep: RCM, BCCM

Rita Attrot has been teaching piano students of all ages and levels for over thirty years. She received her early training at the Victoria Conservatory where she took her diploma in Teacher Training with Winifred Scott Wood. She went on to complete her Bachelor of Music at the University of Victoria with Bruce Vogt and followed up with a Master of Music degree in Performance from the University of Western Ontario where she studied with Dr. Damjana Bratuz and Ronald Turini.  As a graduate student and post-graduation, Rita specialized in accompanying and chamber music.

Ms. Attrot held the position of Staff Accompanist at Acadia University in Nova Scotia for nine years, worked as a freelance accompanist for instrumentalists and singers in Toronto, and served as a coach and repetiteur at the University of Toronto Opera School.  She has collaborated with violinist Mishan Han – releasing a CD from a live performance at the Glenn Gould Studio; pianist Lynn Johnson – performing piano duo and two-piano recitals in the Maritime provinces; and the Appassionata Trio and the Erato Ensemble – serving as principal pianist in concerts throughout Vancouver, Victoria and the Lower Mainland.  Above all, Rita is passionate about working with vocalists and can be heard in recital performing innovative programs of great song literature with frequent collaborator, soprano Catherine Laub.

Ms. Attrot is Head of the Piano Department at the British Columbia Conservatory of Music where she has many students and teaches the Piano Pedagogy and Viva Voce courses.  She is active as a Masterclass clinician, examiner for the BCCM Examinations and as an adjudicator for music festivals throughout B.C. As a church musician, Ms. Attrot has held many posts as organist and choir director and she is presently the Music Director at St. Thomas’ Anglican Church in Vancouver. In her spare time, she enjoys watercolour painting, gardening, rollerblading and snowshoeing.

Robin Chan

Piano (Junior Piano Teacher)

Sep 2023-Jun 2024: Offering In-Person Lessons Saturdays

Ages: 4-15 only | Level: Current Students/ Beginners | Exam Prep: No

Robin studied piano under Marjory Purdy for 17 years and has been teaching piano for 10 years at Place des Arts. During her studies, Robin received the Adjudicator’s Choice Award at the North Fraser Music Festival, numerous Place des Arts’ scholarships and completed the Associate Performers Diploma in 2017 with the Conservatory of Canada. She has also attended masterclasses and performed for music faculty from the University of British Columbia and the University of Victoria. Robin’s students have received First Class Honours for Conservatory Canada grade-level exams, gold and silver at the North Fraser Music Festival, and invitations to perform at the Honours Concert. Robin hopes to inspire little ones through her passion and knowledge of music.

Rosie Carver

Violin, Fiddle, Fiddlers 1, 2, 3

Ages: 5+ | Level: Up to Gr. 8 | Exam Prep: RCM

Rosie Carver is a member of the BC Registered Music Teachers Association (BCRMTA). She joined the association in 1997 after receiving her Associate for the Royal Conservatory of Toronto (ARCT) diploma.

Rosie uses a positive approach to teaching and believes that with proper training and awareness, a student can venture into classical, fiddle, or whichever style they choose. Many of her students have achieved high marks for their examinations including silver medals in BC.

Rosie studied under the direction of Ona Cropper in Vancouver, BC. She began her affiliation with the Vancouver Corelli Strings (Ona’s string orchestra) at the age of 10. Rosie worked her way up the ranks to the position of concertmaster and has been featured as a soloist at many concerts throughout the years. Rosie was also a member of the Vancouver Junior Philharmonic String Orchestra under the direction of Douglas Stewart (Ona’s teacher).

Rosie has been a member of the Celtic group Blackthorn for 35 years. In that time, she recorded four albums with them which include a number of her own compositions. Rosie also performed and recorded with The Carpenter’s Son, Squid Jiggers, Sunshine and You, The Streels, The Halifax Wharf Rats and Triskellion.

Rosie has attended many fiddle workshops, some of her most memorable instructors were Kevin Burke, Liz Carroll, Gillian Boucher, Adam Sutherland, Martin Hayes, Alastair Fraser and Gordon Stobbe. Rosie plays in sessions regularly in Vancouver. She runs fiddle workshops, was a featured instructor at the Georgia Strait Guitar Workshop and The Moveable Music School and has recently launched a new music camp on Gambier Island called the Cat Nap Music Camp.

Sarab Shamoun

Violin and Piano

Ages: 6+ | Level: Any | Exam Prep: RCM

Violinist and pianist Sarab Shamoun is a passionate professional musician who graduated with a Teaching Diploma in Music and earned her Bachelor of Music Education from Al Baath University. She has more than 7 years of experience as a music teacher in public and private schools.

Her teaching philosophy is “Believing, Achieving and Serving.” As an educator, she feels that it is important that she is not just setting challenges for herself but also strive to be a positive role model for her students.

The importance of respect, reverence, patience, love and forgiveness has shaped her into the person she have become today. She felt it is her responsibility to teach students how to appreciate the positivity in life through music.

Sheldon Friesen

Musical Rainbow

Mr. Sheldon has been teaching the Musical Rainbow program since 2010. He has a wonderful baritone voice and plays many string instruments including the guitar, ukulele and banjo. He plays regularly with a bluegrass band and is the primary accompanist for the children’s entertainer, Ish. He looks forward to meeting you and your little ones in class!

Stefan Nazarevich

Piano (Junior Piano Teacher), Electronic Composition

Ages: 4-18 only | Level: Up to Gr. 7 | Exam Prep: Conservatory

Stefan Nazarevich is a Ukrainian-Canadian musician, audio engineer and educator. His compositions, performances, and installations utilize meticulous, architectural music production to turn emergent artifacts of failing technology into aesthetic sonic objects. His visual-album ARCMAPS (2023) explores retrofuturism and lo-fi glitches, described by Adbusters Magazine as “…casually dystopic [and] cinematic.”

Stefan’s musical journey began at Place des Arts as a student, studying with perennial faculty member Marjory Purdy for 17 years, eventually becoming a Junior teacher under her tutelage. By carrying on Marjory’s teaching philosophy mixed with his background in composing, Stefan’s goal is to pass on a love and appreciation of music to students of all ages and levels.

Since graduating with a BFA in music composition from SFU in 2020a, Stefan has composed for Vision Impure, Joshua Beamish, Wen Wei Dance, and FakeKnot, among many other prominent voices in the Vancouver arts community, both established and emerging, working across disciplines such as film, contemporary dance, and immersive theatre. He is a co-founder of the duo olive theory with Shion Skye Carter, working at the intersection of installation and performance.

Past presentations include Vancouver International Dance Festival (2019, 2021), Tangente (Montreal 2021, 2023), MAI (Montreal 2021), and Darmstadt Ferienkurse (Germany, 2018).

Surim Cha

Cello

Ages: 6+ | Level: up to ARCT+ | Exam Prep: RCM

Surim is a highly accomplished cellist and an instructor. Surim received her Bachelor of Performance degree and a minor in piano performance from the Akademie für Tonkunst in Germany, where she studied with Professor Peter Wolf and Carina Stangorra. She then went on to earn her Master of Performance degree from the Hochschule für Musik Nürnberg, Germany where she studied with Professor Jakob Spahn and Professor Alexander Ruder.

Since then, Surim has performed in many prestigious concert halls in Germany and Italy such as the Meistersingerhalle, Heilig-Geist-Saal, Kurhaus Wiesbaden, Frankfurt Cathedral and Teatro Curci. Surim has also participated in many international music competitions and masterclasses, winning awards such as the Franz-Hoffman Award in the Mozart Kammermusik Competition and the Second Place Award in the Citta di Barletta International Competition.

As a teacher, Surim values the importance of developing a strong relationship with each of her students and strives to create an encouraging and fun learning environment. She recognizes that every student is unique and aims to tailor her teaching approach to each student’s individual needs and learning styles. She believes that music is an ever-evolving art form and that it is important to keep up with the latest trends and developments. Whether a student is a beginner or an advanced musician, her goal is to help them reach their full potential and achieve their musical aspirations.

Yurgen Ilaender (Mr. I)

The Musical Rainbow with Mr. I

Mr. I aspires to inspire children to learn music. Since 1981 he has been teaching his Musical Rainbow program at Place des Arts and various Montessori preschools. Along with teaching music, Mr. I performs captivating concerts for children and families. An award-winning songwriter, he has recorded 18 CDs of educational and entertaining music and has written music and songs for over 20 children’s musical theatre productions.

Mr. I knows how to engage children to be the best they can be.

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