Solo concerto performer. Montreal Symphony Orchestra principal cellist. Adorno Quartet and New Orford String Quartet member. Blogger. Brian Manker does it all.
The multi-faceted Canadian performer and teacher travels the world, performing chamber music with the most distinguished artists.
While he currently teaches at the Schulich School of Music of McGill University, Manker’s teaching has taken him to West Texas State and Emory universities. And after performing with his New Orford String Quartet at Mount Royal Conservatory’s Wyatt Artist in Residence program, Brian Manker is teaching Morningside Music Bridge students all week long. The international students are learning from the best, and we asked Brian about his teaching and early days as a student.
Question: What’s your teaching style?
Brian Manker: It’s like being a gardener: you water them, give them sun and hope to watch them bloom. That’s the way you have to approach it, and not judge them if some bloom later than others.
Question: What’s so special about Morningside Music Bridge?
Brian Manker: It’s important for young people to see the level that’s out there and see how they fit into that and what they need to do if they’re committed to go further. I think that’s great because the level is very high. I wish I’d had something like this at their age. It would have been a wake-up call: ‘Oh, my gosh, they’re so good. I’m terrified. I’d better get to work!’ I think it has a positive effect. I think that’s incredibly important.
Question: What does Morningside Music Bridge offer outside of music training?
Brian Manker: I can’t say I’ve ever seen anything quite like it. I think the best thing in the world is for people to get out of their little boxes and encounter each other. That way we realize we share more than we think.
Here’s what student Zophia, 17, from Poland has to say about her master class with Brian Manker:
“I think he’s just amazing. He told me some important things and helped raise my playing right away. It was our very first meeting, and I was so excited. He’s a great, great teacher.”
And her take on MMB:
“It’s a hard month, but there are a lot of opportunities for us here. We have a great chance to improve.”