Mount Royal Conservatory student Angela Ryu, a violinist in the Academy for Gifted Youth program, recently won the grand prize as well as the first prize for all string instruments at the National Music Festival of the Federation of Canadian Music Festivals. The competition took place from August 13-15 in Edmonton.
Angela is 15 and competed with string players of all ages from across Canada, including university music students.
The competition is the largest grass roots music contest in Canada, with tens of thousands of competitors in every city and town in Canada.
Last year, MRU Conservatory student Isabella Perron won the same prize at only 14 years of age.
“Decades of thoughtful hard work and support have given the community of Calgary an exceptional Conservatory for our gifted young artists,” notes William van der Sloot, Manager of Academy and Choral Programs. “Part of the mission for all of our universities and colleges is to serve our communities. There is no better example of this at MRU than The Conservatory.”
15-year-old violinist Isabella Perron is on a roll. She participated in three international competitions this spring and summer and came away with three prizes.
Most recently Isabella won the 11-14 Years Grand Prize at the Canadian Music Competition held in Vancouver from June 19-July 3. She received top marks of 97 percent and had the opportunity to perform with the Vancouver Metropolitan Symphony in a Gala Concert on July 4.
She just returned to MRU to participate in the Conservatory’s Morningside Music Bridge, where she looks forward to studying with distinguished guest faculty including Noah Bendix-Balgley, Tadeusz Gadzina, Ian Swensen, Gwen Hoebig and Shanshan Yao.
“I love travelling,” she says. “Going to visit all of these cities is great.”
Isabella plays a Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume violin 1850 with a Apocyphe de Joseph Guarnerius Cremonae 1737 label and a bow from Nicolas Maline, lent by the company Canimex Inc. of Drummondville, Québec, Canada.
She has been playing violin since the age of 2 and played her first concert at 3. “We are all musicians in the family,” she says. “My grandmother started me.”
Isabella has been a student in the Conservatory’s Academy for Gifted Youth for four years, travelling to Calgary from Montreal for lessons once a month for the first three years.
“It’s definitely worth it,” she says. “The teachers here are absolutely amazing. It’s a great program. You get to perform for guest artists from all over the world and take private lessons and master classes. There’s so much more experience on the stage. I have a few teachers that I’d really love to study with in the future.”
Isabella starts high school in the fall and plans to finish in two years so she can continue her undergraduate music studies in the US followed by her master’s in Europe.
From ages 8-12 Isabella had a burgeoning singing career, appearing on a Montreal television program hosted by Quebec pop/jazz artist Gregory Charles. He became her manager and they produced a pop album together. “I love all genres of music, really,” she says. “I want to get more into jazz. A lot of people think you have to do one or the other, pop or classical. I’m interested in everything and I like to show people that you don’t need to do just one thing to be great at it. You can do as many things as you’d like to.”
Along with her classical studies, Isabella plans to pursue her singing and songwriting interests with MRU’s new Songwriting course, part of the Conservatory’s new Popular Music offerings.
Isabella has recorded a CD and will do a concert tour starting in August.
Two marquee series, comprising seven events in 2015-16, will showcase the breathtaking acoustics and intimate ambiance of Calgary’s newest concert venue, the Bella Concert Hall at Mount Royal University.
The announcement was made by Conservatory Director Paul Dornian at a launch party for Conservatory sponsors, supporters and media on May 1.
The 2015-16 Wyatt Concert Series line-up was also revealed. The Wyatt season will feature four concerts by young, edgy superstars. The September 30 concert by superstar pianist Yuja Wang is a crossover event for both series.
The launch party featured a presentation by Academy for Gifted Youth alumna Natalie Wiebe, violin. Natalie told of being inspired by the Academy’s abundant performing opportunities and access to international faculty. She welcomes the Bella Concert Hall as an impressive new platform for future musicians, facilitating even greater collaboration possibilities between students and visiting artists.
“Young guest artists help students realize their dreams and build an invaluable rapport with young musicians.” Natalie said.
Opening Festival sponsor Karen Drummond of United Active Living spoke about the importance of the arts to the health and happiness of the residents of this leading-edge seniors’ facility. The partnership between United Active Living and Mount Royal includes guest lecturers, nursing practicums and music appreciation. The residents will enjoy attending events in the new venue.
“Our residents enjoy regular music programming at Mount Royal,” Karen said.
The Passion Palette Trio — Isabella Perron, violin, Mari Coetzee, cello, and Anastasia Kulikova, piano, current students of the Academy for Gifted Youth — gave a stirring performance of Antonin Dvorak’s Piano Trio No. 4 in E minor to crown the event.
Super Stars – Sat., Jul. 18, 7 p.m.
Noah Bendix-Balgley, one of the world’s great violinists, with guest artists Shanshan Yao, Wei Yu, Teng Li and Franklin Cohen
Co-presented with Morningside Music Bridge
Yuja Wang, – Piano – Wed., Sept. 30, 7:30 p.m.
(also part of the Opening Gala – see description above)
Igudesman & Joo – Sat., Feb. 27, 7:30 p.m.
Comedy duo from New York make classical music accessible
James Ehnes, Violin – Fri., May 13, 7:30 p.m.
Canadian violinist with a stellar international career
The Wyatt Artist in Residence Program and Concert Series honours Hal Wyatt and his late wife, Marnie, who are long-time friends and supporters of the Mount Royal University Conservatory. Dean Webber expressed appreciation for the Wyatts’ long-term support.
Concert tickets for the two series start at $60 and are available through tickets.mru.ca (as of May 12) or 403.440.7770 now.
Here’s an amazing concert you won’t want to miss: two extraordinary Mount Royal Conservatory students — young pianist Kevin Chen, 9, and violinist Isabella Perron, 14, — are set to dazzle in High River Saturday, Sept. 20.
If you haven’t witnessed these gifted performers in concert, this is a great opportunity.
Conservatory alumnus Kevin will be performing the world premiere of his commissioned composition about the devastating 2013 southern Alberta flood, River Rhapsody. The full-scale, nine-minute piano piece reflects the flooding’s turmoil but also the resilience of the High River community.
Kevin, a former Conservatory student of Colleen Athparia, has passed Canada’s ARCT piano teacher diploma exam and is currently studying at the Royal Conservatory of Music. Despite being nine years old, Kevin has composed many pieces (the Abbotsford Youth Orchestra played his Symphony No. 1 last year). He has said he hears music in his head, and enters it directly into his computer.
“Kevin is the most talented all-round musician I’ve ever seen and I’ve taught many so-called prodigies before,” said Athparia. “He comprehends music at such a high level, that I really need only to guide him like a bird taking off in flight.”
Isabella is a gifted and award-winning violinist, singer, and pianist who competes nationally.
Described as a complete musician, Isabella is highly regarded for her stage presence, spark and musical spirit. Isabella comes by these talents naturally: her mother, noted Montreal concert cellist Johanne Perron, teaches master classes and lessons at Mount Royal Conservatory.