Up close with the masters: US pianist Jeremy Denk

jeremy denk, mount royal conservatory concerts, wyatt artists in residence concert series
American pianist Jeremy Denk is the next Wyatt Artist in Residence Jan. 17. Tickets are available at

Imagine having the world’s top classical musicians teaching in your classroom.

For Mount Royal Conservatory’s Academy for Gifted Youth, it’s all part of the program.

American pianist Jeremy Denk is coming to Mount Royal Jan. 17 as part of the Conservatory’s Wyatt Artist in Residence Concert Series.


The unique program offers the public and the Conservatory’s gifted students a chance to be up close with the masters. Artists in residence offer an exceptional opportunity for the Conservatory’s Academy for Gifted Youth students, enriching curriculum through master classes. Academy piano students, ranging in age from 9 to 18, are benefitting from Denk’s mentorship.

Concert-goers have a rare opportunity to experience a world-class performance in the intimate 300-seat Leacock Theatre.

“Jeremy Denk’s performances in New York City have become among the hottest concert tickets to purchase,” says Conservatory Academy Manager Bill van der Sloot. “He is equally loved by classical music lovers and fellow artists as an artist among artists. He can make a profound impression on our young artists.”

Denk is one of North America’s most thought-provoking, multi-faceted, and compelling artists. He has appeared as soloist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra, and the symphony orchestras of Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, and London, and regularly gives recitals in New York, Washington, Boston, Philadelphia, and throughout the United States. The pianist’s writing has appeared in the New Yorker, the New RepublicThe Guardian, and on the front page of the New York Times Book Review. One of his New Yorker contributions, “Every Good Boy Does Fine,” earned him a book deal from Random House.

Now entering its ninth season, The Wyatt Artist in Residence Concert Series continues attracting the world’s leading classical musicians to teach and perform in Calgary.
The series honours Mount Royal Conservatory Foundation chair emeritus Hal Wyatt and his late wife, Marnie, long-time friends and supporters of the Conservatory.
Wyatt performers are stars in the classical world. Past performers include pianist/composer Anton Kuerti, Grammy award-winning cellist Lynn Harrell, violinist James Ehnes, and Morningside Music Bridge alumna Yuja Wang.

Swedish cellist Frans Helmersson is the season’s final concert April 24, 2015.

Sherri Zickefoose, Dec. 16, 2014

Adult band taking a cue from life

Mount Royal Conservatory's Adult Beginning Band is a great way to pick up an instrument from your youth or your dreams.
Mount Royal Conservatory’s Adult Beginning Band is a great way to pick up an instrument from youth or from your dreams.

Mount Royal Conservatory is well-known for its important role as a training ground for child prodigies, the Calgary Youth Orchestra, choirs, and offering excellence in music lessons and speech arts.

But few realize the Conservatory offers musical training for adults who have never played an instrument.

That includes a class that has really taken off: Adult Beginning Band.

It’s a fun, positive experience for adults. No previous playing experience required, and it’s okay if you don’t read music — we will be starting with one note at a time.

The class is for people who have never picked up a musical instrument before, or played in childhood and want to start again. The instruments include flute, oboe, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, trombone, French horn, trombone, baritone, tuba, drums and percussion.

The group has attracted players from all walks of life: there is an 80-year-old doctor turned trumpet player, a brass player who is keen to turn his attention to the tuba, and a husband and wife team on trumpet and flute. Mount Royal University faculty are also joining: there’s a nursing faculty member and even the Conservatory’s own theory instructor.

Says band instructor Gina Allen: “They are all amazing, courageous individuals who I admire and who inspire me to be a better leader every week.”

The group is gearing up to perform a concert in June. Stayed tuned!

Sherri Zickefoose, Dec. 15, 2014