CHERYL CARRUTHERS – piano
Cheryl has a Bachelor of Music degree in Piano from the University of Toronto. As well she studied accompaniment and coaching in Vienna.
Cheryl’s busy schedule includes teaching privately as well as at our School, rehearsing and performing with musical theatre groups, performing as a church musician, and as well as maintaining her own studio in Vancouver.
SUZANNE KLUKAS – piano
Suzanne Klukas holds an MA in piano chamber music from the Hochschule fuer Musik und darstellende Kunst in Graz, Austria and a BMus in piano performance from the University of British Columbia. Strongly shaping her nuanced artistry have been numerous study stints in Gutenstein, Austria; Vienna, Austria; Schleswig Holstein, Germany and Prague, Czech Republic with Charles Spencer in the field of vocal accompanying and the interpretation of art song. In 2005 she was the recipient of a prestigious six month Canada Council for the Arts grant for professional musicians for studies in Vienna with Charles Spencer. Suzanne is a faculty member in the music department of Trinity Western University in Langley where she teaches piano, coaches and accompanies students in recital, has created a collaborative piano course and accompanies the choirs. She has also worked at Kwantlen Polytechnical University in Langley and the Summer Voice Institute at the University of British Columbia. Suzanne is an active performer and has appeared in recital in Austria, Germany, Poland, Italy and Slovenia. Locally she has appeared in recital series venues such as the West Vancouver Silk Purse, Vancouver Jewish Cultural Centre, St. Andrew’s Wesley (Erato Ensemble), Christ Church Cathedral, and in faculty-and-guest-artist recitals at Kwantlen Polytechnical University, Trinity Western University and the University of British Columbia. Suzanne immensely enjoys ending her week with the smiley sunshines in her class in Ladner!
KAREN NAKAJIMA – piano, trumpet, music theory
Karen Nakajima studied music at the University of British Columbia, Capilano University, Universität Wien and Universität für Musik und Darstellende Kunst Wien in Vienna, Austria. She has her Master of Arts in Music Theory but she is also an active pianist, trumpeter, and music educator. Karen has performed with the UBC Symphonic Wind Ensemble, Posaunenchor Harburg in Germany, and many other chamber groups and bands. Karen has also been a featured pianist with the Capilano Wind Ensemble and has put on piano recitals in the Lower Mainland and Point Roberts. She has accompanied singers, instrumentalists, and choirs locally and in Hamburg, Germany. She has also led brass chamber groups, teaches elementary band, conducts the Junior Wind Ensemble of the Richmond Delta Youth Orchestra.
GARTH PRESTON – piano
Garth has a Bachelor of Music from Brandon University and a Master of Music degree in music theory from UBC. He has performed in various groups and as a solo performer (guitar, piano, voice) in a variety of genres – classical, jazz, folk and country rock. As well as the traditional Conservatory repertoire, Garth teaches pop and jazz using leadsheets, whereby students learn about harmony, improvisation and arranging.
ELLEN FARRUGIA – violin
Welcome back to Ellen. Ellen taught at the Delta Community Music School 13 years ago and 12 years ago began teaching at her home studio. In those years, she has had the opportunity to coach chamber groups with the Delta Youth Orchestra, the Surrey Youth Orchestra, and the Vancouver Youth Orchestra. Ellen has also conducted string programs at Semiahmoo Secondary School and with the Surrey Youth Orchestra. For the past 20 years, her playing experience has included orchestras such as the Toronto, Vancouver and Abbottsford symphonies as well as the Canadian Opera Orchestra, the Vancouver Opera, the CBC Radio Orchestra and North Shore Sinfonia.
Ellen uses teaching materials from Shinichi Suzuki, C.P. Herfeurth (A Tune A Day) and the RCM Exam books. Ellen strives to encourage a life long love of music in all children, regardless of abilities.
JULIA LATTIMER – violin
Julia Lattimer studied with John Ferrell (Stradivari String Quartet) at the University of Arizona, and William Magers, a protégé of Joseph Gingold, at Arizona State University. She was assistant to violinist, Mary Crowder Hess, at the Meadowmount School. Julia grew up in the United States and was introduced to music in public school. Her enthusiasm was ignited when she enrolled in an experimental string technique program run by the supervisor for music in the Oklahoma City Public Schools, T. Burns Westman. He mentored her through private study, chamber ensemble coaching, orchestral and solo experience. Post training, Julia has worked as a professional freelance violinist with a variety of orchestras, chamber orchestras and small ensembles in the United States and Canada. Appreciating the influence of wonderful teachers, Julia has always enjoyed teaching students of all ages and abilities throughout her career.
JOHN LITTLEJOHN – violin
Adidam (John H. Littlejohn), which stands for All Day I Dream About Music, is a violinist/producer/performer whose love and knowledge of different forms of music has given him a unique style and sound. A native of Lansing/Midland, Michigan, he began studying the violin at age 10 in a public school system and began private lessons at 16. He holds degrees from the University of Michigan School of Music (BM, violin performance, 2000) and the Peabody Conservatory (MM, violin performance, 2002; GPD, violin performance, 2004). He has studied with Herbert Greenberg (Peabody Conservatory), Anthony Elliott (Univ. of Mich.), Stephen Shipps (Meadowmount Trio), Andrew Jennings (Concord Quartet), and Yizhak Shotten (viola, Univ. of Mich.). He is currently a member of the Infinitus String Quartet and a faculty member at the Austin Chamber Music Center. He has served as the concertmaster of the Newark Symphony and has been a member of the Baltimore Opera Orchestra, Darin Atwater’s “Soulful Symphony,” and The Young Eight String Octet. Solo engagements include performances with C.O.S.M.I.C., a European tour with the International Youth Symphony Orchestra in 2003, and recitals throughout the U.S. and Europe. He has also performed with great musicians like Take 6, The Clark Sisters, Branford Marsalis, Melba Moore, Joshua Bell, Gil Shaham, Oleta Adams, Beverly Crawford, Richard Smallwood, and Regina Carter.
SARAH WESTWICK – violin
Sarah Westwick began studying the violin at age three at the Vancouver Academy of Music. She went on to earn a Bachelor of Music in performance from U.B.C. She has also studied music in London England, at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing and at the Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts in Prague. She is a member of the Vancouver Opera Orchestra, is a freelance violinist and enjoys playing chamber music. She has teacher training qualifications and experience in both the Suzuki and Colourstrings methods, and now also has experience as a parent of children in Colourstrigs and Suzuki lessons.
NATASHA D’AGOSTINO – voice
A creative composer and improviser, Natasha draws influence from a wide canon of musicians, notably the music of Norma Winstone, Fred Hersch, and Wayne Shorter. Natasha’s original music combines her love and appreciation of modal and modern jazz, and pairs it with elements of free improvisation. She is currently working on her first album set to be released in 2017.
Natasha D’Agostino is a Vancouver based vocalist, with an undergraduate degree in Jazz Voice from Capilano University. Throughout her time at Capilano University, she has participated in the renowned vocal ensemble, Nitecap. Regarded widely on a national and international scale, this ensemble performs extremely versatile and challenging material written by acclaimed visiting artists such as Randy Brecker, Kurt Elling, and Donny McCaslin, as well as originals and arrangements by accomplished director Réjean Marois. Natasha has been involved in collaborations with both students and faculty, allowing her to explore and develop her own music and arrangements.
TRACY NEFF – Music Theatre class, voice
Tracy is a graduate of the Boston Conservatory of Music with a BFA in Musical Theatre and is the only theatre student in the schools’ history to have recieved the silver medal for Outstanding Achievement. Back east, Tracy was thrilled to be featured with the Boston Pops Orchestra and to perform roles such as Phillia in “A Funny Thing…Forum” and Gracie in “The Music Man” while working in her favorite summer stock resort in Maine. Upon her return to Vancouver, Tracy was delighted to be cast as Hope Cladwell in The Firehall Arts Centre’s Jessie Award Winning production of “Urinetown, The Musical” (which remounted the following year). That same year, Tracy wrote and starred in her one-woman musical revue, “My Dreams of the Big Apple and A Coffee To Go,” where she led the audience through her experiences living New York City. After spending a summer playing the iconic role of Sandy in “Grease” (TUTS), she took on her Jessie Nominated role of Amy in “Company” (Arts Club Theatre Company) and played Bet/Charlotte/The Milkmaid in “Oliver” (Vancouver Playhouse).
Tracy is continually keeping busy with recital work and loves collaborating with artists from Canada and around the world. She has performed concerts in California, Boston, New York and Mexico and hopes to add many more destinations to the list. She relishes in performing new works such as her role of Nanami in the workshop of “Tom Pinkerton, Butterfly’s Son” (Rumble Productions) and dreams of originating a role in the future. Tracy is also gifted in her ability to breath new life into well known and popular classic repertoire.
Other favorite performances include: Joanna in “Godspell” (Boston Conservatory), Abigail in “BIG, The Musical” (TUTS), Hippolyta in “Midsummer Nights’ Dream” (Delta Players) and shows such as “Candide” (Boston Conservatory) and “Joseph….Dreamcoat” (Quisisana Resort).
SINÉAD WHITE – voice
Sinead White is a graduate of McGill University with a Bachelors and Masters Degree in voice and Opera Performance. She has performed with Opera McGill with leading roles in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte and Handel’s Rinaldo. She has also performed with the Montreal Consort Ensemble and Vancouver’s Musica Intima. She was first place in the Choeur de la Montagne Competition in 2014 and a prize winner in the Festival de Musique du Royaume. She has studied voice with Stefano Algieri, Gloria Capone, and Barbara Hannigan.
BRAD MUIRHEAD – band, trombone, jazz studies
Brad is well known to audiences across Canada and Europe for his powerful sound and inventive improvising and has been actively contributing to the Vancouver music scene since 1980. He has recorded and toured extensively with his own groups Primal Orbit and Brass Roots as well as Vancouver’s three most important large jazz ensembles: the NOW Orchestra, Hugh Fraser’s VEJI, and the Hard Rubber Orchestra. He has been heavily involved with the Vancouver improvised music scene, composing for, recording and performing with numerous small and large ensembles, both as a leader and sideman. In addition to organizing Koan, he has recently been working on composing for and co-leading the East Van Jazz Orchestra with Jared Burrows. He is an active music educator teaching individual and class brass lessons and band clinics, as well as being involved with many workshop situations in capacities ranging from clinician & adjudicator to producer and musical/artistic director, including the Banff Jazz Workshop, the Vancouver & Victoria International Jazz Orchestra Workshops and more recently, the successful, and continuing, Renfrew Community Performance Project.
BO PENG – cello
Bo Peng received his Bachelor of Music in Cello Performance from the University of North Texas, a Master of Music from the Eastman School of Music, as well as a Performer’s Diploma from Indiana University where he studied with distinguished cellist Janos Starker. His teachers also included renowned cellists Steven Doane, Carter Enyeart and Marc Johnson. Mr. Peng was a two-time winner of the Music Teacher National Association Competitions (Strings Division), he also won 3rd prize in the International Chamber Music Competition held by the Czech Radio “Spring of Prague”. Mr. Peng’s teaching experiences include being a sectional coach for the Dallas Youth Orchestra, and teaching cello in the Dallas Private School District. Currently, Bo teaches at the VSO School of Music and is the conductor of the Junior Strings of the Richmond Delta Youth Orchestra, and is on the faculty at Kwantlen Polytechnic University.
STEPHEN ROBB – clarinet, saxophone, Music Director
Stephen is an accomplished clarinetist, saxophonist and pianist performing both classical chamber music and jazz idioms, performing the gamut from classical clarinet, chamber and orchestral repertoire to jazz standards, original compositions and free improvisation. His orchestral arrangements have been performed by the Richmond Delta Youth Orchestra, Clyde Mitchell and the Lions Gate Sinfonia (North Vancouver), Pacific Symphonic Wind Ensemble, Victoria Symphony, Kamloops Symphony and others. Stephen serves as the Music Director of the Delta Community Music School and the Music Director and Principal Conductor of the Richmond Delta Youth Orchestra and also teaches at the VSO School of Music in Vancouver Stephen is a graduate of Queen’s University (BMus) , McGill University(LMus), and the University of BC (MMUs, BEd). Stephen studied conducting at Queen’s and McGill Universities as well as workshops at the University of Calgary, in the Czech Republic and with Orchestra Canada.
CHRIS ROBERTSON – trumpet, brass
Canadian trumpeter Christopher Robertson (B.Mus, University of Victoria,1977) was born and raised in the lower mainland of British Columbia. He studied with Vincent Cichowicz, Chicago Symphony and with Maurice Murphy, principal trumpet London Symphony. he has recorded extensively for the Vancouver Symphony and CBC. He has also performed with these and many other companies including the Vancouver Opera, Royal Ballet UK, Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, Theatra Alla Scala Milan, the Covent Garden Chamber Orchestra and Chor Leoni men’s choir. Mr. Robertson enjoys traveling and has performed concert tours in every province and territory in Canada. International tours include the former Soviet Union, India, Hong Kong, Austrailia, Japan, the USA, Holland, and England. Mr. Robertson also conducts the Richmond Community Orchestra.
KRIS BOWERMAN – African Hand Drumming Class, trombone
Having found the joy of music at age six on piano, Kris Bowerman begin playing trombone at 10, discovered jazz at fifteen and started teaching at 17. Later he received his Bachelor of Music in Trombone Performance from San Francisco State University. He is a passionate improviser, has played with many kinds of groups, and has toured with Sweet Papa Lowdown as well as Kuimba, playing djembe/conga, recorder/flutes, trombone and vocals with the latter. He has also made several CD’s with Kuimba. As an instructor Kris enjoys passing on the knowledge of the trombone/brass and African djembe (hand drum). Needless to say, seeing students improve really brings out his smile.
LOUISE SOUTHWOOD – classical guitar, music theory
British guitarist Louise Southwood’s career began at an early age with many competitive successes and concerts throughout the UK. Her musical world was opened up under the mentorship of the eminent guitarist Carlos Bonell, described as “one of the great communicators of the guitar world”. Under Carlos’ guidance ,Louise’s playing blossomed leading her to the prestigious Royal College of Music in London from which she graduated with a Bachelor of Music (honours) degree in 2000.
While attending the Royal College Louise had the privilege of working with one of the world’s foremost classical guitarists, Gary Ryan, on solo performance and guitar accompaniment as well as master classes with some of the world’s most renowned guitarists. Numerous engagements within the UK were highlighted by appearances at the Trinity Chapel in Cambridge, the National Gallery and St. Martin in the Fields.
Following a number of years teaching at several prominent private schools and performing in London, Louise accepted a position at the Bermuda School of Music where she spent seven years teaching, performing solo and as part of the ‘Southwood-France Duo’ with acclaimed violinist and educator David France. Together they performed regularly at The Bermuda International Guitar Festival and opened The Kodaikanal International Guitar Festival 2009 in India.
Louise’s most recent recordings, ‘Emergence’ and ‘Chrysalis’ illustrate her varied instrumental techniques and musical interests, with a selection of favourite pieces, ancient and modern, which have enchanted audiences around the world.
Louise is now settled in the Vancouver area where she teaches privately, at the Delta Community Music School, Douglas College Community Music School and the VSO School of Music while maintaining a full performing schedule.
STAN TAYLOR – drums / percussion
Long time resident Vancouver veteran jazz drummer Stan Taylor has played with several local and out of town players over a span of 25 years in the city he calls home. Stan has played with a wide mix of jazz performers both local to international players from leading edge free style music to collaborating with many artist in modern jazz settings involving several Vancouver based ensembles over many years including the Bill Clark Sextet finalist in the Alcan Jazz Competition at the Montreal International Jazz Festival in 1988. Here’s a very musically diverse list of the international jazz artist I’ve performed with: Kenny Wheeler, PJ Perry, Vinny Golia, Pat LaBarbara, Ray Anderson, Rob Blakeslee, Fraser MacPherson, Mike Stern, Glen Spearman, Peter Brotzman, Hugh Fraser, Paul Plimley. Stan has done extensive touring right across Canada with the Bill Clark Sextet, Brass Roots, Chief Feature, Primal Orbit, Jared Burrows Trio and touring in the States with Vinny Golia as well as many others since moving to Vancouver in 1987. Stan has also performed for many years at the IMMI festival of improvised music to silent film in Eugene, Oregon as a key member of an ensemble of musicians brought in from all across the States and Canada every year for this event.
Current projects and collaborations involve the Jared Burrows Trio and Jared Burrows Quartet, Kane/Taylor Explosion featuring Noelle Pion, Lorne Kellett Trio, Norm Quinn’s Q5, Ian Coleman Trio and many others. Stan is actively involved in recording and concert situations in 2013 as well as teaching. Stan has been an instructor at the South Delta Jazz Workshop since its inception in 2004.
JOHN WALSH – electric guitar/ bass, double bass
John has been performing, writing, and teaching music on guitar and bass across Canada for over 20 years! He started his music career at Vancouver Community College in 1999 where he earned a diploma and then finished his education at McGill University in 2005 where he received a BMus in jazz performance. Since 2008 John has been the bassist in the award-winning groups Brasstronaut, and Dan Mangan and have travelled the world playing music. He has worked in many capacities including being a sideman in countless projects, as a studio session musician, a performer on cruise ships, a film/commercial composer, and as an instructor. John has earned several awards, including a WCMA for “Songwriter(s) of the Year” with Dan Mangan + Blacksmith in 2015, the SOCAN Echo Songwriting prize with Brasstronaut in 2010, and a Juno award for “Best Alternative Album” with Dan Mangan for “Oh, Fortune” in 2011.
John has been a private guitar/bass instructor since 2006 and also teaches at the Resound Music School in Vancouver. John is also an instructor at Vancouver Community College where he teaches electric bass.
“I remember that rush of excitement when I first learned “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and was able to play along with the recording. That was where it all started for me and I haven’t stopped looking for that next thrill since! Bring your playlist and your passion because I want my students to get that same feeling.” – John Walsh