Art Song Lab

Where Poets Composers & Poets Come Together

Guest Composer, Leslie Uyeda

As a long-time friend of Art Song Lab, we’re thrilled to have legendary composer and collaborative pianist, Leslie Uyeda as our guest composer for Art Song Lab 2019.

For your chance to work with Leslie, apply today.


Born in Montréal, Québec, Leslie Uyeda is a composer, pianist and conductor.

She studied piano with the late Dorothy Morton at McGill University and with William Aide at the University of Manitoba. She has played chamber music since her student days and continues to perform her own music with her colleagues.

During 20 years in opera, Leslie worked as a coach, pianist and conductor with the Canadian Opera Company, L’Opera de Montreal, Manitoba Opera, Opera Hamilton, the Banff Centre and the Chautauqua Institute of Music in New York. In concert she has collaborated with some of Canada’s best singers, performing recitals with Tracy Dahl, Richard Margison, Brett Polegato, Wendy Nielsen, Heather Pawsey, Liping Zhang, Jean Stilwell and Viviane Houle. After moving to Vancouver, B.C., Leslie became Chorus Music Director at Vancouver Opera, where she also conducted several mainstage productions.

Leslie started composing at a very young age. A few years ago she left her positions at Vancouver Opera and the University of British Columbia to compose full time. Leslie is an Associate Composer of the Canadian Music Centre, and is a member of SOCAN, the Canadian League of Composers (, and the Association of Canadian Women Composers (

Leslie Uyeda's principal publisher is The Avondale Press (AvP) c/o The Canadian Music Centre.

Leslie lives very happily with her family in Vancouver. She loves reading, photography, walking her dog Puff, Iyengar yoga, watching great British TV, and cheering for Le Club de Hockey Canadien – the Montréal Canadiens!

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Guest Poet, Renee Sarojini Saklikar

An alumni of Art Song Lab herself, Renee Sarojini Saklikar has done some pretty amazing things in her career since ASL 2012/2013.

For your chance to work with Renee, apply today!

 photo credit: Sandra Vander Schaaf

photo credit: Sandra Vander Schaaf

Trained as a lawyer at the University of British Columbia, with a degree in English Literature, Renée Sarojini Saklikar teaches creative writing at Simon Fraser University and Vancouver Community College.

Renée’s first book, Children of Air India, (Nightwood Editions, 2013) won the 2014 Canadian Authors Association Award for poetry and her second book, with Wayde Compton, The Revolving City: 51 Poems and the Stories Behind Them (Anvil Press/SFU Public Square, 2015) was a finalist for a 2016 City of Vancouver Book Award.

Fascinated by artistic collaboration, Renée’s work has been made into opera and song cycles (air india [redacted], Turning Point Ensemble, 2015) and visual art (Chris Turnbull).

Renée is working on an epic sci-fi journey poem, THOT-J-BAP, parts of which appear in literary journals (The Capilano ReviewDusieThe Rusty ToqueTripwire) and chapbooks (above/groundNous-zot and Nomados presses) and her chapbook, After the Battle of Kingsway, the bees, was a finalist for the 2017 bpNichol chapbook award.

She recently published a long poem about her personal connection to the Air India Flight 182 bombing, in an anthology of scholarly and artistic work (Remembering Air India, the art of public mourning, University of Alberta Press, 2017). This spring, Renée published poems about bees in the book Listening to the Bees (Nightwood Editions, 2018) in collaboration with scientist and Governor General award winner, Dr. Mark Winston.

As Surrey’s Poet Laureate, Renée has demonstrated her passion for connecting people through poetry through offering free writing consultations, teaching poetry in schools and at community events, and hosting workshops with youth and seniors to tell Surrey stories. Her legacy project involved bringing teens and seniors together to share their stories (Surrey Stories Connect: teens and seniors write Surrey, Surrey Libraries, 2016).

She is currently collaborating with teen writers on a series of chapbook writing workshops. Since starting the position, she has participated in over 40 events each year and mentored over 150 writers through consultations and workshops.

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Le Roy Wan

Le Roy Wan is a queer performer, artist and storyteller hailing from their home of East Vancouver. They want to thank all the folks who make Art Song Lab possible, including Rachel Iwassa and Rodney Sherman. Wan is currently a reporter for the queer community news program, OutLook TV. They are also a part of the performance art collective, "Leroy + The Lovebots".


Christopher Reiche Boucher

Christopher Reiche Boucher is a performer and composer in Victoria BC known for his enthusiasm for performing and composing for unusual instruments and performance situations. His compositions have been performed by the Emily Carr String Quartet, Negative Zed Ensemble, Pembroke Symphony Orchestra, ContaQt, and Quatuor Bozzini. In June 2017, he completed a solo 24 hour performance of Erik Satie’s Vexations in Prince George at the Casse-Tête Festival of Experimental Music. Reiche Boucher performs in Victoria at A Place to Listen and with the Victoria Composers Collective. When not composing he is the librarian for the Victoria Symphony.


Barbara Black

Barbara Black recently won first prize in the 2017 Writers’ Union of Canada Short Prose Competition and was a fiction finalist in The Malahat Review 2017 Open Season Awards. Other publications include Freefall, The New Quarterly, and Kaaterskill Basin Literary Journal. A recipient of the $1000 first prize in the 2017 Don’t Talk To Me About Love Poetry Contest, her poems have also appeared in Contemporary Verse 2, FreeFall, Forage Poetry, The Dying Dahlia Review, and Poems from Planet Earth. She lives in Victoria, BC, where she’s currently busy riding the twisties on her new motorcycle.

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Janet Rogers

I am a Mohawk poet from Six Nations living on Coast Salish territory (Victoria) since 1994. I have 5 published poetry titles with a 6th due out in Fall 2018. I served as Victoria Poet Laureate 2012-2015. I am a sound artist and enjoyed hosting the Native Waves Radio show on CFUVfm for 10 years and Tribal Clefs Music Column on CBC one for 8 years. I am a spoken word poet, performance poet and produce video poems and audio poems. Self-produced samples of my poetry with music can be found on my soundcloud sites.


Michael Trew

Michael Trew has wide performing and composing experience in a variety of musical genres, including classical, jazz, rock and the healing arts. He began studying Composition with Cortland Hultberg at UBC, graduating with a BMus in (1972). Subsequently he obtained a Professional Teaching Certificate (1976) before returning to obtain a Master's (1980) and Doctorate (1986) in Music Composition. His teachers included Stephen Chatman, Paul Reale, and Elaine Barkin. Currently Michael teaches piano, theory, history, and composition privately, is a performer, and accompanies vocal artists in Vancouver. Original works have most recently been performed by Adrian Verdejo, Tom Shorthouse, Michael Murray, Erato Ensemble, Turning Point Ensemble, Jeremy Berkman and Dave Thomas, as well as Nu:BC.


Irina Rakhilkina

Irina Rakina is a multimedia artist and writer. She creates interdisciplinary pieces, as well as digital art and poetry. Irina has exhibited her short film ‘/(mind/body)\’ for the duration of a week in Alexander Studio of S.F.U. That project optically explored Cartesian mind | body separation. She has taken part in a group exhibition in Audain gallery. Irina wrote and performed a poem about her experiences with mind-altering states. Irina participated in the Vancouver Outsider Art Festival providing her photography with phenomenological writing. She’s an art and film reviewer for the SAD magazine. Irina intends to find the precarious balance between visual and textual forms of expression one day.

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Robert Strobel

Robert Strobel (b. 1988) has composed works both electronic and acoustic. His work Prairie Dog Rhapsody received a special mention at the Alfred Schnittke Composer's Forum and Competition and as a result was published by Aldebaran Editions. His music has been broadcast twice on WPRB Princeton in Marvin Rosen’s 25-hour new music marathon, and once on Hawaii Public Radio, in the program “Singing and Other Sins.” Among the commissions he has received include an LDS Barlow Commission. Recently, his work, Refugees was selected for the SCI CD Series.

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Martha Helen Schmidt

Martha Helen Schmidt is a composer from Minneapolis, Minnesota. She earned a Bachelor of Music degree at Lawrence University Conservatory of Music, and her Master’s degree from Ithaca College. Both degrees were in music theory and composition. Ms. Schmidt has studied with Nadia Boulanger, Louise Talma, Karel Husa, Steven Stucky, and James Ming.

She is published by Theodore Presser and through Martha Helen Schmidt Music. Ms. Schmidt has taught piano, flute, voice, and theory/composition at the elementary, secondary, and college levels. She loves writing Art Songs and has had premieres in the United States as well as in Paris and Fontainebleau, France. She currently teaches secondary vocal music in the Twin Cities area.


Leanne Boschman

Leanne Boschman is a prairie transplant to the West coast where she works as a writer of poetry, fiction, and as post-secondary educator. Her poems have appeared in several anthologies, including Poems from Planet Earth, Force Field: 77 Women Poets of British Columbia, and Rocksalt: An Anthology of Contemporary BC Poetry. She has also published in journals including Prism International, Room, Geist Magazine, and Dandelion Magazine. In 2009, she published a collection of poetry Precipitous Signs: A Rain Journal with Leaf Press.

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Glenn Sutherland

Composer Glenn Sutherland has studied with Michael Trew, Lane Price, and Jocelyn Morlock. His instrumental, choral and works for voice have been performed by soloists, ensembles and orchestras both in Canada and in Europe. Winnipeg’s award-winning Esprit de Choeur, performed a commissioned piece as part of the 2015 Tapestry International Festival for Women’s Voices. He was the CMC’s Emerging Composer (Prairie Region) competition winner for 2016, and has been published by Mayfair Music and Avondale Press.

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JC Cortens

A poet and educator who lives in Vancouver, JCortens has long taught Burning Karma, a seminar exploring writing from memory and life experience for novice writers.

His poems have appeared in the journal The Maynard. He participated in a collaborative writing project Poetic Pairings hosted by Pandora’s Collective in Spring 2017. He presented at Light within the Shadows: Celebrating Pnina Granirer in December 2017.

His first collection of poems exploring the search for love in a fractured world, is searching for a home. He is collecting fragments entitled Every Scar is a Story exploring collective experiences of the gaymale communities.

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Carolyn Quick

Carolyn A. Quick (b. 1994) is a native northwest composer and vocalist. Her music has been described as “sensitive” and “evocative” of “streams of light” (Canadian Music Centre BC), often mixing elements of tonality and lyricism to create rich textural landscapes; and her compositions feature a wide variety of both instrumental and vocal ensembles including works for choir, wind ensemble, symphony orchestra, and various other chamber groups.

Her works have been read and premièred throughout North America and Europe by various ensembles including the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, the Erato Ensemble, the Illini Strings, and the Vancouver Opera’s Young Artist Program.

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Jonathan Daniel

Jonathan Daniel is a young Kansas City-based composer with a penchant for the weird, the whimsical, and the philosophical. A Choral Scholar and Oxbridge student at William Jewell College, he currently studies musicology and philosophy. He completed a year at Regent’s Park College (University of Oxford, U.K.) studying with David Stuart. He currently studies with Ian Coleman and Anthony Maglione. Known in the Kansas City area for his choral singing and choral compositional voice, Jonathan’s choral music has been performed and recorded by groups like the William Jewell College Choral Scholars (Liberty, MO) and The Choral Project (San Jose, CA).

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felicia klingenberg

I have been writing poetry since I was eight years old, when I won an award for a poem on water safety. As an adult I extended my work into personal essays and memoir. My work has appeared in a variety of small publications and I led creative writing workshops for more than twenty years. In 2007 I started learning operatic singing, and since then I have written two opera libretti, one at the request of my artsonglab 2015 collaborator, Kaley Lane Eaton. Another artsonglab 2015 composer, Katya Pine, is well into composing my other libretto.

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Judy Specht

Judy Specht composes music for solo instruments and ensembles, and electronic scores for theatre. She began playing piano at age 5, eventually adding accordion and flute, which she played for many years while performing as a multi-instrumentalist with the theatre troupe, The Trollsons. She has an A.R.C.T. degree (piano) and holds B.MUS and M.MUS degrees (composition) from UBC. She taught theory at the University of Ottawa and at Douglas College/Langara, and piano at her own studio in Vancouver before retiring to Gabriola Island to devote herself to composing and listening to the seagulls and the surf.

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mia susan amir

mia susan amir works at the intersection of creative and community practice as an educator, cultural organizer, writer, and theatre artist creating immersive, interdisciplinary, and site-specific works. mia’s writing has appeared on SpiderWebShow, Lemon Hound, Digging Through the Fat, and in Sustenance: An Anthology of Writers from B.C. and Beyond on the Subject of Food, Anvil Press. mia is the Creative Director of The Story We Be, the Associate Dramaturg at PTC, and a Dramaturg with the Virago Play Series. She lives and works on the unceded and occupied territories of the x?m?θkw?y??m (Musqueam), Skwxwu?7mesh (Squamish), and S?l?i?lw?ta?/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.

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Patrick McGraw

Toronto-based composer Patrick McGraw was born in the United States but has made Canada his home since 2001. An early interest in the sciences led him to a Ph.D. in theoretical physics from the California Institute of Technology, but the pull of his other great love, music, proved irresistible and he returned to school to study composition with David Mott and Gary Kulesha. He was awarded the Karen Kieser Prize in Canadian Music for his string quartet Glass in 2014. Although music is now his primary focus, he remains active in the sciences as a teacher.