Art Song Lab

Where Poets Composers & Poets Come Together

Soprano, Robyn Driedger-Klassen

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At the age of sixteen, Robyn Driedger-Klassen discovered that singing came more naturally than her attempts on the piano at Bach Preludes and Fugues.  She won a few competitions in those early days and after a few years of dilly-dallying in other university programs, she decided that music was the only career for her so, she  undertook the voice performance program at UBC with vigour.

Robyn has done lots of performing in lots of places.  She loves the costumes and grandeur of opera and adores the personal and intimate side of recitals.

Several years ago, Robyn was hired by the Turning Point Ensemble to do a work for voice and ensemble by R Murray Schafer entitled Arcana.  Faced with singing Egyptian hieroglyphs, Robyn found herself first at a complete loss, but soon fully enjoyed unravelling the mysteries found on the page.  Schafer witnessed her successful performance and since then, Robyn has thrown herself whole-heartedly into performance of contemporary vocal repertoire.  Some of her favourites have been: a fully-staged performance of Libby Larsen’s Try Me Good King, the final words and letters of the wives of Henry VIII;  Kaaija Saariaho’s Lonh, for soprano and electronics that make lovely bird sounds; Jake Heggie’s At the Statue of Venus, a woman’s inner monologue as she waits for a blind date; Brian Current’s Inventory, a complicated piece about a woman’s relationship with shoes; David McIntyre’s On the Road to Moose Jaw, a soaring song about a prairie drive; Leslie Uyeda’s White Cat Blues, a set of songs written for her with poems by Lorna Crozier; and Perruqueries, a commissioned set of songs about wigs from the weird and wonderful minds of Jocelyn Morlock and Bill Richardson.  This is an exciting time to be working with North American composers and Robyn is thrilled to make their songs come alive. However, she will always make time to sing Mozart, Schubert or Richard Strauss!

Robyn is on the core faculty of the Vancouver International Song Institute, and is also pleasantly surprised to find herself Head of Voice at the Vancouver Academy of Music. Robyn loves books, geraniums, hikes, canoes, cups of tea and a clean house.  Robyn lives with her husband and two vocal critics under the age of five. She can bake a wicked loaf of bread and in recent times, has learned a considerable amount about monster trucks, fast cars and dinosaurs.


Pianist, Corey Hamm

It’s our absolute pleasure to welcome back Corey Hamm for his sixth time at Art Song Lab. An incredible pianist, and passionate advocate for new music, Corey is also a delight to work with.

Apply today for your chance to write for Corey.

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Pianist Corey Hamm is establishing a unique musical profile performing widely in North America and in Asia as both soloist and chamber musician. His CD of Frederic Rzewski’s hour-long solo piano epic The People United Will Never Be Defeated! (Redshift Records)  won Spotify's Best Classical Recording 2014, and Best Classical Recording at the 2014 Western Canadian Music Awards. He has performed the work over 80 times and many more performances are to come in 2018,  the year of Rzewski’s 80th Birthday. Corey Hamm’s extensive work in the 1990s with  the great French composer Henri Dutilleux will  come to fruition in his plan to record Dutilleux’s complete works for solo piano and chamber with piano in the near future. Among his other recording plans is a soon-to-be-released CD of solo works written for him by Keith Hamel, Jocelyn Morlock, Jordan Nobles, Dorothy Chang, and  Scott Godin, a CD with Nu:BC, and two more CDs with PEP (Piano and Erhu Project). He recently performed two works on Jocelyn Morlock’s CD, on Redshift Records. 

Corey Hamm has commissioned, premiered and recorded over three hundred works by composers  from all over the world.  These commissions have been for solo piano, various chamber music formations as well as concerti. 

His most extensive collection of commissioned works includes over 70 pieces  for  PEP (Piano and Erhu Project) with whom he has toured China.  To date the composers for the project come from China, Canada, UK,  and the United States, and include Michael Finnissy, GAO Ping, Brian Cherney. The result is a new and flourishing catalogue of works for piano and erhu composed in the musical languages of the 21st century.  This combination of instruments bringing together two of the world’s great musical traditions,  now has a unique collection of works for Nicole Ge Li and Corey Hamm to draw from for audiences of the 21st century. They have released some of these works on their PEP CDs, Vols. 1 and 2 (Redshift TK437 and 440). Volume 2 was nominated for Best Classical Recording at the 2015 Western Canadian Music Awards. Volumes 3, 4 & 5 are in preparation for release in 2019. 

He has also commissioned  over 50 works for The Nu:BC  Collective and for  Hammerhead Consort  (two piano and two percussion).  As pianist for The Nu:BC Collective  he has released the critically acclaimed CD Beyond Shadows (Redshift TK432). As a founding member of Hammerhead Consort, he received the 1993 Sir Ernest Macmillan Memorial Foundation Chamber Music Award, and was winner of the 1992 National Chamber Music Competition. 

In recent years, Corey Hamm has studied, recorded and toured one of the great piano works of the last decades, Frederic Rzewski's monumental hour-long solo piano epic, The People United Will Never Be Defeated! (Redshift TK431). This work, made up of a theme and 36 variations, has been recorded by a small number of pianists including Marc-André Hamelin, Ursula Oppens,  and Stephen Drury. Frederic Rzewski received Corey Hamm’s interpretation as one of the finest to date. “Excellent! Bravo! This may be the best recording.” 

Corey Hamm premiered Dorothy Chang’s new PEP Double Concerto for erhu and piano soloists, Gateways, with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra (VSO) in Apr. 2018, and was soloist in the World Premiere of Jordan Nobles’ Piano Concerto with Bramwell Tovey and the VSO. He gave the World Premiere of Howard Bashaw's Concerto for Two Pianos and Percussion with conductor Grzegorz Nowak and the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, and  has recent and upcoming performances of Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto 3, Prokofiev Piano Concerto 2, Bartok’s Piano Concerto 2, Lutoslawski’s Piano Concerto, Ravel’s Piano Concerto for the Left Hand, Faure’s Fantasie Op. 111, and Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue.

Dr. Hamm is Professor of Piano at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, where he was awarded the prestigious Killam Teaching Award. He is on the Piano Faculty of both the Summer Institute for Contemporary Performance Practice (SICPP) at NEC in Boston, and MusicFest Perugia, in Italy. His beloved teachers include Lydia Artymiw, Marek Jablonski, Stéphane Lemelin, Ernesto Lejano, and Thelma Johannes O'Neill.