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.

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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