Art Song Lab

Where Poets Composers & Poets Come Together

Filtering by Category: Guest Artist

Guest Poet, Aislinn Hunter

We’re thrilled to announce that award winning poet and author, Aislinn Hunter will be the guest poet for Art Song Lab 2020.

For your chance to work with Leslie, apply today.


Aislinn Hunter is an award-winning poet, novelist and writing teacher. She’s the author of seven highly acclaimed books: ‘Into the Early Hours,’ ‘The Possible Past,’ and ‘Linger, Still’ (poetry), ‘Stay’ and ‘The World Before Us’ (novels), ‘What’s Left Us’ (a story collection) and a book of non-essays on material culture and writing called ‘A Peepshow with Views of the Interior: Paratexts’. 

Her work has been adapted into music, dance, art and film forms including ‘Stay’ – a feature film based on the novel of the same name (directed by Wiebke von Carolsfeld and starring Taylor Schilling and Aidan Quinn) – which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2014, a song called ‘Romance of the Field’ written and sung by Veda Hille (and inspired by ‘The World Before Us’), and a dance performance choreographed by Anusha Fernando which premiered at the Chan Centre in 2016.

Aislinn identifies as a writer but she also works in academic contexts. She has undergraduate degrees in the history of art and creative writing (UVic BFA), graduate degrees in creative writing (UBC MFA) and writing and cultural politics (UEdinburgh MSc), and a PhD in English Literature (UEdinburgh) where she focused on material culture theory and the writer’s house/museum.

In 2018 Aislinn served as a Canadian War Artist working with Canadian and NATO forces undertaking live chemical, biological and radioactive weapons training. Her war artist video installation ‘A Word and A Body Are Not The Same’ will premiere at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa in February 2020.

Aislinn teaches part-time in the creative writing program at KPU and in the Writer’s Studio program at SFU. She has also served as a writer-in-residence at universities in Canada, England, and Australia. 

‘The Certainties’ – a novel about bearing witness and imaginative acts –  is due out in May 2020 with Knopf, Random House. 

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 2020.

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.

(bio from

Guest Composer, Rodney Sharman

We're so fortunate to have a wonderful community of composers and poets who value and support the work Art Song Lab is doing. Throughout ASL's history, Rodney has been an active and engaging member of the art-song community. A renowned Canadian composer with an international career, he's attended many of our concerts and open rehearsals, and taken part in our community discussions on the state of art song in our contemporary culture.

We're thrilled to announce that Rodney Sharman will be the Guest Composer for Art Song Lab 2018. He will present a public workshop on collaboration and his own experiences writing art song, and participants will have several opportunities to connect personally with Rodney throughout ASL.

Find out more about Rodney at, and listen to his interview on our "How To 'Art Song'" page.

Rodney Sharman is Composer-in-Residence of Early Music Vancouver’s “New Music for Old Instruments”. He has been Composer-in-Residence of the Victoria Symphony, the National Youth Orchestra of Canada and the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, as well as Composer-Host of the Calgary Philharmonic’s New Music Festival, "Hear and Now". In addition to concert music, Rodney Sharman writes music for cabaret, opera and dance. He works regularly with choreographer James Kudelka, for whom he has written scores for Oregon Ballet Theatre, San Francisco Ballet and Coleman Lemieux Compagnie (Toronto). Sharman was awarded First Prize in the 1984 CBC Competition for Young Composers and the 1990 Kranichsteiner Prize in Music, Darmstadt, Germany. His score for the dance-opera From The House Of Mirth won the 2013 Dora Mavor Moore Award for outstanding sound design/composition (choreography by James Kudelka, text by Alex Poch Goldin after Edith Wharton's The House of Mirth). 

Art Song Lab was created and takes place on the traditional, ancestral and unceded territory of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səl̓ilwətaɁɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) Nations.