Art Song Lab

Where Poets Composers & Poets Come Together

Filtering by Category: Performer

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.

Pianist, Rachel Iwaasa

If you love the piano, new music, collaborative music making, or amazing people, then you are going to LOVE Rachel Iwaasa! We're thrilled to have Rachel coming back this year for #ASL2019.

Apply today for your chance to work with a sublime pianistic artisan!

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Hailed in the press as a "keyboard virtuoso and avant-garde muse" (Georgia Straight) with the “emotional intensity” to take a piece “from notes on a page to a stunning work of art” (Victoria Times Colonist), pianist Rachel Kiyo Iwaasa has performed as soloist and chamber musician in Canada, the United States, the Netherlands and Germany. Known for bold and innovative concerts, Rachel combines her warmth and curiosity to touch the hearts and minds of audiences, whether she is playing Beethoven and Schumann or Ligeti and Saariaho.

One half of the flute/piano duo Tiresias with Mark McGregor, Rachel has also performed with Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Judith Forst, Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Caroline Shaw and Richard Reed Parry of Arcade Fire. Rachel has appeared for Muziekweek Gaudeamus, Music TORONTO, Vancouver New Music, Music on Main, Redshift, the Western Front, the Victoria Symphony, the Aventa Ensemble (Victoria), CONTACT contemporary music (Toronto), New Works Calgary, Groundswell New Music (Winnipeg), and Vancouver Pro Musica. Rachel has a shameless passion for contemporary music, and has performed numerous premières, including pieces written especially for her by Rodney Sharman, Jeffrey Ryan, Jocelyn Morlock, Emily Doolittle, Alexander Pechenyuk, and many other Canadian composers. Rachel’s debut solo CD, Cosmophony, piano music inspired by the cosmos, was released in 2010 on Redshift Records. Praised by the Vancouver Sun as “brilliant” and “unforgettable” and nominated for a Western Canadian Music Award, Cosmophony features the Canadian premiere recording of George Crumb’s Makrokosmos, Volume II and no less than nine commissioned works by Canadian composers.


Rachel is one half of the flute/piano duo Tiresias with Mark McGregor. Their debut CD, Delicate Fires, was nominated for a 2008 Western Canadian Music Award. Delicate Fires was produced with the generous assistance of the Barbara Pentland fund, and features the first commercially released recordings of her Sonata Fantasy for solo piano and Trance for flute and piano. It also presents the premiere recordings of works commissioned by Tiresias from Canadian composers Rodney Sharman, Jennifer Butler, and Jocelyn Morlock. Tiresias’s sophomore recording was double CD released in 2013: Trade Winds, showcasing the works of BC composers Jean Coulthard, Paul Douglas and Christopher Kovarik, paired with Halos of the Moon, exploring Japanese-Canadian hybridity in music with works by Toru Takemitsu, Jo Kondo, Eliot Weisgarber, Anthony Genge, Derek Charke, Hiroki Tsuromoto and Kara Gibbs.

Rachel’s major teachers were Jane Coop, Menahem Pressler, and Robin Wood. She holds a Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of British Columbia, a Master of Music from Indiana University, and a Bachelor of Music from the University of Victoria, where she earned the Victoria Medal as the top graduating student in Fine Arts. She was also a two-time recipient of the prestigious Annual Grant from the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD) for graduate studies at the Hochschule für Musik "Hanns Eisler" Berlin. Other awards include numerous grants from the Canada Council, the BC Arts Council, the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, and the Alberta Heritage Foundation. Rachel is a founder of the Queer Arts Festival, regarded as one of the top 5 festivals of its kind worldwide.

Soprano, Dorothea Hayley

It's our pleasure to have Dorothea Hayley joining us for the first time this summer for #ASL2018.


Praised for her “very personal creative power” (Badener Zeitung) and her “amazing coloratura skills” (Opera Canada), Dorothea Hayley has been a soloist with the Vancouver Symphony, the Bourgas Symphony, the Allegra Chamber Orchestra, and Capriccio Basel, and has appeared in recital in Europe, Asia, and North and South America. She has performed in festivals such as Sonic Boom, the Happening Festival, Gulangyu Piano Festival, Performer’s Voice Symposium, New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival, and the Atempo Festival of Caracas, and with organizations like the SMCQ, Chants Libres, CIRMMT, Codes d’accès, Vancouver New Music, the Little Chamber Music Series That Could, and the Land’s End Ensemble. She is a member of the Erato Ensemble, the Broadwood Duo, Ensamble Atempo, and the Hayley-Laufer Duo.

An enthusiastic performer of contemporary music, Dory has worked with composers such as Helmut Lachenmann, Diógenes Rivas, Owen Underhill, Jordan Nobles, and Chris Paul Harman, and created roles in Mark Haney’s Omnis Temporalis and Michael James Park’s Diagnosis Diabetes. The Georgia Straight called her performance of Joelysa Pankanea’s The Fifth Stage one of “five transcendent arts moments” of 2015.A former Visiting Scholar at Harvard University’s Radcliffe Institute and Visiting Faculty Artist at the Afghanistan National Institute of Music, she currently teaches at Vancouver Community College. She is the Artistic Co-Director of the Blueridge Chamber Music Festival.

Dory pursued vocal studies at McGill University, the University of British Columbia, and the Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst Wien, and has received grants from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Koerner Foundation, the Social Sciences and Research Council of Canada, and the Conseil des arts et des letters du Québec. She holds a Doctor of Music degree from Université de Montréal.

Pianist, Marguerite Witvoet

It's our pleasure to announce that Marguerite Witvoet will be joining our performers for a second time at Art Song Lab 2018!

Don't miss the chance to work with Marguerite and all our amazing performers.

Apply today:

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With a rich musical palette and an adventurous spirit, Marguerite Witvoet lays claim to a diverse range of musical territories. As a pianist, vocalist, composer, sound designer, music director/conductor and vocal coach, Marguerite has gained a reputation across Canada as a versatile and creative musician.

An active player in the development of new opera and musical theatre, Marguerite has conducted the world premieres of several new Canadian operas and assisted in the development of numerous others, with companies such as Autumn Leaf Performance, The Banff Centre, Modern Baroque Opera Company, Pro Musica, Restless Productions, Tapestry New Music Theatre, The Vancouver Playhouse and Vancouver New Music. No stranger to theatre, she has also worked with the Arts Club, Belfry Theatre, Canadian Stage, Chemainus Theatre, Shaw Festival and Toronto Operetta Theatre.

Ms. Witvoet regularly performs as a solo and chamber artist, and has made numerous recordings with CBC, frequently interpreting works by established contemporary composers such as John Cage and Georges Aperghis, commissioning new works by Canadian and international composers and performing works of her own composition.

In 2002, Marguerite was nominated for a Jessie Richardson Theatre Award for Significant Artistic Achievement for musical composition and arrangement. Her first venture into sound design was deemed "outstanding" by critics and audiences alike, and was nominated for a Jessie Award in 2003 for Best Sound Design. Since then, artists of all disciplines have sought her out for creative collaborations.

Marguerite lends a compassionate approach and a critical ear to her work as a vocal coach and piano teacher for both professionals and amateurs. Working with a combination of intuition, keen observation, years of musical training and a wealth of performance experience, she inspires students to develop their own unique voice as artists and creators.

Recent projects include conducting a 2016 production of White Wines, Radio Play in 3 Acts, composed by Dorothy Chang, and composing and music directing for Th'Owxiya: The Hungry Feast Dish, for Axis Theatre in June 2017. Upcoming projects include music directing a December 2017 workshop of Leslie Uyeda's Your Breath, My Breath: Dialogue for a Mother and Daughter and playing in the Arts Club remount of Onegin, by Veda Hille and Amiel Gladstone.

Marguerite is a member of AFM, SOCAN, CMRRA and SCGC, and currently teaches in the Bachelor of Performing Arts program as well as conducting Beginning Choral Ensemble at Douglas College. She also teaches individual voice and choir at Studio 58, Langara College. For over ten years, Marguerite was faculty vocal coach at the International Advanced Voice Workshops at the Banff Centre.

Singer, Will George

We're thrilled to have Will George coming back for another year at Art Song Lab. This will be the 7th installment of #ArtSongLab, and this will be Will's 6th time!

Don't miss the chance to work with Willl, and all our amazing performers...

Apply today:

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Will George is a versatile performer, equally at home in the world of classical, musical theatre, and pop music.

He has performed leading roles with many international musical organizations, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York City Operas, and festivals and concerts in Canada, Hong Kong, Finland, England, Sweden, Germany, the Philippines, and Carnegie Hall.

An active recitalist, Will is co-founder and Artistic Director for Erato Ensemble, and has been featured in a solo recital for Japan’s NHK network television. His CD, “Dew-drops on a Lotus Leaf”, a collection of songs by composer Marga Richter, was released on the Redshift label in 2014. “EAST,” with guitarist Michael Strutt, followed in 2017. Other recordings include “Geometrics” by L.Warde and Brent Michael David's “Viola Jokes”, with acclaimed violist Melia Watras.

A specialist in contemporary music, Will has worked closely with many respected composers, including Michael Tippett, Barry Truax and Marga Richter. He recently received rave reviews for his performance in Peter Maxwell Davies’ “Eight Songs for a Mad King” with Nu:BC Ensemble.
In addition to his classical work, Will also has years of experience singing popular music - rock, jazz, soul and country. He is well known in town as a singer-songwriter, and is the lead singer of the roots-rock band Horse Opera. The band released their debut album in November 2017.
Will received his Masters of Music degree from the University of Southern California, where he was honored as Outstanding Graduate from the School of Music. He currently lives in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Also a composer, Will's songs and vocal chamber works have been performed and commissioned by such organizations as New Music New York, Erato Ensemble, Vancouver International Song Institute, Holy Rosary Cathedral, and The Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies. His cantata "The Virtues" was nominated for a 2005 Pulitzer Prize in Music. Mr. George is the recipient of multiple ASCAPlus Awards, and is an Associate Composer of the Canadian Music Centre.


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.