2022 Adjudicators - Kiwanis Music Festival of St. John’s
STEVE COWAN - GUITAR
The Canadian guitarist Steve Cowan has performed as a soloist and in ensemble throughout Canada, the United States and Europe. His debut album of Canadian music, Pour guitare (McGill Records, 2016), helped to establish him as ‘one of Canada’s top contemporary classical guitarists’ (Classical Guitar Magazine). Read more...
AMY HENDERSON - NON-COMPETITIVE VOICE AND MUSICAL THEATRE
Amy Henderson is from a family of teachers, and is drawn to singing and choral music for their capacity to build community, teach, connect people to and with their voices, and to create beauty. Read more...
AARON HODGSON - BRASS, WOODWIND, PERCUSSION AND BAND/ENSEMBLE
Trumpeter Aaron Hodgson has been praised for his “exquisite musicianship and assured composure” (International Trumpet Guild) and his “outstanding lyrical trumpet playing” (Hartford Courant). Read more...
RAFAEL HOEKMAN - STRINGS
Hailed as a “Rock Star of the Cello” and noted for his “spirited and fiery performances,” Rafael Hoekman’s varied career as a soloist, teacher, chamber musician and orchestral cellist has taken him on a journey across Canada. Read more...
MARKUS HOWARD - MUSICAL THEATRE AND CHORAL
As a conductor, director and choreographer, Markus Howard has worked extensively in the arts throughout Canada and abroad. He has appeared in 27 countries, working with musicians of varying ages, cultures and experiences. Read more...
DAVID KELLEHER-FLIGHT - VOICE
Praised by Opera News for his "flawless dicton and flexible lyric baritone," St. John's native David Kelleher-Flight made his New York City Opera debut as the Marquis de Tarapote in Christopher Alden's production of LA PERICHOLE at New York's City Center. Read more...
DEREK OGER - PIANO
Derek Oger has held the position of Executive Director of Conservatory Canada since 2014, where he has focused on a complete academic renewal of CC’s core syllabi to make music assessments more accessible to student’s diverse interests. Read more...
SUSAN QUINN - NON-COMPETITIVE PIANO AND STRINGS
Susan Quinn is from St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, where she is the Artistic Director of the Quintessential Vocal Ensemble (QVE) and Choral Director at St. Bonaventure’s College, and recently retired after nearly 30 years of leading the award-winning choirs at Holy Heart of Mary High School. Read more...
The Canadian guitarist SteveCowanhas performed as a soloist and in ensemble throughout Canada, the United States and Europe. His debut album of Canadian music,Pour guitare(McGill Records, 2016), helped to establish him as ‘one of Canada’s top contemporary classical guitarists’ (Classical Guitar Magazine). In 2018–2019, SteveCowan made his concerto debut with Ensemble del Arte in Germany, his New York solo recital debut, and released his second solo recordingArctic Sonata(EMEC discos). As a chamber musician, SteveCowanperforms regularly with Forestare, a Montréal-based string ensemble; in 2022, he will be a Chamber Music New Zealand touring artist with flutist Hannah Darroch, as well as a Prairie Debut touring artist with guitarist Adam Cicchillitti. TheCowan–Cicchillitti duo has premièred 15 new works and released an album of Canadian music titledFOCUS(Analekta, 2019); their next recording,Impressions intimes(Analekta, 2021), features original arrangements of Debussy, Ravel, Mompou and Tailleferre.FOCUS won ‘Classical Recording of the Year’ at the 2021 East Coast Music Awards, and Impressions intimes was nominated for the same category in 2022.
SteveCowanhas won awards at ten national and international competitions, eight of which are first prizes. Most recently, he won First Prize at the Tallinn Guitar Competition in Estonia, making him a EuroStrings touring artist for the 2021 season. Originally from St. John’s, Newfoundland, SteveCowanholds degrees from Memorial University, the Manhattan School of Music and McGill University. His teachers include Sylvie Proulx, David Leisner and Jérôme Ducharme. Since 2019, SteveCowanhas been a guitar instructor at Schulich School of Music of McGill University in Montréal.
Amy Henderson is from a family of teachers, and is drawn to singing and choral music for their capacity to build community, teach, connect people to and with their voices, and to create beauty.
Originally from a small town in rural Ontario, Amy spent a decade in Montreal, studying at McGill University (B Mus, B Ed), and working with choirs of all sizes and descriptions, including children’s choirs (Choeur des Enfants de Montréal), youth choirs (McGill Conservatory Choirs), women’s choirs (Concerto Della Donna, Les Muses Chorale), chamber choirs (Seraphim, Cantata Singers of Ottawa) and symphonic choirs (St. Lawrence Choir). During that time, she also travelled to Sweden, Jerusalem, and the US to work with conductors and choirs abroad in masterclasses and guest conducting opportunities.
Amy came to St. John’s to obtain her M. Mus. in choral conducting at Memorial, and returned in 2014 to stay. Amy is now the Artistic Director of Projēkt Chamber Voices, teaches as part of the team with Growing the Voices Festival 500’s “So You Always Wanted to Sing” and “Growing Your Choral Skills” classes, is the Executive Director of Business and Arts NL and the Director of the Bruneau Centre for Excellence in Choral Music at Memorial University. Amy and her partner, Vernon, have two young sons, and their favourite place to spend time as a family is Middle Cove Beach.
Trumpeter Aaron Hodgson has been praised for his “exquisite musicianship and assured composure” (International Trumpet Guild) and his “outstanding lyrical trumpet playing” (Hartford Courant). A prize-winner in the Ellsworth Smith and OSM Standard Life competitions, Aaron has been broadcast nationally by CBC Radio and featured as a concerto soloist with l'Orchestre de la Francophonie at Canada's National Arts Centre. His debut solo CD Inner Voice was released on Blue Griffin Recordings in 2017.
Aaron is an active orchestral musician, having performed with conductors such as Helmuth Rilling, Donald Runnicles and Neeme Järvi and with orchestras including the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Canadian Opera Company Orchestra and the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra. He can be heard on Naxos and Analekta records as principal trumpet for recordings of Bach's Magnificat, Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique and the complete symphonies of Beethoven and Brahms.
As a solo and chamber musician, Aaron is committed to expanding the trumpet's capabilities and introducing audiences to new music. He has commissioned or premiered dozens of new works featuring trumpet and frequently performs as a member of Carnyx Trio and Reverb Brass.
Aaron is a sought-after teacher and is Associate Professor at the Don Wright Faculty of Music, Western University. He regularly adjudicates at music festivals across Canada and has taught masterclasses in Australia, Ecuador and Colombia. Aaron holds a Doctor of Musical Arts from Yale University and is an S.E. Shires Performing Artist.
Hailed as a “Rock Star of the Cello” and noted for his “spirited and fiery performances,” Rafael Hoekman’s varied career as a soloist, teacher, chamber musician and orchestral cellist has taken him on a journey across Canada.
Rafael grew up in St. John’s, Newfoundland and began his musical training with his parents at the age of three. His principal teachers were Theo Weber in St. John’s, Yuli Turovsky in Montréal, and he completed his Master’s Degree with Shauna Rolston at the University of Toronto. With his appointment to the position of Principal Cello for the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, Rafael has come full circle - his father was born in Lethbridge, and his mother was born in Conrad, Montana, a short drive from the Canadian border.
As a young soloist, Rafael first attracted attention by winning First Prize at the Orford International Competition. This award led to performances of the Boccherini Concerto with I musici de Montréal and a subsequent CD on the Amberola Label. In quick succession, Rafael garnered awards from competitions including the Montréal Symphony Competition, the CMC Stepping Stones Competition, the Debut Young Artist Competition, and the Québec Symphony’s Canadian Concerto Competition. In addition to performing with I musici de Montréal, Rafael has appeared as soloist with the Edmonton Symphony, Calgary Philharmonic, the Québec Symphony, the Newfoundland Symphony, Sinfonia Toronto, the Sudbury Symphony, and the Etobicoke Philharmonic.
As a chamber musician and founding member of the Tokai String Quartet, Rafael won Fourth Prize in the Banff International String Quartet Competition as well as the Felix Galimir Chamber Music Award and the Sir Ernest MacMillan Grant for a young Canadian chamber ensemble. Rafael’s chamber music performances have been featured on several national broadcasts for the CBC. He has been heard all across Canada on tours for Jeunesses Musicales and Debut Atlantic. He counts as his chamber music partners James Ehnes, Alexander Tselyakov, Anton Kuerti, and the St. Lawrence String Quartet. Prior to joining the Edmonton Symphony as Principal Cello in 2015, Rafael was a member of the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra and held Assistant Principal positions with both the Winnipeg and Windsor Symphony Orchestras. He has also held positions with the Colorado Music Festival Orchestra (Principal Cello), Orchestra London Canada, and Sinfonia Toronto (Principal Cello), and has played frequently with the Detroit and Toronto Symphony Orchestras. He is also currently Principal Cello of the Chamber Orchestra of Edmonton.
Rafael is a passionate teacher and enjoys working with aspiring cellists as a faculty member at the University of Alberta and across the country at festivals including the Kincardine Music Festival, Southern Ontario Chamber Music Institute, and Music at Port Milford. Rafael lives in Edmonton with his wife, cellist Meran Currie-Roberts, and their two children, Sam and Anastasia.
As a conductor, director and choreographer, Markus Howard has worked extensively in the arts throughout Canada and abroad. He has appeared in 27 countries, working with musicians of varying ages, cultures and experiences. A conductor, educator and private voice teacher, Markus works in many musical genres including opera, musical theatre, pop and jazz voice. His students have included members of the Stratford and Shaw Festivals, Toronto’s Lion King, Billy Elliott, The Producers, and Jersey Boys, and a number of Broadway and National Touring companies, and has worked as lead voice coach for Mirvish Production’s Lion King School.
His talents have been recognized by Yamaha Music Canada, the Swedish Ministry of Culture, the Ontario Arts Council, and the International Association of Jazz Educators. He has been nominated four times as a candidate finalist by the Ontario Arts Council for the Leslie Bell Prize for excellence in conducting.
Mr. Howard pursues an active adjudicating schedule across North America, most recently overseeing Music Theatre and Classical Voice at the Federation of Canadian Music Festivals National Finals, Nova Scotia Provincial Finals for Voice and Choirs, and the Ontario Music Festivals Provincial Finals. This coming season takes him to Newfoundland, British Columbia and Stratford, Ontario.
Currently, Markus is the Artistic Director for two of Ontario’s most outstanding youth choir organizations, the award-winning Guelph Youth Singers and La Jeunesse Choirs, and concludes an eleven-year tenue leading the Oriana Singers of Cobourg. He serves as the founding conductor of the professional chamber choir LA MOVIDA, and appears as guest conductor for advanced choirs around the province. Since the fall of 2019, he has been Artistic Director London Pro Musica Choir. He held the position of Lead Artist Educator with the Canadian Opera Company, and was on the faculty of the Royal Conservatory of Music, Glenn Gould School and the Randolph Academy for the Performing Arts. At the University of Toronto, Markus directed the Hart House Jazz Choir and Massey College Choirs.
Praised by Opera News for his "flawless dicton and flexible lyric baritone," St. John's native David Kelleher-Flight made his New York City Opera debut as the Marquis de Tarapote in Christopher Alden's production of LA PERICHOLE at New York's City Center. David made his Carnegie Hall debut as Monterone in RIGOLETTO under the baton of Maestro Stephen Crawford. One critic hailed, “The real stand-out of the evening was David Kelleher-Flight. Making his Carnegie Hall debut, he showed the most polish and vocal refinement of the evening. His rich baritone voice set him apart from the others”(Greenwich Post). David has performed at Lincoln Center’s David Geffen Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center's Rose Theatre, Carnegie Hall, New York's City Center, Symphony Space, Radio City Music Hall, the Brooklyn Academy of Music's Howard Gilman Opera House, the French Consulate and the Rainbow Room.
David received his early vocal training at the Tanglewood Institute, the Banff Centre for the Arts, and the Aspen Music Festival and School. He holds a Bachelor of Music from Memorial University of Newfoundland, a Master of Music from the Manhattan School of Music and a Doctor of Musical Arts from the State University of New York at Stony Brook where his research interests included the development of the Nineteenth-Century Art Song Cycle. He has participated in the Weill Music Institute’s Professional Training Workshop at Carnegie Hall and has twice been one of nine singers accepted into the Lieder Master Course for Advanced Singer-Pianist Duos at the Oxford Lieder Festival (UK). David has had the pleasure of working with some of the most legendary pianists of his generation including Dalton Baldwin, Julius Drake, Margo Garrett, Warren Jones, Graham Johnson, Martin Katz, Malcolm Martineau and Roger Vignoles. David can be heard on commercially released recordings of ORANGE BLOSSOMS, THE FORTUNE TELLER, EL CAPITAN, THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE, and THE MIKADO for Albany Records and available on iTunes and Spotify.
David is currently on the voice faculty at the State University of New York at Suffolk County and maintains a private voice studio in Manhattan. In 2017 David was honored with Memorial University’s Horizon Award for Outstanding Accomplishments by a graduate under the age of 35 years. In 2019 David became President of the Light Opera of New York. www.lightoperaofnewyork.org
Derek Oger has held the position of Executive Director of Conservatory Canada since 2014, where he has focused on a complete academic renewal of CC’s core syllabi to make music assessments more accessible to student’s diverse interests. He is also host of Conservatory Canada Radio, a podcast series which interviews pedagogues, composers, and researchers about topics relevant to studio music teaching.
Derek maintains a private teaching studio and teaches piano performance as a contract lecturer at Lakehead University. He regularly adjudicates at music festivals, gives teacher workshops and webinars across Canada and works as a collaborative pianist. As a new music specialist, he is recorded on a CD entitled, “First Recording” released by New Music North of Thunder Bay.
Derek has lived his entire life in Thunder Bay, ON and received an HBA Music degree from Lakehead University. His main musical influences have been teachers Heather Morrison and the late Peter Longworth and Helmut Brauss. In his spare time, he is keenly absorbed in the fields of functional medicine, biohacking and craniosacral therapy, and he is an ADAPT- Certified Functional Health Coach.
Susan Quinn is from St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, where she is the Artistic Director of the Quintessential Vocal Ensemble (QVE) and Choral Director at St. Bonaventure’s College, and recently retired after nearly 30 years of leading the award-winning choirs at Holy Heart of Mary High School. Susan received her early musical education from the Sisters of Mercy, and has degrees in Music and Music Education from Memorial University of Newfoundland, with a major in violin, and a Master’s degree in choral conducting from the University of Maine. She is a recipient of the Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence and the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council Arts in Education Award. Her choirs have received numerous national awards and honours at international competitions in Austria, Wales, Ireland, and France, and recorded six CDs. In 2010 she conducted Vivaldi’s Gloria at Carnegie Hall in New York City, and returned in 2014 to conduct QVE in a solo performance.