May Ling Kwok

A graduate with distinction of the University of Victoria, May Ling Kwok first studied with Robin Wood at the Victoria Conservatory of Music. She later continued her doctoral studies with the famed Hungarian pianist, György Sebők at Indiana University, where she was awarded the Distinguished Performer’s Certificate. She is very active as a soloist and chamber music performer, piano teacher, and adjudicator.

Concert tours have taken her to the United States, Canada, China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Mexico, Russia and Europe. She has appeared as soloist with the Victoria Symphony, the Montreal Symphony, National Symphony Orchestra of Mexico, Moscow Philharmonic, Vladivostok Symphony Orchestra, the Slovakia Radio Orchestra and the Czech National Symphony. Her recordings include concertos and chamber works by Beethoven, Schumann, Mozart, Shostakovich and Prokofiev.

May Ling Kwok is on the faculty of the Victoria Conservatory of Music and the University of Victoria. Many of her students have gone on to successful careers in music and the performing arts.

Michelle Mares

Michelle Mares began her musical studies at the age of 4 at the Vancouver Academy of Music. She amassed a great deal of performing experience as a child prodigy and drew the attention of many notable musicians, including András Schiff, Ivan Moravec and Gaby Casadesus.

Ms. Mares has enjoyed the rare privilege of studying with some of the world’s most eminent musicians including Canada’s own Jane Coop, Leon Fleisher, Karl Heinz Kämmerling, György Kurtág, and Alfred Brendel. Her approach to music is rooted in the treasured legacy of her mentors. which deeply influences her own teaching.

She is the winner of many international competitions and has performed worldwide as a soloist and a chamber musician for most of her adult life. She draws from a deep reservoir of professional experience.

Ms. Mares has served as Adjunct Professor at the University of British Columbia, and was on the piano faculty at the University of Victoria for ten years. She is a popular adjudicator at music competitions throughout British Columbia.

Jamie Syer

Though he finds it hard to believe, Jamie Syer is marking more than 50 years as a professional pianist. He completed his graduate degrees at the Yale University School of Music, studying with Claude Frank and Ward Davenny. Dr. Syer has taught at Universities in Alberta, Saskatchewan, British Columbia and New Brunswick. He has performed many times in Europe: in Scotland, Ireland, Hungary, France, and England; as well as in recital venues across Canada.

Jamie Syer was Dean of the Victoria Conservatory of Music until 2012. He was Head of the Conservatory’s Keyboard Department, and also taught at the UVic School of Music. As a lecturer for UVic’s Faculty of Continuing Education, he led two arts-related travel tours to France.

He is the founder of the Victoria Conservatory’s Young Artists Collegium program, which offers an enriched curriculum for talented young musicians.

Jamie has a lifelong interest in music theatre. He was Musical Director for a production of Matilda, and recently composed an original musical, Camp Spartan, which premièred in February 2023

Bruce Vogt

Canadian pianist Bruce Vogt was born in southern Ontario but for the past 43 years has lived and worked in Victoria, BC and taught at the University of Victoria as Professor of Piano. As a soloist, he has appeared regularly in concerts within Canada and he tours yearly in many countries throughout Europe and Asia. His repertoire encompasses music from the sixteenth century to the present. In addition to having a special affinity for the music of Franz Liszt, he has performed on period instruments, and commissioned and premièred a number of new works.

Because he sees teaching and working with young pianists and with piano teachers as an important commitment, he makes himself available as much as possible for master classes, workshops, festival adjudications, and lectures.

In recent years, he has received many invitations in Canada and abroad to indulge another of his passions: improvising accompaniments to great films of the silent era. He has played for and lectured about films by Chaplin, Keaton, Lloyd, Griffith, Murnau and others.

Michelle Fillion

Musicologist and pianist Michelle Fillion is Professor Emerita of Music at the University of Victoria, where she taught the history and performance practices of the classical, romantic, and modern periods until retirement. She also taught for almost two decades at Mills College in Oakland, California, where she was Head of the Music Department, and at McGill and Queen’s Universities.

She is the author of Difficult Rhythm: Music and the Word in E. M. Forster (University of Illinois Press, 2010) and the editor of Gordon Mumma: Cybersonic Arts: Adventures in American New Music (University of Illinois Press, 2015). More recently she served on the Editorial Board of the two-volume Collected Songs of Poldowski (Hildegard Press, 2020 and 2022). Currently she is preparing composer Gordon Mumma’s extensive musical archive for placement at the New York Public Library. She received her PhD in musicology from Cornell University.