Music Performance Instructor
MacLaurin Building (Music Wing)
A native of Vancouver, Canada, Michelle Mares began her musical studies at the age of 4. As a student of the Suzuki Piano Method, she amassed a great deal of performing experience from an early age as a child prodigy. At the age of 10, she gave her first full length recital and in the same year, appeared for the first time as a soloist with the Mozarteum Orchestra in Salzburg, Austria. At the age of 12, she was personally invited by the world renowned pedagogue, Karl Heinz Kämmerling to study with him in Germany and worked with him there for a year. From that point on, she routinely won top prizes in competitions including the CBC Young Performer’s Competition (2nd prize in 1987 at the age of 15 and again in 1995 with 1st prize), the Hamburg Steinway Competition (1983), the Montreal Symphony Competition (1986), the S.A.C.E.M. Prize at the Robert Casadesus International Competition (1993) and at the age of 17, top prize at the 1988 Geneva International Competition. She has also been awarded the Canada Council B grant on various occasions.
She has attracted the attention of some of the world’s most eminent musicians studying with Canada’s own Jane Coop at UBC and Leon Fleisher at the Peabody Conservatory. She received her performance degree at the Mozarteum Conservatory in Salzburg, Austria in 1995. Subsequently, she moved to London, England to work with Alfred Brendel and was also privileged to come into the orbit of the great Hungarian composer, György Kurtag who had an enormous influence on her as a musician. It was at this point that she decided to settle in Europe.
She has lead an active performing career in both Canada and Europe spanning the entire repertoire as a soloist and chamber musician. She has performed with virtually every major orchestra in Canada as a soloist and her performances have enjoyed national and international radio broadcast. Some of the orchestras she has appeared with in Europe include Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Basel Symphony Orchestra, Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra, Polish Chamber Orchestra and the Netherlands Radio Chamber Orchestra.
After nearly 2 decades in Europe, Ms Mares returned to her native West Coast of Canada in 2008. She has settled in Victoria, BC has settled in Victoria, BC where in 2010 she suffered the serious setback of a broken wrist. She managed to triumph over her injury, and in 2011 she performed the demanding Goldberg Variations and the 12 Chopin Etudes Op.10 to enthralled audiences in Victoria. She is currently on the piano faculty at the University of Victoria and at the Victoria Conservatory of Music. In her teaching, she draws from a deep reservoir of musical and professional experience.