Quartet Fest West returns

The chamber music experience Quartet Fest West returns to the School of Music from June 24-July 5 with a lineup including former members of the Lafayette String Quartet, guest artists the Jasper String Quartet, the Breakwater Quartet plus this year’s student participants.

You can get the full details here but the public events include:

QFW participant concert: 2pm Friday, June 28 at St. Andrew’s (Broughton & Douglas, by donation) 

Jasper String Quartet: 7pm Sunday, June 30 (UVic’s Phillip T. Young Recital Hall, $20/$25)

The Jasper String Quartet are the recipients of Chamber Music America’s prestigious Cleveland Quartet Award and their playing has been described as “sonically delightful and expressively compelling” (The Strad). The ensemble has released eight albums, including Unbound, named by the New York Times as one of the year’s 25 Best Classical Recordings. This year’s QFW program features the Jasper String Quartet performing works by Gabriella Smith, Grażyna Bacewicz and Antonín Dvořák.

Jasper String Quartet

Live Music Bingo FUNdRaiser with the Breakwater Quartet & $1K+ in prizes: 7pm Wed, July 3 (UVic’s David Lam Auditorium, bingo cards 1/$25, 2/$40, 3/$50)

For the Live Music Bingo FUNdRaiser, refreshments will be served starting at 6:30, with the bingo starting at 7pm—with over $1,000 in amazing prizes up for grabs! There will be a brief intermission for more refreshments and then another round of fun begins.

UVic Music alumni The Breakwater Quartet will perform their own arrangements of pop and classical tunes: each ticket holder receives one bingo card, but additional cards are available at the door. Sing along to your favourite songs, hum to the classics, and win awesome prizes like tickets to the Victoria Summer Music Festival, floral arrangements from Twyla’s Flower Farm, gift certificates to the Synergy Health Centre, Crag X Indoor Climbing Centre, Fig Deli and future performances by the Breakwater Quartet — with more prizes coming in daily!

All proceeds from this bingo event go toward scholarships for QFW participants, this year travelling from Vancouver, Seattle, Calgary, the BC interior and even Mexico. Our goal is to raise $3,000 in scholarships, so help us make it possible for all these talented young musicians to study without worrying about finances!

Breakwater Quartet

Participants Final Concert: 7pm Friday, July 5 (UVic’s PTY, by donation)

A unique teaching experience outside of the regular School of Music curriculum, Quartet Fest West has been running since 2012 (but also 1993-1998) and offers student participants an in-depth study of great chamber music literature alongside former members of the world-renowned Lafayette String Quartet.

Participants receive daily coachings and masterclasses, plus one-on-one consultations on their individual chamber music parts in private lessons; they also gain experience performing in-concert, enjoy chamber music parties with faculty and local musicians, gain insights in listening skills, as well as body awareness and movement through Feldenkrais workshops and get to explore Victoria with fun outings!

Summer Arts Series now registering

Looking to add some hands-on art-making to your summer plans? Curious about how art can transform our experience of the world and the way we engage with each other?

The UVic Summer Arts Series is back in July with a series of Fine Arts alumni-led public workshops focused on art and the urban landscape —- including drawing in the urban landscape, writing place-based fiction, interdisciplinary environmental field guides, textiles and wearable art, and a Victorian Medievalism walking tour.

These short workshops are appropriate for learners of all backgrounds as you learn from experts how art transforms our experience of the world and the ways we engage with one another.

The Summer Arts Series is offered by UVic’s Division of Continuing Studies, in partnership with the Faculty of Fine Arts and Alumni Relations.

Here’s the full info:

Sentimental Affects: Textiles, Wearable Art and Urban Life – July 2, online

This lively and informative presentation by Danielle Hogan is designed to encourage you to think deeply about textiles and the role they play in shaping not only our own lives but also the urban landscape. Consider a wide range of objects that have been created, or transformed, by different makers some of whom are professional artists and others who are not. Danielle will touch on subjects including affect theory, feminism, urban fashion, wearable art and maker culture, in addition to sharing ideas about creative mending and repurposing to express personal history or style.

Urban Spaces in Place-Based Fiction – July 3, 8 & 10

Many stories in the cultural canon are set in “recognizable” cities, but how many of us actually live there? What are the stories of our urban spaces? How can we begin to capture the cities we call home in our writing? Through lectures, writing exercises and workshops, Hana Mason will help you develop a more intimate understanding of the urban spaces that are significant to you and leave the sessions with a draft of your own place-based fiction.

Drawing in the Urban Landscape – July 6-7

Drawing outdoors, in public spaces, presents numerous challenges such as overcoming the fear of being seen and observed. Liz Charsley with help you see how drawing with a group minimizes this concern, leaving room for the next hurdle: how to take all the visual information in front of you — UVic’s landscape and embellished, modernist buildings — and refine it into a balanced composition that reflects what you see. This workshop will increase your confidence in drawing in public, enhance your observational drawing skills and also give you the freedom to create abstract compositions.

Victorian Medievalism Walking Tour – July 6 & 13

This walking tour will introduce you to tangible manifestations of the 19th century medieval revival movement in Victoria. Join Michael Reed to explore Ross Bay Cemetery and Pioneer Square, and discuss iconic examples of medieval revival funerary markers. We will also visit Christ Church Cathedral and the Church of Our Lord and discuss the Gothic Revival architectural aesthetic.

Lost and Found: A Field Guide – July 14

Join us for an immersive workshop by interdisciplinary artist Laurel Terlesky. Dive deep into sensory awareness exercises, mindful walking and navigational mapping as we navigate the urban terrain. Through creative outdoor exploration and nature immersion, you will craft field guides and explore environmental field guides discovery, uncovering hidden ways to inform place making.

Congratulation to the 2024 grad class!

Jude Wolff Ackroyd, BFA Honours 2024

Congratulations to our 2024 grad class! Whether you’re graduating from our department of Art History & Visual Studies, Theatre, Visual ArtsWriting or the School of Music, you’re now part of an extended community of nearly 10,000 other Fine Arts grads!

“While many of you started your current academic journey back in 2020—arguably, the most trying of recent times—we’re hoping you’ll look back on your degree as a time of rewarding and inspiring creative and scholarly exploration,” says Dean Allana Lindgren. “While the weeks ahead will be a whirlwind of emotions ranging from excitement and uncertainty to relief and anticipation, never forget that you’re well-prepared for wherever life takes you. Be bold. Be creative. Believe in yourself. Know that you are ready to succeed.”

Watch the livestream of the Fine Arts convocation starting at 10am Friday, June 14.

We would also encourage you to pause and thank the people who have supported and mentored you during your studies— be they family, friends, faculty, staff, donors or anyone who helped along the way. No matter your career path or the distance you travel, let us know about your projects and events, so we can celebrate your accomplishments.

“The world urgently needs fresh ideas and fresh energy: I challenge you to use your critical thinking and creative skills to give back to society and make a difference as you become the voice of a new generation,” says Dean Lindgren. “Always know that we are very proud to call you a UVic Fine Arts grad!”

2024 Victoria Medal winner Stella McCaig 

Special congratulations also go out to Visual Arts student Stella McCaig, who is graduating with a truly remarkable grade-point average of 9.0. Her perfect GPA earns her the 2024 Victoria Medal, presented annually to the Fine Arts student with the highest grades. 

“Stella McCaig is a daring and sensitive artist,” says Visual Arts professor Beth Stuart. “She combines personal narrative and material investigation fearlessly and from a place of raw vulnerability — in a way that generates art that is singular and resonates deeply with those who have the privilege to experience it.”

Stuart well knows of which she speaks: in summer 2023, while completing and installing a mammoth public art commission in Montreal, she brought Stella along to help with the process as a directed study — which involved undertaking many processes and pathways with which she was not familiar.

“Stella took up this task with effervescent good humour, meeting each obstacle and new set of knowledge with tenacity and grace,” says Stuart. “The project unfolded at breakneck speed, and Stella was completely instrumental in its success . . . . There is no standard metric that can express what this person is capable of — she’s a gift to the field, and I count myself blessed to have been able to work with her. Someday I will say, ‘I knew her when’.”

About the artist

“My sculptural work considers the idiosyncratic material language and forms that are developed through diving into the material and process, responding to and solving the challenges that exist due to experimentation and play. The body dispersed; transformation from the organic to the synthetic — and back again; a growing positive embrace of female sexuality, and an ownership of the gaze. These threads of interest become the genesis of intense sculptural works and installations, and become contemplative rather than predictive.

“Through an entirely personal practice of sewing, I create mangled and uninterpretable objects, that which become sanctified, having an unmatched virility in their endlessness. Because I primarily work from banal found objects and materials, the work enshrines the objects asking the viewer to realize the beauty of that which exists in the world; artificial or once alive. In an attempt to realize this idea, I adorn, embellish, and prettify the forms and objects that emerge, in preserving the infatuation I have with the unaesthetic, the disingenuous, and the absurd.

“I present the installations and sculptural works that I create in a moment of transmutation, from what they once were, to how they stand in front of the viewer. Every choice is presently there for the viewer to see. Everything is something, even the tiniest morsel of material becomes a point of love and thoughtful consideration. Each of the works arrive to and for the moment, functioning as tools gently resting between what is real and what is imagined, acknowledging the beauty of artificiality.”

—Stella McCaig

“There’s always more to learn” says graduating professional musician Philip Manning

When it comes to career paths, most music students aspire to professional positions after graduation—playing with an orchestra, say, or becoming a chamber musician or band teacher. Not so with Philip Manning, who took a different approach to his own musical career: about to graduate with a Bachelor of Music, he’s already been performing as a full-time violinist with the Victoria Symphony since 2016.

“It doesn’t matter where you are in your career, there’s always more to learn,” he says. “Coming back to school when you’re a bit older, you take different things away from your classes and your instruction . . . you just need a clear focus on whatever it is you want to do.”

Filling the gaps during COVID

For the 32-year-old Manning, the Victoria Symphony’s COVID-era performance closures offered the ideal chance to enroll in UVic’s School of Music in 2020.

“When COVID started, it provided an opportunity to fill in some gaps in my training,” he explains. “Work got thrown up in the air for a time and we weren’t nearly as busy as usual—even when we started playing virtual concerts again—so I thought, ‘Okay, how can I be productive with this extra time I have? What are my long-term goals? I just wanted to give myself more options.”

Born and raised in Victoria, Manning has music on both sides of his family (his pianist mother was also a music teacher, and his centenarian grandfather was a post-war semi-professional jazz musician) but he’s the first to work full time as a professional musician. As a young violinist, he took lessons at the Victoria Conservatory of Music and was involved with the Greater Victoria Performing Arts Festival, but after graduating from Langford’s Lighthouse Christian Academy he enrolled in Pittsburgh’s Duquesne University in 2014, where he earned an artist diploma in violin performance.

“I’m kind of doing life a bit backwards,” he chuckles. “After high school, I was still trying to figure out if I wanted to carry on with music and make it a career, so I did an artist diploma, which is actually more like a graduate-level program.” After two years of intense training, he then auditioned successfully for both the Calgary Philharmonic and the Victoria Symphony, before choosing to return to the Island.

Long ties to the Symphony

No question, the School of Music has long ties to the Victoria Symphony, thanks to a number of instructors and alumni who regularly perform with them, as well as the likes of the Lafayette String Quartet and VS associate conductor Giuseppe Pietraroia, who has been teaching in Music and leading the UVic Symphony Orchestra since 2022. Then there’s Music’s voice program, whose students sing in the chorus of Pacific Opera Victoria, for whom the VS also play.

“I’ve known Ann Elliott-Goldschmid and the other LSQ members very well for a long time, so it just made sense to study here at UVic because we’ve always had a good relationship,” says Manning.

As part of his degree work, Manning undertook a directed study with Elliott-Goldschmid, focused specifically on the audition process. But, with seven Victoria Symphony seasons already under his bow, how important is a course like that? “It’s actually very important,” he stresses. “Any audition for a professional orchestra involves multiple rounds, and preparing for that means a lot more than just practicing.”

Practical career prep

Case in point? Manning just successfully auditioned for the position of assistant concertmaster with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, which has now resulted in the offer of a short trial period with the orchestra—a next-step success story that might not have happened without that directed study.

“My goal was to audition for a title position with another orchestra, which would essentially mean more responsibility—and ideally more pay—and would offer me a new experience. Ann was instrumental in helping me prepare for that audition.”

And while his professional schedule over the past few years meant he didn’t have the time to play with UVic’s own Symphony Orchestra, he does lead sectional rehearsals for them and does a bit of tutoring with the other students.

“It’s not so long ago that I was in the same shoes as they are right now, so I understand how it is for them,” he says. “But I’ve got a different perspective from when I was in my late teens and early twenties, when I didn’t fully understand what was being given to me and was trying to figure out how to implement it. Now, I have a much better focus and have gotten so much more out of my education. This has been a really good experience for me.”