Edwin Gnandt enjoys a collaborative career in music as pianist, accompanist, author, adjudicator, competition juror, workshop clinician, international speaker and Professor of Piano and Music at Ambrose University in Calgary. He adjudicates festivals across Canada and recently as a juror for the Canadian Music Competition (CMC), the National Stepping Stone Competition and the Bosendorfer (BC) Piano Competition and the Steinway Junior Competition. He has been praised by the San Francisco Examiner for his “consistently alluring sound,” by the Oakland Tribune for his “ear for phrasing,” and by the Los Angeles Times for his “distinct refinement.” Mr. Gnandt’s performances have taken him throughout Canada and the United States as well as to Russia and Scotland. He participated as a visiting Professor of Music at Azusa Pacific University in Los Angeles, California. His book “The Soul of the Music: Gifts from the Golden Age of Piano” (2014) has been received with excellent reviews.

In recent years Mr. Gnandt has conducted extensive research into the mind and music of Fryderyk Chopin. In preparation for his soon to be released book (2019) entitled “The Inner World of Fryderyk Chopin: Psychology, Medicine and the Majorca Period”, he has made research trips to Paris, France and the Carthusian Monastery in Valldemossa on the Island of Majorca where Chopin spent the winter of 1838-1839.

Professor Gnandt presents and chairs at international conferences including the annual ‘Hawaii International Conference on Arts and Humanities’ (HICAH), the ‘International Journal of Arts and Sciences Conference’ (IJAS) in Barcelona, Spain; the International IJAS conference at the Ca Foscari University of Venice, Italy; and the IJAS conference in Florence, Italy.

He is a regular contributor to various summer piano institutes including the Victoria Conservatory of Music Summer Piano Academy, the Mt. Royal University Summer Piano Institute, Calgary CASSA Musical Arts and the Pt. Loma Summer Piano Institute in San Diego.

David Gordon Duke was born in Vancouver and studied musicology at UBC, the University of North Carolina, and the University of Victoria. He studied composition privately with Jean Coulthard and, at the Banff Centre, Violet Archer. His concert music has been performed by Jon Kimura Parker, Desmond Hoebig, and Stephen Isserlis, and ensembles such as the Toledo Symphony, the Vancouver Cantata Singers, and the Circle Singers of Washington, D.C., (who recorded his 3 madrigals Lions, Tygers, and Bears). His Canticle for strings was recently put on CD by the Vancouver Symphony. He has been composer in residence for the BC Boys Choir, the Langley Community Music School, and Studea Musica. He has written and broadcast extensively about Canadian music and composers-most recently a biography of Jean Coulthard with co-author William Bruneau. He was head of the School of Music at Vancouver Community College until early 2004. Mr. Duke will be presenting a session on women composers and how to introduce their music into our teaching studios.

Shamma Sabir has been a passionate ambassador of Canadian fiddle music from the time she heard her first notes. From the stage at the Canadian Grand Masters Fiddle Championships to the springy dance floors of Saskatchewan, Shamma has played and taught her way through much of the Canadian landscape. A devoted teacher, Shamma earned a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology using original research to further her understanding of the dance between music training and brain development.  Shamma brings research about learning and the brain, years of experience as a teacher and her love of the power of curiosity and play to a session on Saturday and will take part in the round table discussion.

Rena Sharon, pianist, has been called “one of the finest musicians of her generation” and a “national treasure.” Among Canada’s foremost chamber musicians, her performance spectrum also comprises solo recitals and concerti. Currently the Professor of Collaborative Piano Studies at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, she is a recipient of the Dean of Arts Award for teaching, research, and community outreach. Ms. Sharon is well-known to CBC radio audiences, and has recorded for Marquis, Finlandia, Atma, Brava, Summit, Sono, CBC-5000, and Boston Records.  Rena will be involved in a session Saturday morning and Saturday afternoon as well as taking part in the round table discussion.

Two of Heather Walker’s passions in life are the Alexander Technique and music. She’s been playing French horn since the age of ten.  It’s a personal and artistic challenge for her, and a great deal of fun. However, at one point the years of intense music studies led to some very challenging problems; repetitive strain injuries, tension problems, and overuse.  After trying every conceivable form of treatment, she discovered the Alexander Technique, a method that taught her to “unlearn” her habits of inefficient movement and thought.  You will have an opportunity Saturday morning to experience Alexander Technique for yourself.

Shana Kirk is a Denver-based pianist, teacher, technology consultant, and arts advocate. With BA and MM degrees from Lipscomb University of Denver, she has taught piano in both private and group settings. Her teaching embraces modern technologies for learning and motivation. She helped develop and operate the “What Makes Music?” discovery centre for the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Shortly thereafter, she co-founded Denver-based Apple Pie Inc., and organization with the mission of bringing the arts to under-served areas. She currently serves on the board of the Playground Ensemble. As a music industry consultant, Mr. Kirk works closely with institutions, software developers, music technology vendors and manufacturers to share 21st-century tools with the music teaching community. She is a frequent presenter at music education events throughout the US and Canada. Her articles frequently appear in the Clavier Companion and American Music Teacher journals.