Original painting by: Hall Groat Sr.

Original painting by: Hall Groat Sr.



Founder and Convener: Dr. Geoffrey Newman

Reviewers: Geoffrey Newman, Nicolas Krusek, Harvey De Roo, Kate Mackin

Guest Contributors: Mark Ainley, David Gordon Duke, Richard Kurth, Emily Logan, Laine Longton, Karen Smithson

Systems Manager: Tony Harris

Design: Tony Harris, Geoffrey Newman

Marketing: Kelly Bao, Yuliya Neverova

Interview Assistant: Kelly Bao

UBC Student Liaison: Yuliya Neverova

Contact Us: genewman@mail.ubc.ca

Twitter: twitter.com/vanclassical

Facebook: facebook.com/vanclassicalmusic


Everyone these days is working to increase ‘access’ to musical and cultural events in major metropolitan centers. This website is designed to provide an integrated presentation of the full quality and variety of classical music that Vancouver has to offer. And what a display it is! Our long-standing music organizations, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, the Vancouver Recital Society, Friends of Chamber Music, Early Music Vancouver, and the Vancouver Opera have done a wonderful job of securing devoted subscribers over the years, and continue to do so. And there are a remarkable number of new organizations taking off too. However, there is probably still not enough cross-fertilization between the various musical cultures to inspire a full awareness of, and energy for, this city’s rich musical resources. At the same time, with the variety of  newcomers and visitors to this city, plus an often disconnected ‘youth’, there is clearly a need for a website more immediately visible, and convenient for them to go to.

From a technical perspective, the virtue of this website is that it operates essentially as a ‘general clearing house’. By clicking any event, photo or organization, you are immediately taken to the relevant organization’s website for concert details and ticketing. The benefits to presenters are obvious: it provides a significant way for the public to access any organization’s website, thus increasing its general exposure. For the concertgoer, having all events on one calendar and direct access to all websites certainly allows them to see the sheer range of musical experiences available and plan a comprehensive musical itinerary around it. 

Perhaps the real energy of this website comes from its concert reviews, interviews and articles. These are what provide the ‘feel’ of the musical culture in general and can often give a stronger sense of concert participation to their reader. It is always nice to find out that someone else enjoyed the performance as much as you did, or to find out specific details about a performer’s life and attitude. There is a strong legacy of concert reviews here, going back almost a decade. Anyone who looks at these reviews cannot doubt the sheer array and quality of world class performers that have visited Vancouver on a regular basis. We have also found room from time to time to bring attention to international music festivals and competitions.  

We have worked to design a website which is visually elegant and inviting, just like the music being played. But it comes together from pieces which are not mainline, and this is probably as it should be, as Vancouver’s demographics evolve. The design and execution strongly involved, and continues to involve UBC students and graduates, while the earliest reviews and interviews follow from the inspiration of the Korea Daily (Vancouver) to bring classical music to their newly-evolving local community. The student participation started in 2011 when we prepared a newsletter of featured classical concerts (with low-cost tickets), eventually evolving into an informal website with concert reviews. VANCOUVER CLASSICAL MUSIC was the final step towards a fully professional and comprehensive website. It launched in January 2014, carrying forth all reviews and interviews published on previous sites.


MUSIC BIO: Dr. Geoffrey Newman


While Dr. Geoffrey Newman has pursued an academic career in the social sciences for most of his professional life, he was born into a very artistic family. His father, Gerald Newman was a prolific producer of both music and drama for the CBC in the 1960’s and, later, a professor of English (Shakespeare) at Simon Fraser University. His mother, Joyce Newman, was an opera and lieder singer and educator who also recorded for the CBC. His cousin, Richard Margison, is one of Canada’s renowned tenors, who has performed and recorded in the world’s most distinguished opera houses.

In his early years, Geoffrey studied the violin with Kenneth Yunke and Jack Kessler, the latter then being Concertmaster of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and, before that, the Associate Concertmaster of the Philharmonia Orchestra of London. Geoffrey had played in three junior symphony orchestras by age 11. He was also an original choirboy and soloist at Ryerson United Church (Kerrisdale) under the direction of organist, Hugh J. McLean. His career as a music critic apparently started when he was very young, since he was always asked music identification questions by a panel of his father’s friends, who were endlessly comparing recently-released recordings. Geoffrey had a classical record collection of over 100 records by the age of six.

From these early beginnings, Dr. Newman now has accumulated a vast collection of LP’s and CD’s. In his library, there are often as many as twenty different performances of each item in the basic repertoire. At the same time, he has now seen virtually all of the world’s most distinguished orchestras, concert halls, soloists and conductors. His most exciting experiences came from living in New York and London over the period 1985-1996. In his five years in London, he would attempt to visit the either the Royal Festival, Barbican, or Wigmore Halls on a nightly basis. He was also a member of the Friends of the Philharmonia Orchestra and had a similar attachment to the London Symphony Orchestra.

During this period, he remembers fondly a Sibelius symphony cycle under Sir Colin Davis, a Strauss cycle under Wolfgang Sawallisch, a Schubert sonata series with Alfred Brendel, and all the enterprising performances of both the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (under Sir Simon Rattle) and the Lindsay String Quartet. He also recalls the excitement of the opening of the London Proms, the Flanders Festival (with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra) as well as the Prague Spring Music Festival (with the Czech Philharmonic). Of all these experiences, Dr. Newman perhaps cherishes most being able to see one of the ‘parting’ concerts of four of most distinguished musicians of the 20th Century: Sir Thomas Beecham (1961), Sir Adrian Boult (Royal Festival Hall, 1976), Herbert von Karajan (Carnegie Hall, New York, 1988) and Sviatoslav Richter (Royal Festival Hall, 1996).

Dr. Newman taught at the University of Toronto and the London School of Economics before coming to UBC in 2002. He has published concert reviews in Seen and Heard International since 2014 and was Music Columnist and English Liaison Advisor for the Korea Daily from 2009 to 2013.


Nicolas Krusek is a musician, conductor, speaker and music educator. He has been Music Director of the Ambleside Orchestra since September 2010. After completing a degree in composition at UBC, he studied orchestral and choral conducting at the Janáček Academy of Music and Performing Arts in Brno (Czech Republic). He has taught music courses in Simon Fraser University’s Liberal Arts and Adults 55+ Program, and for UBC Continuing Studies. He also gives pre-concert talks for Vancouver Opera and the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, and presents regular lectures on opera at the West Vancouver Memorial Library. 


Harvey De Roo came to classical music during his final year of high school, through a school outing to hear Antal Dorati conduct the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra at the hockey arena in Regina, Saskatchewan. He remembers being overwhelmed and wondering where such music had been all his life. Upon entrance to university, he discovered the CBC and the joys of vinyl recordings. Such experiences hit him with the force of a religious conversion, and he has been a devout fan of classical music ever since, collecting widely, reading extensively in music history, with a strong recent interest in opera. Dr. De Roo taught Old and Middle English and Old Norse languages and literatures in the Department of English at Simon Fraser University for over thirty years. Upon retirement, he taught opera history and appreciation at Simon Fraser’s Seniors Programme for eight years. He was founding Secretary and a member of the Artistic Planning Committee of City Opera Vancouver.


Kate Mackin is a native Vancouverite who studied music theory and contemporary philosophy at the University of British Columbia. She has a specialist training in Baroque music but more recently has become fascinated by ‘new music’ as well.   Trained as an clarinetist herself, she enjoys playing transcriptions of Baroque keyboard works on bass clarinet as much as painting abstract 'pattern landscapes' based on post-tonal music.  She is very committed to community engagement and the perpetuation of cultural focus, and writing about music and understanding its history is a passion for her. 


Tony is a cyber security consultant. He earned his Microsoft Certified Professional degree at the age of 15 and proceeded to be involved in multiple industries throughout his career, ranging from telecommunications to higher education. Tony graduated from UBC with a degree in American Studies and International Relations, while also working for the Faculty of Science's IT team. Educational affiliates include the University of Liverpool (M.Sc., Cyber Security). Tony is also actively involved in Global Perspectives Canada, which strives to improve life of others in third world countries through construction projects such as schools and libraries. In collaboration with the Steve Nash Foundation, Tony participated first hand in the project to build a hurricane-proof cemented walkway for a small village near the town of Labasa, Fiji in July, 2014.


Kelly graduated from UBC as a Wesbrook Scholar in 2016 with a Dual Degree in Piano Performance and Statistics/Economics. She has now completed her MBA at the Sauder School of Business in May 2019. Her distinguished list of piano teachers includes Terence Dawson, Bruce Vogt, Murray Nichol, Shirley Kwok, May Lim, Amanda Chan, and Ian Parker. She has twice been a semi-finalist in the Canadian Music Competition and was a former member of UBC Symphony Orchestra. Kelly was able to perform at Showcase Pianos’ opening concert and has assisted in organizing fundraiser concerts for BC Children’s Hospital Foundation. She has also taught piano and music theory to both children and seniors for over 10 years. Balancing music with a career in business, Kelly is currently an Associate Wealth Advisor with a Chairman's Council team at RBC Wealth Management. 


Yuliya graduated from UBC’s Sauder School of Business, where she was co-founder and editor-in-chief of the Sauder Business Review. She was an active member at the Musqueam ARC Initiative and currently works for MNP (Vancouver) as an aboriginal services consultant. She is also on the board of Vancouver Chamber Choir. Yuliya is passionate about community engagement, in particular connecting ‘millenials’ with classical music. Her original piano teacher, Larisa Aleksandrovna, cultivated an abiding love for music and the arts that has been with her from a very early age.