Meet the Finalists
October 15, 2023, with Guest Conductor Jaelem Bhate
Katerina Gimon: Roots Beneath
Roydon Tse: Remembrance
Pytor Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture
Samuel Coleridge-Taylor: Ballade for Orchestra
Igor Stravinsky: Firebird Suite
Jaelem Bhate is a conductor and composer whose diversity has come to define his career. A strong proponent of reinvention and accessibility, Jaelem works to reimagine the role of instrumental music in the 21st century. He was named to CBC’s hot 30 under 30 classical musicians in 2019 and continues to grow his reputation of sensitive and collaborative artistry and musicianship at home and internationally.
As a conductor, Jaelem founded Symphony 21; a professional orchestra based in Vancouver producing a wide variety of collaborative and unique projects for largely new-to-orchestra audiences. Symphony 21 often works with community partners, artistic or otherwise, to produce orchestral concerts with a strong social message in unexpected venues or settings. The orchestra under his leadership organized a benefit concert for Ukraine 11 days after the outbreak of the war, and raised $25k for the Canadian Red Cross humanitarian relief fund; the largest single-event fundraised West of Toronto for the cause. Jaelem was also named music director of the Vancouver Brass Collective in 2019 and is preparing for the release of the ensembles first studio album Acoustic Alloy in 2023. He has guested with the symphonies of Vancouver and Winnipeg as the winner of the RBC Canadian Conductors’ showcase, and has worked with orchestras in the USA, Italy, and Romania. In addition to being a finalist for the role of Music Director with the Prince Edward Island Symphony, he is also a candidate for Artistic Director of the Guelph Symphony and has acted as cover conductor with the National Arts Centre Orchestra multiple times. An advocate for new music, he has conducted over 20 world premieres. Recently, with members of Symphony 21, he recorded a new operetta by Canadian composer Katerina Gimon with Re:Naissance Opera and Visceral Visions.
As a composer, his works have been performed by the Vancouver and Victoria Symphonies, as well as many chamber ensembles and soloists. In the jazz world, he has released two albums with the Jaelem Bhate Jazz Orchestra; on the edge, and Carmen, a reimagining of Bizet’s opera for jazz ensemble. on the edge won the Julian Award for emerging Canadian jazz excellence and spent two weeks at the top of the EarShot national jazz charts. Recent commissions include the Canadian National Jazz Orchestra as the winner of the Hugh Fraser Composer Award, the Vertical Orchestra by Redshift Music, and a 20-minute orchestral work for Tutta Musica Orchestra to be released on the renowned Leaf record label. Jaelem has received grants from the Canada Council for the Arts and FACTOR Canada for his compositions, including for a new orchestral work paired with original cinematic video A City Soundscape in Fall 2022, funded by the Canada Council in partnership with Canadian videographer Andrij Lyskov.
Jaelem holds a MMus in orchestral conducting and BMus in percussion performance from the University of British Columbia where he studied with Dr. Jonathan Girard and Vern Griffiths respectively. He has furthered his conducting studies with Alexander Shelley, Bramwell Tovey, Boris Brott, Gerard Schwarz, Neil Varon, Paul Nadler, and Christian Macelaru, and counts Dr. Robert Taylor as an early conducting mentor. He
twice served as assistant conductor with the National Academy Orchestra of Canada, and was a conducting fellow at the NACO mentorship program with Alexander Shelley, the Cabrillo Festival, Eastern Music Festival, and PRISMA festival. Jaelem studied composition with Fred Stride, and has furthered his education with Jocelyn Morlock, Edward Top, Rufus Reid, John Clayton, and Ron Miles. He is currently on faculty at the University of British Columbia School of Music where he lectures in conducting and served as interim director of orchestras and bands during the 2022/23 academic year.
Winner of the International Conductors Workshop and Competition, Kira Omelchenko is an Associate Dean of Performance and Recruitment, Associate Professor of Music, and the Conductor of the Symphony Orchestra at Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty of Music (Ontario, Canada). Prior to Laurier she served as Director of the Orchestra and String Studies at Florida Southern College and the Director of Orchestra and Strings at The University of Tampa (US). A passionate educator, she was nominated for a Grammy Music Educator Award, the Laurier Innovation in Teaching Award, and was the recipient of the prestigious 2018 FSC Miller Distinguished Professor Award.
Kira has been selected for a prestigious Fulbright Scholar Award for 2023-24 where she will be in New Zealand for five months conducting, teaching, mentoring students, collaborating with local composers, and conducting research in the National Library of New Zealand. During her Fulbright, she will be a visiting scholar and artist-in-residence at The New Zealand School of Music—Te Kōkī, at Victoria University, in Wellington, New Zealand.
Kira is the 2022 winner of the Ernst Bacon Memorial Award for the Performance of American Music, a 2022 finalist in the National American Prize in Music virtual concert production category and is a past prize winner in Opera Conducting category. Upcoming conducting engagements include Carnegie Hall, the Vienna Opera Academy, Oregon All-State Orchestra, Orlando All-County Orchestra, Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, Waterloo Chamber Players, and residencies in Thailand, South Korea, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, British Columbia, and Hawaii.
As the 2017 winner of the International Institute for Conductors in Bulgaria, Kira conducted the Vidin State Philharmonic Orchestra in a Concerto Festival and was invited back to guest conduct in their 2017-18 season. In the summers of 2019 and 2018, she served as artist in residence and guest conductor at the University of Aveiro (Portugal) where she mentored graduate conducting students and conducted the University Orchestra. During her residency in Portugal she was also invited as a guest lecturer and conducting mentor at the Conservatorio Superior de Música de Castilla y León in Salamanca, Spain. In addition, she served as the string director at the International Opera Performing Experience Festival in Mercatello sul Metauro (Italy) in July 2019.
Additional guest conducting appearances include conducting the 2021 Florida All-State Honors Orchestra, the Gwinnett Symphony Chamber Symphony (Georgia), the Imperial Symphony Orchestra (Florida), the Seasons Music Festival Orchestra in Yakima, Washington, and the Bulgarian State Opera in Burgas. In 2015 Kira was selected to participate in a conducting festival in St. Petersburg, Russia where she conducted the orchestra in the historic Mariinsky Theatre. She has held international conducting fellowships and has studied in Vienna, Rotterdam and Amsterdam conservatories in the Netherlands and Bulgaria. She has also participated in conducting workshops with Gustav Meier, Ulrich Nicolai, and Harold Farberman.
A passionate global educator, Kira has led students in a variety of study and performance abroad opportunities, including travels to Italy, Russia, Bulgaria, and Portugal. She has worked with middle school and high school students in Summer Orchestra Music Camps at the University of Iowa, The University of Tampa, and Florida Southern College where she served as the director from 2014-2019. As a highly sought-after clinician she has adjudicated for Florida Orchestra Association, Music USA Festival at Universal Studios in Orlando, Brightparks Travel Festivals, and OrlandoFest, and has conducted various All-County Orchestra Festivals.
As a collaborative leader in community engagement, Kira has served on Faculty Senate and the Board of Directors for the Imperial Symphony Orchestra and the St. Augustine Youth Orchestra. As an advocate for diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility, she serves on the orchestra panel for And We Were Heard (AWWH), an organization that brings quality recordings of works by underrepresented composers, and is a mentor for Girls Who Conduct, a program that encourages the upcoming generation of women, women-identifying, and non-binary conductors. As a recipient of the Sigma Alpha Iota Conducting Scholarship, she has presented research at international, national, and state conferences including the International Conference on Arts & Humanities (IAFOR), The National Society for Experiential Education (NSEE), National Association for Music Education (NAfME), American String Teachers Association (ASTA), and Florida Music Education Association (FMEA).
Recognized for her research and contribution to the field, Kira has been awarded numerous research grants including the Laurier Student Life Levy, Laurier Research Grant, Ontario Arts Grants, American String Teachers Association Grants, Sigma Alpha Iota Professional Development Grants, FSC Faculty Summer Stipend and Professional Grants, FSC Faculty and Student Collaboration Grant, as well as the University of Tampa Alumni, Dana, and the David Delo Research Professor Grants. Her research on health and music has been published in Health Education Journal (SAGE publications, UK) and her research on the delivery of remote orchestra ensemble during the COVID-19 Pandemic is published in The International Academic Forum (IAFOR International Arts & Humanities, 2022). She has been a contributing author for Wenger Music Corporation and Sigma Alpha Iota (SAI) Panpipes magazine. A native of Kansas, Kira holds a bachelor’s degree in music and theatre from Knox College, a master’s degree in orchestral conducting from the University of New Mexico, and a doctoral degree in orchestral conducting from the University of Iowa, where she studied with William LaRue Jones.
Photo Credit: Ema Suvajac
November 19, 2023, with Guest Conductor Kira Omelchenko
Georges Bizet: “Farandole” from L’Arlésienne Suite No. 2
Liu Tieshan and Mao Yuan: Dance of the Yao People
Claude Debussy: Tarantelle Styrienne & Sarabande (orch. Maurice Ravel)
Kevin Lau: Sea of Blossoms (2007)
Dmitri Shostakovich: Waltz No. 2 (arr. Trevor Wagler)
Satchmo! (A Tribute to Louis Armstrong) (arr. Ted Ricketts)
- Features: What a Wonderful World; When the Saints Go Marching In; St. Louis
- Blue and Hello Dolly!
Aaron Copland: “Hoedown” Rodeo Ballet
Alla Pavlova: Thumbelina Ballet Suite (Mvt. 5)
- V. Thumbelina Meets the Prince
Astor Piazzolla: Libertango, arr. James Kazik, for strings
Rimsky-Korsakov: Capriccio Espagnol, Op. 34
- Scena e canto gitano
- Fandango asturiano
Photo Credit: Brenden Friesen
February 25, 2024, with Guest Conductor Juliane Gallant
Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphony No. 6 “Pastorale”
Emily Doolittle: Green/Blue for Orchestra
Igor Stravinsky: Pulcinella Suite
New Brunswick-born Acadian conductor Juliane Gallant is one of two fellows in the inaugural cohort of Tapestry Opera’s Women in Musical Leadership Fellowship. She has appeared as guest conductor with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, Okanagan Symphony Orchestra, Kingston Symphony Orchestra, and Symphony New Brunswick. She has also worked as assistant conductor with the Hamilton Symphony Orchestra, Victoria Symphony, Regina Symphony Orchestra, Kamloops Symphony Orchestra and the National Arts Centre Orchestra.
Having first trained as a collaborative pianist, répétiteur, and vocal coach, Juliane began her conducting career in opera while living in London, England. She has led productions throughout the UK for Gothic Opera (Le loup-garou/Le dernier sorcier), Hampstead Garden Opera (La bohème), King’s Head Theatre (Carmen, Tosca), Opera on Location (L’enfant prodigue, Cinderella, La Traviata, Don Giovanni, Carmen), St Paul’s Opera (Così fan tutte, Orphée aux enfers), Opera Upclose (Carmen, Music oft hath such a charm, Ulla’s Odyssey), and Opera MIO (A Fantastic Bohemian: The Tales of Hoffmann revisited). In 2021, she made her Royal Opera House conducting debut in Mami Wata in collaboration with Pegasus Opera.
Juliane is a graduate of the National Opera Studio, the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, the Conservatoire de musique et d’art dramatique de Montréal, the University of Ottawa and the Université de Moncton. In London, Juliane was one of only 12 conductors selected for the first Women Conductors Course: Conducting for Opera, run by the Royal Opera House, the National Opera Studio and the Royal Philharmonic Society, and has received continued support by the Royal Opera House throughout her training.
Montreal-based American conductor Daniel Black has earned a reputation as a conductor capable of delivering "vital and engaging" performances. Daniel completed a highly-successful four-year tenure as Resident Conductor of the Florida Orchestra in 2022. After joining as Assistant Conductor in 2018, he was quickly promoted to Associate Conductor and then Resident Conductor as his contract was twice extended. With The Florida Orchestra, he conducted over fifty performances per season, including Masterworks, Pops, film concerts, Coffee Concerts, Family and Youth concerts, and more. Prior to his engagement with The Florida Orchestra, Daniel served as Assistant and then Associate Conductor of the Fort Worth Symphony in Texas, conducting over 150 performances.
Passionate about expanding the core orchestral repertoire, in recent seasons Daniel has led the world premiere of Pulitzer Prize-winner Kevin Puts' triple concerto “Contact” with the string trio Time for Three, the U.S. premiere of Eleanor Alberga's dramatic work “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” and has conducted the works of Gabriela Lena Frank, Florence Price, Jesse Montgomery, Philip Glass, Jennifer Higdon, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Jimmy Lopez, Lembit Beecher, and more. In 2016, he conducted the Midwest premiere and first professional recording of John Harmon’s Crazy Horse Symphony to great acclaim.
Fluent in Russian, and having studied at the famed St. Petersburg Conservatory, he has a particular affinity for the Russian repertoire, having led performances of Tchaikovsky’s First Symphony, Rachmaninov's “Rhapsody on a Theme of Corelli” and Shostakovich's Fifth Symphony, among many others. In 2022 he conducted Galina Ustvolskaya's little known gem “Symphonic Poem No. 2” with The Florida Orchestra.
Equally at home in the opera pit, Daniel had a successful debut with Bernstein's Candide at Michigan Opera Theatre, and has conducted the Dnipro State Opera in Ukraine, Coleridge-Taylor's Dream Lovers with Chicago's South Side Opera Company, and Northwestern University opera. In 2017 he was assistant conductor for the China premiere of Bright Sheng's Dream of the Red Chamber, touring China with the composer. In 2017-2018, he received opera conducting fellowships from the Solti Foundation U.S.- working with Opera Theatre St. Louis and the Florentine Opera Company, respectively.
Daniel has been active as a guest conductor, having appeared with the Buffalo Philharmonic, West Virginia Symphony, Hamilton Philharmonic, San Antonio Symphony, Owensboro Symphony, Texarkana Symphony, St. Petersburg Symphony "Classica", Rockford Symphony, Savannah Philharmonic and the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, among others. An innovative programmer, he has offered works such as Honneger’s Pacific 231, Stravinsky’s Dumbarton Oaks Concerto and Mason Bates’ Mothership. In 2023-24, Daniel will make his debut with the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, and will return to the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, the Florida Orchestra, and the Hamilton Philharmonic, among other engagements.
Daniel has thrice been awarded the Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Award, and was a conducting fellow at the Aspen Music Festival, the Kurt Masur Conducting Workshop, and the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music. He has studied with Kurt Masur, Edo de Waart, Robert Spano, Hugh Wolff, Larry Rachleff, Marin Alsop, Daniel Lewis, David Effron, and Gunther Schuller. Daniel has studied conducting at the St. Petersburg Conservatory, Eastman School of Music, and Northwestern University, counting among his mentors Leonid Korchmar, Neil Varon and Victor Yampolsky. He has studied composition with Richard Danielpour.
Photo Credit: Chris Zuppa
April 7, 2024, with Guest Conductor Daniel Black
Dinuk Wijeratne: Yatra
Jocelyn Morlock: My name is Amanda Todd
Joseph Bologne: Symphony in D Major
Johannes Brahms: Academic Festival Overture
Antonin Dvorak: Symphony No. 8