Celebration Concert

A celebration concert featured students and faculty members from the UBC School of Music and special musical guests, Dr Judith Forst, Dr Momoro Ono, Edmund Chung, and Irene M Setiawan.


Nancy Hermiston, Director & Soprano

Canadian-born lyric coloratura soprano Nancy Hermiston has performed throughout Europe and North America. Parallel to her extensive singing career, Miss Hermiston worked as voice teacher, stage director, and Co-coordinator with the University of Toronto’s Opera and Performance Divisions.

In 1995, she joined the University of British Columbia’s School of Music as the Head of the Voice and Opera Divisions, where she established the UBC Opera Ensemble. In 2004, Miss Hermiston was named the UBC University Marshal, and in 2008, UBC awarded her the Dorothy Somerset Award for Performance and Development in the Visual and Performing Arts. She was also honoured with a Killam Teaching prize in 2010. In October 2011, she received an Opera Canada Rubie Award for her contributions to opera in Canada. On December 30, 2013, Miss Hermiston was honoured with the Order of Canada.

Miss Hermiston is also a favourite guest for master classes throughout Canada, the United States, China and Germany. Her UBC Opera Ensemble tours regularly to the Czech Republic, Germany, Ontario, and throughout British Columbia. The Opera Ensemble gave their first performances in Beijing and Chengdu in May of 2009, and returned to Shanghai in 2010 for concerts at the Shanghai Conservatory and the Shanghai Normal University. In May 2011, the Ensemble returned to the Shanghai Conservatory for a production of Giulio Cesare.

Most recently, Miss Hermiston appeared with the VOA as Stage Director for their 2012/13 Season’s Opening production of La Bohème and returned in 2015 to direct their production of Die Fledermaus. She opened VO’s 2015-16 season, directing their production of Verdi’s Rigoletto, starring UBC Alumna, Simone Osborne.

Jonathan Girard

American-born conductor Jonathan Girard is one of the rising stars of his generation. A passionate musician committed to engaging audiences with thrilling performances, he enjoys a reputation as a musical force equally versed in symphonic repertoire, opera, and new music.

As the Director of Orchestras at the University of British Columbia School of Music, Girard dedicates himself to raising the standard of orchestral training in Western Canada. The 2016-2017 season is full of majesty (Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition) unusual pairings (Saariaho’s Asteroid 4179 and Holst’s Planets) and incomparable favourites (Mozart’s Requiem and Brahms’ Symphony No. 2). Highlights of recent seasons include the ninth symphonies of Beethoven, Schubert, and Shostakovich, two performances of Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 with 300 musicians onstage, and a landmark performance of Le Sacre du printemps that marked the 100th anniversary of the work’s première.

In the summer of 2015, Girard made his European operatic conducting debut with the European Music Academy leading the North Czech Philharmonic Orchestra in performances of Le nozze di Figaro in opera houses across the Czech Republic. He has also worked with Bramwell Tovey as assistant conductor for the VSO Whistler Institute Orchestra. He was the assistant conductor of the Ohio Light Opera from 2012-2014. Mr. Girard served as cover conductor for the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra (NY) in 2012.

A champion of new music, Girard is in the midst of a two-year recording project for the Centrediscs label recording concerti by British Columbia composers. In May 2015, he premièred Stephen Chatman’s new opera, Choir Practice, released by Centrediscs in May 2016. Girard has conducted world premières of works by Ricardo Zohn Muldoon, Elizabeth Kelly, JungSun Kang, and John Liberatore, among others. He conducted the North American premières of NONcerto for Trumpet and Orchestra by Richard Ayres and Saturnalia and Endre és Johanna by Emmerich Kálmán.

Jonathan Girard was the Visiting Artist Conductor at the University of Northern Iowa School of Music in 2010-2011 and has held positions as the music director of the New Eastman Outreach Orchestra and Waltham Philharmonic (MA), associate conductor of the Brockton Symphony Orchestra (MA), principal guest conductor of the Boston Orpheus Ensemble and assistant conductor of the Portland (ME) Opera Repertory Theatre. At the Eastman School of Music, he studied conducting with Neil Varon and was the assistant conductor of the Eastman Symphony Orchestra, the Eastman Philharmonia, and the Eastman Opera Theatre.

UBC Symphony Orchestra

The 90-member UBC Symphony Orchestra performs symphonic works from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. Its home is the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts, and the orchestra was featured in the inaugural concerts for that distinguished hall.

The orchestra regularly performs with UBC’s Opera, University Singers, and Choral Union. The orchestra has toured extensively through Western Canada and is currently planning further reaching tours.

The UBCSO’s 2013 recording of Stephen Chatman’s Magnificat was nominated for a 2014 Juno Award for Best Composition, a distinctive honour for a student orchestra in Canada. Most recently, the orchestra was voted as one of the top three instrumental ensembles in Vancouver by the Readers of the Vancouver Courier.  Some highlights of recent seasons have included performances of Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, Bartok’s Concerto for Orchestra, and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9.

UBC Opera Ensemble

The University of British Columbia Opera Ensemble was founded by Canadian lyric coloratura, Nancy Hermiston, in 1995. Beginning with a core of seven performers, Ms. Hermiston has built the program to a 90-member company, performing three main productions at UBC every season, several Opera Tea Concerts, and several engagements with local community partners.

The Ensemble’s mission is to educate young, gifted opera singers, preparing them for international careers.

Past main-stage productions have included Le nozze di Figaro, Die Zauberflöte, Die Gärtnerin aus Liebe, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Suor Angelica, La Bohème, Dido and Aeneas,  The Bartered Bride, Manon, Eugene Onegin, Florence: the Lady with the Lamp, Dreamhealer, Falstaff, Don Giovanni, Cendrillon, Albert Herring, the Western Canadian Premiere of Harry Somer’s Louis Riel, The Crucible, Die Lustige Witwe (The Merry Widow), Rusalka, Cosi fan tutte, Dialogues des Carmélites, Carmen, The Tales of Hoffmann, The Florentine Straw Hat, La Traviata, A Night in Venice (Eine nacht in Venedig) and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The 2016/2017 Season includes The Consul, Eugene Onegin and Ariadne auf Naxos.

Judith Forst, O.C. O.B.C.

Canadian mezzo-soprano Judith Forst has sung with most major opera companies throughout North America and Europe, including over 250 performances with the New York Metropolitan Opera, where she returned in 2013 for her 20th season. She has performed frequently with the San Francisco Opera Company, the Chicago Lyric Opera, the Canadian Opera Company, Dallas Opera, Houston Lyric Opera, New York City Opera and the Vancouver Opera Association.   European engagements have included performances in Italy, the Czech Republic and the Netherlands.

She made her debut at Italy’s legendary La Scala in 2006 singing KABANICHKA in Janacek’s Kata Kabanova. Ms Forst’s most recent North American successes have included highly-acclaimed performances as KABANICHA at the Met, KOSTELNICKA in Janacek’s Jenufa with the Dallas Opera, and Dead Man Walking with the Pittsburgh Opera.  She has sung for over 10 seasons with the Santa Fe Opera.  Her 2013 performances of the OLD PRIORESS in Poulenc’s Dialogues of the Carmelites with the Canadian Opera Company were hailed as “emotionally shattering” and “magnificent.”

Ms Forst scored a personal and critical triumph in 2010 with her world premiere performance as LILIAN ALLING with the Vancouver Opera Association.  She performed another world premiere with the Calgary Opera in January 2011, singing in Bramwell Tovey’s The Inventor. Ms. Forst’s busy schedule includes a return to the Vancouver Opera Association, where in 2017 she will perform in DEAD MAN WALKING.

Momoro Ono

Born in Yokohama, Japan, Momoro Ono studied piano in the United States-initially with Kathryna Barone at the Bryn Mawr Conservatory near Philadelphia. His family later moved to Baltimore where Momoro worked with Barbara English Maris and Julian Martin. At the Juilliard School, he studied with Adele Marcus as a recipient of the William Petschek Piano Scholarship, receiving his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. At the Peabody Conservatory, he studied with Leon Fleisher under full scholarship and received his Artist Diploma and Doctorate.

Chamber music studies include classes with Felix Galimir, Samuel Sanders and Earl Carlyss at Juilliard. At Peabody, he studied with Berl Senofsky, Shirley Givens and Ellen Mack. With his violinist wife, Heejoung Kim, members of the Guarneri Quartet coached them at the University of Maryland. This led to the formation of the Kimono Duo, which has given numerous recitals in the US.

Momoro’s orchestral appearances include those with the Baltimore Symphony and the Pittsburgh Symphony-which was broadcast live on NPR. He has given numerous recitals in the US, including one at the Kennedy Center concert hall. He has performed chamber music in Glasgow and toured Japan as well. In 1980, Momoro won the Silver Medal at the Three Rivers International Piano Competition. Within two weeks, he also won first prize at the Gina Bachauer Memorial Competition at Juilliard and was featured on WQXR’s Young Artists Showcase.

In recent years, Momoro has given several recitals at Creighton University, where he currently teaches. One of them he performed with his wife featuring music by Asian composers, including the Butterfly Lovers Concerto. He also gave solo recitals and master classes at Seoul National University, the University of Alaska-Anchorage (where he also judged a piano competition), the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music during the Bearcat Piano Festival.

Edmund Chung

Edmund Chung was born in December 1989 in Hong Kong. He began his violin studies when he was four-and-a-half-years old. At the age of six, he gave his first public performance and a year later, he won the first prize in the Hong Kong Young Artist concerto Competition playing the first movement of the Mendelssohn E-minor Concerto with orchestra. In 1998, Edmund moved to New York to study with Shirley Givens at The Juilliard School.  In 2008, Edmund won first prize in the Canadian Music Competition in the 19 and under category.

Edmund has participated in music festivals such as the Heifetz Institute, Greenwood, and Domaine Forget.   He has had the opportunity to play in master classes for Vadim Repin, Vadim Gluzman, Christian Tetzlaff, Regis Pasquier, Patrice Fontanarosa and Miriam Fried.  Currently, Edmund plays as an extra in the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.  He is currently continuing his studies with David Gillham in the Masters Program at the University of British Columbia.

Irene M Setiawan

Irene M Setiawan is currently a DMA Candidate in Piano Performance at UBC. Her previous studies, performances, and experiences have shaped her as a solo and collaborative performer, as well as a music educator and arranger.

Several years after learning piano, Irene also learnt composition and performed her own compositions in several concerts in Indonesia as a member of Yamaha’s Junior Original Concert. After studying with dedicated Indonesian pedagogues So Kim Wie and Sienny Debora, she performed more actively. Her achievements include winning top prizes at Sydney Performing Arts Challenge in 2001, UPH Piano Competition in 2004, and the First Runner up of UBC Concerto Competition in 2013. Besides performing as a solo pianist, Irene has also actively performed with other instrumentalists, UBC choirs, and UBC Wind Ensemble.

Irene holds a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance from the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music at National University of Singapore (2009), where she studied with Leon Fleisher’s pupil Dr. Thomas Hecht with full scholarships. Then she taught piano in Singapore for a year and came to UBC to study with Dr. Sara Davis Buechner and completed Master of Music (2012). Currently she is completing her research in the field of piano transcriptions under the guidance of Dr. Corey Hamm and Dr. Hedy Law.