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CONDUCTORS

Michael Klazek

Michael Klazek, conductor and violist, has served as Music Director of the Hampton Concert Orchestra, Associate Conductor of the Sooke Philharmonic under Norman Nelson and now Yariv Aloni, Guest Conductor of St. Cecilia (now Sidney Classical) Orchestra, the Calgary Civic Orchestra and the professional Calgary Concert Band. He played viola with Civic Orchestra of Victoria for several years and helped found the Victoria Chamber Orchestra and the Sooke Philharmonic Orchestra.

During his career as an educator, he led high school and university choirs, bands, orchestras and musical theatre ensembles, performing to acclaim on stages across our country from the National Arts Centre in Ottawa to the Symphony Splash Barge in Victoria. He taught conducting at UofC and the Victoria Conservatory, and co-founded the UVic Strings Mentorship course. Mike has served on the boards of the Greater Victoria Youth Orchestra, the Victoria Chamber Orchestra, the Greater Victoria Performing Arts Festival and the Galiano Ensemble. A Victorian since 1989, he was educated at University of Alberta and University of Calgary where he studied conducting with Kenneth L. Nielsen, composition with Violet Archer, violin and viola with Thomas Rolston, as well as piano and music education.

Michael continues to work as a clinician, adjudicator and mentor to music students. He lives in Saanich with his wife, violinist Susan Colonval. In addition to orchestral involvement, they share a love of family, travel, chamber music and outdoor pursuits.

Hilary Sandford

A graduate of UVic, following a year at the University of Waterloo, Hilary Sandford played oboe with the Victoria Symphony for a decade and taught instrumental music in high school until she retired. During the early years she conducted the Saanich Peninsula Orchestra, that morphed into our own Civic Orchestra, before leaving it to start a family. Hilary's passion for musical theatre led her to work as Music Director for more than three dozen different shows with a variety of organizations during that time.

Being in love with the work ever since she first played it at UVic, Hilary had a notion to produce and conduct Mendelssohn’s Elijah at Alix Goolden Hall for her 65th birthday present to herself, with a large choir and orchestra. After the sold-out performance, she decided to follow up with Brahms’ Requiem for her 70th birthday, with an expanded 70 piece orchestra and a 200 voice choir. Unfortunately, Covid ‘nixed’ the proposed Mozart Requiem on her 75th birthday.

Hilary had to give up playing oboe after a severe facial injury, but went on to play saxophone for many years. In her 70s she took up the challenge of French horn when an old friend, knowing Hilary had wanted to play horn in high school, offered her the horn which had belonged to the friend’s dad. She now plays horn in three community bands and sings in the Victoria Philharmonic Choir.

The last time Hilary conducted Singalong Messiah two years ago during Covid, the audience had to wear masks and remain seated throughout. This will be her fifth Messiah on the podium and she encourages the audience to stand, sing out, smile and, most of all, have fun!

David Stewart

David Stewart decided early on in his professional career to experience all facets of musical endeavors as a musician and violinist. To that end, he embarked on a musical adventure remarkable for its variety.

In addition to his primary roles as university professor (20 years) and concertmaster (30 years) he has been a conductor and coach of university-level orchestras around the world.

As a recitalist, he has performed most repertoire for violin and piano duo, and most of the standard chamber music works. In addition to playing a large amount of orchestral repertoire, he has performed as soloist with orchestra over 75 times.

On period instruments, he has performed as a member of Tafelmusik, as well as a a founder of Quatuor Lumière. He also founded a new music group in Norway, BIT-20, that is going strong after 34 years.

Performances have taken him around the world, from major capitals in North America and Europe, to unusual places like the Galapagos Islands, and 14 tours of mainland China. He has had the privilege to have played in many of the most important classical music venues in the world, from Carnegie Hall to the Royal Albert Hall and from Vienna’s Musikverein to Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw.

Now retired, Mr. Stewart is a board member and fundraiser for Harmony Project Sooke, an organization which provides stringed instruments and private lessons to school children in the region.

Grant Harville

Winner of the London Conducting Masterclass Competition and the Agatha C. Church Conducting Award, Grant Harville is Music Director and Conductor for the Great Falls Symphony Association. He previously held director positions with the Idaho State-Civic Symphony, Bozeman Symphony, and Ripon College; was Assistant Director with the Georgia Symphony; and conducted productions at Manitoba Underground Opera, Fraser Lyric Opera, and the Madison Savoyards. His guest conducting appearances include the Boise Philharmonic, Bozeman Symphony, Southwest Michigan Symphony, St. Cloud Symphony, Georgia Symphony, Oistrach Symphony, and Philharmonia of Greater Kansas City.

Harville has collaborated with numerous artists of international stature, including Béla Fleck, Martina Filjak, Orion Weiss, Dominic Cheli, Chee-Yun, William Hagen, Stephanie Chase, Inbal Segev, Jiji, Patrick Sheridan, as well as the groups Pink Martini and Time for Three. He conducted the first full-length orchestral program in the United States with French-Canadian folk band Le Vent du Nord, and orchestrated and premiered a symphonic collaboration with Native American hip-hop artist Supaman. In 2022, he established the Second Performance Project, dedicated to ensuring that worthy compositions receive hearings beyond their premieres.

Harville’s diverse musical background includes experience as a tubist, vocalist, violist, and composer. He has a number of tuba competition victories to his credit, including First Prize in the Leonard Falcone International Solo Tuba competition and winner of the University of Michigan Concerto Competition, performing a concerto of his own composition. As tenor with the Atlanta Symphony Chorus, he was selected to perform as soloist with the orchestra at Carnegie Hall. His compositions have been performed by numerous ensembles and soloists throughout the US and featured on public radio affiliates in Wisconsin and Montana.