About the
Sooke Philharmonic Orchestra

This community orchestra, with more than 60 members, was founded by Norman Nelson in 1997 and performed its first symphony concert in June 1998. With the subsequent introduction of the Sooke Philharmonic Chamber Players and the Sooke Philharmonic Chorus, the concert season now features four programs (eight concerts) plus the ever-popular "Philharmonic Fling”, an open air pops concert performed each summer. In addition, small ensembles perform regularly at community events and fundraisers.

Sooke Philharmonic Chorus

The chorus began as the Sooke Festival Chorus, performing in the millennium Sooke Festival of Performing Arts under the direction of Christopher Symons. After two seasons, it became the Sooke Philharmonic Chorus in 2002, with Mary Wolfe (Holland) as Choral Director.

Now under the direction of Nicholas Fairbank, this auditioned group of approximately 30 singers performs classical repertoire with the Sooke Philharmonic Chamber Players twice a year.

Are you a singer? Have you ever wanted to sing with a live orchestra? The Sooke Philharmonic Chorus is looking for more members. We rehearse on Saturday mornings from 10:30 AM to 12:30 PM. For more information, please call Lynda Rose at 250-642-3536 or email Lynda: sookerose@shaw.ca

Yariv Aloni

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Yariv Aloni is the new music director of the Sooke Philharmonic.  He is also the music director of the Victoria Chamber Orchestra and the Greater Victoria Youth Orchestra, as well as being a principal guest conductor of the West Coast Symphony Orchestra in Vancouver and a frequent guest conductor with Civic Orchestra of Victoria. He was the founder and music director of the Galiano Ensemble of Victoria.

 Former violist of both the Penderecki string quartets and the Aviv piano quartet, he has performed in many concert halls around the world, including Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Centre in New York, the Louvre in Paris, Tonhalle in Zurich, and numerous concert halls in Europe, Canada and the United States. He has recorded for the United, Marquise, Tritonus and CBC labels as well as independent CD labels. He performs in numerous chamber music concerts, festivals and recital series.

 He was a finalist at the François Shapira competition in Tel Aviv. His awards included the Israel Broadcasting Authority award for chamber music performance and numerous awards and scholarships from the American-Israel Cultural Foundation.

 Born on a kibbutz in Israel, Yariv began studying the violin at the age of eight and turned to the viola when he was sixteen. He studied viola with Michael Tree violist of the Guarneri Quartet, Daniel Benyamini, principal violist of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and David Chen at the Rubin Academy of Music in Jerusalem.

With an emphasis on chamber music, he also studied at the Jerusalem Music Centre with distinguished visiting faculty from around the world, including Isaac Stern, the Amadeus and the Guarneri String Quartets, and many others. He studied conducting under the tutelage of the Hungarian conductor János Sándor, former music director of the Budapest State Opera and the Györ Philharmonic Orchestra.

 

Nicholas Fairbank

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After early studies in B.C., Nicholas Fairbank pursued further musical training in London, England and Paris, France. He holds Masters degrees from the Université de Paris (musicology and French literature), the University of California at Santa Barbara (French language and pedagogy), and the University of Victoria (music composition), as well as Associateship diplomas from the Royal Conservatory of Music (gold medal winner for pipe organ, 1981) and the Royal Canadian College of Organists (Willan and Barker prizes 1998), of which he was the National President from 2012-2014.

Established in Victoria since 1995, he keeps busy as a conductor, and in this capacity has worked with many Victoria-area choirs and orchestras, including the Linden Singers, the Victoria Choral Society, and the Civic Orchestra. He is currently Artistic Director of the Via Choralis Chamber Choir and Director of Music at First Unitarian Church of Victoria.

He is also on the faculty of the Victoria Conservatory of Music, where he teaches organ and harpsichord, and he performs regularly both as organ soloist and as a collaborative musician and continuo player. As a recitalist he has toured across the country as well as performing in Europe and in Mexico.

Mr. Fairbank is an established composer whose catalogue of compositions includes more than 80 works for organ and piano solo, voice, and various choral and instrumental ensembles.
 

Michael Klazek

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Michael Klazek, a founding member of the Sooke Philharmonic, has played viola professionally and conducted community ensembles for five decades. Educated at University of Alberta and University of Calgary, he studied conducting with Kenneth L. Nielsen, composition with Violet Archer, violin and viola with Thomas Rolston, as well as piano and music education. 

For 35 years, he taught acclaimed choirs, bands, orchestras and musical theatre ensembles in secondary schools and universities at Edmonton, Calgary and Victoria.  He has taught conducting at UofC and the Victoria Conservatory, and co-founded the UVic Strings Mentorship course. Mike has served on boards of the Greater Victoria Youth Orchestra, the Victoria Chamber Orchestra, the Greater Victoria Performing Arts Festival and the Galiano Ensemble. 

He continues to work as clinician and mentor with Music Education projects, and plays orchestral and chamber music at home and abroad.

Norman Nelson

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Norman Nelson passed away February 2018.  His passing is a huge loss for the Sooke community he so loved, and especially for family, his beloved orchestra and chorus and a host of friends, students, and colleagues he inspired and served though a lifetime of making music. 

 While the Orchestra will not be the same without his leadership and spirit, the Board is dedicated to ensuring that his musical legacy will go on for years to come.  Nicholas Fairbank and Yariv Aloni, guest conductors already familiar to followers of the Sooke Philharmonic, will take up the baton and complete the 2017-2018 concert season.

Sooke Philharmonic Society
2016/17 Board of Directors

President:  Kathleen Campbell

Vice President:  Sue Hyslop

Past President:  Bob Whittet

Treasurer:  Lynda Rose

Secretary:  Gail Nash

Directors:

Michael Howard

Dr. Leslie King

Diana Jack

Margaret Lintern

Jenny Nelson

Blair Neufeld

Mary Jane Watson

Johnny Wright