2018 Chamber Music Workshop

May 13-19, 2018, Sooke, B.C., Canada

One-week string chamber music workshop
with coaching sessions on string quartet literature and ensemble playing, culminating in a final concert by each ensemble.


  • Violin: Norman Nelson, Robert Skelton, 
  • Viola: Yariv Aloni
  • Violin, viola: TBA
  • Cello: Ian Hampton, Pamela Highbaugh Aloni,
  • Bass: Gary Karr

Application form (PDF) 

 Brochure (MS Word)

Faculty Biographies

Yariv Aloni

Yariv Aloni has received praise for conducting “impassioned, inspiring” and “magnificently right” interpretations of major orchestral and choral repertoire. Reviewers also describe him as “a musician of considerable insight and impeccable taste”.

He is currently the music director of the Galiano Ensemble of Victoria, the Victoria Chamber Orchestra and the Greater Victoria Youth Orchestra, and his guest appearances include the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra, the West Coast Symphony in Vancouver, the Civic Orchestra of Victoria, the Victoria Choral Society and PRIMA Youth Choir.

Also a violist, Yariv Aloni is acclaimed by critics for his “impeccable technical accomplishments, exquisite phrasing and superb viola playing”, and as having “a huge singing tone and a rare depth and nobility of feeling”. 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 annual scholarships from the American-Israel Cultural foundation. As the violist of both the Aviv and the Penderecki string quartets, he has performed in many concert halls around the world including Lincoln Centre in New York, the Louvre in Paris, Tonhalle in Zurich, and numerous concert halls in Canada, the United States, Germany, Italy, Holland, Mexico, France, Poland and many more. In 1985 he was invited to join Isaac Stern and Pinchas Zukerman to play a gala concert at Carnegie Hall in New York.

Mr. Aloni recorded for the United, Marquise, Tritonus and CBC labels as well as independent CD labels. He appears regularly with the Vetta Ensemble in Vancouver and performs in numerous chamber music festivals and recitals series.

An avid and dedicated teacher he is teaching chamber music at the University of Victoria, British Columbia and the Victoria Conservatory of Music. He is a former faculty member of Sir Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario and has given master classes at the University of British Columbia, Brandon University, University of Alberta in Edmonton and Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia.  In 1994 he became a faculty member and subsequently, from 1999 to 2007 the artistic director and conductor of the Courtenay Youth Music Centre in the Comox Valley, BC.

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

Jerusalem Music Centre with distinguished visiting faculty from around the world including the 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, the Györ Philharmonic Orchestra and Opera Pecs.

Ian Hampton

Ian Hampton was born in London and educated at Bedales School in Hampshire. He studied cello with Joan Dickson in Edinburgh, with William Pleeth at the Guildhall School of Music, London and with Paul Tortelier in Paris.  He was a founding member of the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields and a member of the London Symphony Orchestra.  He became the cellist of the Edinburgh String Quartet.  Ian emigrated to Canada via Berkley, California where he taught for a year with his father, the renowned cellist Colin Hampton. In 1966 he was appointed principal cellist of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and also of the CBC Vancouver Chamber Orchestra.  He was a founding member and cellist of the Baroque Strings of Vancouver and also the Purcell String Quartet.

In 1968 he became founder and president of the Vancouver Cello Club.  He taught at the University of British Columbia and was a member of the Masterpiece Piano Trio, conductor of the Nanaimo Symphony Orchestra and the Surrey Youth Orchestra.  In 1979 he became principal of the Langley Community Music School and, in 1982, principal cellist of the Vancouver Opera orchestra, both positions which he continued to hold until 1990, along with his role as principal cello of the CBC Vancouver Orchestra.

Ian has played numerous recitals and CBC broadcasts and has appeared as soloist – in the Britten Cello Symphony, the Rodrigo Concierto en modo galante, Morawetz’s In Memoriam Martin Luther King with the CBC Vancouver Orchestra and the Elgar Cello Concerto with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.

Ian feels strongly that his best work has been associated with what might be called ‘musical pioneering’ – for example his work with the Purcell String Quartet and the Langley Community Music School – and that more attention needs to be paid to works by 20th century composers.  His playing “is marked by sensitive musicianship, a superb tone, and a commanding technique; he is versatile, as at home in late 17th century works as in those of later periods, although he expresses a particular fondness for pieces from the first half of the 20th century.”

In 1999 Ian received the BC Arts Council award for his extraordinary contribution as a performer, teacher and administrator.   In recognition of his contribution to Canadian new music, in 2009 he was named a Canadian Music Centre ambassador. In 2011 Ian was awarded an honorary doctorate from Simon Fraser University.

Pamela Highbaugh-Aloni

Praised for her “meltingly beautiful solos” (The Detroit News) and performances of “depth and insight” (Times Colonist), Pamela Highbaugh-Aloni is a co-founding member of the prize – winning Lafayette String Quartet.

Since 1991, Pamela along with her quartet colleagues has been an Artist in Residence at UVic, where she teaches cello, chamber music and co-supervises the strings mentoring course in collaboration with School District 61. She and the LSQ maintain their leadership in one of the strongest university string programs in Canada. The Lafayette quartet celebrated 25 years of musical life together in 2011. Highlights of these years include a celebration of the millennium performing all sixteen of Beethoven’s string quartets, tours in North America and Europe, and the initiation of the Lafayette Health Awareness Forum. Recordings include a recent title “Tre Vecchi Amici” featuring works written for the quartet. Their CBC recording “Death and the Maiden” was awarded “Outstanding Classical Recording of the Year” by the Western Canada Music Awards.

A native of California, Pamela served as principal cellist with the Detroit’s Renaissance City Chamber Players. She was a Ford Motor Company Artist in Residence at the Center for Creative Studies Institute of Music and Dance and a faculty member at Oakland University. She earned her BMus and MMus degrees from California State University, Northridge and Indiana University. Her principal teachers include Peter Rejto, Janos Starker and Paul Katz.

An enthusiast teacher, Ms. Highbaugh Aloni served for ten years on the faculty at the Courtenay Youth Music School and Festival and for the past six years has been the coach for the Greater Victoria Youth Orchestra cello section. She has performed both as a soloist and recitalist and has been a guest artist with the Sooke Philharmonic, Vetta Ensemble of Vancouver, Victoria Summer Festival, Eine Kleine Summer Music, Chamber Music San Juan, and the Victoria Symphony’s Summer Cathedral Series, and has served as principal cellist with the Galiano Ensemble since its inaugural season in 2000. Pamela plays on a George Craske cello made in England, 1850.

Personal webpage:

Norman Nelson

Born in Dublin, Ireland, Norman Nelson began his violin studies at the age of ten.  When he was 15 he won a scholarship to the Royal College of Music, London where his teacher was George Stratton (Concertmaster of the London Symphony Orchestra) – later studying with Sascha Lasserson, a pupil of Leopold Auer.  He was conscripted into the Household Cavalry – the Life Guards – as concertmaster in the Life Guards Band stationed at Windsor. On completion of his national service at age 20, he was appointed to a position in the first violin section of the London Philharmonic Orchestra.  He held the position of Assistant Concertmaster with the Royal Philharmonic, Philharmonia, BBC and London Symphony Orchestras and served as concertmaster under such conductors as Sir Thomas Beecham, Herbert Von Karajan, Antal Dorati, Georg Solti, Rudolf Kempe, Sir Adrian Boult and Benjamin Britten. He was a founding member of the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, the most recorded chamber orchestra in the world, and also a member of the London Octet.

Norman emigrated to Canada in 1965 to join the Vancouver Symphony as Concertmaster.  He was a founding member of the Baroque Strings of Vancouver, The Vancouver Symphony Chamber Players and the Purcell String Quartet.

In 1979 he was appointed Professor of Violin and Chamber Music at the University of Alberta in Edmonton and the leader of the University String Quartet. In 1982 he toured with the Quartet to Japan and China representing the Federal Government and also to Hong Kong under the aegis of Alberta Culture. He was conductor of the University Symphony Orchestra and the founder of the Academy Strings at the University of Alberta. In 1985 he became concertmaster of the Alberta Baroque Ensemble with which he also appeared as soloist.  In 1997 Norman retired as Professor Emeritus and moved to Sooke, BC where he founded a community orchestra, the Sooke Philharmonic now in its 16th year.

Norman has appeared as soloist with many orchestras, including the London Symphony, Academy of St. Martins-in-the-Fields, BBC Symphony and Vancouver Symphony.  As a chamber musician, he has performed in every major city in North America, and in Europe, Russia, Japan, Hong Kongand China.

A dedicated teacher, he has taught atthe Vancouver Academy of Music and the Banff Centre and he was a co- founder of the Courtenay Youth Music Centre on Vancouver Island, BC. This past July/August he he visited Ireland’s West Coast to teach and conduct at the “Summer Music on the Shannon” summer school — a repeat visit.

In 2007, Norman was awarded the Orchestras Canada Betty Webster Award for his sustained and significant contribution to the Canadian Orchestral Community. In May 2012, he was awarded the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Medal, which honours outstanding Canadians whose achievements have benefitted their fellow citizens.

Robert Skelton

Robert Skelton is a native of Chilliwack, BC, where he began violin studies with Earle Dunne, subsequently studying for several years with Clifford Evans in Vancouver and later in Toronto.  He completed a B.Mus Degree (University of Toronto) and holds Master’s and Doctoral degrees in Violin Performance, Literature and Pedagogy at Indiana University with the noted violinist and pedagogue Josef Gingold.  Other teachers have included Albert Pratz, Daniel Guillet, Tadeusz Wronski, Janos Starker and Ivan Galamian.  Robert was the National Youth Orchestra’s first concertmaster in 1960.

Dr Skelton has given solo recitals and master classes in Canada, the United States and Hong Kong.  He has been heard on CBC broadcasts of chamber music and has also played with the CJRT Orchestra and the Toronto Philharmonic.

Dr Skelton is a recently-retired Professor Emeritus of Violin at the Faculty of Music, University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario where he taught violin and chamber music for several decades.  He has also been an instructor for the Banff School for Fine Arts, the National Youth Orchestra and numerous summer schools,  a Royal Conservatory examiner and senior string adjudicator for many of Canada’s major music festivals.  He has conducted teacher and examiner workshops and has contributed to publications of the RCM including the Violin Syllabus 1995 Edition and the Violin Series, 2nd Edition.

Gary Karr

Acclaimed as "the world's leading solo bassist" (Time Magazine) Gary Karr is, in fact, the first solo double bassist in history to make that pursuit a full-time career.

His major teachers include Herman Reinshagen and Stuart Sankey, with whom he studied at the Aspen Music Festival and the Julliard School.  Since his debut with Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic, he has performed as soloist on 6 continents with orchestra and, since 1971, in recital with pianist organist harpsichordist, Harmon Lewis.  He has recorded well over 50 discs with various orchestras worldwide. 
He has premiered new works written for him by Vittorio Giannini (Psalm CXX), Alec Wilder (Sonata for Double Bass and Piano and Suite for Double Bass and Guitar). Robert Xavier Rodriguez (Ursa, Four Seasons for Double Bass and Orchestra), and the concertos for double bass and orchestra by Gunther Schuller, Hans Werner Henze, John Downey and Ketil Hvoslef. He has recorded the Serge Koussevitsky concerto with Oslo Philharmonic.
He has taught double bass on the faculties of the Julliard School, New England Conservatory of Music, The Hartt School, Yale University, Indiana University, University of North Carolina School of the Arts and the Halifax (Nova Scotia) Schools Music Program and has published a number of instructional books for the double bass. He focuses on finding one's unique sound on the double bass and approaching playing with the lyrical emphasis of a singer.
One of Karr's proudest achievements is the Bronze Medal he received from the Rosa Poinselle Foundation, which recognizes him as an outstanding lyrical musician. He also has been awarded the Artist-Teacher Award from the American String Teachers Association and a Distinguished Achievement Award from the international Society of Bassists, an organization Karr founded 50 years ago. In 2005, he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Music degree from the University of Victoria.