2020 ASA Concerto Competition Winners Announced

The Alberta String Association is pleased to announce the winner of the 2020 Concert Competition:

Gordon Giang, cello; performing the first movement of the Sinfonia Concertante, op 125, by Prokofiev.

Prokofiev: Sinfonia Concertante, Op. 125: movement 1 (Gordon Giang, cello)

Congratulations to Gordon and his teacher, Raphael Hoekman! We look forward to hearing Gordon when performs with the Burman Symphony Orchestra in April!

Congratulations to all the entrants, including the placing entries:

2nd place: Soren Lorentzen, viola: Viola Concerto, by William Walton

3rd place: Laura Wakeman, cello: first movement, Cello Concerto, Op. 85, by Edward Elgar

Our thanks to adjudicator Dmitry Myzdrikov of New Brunswick for listening to all of the entries and for his insightful comments to the participants.

ASA Concerto Competition


The Juicy Details:

The student or the student’s teacher must be a member of the ASA.
Costs of memberships are 15$ for students and 30$ for adults
Submit a public youtube video of one or two concerto movements to perezrod@ualberta.ca (for tips on how to post a public youtube video LOOK HERE or LOOK HERE)
The winner will receive a cash prize and also a performance with the Burman University Symphonic Orchestra. This performance will be held on April 4th at 8 pm under the direction of Dr Eduardo Sola
The winner will be expected to provide orchestral parts of the concerto to be played. (These can often be found free of charge on IMSLP)

ASA Newsletter: January 2020

The first newsletter of 2020 is out!

ASA Newsletter: January 2020

Click the link above to read. Highlights:

Message from the new President / ASA Concerto Competition / ASA Fundraiser Concert / SCOrE: ASA Concert Workshop / Festivals in Alberta / EMSAF: New Name for Edmonton Kiwanis Festival / Concerts across the province


Thomas Schoen receives Royal Conservatory of Music Teacher of Distinction Award

On Sunday October 28, 2018, Edmonton Violin teacher Thomas Schoen, was awarded a Teacher of Distinction Award by Dr. Peter Simon, President and CEO of the Royal Conservatory of Music, at the Royal Conservatory Convocation and Gold Medals Ceremony at Mount Royal University in Calgary.

RCM Teachers of Distinction are recognized for their leadership as music teachers in their community. They instil a lifelong love of music in their students, provide mentorship to other teachers, and inspire everyone around them. Teachers of Distinction are nominated by members of their musical community and selected following these criteria: innovative and exemplary teaching practices; student achievement and engagement; and teacher commitment and leadership.

For a full description of the award please see:

Thomas was born and raised in Dawson Creek, B.C. and holds a Bachelor of Music degree in violin performance from the University of British Columbia. He now resides in Edmonton, Alberta where he is an active performer and teacher. Teaching positions include violin instructor at Augustana Faculty of the University of Alberta, the Society for Talent Education in Edmonton. Thomas is in demand around western Canada as a festival adjudicator and clinician.

For a full bio of Thomas Schoen please see

2019 ASA Concerto Competition

The Alberta String Association invites
all young, pre-professional Albertan string players
to apply to the 2019 ASA Concerto Competition.

Deadline to apply: January 25, 2019.

The winner will perform at the Young Artists Concerto Concert, which will be held on Saturday, April 6, 2019 @ 7PM (College Heights Seventh-day Adventist Church, Lancombe, AB) with the Burman University Symphony Orchestra under Maestro Eduardo Sola.

Full information, including forms and payment.


2018 Music Conference Alberta

JOIN US!mca 2018 logo
Music Conference Alberta
Oct. 25-27, 2018 

Sutton Place Hotel, Edmonton
(and McDougall United Church)

Registration is open
(early bird rates till Sept. 30)

The ASA is pleased to host musicians and pedagogues who will present lectures and performances. The 2018 ASA Teaching Award will also be presented at the Conference Awards Luncheon.

At MCA 2018, the ASA sponsors two sessions focusing on El Sistema: one with David Visentin (founder of Sistema Toronto, now with the Victoria Conservatory of Music) and one focusing on guitar with Reneé Pérez Rodríguez and Pedro Pérez (Sistema Venezuela). Peter Visentin’s presentation will involve remote guests Jonathan Govias (USA)and Luis Miguel Gonzalez (Venezuela).

There will also be an ASA lecture-recital on klezmer music with the UCalgary String Quartet (in collaboration with the Alberta Music Education Foundation).

Finally, a collaboration with the Alberta Music Education Foundation (AMEF) and The Canadian Music Centre (CMC) will bring more string performances: the Bishop Carroll High School Virtuosi Strings (Calgary) and New Music by Howard Bashaw for violin and piano (Guillaume Tardif, violin and Roger Admiral, piano).

Session Information:

Friday, October 26th
9:00-10:15AM: The Klezmer-inspired String Quartet, UCalgary String Quartet, Sutton Place Hotel (ASA/AMEF)
3:00-4:30PM: performance, Bishop Carrol High School Virtuosi Strings, McDougall United Church (AMEF)

Saturday, October 27th
10:45AM – 12:00PM: El Sistema: Then, Now, and When, David Visentin & Guests, Sutton Place Hotel (ASA)
12:00-1:30PM: Awards Luncheon, Sutton Place Hotel (ASA Teaching Award)
3:00-4:30PM: performance, Howard Bashaw’s ’12 for violin and piano’, Guillaume Tardif & Roger Admiral, McDougall United Church (CMC)
3:15-4:30PM: Learning From Venezuela’s Sistema Guitar Orchestras, Reneé Pérez Rodríguez & Pedro Pérez, Sutton Place Hotel (ASA)

MCA 2018 Session Previews

El Sistema: Then, Now, and When (David Visentin)
Starting as a music education program for youth in Venezuela in 1975 by Dr. Antonio Abreu, El Sistema has become the ‘poster child’ for music as a catalyst for social change and has produced some of the world’s most-noted classical musicians. With over 1,000,000 active musicians in Venezuela today and a worldwide network of independent programs in over 50 countries, El Sistema philosophy has had an undeniable impact. But criticism has doggedly followed the program in recent years, with the 2014 release of “El Sistema: Orchestrating Venezuela’s Youth” by author and arts education activist Geoff Baker. What have been its true successes? What have been the failures and limitations? Most importantly, where will El Sistema go in the future if the question remains, does El Sistema work as a model for social change? Explore these questions together with Sistema Toronto’s founding executive director David Visentin and his guests.

For more information: David Visentin http://vcm.bc.ca/faculty-members/david-visentin/
Jonathan Govias – https://jonathangovias.com/
Luis Miguel Gonzales – Interview

Learning From Venezuela’s Sistema Guitar Orchestras (Reneé Pérez Rodríguez, Edmonton, with Pedro Pérez from the Venezuelan El Sistema-Caracas)
The Sistema orchestra model may also be used to teach classical guitar. Pedagogical Classical Guitar Orchestras, popular among El Sistema’s new ensembles, stimulated the development of multilevel pedagogical musical arrangements, i.e. where each classical guitar player can take part in the ensemble whether at a beginner, intermediate or advanced level. Could Albertan instructors develop local youth and children guitar orchestras, and how? This presentation will review the steps involved in setting up this activity and the repertoire currently available to sustain it. Renee Perez Rodriguez is a classical guitar major at the Department of Music, University of Alberta, and a board member of both the Alberta String Association and the Edmonton Classical Guitar Society. He previously trained and practiced as an engineer. Pedro Perez is a classical guitarist, arranger, and composer with more than 40 years of experience; he is the founder and director of the Pedagogical Classical Guitar Orchestras within El Sistema in Caracas, Venezuela.

For more information on Pedro Perez’ program: “Voces de El Sistema” on YouTube

The Klezmer-inspired String Quartet (UCalgary String Quartet)
The celebrated UCalgary String Quartet introduces and performs selections from their CD “Far Behind I Left My Country”. Lead violinist and composer-arranger Edmond Agopian will review the group’s exploration of the klezmer style and share insights on the creative process with demonstrations and performances.

Hear some of their exciting music: “Far Behind I Left My Country” on YouTube

MCA Collaborations

(In collaboration with AMEF) Bishop Carroll High School Virtuosi Strings: the up-and-coming string orchestra from Bishop Carroll Highschool in Calgary will present a lecture and concert. “Bishop Carroll is the only high school in the Calgary Catholic School District that offers a Chamber Ensemble Strings Program, which affords students to continue their study of music on a string instrument while engaging in numerous ensemble settings. In this environment, students continue to develop advanced music performance skill from an already established foundation of music performance skill sets.

(In collaboration with the Canadian Music Centre): performance of Howard Bashaw’s 12 for violin and piano (2017) with University of Alberta’s Guillaume Tardif, violin and Roger Admiral, piano.

ASA Student Recital | May 27

Join us for the ASA Student Recital featuring many of the candidates at our last concerto competition.

May 27, 2018 |  3PM
Studio 2-7, Fine Arts Building

This is a free event, a great opportunity to discover up-and-coming talent from across the province!

Fine Arts Building on Google Maps


Congratulations Maya Budzinski | 2018 ASA Concerto Competition

Congratulations to violinist Maya Budzinski (Edmonton, AB), winner of the 2018 ASA Concerto Competition!

Maya will perform Lalo’s Symphonie espagnole with conductor Cristian Neacsu and the Burman University Symphony Orchestra.

The concert will be held on Saturday, April 14, 2018, 8:00PM, at College Heights Church, Lacombe, AB (Campus Map).

Admission is free, with a freewill offering following the performance.

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