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Master-classes Nurture Students

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THUNDER BAY, ON,  ---  March 7, 2010 ----  Last week Andrei Streliaev, Rebeccda Gilles Straelaevorganist extraordinaire arrived in Thunder Bay for a weekend of entertainment, master-classes and a recital. Born in Riga Latvia, Andrei holds a Master of Music Degree in Organ Performance from the University of Toronto where he studied with John Tuttle. He is an associate member of the Royal Canadian College of Organists. As a musician Andrei has performed in Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine, Sweden and France, participated in festivals and competitions including B. Dvarionas International Competition for Young Pianists in Vilnius, Lithuania (Diploma) and Concours International de Piano Maryse Cheilan in Hyeres, France (First Award). Dean Jobin-Bevans of Lakehead University jumped at the opportunity to bring Andrei to Thunder Bay for the benefit of the music department’s organ students.

Liam Curran StraelaevIt seems strange as churches are contemplating closure and restructuring that there is an increase in the number of organ students at Lakehead University. In addition to these students the local Chapter of the Royal Canadian College of Organists offer a limited number of organ scholarships for novice organists. In the photo above Rebecca Gilles receives some suggestions from a master. Organists usually study in a vacuum, doing much of their practice away from the student body. Collecting a number of students of all levels together for an afternoon of master-classes provides an enriched learning that will be useful as long as the student continues to play the organ.

LU student Liam Curran came prepared for the master-class. His piece by Clérambault is completely unlike the music studied by other students at the school. He had many questions as to tempo, style and even the playing of the ornaments. For him it was a chance to learn from an expert in the field, and for Andrei it was a challenge and a chance to share his knowledge not only with Liam but all the other students present.

I’ve often said to music students at our school, what you get out of your education will be proportional to the effort you put into your studies.  Lakehead University has afforded these students with a great opportunity to learn, and the students have responded with enthusiasm and interest.

While most students are exposed to master-classes at some point in their course of study often organ students take in classes where the instrument is not their major. The small number of students studying the instrument make this an expensive option for the university to consider, but it is nice to see something like this happen every few years.

Bert Rowson
Arts Editor: LakeSuperiorNews.com

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