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In

less than a year, the Mount Royal University Conservatory will be opening the doors to its very own home. And Calgary will be welcoming the city’s newest performing arts centre since the 1980s. The new Conservatory and Bella Concert Hall — a landmark $90-million construction project which broke ground in spring 2011 — is opening next fall and launching its first season with a high-profile fall arts festival in September 2015. The Conservatory is one of Mount Royal’s original programs, dating back to 1911. Today, it is the largest music education institution of its kind in Canada. Nearly 5,000 students enrolled in non-credit programming fill rehearsal and classroom spaces scattered around campus. The Conservatory attracts worldfamous faculty to teach its Academy for Gifted Youth and international Morningside Music Bridge summer training school, and has famously helped launch the international careers of music prodigies, including concert pianists Yuja Wang and Jan Lisiecki. Grammy nominee and Juno award-winning singer-songwriter Feist studied voice at the Conservatory as a teenager. Since the ‘90s, limited space has capped growth for the Conservatory’s successful early childhood education classes, speech arts, private lessons, masterclasses for gifted students and ensemble activities. “For years, we had to stay at the same size. We were also part of the oldest building and we were surrounded. There was nowhere

to expand to. We just needed a place to grow,” says Conservatory Director Paul Dornian. Growth is just what’s in store for the Conservatory and its new free-standing building, located at the east end of campus beside the Roderick Mah Centre for Continuous Learning. Plans to expand youth and community programming will see its student numbers more than double by 2018, 8,500 music and speech arts students — from babies to retirees — are expected to fill classes. With 43 private teaching studios, five early childhood classrooms, five master classrooms, six large rehersal halls, two traditional classrooms and one multipurpose room. “On any given day, you could conceivably have babies with their parents or grandparents in the early childhood suite,” says Dornian. “You could have a percussion ensemble rehearsing up in the percussion room; a couple of different concert bands in the ensemble spaces; a full orchestra rehearsing in the TransAlta Pavilion. You might have fifty or sixty private lessons in oboe, bassoon, harp, violin, cello, saxophone and piano. And who knows? You could have a symphony orchestra performing in the concert hall. All that can happen at the same time.” The cost of the project is divided among the federal and provincial governments, which are contributing $20 million each, and the City of Calgary with $10.3 million. Mount Royal is providing $3 million in land and project costs. The remainder of the budget is being provided through generous donations from a variety of corporations and private citizens. Opportunities still exist to join this group. »

Daniel Okulitch

FAMOUS ALUMNI Besides offering private lessons, group classes, the Calgary Youth Orchestra, chamber ensembles and choirs, the Mount Royal Conservatory serves as a launching pad for child prodigies and gifted musicians. Many are star performers in leading orchestras around the world.

The prestigious Academy for Gifted Youth and international Morningside Music Bridge summer training school alumni includes internationallyrecognized concert pianists Yuja Wang and Calgary’s own Jan Lisiecki, both Deutsche Grammophon recording artists.

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Daniel Okulitch studied in the vocal academy from 1989 to 1995. Okulitch sang the role of Schaunard in Baz Luhrmann’s 2003 Broadway production of La Boheme, a role he repeated in Los Angeles in 2004. He has since appeared with orchestras and opera companies in Europe and North America. He performs frequently with the San Francisco Opera, Michigan Opera Theatre, Calgary Opera and Vancouver Opera. SUMMIT – FALL 2014

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Profile for Mount Royal University

Mount Royal University Summit Fall 2014  

Our people are the foundation of our community. At Mount Royal, our students, faculty, staff, management, alumni and donors are an important...

Mount Royal University Summit Fall 2014  

Our people are the foundation of our community. At Mount Royal, our students, faculty, staff, management, alumni and donors are an important...