The Orchestra North Academy was created by professional musicians to provide the next generation of artists a meaningful way to connect their musical skills, interest, and education with real-life teaching and performing opportunities.
Alex Chernata, clarinet
Alex Chernata was born in Cherepovets, Russia and started playing clarinet at the age of 11. He has participated in a number of festivals such as the Russian festival, Vancouver, Fraser Valley, and Chilliwack festivals.
He was awarded runner-up in senior woodwind in the 2014 BC Provincials in Penticton. In 2015, as a member of the AJA trio, he won first prize in the Friends of Chamber Young Artists Competition, the BC Provincials in Powell River, and the Canadian National Music Festival in Edmonton.
Currently, Alex is pursuing his four-year performance major program. His future musical goals include orchestral, solo, and chamber performance, composition, teaching, and publishing.
Leah Froyd, violin
Hailing from Denver, Colorado, violinist Leah Froyd is a highly active soloist and chamber musician. She is currently attending the San Francisco Conservatory of Music under the direction of Ian Swensen pursuing her bachelor’s degree.
In the past few years, she has thoroughly enjoyed collaboration with artists such as Dr. Basil Vendryes, Charles Castleman, Vivian Weilerstein, and Csaba Erdéli. She has also received masterclasses given by Dr. Jubal Fulks, Mark Rush, and Linda Wang.
In her free time, Leah enjoys volunteering with El Sistema Colorado, reading, and going on hikes with her dogs. She would like to thank her friends and family for their never-ending support of her musical career.
Simon Gidora, violin
Simon Gidora is a gifted young violinist who lives in Halfmoon Bay on the Sunshine Coast. He is currently studying violin with David Gillham, professor of violin at the University of British Columbia and Vancouver Academy of Music. He also studies Chamber Music under the direction of Ariel Barnes at the Vancouver Academy of Music, and previously under the direction of Andrew Dawes.
Simon has won awards in Solo violin (Kay Meek competition), chamber (Friends of Chamber Music, Eljse de Ridder Competition), and voice (Barbara Clague Festival of Song) at the Vancouver Academy of Music. Simon has also won multiple awards at both the Vancouver Kiwanis Music Festival and the Sunshine Coast Festival of the Performing Arts. A runner up in solo Violin at the Provincial Music Festival, Simon is also a member of the Forza string Quartet, which won the honour of representing BC at Canada’s National Music Festival in 2014 where they went on to win first place.
Simon is a member, and concertmaster, of the Vancouver Academy of Music Symphony Orchestra, and has attended the Boston University Tanglewood Institute (2015), Domaine Forget (2015 & 2016), and the Orford Music Academy (2016). In 2016, he was chosen to travel with faculty members from the Vancouver Academy of Music as one of four teaching assistants for the Summer Soundfest music camp of the Haw Par Music Foundation in Hong Kong. This summer Simon will represent the Vancouver Kiwanis Music Festival at the Performing Arts BC Music Festival in Kamloops, competing in the provincial national class, while teaching students from his home based studio.
Nicholas Denton-Protsack, cello
Nicholas Denton-Protsack is a cellist currently completing his bachelor’s degree with Prof. Jennifer Culp at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Originally from Kelowna BC, Canada, Nicholas began his studies at age 7 with Morna Howie at the Vernon Community Music School. In his final years of high school, he travelled to Vancouver periodically to study with Judith Fraser of the Vancouver Academy of Music, who eventually recommended that he pursue his degree in San Francisco.
Nicholas has participated in many competitions and master classes as a soloist, chamber musician and orchestral musician. Some of his recent accomplishments include: Performing as a principal cellist with the National Youth Orchestra of Canada, Performing as a soloist with the San Francisco Conservatory Orchestra, placing as a finalist in the Nova Vista Concerto Competition and being awarded Grand Prize in the Vancouver Friends of Chamber Music Competition.
Nicholas has played for many celebrated soloists including, Aldo Parisot, Johannes Moser, Anssi Kartunen, David Requiro and Daniel Müller-Schott – as well as acclaimed chamber groups including, the St. Lawrence String Quartet and the Kairos String Quartet.
Andrea Pedro, Piano
As a young child, Andrea Pedro felt a strong connection to classical music that led her to Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s Bachelor of Music program. Here, she discovered her affinity for chamber music and contemporary music as a piano student of Jane Hayes.
As pianist of the 2015 AJA Trio, Andrea won first prizes in the Federation of Canadian Music Festivals, Performing Arts BC, and the Friends of Chamber Music’s Young Musicians Competition. As a soloist, she received runner-up in Performing Arts BC’s National Canadian Class 2014. She has performed solo and duo recitals in Terrace and Kitimat BC, and was featured as a soloist with the Terrace Symphony Orchestra in 2015.
Andrea enjoys collaborating with other musicians and sharing musical experiences with others. One of her goals is to make classical music more accessible to others, particularly those her own age. As well as music, Andrea is interested in science, religion, philosophy, art, design, and cooking. She enjoys drawing, playing hockey and chess, and watching psychological thrillers.
Judith Souman, viola
Judith Souman studied viola at the Langley Community Music School where she became keenly interested in orchestral playing and chamber music, eventually being mentored by renowned cellist and chamber musician Ian Hampton. After several years studying at Kwantlen University with Nikita Pogrebnoy, she was invited to study with Christine Vlajk, violist of the Penderecki Quartet, at Wilfrid Laurier University.
Judith has gained extensive orchestral and chamber music coaching experience working for various summer orchestral camps over the past 5 years, and her work has taken her on tours across Canada. Most recently she toured across northern BC with the ONSP Academy chamber tour, and later toured across Western Canada with the Reformed String Camp Chamber Orchestra.
Since 2016, Judith has served as the Prince George Symphony Orchestra’s acting principal violist, and has enjoyed sharing her passion for music and compassion for others teaching for the Northern BC Academy of Music in Prince George. An alumni of the Orchestra North Academy, Judith is looking forward to another summer of collaboration and inspiration together with colleagues and friends.
Contact for more information
The 2017 Orchestra North Smithers Academy acknowledges the generous support of the British Columbia Arts Council