Violinist Simon MacDonald began his musical studies in Victoria in 1980, left for music school in 1992 (New England Conservatory BMus ’96, McGill MMus ’98), and returned home to Victoria in 2017, after numerous musical adventures in Boston, Montreal, New Orleans, Miami, various points in Europe, and anywhere he was invited to play. He is currently in his fourth year as the Head of Strings at the Victoria Conservatory of Music, and the Artistic Director of the Young Artists Collegium (also at the VCM). Before returning permanently to BC, Simon’s home base was the Canadian Prairies, where he was active with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra (first violin), the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra (principal 2nd violin), and the Regina Symphony Orchestra (concertmaster). Simon loves playing anything put in front of him; he has premiered numerous new works after 17 years at the Winnipeg New Music Festival, initiated the first ever Beethoven Quartet Cycle in the city of Regina with the Regina Symphony Chamber Players, and has enjoyed playing in everything from Baroque orchestras to touring Broadway Productions.
Simon is very grateful to work with the amazing community of musicians, both professional and students, who live here in BC. Over the last year, as pandemic travel restrictions eased, Simon was lucky to reconnect with the Northern BC Musical Community, working as a guest Concert Master with the Prince George Symphony, and working with the newly launched Prince George Symphony Youth Orchestra in June of 2022.
Roxi Dykstra (Masters, Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et Dance Lyon, France, M.Mus. Univ. de Montréal, ARCT Piano) has been working as a professional musician since 2004. She held the principal viola position of the Prince George Symphony for three years, an assistant principal viola position in the Orquestra do Norte in Portugal, and a permanent full-time position at the National Portuguese Orchestra (with the national opera at the historic Teatro Sao Carlo). She performs chamber, orchestral, and solo work across Europe and Canada, including with the Vancouver, Toronto and Okanagan symphonies and with chamber ensembles in the area, and most recently, has been filling in for concertmaster for the Prince George Symphony.
An enthusiastic northerner, Roxi works hard to promote musical opportunities and musical excellence in the north. She is the founder and co-director of the Orchestra North Summer Program, and director of its Academy program, which is committed to developing professional development opportunities for northern professionals and emerging artists from across BC.
Roxi has extensive experience as a teacher, director and workshop host- she has been a Royal Conservatory of Music instructor for over 15 years, adjudicates with the British Columbia Performing Arts Festival Association, as well as on many occasions directed bands, choirs and orchestras, including most recently in 2021, a production of Peter and the Wolf with the Prince George Symphony Orchestra. She is artistic director of the Spirit of the North Classical Music Festival which typically brings dozens of classical concerts annually in August to Smithers and area. Roxi is a current doctoral candidate at the Kunstuniversitat Graz, Austria.
Judith Souman has been active as a professional violist in solo, chamber, and orchestral concerts across Canada and the Netherlands. Her musical interests range from playing the medieval vielle and baroque viola to collaborating with contemporary composers, and everything in between.
Her performances in recent years have included creating an experimental solo recital in the Dordrecht Summer Concerts series incorporating improvisation, composition, poetry, and elements of theater with existing viola repertoire, performing as a chamber musician in the Spirit of the North Classical Music Festival and the Talent Break concert series at de Doelen, and playing with the Kitchener Waterloo Symphony Orchestra and the Prince George Symphony Orchestra.
Judith is currently based in Waterloo, Ontario, where she is active as a performer and teacher. She holds a bachelor’s degree with a double major in viola performance and music history from Wilfrid Laurier University, and a master’s degree in classical viola from Codarts University for the Arts in Rotterdam. She studied primarily with Christine Vlajk, and Karin Dolman, as well as taking lessons and masterclasses from violists including Nobuko Imai and Garth Knox, and quartets including the Penderecki, St. Lawrence, Dali, and Lafayette string quartets.
Cello & Composer-in-residence
Nicholas Denton Protsack is an emerging composer and concert cellist, originally from Kelowna, BC. His creative work often explores connections between music and the natural world. Nicholas’ compositions have been receiving increasing national and international recognition over the past few years. Most recently, his work Into this Fracturing Land (for cello and electronic media) was the recipient of a prestigious BMI Foundation Student Composer Award (2021), and his orchestral work Vision of a Flaxen Sea was a recipient of the James Highsmith Award (2019).
Nicholas is currently undertaking a PhD in music at Victoria University of Wellington, studying with composers Michael Norris and Dugal McKinnon. His other major teachers have included David Garner (composition), Jean-Michel Fonteneau (cello), and Jennifer Culp (cello).
As a cellist, Nicholas is an active freelance performer and advocate of new music—often performing works by his colleagues, as well as his own. He has also appeared as a soloist with the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra and the San Francisco Conservatory Orchestra.
Collaborating Musicians with the 2022 Academy Residency Program
Ekaterina is an accomplished trombonist with a wide range of music interests and performance experience. She has played with the Hannaford Youth Brass Band, UBC Trombone Choir, In the Mood Big Band, Dawson Creek Kiwanis Band, Earth Wind & Snow funk band, and Bear Mountain Brass. In addition, Ekaterina studied trombone privately and represented BC at the 2009 National Music Festival in Saskatoon. Ekaterina currently plays trombone with the Prince George Symphony Orchestra, Way North of Dixie Jazz Band, Smithers Community Band, Alpenfunk.
Smithers based musician, conductor and music educator, Jordan Daviel, is pleased to be joining Orchestra North again this year. Jordan studied composition and music theory at the University of Victoria, cello performance at the University of Ottawa, and music education at the University of British Columbia. Formerly the principal cellist of the Prince George Symphony Orchestra, artistic director of the Prince George Conservatory of Music, and music theory instructor at UNBC, Jordan has transitioned to a focus on music education as the music teacher at Smithers Secondary School. In addition to leading the school’s concert bands, jazz bands, rock bands, choirs, and musical theatre productions, Jordan leads the Smithers Community Band and maintains an active private studio and performance career as a cellist and double-bassist.
Kent Dykstra was born and raised in the beautiful Bulkley Valley and trained as a youth in both violin and piano.
A strong proponent about music’s powerful place in community, Kent built a multi-faceted band program in Edmonton at Parkwood Immanuel Christian School from 2000 to 2008, eventually sending students to perform across BC, Manitoba, and Ontario.
Kent co-directs Reformed String Camp with his sister Roxi Dykstra, which is running its 11th season, has directed numerous tours and mass band and choir events across Canada, and enjoys working as church organist and choir director. Kent is currently a music teacher and principal at Credo Christian High School in Langley, BC.
Kent’s passion is composing and arranging music for his students, for both band and stringed instruments, especially based upon the Genevan Psalms. In 2009 and 2014, he released CDs of Genevan Psalms arranged for string orchestra and has been commissioned to write music for numerous ensembles and events.