The 2021 Orchestra North Academy Residency
About the Program
Set in the mountains in beautiful Smithers BC, the Orchestra North Academy (ONA) Residency welcomes a small select number of musicians from August 2-14 to Smithers to meet, rejuvenate and hone their craft. With a focus on peer-to-peer mentorship, residents are invited to participate in regular group masterclasses, exploration, workshops and performance. The 2021 Residency will also welcome three British Columbian composers to share their work in a setting that encourages especially meaningful interactions between composer, composition and musicians. 2021 composers-in-residence include Kent Dykstra, Thomas Beckmann, and Nicholas Denton-Protsack.
ONA Residents may participate in one of two streams which differ by their primary focus and intensity level. The Affinare stream (A) will involve a more intensive 2-week program involving daily musical activities including solo and chamber development, premiering new works in recordings, and live performances. The Belleza stream (B) serves more as an artistic retreat- its 2-week program that includes regularly scheduled activities mixed with optional activities and ample free time for practice, outdoor activities and artistic pursuits.
Like all activities of the Orchestra North Summer Program, the peer mentorship format of the ONA Residency is based on a firm belief that all professionals are lifelong students of our craft because our art merits a constant striving for excellence. As such, we all have much to learn and much to offer others.
The Orchestra North Summer Program is dedicated to encouraging musical excellence and enthusiasm in northern BC. Now in its 8th season, the program is once again supporting northern artists. Organized in the wake of 14 months of restrictions on gatherings and live performance, The Orchestra North Academy Residency 2021 provides desperately needed avenues for professional musicians and gifted university students to interact and develop after the long period of restrictions on in-person interaction. The Orchestra North Summer Program’s mandate is to serve the artistic needs of northern and rural areas, which means that we have to first support the needs of our musicians. As in-person musical interaction is so vital to our craft as instrumentalists and our art as musicians, this opportunity for professional musicians to meet, study, work, and play together is much needed.
In an effort to continue to support artists and their professional practice, we are committed to create a cost-neutral situation for our professional artists. The costs of the program and of the residency will be offset by grants. Generous sponsorships have made it possible to additionally offer a modest travel stipend and food allowance to all participant artists.
Set in the heart of northern BC’s wild spaces and framed by three spectacular mountain ranges, Smithers BC is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and a mecca for visual and performing artists. Throughout the year multiple choirs, school and community bands, and a community orchestra meet. The Valley Youth Fiddlers, a renowned fiddle orchestra, work closely with the Canada and BC Arts Councils to regularly commission works and perform across Canada (including performances at the 2010 Olympics). The summer brings a flurry of musical activity: several high quality summer music programs including FiddleFest, Guitar Camp and the Orchestra North Summer Program with its Academy Residency, several large musical festivals such as the Midsummer Music Festival. The Spirit of the North Classical Music Festival brings dozens of high quality concerts to the community and attracts musicians and audiences from across Canada and beyond.
For those who love the outdoors and welcome a chance to connect with nature, Smithers sits at the foot of Hudson Bay Mountain with its beloved downhill ski slopes and excellent showshoeing/telemarking/hiking. For the active, hiking, cross-country skiing, hiking, mountain biking, and swimming in lakes and rivers are either within or just outside of town limits. For those who prefer tranquility, the town has a perimeter trail and beautiful paths through a wildlife sanctuary within its town limits, a lovely downtown core rich with privately owned businesses, restaurants and boutiques, and excellent food- especially because gardening and eating well are favourite local activities.
Residents are welcome to stay in one of two houses with beautiful views of the mountains and live communally with the other musicians of their stream. Affinare stream musicians will stay in a historic log house in the downtown core, surrounded by gardens and apple trees, and within walking distance to amenities. Belleza stream musicians will stay in a house a few minutes drive from town with gorgeous vistas and space to reflect and practice. For the most part, meals and related activities (shopping, cooking, cleaning) will be the responsibility of the individuals in each ensemble.