When I came to Wilfrid Laurier University in 1999 I was struck by how committed the profs were to the success of the Faculty of Music. Meetings garnered involvement from all areas in all matters.. I confess I loved that there was so much interest in what the Penderecki Quartet was doing and such desire to integrate our expertise and students' activities in various classes and seminars. I think I've worked with nearly everyone at Laurier in some capacity - be it giving a demonstration on George Crumb's Black Angels to a History class, or playing Stravinsky's L'histoire du soldat with theory professor Kevin Swinden, or improvising with music therapist Collin Lee. There is a shared desire to pursue interdisciplinary discovery and team-work is our core value. This remains one of the defining features of the Laurier Music Faculty today. And it is a value that we emphasize and refine in all our faculty meetings. I am very fortunate to work with such an awesome group!

This team-work approach is of course central to the way in which the string area works at Laurier. Since the Penderecki String Quartet along with Paul Pulford is the kernel of the string faculty, we operate in instrinsically cooperative ways. This has wonderful benefits for the students because they feel like they are studying with all of us. In the violin department, we share our masterclasses so that every week students are assigned to attend either my class or Jerzy Kaplanek's class. This gives our violin students a broader perspective and creates a polinization of ideas among all violinists at Laurier. Jerzy and I have an open-door policy which is rare among most institutions. This means we are open to teaching each other's students as needs arise. We also have a split violin/viola program whereby you can study 2/3 violin and 1/3 viola with Christine Vlajk (or vice versa) at any time during your years at Laurier. Read more about this on the Laurier website. This is a fabulous opportunity and one I believe all violinists should take advantage of. I have relished my golden moments playing viola professionally on a number of occasions. The sound production benefits for violinists dabbling with viola are rich, so go for it if you have never played the viola - now is your chance!

Go to the Laurier website to learn also about our annual Quartetfest, and the thriving String Academy. This is our pre-college academy which also provides pedagogy opportutinities for our undergraduate students.

Paul Pulford is the conductor of the orchestra. I can't think of someone more dedicated to the task. He has incredible insights and is tremendously detail oriented in his approach. The orchestra at Laurier plays big repertoire at a high level. If you get a chance, try to check out the orchestra before you decide on Laurier.

The Music Faculty is highly regarded at Laurier - we are central to the identity of the university and music is a thriving force in the Kitchener-Waterloo region. The K-W Symphony is a fully professional orchestra. There is also the K-W Chamber Music Society which presents around 80 concerts a year; NUMUS is the contemporary music society; and the Perimeter Institute presents recitals by esteemed artists such as Yo-Yo Ma, Joshua Bell, Gidon Kremer, Emanuel Ax, and many more. K-W is indeed a vibrant musical city!


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