This program is for gifted students in piano, voice, organ, orchestral instruments, guitar, and historical instruments, including fortepiano and harpsichord, who intend to become professional performers and teachers of performance. Students who demonstrate at audition time, or during their First or Second Year, that they have the potential to succeed as performers may apply to enter this program. Additional lesson time is offered; students take at least a third of their credits in courses directly involving performance. A half-recital is given in third year, and a full-length formal solo recital is given during fourth year. The performance possibilities are as follows:
Strings and Chamber Music
We offer three programs for students who intend to be professional string players: the four-year Honours BMus degree in Performance; the three-year Diploma in Performance, and the one-year Diploma in Chamber Music for performers who have completed a degree or diploma in music and wish to continue their studies in chamber music. Our unique programs, focusing on the highest standards of performance and string education, develop skilled performers in all types of string repertoire.
The Penderecki String Quartet (PSQ), one of the most celebrated chamber ensembles of their generation, has been in residence at Laurier since 1991, evidence of the attention given to chamber music by the Faculty of Music. Together with cellist Paul Pulford, the PSQ forms the core of the string faculty. Students are encouraged to take advantage of the many performance opportunities that exist both formally and informally within the Faculty and the community - most string students can expect to play in a chamber music group and the WLU Orchestra for all four years of their program. Advanced players may also play in mixed ensembles and a chamber orchestra. Each ensemble receives weekly coaching from a faculty member and performs regularly in the weekly class. String students also have the opportunity to play the latest compositions, including pieces by Laurier student composers. The Faculty holds concerto competitions each year; winners perform with the WLU Orchestra and the KW Symphony. Other performance opportunities include weekly noon-hour student recitals, student chamber music concerts, and third- and fourth-year recitals. Students also have access to wonderful instruments through the Faculty of Music instrument Bank.
The string program at Laurier is also unique for offering the string pedagogy course which is based on Mimi Zweig's string pedagogy method. Participants in this course have an opportunity to work closely with the teachers and students of the Laurier String Academy.
We understand that where and with whom you spend four years studying are incredibly important decisions. You must work with the teacher with whom you feel comfortable. During the Laurier audition process, the members of the core string faculty offer one complimentary private lesson to give students an opportunity to get to know their potential teacher and explore their teaching style. Student requests for specific teachers are accommodated whenever possible.
String and Chamber Music Faculty:
Piano and Harpsichord
Students of piano design a customized course of keyboard study in consultation with their instructor, and are encouraged to develop specific interests. Faculty members have expertise in solo performance, chamber music, instrumental accompanying, piano pedagogy, and improvisation.
In weekly private lessons students study technique, sight-reading, and a wide variety of repertoire, including Canadian music and works by women composers. Instruction ins harpsichord or fortepiano is available as component of lessons, as well as for a principal or second study.
During weekly master classes students learn to perform repertoire in a collaborative group environment and discuss performance-related issues. Master classes by guest artists are offered regularly.
Courses are offered in vocal and instrumental accompanying, piano literature, and piano pedagogy, and pianists may participate in Laurier’s Chamber Music program.
Other performance opportunities include weekly student recitals, student composers’ concerts, chamber music recitals, third- and fourth-year recitals, and our annual concerto competition.
The Faculty’s 21 grand and 53 upright pianos are used for studio and classroom instruction, and practicing. The Recital Hall is equipped with two Steinway concert grands and one Yamaha concert grand. The early keyboard collection includes three harpsichords, two fortepianos, and a clavichord.
Harpsichord Faculty Dr. Cynthia Hiebert
Voice majors study a wide range of vocal literature in private lessons and master classes where art song, oratorio, opera, and chamber music are performed. Diction studies, with emphasis on German, Italian, French, and English, are part of the curriculum.
Performance opportunities range from master classes, to master class recitals, student recitals, and graduation recitals. In addition, students sing in two opera productions and two major oratorio performances each year.
As an extension of their vocal studies beyond the normal school year, many students and alumni enroll in an Intensive Studies in Voice Workshop that runs for nine weeks every spring. The workshop culminates with several voice recitals in late June.
Woodwind, Brass, and Percussion
Laurier is fortunate to have a close association with the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony and the Canadian Chamber Ensemble. Many of our woodwind and brass instructors are members of these renowned professional ensembles.
Students in winds, brass, and percussion have the opportunity to play Wind Ensemble or Orchestra, and wind and brass students also enroll in chamber music for at least one year.
A master class for each instrument is held every week where students perform for each other and explore such topics as reed-making, orchestral excerpts, chamber music, and jazz. Each wind and brass student is assigned to a professional coach/accompanist who assists with the performance of solo repertoire.
It is important for serious students to practice and perform throughout the year, so in addition to the regular fall and winter courses in practical study, ensemble, and chamber music, Laurier offers summer workshops in chamber music for wind and brass students.
Prof. James Mason
Prof. Ross Edwards
Prof. Dave Wiffen
French Horn Faculty
Prof. Nina Brickman
Prof. Guy Few
Prof. Joseph Castello
Prof. Jane Maness
Prof. David Campion
Guitar, Lute, and Harp
Students in the BMus Performance program in Guitar are encouraged to explore such historical plucked instruments as lute, to play chamber music, and to learn to improvise accompaniments. The curriculum in Guitar Performance offers students a great deal of freedom in designing their program because there is room for three Music elective credits (six one-term courses), one of which may be used as a fifth non-Music elective credit, beyond the four that are required of all BMus students. This makes it feasible for a guitar student to pursue a second major in Music or a General Major in a subject of interest in Arts or Science.
Guitar, Lute, and Harp Faculty
Prof. Terry McKenna