Collaborative Piano: Faculty

Judith Kehler Siebert, DMA

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Judy Kehler Siebert has earned an international reputation as a pianist, chamber musician and teacher. A native of Manitoba and a graduate of the Eastman Faculty of Music, her appointment in 2002 brought Judy back home to the University of Manitoba Faculty of Music where she began her university teaching career.

In addition to her solo and chamber ensemble performances of the standard repertoire on three continents, Judy has distinguished herself as a proponent of new music by contemporary composers. She has participated in the world premieres of over 20 major commissioned works, many of them recorded for CBC radio broadcast and CD release. She has been a featured artist at seven of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra's annual New Music Festivals. Festival highlights have included the world premieres of Heather Schmidt’s Piano Concerto No. 1, T. Patrick Carrabré's The Elements, and a Canadian premiere performance of the two-piano concerto, Heterophony of Two Pianos and Orchestra by Japanese composer, Akira Nishimura with Shirley Sawatzky and the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. The latter was released on CD by the CBC/Warner label, Bramwell Tovey, conductor.

Along with saxophonists Dale and Kimm Stammen, Judy is a founding member of the Quarks! Trio. The trio has performed 400 concerts on tours since their formation in 1989. Its numerous commissions and recordings have created a new literature for this unique combination of instruments. Select Quarks! commissions include electronic music, notably the 2002 premiere of Racing through Time by composer David Jaffe for chamber ensemble and radio drum, and the 2004 premiere of Bruce Pennycook’s Club Life. As Artists-in-residence at the Banff Centre for the Arts, Quarks! performed and recorded these compositions. Their CD Three Quarks for Muster Mark features the music of Winnipeg composer, Randolph Peters.

Teaching has always been a key part of Judy’s life in music. She has held teaching appointments at Concord College (now Canadian Mennonite University), Sir Wilfrid Laurier University (Waterloo, ON), Syracuse University (NY), Brock, University (St. Catharines, ON), and Brandon University (MB), as well as graduate assistantship teaching at the Eastman Faculty of Music (Rochester, NY). From 1996-2001 she participated in establishing a Collaborative Piano Committee, Music Teachers National Association of North America.

Her foundational mentors included Garth and Marjorie Beckett in Winnipeg and Waterloo, ON, Joan Davies and Martino Tirimo, London, England. She earned her MM Solo Piano degree at the University of Toronto, working with Marek Jablonski, and the Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the Eastman Faculty of Music in Rochester, New York, under the tutelage of Dr. Jean Barr. At Eastman her studies focused on collaborative and chamber performance and piano pedagogy. A PEO International Scholarship, an award reserved for female scholars of exceptional promise, supported her studies.

Judy is committed to the view that performing, teaching, mentoring and continual renewal as a scholar are all essential components of her pursuit of excellence as a musician.

Laura Loewen, DMA

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Hailed as “exceptional” (Winnipeg Free Press), “fiercely committed” (Vancouver Sun), “virtuosic”, with “fingers that have no idea of what is possible on a keyboard, so they just go ahead and play what isn’t” (Halifax Chronicle Herald), Winnipeg collaborative pianist Laura Loewen has appeared in concerts throughout North America and in Europe and Asia. Dedicated to sharing her passion for ensemble playing and coaching, she is a professor of Collaborative Piano and the Vocal Coach at the University of Manitoba’s Marcel A. Desautels Faculty of Music. She is on the faculties of the NUOVA opera training program in Edmonton, Alberta, the Contemporary Opera Lab in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and VISI (Vancouver International Song Institute).

Dr. Loewen has performed extensively with singers, instrumentalists and chamber ensembles. She has appeared in concert with artists such as Charles Castleman, Tracy Dahl, Wendy Nielsen, Jasper Wood, Eugene Rousseau, and William Bennett, and is a regular recital partner of baritone Mel Braun and tenor Robert MacLaren.

Loewen and duo partner, saxophonist Allen Harrington, have been performing together for the last seven years. Praised for their combination of virtuosity, musicality, and ensemble, the Harrington/Loewen duo has performed throughout North America and in Europe and Asia, including a Debut Atlantic tour of the Maritime provinces in February 2007. They were in residency at The Banff Centre in 2007 where they recorded a CD of Canadian Music for Saxophone and Piano, which includes two pieces commissioned by the duo. In July 2009 they presented the world premiere of Ice Fog by Örjan Sandred in at The World Saxophone Congress in Bangkok, Thailand and performed concerts in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Loewen is a founding member of The Galileo Trio (“an enlightened idea” – Winnipeg Free Press) and Emerado (“true camaraderie and rapport” – Winnipeg Free Press). Her recordings include She Sings, She Screams, with saxophonist Richard Dirlam, and Roundabout (music of composer Robert Carl), with saxophonist Mark Engebretson.

Ms. Loewen holds a Doctorate of Musical Arts degree in Accompanying/Coaching from the University of Minnesota, where she was a fellowship student of Margo Garrett and Karl Paulnack. In addition to her studies there, she spent two summers at the Music Academy of the West studying vocal accompanying with Warren Jones, and worked with Martin Katz and Graham Johnson at SongFest ’98.