The University Symphony Orchestra is currently directed by Petar Dundjerski, a fierce advocate for music education. Petar was born in Belgrade, Yugoslavia and has lived in Canada since 1994. He received his Master's degree in Orchestral Conducting from the University of Toronto and continued his studies at the American Academy of Conducting in Aspen, Colorado and the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati. His principal teachers were Mark Gibson, Raffi Armenian and Earl Davey. Mr. Dundjerski has also studied with David Zinman, Jorma Panula, Boris Brott and Gary Kulesha.
In 2002, he was the Assistant Conductor with the National Academy Orchestra of Canada and in the summer of 2004, served as a Resident Conductor at the Banff Centre for the Arts.
Mr. Dundjerski has received various awards including a 2003, 2006/08 Canada Council for the Arts Grants. He has worked with several distinguished instrumentalists including Shauna Rolston, Scott St. John and Jens Lindemann.
Petar also teaches within the Edmonton Public School Board Music Enrichment Program. Mr Dundjerski was the Assistant Conductor-in-Residence of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra 2006/08, under the mentorship of Music Director William Eddins. This was a two-year appointment, funded in part by the Canada Council for the Arts.
The University of Alberta Symphony Orchestra (USO) was established in 1945 as a student orchestra which presented at least two major concerts a year.
Decades of stellar performances, memorable collaborations, and fearless directors have seen the ensemble grow into Edmonton’s premier community orchestra. Although membership is based around the music department at the University of Alberta, students from other faculties in the University and members of Edmonton’s musical community also perform in the USO.
The University Symphony Orchestra regularly gives up to six concerts a year and often participates in choral and operatic presentations. The repertoire performed ranges from the Classical period to present day. Although most concerts are held in the University’s Convocation Hall, the USO also performs in Edmonton’s renowned Winspear Centre for Music.
The USO’s mandate is to prepare the music students thoroughly for professional symphony orchestra life, by providing study and performance of the main symphony repertoire and preparation for the professional audition process through judicious choice of repertoire and individual and sectional excerpt coaching. Members also receive training in orchestral etiquette.
Past conductors of the orchestra include G.T. Lindskoog, Arthur Crighton, Normal Nelson, Malcolm Forsyth and Tanya Prochazka.
Pianist Jacques C. Després has concertized for four decades on three continents through his recordings, performances as a soloist with orchestras, solo recitals and collaborative work. An intelligent, refined, highly sensitive and disciplined artist, Després’ performances and recordings are praised by critics who cite his “crystal-clear pianism,” and his abilities “to bring humanity, integrity and an enormous expressive range to the pieces.” His “pianistic control is flawless, the sonority magnificent, and the playing is utterly and consistently clear.” Since his 1978 debut with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, Després appeared as a soloist with many orchestras under the baton of conductors including Otto-Werner Muller, Franz-Paul Decker, Jens Nygaard and Simon Streatfield. Després’ tours have included performances aired on CBC radio and at summer festivals in North America and Asia.
Notable recordings include world premiere of the complete piano works of Joseph Martin Kraus and the Kraus’ complete chamber music works on the Naxos label, which received widespread critical acclaim and exposure. Després has been invited to numerous schools for lectures and performances in North America and Asia, including the Juilliard School, Northwestern University, Vanderbilt University and the Central Conservatory of China (Beijing). Després completed his doctorate in performance at the University of Stony Brook. He holds a Masters degree from the Juilliard School of Music, a unanimous First Prize from the Quebec Conservatory, and the Artist Diploma with High Distinction from Indiana University as a student of György Sebök. Other teachers include Adele Marcus, Gilbert Kalish, William Masselos and Christiane Sénart. He has been a Professor of Music at the University of Alberta since 2005.
Viktoria Reiswich-Dapp was born in Uzbekistan and grew up in Germany. Viktoria has been lauded for her “high-profile skills” (Frankfurter Neue Presse), her “enormous pianistic culture and exuberant expressive possession” (Badische Neueste Nachrichten), “…breathtaking suppleness…” (Pforzheimer Zeitung) and for being “... an impeccable soloist ...“ (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung).
Her artistry across a wide range of genres and styles has earned her recognition around the world. Viktoria has performed as soloist, with orchestras and in various chamber music formations in Canada, the U.S., Austria, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Turkey, Croatia and Uzbekistan, and has recorded CDs in Germany, Canada and Poland.
Besides winning numerous national and international prizes and scholarships, Viktoria is the first and only performer who has won the highest Canadian graduate scholarship, the prestigious Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship. Viktoria honed her skills at the University of Music in Karlsruhe, the University of Music Frankfurt/Main and the University of Alberta from where she holds a Doctor of Music degree in piano performance. Viktoria has extensive teaching and vocal coaching experience in three languages.
She currently teaches piano, vocal and instrumental chamber music, and piano literature at the University of Alberta.
Cristian Kasinski began his clarinet and musical experience at the age of 10 in school. His natural ability quickly led to private instruction at the Manitoba Conservatory of Music with instructor, Christopher Wolfe, where he developed his love for music.
While in high school, Cristian became a regular award winner at the Saskatchewan Music Festival, and he enjoyed playing with the South Saskatchewan Youth Orchestra where he became passionate about classical music. Cristian has studied with renowned clarinetists such as Nauom Gomon, James Campbell and Juaquin Valdpenas. In 2017, he competed in the International Clarinet Competition of Ghent in Belgium where he had the opportunity to study with world class artists such as Romain Guyot, Eddy Vanoosthuyse, Valdemar Rodriguez, Yuan Yuan and many others. Cristian was the winner of the University of Alberta Department of Music Concerto Competition in 2018 and the Northern Alberta Concerto Competition in 2019.
He will be graduating with his Bachelor of Music performance degree at the U of A this spring, concluding his studies with the principal clarinetist of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, Julianne Scott. He plays in the University of Alberta Symphony Orchestra, and is section leader of the Symphonic Wind Ensemble.
Chamber music is just as important to Cristian as solo performance. In summer 2018, Cristian and his chamber ensemble, the Adventure Trio, placed third at the National Music Festival in New Brunswick. Future studies will include a Master of Music degree in performance starting this fall with possible doctoral studies later on.