Enjoy sounds of the symphony on the mountaintop with special performances by members of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. Take in the views from our outside Natural Amphitheater as you enjoy the live music.
Performers will play two identical sets to give more guests the opportunity to enjoy while maintaining physical distancing. There will also be marked spaced sitting areas on the grass which are the perfect spot to enjoy a picnic with your social bubble while listening to the performance.
SITKA STRING QUARTET
KAREN GERBRECHT - Violin
Karen began playing the violin at the age of three, influenced by four generations of musicians in her family. She studied at the Vancouver Academy of Music until leaving BC to pursue a post-secondary education at the North Carolina School of the Arts. Graduating first in her university class, Karen was awarded the single highest scholarship awarded by NCSA; the Sarah Graham Kenan Scholarship. After graduation, while performing as Associate Concertmaster of the Spoleto Festival Opera Orchestra (Spoleto, Italy) Karen was named Director of Chamber Music at Davidson College, (Davidson, NC) and remained in that post for two years until winning a position in the Vancouver Symphony, where she is Acting Principal Second Violin. As both a chamber musician and an orchestral player, Karen has performed throughout Europe, Canada, the US and Asia, and she continues to count traveling as one of her favorite pursuits. Since joining the VSO, Karen has been named a McBride Scholar at Bryn Mawr in Philadelphia and has twice attended the Banff Centre for the Arts as an Artist-in-Residence.
CASSANDRA BEQUARY - Violin
Cassandra Bequary, originally from Connecticut, began playing violin at the age of 5. She completed her undergraduate studies at Oberlin Conservatory where she worked primarily with Marilyn McDonald and Gregory Fulkerson. She then earned her Master of Music degree at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, studying with Ian Swensen, Mark Sokol, and Catherine Van Hoesen. Cassandra's orchestral and chamber music performances have brought her all over the world, including to festivals such as Thy Chamber Music, Round Top, Galluzzo International Chamber Music Festival, and Mendocino. Cassandra joined the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra's second violin section in 2016.
EMILIE GRIMES - Viola
Emilie Grimes has been an active orchestral and chamber musician since she first began playing the viola at age twelve. Originally from Ottawa, Ontario, she holds a Master of Music degree from The Juilliard School and a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Montréal. Her teachers have included Michael Tree, Steven Tenenbom, and Neal Gripp. Emilie has participated in numerous festivals including the Banff Centre Masterclasses, the Sarasota Music Festival, the NAC’s Summer Music Institute, the Domaine Forget Chamber Music Festival, and the Music Academy of the West. She has toured with the Schleswig-Holstein Festival Orchestra in Germany and served as Principal Viola of the National Youth Orchestra of Canada as a recipient of the orchestra’s Leadership Award. She has been featured in the My First NAC showcase, and has appeared on WQXR, New York City’s classical music radio station, playing Baroque viola with Juilliard’s historical performance ensemble. Emilie has been a member of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra since 2012 and was recently named the Assistant Principal Viola.
OLIVIA BLANDER - Cello
Originally from Ottawa, Olivia Blander completed her Master of Music degree at Yale University in the studio of professor Aldo Parisot. She received her Bachelor’s degree from the Harid Conservatory (Boca Raton, Florida) where she studied with Canadian cellist Johanne Perron. Olivia has appeared frequently as a soloist and chamber musician on CBC radio, including the nationally broadcast "Debut Series". She has been a participant in several major summer festivals including classes at the Banff Centre for the Arts, and the fellowship program of the Tanglewood Music Centre. After returning to Ottawa from the U.S. in 2000, Olivia enjoyed four months working with the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra and joined the Vancouver Symphony in September 2001.