Guest Musicians

Hiroshi Yamaguchi

Hiroshi Yamaguchi – tsugaru shamisen (Japanese banjo) (Bang Danjos 2013)

At the age of 4, Hiroshi began his musical studies with his father Koji Yamaguchi and later studied Tsugaru Shamisen under the tutelage of Katsuhiro Chiba. He began placing and winning National concour competitions at a young age. In 2001 he graduated with a graduate degree from the Department of Traditional Japanese Music in the Faculty of Music at Tokyo Geijutsu Digaku. Since then he has toured internationally performing for several high profile audiences such as playing Tate Shamisen for the Imperial prince, Mikasanomiya Takahito, and performing at the 10th Asian Art Festival at Zhengzhou in Henan Province in China. He released his 1st album “Kuro Maru” collaborating with western instruments and it was premiered at the “World Music Week 2011” in Beijing, China. For more information please visit his website.


Barbara Vargas

Barbara Vargas – tap dancer (Bang Danjos 2013)

Barbara started dancing at the age of three. A seed was planted and it grew into a passion that has taken her to many great places of the world. She has been blessed to perform in Edmonton’s International Feats Festival, Crazy for You, Joseph and His Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat, and White Christmas to name a few. She has also coproduced two shows that she is very proud of, one being in Edmonton’s International Fringe Festival. For more information, please visit Vancouver Tap Dance Society.


Dayna Szyndrowski

Dayna  Szyndrowski – tap dancer (Bang Danjos 2013)

Dayna has been fortunate enough to spend time across Canada, the US, Cuba, Spain, and Greece performing and studying with many tap and music greats, and passing on what she has learned as a teacher to all ages and levels. Performances have included Dances for a Small Stage 28 & 29, the Toronto Rhythm Initiative’s Nina & Joni shows, the Tap Ahead Festival in Germany, Astrolabe Musik Theatre’s NEWmatica, the Vancouver Folk Festival, the NYC & Vancouver tap festivals, the Vancouver & Boston Tap Day celebrations, the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Opening Ceremonies, Greece’s Bridges in Time performance, the Zante Jazz Festival, and the Edmonton Fringe Festival. In 2011, Dayna co-produced With You We Dance in Seattle with fellow tap dancer Jessie Sawyers, and produced her own show with an incredible roster of artists paying tribute to Miles Davis in Miles To Feet in Vancouver. At home, she organizes the Kino Jam sessions filling the Vancouver venue with a warm community of dancers and musicians eager to share. For more information, please visit her website.


Barbara Kozicki

Barbara Kozicki – Improviser (Speaking Strings Utter Things 2013)

Barbara is a graduate of UBC’s BFA Acting Program and a member of both Vancouver TheatreSports Rookie League and The Fictionals. She is also one of the top Poi Performers in Western Canada (Poi is a traditional dance of New Zealand and in 2007 she traveled there to study the traditional style). Barbara is also one of the best Marilyn Monroe impersonators you will ever meet. You can follow Barbara on Twitter.


Daniel Chai

Daniel Chai – Improviser (Speaking Strings Utter Things 2013)

Daniel is the co-founder, producer and Artistic Creator of The Fictionals and has been improvising since 2008. He is the mastermind behind the hit interactive comedy show “Improv Against Humanity” (debuting at The Rio Theatre on Wednesday, June 19th), as well as the weekly comedy programming at Cafe Deux Soleils (every Tuesday night). As well as The Fictionals, Daniel has shared the stage with some of the finest comedy companies in town, including Vancouver TheatreSports League, Second Storey Theatre and Instant Theatre. He enjoys using stage time to bring laughter to the masses while letting out the creative soul within him. You can follow Daniel on Twitter.


(Guest Artist from Taps and Twang 2012)

Danny Nielsen is one of Canada’s brightest rising young tap talents. Originally from Calgary, AB, he began his rhythm tap career as a founding member of MADD Rhythms Canada under the direction of Lisa La Touche.

Over the last year, Danny has emerged onto the international tap scene, making his presence felt internationally. He has taught for distinguished dance festivals and conventions such as Chicago Human Rhythm Project, Triple Threat, DC Tap Fes, Brasil Tap Jazz to name a few. Television credits include the worldwide broadcast of the 2010 Winter Olympics Opening Ceremonies and the opening number for the 2008 Jerry Lewis Telethon choreographed by Chloe Arnold in Las Vegas, NV.

William Fan

William W.X.Fan – cello (Transformations Concert 2013)

William graduated from the Shanghai Conservatory of Music in China. He is a former principal cellist in the Shanghai Broadcasting Symphony Orchestra. After immigrating to Canada to play in the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, he was invited to join the West Coast Symphony and the New Westminster Symphony Orchestra as a soloist in a large concerto collaboration under. Mr. Fan Wanxiang. He performs for community events and charities as well in addition to teaching, he also operates a retail and wholesale business Strings world piano violin.


Timothy Stacey – bass (Transformations Concert 2013)

Tim began playing music early on in Trinidad where he played steel pan, cuatro, guitar and bass. After returning to Canada, he studied music at the University of Victoria, York University and the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. He has played and recorded with numerous orchestral ensembles, musical theatre productions and jazz groups. Some of these include the Vancouver Intercultural Orchestra, B.C. Chinese Orchestra, the Vancouver Island Symphony Orchestra, the Victoria Symphony, Ballet B.C., Hagood Hardy, Dame Vera Lynn, Dal Richards Orchestra, Michael Buble and Michael Kaeshammer. Tim has teaches bass at the Langley Community Music School and coaches the LCMS Jazz Ensemble as well as backing up the LCMS fiddlers.

Woliu Pan — percussion (Transformations Concert 2013)

A graduate of the Central Conservatory of Music, Mr. Pan majored in percussion. He has engaged as musician, conductor and administrator in various national troupes and orchestras including Central Ballet Troupe, Central Philharmonic Orchestra and many other groups including Beijing opera. He is a member of Central Arts Council, China Percussion Society, and adjudicator of Central Artistic Board. Being appointed as national 1st rank musician, he has toured around the world performing internationally.

Len Pearson – percussions (Transformations Concert 2013)

Len Pearson is an active freelance percussionist, having performed with the Vancouver Opera Orchestra, Vancouver Symphony, CBC Orchestra, Sinfonia of the North Shore, Abbotsford Symphony, and Royal Winnipeg Ballet Orchestra. He is comfortable playing in many different genres and has participated in Chinese music ensembles for many years. Len also teaches percussion privately in the lower mainland.


Charlie Lui — dizi (Chinese Flute)

Charlie Grew up in a musical family, he studied the cello under his father Ki Ling Lui (呂페嶺) since 1988. In 1995, his interest for Chinese music took over, and the dizi (Chinese bamboo flute) became his primary focus. Charlie moved to Vancouver with his family in 1996 and started to study the dizi intensively with Mr. Jian Min Pan (탸쉔츠). In 2000, he traveled to China to study with dizi virtuoso Mr. Wei-Yu Tan (譚謂淘), professor of Shanghai Conservatory of Music. Charlie has won multiple awards at the Kiwanis Music Competition in Vancouver. In addition to the dizi, Charlie masters a wide range of Chinese wind instruments, including modified chi-ba, xiao, xun, koudi, paixiao, bawu, and hulusi. Charlie is the principal dizi player and general director of the BC Chinese Music Orchestra. As a soloist, Charlie has performed numerous dizi concerti: 鷓鴣飛、쉭켓뉴、컨췽劤멱、해뇽曷懷、닷短親훙. He is a member of the Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra. In 2008, Charlie is a co-founded of Pentatonics with a number of young Chinese instrumentalists performing a unique repertoire of original and lively renditions of Chinese, fusion and popular music.

Nick Hornbuckle – Bluegrass Banjo (Taps and Twang Concert, Bang Danjos)
“I got infected with banjo fever,”

Now British Columbia-based, Nick Hornbuckle finds his earliest keyboard lessons and his rocker past still have bearing on his influences. He is also a student of old-time music, which informs his unique playing style: a two-finger blend of modal, clawhammer technique and Scruggs-style bluegrass rolls showcased on all the Jaybirds’ recordings.

As the Los Angeles Daily News says of his banjo work in a recent review of Stellar Jays: “Downright spine-tingling.”


Dr. Jan Walls – Master of Ceremony

After completing his B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Chinese and Japanese languages and literatures, Dr. Walls began his academic career teaching Chinese language and East Asian cultures. In September, 1987, he joined Simon Fraser University, where he founded and directed the David Lam Centre for International Communication until his retirement. He was also Founding Director of SFU’s Asia-Canada Program, an interdisciplinary minor or intensive minor program for undergraduate students. He retired from university in 2006, after 36 years of teaching Chinese language and East Asian cultures. He was a founding member of the Board of Directors of the David Lam Institute for East-West Studies at Hong Kong Baptist University, and has been a director of the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Classical Chinese Garden Society, S.U.C.C.E.S.S., and the Tzu Chi Education Foundation.  He serves on the Government of British Columbia’s Multicultural Advisory Council, and on the Chinese Community Advisory Group for the Lower Mainland B.C. Canadian Red Cross Society, and is currently a director of the Canadian Society for Asian Arts and the Chinese Canadian Historical Society of British Columbia. He has also contributed as MC to a series of Vancouver Chinese Music Ensemble concerts called Around the World.

He was a founding member of the Board of Directors of the David Lam Institute for East-West Studies at Hong Kong Baptist University, and has been a director of the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Classical Chinese Garden Society, S.U.C.C.E.S.S., and the Tzu Chi Education Foundation.  In 1992 he was awarded the Confederation Medal, honoring Canadians who have made a significant contribution to their fellow citizens, to their community or to Canada.  He serves on the Government of British Columbia’s Multicultural Advisory Council, and on the Chinese Community Advisory Group for the Lower Mainland B.C. Canadian Red Cross Society.  Since retirement he has been President of the Canadian Society for Asian Arts; co-President of the Vancouver Asian Heritage Month society (ExplorAsian); a director of the Chinese Canadian Historical Society of British Columbia; a director of iSTOP (Institute for the Study and Treatment of Pain); and Honorary Advisor to the Chinese Canadian Writers Association, the Chinese Canadian Artists Federation, the Goh Ballet Academy and the Chuen Ying Arts Centre.

王健博士是西門菲沙大學的榮休教授,是SFU林思齊國際交流中心的創辦主任,也是亞州-加拿大課程組的創辦主任。 他在 UBC (1970-1978), UVic (1978-1985), 和 SFU (1987-2006) 曾教過中國語文等課,又參加過三校的亞州語文課程創辦與發展。 1981-1983年間,他在加拿大駐華大使館當文化/科學一等秘書, 1985-1987年做加拿大亞太基金會的創會副會長,發展了他門的文化與教育事務的項目組。退休後他當BC 省政府多元文化顧問組的顧問, 加拿大亞洲藝術協會會長, 溫哥華亞洲文化節協會理事, BC加華歷史協會理事, iSTOP (止疼研究/治療學院) 理事, Goh 芭蕾舞學院顧問,中山公園顧問,華人作家協會, 華人藝術家協會, 吳祖捷芭蕾學院, 傳音藝術中心等民辦組織的名譽顧問.

Michael O’Neill  – Scottish Pipes
(Pipers Air Supply Concert)
Michael is a composer-musician originally from the Shaganappi Escarpment area near the Bow River in Alberta. He studied with Gilles Tremblay in Montréal, and with Martin Bartlett, Rudolf Komorous and Barry Truax at SFU, where he obtained his MFA. He is a founding member of Gamelan Madu Sari and performs both Javanese gamelan and Balinese gender wayang. His composition Lessons of the Garden: Forest and Field for Sundanese gamelan and harmonically adapted bagpipe was performed by the Evergreen Club Gamelan at the Newfoundland Sound Symposium. “Lessons of the Garden: Gate Path Waterway” appears on Gamelan Madu Sari’s New Nectar CD, and he co-created the intercultural shadow plays Semar’s Journey and Semar in Lila Maya. Michael also performs with and composes for Maja Gender, a Vancouver/Winnipeg gender wayang quartet, as well as his own highland bagpipe ensemble Mearingstone. His recording of new music for bagpipes and percussion, Ontophony, was released in 2006 on Songlines. He has also written works for bass clarinetist Lori Freedman, Winnipeg’s Stirling Pipe Band, Silk Road Music, poet Sheri-D Wilson, Vancouver Chinese Music Ensemble, Simon Fraser University Pipe Band, and choreographers Crystal Pite and Karen Jamieson. He was Project director and contributing composer in Gamelan Madu Sari’s recent work Marathonologue, which was presented in the 2010 Cultural Olympiad. His composition ‘Bonessongs’ appears on Gamelan Madu Sari’s Hive CD, and he is presently working on two gamelan related projects: Beledrone, for processional gamelan and bagpipes, and Ventriloquial Investigations.

Amarjeet Singh – Indian Drum
(Fiddles Around the World Concert)
Director of NAAD- Centre for Perfroming & Visual Arts- Surrey BC Amarjeet Singh received Masters in Musicology specializating in Tabla from the Gandharava College of Music New Delhi. Taught by Ustad Thakur Kishan Singh ji and later Bhai Baleep Singh and Capt. Gunwant Singh,Amarjeet Singh won many laurels such as the “Sangeet Bhushan (Music jewel)” award from the Education Department of Rajasthan and was the Scholarship winner from “Music and Drama Academy of Rajasthan”. He was nominated as the Cultural Ambassador by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) to teach and perform Tabla in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, Russia. He has taught at the Music and Fine Arts University of Delhi, India. Furthermore, he has performed and accompanied renowned international artists all over the world in Music and Dance festivals in Uzbekistan, Germany, USA and Canada.

Baljeet Singh – Dilruba
(Fiddles Around the World Concert)
Composer, performer and teacher, Baljeet Singh learned the Dilruba from Prof. Avtar Singh and was also trained by Ustad Piara Singh padam. A melodious instrumental Dilruba player, Baljeet Singh has taught many students from India and Canada. He has performed in various music concerts in India, New Zealand, USA, and across Canada. He is presently working as teacher and performer at the Guru Nanak Academy in Surrey BC.

Tom Neville – Fiddle
(Fiddles Around the World Concert)
Tom’s playing offers up a wide variety of musical tastes: Folk, blues, pop, jazz, country and ethnic flavours performed in many varied settings. He has played on numerous recording sessions for film, commercials and on many album projects. In 2001 he released his first solo CD, “Highly Strung”, a collection of original and traditional material featuring many of the finest musicians and singers in British Columbia. Some of his Career highlights include a Command performance for the Duke and Duchess of Kent at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa (backing Joelle Rabu), performing with Danny Kaye and the Peking Pops Orchestra at Expo 86, and recording and performing with Juno Award winner James Kellaghan. Tom can often be found performing with: Joelle Rabu, Joe Stanton and The precious littles, Murray Boal, Colleen Eccleston, Babe Gurr, The Wheat in the Barley and The Hot Club of Mars. For more information please visit Toms myspace page.

John Oliver – Guitarist, Composer
(Plucking Strings Concert, Transformations, Taps and Twang)
Vancouver-born John Oliver began his musical studies with the guitar at the age of 8, studying classical guitar with Robert C. Jordan. Oliver went on to the San Francisco Conservatory of Music where he studied guitar with George Sakellariou and composition with John Adams. During 1988/89 Oliver won six prizes for his compositions, including the Grand Prize at the CBC Young Composers’ Competition. Since then he has been commissioned to write music for leading Canadian ensembles (Vancouver Symphony, Canadian Opera Company, National Arts Centre Orchestra, St. Lawrence String Quartet and others). The Little Giant Chinese Orchestra (Taiwan) has commissioned Oliver to write a major work for performance in the coming season. Oliver’s music has been performed in North America, Asia and Europe. Oliver holds a doctorate degree in composition from McGill University.For more info please visit his website.

約翰.奧利弗 – 迷笛吉他
溫哥華音樂家奧利弗主要從事電聲音樂的創作和演奏。他堅持音樂要與聽眾共鳴的創作理念,多年來潛心創作出多首動聽的旋律。1988、1989年間,他更是 榮膺六項音樂大獎,獲獎的五首曲目涉及古典,管弦樂和電聲音樂等多個領域。也是從那時開始,很多主流樂團邀請他譜曲。他也曾以作曲家兼吉他手的身份在世界 範圍內巡演。他擅長使用迷笛吉他,并廣受贊譽。他獨特的演奏風格使他受邀參與了多張CD的錄制。

Bic Hoang – Dan Bau
(Plucking Strings Concert 2011)
Bic Hoang is an exceptional vocalist, arranger and multi-instrumentalist. She specializes on the dan bau and a number of rare instruments from Vietnam’s rural and mountainous regions including the t’rung (bamboo xylophone), k’longput (percussion tubles), and koni. Bic has toured internationally both as a solo artist and with the Khac Chi Bamboo Music. Bic began studying music at age 8, attending the Hano Music and Arts College for 5 years. Then she entered the Hanoi National Conservatory of Music in 1979. Teaching full time, Bic is an active performer, and was the first woman to receive the First Prize for performing on the dan bau in the 1988 Vietnam Competition of Professional Instrumentalists. In 1989, she won the Golden Award at International Folk Festival of World Youth 13th in North Korea, and she also credited with being the first woman to perform on the Koni. For more information, please visit the Khac Chi website.

Neelamjit Dhillon – Sitar
(Plucking Strings Concert)
Neelamjit Dhillon is a professional musician equally versed in both Eastern and Western traditions. He obtained a Bachelor of Music degree in Jazz Studies from Capilano University and has also completed a Bachelor of Education degree in Secondary Music Education from the University of British Columbia. He is currently pursuing his masters in tabla performance at the California Institute of the Arts. Neelamjit has had the fortunate opportunity to work with some great names in jazz such as Bob Mintzer, Kurt Elling, Nenna Freelon and Cedar Walton. He has also had the distinction of working with some of India’s finest such as Louiz Banks, Fazal Qureshi, Rakesh Chaurassia and Taufiq Qureshi. This firm rooting in two distinct styles gives Neelamjit a unique perspective into the universality of music. For more information please visit the birds of paradox website.

Grace Jong Eun Lee – Kayagum (Korean Zither)
(Stringing Zithers Concert)

Grace Jong Eun Lee is a composer and a performer dedicated to inter-culturalism. She received her Bachelor of Music and Master of Music from the University of British Columbia in Piano and Composition.  Currently, she teaches the Kayagum (Korean Zither) and new Korean music as well as directs and performs in the School of Music Korean Ensemble at the Vancouver Community College. She is also an Associate composer of the Canadian Music Centre. Her compositions have been performed worldwide in reknowned galleries, churches and concert halls. Her interest in playing both traditional and contemporary music and composing for the Kayagum began in Canada. Her compositions reflect a combination of Korean, Chinese (Erhu) and Western instruments (flute, clarinet, piano, string and percussion). She is strongly influenced by the sounds of nature and often uses them in her works to convey an East Asian sense of space and emptiness.

Kozue Matsumoto – Koto (Japanese Zither)
(Stringing Zithers Concert)
Born and raised in the Tohoku area in Japan Kozue has played koto since she was 3 years old. Her koto is always near her. Kozue says “the koto is in a way a part of my body.”
She also plays shamisen and shinobue. Kozue believes that music animates moments in our world. Kozue has performed at many shows, including the Powell Street Festival, the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival, and other intercultural community events. For more information, please visit



Richard Cheung – cello
Born into a musical family, Richard has studied the cello and piano since childhood. He studied the cello under professor Ding Fu Xiang and Fu Xian Lu of the Sichuan Conservatory. In 1980, he joined the Sichuan Film Symphony Orchestra of the Urban Council as the Assistant Principal cellist. He has performed with the orchestra in many major concerts in Hong Kong and overseas and has been invited to perform in Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, Canada and China. Richard was invited to perform as the Principal cellist in Hong Kong Symphony Orchestra, the Hong Kong Sinfonietta Orchestra and the Pan Asia Symphony Orchestra.


Chai Man Cheng – dizi (Chinese flute)
Chai Man Cheng is one of the most renowned Chinese musicians in Vancouver today. He emigrated from Hong Kong to Canada in 1994, in 1997 forming Chuen Ying Arts Centre, a non profit cultural arts organization in Vancouver with Chuen Ying Cheng. Since then, he has actively been involved with community events aimed at preserving traditional arts and promoting multiculturalism. Every year, the Centre presents professional music concerts generating universal respect and support. Mr. Cheng is the first Chinese musician to receive a collaborative invitation from the Gateway Theatre to produce a series of seasonal concerts entitled The Ethnic Music Series (1999-2000). He also produced a number charity concerts for organizations such as United Way of the Lower Mainland, Richmond Hospital Foundation and the We Love British Columbia: Heart to Heartlands Fire Relief Action; and in doing so, expanded the role of music in society and adapted its functions to suit current surroundings. His performance record covers Europe, North America, and several countries and regions of Asia. He has held positions in the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra for 17 years, where he performed as principal Flutist as well as Conductor of community orchestras. Newspapers have praised him as this generation’s “King of Bamboo Flutists” and “Supreme Talent of the South”, and he has been honored with the “Hong Kong Artist of the Year Award”. Chinese and Western orchestras with whom he has performed or cooperated include: the China Central Philharmonic, the BBC Orchestra of Wales, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, the Taiwan United Experimental Orchestra and other famous orchestras in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macao, the Chinese Mainland, and Singapore. In 1988 he was the first overseas Chinese musician to accept an invitation to give a solo concert at the Beijing Music Hall. Since 1986 he has made frequent performance tours in Taiwan, and receives positive reviews wherever he appears. Mr. Cheng’s eminent artistic abilities placed him in the Cambridge Biographies of International Celebrities very early on and reserved him seating in the American Celebrity Association. He currently serves as Honorary Director of the China Nationalities Orchestra, Business Director of the Chinese Wind Music Research Society of the Chinese Musicians Association, as well as Chairman of its Overseas Office, Assistant Chairman of the Shanghai Jiangnan.


Peggy TongPeggy Tong – bass
Peggy Tong
was born in 1977 in Ping-Ting Taiwan. Her musical tutelage began at the age of six and led to studies at a specialized secondary school for the arts. Ms. Tong moved to Vancouver in 1996 and continued her studies with Kenneth Friedman of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. Peggy Tong became dedicated to promoting the double bass as a solo instrument in 2000 as a result of her studies with international bass soloist Gary Karr. Ms. Tong holds a Masters degree in performance from the University of British Columbia from which she has received several scholarships. She will continue her quest for a concert career.

出生於台灣屏東市的童俊琪六歲開始她的音樂生涯。從國小到藝術中學,一路展現不可忽視的天份。96年師從溫哥華交響樂團低音提琴首席Mr. Kenneth Friedman。之後致力於推廣低音提琴獨奏,並得到國際知名低音提琴獨奏家Mr. Gary Karr的賞識。童俊琪擁有UBC演奏碩士學位,曾是Prince George 交響樂團的首 席低音提琴手,亦為不少大溫哥華地區的本地樂團演奏。

Lily Liu
Lily Liu a performing artist who graduated from the Jiangsu Conservatory of Music. Her name is listed in “Ten Well-Known People of Vancouver” and has been a leading actor in several films in Hong Kong. Music lovers have always enjoyed her wonderful shows. She has won the acclaim of many celebrated musicians at home and abroad.