Victoria Composers Collective


Diane Berry  grew up in Toronto, starting piano lessons at age six and flute at 13.  She graduated from the music program at York University in 1982 and moved to Halifax to teach and play chamber music.  Since then she has lived in Sidney, B.C.; Suva, Fiji, Smithers, B.C. and now lives in Victoria.

In 2011 her piece “A Northern Winter’s Night” received an honorable mention in the International Association of Women in Music’s Search for New Music, and was premiered at Vancouver’s Sonic Boom in 2013. She has had works performed by the Erato Ensemble, the Turning Point Ensemble, SOCCO string quartet in Seattle, flutist Mark McGregor, the Maritime Brass Quintet,  members of the Milwaukee Symphony, the Kirkos Ensemble in Dublin, Ireland and many local Victoria performers.

In 2016, her piece for string quartet, “Chasing the Raven” was awarded second prize in the Seattle Composers Alliance call for scores.  Again in 2016, her piece “Ephemeral” was featured in the Hugh Davidson Readings by the  Victoria Symphony, and the Jean Coulthard Readings by the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.

In 2018, she was commissioned to write “Gaslight 1904” for Open Doors Milwaukee, then “October Blaze” in 2019 for the Whispering River Orchestra in Parry Sound, Ontario.

She has been an adjudicator for the composition class in the Greater Victoria Performing Arts Festival, and the Murray Adaskin Competition.

She is a member of the Association of Canadian Women Composers, the International Association for Women in Music, and the Canadian League of Composers.

Kristy Farkas is the Concert and Publicity Manager at the University of Victoria’s School of Music. She is also a composer, performer, fibre artist and photographer.

Her musical collaborations extend across Canada and Japan, and she frequently performs at A Place to Listen in Victoria. Composing mainly for solo instruments and chamber ensembles—with a penchant for collaborative, improvisational and site-specific projects—Kristy’s works have been presented by Redshift, Continuum, Vancouver New Music, The Music Gallery, and Open Space, among others.

Kristy completed a Master of Music in composition at the University of Victoria and a Bachelor of Music from Wilfrid Laurier University. Kristy has studied with composers Christopher Butterfield, Gordon Mumma, Peter Hatch and Linda C. Smith as well as pianist Jamie Parker.

Kimberley Farris-Manning is a versatile composer, accompanist and keyboard player (piano, organ, harpsichord). Her compositions have been performed nationwide, at Le mondial choral (Laval, Québec), the Kiwanis Highlights Concert (Ottawa, Ontario), and venues such as the University of Victoria. She is in her fourth year as organ scholar at the Church of St. John the Divine, and accompanies students at the University of Victoria where she is completing her Bachelor’s Degree of Music Composition.

Currently studying with Christopher Butterfield and Annette Brosin (composition), Eva Solar-Kinderman (piano), David Stratkauskas (organ), and Colin Tilney (harpsichord), Kimberley premiered her first new opera alongside a solo piano and harpsichord recital in March 2015 and most recently, the University of Victoria Orchestra read her double-flute concerto (March 2016).

Her interdisciplinary compositions explore how text and multimedia interact with music. Kimberley expands traditional harmonies and techniques, broadening the orchestral scope of sound and timbre. Kimberley’s graduation composition was performed in April 2017.

Adam Jasieniuk

Born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan Adam Jasieniuk studied Music at the University of Saskatchewan for two years before transferring to the University of Victoria in 2013. Adam currently studies saxophone with Mr. Wendell Clanton, and composition with Dr. John Celona.


Ava McCaw

From an early age Ava McCaw wanted to create music. A talented pianist, accompanist and aspiring composer, her passion is to ignite the desire and inspire the talent of music within people of all ages. A former student of the Conservatory of Music at Lakeland College, she pursued her passion for music at the Victoria Conservatory of Music  summer school where she completed the Royal Conservatory of Music Grade 10 piano exam with honours.

She returned to her grassroots in Lloydminster after completing a Bachelor’s of Music degree at the University of Victoria. She is a music festival veteran and performed at the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Arts Award Gala. She finds music to be a refuge, a source of strength, a way to communicate and an avenue of expression. Ava is excited to call Lloydminster her home once again as she continues to write music and customize lesson plans for her students.
She is passionate about piano and composition alike, and enjoys teaching students of all ages.

Jared Miller

Canadian-American composer Jared Miller’s music has been described as “playful” (New York Times), “hypnotic” (Sequenza 21), “phantasmagorical” (Lucid Culture) and “highly personal” (CBC Radio.) At age 26, he has worked with many ensembles both in North America and internationally including the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, the Juilliard Orchestra, the Contemporary Youth Orchestra, Latitude 49 Ensemble and the New York City Ballet’s Choreographic Institute.

His 2009 orchestral work 2010 Traffic Jam was commissioned by the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and has since been performed over two-dozen times. Recently, Miller’s orchestral work, Contrasted Perspectives was selected from over 400 scores to be publicly work-shopped in June 2014 by the American Composers Orchestra in New York as a part of the New York Philharmonic’s Biennial. He has won numerous awards for composition that include a 2012 ASCAP Morton Gould Award, the 2011/12 Juilliard Orchestra Competition and the 2011 SOCAN Competition for Young Composers. Upcoming events in the 2014/2015 and 2015/2016 seasons include premieres of commissioned works for the Attacca String Quartet, Latitude 49 Ensemble, The Victoria Symphony, Fifth House Ensemble, Tiresias and the Banff Centre.

Raised in Vancouver, Canada, Miller completed his undergraduate studies at the University of British Columbia in composition with Stephen Chatman and Dorothy Chang. He is currently a C.V. Starr Doctoral Fellow at the Juilliard School where he studies with John Corigliano and Samuel Adler. As of June 2014, he is also the Victoria Symphony’s composer-in-residence.

Sylvia Rickard, born in Toronto, May 19, 1937, moved to Victoria in April, 1948. There she studied piano with Della Johnston, then Grace Bailey, and theory with Cecilia McLean. Rickard received her B.A. from UBC in French and Russian language/culture, a minor in German, in 1959, where 1 elective course was theory/composition with Jean Coulthard. In 1959-6- Rickard spent a year of French studies at the University of Grenoble, earning a Certificat d’Études françaises, 2ième degré. 1961-63: Rickard pursued postgraduate studies in French at Stanford University, from where the birth of her daughter, Janine, took precedence over  the M.A. degree! After 14 months in India Rickard and daughter returned to Vancouver, where Sylvia began private composition lessons with Jean Coulthard.

In 1973 the Okanagan Composers’ Festival of Music awarded Rickard first prize open category for Ballet Sonatina for piano, now Estival. At this time Sylvia began her long career as composition adjudicator. She has been jury member of both the Canada Council and the B.C. Arts Council. More winning works and a CBC Radio commission enabled Rickard to gain a scholarship to the Banff Centre summer sessions, 1978-79. Banff offered the opportunity to write for instruments other than piano, and to introduce voice. In 1999 Taras and Gaelyne Gabora invited Rickard as first resident composer of the Oberlin in Casalmaggiore Music Festival. They commissioned Rickard to write a piece for them; soprano and violin, hence John Donne’s poem “Epithalamion”. They performed it in Victoria, BC,  Winnipeg, St. Louis and Oberlin. Another Gabora commission was “The Bells of Casalmaggiore”. Rickard has several works for unusual ensembles i.e. marimba and harp; 4 violas and contrabass; and soprano, tuned brandy snifters, viola and percussion. Her work is variously lyrical, humorous, dramatic, and poignant. Recently she has branched out into cabaret songs, French, German art songs and Russian choral music. Hungary, Sweden, Italy, Britain, Japan, USA and Canada have all hosted Sylvia Rickard’s music to date.

Alexander Simon

I was born in Iqaluit in 1986 and have since lived in Yellowknife, Calgary, Sudbury, Charlottetown, Halifax, St. John’s, Montreal and Victoria, where I am currently studying at UVic. Though I started music lessons at a young age, I took an extended break from the piano as a teenager, only to come back to it with a much greater interest and drive. Composition is a means of expression for me. It’s the most useful tool I have for expressing how I perceive myself and the environment. It’s meditation, emotion, narration, abstraction, connection. I cannot imagine doing anything else.

Janet Sit began her musical adventures at a piano bench. At a young age, she and her piano bench moved from Hong Kong to Toronto. She spent much time at her bench practicing preludes, fugues, sonatas. Janet went on to complete her B.Sc. in Zoology (U. Toronto) and spent hours on a lab stool with microscopes and specimens. She missed her piano bench terribly. After several stints including cutting deli meats and working at a raccoon relocation service, Janet returned to her bench for a B. Mus. in Composition (U. Toronto) with whales and shrews on her mind. Her M. Mus. studies at the University of Victoria included works related to marine creatures and an interactive sound installation. Her future projects include pieces for her first language (Cantonese) and explorations in installation works that combines her love of animals and music.