Nina is built with a core passion for wind ensemble direction. Having begun her conducting career at fifteen years of age—earning her the title of “youngest professional conductor in Canada”—she wasted no time on pursuing her goals. Her greatest aspirations took flight when she founded the GVYMA in 2011 at the age of nineteen, fulfilling her dream to launch an academy with a primary focus on band. Over the past six years the GVYMA has evolved into a thriving organization and it is projected to expand further in the coming seasons under her original vision, heading in the direction of becoming a conservatory for young musicians of the wind, brass and percussion genre. Her fundamental belief follows the words of Maestro Benjamin Zander: “the power of the conductor comes from making others powerful”.
Nina originally began her musical journey as a clarinetist, pianist and violinist. In post-secondary she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Music with a focus on secondary education, studying saxophone as her primary instrument with Dr. Julia Nolan. During her time at UBC Nina studied conducting under the baton of Dr. Robert Taylor, Director of the Symphonic Wind Ensemble and Professor of Conducting. Through her studies at UBC she did intensive research and wrote an Undergraduate Thesis on “Collective Creativity – Rehearsal Techniques for the Ultimate Wind Ensemble”. Recently she has returned to her research and is currently writing an updated thesis based on her six years of work with the GVYMA wind ensembles and jazz groups. She plans to pursue this research while studying conducting in her Graduate studies.
Over the years Nina’s career has interlocked with the Richmond Youth Orchestra, BCMEA Honor Band, Douglas College Dues Band, the Douglas College Night Band, the Douglas College Concert Band, UBC Sax Quartet, UBC Concert Winds, and the UBC Symphonic Wind Ensemble. A top music graduate from Killarney Secondary, a Vancouver school with over 1000 students in music, she went on to complete the Douglas College University Transfer program where she received the largest scholarship (The Henry Wack Scholarship) for her overall outstanding musicianship, academic achievement, and leadership skills demonstrated while attending. During her time at Douglas she served as the Woodwind Section leader for the concert band, assistant conductor to the Concert Choir, and double majored in Saxophone and Piano (studying with Colin Macdonald and Ellen Silverman). She also directed the Killarney off-timetable jazz band, which later that year she took on tour to play in the Victoria Day celebrations on the Island. Upon transferring to UBC, she became the UBC Concert Winds Student Assistant Conductor where she officially debuted on the Chan Centre Stage in 2012.
Nina currently works full time as a music teacher. She serves as the director of the GVYMA Symphonic Wind Ensemble, Concert Winds, and the recently relaunched Jazz Band while maintaining a full studio of 30 private lesson students. When she is not teaching she works as a professional collaborative pianist and accompanist. In her spare time she works as a coach for several chamber ensembles and has recently formed her own clarinet quartet.
GVYMA Coaches are an incredibly valuable part of our team. Our coaches play with our ensembles weekly, helping their sections learn and grow together. Our coaches are a combination of university students and music professionals.
Flute: Alice Hu
Clarinet: Kevin Woo
Trumpet: Nick Johnson
French Horn: Janelle Julian
Low Brass: Ryan Brodeur & Devon Atkinson
Percussion: Kaiya Gazley
String Bass: Angus Lam
Board of Directors
To contact the board: email@example.com
Our board of directors is the backbone of GVYMA. Their constant support and endless behind-the-scenes work is what makes GVYMA possible.
Jen Haddad- President
Dave Branter - Vice President
Kevin Woo - Treasurer
Alice Hu - Secretary
Angus Lam - Director & Webmaster
Lisa Kury - Director