2022 Clinicians

Senior/Intermediate Piano – Joseph Fridman
Junior/Beginner Piano – Diana Wiens
Strings – Murray Vaasjo
Winds – Raymond Baril
Voice – Maura Sharkey-Pryma
Creative Music – Dr. John Burge (via Zoom)

Senior/Intermediate Piano – Joseph Fridman, M.Mus., Piano Performance and Opera Directing

Joseph Fridman has earned two Master’s Degrees – as a pianist and opera director – both from the world-renowned St. Petersburg State Conservatory (Russia).
Prior to this he received a bachelor from the Kyiv (Ukraine) Music College. Joseph is a concert pianist, teacher, vocal coach, Opera director and accompanist. He performs in solo and chamber recitals and has been broadcast frequently on CBC Radio.

Joseph taught at the Schools for Musically Gifted Children of St. Petersburg and Kiev and the Pskov Music College, and performed with the St. Petersburg and Pskov Philharmonic Orchestras. Mr. Fridman served on the faculty of the Alberta College Conservatory of Music and the University of Alberta. He also worked as a repetiteur and diction coach at the Edmonton Opera and Opera Nuova.

He and his wife Tanya were producers, performers, and stage directors for “Musical Encounters”, a series of concerts for children combining instrumental and vocal music, theatre, puppetry and paintings.

Joseph lectures and gives masterclasses and workshops throughout Canada, Ukraine, Russia and the USA. He has taught at various summer schools such as: “Strings and Keys” (Bergen), Alberta College International Music Academy (Edmonton), “Vivo!” (Edmonton) and was a clinician at the CASSA (Calgary) Summer School. He has adjudicated a number of festivals and competitions, including the prestigious Canadian Music Competition (CMC) and Seattle Young Artists Music Festival (SYAMFA).

Mr. Fridman currently teaches at the Alberta Music Academy, which he and his wife Tanya founded in 2002. Joseph’s piano students have received first class honours and medals in RCM and Conservatory Canada Exams, first and second prizes in the Kiwanis Festival, Fall Festival and Northern Alberta Concerto Competition. Many of his students have continued their studies at prestigious institutions such as McGill University, University of Toronto and Juilliard School.

Junior/Beginner Piano – Diana Wiens

Diana Wiens was born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Music studies, which began at the age of seven, included piano instruction with Dr. Lyell Gustin of Saskatoon. Upon completing her Associate Degree in Piano Performance with the Royal Conservatory of Music, and graduating from the University of Saskatchewan, she taught elementary and junior high for three years before pursuing further music studies in Europe. During her five years in Germany, she studied, performed widely, and for the last two years instructed piano at the Nordwestdeutsche Musik -Akademie and at the University of Bielefeld. In 1974, she returned to Canada to accept a position on Music Faculty at the University of Guelph, Ontario. Here, she and her husband initiated the first applied music courses in piano and voice, both of which continue to be offered today. Since 1975 they have lived in Edmonton.

From 1988 – 2009, Diana Wiens was Adjunct Professor in the Music Department at Taylor University College in Edmonton; for 8 of those years she co-chaired the Department. She is in demand as an adjudicator and workshop clinician across Canada; festivals include the Kiwanis Music Festival of Greater Toronto, Vancouver Kiwanis Music Festival, and Provincial Music Festival final competitions in Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

Currently, Diana Wiens is artistic director and conductor of the Te Deum Singers, a community choir in Edmonton, Alberta. She was invited to conduct this choir in a performance of Mozart’s “Vesperae Solennes de Confessore” at Carnegie Hall, New York in April of 2020; unfortunately, Covid-19 cancelled those plans.

Strings – Murray Vaasjo, B. Mus., Violin Performance

Murray Vaasjo has recently retired after 30 wonderful years as a violinist with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra.  He continues to be active professionally as a chamber musician, a pit orchestra musician and a pedagogue in Edmonton and Strathcona County.  Murray is the founder and conductor of the Wye String Ensemble, an amateur string orchestra in Strathcona County celebrating their 20th year.

Murray was born and raised in Edmonton and attended the University of Alberta where he received a Bachelor of Music Degree.  He has been a member of the Okanagan Symphony, the Victoria Symphony, the Alberta Baroque Ensemble, the Arden Ensemble, the National Youth Orchestra of Canada and the Edmonton Youth Orchestra.  Murray’s teachers include Sally Thomas in Meadowmount, NY and Shirley Givens and Sidney Humphries in Victoria, BC.

Murray enjoys all sports and has recently taken up curling.  He is married to Elizabeth Koch, principal flutist with the Edmonton Symphony and has lived in Sherwood Park since 1993.

Winds – Raymond Baril

Raymond Baril is Associate Professor of Music and Head of Performance Studies in the Department of Music at MacEwan University. Recently, Raymond accepted the position as Director of Community Engaged Scholarship in the Office of Research Services at MacEwan. He is in his 23rd season as Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the Edmonton Winds and is in his 6th season as director of the River City Big Band. He has been Director of the MacEwan University Jazz Ensemble for 37 seasons. Raymond remains a much sought after national clinician and adjudicator as well as a featured guest speaker at music education conferences across the country.

Raymond was a regular member of the Tommy Banks Big Band for 25 years and has appeared with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra on numerous occasions as an orchestra member, soloist, and guest conductor.

Raymond holds a graduate degree in conducting from Northwestern University, undergraduate degrees in both performance and education from the University of Alberta. In 2018 Raymond was inducted in the Edmonton’s Cultural Hall of Fame. In 2016 he was recognized with a Distinguished Teaching Award from MacEwan University. In the past, he has been the recipient of many awards for his contribution to music and music education from the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, the Alberta Band Association, Edmonton Public Schools District Service Award and from Alberta Learning.

Voice – Maura Sharkey-Pryma

Mezzo Soprano Maura Sharkey Pryma has enjoyed teaching voice and performance artistry to young and mature singers for over 20 years. After 15 years of teaching at MacEwan’s University’s Conservatory of Music, she now holds a position as sessional instructor at MacEwan University’s Theatre Arts Program, and teaches privately in-person and online from Edmonton, Canada. With a cross-training studio that combines traditional pedagogy with 21st century musical theatre singing pedagogy, Maura strives to remove fear by taking risks and making noises, and cultivating greater awareness of physical sensations. She trains and mentors students in musical theatre, classical, contemporary commercial music, song interpretation, breathing and vocal techniques, basic physiology, aspects of voice and speech, and acting training. Besides teaching privately, she instructs a class called Learn English Through Singing (LETS), an in person and online 10-week course with a focus of learning English as an additional language through contemporary songs. Maura Sharkey-Pryma began voice study at the University of Alberta, receiving a Bachelors of Music (1997) and a Masters of Music (1999). She continued her operatic training at the Salzburg Mozarteum Sommerakademie (1997 & 1999) and with Canadian opera training intensives, Opera NOVA (1999 & 2000) and The Opera Project (2001 & 2003). In 2019, she earned certification of completion of the Vocal Pedagogy Professional Workshop Course at The Boston Conservatory at Berklee. In 2021, Maura successfully completed Level 3 Somatic Voicework™M training with The LoVetri Institute through Baldwin Wallace University. To that end, Maura still studies voice regularly, attends workshops, maintains a physical practice, and works on her own performance in order to best serve her students.

She has enjoyed a professional operatic career within Canada as well as the international stage. She is the 1998 winner of the Western Canadian Metropolitan Opera Council Auditions, a two-time award winner of the Johann Strauss Scholarship (1997, 1999), and recipient of the Anne Burrows Foundation Scholarship (2001). She also was proud to represent Canada at the Queen Elizabeth Music Competition in Belgium in 2004.

In addition to her work as a freelance vocalist, Maura proudly served on the Board of Directors of the Alberta Music Education Foundation (2011-2016), the joint planning committee of Music Conference Alberta (2011-2016) and the Association of Independent Music Teachers at Alberta College (2020-2022). She has also co-authored a book with her husband, Raymond, entitled, The Essential Music Recital Planner, a step-by-step customizable planner to assist music teachers and students in developing a successful recital. Maura is a proud member of the National Association of Teachers of Music (NATS), the Voice and Speech Trainers Association (VASTA), the Canadian Actors’ Equity Association (CAEA), the Alberta Registered Music Teachers’ Association (ARMTA), the Canadian Music Festival Adjudicators’ Association (CMFAA) and the Alberta Music Education Foundation (AMEF).

Creative Music – Dr. John Burge

Dr. John Burge (b.1961) holds degrees in Composition and Theory from the University of Toronto and the University of British Columbia.  He obtained his Associate Diploma of the Royal Conservatory of Music in Piano Performance while still in high school in Calgary.  Since 1987 he has been teaching at the recently renamed Dan School of Drama and Music, Queen’s University, where he holds the position of Full Professor.

A prolific composer of solo, chamber, choral and orchestral music, he has also composed an opera and finds himself increasingly drawn to music for the theatre.  Academic honours include a Queen’s University Prize for Excellence in Research in 2013 and, for both his success as a composer and service to the Arts in Canada, he was elected to the Royal Society of Canada in 2014. 

A Juno-winning composer with a large number of works for choir and orchestra, his music is regularly performed across Canada and internationally.  He is a member of the Red Leaf Pianoworks’ composers collective, and a number of his piano compositions can be found on conservatory syllabi. 

A passionate advocate for Canadian music, he was a member of the Executive Council of the Canadian League of Composers for fourteen years, holding the position of President from 1998-2006 and currently sits on the SOCAN Foundation board.  Burge enjoys working with young musicians and is in demand as a music festival adjudicator in the areas of piano and composition.  For more information do check out: www.johnburge.ca