Andrew Crust, Associate Conductor
Andrew Crust has developed a versatile international career as a conductor of orchestral, opera, ballet and pops programs. Currently serving as the Associate Conductor of the Vancouver Symphony in Canada, Andrew conducts a large number of subscription, pops, educational and contemporary concerts with the VSO each season. Andrew is the newly-appointed Music Director of the Lima Symphony Orchestra beginning in the 20/21, where he programs and conducts the Grand Classics, Pops and Educational series, featuring such soloists as Awadagin Pratt, Amit Peled and Katherine Jolly.
In the current and upcoming seasons Andrew will debut with the Arkansas and Vermont Symphonies as Music Director finalist, and with the San Diego Symphony and Calgary Philharmonic as a guest conductor. Other recent engagements include performances with the Winnipeg Symphony, Memphis Symphony, Hartford Symphony, Bozeman Symphony and l’Orchestre de la Francophonie in Québec.
Andrew is a 2020 winner of the Solti Foundation US Career Assistance Award. In 2017 he was awarded first prize at the Accademia Chigiana by Daniele Gatti, receiving a scholarship and an invitation to guest conduct the Orchestra di Sanremo in Italy. He was a semi-finalist for the Nestlé/Salzburg Festival’s Young Conductors Award competition, and was selected by members of the Vienna Philharmonic as a winner of the Ansbacher Fellowship, with full access to all rehearsals and performances of the Salzburg Festival.
Andrew is equally at ease in the pit, having conducted ballet with Ballet Memphis and the New Ballet Ensemble, and opera with Opera McGill, College Light Opera Company, Boulder Opera Company, and others. As a Pops conductor, Andrew has collaborated with such artists as Rufus Wainwright, Steven Page, Michael Bolton, Cirque de la Symphonie, and the United States Jazz Ambassadors. Andrew has also established himself as a conductor of films with orchestra.
Andrew served as Assistant Conductor of the Memphis Symphony Orchestra from 2017-2019 where he conducted around forty concerts each season. He stepped in last minute for a successful subscription performance featuring Bernstein’s Serenade with violinist Charles Yang. Andrew also served as Conductor of the Memphis Youth Symphony Program. As the Assistant Conductor of the Portland Symphony Orchestra in Maine from 2016-2018, he conducted a variety of concert series, helped coordinate the orchestra’s extensive educational programs, and helped lead a program for concertgoers under 40 called “Symphony and Spirits”.
Crust was the Assistant Conductor of the National Youth Orchestra of the USA (NYO-USA) in the summers of 2017 and 2018, assisting Michael Tilson Thomas on an Asian tour, as well as Giancarlo Guerrero, Marin Alsop and James Ross at Carnegie Hall and in a side-by-side performance with the Philadelphia Orchestra. He has also served as Cover Conductor of the Kansas City Symphony, San Diego Symphony and Nashville Symphony, Assistant/Cover Conductor of the Boulder Philharmonic and Assistant Conductor of Opera McGill.
Abroad, he has led concerts with the Orchestra Giovanile Italiana in Italy, Hamburger Symphoniker at the Mendelssohn Festival in Germany, the Moravian Philharmonic in the Czech Republic and the Orquesta Sinfónica de Chile in Santiago.
As an arranger/orchestrator, Andrew is currently working with Schirmer to make orchestrations of a set of Florence Price’s art songs, has orchestrated works by Alma Mahler and Prokofiev, as well as many pops and educational selections.
Andrew is dedicated to exploring new ways of bringing the classical music experience into the 21st century through innovative programming and marketing, creating community-oriented and socially-sensitive concert experiences, and utilizing social media and unique venues. Andrew is a firm believer in meaningful music education, having produced and written a number of original educational programs with orchestras.
Bonnie Stewart, Flamenco Dancer
Bonnie has trained extensively in flamenco, tap, ballet, jazz and modern. She holds a degree in Theatre from the University of British Columbia and a Teacher’s degree from SFU for Dance and Dramatic Arts. She has toured provincially and nationally and has performed for celebrities and royalty.
Bonnie has had the opportunity to study flamenco in Spain and North America. She has studied with some of Spain’s greatest flamenco artists: Farruquito, Alicia Marques, Blanca del Rey, Juana Amaya, Joaquin Grilo, as well as North America artists: La Tanya, Sabas Santos, Oscar Niento, Rosario Ancer and the late Victor Kolstee.
Bonnie appeared in Vancouver’s International Flamenco Festivals (VFF) between 2004 and 2018. In spring 2015, she appeared in the International Dance Day short film directed by film maker Jason Karman. Bonnie has been a soloist for Flamenco Rosario’s Cuadro Series. She performed at the Carnival del Sol 2016, 2015 and Latin Festival 2014, 2015 and 2019. In 2018, she was part of the Nueva York Flamenco Festival Flash Mob Opener. Bonnie performed with prima ballerina Evelyn Hart, in Pacific Dance Arts’ “Art in Motion” 2013. She performed in the Jondo Festival 2012 and was Artist in Residence for Crimson Coast Dance Society’s BodyTalk Project and the InFRinGinF Dance Festival 2013.
Bonnie is member of Flamenco Rosario, Co-founder/instructor for Vancouver Flamenco Collective, teaches at Vanleena Dance Academy and Flamenco Rosario. She has taught for Arts Umbrella, Anna Wyman School of Dance Arts and Centro Flamenco. Bonnie was a regular performer at both Kino Café and at Chai. She is excited to be performing with the VSO.
Marek Wojtaszek, Flamenco Guitarist
Marek Wojtaszek (aka Marekito) developed his style and knowledge under the guidance of Victor Kolstee at Centro Flamenco (Vancouver) and Ruben Diaz (Malaga). He has also studied and performed with other influential flamenco figures such as Rosario Ancer, Manuel Lozano "El Carbonero", Jesus Montoya and Sabas Santos.
Since 2003, Marekito has been an accompanist at numerous dance schools including Centro Flamenco, Karen Flamenco, and Anna Wyman School of Dance Arts. In 2009 he formed a flamenco group La Triana.
Marekito's sound is very much influenced by following the music of great musicians such as Paco de Lucia, Antoio Rey, and Moraito and Diego del Morao. His sound emotional, passionate, melodic, modern and yet deeply rooted in flamenco tradition.
Currently, Marekito is an accompanist at Karen Flamenco Dance School and performs regularly with the Karen Flamenco Dance Company. You can often see him at Chai Lounge (East Is East), 4433 Main Street, Vancouver, on Friday nights.
Aniria Sanz, Spanish Host & Tour Manager
Aniria Sanz Menendez-Ormaza is our guest host for today's concert, and you might recognize her from her regular appearances at the Orpheum's Gift Shop! Yes, her name really is that long. and it could continue endlessly, as in Spain a person's name consists of a given name followed by several surnames. First, the father's first surname; second, the mother's first surname; then, the paternal grandfather's first surname; then, etc. But for practical reasons, only two surnames are used.
Aniria comes from a little town in Northern Spain and a musical family. She grew up running around the capital city's Opera Hall seeing her father work as a conductor. It was then that she developed a love for backstages, classical music and musical people. That drove her to focus her career on a variety of classical music organizations and she has worked for piano competitions, summer festivals, conservatories and finally, the VSO.
Aniria moved to Scotland to study a Masters in Festival and Events Management when she was 23 years old and since then, has lived on two different continents. What she misses most about Spain is, of course, her family and little dog, Bruma, but second to that, the food. She has tried a couple of different Spanish restaurants in Vancouver, but they rarely live up to her expectations. Instead, she satisfies the yearning of her native food by cooking lots of Spanish dishes at home.
Vancouver Symphony Orchestra
Founded in 1919, the Grammy and Juno-award winning Vancouver Symphony Orchestra is the third largest orchestra in Canada, the largest arts organization in Western Canada, and one of the few orchestras in the world to have its own music school.
Led by Music Director Otto Tausk since 2018, the VSO performs more than 150 concerts each year, throughout Vancouver and the province of British Columbia, reaching over 270,000 people annually. On tour the VSO has performed in the United States, China, Korea and across Canada.
The orchestra presents passionate, high-quality performances of classical, popular and culturally diverse music, creating meaningful engagement with audiences of all ages and backgrounds.
Recent guest artists include Daniil Trifonov, Dawn Upshaw, James Ehnes, Adrianne Pieczonka, Gidon Kremer, Renée Fleming, Yefim Bronfman, Itzhak Perlman, Bernadette Peters, Tan Dun, and more.
For the 2020-21 season the VSO has created the innovative streaming service TheConcertHall.ca, a virtual home for a virtual season, where more than forty performances will be released throughout the year.