Wye String Ensemble

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Promoting Culture in the Community 
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The Wye String Ensemble


Coming September 9 - 12, 2021, Van Es Camp and Conference Centre







Click here for String Music Camp 2021 Registration form

Click here for String Music Camp 2021 Schedule NOTE: Coming Soon




Staff Concert (Anna Kozak, Neda Yamach, Martina Szmazal, Julie Amundsen), Strathcona County String Music Camp, September 10, 2017

To listen, go to the "Concerts" page!


One of many chamber groups at the Strathcona County String Music Camp, 2017


Breakfast Club entertainment at String Music Camp, 2017





Time for relaxing at Camp!




Final Concert, September 11, 2017, Michael Massey conducting





Look forward to a great start to the season, for Camp 2021 is sure to be another huge success! Sponsored by the Wye String Ensemble of Sherwood Park, Alberta, this year's Strathcona County String Music Camp will be held September 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th, 2019. Join us to celebrate our twelfth year of this wonderful string music camp.


The camp is designed for string players 14 years of age and up. Whether you play the violin, viola, cello or double bass, you are sure to learn, connect with new people, and have fun while enjoying a rewarding musical experience. There are opportunities for playing both in orchestra and in chamber groups.


Held in a beautiful country setting at the Van Es Camp and Conference Center in Strathcona County, the camp provides opportunities for those at all playing levels and instruction from coaches who are highly skilled professional musicians. Participants will hear the coaches perform in concert as well as fellow campers in their chamber groups. Past attendees can attest to the incredible benefits of this unique camp.


The camp will run:

The camp will run: Thursday, September 9, 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm at Camp Van Es

Friday, September 10, 6:00 pm - 10:00 pm at Camp Van Es (See below for directions to Camp Van Es.)

Saturday, September 11, 7:30 am - 9:00 pm at Camp Van Es

Sunday, September 12, 7:30 am - 6:00 pm at Camp Van Es

Sunday, September 12 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm Concert at Camp Van Es



A Note about the Music for Camp

Please note - the information for the music for String Camp 2021 will be posted in the near future. Stay tuned! Camp registrants will be given instructions about how to download parts for the 2021 string camp repertoire. It includes the following and some further revisions/cuts may be made in due course.


Strathcona County String Music Camp - Summer Repertoire 2019 includes the following:

Antonio Vivaldi: Sinfonia No. 3, RV 149

Marc-Antoine Charpentier: Concert pour 4 violes, H. 545

Gioacchino Rossini: Sonata № 1 for strings G-dur

Gustav Holst: St. Paul´s Suite I. Jig (Vivace)

Leroy Anderson: Jazz Pizzicato

Jorge López Marín: El médico de pianos


Our Camp Director, Conductor and Music Coaches


CAMP DIRECTOR: Murray Vaasjo


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, National Youth Orchestra of Canada and the Edmonton Youth Orchestra. Murray studied with Sally Thomas in Meadowmount, New York and with Shirley Givens and Sidney Humphries in Victoria.

In 1990 Murray returned to Edmonton to join the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra.

Murray is also active as a teacher and is the co-founder of the Wye String Ensemble.

Murray conducted the Penticton Strings, an amateur adult orchestra in the Okanagan.

For two seasons, he conducted musicals with the Penticton Singers and Players with professional members of the Okanagan Symphony. He was the conductor and founder of the Sherwood Park Youth Strings and Penticton Junior Strings. Murray is happy to conduct both the Wye String Ensemble and the Edmonton Philharmonic Orchestra next season.



CONDUCTOR - Cossette Justo Valdés



Cosette Justo Valdés is the Assistant Conductor and Community Ambassador of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, starting in the 2018-19 season. Born and raised in Cuba, as a daughter of amateur musicians, she’s loved music all of her life, and she began learning piano and music theory from age 8. At 18 she saw a symphony orchestra for the first time and immediately knew she wanted to be a conductor. She took up conducting in 2002 at the National Institute of the Arts of Cuba, in Havana, and after graduating in 2009 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Orchestral Conducting, she was appointed Music & Artistic Director of the Orquesta Sinfónica de Oriente (OSO) (Santiago, Cuba), Cuba’s second-most important orchestra.


During her first three years at the OSO, Cosette organized and conducted numerous concerts of a broad repertoire of classical, jazz, pop, and traditional Cuban music, which allowed her to start consolidating her foundation as a conductor. She also developed several programs for improving the technical and musical level of the orchestra, and founded a Kid’s Orchestra and a Youth Orchestra, both tutored by the musicians of the professional orchestra.


With Cuba’s OSO, Cosette conducted premières for some of Cuba’s best known composers. She also performed the Cuban première of Domenico Scarlatti’s intermezzo La Dirindina, including designing the costumes, sets, super-titles and directing the overall artistic production.


In 2012, Cosette entered the Mannheim Staatliche Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst (State University for Music & Performing Arts) in Germany, to learn more about conducting classical repertoire from the European perspective, and she earned her Master’s Degree in 2018. She has conducted many orchestral, choral, and chamber ensembles in Europe, while remaining Music & Artistic Director of the OSO and returning often to conduct it.


Her passion for 20th century music inspired her to conduct a performance of Dmitri Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 1 with the National Orchestra of Cuba in Havana for the first time in more than 30 years. She also organized several large projects combining the forces of the two major symphonic orchestras of Eastern Cuba.


Cosette also brought to the OSO for the first time pieces like Shostakovich’s Symphonies Nos. 1 and 5, West Side Story Suite by Leonard Bernstein (in his centenary, performed in January, 2018), Symphony No. 1 by Robert Schumann, Symphony No. 5 by Felix Mendelssohn, Pulcinella Suite by Igor Stravinsky, The Unanswered Question by Charles Ives, and others. She conducted concerts specifically for children to give them an opportunity to get to know an orchestra and its instruments. She also invited music students to listen to and play with chamber orchestras and/or symphony orchestras for the first time.


Cosette conducted the OSO for the CD “Popularmente Sinfónico”, and guest-conducted several other CD recordings in Cuba. She organized the project “SinfóniJazz” for jazz quartet and orchestra, which had its first performance in December 2016 at the International Jazz Festival of Havana. For it, she commissioned music from some of the best young jazz players and composers in Cuba. The National Orchestra of Cuba performed the première of this project, and it was a great success.


Combining a command of standard repertoire with a flair for traditional Cuban music as well as a passion for educational outreach, Justo Valdés has conducted across Europe and North America. She has recently been appointed Assistant Conductor of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra. She is involved in establishing strong ties with the community through outreach initiatives. As such she is Artistic Lead of the ESO’s Youth Orchestra of Northern Alberta (YONA-Sistema) program.






VIOLIN - Anna Kozak



Anna is a core member of the first violin section with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, an Assistant Concertmaster of the Alberta Baroque Ensemble and a Principal Second Violin in the newly formed Chamber Orchestra of Edmonton. She has earned a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Toronto and a Master of Music degree from the University of Calgary.

Anna loves being an orchestral musician. It’s a profession that has taken her to concert halls all over Europe as well as Carnegie Hall in New York.

Being a violinist, Anna finds life just wouldn’t be complete without chamber music. She’s been very fortunate to have been a part of many wonderful chamber groups and have performed in most exciting venues. She’s been a founding member of the Onyx String Quartet and Tersona Piano Trio. She’s performed at Winspear countless times at ESO events, at the Rozsa Centre with University of Calgary professor Edmond Agopian, at the Yardbird Suite with the Obsessions Octet to name a few.

She’s had the pleasure of performing solos with the Alberta Baroque Ensemble, the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra and the Alberta College Percussion Ensemble. Besides performing Anna finds it fulfilling to share her passion and knowledge with her students. She holds a small private studio, teaches at the annual Wye Strings Camp and on occasion leads coaching sessions for local amateur groups.

Anna is playing on a violin made in 1770 by Giovanni Battista Gabrielli of Florence. Once she is done all her practicing, performing or teaching, Anna enjoys spending time with her husband and their Great Dane “George”.



VIOLIN - Neda Yamach



Originally from St. Albert, Alberta, Neda Yamach began studying the violin at the age of five. Under the tutelage of Thomas Williams, she attended McGill University where she was a recipient of the Lloyd Carr Harris Scholarship.

After receiving her Bachelor of Music degree, she studied with Patti Kopec at the Manhattan School of Music. Neda was a member of the Edmonton Youth Orchestra and has attended the Banff Summer Arts Festival and Meadowmount School of Music in New York. She joined the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra in 2011 following international auditions. She is also a member of the Alberta Baroque Ensemble and Kent Sangster's Obsessions Octet.





VIOLA- Clayton Leung



Canadian violist and violinist, Clayton Leung joined the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra in 2013. Clayton has immersed himself in the local arts scene; making appearances at the Edmonton International Jazz Festival,

Edmonton Recital Society, Early Music Alberta, concertized with Kent Sangster’s Obsessions Octet and co-founded the Canadian string ensembles, Trio de Moda and YEG4 (string quartet). He made his Edmonton Symphony Orchestra and Alberta Baroque Ensemble solo debut in February and March of 2016 respectively.


Prior to moving to Edmonton, Clayton was Principal Violist with the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra, Ashland Symphony and the National Repertory Orchestra. He has also performed with the Victoria, Vancouver Island, National Arts Centre Orchestras. As an avid chamber musician, he has performed in the Music at Memorial and the Atlantic String Quartet Recital series, and at the National Arts Centre and Toronto Summer Music Festival. He has also been in residence at the Perlman Music Program, and the Orford and Banff Arts Centres. Clayton began violin lessons at the age of three at the Langley Community Music School. He continued his studies at the University of Victoria, and then pursued the viola at the University of Minnesota and the Cleveland Institute of Music.


Aside from playing violin and viola, Clayton is fond of playing the piano and ukulele, and in his free time he may be spotted around Edmonton sipping on lattes and lifting heavy weights in the gym.

CELLO - Kathleen De Caen



Growing up in Edmonton, Kathleen de Caen started playing the cello at age 5. Her primary teachers were Grazyna Sobieraj, Julie Amundsen, and Tanya Prochazka; with whom she completed a Bachelor’s degree at the University of Alberta. She later went on to complete a Master’s degree in cello performance with Matt Haimovitz at McGill University.


As a soloist, she has been invited to perform with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra on multiple occasions for their education series. Kathleen was also the featured young artist of the ESO’s 2012 Symphony Under the Sky series.


As a chamber musician, Kathleen has performed across North America with musicians such as Yehonatan Berick, Jean Efflam-Bavouzet and Paul Coletti. She has participated numerous times with Matt Haimovitz’s ensemble, Uccello, who performed at Carnegie Hall in 2013. In 2016, Kathleen co-founded Trio De Moda, an Alberta based string trio that has performed across Alberta and the Maritime provinces.


Kathleen was acting principal cello of Symphony Nova Scotia, in Halifax, for the 2017/2018 series but is very excited to be back in Alberta and a section cellist in the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra.






Jan Urke

Jan Urke graduated with a Bachelor of Music Degree in Performance, the University of Toronto in 1978 from the studio of Tom Monohan. From 1972 to 1974 he was a member of the National Youth Orchestra of Canada. He continued his studies at the Banff Centre for the Arts in 1980 with Stuart Knussen.


Jan freelanced from 1973 through 1979 with the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra, the National Ballet Company, the Canadian Opera Company and the Bolshoi Ballet Company. He played with the Orchestre Symphonique de Québec in 1974-75. He also played the summer season with the Toronto Symphony in 1983. From 1991 to 1995 he was engaged as a resource artist at the Banff Centre.


Jan is currently principal bassist of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, a position he has held since1980. He has appeared as soloist a number of times with the ESO and the Edmonton Chamber Orchestra. Jan is currently sessional instructor of double bass at the University of Alberta Department of Music.



VIOLA - Miriam Ferguson


Miriam Ferguson began studying the viola at the age of eleven when she joined the Edmonton Public Schools Strings Program.

In 1997, she graduated from the University of Alberta with a Bachelor of Music Degree in performance on the viola. She decided four years later to return to the University of Alberta and graduated in 2003 with a Bachelor of Education Degree. Her viola teachers have included Miyo Inouye, Norman Nelson, Jonathan Craig and Rivka Golani. She is currently studying viola with Tom Johnson.

Miriam Ferguson has been the principal violist of the Edmonton Youth Orchestra, the University of Alberta’s Academy Strings and the University Symphony Orchestra. She taught and conducted at the Edmonton Public Schools Music Enrichment Strings Program from 1998 to 2008 and is currently busy as a private violin and viola instructor and freelance player.

Miriam Ferguson performs with Quartetto con Brio and with the Cifra Hungarian Folk Music Ensemble. The Cifra Ensemble has performed with the Edmonton Symphony and has been broadcast on CBC Radio One. Miriam has twice visited Hungary and Rumania with the Cifra Ensemble to study and perform authentic village folk music.



VIOLIN - Jim Cockell

Jim Cockell

Violinist Jim Cockell was born and educated in Edmonton, Alberta. He received degrees in English and Music Theory from the University of Alberta while studying violin privately. His teachers included Ranald Shean, James Keene, Norman Nelson and Tom Johnson. Jim has played with the symphony orchestras of Edmonton, Saskatoon and Red Deer, the Alberta Baroque Ensemble and the National Ballet of Canada. He has also recorded, broadcast and toured internationally with his own ensemble, Cifra.








Top Notes Flute Quartet




The idea of a professional flute quartet in Edmonton initially came to Petar Dundjerski when he realized that the city was lacking in that area. After bringing the shortcoming to the attention of Elizabeth Faulkner, Elizabeth Koch, and Shelley Younge, the four joined forces to take the city by storm. They started sight-reading through stacks of pieces that each of them had collected over the years and confirmed that they loved this kind of chamber music. Their first concert was the inaugural benefit concert, entitled Beneflute, for the newly-formed Edmonton Fute Association in February 2108. Since then, they have performed in St. Paul, St. Albert and Calgary.



Rebecca Schellenberg


Rebecca is back this year with her eclectic collection of music videos. This time she will present weird and wonderful instruments from all over the world. Join her for this lighthearted class, where you will observe some of the many ways people make music. The title of her talk at String Music Camp 2019 is “Strange and Unusual Instruments”.

Rebecca Schellenberg is a violinist, teacher and writer. She also teaches creative writing classes, and recently taught for ELLA at U of A, a course called All Things Music. Rebecca has performed with various symphonies including Edmonton Symphony, Saskatoon, Regina and Prince George symphonies. She plays in ensembles, adjudicates and teaches privately.

Rebecca has a Master of Music degree from The U of Alberta, and a Bachelor of Music from Brandon University.





Yung Y. Wong - Physiotherapist



Yung is a Physiotherapist who practices at the Glen Sather Sports Medicine Clinic with a special interest in the area of upper extremity musculoskeletal and orthopedic sports-related injuries as they relate to Performing Arts Medicine, Para Sport, Rock Climbing and Paediatric medicine.

She obtained her Master of Science in Physical Therapy from the University of Alberta in 2014, completed her Bachelor of Physical and Health Education and Bachelor of Science (2001) at Queen’s University, and Bachelor of Education from the University of Toronto (2005). She is certified in Functional Dry Needling, has her Certificate in Performing Arts Health from the Performing Arts Medicine Association and ACSM, Certificate in Sports Physiotherapy, and has taken several courses toward her Orthopedic Manual Therapy Certification in both Canada and the USA.

She is currently working as the Medical Director and Physiotherapist for Team Canada Women’s Sitting Volleyball, and has been involved with the Multidisciplinary Performing Arts Clinics, and Shoulder Clinics.

In her spare time, she enjoys skiing, hiking, rock climbing, playing volleyball, and dancing salsa, cha cha, east and west coast swing. She has achieved playing the piano to a Grade 9 level with the Royal Conservatory of Music, played the cello in grade school, and performed in the Chinese Zither.

Yung will speak to participants at String Music Camp 2019 about managing stiffness and pain which may be experienced in playing a stringed instrument.







The rate of $350 includes the 4-day camp with instruction, all meals and dormitory accommodation, if desired (you must bring your own sheets/blankets or sleeping bag and towels). Rooms in the brand new Unity Lodge are charged at the rate of $50 per night over and above the camp rate (linens provided). Space for recreational vehicles is available for an additional $15 per night and includes electricity but no water or drainage. Take advantage of our early bird registration of $300 by August 1, 2019.

Please note: Cancellation deadline with full refund is September 1, 2019; cancellations received after this date are subject to a $30 administration fee.

The facility also offers a swimming pool (bring your bathing suit and towel), fire pits and picturesque walking trails.

Please note that the management of Van Es Camp strictly prohibits the use of alcohol on its premises.

Selected Participants' Comments on Previous String Music Camps


Staff concert was worth the price of admission of the whole workshop! So inspiring!

Outstanding staff & food

The whole 'camp' was a great weekend of fun, learning and entertainment.

The coaches were, as usual, fabulous.

These sectional practices changed my cello life! Amazing. Thank you!

It's such a pleasure when the conductor has the ability to teach as well as give clear directions. Positive approach and lots of encouragement with very specific suggestions for improvement made.


Directions to Van Es Camp and Conference Centre



Directions to Van Es Camp and Conference Centre