Graham Yates will be this year’s piano adjudicator for the Nechako Valley Performing Arts Festival.

Piano as an art form

The Nechako Valley Performing Arts Festival will have a piano adjudicator who teaches piano but also has a head for business.

The Nechako Valley Performing Arts Festival will have a piano adjudicator who teaches piano but also has a head for business.

Graham Yates found his element when he learned that even as a pianist he did not have to play all by himself.  Since then he almost exclusively appears with singers, instrumentalists, choirs, chamber groups, pit bands and orchestras all over western Canada.

Yates completed a master’s in piano performance at Brandon University with a focus on collaborative playing under Dr. Alexander Tselyakov, whose technical and emotional sensitivity has been compared with Horowitz’s.  He also owes a musical debt to his previous teacher Dr. Sandra Joy Friesen who continues to inspire him to love all the strange and unusual kinds of music.  He also holds a master of business administration.

Lower mainlanders may have seen Yates in ensemble performances at Ryerson United Church’s summer concert series, the French Alliance, Surrey’s 2010 Olympic Flashback Ceremony, Rose Gellert Hall in Langley, Bakerview Church’s “Music on a Wednesday”, and most of Chilliwack’s choral and orchestral groups.  In 2012 and 2013 he was a featured concerto soloist in Chilliwack Symphony Orchestra’s Piano Extravaganza.

Yates holds a master of business administration from Trinity Western University, and by combining business with his passion for music, he works to create opportunities for others to experience the joy of community music-making as Principal of the Chilliwack Academy of Music, Administrator of the Bakerview Music Academy,  and President of the BC Association of Community Music Schools.  He enjoys teaching a limited number of private students, has instructed music courses at Trinity Western University, and is an adjudicator at regional music festivals all over B.C.