Members of the Orchestra
The Okanagan Symphony Orchestra has a core of full time professional musicians complemented by contracted professional and community players as needed for concert performances.
Music gives voice to the richness of the human experience, that which we feel most deeply; joy and sorrow, love and agony, hope and despair, victory and defeat. Come and be transformed by the power of this orchestral literature. Discover the grandeur of the towering masters, the freshness of new voices and the comfort of familiar friends. These all await you when you come to one of our valley performance halls, in Kelowna, in Vernon and in Penticton. Whatever your passion, we have something for everyone.
Music has a unique power to inspire, soothe, and animate our lives. This power is heightened when experienced live. I invite you to join us to see it, hear it, and love it.
Maestra Rosemary Thomson, Music Director
Chair generously sponsored in Memory of Jennifer Hindle
Maestro Leonard Camplin, Conductor Laureate
Tim Watson, stage and personnel manager
Yvonne Flock Chair
Greg & Wendy Adams Chair
OSO Assistant Concertmaster since 1991.
Susan Schaffer began studies in piano and violin in Lethbridge Alberta at the age of six. She was awarded the silver award for her A. Mus. in violin performance after completing studies under Dr. Lise Elson at Mount Royal College in Calgary. Further studies have included extensive work through the Banff Centre for the Performing Arts, the University of Calgary, and the completion of a Bachelor of Music From UBC, studying primarily with Geoffrey Michaels.
The recipient of many awards, Susan is an alumnus of the National Youth Orchestra of Canada. She performed for many years as a member of the Lethbridge Symphony Orchestra and the Southern Alberta Chamber Orchestra, and has worked with a wide variety of orchestras and ensembles in southwestern BC.
She currently holds the position of Assistant Concertmaster with the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra, and performs regularly with Viva Musica, heartstrings, and Romanza del Arco. Along with her husband, OSO Concertmaster Denis Letourneau, Susan teaches violin and viola in Kamloops, Vernon and Lillooet.
Gertrude & Ludwig Klein Memorial Fund Chair
Susan Aylard, violin I section chair since 1999, is well known in the Shuswap and Okanagan Valley as a professional violinist who focuses her energy performing with the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra and freelancing with the Kamloops and Prince George Symphony Orchestras.
Susan began Suzuki violin studies at the age of three and was a consistent winner of local music festivals, culminating in first place in Senior Strings at the BC Festival of the Arts, Susan specialized in violin while pursuing a degree in church music at the Canadian Mennonite Bible College in Winnipeg.
She continued her studies at the University of Manitoba, acting as concertmaster of the University Orchestra for three years while completing a BA in violin performance. Her "Sabeon Trio" twice competed in the Canadian National Music competitions as Manitoba's representative for Chamber Groups.
After completing her studies, Susan spent two years as assistant concertmaster of the Prince George Symphony and as Music Director and Suzuki specialist at the Prince George Music School before making her move to the interior of BC. There she taught at the community music school, and played as second violin and then Concertmaster in the Kamloops Symphony, until joining the Okanagan Symphony as a core member in 1999, and continuing to teach privately.
Fiddling with a band has always been one of her goals. After years of searching for the right mix, she formed The Cats and the Fiddle. Two of her favourite fiddle stars are Natalie McMaster and Leahy. Mad Pudding was also an inspiration because they showed how classically trained musicians can create awesome folk bands. Further inspiration is the eclectic combination of cellist YoYo Ma, fiddler Mark O'Conner and bassist Edger Mayer. What a great mix! Susan's playing is a mix of all these great artists combined with over 30 years of classical training. Because she doesn't want to sound too old we should clarify that she began her studies at the age of 2-1/2.
Yvonne Flock Chair
Nixon Wenger Legal Services Chair
Imant Raminsh, OSO Principal Violin II since 1977, is a Latvian-born Canadian composer of mostly orchestral and choral works that have been performed throughout the world. He completed his ARCT diploma in violin at the Royal Conservatory of Toronto and a BMus program at the University of Toronto and then spent two years at the Salzburg Mozarteum, where he studied composition, conducting, fugue, and violin. In addition, he has privately studied biology and geology.
Dr Kong Khoo & Noelle Nadeau
Wendy McCracken Chair
OSO viola section chair since 2007. Acting principal 2009-2010
Instructor, Kelowna Community Music School
Ashley Kroecher became second chair of the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra, viola, in 2007 and has been a member of the KCMS faculty since 2005, teaching violin and viola. He graduated from UBC in 1994 with a Bachelor of General Arts, and went on to study at the Staatliche Hochschule fur Musik (National Conservatory) in Trossingen, Germany, graduating with a performance and teaching degree.
He and his wife, Sarah Anderson, OSO Violin II, welcomed their daughter Mirabelle, to the family in December 2009.
Wendy McCracken Chair
Andrew Grindlay Chair
Martin Krátký first performed with the OSO in April 2010.
Martin keeps on his feet, sitting principal cello in the Kamloops Symphony Orchestra, freelancing with the Okanagan Symphony, and playing in chamber groups all through the valley. He is on faculty at the KSO Music School, the Kelowna Community Music School, and the Penticton Academy of Music, teaching students in each city weekly.
Formerly principal cellist of the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra, Martin graduated from the University of Toronto and the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, where he specialized in period performance. His teachers have included Shauna Rolston, Catharina Meints, Christina Mahler, and the late Ann Vallentyne. Student mentorship from the St. Lawrence, Miró, and Colorado String Quartets, as well as two residencies at the Banff Centre, offered lasting inspiration. Masterclasses with Raphael Wallfisch, Ronald Leonard, and Aldo Parisot directed his later artistic and pedagogical steps.
In his free time, Martin enjoys paddling and angling from his Tappen-built cedar strip kayak, helping out at a friendsâââ€š¬ââ€ž¢ farm in Chase, and enjoying the occasional pint of Crannóg Ales. He performs on a cello made in 2009 by Wolfgang Schrottner of Kamloops.
Marie Foukal Chair
sponsored by Andrew Grindlay
Dr R & L Fairey
Anne & Ray Morris Chair
OSO Principal Clarinet since 1970.
Doug Sonju began his musical training at the age of 5 on the accordion. "I am amazed to find that I can still play it when it does make it out of the box once or twice a year." In grade 5 Doug joined the school band playing baritone horn. By grade ten he had "fallen in love with the sound of the saxophone and I studied that for the next three years.I enrolled as a music major at Western Washington State College and was really dismayed when they told me saxophone was not an acceptable major instrument at the that time. I am ever so grateful that I was forced to learn clarinet, for it opened up the whole world of classical music in a way the sax never could have done."
In 1970 Doug moved to Armstrong from Washington State in 1970 to take a position teaching instrumental music at the secondary level. After seven years he resigned that position and joined the "fledgling music schools in Vernon and Kelowna where I taught private clarinet and saxophone students for over 20 years." 1970 was also the year that Doug joined the Okanagan Symphony as a principal clarinetist, a position he has held for 29 years. "Due to my late start on the clarinet, I was certainly not a professional calibre musician when I joined the Symphony. "
The orchestra at that time consisted mostly of amateur musicians. It has been a welcome challenge all these years to constantly improve as a clarinetist to meet the rising standard of excellence of the orchestra.
Doug's greatest satisfaction is ensemble playing with the "truly outstanding members of our woodwind section. With the woodwinds, when it is right, when it all comes together, no one person stands out. You become one and your music comes across as such. It is perfect."
Doug lives with his wife Gretchen on a small farm in Spallumcheen. At present they have two dogs, a cat, over a dozen chickens and a huge garden in which they raise prize-winning garlic. Doug tries to "make time for some fly fishing in the summer and bird hunting in the fall, and I definitely make time for my latest passion: motorcycle riding. I'm just so fortunate to be able to live in the country, which I greatly prefer to the big city, and also get to play in such a high quality orchestra."
Robert & Kim Adria Chair
OSO Principal Horn since 1987.
Yvonne Flock Chair
OSO Principal Trumpet since 2003.
Plays principal tuba since 2004.
Dr. Randall and Lynn Fairey Chair