Elite Conservatory is being wound down

Elite Conservatory is being wound down


norman lebrecht

September 05, 2016

A petition has been raised to save the music conservatory at Canada’s Mount Royal University, a school whose star graduates include Yuja Wang and Jan Lisiecki.

The heads of the Conservatory have been fired, apparently as a prelude to shutdown.

You can read the details and sign here.



  • V.Lind says:

    I’m having trouble finding ANY reports of potential closure of Mount Royal Music Conservatory, an institution I have known for years, in the Canadian press and media.

    • Diana cohen says:

      John Katz, the star cello teacher was just told that his contract wasn’t being renewed. Bill van der Sloot, the great violin teacher is having his admin duties removed, and Paul Dornian, the former director was let go last year. They have already lost Mount Royal’s Morningside Music Bridge.
      In the surface, The programs are being continued, however administration is placing the moneymaking classes ahead of the prestigious programs like APP.

      • Erin Collins says:

        Hi Diana, my name is Erin Collins and I am a reporter with the CBC in Calgary, any chance you would be up for a chat about this. You can email me at erin.collins@cbc.ca or call me at (403) 521-6065. E

      • V.Lind says:

        The MMB was held this summer — in Beijing.

        Placing “money-making” courses ahead of “prestigious” ones is an unfortunate fact of economic life these days. So is cutting back on staff and programmes. And Alberta is suffering a bad time given it is an oil-based economy, and education funding is a provincial matter.

        But I find no evidence that we are in “prelude to a shutdown.” Or that the MRMC is being “wound down.” Another unfortunate exaggeration based on scant evidence or personal hysteria from some source, perhaps one close to the latest (and most unfortunate) casualties.

        No harm in their protesting these cuts. But no good is done by “reports” like this.

        • V. M. says:

          MMB was in China this year, and will not be returning to Calgary in the foreseeable future. They’ve been effectively forced out by MRU.
          And to your other point, the Conservatory largely makes its own money. When the fallout from these firings will likely lead to a vote of non-confidence from the donors and community that support it, what good will these cuts do?
          This is not a pragmatic decision, or if they believe that it is, it’s certainly a dangerous one.

        • Jenkin says:

          The students that come to the Advanced Performance Program, or (APP) Program come for the teacher, not for the institute or building, and now that John Kadz is no longer able to teach the program, and they announced his dismissal only 2 weeks before the academic year, the students did not have any time to prepare for this change, and it is too late now to change programs. The conservatory was also accepting their payments and residence fees. Now the APP students do not have a teacher and all of their money is in the Universities hands. What has happened in this situation is an example of how the University is dismantling the program, because new students are discouraged to come to the program because they know how the APP students were treated. They have also lost a world renowned cello instructor, and Bill van der Sloot is no longer manager of the program which discourages them even more. No new students means no income, no income means they will have reason to shut down the program. Hopefully now you can understand what is happening. On another note, what Dean Charles Webber has said about the financial situation is complete nonsense. The Conservatory and Academy Program is self-sufficient and the tuition of students pays for their teachers wages and extra. The APP program also receives a 100,000$ donation yearly which pays for the costs. For the past year the Dean has been unprofessional and been taking away control from the management positions. That led to the letting go of Paul Dornian. Ab O’neal and Sheldon Nadler left because the stress was impacting their health. Now they have fired Bill van der Sloot and John Kadz for no apparent reason, so this leaves no one in the management positions of the Conservatory. The conservatory is a world class 100 year old institute and I would not like to see it destroyed.

  • Bow River says:

    The protest yesterday against the dismantling of the Conservatory spoke for itself. Bright and talented young people carried signs that said, “We deserve excellence” and demanding a financial audit of the Conservatory and Continuing Education. Why would an administrator fire an excellent instructor and demote an acclaimed manager? What is it about excellence that he cannot tolerate? The alleged justifications (that the firing and demotion were necessary for financial reasons) have been demonstrated to be rubbish. In fact, the administrator apparently hired two people to do the work that the demoted administrator was doing. What really is going on here and when will the Board of Governors step in on behalf of Albertans to protect the historic and excellent Conservatory of Music?