The people behind the music

Jaelem Bhate - Artistic Director and Founder

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Jaelem Bhate is a conductor, composer, and bandleader from Vancouver, B.C. whose musical diversity has come to define his career. He was recently named to CBC's 2019 '30 under 30 hot classical musicians' list. Jaelem completed his Master of Music degree in Orchestral Conducting at UBC in 2019 under the guidance of Dr. Jonathan Girard. He previously received his undergraduate degree in percussion performance at UBC where he graduated first in his class and received the prestigious Wesbrook Award for academic achievement and leadership. His most recent invitations to perform include the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Vancouver Metropolitan Orchestra, Kamloops Symphony, Nanaimo Symphony, and the Vancouver Island Symphony.


Jaelem won the position of assistant conductor of the Vancouver Philharmonic, after a season serving as assistant conductor of the highly competitive 2018 National Academy Orchestra of Canada under Maestro Boris Brott. He has conducted at the International Society for Contemporary Music Festival, the Canadian Music Center New Music series and the 2019 Pacific Rim International Music Festival. He was selected as a conducting fellow at the prestigious Eastern Music Festival in the summer of 2019, where he will work closely with acclaimed Maestro Gerard Schwarz. Jaelem has pursued his conducting studies at a number of prior professional masterclasses. These include the New York Conducting Institute in Manhattan studying with Paul Nadler of the MET Opera company, and the University of Oregon conducting masterclass with Maestro Neil Varon of the Eastman School, and Dr. David Jacobs. He was assistant conductor at the Pacific Regional International Summer Music Academy with Maestro Arthur Arnold of the Moscow Symphony Orchestra. 

Notable 2019-2020 appearances as conductor include taking part in the 2019 Conductors Showcase with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and Vern Griffiths' Wall to Wall Percussion concert, and at the 2019 Italian Conducting Competition in Bordighera, Italy. He will also be debuting with his won ensemble that he founded and serves as Artistic Director, Symphony 21.

As a composer, Jaelem has been praised for possessing “a personal and highly effective voice” (Canadian Music Center, 2018) and has been described as “...a rising star”. (The Midwest Record). He founded and directs the Jaelem Bhate Jazz Orchestra, a 17-piece jazz orchestra that exclusively performs his compositions and was recently interviewed by CBC Radio 1 for his ensemble’s premiere of his original suite for Jazz Orchestra ‘The Nameless’ featuring the poetry of underrepresented, disadvantaged and discriminated against communities. He recently released his debut album for jazz orchestra ‘on the edge’, featuring a who’s who of Vancouver jazz instrumentalists, and has been hailed for its “polished and confident arrangements” (All About Jazz, 2019).  His works have been performed on recital programs throughout Canada and the US, and his music was featured as part of the 2019 and 2018 Jean Coulthard Readings, presented by the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, as well as by the Victoria Symphony in their 2019 Hugh Davidson sessions. His music was accepted by the International Society of Jazz arrangers and composers as part of their call for scores, to presented at their 2019 conference in Colorado. Other notable performances and commissions include a premiere as part of the Sonic Boom Festival hosted by Vancouver Pro-Musica, 2 works for the Brazz jazz ensemble, a performance by the Hard Rubber Orchestra, and from Maestro Arthur Arnold for the 2018 PRISMA festival. He is currently working on releasing his most recent project—an arrangement of Bizet’s Carmen Suites for jazz orchestra. Jaelem has studied composition with Vancouver’s Fred Stride for the past 6 years. 


Jaelem is a dedicated educator and believes in bringing music into the lives of as many people as possible, no matter their previous experiences or social circumstances. He is proud to be involved as a substitute instructor with the St. James Music Academy, an el sistema inspired program for disadvantaged youth on the downtown East side of Vancouver. He also spent two years educating young children and teens at the UBC Summer Music Institute, where he was a senior staff member and instrumental ensemble assistant. He was named the 2019 Nestor Korchinsky Leadership Award from UBC for his diverse work serving the community. More information at www.jaelembhate.ca

Kevin Jackson

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Kevin Jackson is a trombonist and educator from Wetaskiwin, Alberta. Kevin obtained a Bachelor of Music and a Bachelor of Education from the University of Lethbridge Alberta. He has also recently completed his Masters of Music studying with VSO principal tubist Peder MacLellan at UBC. During his time at UBC Kevin played a variety of roles including section leader, principle trombone for Symphony and Symphonic Wind ensembles and lead trombone for Jazz Ensemble 1. Kevin is a versatile performer who enjoys playing in a variety of genres including orchestra, wind ensemble, big band, combo, brass quintet, trombone ensemble and many more. He can be heard playing lead on Jaelem Bhate’s debut album “On the Edge” and enjoys putting on classical solo recitals as well. As an active clinician and educator Kevin enjoys teaching all age groups. He works in the music/fine arts department at West Point Grey Academy as a full time teacher.

Samantha Kung

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Samantha Kung graduated from the University of British Columbia in 2018 with a Bachelor of Music degree in violin performance. A winner of many scholarships, she studied violin with Jasper Wood and David Gillham. Samantha is an active violinist, performing in many concerts throughout the Greater-Vancouver community whether it is solo or in big or small ensembles. During her studies at UBC, her performance highlights include performances as the concertmistress of the UBC Symphony Orchestra led by Dr. Jonathan Girard, and in masterclasses with Mariam Fried, Corey Cerovsek, and Vadim Gluzman. Throughout her four years in university, and even few years before, Samantha has accumulated an abundance of various musical experiences. Whether it is working with singers and playing in opera productions, working with dancers, playing in chamber groups of, and more, all these experiences shaped her not only into a well-rounded musician, but also a leader. An advocate of supporting the local music community, Samantha regularly works with young violinists through the Mozart School of Music where she teaches now. She involves herself in activities at the Mozart School of Music to further help nurture the students in their music education. The past May 2019, Samantha assisted in organizing and leading as concertmistress of the orchestra put together by the school for a Concerto Gala Concert, in which the purpose is to give a number of young students the experience of soloing with a professional orchestra. She also attends summer music camps every year where she helps and leads the younger generations of students in their musical paths.

Alireza Mojibian

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Baritone Alireza Mojibian completed his Masters in Opera Performance at the University of British Columbia in 2017. Following his graduation, Alireza has been pursuing a dual career as a young musician and healthcare professional with the goal of combining his passions for medical research and musical training to enhance patient care. In 2018/19 Alireza has been equally busy with performances and work. He performed the role of Eisenstein in Strauss’ Die Fledermaus in concert with the Okanagan Symphony under the leadership of Maestra Rosemary Thompson and most recently Alireza performed in an excerpt performance for the Vancouver Opera Festival showcasing the work of composer Benton Roark and his opera The Handless Maiden under the leadership of Maestra Kathleen Allan. Alireza is currently working on Schumann’s Dichterliebe song cycle with pianist Benjamin Hopkins which they are set to perform in the fall of 2019. Alireza is incredibly excited and humbled by the opportunity to help bring orchestral music to a wider audience through the Symphony 21 Project.