Nico stephenson

Nico Stephenson is a cellist and teacher based in Vancouver, BC. A native of the west coast, Nico returned in 2014 after having completed his bachelor’s degree in cello performance at the University of Montreal under prof. Johanne Perron. Since then, he has received his bachelor’s degree in education from Simon Fraser University, and has been teaching at Saint James Music Academy, a music school for children in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside neighbourhood, as well as in music classes in schools in the Vancouver School Board and New Westminster School District. Nico has performed across Canada, the United States, and Europe.

In 2014, after years of music school and noisy cities, Nico spent the summer managing the swimming pool in Ross River YT. He is enamoured with the unique character of Yukon communities and the possibilities for social benefit offered by special opportunities for their youth. Nico believes in music as a tool for positive social change, and knows that it is as possible to implement such change in small communities as it is in metropolitan centres. 

isidora nojkovic

Isidora Nojkovic is a cellist currently living in New York City. She has performed internationally as a chamber musician and as a soloist, with appearances at Ottawa Chamberfest, National Arts Centre Fourth Stage Series in Ottawa, Chamber Music at Brahms’ Place Series in Murzzuschlag, Austria, Belgrade International Cello Festival, and Scotia Festival of Music with Lynn Harrell. She also enjoys orchestral playing, having been a member of the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra from 2011-2015. While in Ottawa, she earned a bachelor’s degree at the University of Ottawa. Currently, Isidora is working toward a master’s degree in Cello Performance at Manhattan School of Music.

Upon completion of her degree, Isidora plans to return to her home in Vancouver to teach, perform, and generally work toward enriching the artistic community there. In her spare time, she enjoys teaching her five-year-old cousin how to play the cello. She is looking forward to using her experience in cello playing to enhance the musical lives of kids in the Yukon! 

roland gjernes

Roland began studying the cello at the age of six with Harold Birston in White Rock, BC. From 2004 to 2011 he served as principal cellist for the Semiahmoo Strings, directed by Carla Birston. In 2011, while studying with Joel Stobbe at the Langley Community Music School, he was awarded both the Dayton Family Award and the Sharon Stevenson Career Development Scholarship. In addition to winning further scholarships, Roland earned a gold medal for 10 consecutive years from the South Fraser Registered Music Teachers’ Festival in BC. Since graduation, he has spent 2 summers performing and touring with the National Youth Orchestra of Canada as principal cellist and section member.

Roland completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Ottawa with cello professor, Paul Marleyn. Roland has appeared as soloist with the Semiahmoo Strings, the University of Ottawa Orchestra, the Manhattan School of Music Wind Ensemble, and the Fraser Valley Symphony. He has had the pleasure of participating in masterclasses with many cellists, including Aldo Parisot, Laurence Lesser, Colin Carr, and Johannes Moser. Roland was the recipient of the Piccolo Prix in the 2014 National Arts Center Bursary Competition. In August of 2013 and 2014, he participated in masterclasses with Xenia Jankovic at the International Summer Academy in Austria. He was also thrilled to participate in the 2014 Tafelmusik Baroque Summer Institute. That same summer, Roland was invited to perform at the International Cello Festival of Canada and was honoured to perform alongside many great cellists. Roland is currently completing his Master’s degree at the Manhattan School of Music with renowned cello pedagogue, Philippe Muller.