John Van Deursen
John van Deursen
Conductor, Trombonist, Arranger
John is Music Director of Orchestra Armonia in Vancouver and newly appointed to the position of Head of Instrumental Ensembles at Douglas College. Recent conducting highlights include his premiere with the National Symphony of Taiwan at the National Concert Hall in Taipei 2010, the performance of Orchestra Armonia as Ensemble in Residence in the annual Sonic Boom Festival, and a return to Taiwan leading the Taipei Philharmonic Orchestra.
John brings a wealth of experience from his time in Asia - from 1995 until 2005 he held the position of Principal Guest Conductor of the Taipei Philharmonic and was Director of the Taipei Philharmonic Pops. During this time John was critically praised for his performance with the group in the prestigious Rudolfinum Hall in Prague as part of the Prague Spring Festival, and has led the group in the top concert halls in Sweden and Helsinki, and the National Concert Hall in Taipei.
John undertook training with international master instructor Gustav Meier in masterclasses in the U.S., Europe and Canada, and spent several years as assistant to Henry Mazer at the Taipei Philharmonic, gaining experience and knowledge from Mazer¿s time as Associate Conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
From 1989 - 2003, John was Principal Trombone of the Taipei Philharmonic Orchestra performing in the National Concert Hall of Taiwan and across the island. Concurrently, John performed more than 1,000 performances with the touring chamber group, the Yeh Shu-Han brass quintet, recording 5 CDs, performing in the U.S., Japan, China, Korea and extensively in concert halls across Taiwan. This was the pioneer brass group in Taiwan, and the first of its kind to be invited for a command performance for the first democratically elected President of Taiwan, Lee Teng-Hui.
John was also the leader of his own jazz group, the Latin Quarter making performances in the National Concert Hall in Taipei, and across the island. John collaborated many times with the top Taiwan jazz drummer, Rich Huang, to form the Taipei Jazz Ensemble, also making the first appearances in the National Concert Hall by a local jazz group.
In 2000, John was invited by Asian star pianist Jeremy Monteiro to appear in the first Singapore International Jazz Festival alongside Ernie Watts, sax, and Hino Terumasa, trumpet.
In addition to his considerable performing experience, John wrote many arrangements for the Taipei Philharmonic during his time as Principal Guest Conductor, including commissions by the orchestra to create a humorous encore piece for its Scandinavian Tour. As trombonist, John teaches at Douglas College and Kwantlen Polytechnic University.
While an undergraduate at UBC, John was a winner of the Vancouver Youth Orchestra Concerto Competition and was awarded the Director's Award for his outstanding musicianship, and exceptional talent by the School of Music. In 1998, Van Deursen was a Winter Resident at the Banff Centre for the Arts in Canada.