Tanya Derksen (President)
Tanya Derksen is the Executive Director of the Regina Symphony Orchestra (RSO) and has almost twenty years of experience in the music industry as a performer, teacher, board member, and arts administration leader.
Since joining the RSO, Tanya has led the organization to increased growth in subscription revenue and sponsorships, transformed the customer service and marketing approach, established new education programs, and developed a visionary 5-year strategic plan for the organization.
Tanya has a strong education and community outreach background from her work with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. During this time, she developed the education and outreach programming to more than 20 programs, including Sistema Winnipeg, which reached 60,000 people each year across the province.
Tanya has been playing the piano and engaging in music making for as long as she can remember. She is a passionate and active arts leader with experience on various boards in the arts and business community. She has a Master of Business Administration from the University of Manitoba and a Bachelor of Music (piano) from Brandon University. Tanya also enjoys running, doing yoga, eating great food, spending time with family and friends, and traveling around the world.
Shannon Whidden (Vice-President)
Shannon Whidden is the Executive Director of the Ottawa Youth Orchestra Academy, with 20 years of experience in Arts Management. In his role with the OYOA, he has been working with the Board of Directors and artistic staff to build a strong administrative team for the Academy, and to expand the programs it offers. Prior to joining the OYOA, he held roles with progressively increasing levels of responsibility at the Arizona Opera Company, Phoenix Symphony, Windsor Symphony Orchestra, the National Arts Centre Orchestra, and the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra. He is a graduate of Mount Allison University, where he majored in Vocal Performance, with a focus on Opera.
Karen Wilkinson, FCPA, FCA (Secretary-Treasurer)
Karen Wilkinson is President of Karen Wilkinson Professional Corporation. She was previously a Tax Partner with Deloitte LLP. Karen’s practice is focused on assisting private companies and their owners in maximizing wealth and transitioning the business to the next generation. She also assists donors in achieving their charitable goals. Karen graduated from the University of Waterloo with a Master of Accounting degree. Karen has been very involved in the community over the years currently serving as a member of the Board of the Kitchener Waterloo Symphony Association and the Treasurer at Orchestras Canada. Prior community involvement has included the Board of Governors at the University of Waterloo, United Way of Cambridge and North Dumfries and the University of Waterloo Planned Giving Advisory Committee.
A passionate communicator, Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser brings clarity and meaning to the concert hall, fostering deep connections between audiences and performers. He is the Artist in Residence and Community Ambassador of Symphony Nova Scotia, conducting Ballet and Pops concerts with national and international artists and designing diverse and relevant Family and Outreach shows for the Halifax community. Daniel has served as Assistant Conductor of the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony and Associate Conductor of the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra. He has also performed with the Hamilton Philharmonic, the Eastern Sierra Symphony, the Stratford Symphony and has been re-invited to the San Francisco Symphony for three seasons. Next season Daniel will debut with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Kingston Symphony Orchestra and the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra.
Daniel earned his Bachelors in Music Performance and Education from the University of Calgary where he also earned a Diploma in Advanced Wind Band. He received his Master of Philosophy in Performance from the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, England. He has been awarded RBC Royal Bank Emerging Artist Grant and the Canada Council for the Arts Jean Baudet Prize for Orchestral Conducting. As an educator, Daniel has taught instrumental music at Glenmore Christian Academy for nine years and has most recently taught high school strings at Waterloo Collegiate Institute in Waterloo, Ontario. In addition to his guest conducting, Daniel is an active participant in the music classrooms of the Waterloo Regional District School Board, working as a Guest Conductor.
Bruce Craig has a life-long interest in music performance. At present, he is President of the Prince Edward Island Symphony Society where he oversees the operations of the PEI Symphony Orchestra (PEISO). In 2013, he and his spouse, Patricia, became the founding donors of the Accelerando Classical Music Performance Fund at the Confederation Centre of the Arts Foundation in Charlottetown, PEI which supports classical music appreciation and performance.
Born into a musical family in Los Angeles, California, Bruce obtained intensive performance training at the California Institute for the Arts where he was a member of the youth program. For years he performed as principal horn and as a section member with a variety of community symphonies; he also was an active member of the Los Angeles Horn Society. Bruce possesses a doctorate in American History (speciality in history of espionage) and maintains academic affiliations with UPEI and the University of New Brunswick (Fredericton). During his work career he served in a variety of management positions with the U.S. National Park Service though he spent most of his working career as executive director of several history and national park related non-profit organizations. Just prior to moving to PEI he was the Washington representative for the American history and archival professions where he gained a reputation as an especially effective non-profit sector lobbyist. He has served as an officer on a number of non-profit boards, including an eight-year stint as president of the Conservation Preservation Federation of America.
Marie-Josée Desrochers was appointed Chief Operating Officer of the OSM in June 2015. She previously led the OSM’s artistic department where she oversaw the company’s concert planning, partnerships and tours, as well as its multimedia strategy. Previously, Ms. Desrochers spent more than 15 years in communications and marketing. Her relationship with the Orchestra began in 1997 while working with a communications firm on contract with the OSM. From 1999 to 2011 she was the OSM’s Director of Marketing and Communications, overseeing ticket revenue, marketing strategies and public relations. She was also responsible for OSM branding across all platforms as well as for tours and recordings. When the Orchestra moved into its new hall, Ms. Desrochers restructured the OSM’s concert series and headed the international public relations campaign for the inauguration of the Maison symphonique de Montréal, the Orchestra’s new home.
Marie-Josée Desrochers has also worked for Groupe Gignac Communication Marketing. She spent her early career in the cultural sector with positions at Radio-Canada and the Festival de Lanaudière. She has also served as general director of musical organizations such as the Chambristes de Montréal.
Ms. Desrochers holds a Master of Music degree (piano) from the Université de Montréal and a graduate diploma (DESS) in Management of Cultural Organizations from HEC Montréal.
Simon Gamache is an arts administrator with a depth of experience in performing arts, educational programming, content production and change management. He has been the Executive Director of the I Musici de Montréal Chamber Orchestra since September 2016. Since then he has presided over a complete organizational turnaround from the development of a 4-year strategic plan to the advancement of labor relations, as well as a review of the mission and mandate, a rebranding, the modernization of physical and digital infrastructure and a renewal of the organizational structure.
In previous roles at the Banff Centre, he provided leadership in the planning, growth and renewal of celebrated arts training programs and managed internationally renowned events, such as the Banff International String Quartet Competition which under his management rebranded, increased its reach and doubled its earned revenue. He was previously in charge of production at the Montreal music label Analekta where he oversaw the release of over 40 albums. An active French horn player until 2010, Simon Gamache freelanced with numerous ensembles, performed on several albums and soundtracks and also taught music. After completing music degrees from McGill University, he pursued further studies in Norway. He is an Action Canada Fellow, an alumnus of the 2017 Governor General’s Canadian Leadership Conference and was a Leadership Fellow at the 2018 Canadian Arts Summit.
Jennifer MacDonald serves as Director of Artistic Operations for the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra. She oversees musician and union matters on behalf of the administration, and has worked through collective bargaining for two three-year collective agreements with the musicians. In addition to orchestra and operational matters, Jennifer oversees artistic administration and education initiatives for Calgary Philharmonic, including PhilKids, a new after-school music program that brings Calgary Philharmonic musicians into a Calgary elementary school for two sessions every week.
Before moving to Calgary in 2011, Jennifer was Assistant Artistic Administrator with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and had previously served as Artistic Administrator for the Ottawa Chamber Music Society. Jennifer holds a Masters in musicology from McGill University, a BMus from Mount Allison University, and is currently working toward a certificate in Strategic Management from Harvard University’s Extension School.
In her free time, Jennifer teaches a music appreciation course at the University of Calgary’s School of Continuing Education, and spends a lot of time hiking and snowshoeing in the mountains.
Cheryl is a Métis woman, born and raised in Saskatoon, who completed her initial training in Computer Systems Technology in the early 90’s. She is currently the Manager of Community Sport Development at Sask Sport Inc. and resides in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. She has worked in the non-profit sector for 15 years, which has allowed her to gain a wealth of experience in community development. In addition to her work in the non-profit sector, Cheryl has had the opportunity to experience the corporate environment for approximately eight years in support of customer service and business sales. Her passion for community development along with her interest in strategic management has proven success. Currently she oversees a number of projects using a community based approach that has been effective in contributing to community health and well-being in communities throughout Saskatchewan.
Neil Middleton is VP Marketing & Sales with the Vancouver Symphony and was previously VP Marketing & Sponsorship with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. Prior to working with symphonies, Neil was a strategy analyst with Gravity Ltd., a Toronto-based digital-first marketing agency, and in fundraising with Soundstreams Canada. Neil holds a MMus from the Schulich School of Music and a MBA from the Schulich School of Business. Neil’s previous board roles include Board Chair with Artspace Winnipeg and Polycoro.
Marc Stevens is currently Acting Managing Director of the National Arts Centre Orchestra. He moved to Canada in 2014 to be the NAC Orchestra’s General Manager, following 12 years as Concerts and Recordings Manager for the London Symphony Orchestra. This involved brief glamorous moments at the opening and closing Ceremonies of the London 2012 Olympic Games, and many recordings including Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith and four Harry Potter movies. Marc previously worked for the Aldeburgh Festival (founded by composer Benjamin Britten) and Glyndebourne Opera, following a BA(Hons) in Music Industry Management with Italian. He has served on the Board for Orchestras Canada since 2015 and coordinated its current strategic plan: Orchestras Matter. Marc loves Canada, has learnt to skate on the Rideau and ski in Gatineau, and is working hard on French. Please feel free to connect to him via LinkedIn.