About Us

Chris Donison CEO Music by the SeaCEO and Executive Artistic Director – Christopher Donison

Christopher Donison is a Canadian composer, librettist, conductor, pianist, lecturer and inventor. A piano student of Winifred Wood and graduate in piano performance from the School of Music, at the University of Victoria, British Columbia, he went on to win a Dora Mavor Moore Award for Music Direction in Toronto and to serve as Music Director of the Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, for ten years (1988-1998) where he conducted over 1,000 performances, created a string quartet residency programme and wrote more than a dozen scores for plays and orchestrations for many more.

He continued to pursue graduate studies in composition at State University of New York at Buffalo and has composed choral, chamber, and orchestral works.

In 1998 he finished an unfinished Gershwin musical for the Estate of George and Ira Gershwin to mark the centenary of George Gershwin’s birth. In January 1999 he appeared as guest conductor with the Kingston Symphony where he premiered his own first symphony: Symphony Erotica.

His concert works include Symphony Erotica; 7 Encounters for Soprano and Flute, the award-winning Choral Prophecy performed by the Choir of Clare College, Cambridge, England, on their first North American Tour; Theme and Conversations for Orchestra; The Little Match Girl for Orchestra, Narrator, and Dancer, choreographed adapted and narrated by Veronica Tennant; two string quartets, The Rashomon Quartet, and The Seagull Quartet for string quartet and distant oboe; and Music-by-the-Sea, quintet for clarinet and string quartet. The last five years have been primarily devoted to the creation of MBTS but most recently he has co-written and and conducted and orchestrated works for orchestra and Jorane, the phenomenal Québec cellist and singer/songwriter. Their collaborations have been featured as part of the BC Olympics Arts Festival and the 400 Year Anniversary of Quebec City concert with the Orchestre symphonique de Québec. In August of 2009 in Montréal, Donison conducted the Orchestre Métropolitain du Grand-Montréal and Jorane for Franco Follies.

He is also the inventor of the Donison-Steinbuhler Standard, a smaller 7/8 alternative piano keyboard which is hoped will become universally available for study, competition, and performance within a generation. He has served on the Board of Trustees of the National Arts Centre of Canada and he is the Founding and Executive Artistic Director of Music by the Sea at Bamfield British Columbia, International Music Festival & School.

Steven DannArtistic Advisor and Chamber Music – Steven Dann (not appearing in 2023)

Steven Dann’s career has covered a wealth of violistic possibilities. As principal viola of some of the world’s leading orchestras, as a veteran of the string quartet and chamber music world, as soloist and recitalist and as a dedicated teacher, Mr. Dann has left all the doors open.

Mr. Dann was born in Vancouver, Canada, in 1953. His foremost teacher and mentor was the late Lorand Fenyves. Other influences include William Primrose, Robert Pikler and

Bruno Giuranna and five summers spent studying the string quartet repertoire with Zoltan Szekely and members of the Hungarian String Quartet.

Upon graduation from university he was named Principal Viola of the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa, Canada, a position he has subsequently held with the Tonhalle Orchestra in Zurich, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam, the Vancouver Symphony and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. He has also been a guest principal of the Boston Symphony Orchestra under Seiji Ozawa, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra under Sir Simon Rattle and, in both performance and recordings, with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe under Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Paavo Berglund and Pierre Boulez.

Steven Dann has collaborated as a soloist with such Maestri as Sir Andrew Davis, Rudolph Barshai, Jiri Belohlavek, Sir John Elliott Gardiner, Jukka-Pekka Saraste and Vladimir Ashkenazy. Since 1990 Mr. Dann has been a member of the Smithsonian Chamber Players in Washington D.C. and was a founding member of the Axelrod String Quartet.

Martin FinnertyMartin Finnerty – Stage Manager (not appearing in 2023)

As Production Manager with The Banff Centre’s Music & Sound Program, a position he held for approximately 15 years, Martin Finnerty has had the opportunity to collaborate with many of this year’s Music by the Sea performing artists. Recently retired from that position, he is currently engaged in a variety of freelance video, audio, and performance projects in the Banff-Canmore area. He is active as a committee member on a number of community arts initiatives. And, just recently, has stepped out from behind the theatre lighting console assuming an on-stage acting role with Canmore’s local community theatre troupe.

Robert Dettling Music by the SeaRobert Dettling – Piano Technician

Robert Dettling Steinway trained Concert Piano Technician has been serving the artistic community for over 35 years. He has worked for many concert artists over the years and is happy to join the MBTS team as their residence piano technician.

Marcel Sanati Box Office ManagerMarcel Sanati – Box Office/Front of House Manager

Marcel is a music enthusiast of all sorts. Having played piano and clarinet for most of his life, naturally he was
intrigued by the intoxicating allure of Music By the Sea. His wish is that, like him, you too will fall in love with this unique celebration of sound.

Jim Anderson Piano TechnicianJim Anderson – Piano Technician

Jim is a Registered Piano Technician and member of the Piano Technicians Guild and Canadian Association of Piano Technicians. He is the head piano technician for the University of Victoria School of Music, the official harpsichord and fortepiano technician for the Early Music Society of the Islands and a consultant for Yamaha Canada. Jim’s has taken courses at the C.F. Theodore Steinway Technical Institute in New York City and at their institutional teaching facility at Oberlin College in Ohio, at the Yamaha Piano Technology Academy in Hamamatsu (now Kakagawa) Japan, at UWO as part of the “Tune in to UWO” seminar as well as piano technology courses in Vienna and at the at the L. Bosendorfer Klavierfabrik GmbH in Weiner Neustadt, Austria. Jim has also taught seminars in piano technology in local, provincial and international chapters of the Piano Technicians Guild. Jim has also been published in the Piano Technicians Guild Journal.

MBTS Board of Directors

Ex-Officio Members
Sharie Minions, The Mayor of the City of Aberni,
Bob Beckett ACRD Representative for Electoral Area “A”,Bamfield

President: Lyle Soetaert, Victoria BC

Vice President: Christopher Wedick, Victoria BC

Treasurer: Kelsey Webb, Victoria, BC

Secretary: Helen McDonald, Victoria BC

Director: Craig E. Norris, CEO Victoria International Marina

Director: Dr. Sean Rogers, PhD (he/him) Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Calgary, Director, Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre

Music by the Sea is a non-profit society

Music by the Sea is a non-profit society ( # S-51471) registered under the Society Act of British Columbia and is a Registered Charity (# 83328 5166 RR0001) under the Income Tax Act of Canada. Our privacy policy is to not share any personal information with any third parties.