Armand Birk is a Bachelor of Music graduate from the University of Alberta, where he studied voice with Elizabeth Turnbull and Shannon Hiebert. Originally from Victoria, Armand’s initial experience as a musician was as a bassist for jazz and folk bands. Originally unable to read music and following a Bachelor of Science program, it was not until he began his vocal studies with Laurier Fagnan at Campus Saint-Jean in 2014 that he found his love and passion for classical music and conducting. As a chorister Armand has performed internationally in some of North America’s great concert halls such as the National Arts Centre and Carnegie Hall.
Recently named an RBC Emerging Conductor by the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Armand is currently pursuing a career in orchestral conducting and recently began his graduate studies at the University of British Columbia. His primary teachers and mentors have been Petar Dundjerski and his current teacher Jonathan Girard. He has also had the privilege of studying with Yoav Talmi, Daniel Raiskin, Michael Massey, Leonard Ratzlaff, and Angela Schroeder. Armand has had the privilege of conducting in many of Canada’s great concert halls such as the Winspear Centre for the Arts, the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts, The Centennial Concert Hall, and the Domaine Forget concert hall. In July 2022, Armand was a conducting fellow at the Domaine Forget de Charlesvoix where he had the honour of learning from Yannick Nézet-Séguin and Thomas Rösner in masterclasses with the Orchestre Symphonique de Québec (OSQ) and the Orchestre Métropolitain. Armand was also one of the few chosen to lead the OSQ in a performance during the festival. Armand is currently the Assistant Conductor of the UBC Symphony Orchestra and UBC Opera.
Armand’s current and past work is varied including engagements with the UBC Symphony Orchestra, the UBC Opera, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, the UofA Symphony Orchestra, the Edmonton Youth Orchestra, the UofA Opera, Contempo New Music Ensemble, and various choirs. In 2019, Armand founded a pre-professional chamber orchestra in Edmonton, the River City Chamber Orchestra, whose goal is to offer unique opportunities to budding young musicians. With an exciting and innovative approach to programming, Armand has developed inter-disciplinary performances that showcase live painting, dance, and poetry that have helped connect audiences with a wide variety of repertoire from Vivaldi to Schoenberg. Formerly the Artistic Director of the Centre d’arts visuels de l’Alberta, Armand’s passion for the arts knows no bounds and is dedicated to combining various art forms in innovative ways.
Armand believes that even a single performance has the possibility change someone’s life and has devoted his life to creating life-changing performances. This is Armand’s first time performing with the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra, and he is excited to share this scary, spooktacular, and exciting program with you!