Symphony on the Bay depends on the following group of gifted and devoted individuals to look after the musical direction and the day-to-day operations of this organization.
Our Conductor and Music Director
Claudio Vena was appointed Conductor and Music Director in December, 2015.
Claudio Vena is a Gemini Award-winning composer, producer and musician. He has composed for film, television and stage, penning scores for the Stratford Festival, Canadian Stage, and, most recently, the score for St Joan at the Shaw Festival.
Claudio has held conducting posts with the Royal Conservatory’s Academy Chamber Orchestra, the Hart House Orchestra and the Huronia Symphony Orchestra, and conducted the original production of Miss Saigon in Toronto. His first major recording and his debut as conductor and arranger was with Canadian opera star and Met baritone, Louis Quillico. Since then, Claudio has released and produced three solo CDs. He co-founded the group Quartetto Gelato, and, among other career highlights, won NPR’s Debut Artist of the Year and received two Juno nominations.
As a record producer, Claudio has worked with many Canadian favourites, including Ensemble Vivant’s Catherine Wilson, Alfie Zappacosta and Diana Kristina Salvatore. He has worked in studio with Blue Rodeo, Jim Cuddy, Ron Sexsmith, Anne Murray, Steven Page, Ashley MacIsaac and Patricia O’Callaghan. As a violist, violinist, accordionist, guitarist and mandolin player, Claudio has performed with artists such as Paul Anka, Andrea Bocelli, Placido Domingo, Luciano Pavarotti, Anne Murray, Blue Rodeo, Rod Stewart and Page & Plant.
Manager Orchestra Operations
Liz Delaney has worked in the not-for-profit sector as a coordinator of volunteers and as a regional manager. She is also a professional editor and enjoys supporting the big picture with thoughtful attention to detail. As a musician, Liz has been involved in community orchestras and chamber groups most of her life. While she has flirted with the oboe, trombone, and cello, strings have always been her true passion (look for her in the viola section on concert day!). She is currently studying viola with renowned violin and viola player, Michael Schulte
Librarian & Personnel Manager
Graham Young maintains an active schedule as a performer, volunteer and businessman. Completing a Bachelor of Music at McMaster University in 1974, he went on to graduate studies at the University of Victoria and earned a B.Ed. at the University of Western Ontario. Graham is the principal trumpet of Symphony on the Bay and the McMaster University Chamber Orchestra where he is also the personnel manager. He is the leader and founder of the Celebration Brass quintet and plays soprano cornet with the Weston Silver Band. He is also in demand as a soloist with choirs and churches in the Hamilton area.
Our Music Director Emeritus
Prof. James R. McKay was appointed Music Director and Conductor in 1995. He retired at the beginning of the 2014-15 season and was granted the title of Music Director Emeritus in recognition of his 19 years in that position. Prof McKay maintains an active schedule as a bassoonist, conductor, acoustic researcher, university teacher and adjudicator. He appears on over a dozen commercial recordings with artists including James Campbell, Anton Kuerti and Steven Staryk, and with ensembles including the Festival of the Sound, the Amadeus Ensemble and the Contemporary Chamber Players of Chicago. He is frequently featured as a soloist or conductor in broadcast concerts on the CBC and NPR networks and in many North American, Japanese and European music festivals. His book, The Bassoon Reed Manual, which details Lou Skinner’s theories and practice of bassoon reed making, was published by Indiana University Press in 2000.
Formerly the Chair of the Department of Music Performance Studies in the Faculty of Music at the University of Western Ontario and Director of the Reverberation and Acoustics in Performance Laboratory, a part of the National Centre for Audiology at Western, he carries out research on room acoustics with special attention to the perceptions and needs of musicians in relation to reverberation.