Hailed as “un jeune chef très talentueux” by Radio-Canada, Kevin Zakresky is conductor of the Pacifica Singers and the founder-director of Sea to Sky Symphony in Vancouver. He is the past Music Director of the Prince George Symphony Orchestra and and has recently conducted the St Louis Symphony, Sudbury Symphony, West Coast Symphony, Vancouver Chamber Choir and in the Spring of 2016 launched the Sea to Sky Symphony in Vancouver. He has recently been appointed Associate Conductor of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses, a touring company that collaborates with orchestras through North America and Europe. He completed his Doctorate at Yale University in 2012.
In Spring of 2016 the Zelda Symphony has brought him to London to conduct the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra (in Wembley Arena) as well as Montreal, Philadelphia, Columbus, Charlottesville and Miami with further dates in Fresno, Vancouver, Calgary (with the Calgary Philharmonic) and Edmonton in the fall. 2017 dates bring him to Oklahoma City, Santiago (Chile) and Buenos Aires (Argentina).
Fall of 2016 saw him also guest conduct the Vancouver Chamber Choir in two concerts: Festiva! in November and The Christmas Story in December.
During his tenure with the Prince George Symphony Zakresky presented soloists Jane Coop in Schumann’s Piano Concerto, and violinist Dale Barltrop in Ravel’s Tzigane and Vaughan Williams’s The Lark Ascending. The Prince George Citizen called his performance of Orff’s Carmina Burana with the Vancouver Chamber Choir “the best show the PGSO had ever done... a rare and breathtaking night.” He also conducted symphonies by Tchaikovsky, Brahms, Beethoven, Mozart, and Haydn, and premiered twelve works by young British Columbia composers. Another highlight of his time in Prince George was the establishment of a partnership between the Orchestra and the Khat’san First Nation drummers.
Zakresky’s 2015/16 season included a program with the Sudbury Symphony, and a return visit with Vancouver’s West Coast Symphony for a festive holiday program including music by Prokofiev, Resphigi, Bizet, and Vaughan Williams as well as seasonal favourites. In the spring he will guest conduct the Vancouver Chamber Choir in works by Antognini, Pärt and Palestrina. April sees him direct a rare Vancouver performance of Mendelssohn’s St. Paul with the Trinity Western University Chorus and the Sea to Sky Symphony, a new orchestra he has founded in the Lower Mainland.
During the Pacifica Singers 2015/16 season he conducted The Cries of London, a program of Renaissance masterpieces, as well as Stravinsky’s Mass and Machaut’s Messe de Nostre Dame. He has recently conducted the premiers of two new operas for the Erato ensemble: Stefan Hintersteiniger’s Watch the Hound and Michael Park’s Diagnosis: Diabetes.
In December 2013 Zakresky made his CBC/Radio-Canada broadcast debut, conducting Monteverdi, with the Vancouver Chamber Choir and the Vancouver Chamber Orchestra, a performance held at Vancouver’s Orpheum Theatre. In the summer of 2014 Zakresky worked with the BBC Symphony Orchestra in London on an informal mentoring project; he returned to London in August of 2015 for another residency with the BBC.
Zakresky is past director of the SATB ensemble Orpheum Voices at the Vancouver Symphony School of Music. As part of its inaugural season in 2013, Orpheum Voices sang Fauré’s Requiem with the West Coast Symphony. The group went on to perform regularly with the Vancouver Symphony and Maestro Bramwell Tovey.
Zakresky received a Doctoral degree in Choral Conducting at Yale University in February 2012; his degree recital featured Cherubini’s rarely-programmed Requiem for male voices and orchestra. At Yale he won the prestigious Aidan Kavanagh Prize for Distinguished Intellectual Achievement, and was director of the University Chapel Choir and assistant conductor of the Yale Camerata. His major teachers were Marguerite Brooks and Simon Carrington, and he coached with Helmut Riling and Stephen Layton. Before studying at Yale he completed a master’s degree in conducting at the University of British Columbia, studying with Bruce Pullan.
He regularly offers master classes and workshops in Western Canada and is a recent winner of the BC Choral Federation’s Youth Music Award. From 2010 to 2012 he was assistant conductor of Chor Leoni Men’s Choir, and the Founder-Director of Chor Leoni’s “MYVoice” program, a choral experience for young men in the Lower Mainland.
He is a past member of the faculty of the innovative Vancouver International Song Institute, serves on the faculty of the BC Choral Federation’s Choral Directorship Course, and acts as an adjudicator and clinician throughout Western Canada. He has held teaching positions at Douglas College and Simon Fraser University.
Since 2013 Zakresky has taught voice and music repertoire at the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra School of Music, in addition to directing their choral ensembles. He has sung in the Festivale de due mondi in Spoleto, Italy, volunteered for Musicians without Borders in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and led choral workshops and clinics in Hong Kong. He publishes regularly in choral and vocal periodicals.