Dr. Cheung Chau, Music Director & Conductor
Cheung Chau is director of orchestral studies at Utah Valley University. He is music director of the Utah Valley Youth Symphony in Orem, Utah, music director of Sinfonietta Polonia in Poznań, Poland. He served as music director of the Bloomington Symphony in Minnesota, the Central Pennsylvania Symphony and the Manchester Symphony in Connecticut. Invited by Edo de Waart, Chau served as assistant conductor to the Hong Kong Philharmonic, leading the orchestra in projects including the 2007 live world-broadcast opening ceremony of the 10th anniversary celebration of Hong Kong’s Handover, with Chinese President Hu Jintao in attendance. He held director of orchestra positions at Haverford College and University of Connecticut.
As guest conductor, Chau conducted the Moscow Symphony in Russia, the Nordhausen Philharmonic and Pro Artibus Hannover in Germany, the Filharmonica Marchigiana in Italy, the Gavle Symphony in Sweden, the Vassa Symphony in Finland, the Williamsport Symphony and the Utah Chamber Orchestra in the US, the Bialystok Philharmonic, the Kielce Philharmonic, the Lublin Philharmonic, the Sudecka Philharmonic, and the Olsztyn Philharmonic in Poland. In China, Chau conducted the Hong Kong Philharmonic, the China National Symphony, the Tianjin Philharmonic, the Wuhan Philharmonic, and the Xiamen Philharmonic. He is currently visiting conductor of the Hunan Symphony and permanent guest conductor of the Inner Mongolia Opera Theater Orchestra.
An active ballet conductor, Chau conducted productions of Giselle with the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet at the Harrisburg Whitaker Center, L'histoire du soldat with the Poznan Ballet Academy in Poznan, Poland. He conducted Nutcracker and other productions with Ballet West at the Capitol Theatre and Kingsbury Hall in Salt Lake City. In June 2014, Chau and Sinfonietta Polonia presented the world premiere of the ballet Alice in Wonderland to music by Gabriel Kaczmarek at the Poznan Grand Opera and Ballet Theater in Poznań, Poland. The production has since become a part of the Theater’s regular season. In June 2016 Chau conducts Alice in Wonderland at the prestigious Opera Nova in Bydgoszcz, Poland, and with the Kielce Philharmonic in Poland. In March of 2016, Chau conducted the world premiere of the ballet Snow Queen at the Poznań Grand Opera and Ballet Theater. As an Opera conductor, Chau conducted Marriage of Figaro with the Royal Swedish Academy Opera and Georgia Southern Opera, as well as Cosi fan tutte with Utah Valley University Opera.
An enthusiastic educator, Chau conducts honors orchestras in the US, including the Utah All-State Orchestra, the Gifted Music School Orchestra in Salt Lake City, the Bridgerland Honors Orchestra in Logan, Utah, and the Gwinnett County Honors Orchestra in Atlanta, Georgia. Overseas, he conducted the Sibelius Academy Orchestra at Sibelius’s home at Järvanpää, Finland. In 2011, Chau guest conducted the International Association of Southeast Asian Schools Cultural Convention Orchestra in Jakarta. He has since been invited back for repeat engagements in the same capacity in Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur.
An avid collaborator, Chau collaborated as conductor with cellist Colin Carr and Steven Doanne, flutist Pierre-Ives Artaud, violinists Barnabas Kelleman and Stefan Tarara, pianists Andrzej Tatarski and Maria Masycheva, oboist Nathan Hughes, soprano Barbara Kubiak, as well as Jason Alexander and soloists from the Berlin Philharmonic, Minnesota Orchestra, London Philharmonia and Academy of Saint Martin in the Fields. He guest conducted choirs from Germany, Poland, Czech Republic, the USA and China, including the Poznański Chór Chłopiecy in Poland and the China National Symphony Orchestra Chorus.
As music director of Sinfonietta Polonia Chau made the world premiere recordings of Palester’s String Serenade for the leading Polish recording label Acte Préalable, and Alice in Wonderland. He led the orchestra and directed the International Szymanowski Festival in Beijing in 2011 as a designated cultural event of the Polish Ministry of Culture for the Polish European Union Presidency in 2011, with performances at the China National Center for the Arts and the Beijing Concert Hall. Chau led Sinfonietta Polonia on tours in France performing at the Caen Music Festival in Normandy, in Germany performing at the Rundfunk Berlin Brandenburg in Berlin and at the Grosser Sendesaal des Landesfunkhauses in Hanover. During its tour in China in 2010, Sinfonietta Polonia’s performance at the Beijing Concert Hall was broadcast nation-wide on China Central Television (CCTV). In Poland, Sinfonietta Polonia was featured in a cover article in the leading Polish classical music magazine, Muzyka 21. For the past nine years, Sinfonietta Polonia’s New Year concerts in the greater Poland region have attracted thousands of audiences and have served a number of American students and artists as a unique study abroad-professional orchestra experience. Chau and Sinfonietta Polonia have brought numerous notable and relevant projects to audiences. In May 2016 Chau leads Sinfonietta Polonia in a world premiere of Mass 1050 in celebration of the 1050 years of baptism of Poland, with soloists from the Poznan Opera Theater. The premiere will be world-broadcast on WTK Television. A world premiere recording of Mass 1050 is scheduled to release by the Polish label, Acte Préalable.
Chau received the first double doctorate in the history of the New England Conservatory in wind ensemble conducting and cello performance, studying conducting with Frank Battisti and cello with Colin Carr. He studied orchestral and choral conducting at the Royal Swedish Conservatory with Jorma Panula, and studied cello with Aldo Parisot at Yale School of Music and Eleonore Schoenfeld at the Colburn School in Los Angeles. As cellist Chau performed as soloist with the Hong Kong Philharmonic and the Macao Orchestra. He performed as chamber musician and soloist at the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, Beijing Concert Hall, Merkin Hall, Jordan Hall in Boston, and Abravanel Hall in Salt Lake City. As chamber musician he collaborated with Stephanie Chase, John Novacek, Doris Stevenson and Paul Rosenthal, among others, and is a regular artist with the Park City Beethoven Festival. He is a National Arts Associate in conducting with Sigma Alpha Iota.
Shauna Smith, Conductor
started playing the violin at age 10 in Mesa, Arizona. In Junior High School and in High School she was a member of a strolling group that played for many Civic groups in the Phoenix area. She has played for dignitaries such as Barry Goldwater, Ronald and Nancy Reagan and Indian Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi. She was a member of Arizona High School Allstate Orchestra for 3 years. In College, Shauna played with Brigham Young University Philharmonic, Arizona State University Symphony, and Weber State Symphony. She also sang, danced and fiddled for Brigham Young University Young Ambassadors and toured India and Sri Lanka. She graduated with a Bachelor of Music Degree from BYU in 1995 and earned her Masters Degree in Education, (December of 2000). During and after college, she has performed with numerous ensembles throughout Utah. Shauna is the Director of Orchestras for American Fork Junior and Senior High School. She is in her 18th year at the junior high and the 16th year at AF High School. During these years, her students have participated in District, State and National Festivals and competitions. These students have achieved Superior ratings and have ranked 2nd in National Competitions in New York City at the Lincoln Center. She also has served as the State Orchestra Vice President for the Utah Music Educators Association (2011-13) in which she has organized the Utah State Orchestra Allstate Festival 2012 and 2013, the 2012-2013 Orchestra UMEA Sessions. She currently is a member of the Allstate Orchestra Committee. Mrs. Smith was awarded the position of Conductor with the American Fork City Civic Symphony and was the Resident Conductor from August of 2012 to June of 2015. She is now currently holding a position with Utah Valley Youth Symphony as one of 3 professional Conductors. When she is not at school, she teaches privately to 24+ students in her home studio. Shauna loves her job and her students. Although she is very busy professionally, her greatest accomplishment is her family, children and now grandchildren.
Gavin Fulwider, Conductor
Gavin Fulwider began studying with the late Hiroko Primrose at age 3 and graduated from all levels of Suzuki Violin. He has served as concertmaster of the Springville HS Orchestra, the Utah Valley Youth Symphony, and the Utah Valley State College Orchestra. Orchestral touring has taken him to New York, London, Paris, Austria, Switzerland, and South Africa. He currently studies with Dr. David Margetts at Utah Valley University and teaches violin lessons.
Matthew Wendell, Brass Specialist/Conductor
Matthew Wendell was the first of his family to graduate from a university. He began his classroom teaching career in 2010 upon earning a Bachelor of Music Education degree from the University of Utah. Mr. Wendell is currently teaching at American Preparatory Academy, Draper Campuses since November of 2015. His philosophy of music education focuses on cultivating young musicians through the development of personal character and musicianship. Mr. Wendell motivates students by sharing his passion for music as one of life’s most powerful unifying forces. With a background in classical and jazz idioms, Matthew currently performs on trumpet with the Utah Millennial Choirs and Orchestra and the Nebo Philharmonic. Mr. Wendell serves on the Artistic Board of Directors for the Utah Valley Youth Symphony where he is also a conductor and coach. He also held coaching positions for Salem Hills High School Marching Band, Spanish Fork High School Marching Band, and the Spanish Fork Junior High Wrestling team. He studied trumpet with the Utah Symphony’s Peter Margulies and Nick Norton. As a conductor, his teachers include Scott Hagen, Robert Baldwin, Robert Ponto, Anthony Maiello, Paula Crider, Peter Boonshaft and Jay Gephart. He is an alumnus of Mu Phi Epsilon and Phi Theta Kappa. Current memberships include the National Bandmasters Association, National Association for Music Education, Utah Bandmasters Association, the Utah Music Educators Association and the Aikido Association of America. Mr. Wendell’s contagious passion for the music and music education has also inspired some of his former students to pursue undergraduate and graduate music degrees. To further his own education, Matthew is currently pursuing his graduate degree in Band Conducting and Pedagogy at the American Band College of Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas and is anticipating graduation in 2017.