Articles tagged with: spring convocation

  • Student completes music degree started 18 years ago in Mexico

    Mexico’s Luis Gerardo Molina will graduate from Brock Friday with a degree in Music.

    (from The Brock News,  Tuesday, June 05, 2018 | by )

    For 20 years, Luis Gerardo Molina worked his way up the corporate ladder of a growing computer software firm in his home country of Mexico.

    After high school, he had made what he viewed as a responsible decision to choose a stable career in technology over a fragile one as a classical pianist, but his love of music kept pulling at him like a magnet.

    Eventually, he gave in, and on Friday, June 8, at the age of 48, his career change will be official when he graduates from Brock University with a degree in Music.

    “It means everything,” said Molina. “That was a dream that I always wanted to make happen and I really struggled to get it.”

    Born into a family of talented musicians, Molina grew up around choirs and instruments, and by the age of six it was obvious he had a gift. At nine, he started working with a piano teacher and for eight years he attended a specialized school of music that turned his hobby into a craft.

    “I finished my high school and I had that dilemma many people face — should I devote my life to music? Is that a safe path for the rest of my life?” Molina said. “I decided to follow an alternative career. I always really liked the maths, so I decided to choose engineering.”

    A literal flip of a coin at the age of 17 made Molina choose computer engineering over civil engineering, and that set in motion a software career that lasted 20 years.

    But while his career progressed to the point of becoming a manager, so did his ongoing love of music. Having never truly given up his dream of being a professional pianist, Molina went back to the University of the Americas part time in 2000, completing two years of a four-year degree before realizing the workload wasn’t sustainable.

    Luis Molina’s music career has taken him to competitions and performances around the world.

    “It was just too much,” he said.

    But an invitation to an international piano competition in Paris in 2003 ramped up his duelling interests. After beating out nearly 100 competitors from 35 countries to win the contest, he was invited to more international performances and competitions, leading to the production of his first album of live recordings.

    “I got very good support from the company I was working for. The owner was a kind guy who was also involved in music and he always felt proud to tell them he had an employee with this background in competition and music,” said Molina, who traveled to the U.S., Germany, Russia, Poland and elsewhere over the years.

    “After doing all that, I decided the music is calling me more and more,” he said. “The company I was working for was growing and every day it was getting more complicated to do both things together.”

    Finally in 2015, the door opened to make music his full-time endeavour. He was hired as a pianist with a philharmonic orchestra in Mexico and went back to university for his third year of music school.

    Then, in 2017, a trip to Canada to visit friends in Niagara led to another big change.

    “I loved the Niagara region so I thought, if I’m going for my passion in music, I found the perfect place to do it,” he said.

    A tour of Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts and a meeting with Associate Professor of Music Karin Di Bella confirmed that Brock was where Molina would finish his degree.

    “I fell in love with what I found here. And now that I’m almost done, I feel very lucky to have had this great opportunity in this great country and at this great University,” he said.

    Di Bella called Molina “the real deal.”

    “He possesses a rare combination of drive, discipline, musical maturity, technical facility, innate musicality and a true flair for performance,” she said. “Despite his many accomplishments, he is very humble and always eager to learn, making him a true joy to work with.”

    After graduating Friday in the final day of Brock’s Spring Convocation, Molina will move on to do his master’s in musical literature and performance at Western University.

    From there, a PhD and potentially a teaching career are in his sights.

    “I’ve been performing for more than 30 years and I want to continue doing that, but I’d like to share my perspectives and teach others,” he said.

    Molina credits his wife, Marcela Lagunas Burgos, herself a talented musician who plays the cello, as playing a major role in his career success.

    “We’re definitely on the same frequency. She has supported me with everything and all the decisions.”

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  • World-Renowned Photographer Edward Burtynsky to receive honorary degree at Brock’s Spring Convocation

    A global health researcher, a Canadian union leader and a world-renowned photographer Edward Burtynsky (left) will be awarded honorary doctorates from Brock University during the upcoming Spring Convocation.

    (excerpted from: The Brock News,  Thursday, May 24, 2018 | by )

    This year’s Spring Convocation will include nine ceremonies over five days from June 4 to 8 in the Ian D. Beddis Gymnasium at Brock University’s Walker Sports Complex. Ceremonies will take place at 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. each day except for Friday, June 8, when only a morning ceremony is scheduled.

    Receiving honorary degrees this year will be Dr. James Orbinski, former President of Doctors Without Borders and a respected global health researcher; Hassan Yussuff, the first-ever Human Rights Director of the Canadian Auto Workers union and now President of the Canadian Labour Congress; and Edward Burtynsky, a St. Catharines native whose industrial landscape photography has appeared in more than 60 museums around the world.

    Convocation ceremonies are open to the public and tickets are not required. A reception for graduates, family and guests will follow each ceremony.

    Friday, June 8, 10 a.m. — Edward Burtynsky, World-Renowned Photographer

    His remarkable photographs of industrial landscapes have been included in the collections of more than 60 major museums around the world, but it was in his hometown of St. Catharines that Edward Burtynsky first learned his craft.

    Known as one of Canada’s most respected photographers, Burtynsky was influenced early in his career by the images of Niagara’s General Motors plants. His images explore the collective impact we’re having on the planet, looking at the human systems we’ve imposed onto natural landscapes.

    Burtynsky received his BAA in Photography/Media Studies from Ryerson University in 1982 and a few years later launched Toronto Image Works, a darkroom rental facility, custom photo lab, digital imaging and new media computer-training centre catering to all levels of Toronto’s art community.

    While he is an active lecturer on photographic art across North America, his images have appeared in the biggest publications in the world such as National Geographic and the New York Times, and have been included in installations at the National Gallery of Canada, the Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim, the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid and many others.

    Awarded the title of Officer of the Order of Canada in 2006, Burtynsky has also won the TED Prize, the Governor General’s Awards in Visual and Media Arts, the Outreach award at the Rencontres d’Arles, the Roloff Beny Book award, and the Rogers Best Canadian Film award.

    When he receives an honorary doctorate from Brock University on Friday, June 8, it will be Burtynsky’s ninth such degree.

    Most recently, Burtynsky unveiled his first Augmented Reality installation at Photo London, where he was honoured as the 2018 Master of Photography. The installation allows viewers to explore the recycling of automotive machine parts from a scrap yard in Accra, Ghana in 3D.

    “I like to think of photography 1.0 as the invention of photography and photography 2.0 as the evolution of photography to digital and the move from film and paper to everything on a chip,” Burtynsky said. “Now, for me, photography 3.0 is the use of the digital camera to capture an object in the third dimension.”

    He said powerful imaging software and advancements in computing power has allowed him to create installations inviting viewers “directly into the photograph to scale with the objects, even allowing them to magnify and see the detailed minutia.”

    Burtynsky’s work was recently featured in Lac/Athabasca written by Len Falkenstein and presented by the graduating Dramatic Arts students in April 2018.

    Upcoming exhibitions include Anthropocene at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO).  A co-presentation with the Canadian Photography Institute (CPI) of the National Gallery of Canada (NGC) Anthropocene is a major new contemporary art exhibition that tells the story of human impact on the Earth through film, photography, and new experiential technologies. Co-produced with MAST Foundation, Bologna, Italy, the exhibition is a component of the multi-disciplinary Anthropocene Project from the collective of photographer Edward Burtynsky and filmmakers Jennifer Baichwal and Nicholas de Pencier. Organized by the artists in partnership with the three organizations, Anthropocene will run at the AGO and NGC simultaneously from September 2018 through early 2019.

    Listen to “Paul and Ed’s Excellent Adventure” from CBC Ideas:

    “World-famous environmental photographer Edward Burtynsky and IDEAS host Paul Kennedy both grew up in St. Catharines, Ontario. In fact, their childhood homes were less than 300 metres apart, and paperboy Paul delivered a daily dose of newspaper comic strips to eventual visual artist Ed. They return to their old home town and revisit their roots, including the site of the now-dismantled GM Plant # 1, where both of their fathers worked; and the new subdivision that’s recently replaced Meadowvale School, where they both started kindergarten, so many decades ago.”
    Ideas (January 15, 2018)

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