Stories of Phoenix: Meet the Conductor

Nicholle Andrews image

We are elated to welcome Dr. Nicholle Andrews from the University of Redlands in Southern California as Phoenix’s 4th Artistic Director. One of the reasons we were attracted to Dr. Andrews was not only her impressive musical resume, but also her dynamic personality and values that align with so much of what we strive for within the Phoenix community.

Here are some questions we recently asked her, so that our audience could get to know her a bit better.

Q: What makes you most excited to work with Phoenix in this upcoming season / what are you most looking forward to?

A: Working with Phoenix as a guest conductor last season was such a joy, and I look forward to moving into the future together. Phoenix Chamber Choir is a wonderful part of the Canadian Choral community, and as a Canadian, I look forward to making music back home again!

Q: Musical preferences: if you could conduct just one composer for a whole concert/season/lifetime (if you’re feeling brave), who would it be and why?

A: That’s a loaded question! Bach is the top of my  list, but I love new music. Part of my dissertation at McGill University was the study of contemporary Canadian choral composers, I love working with living composers premiering new works and the process of creating something that has never been heard!

Q: Musical preferences part b: when not studying choral music, who/what do you listen to?

A: If you were to look at my playlists on my iPhone, there is music by The Beatles, The WHO, Billy Joel, Bob Marley, Bon Jovi, Led Zeppelin, The Eagles, Journey, Ella Fitzgerald, ABBA, Garth Brooks, Great Big Sea, Harry Connick Jr., The Gypsy Kings, Michael Bublé, Paul Simon, Sting & The Police, Tom Waits, Eminem, you name it.

Q: List a few reasons why you took the Phoenix AD gig. What made Phoenix an intriguing/interesting/invigorating opportunity for you?

A: As I mentioned before, working with Phoenix last season was a wonderful experience and the reason I applied for the position. The first time I heard of Phoenix was as the coordinator of a summer program at The Banff Center. And here was are full circle as this season, Phoenix Chamber Choir will be return to The Banff Centre, but this time I will be the Artistic Director. I had no idea in 19 years ago that this was in our future. I think this is a pretty neat story!

Q: What’s something new you want to learn this year? 

A: I really want to get to know the music community in Vancouver. I was born and raised in Newfoundland and Labrador, so it will be exciting to become part of a new community on the opposite coast. I look forward to bringing a little bit of Newfoundland and California to Vancouver too!

Q: The person behind the conductor: what are some fun facts about you that indicate the type of person you are and how you like to spend your time? 

A: I always tell my students at Redlands that my family is my life. My husband Brad and I have two wonderful little girls, Maren age 11 and Teagan age 8. I am a mom, a partner and an educator. My family and I love to travel and explore. Living so far from our extended family, it’s really just the four of us, so we live every day to the fullest include Family Fun Night every Friday!

Q: You are a Canadian, living in the US, but coming back to your Canadian roots in this new position… what “Canadianism” are you looking forward to experiencing more frequently again? 

A: I miss everything about Canada! Tims, Loblaws, Shoppers, Roots just to name a few, but I really miss the people. There is something so safe about being ‘home’ and around people who share the same values. We love living in California, but there is no place like home!