Guest artists Susan O’Neill-Senyshyn & Yaroslav Senyshyn at April 27 concert.
Pianist Yaroslav Senyshyn and flautist Susan O’Neill-Senyshyn received standing ovations for their performances at CAUT’s benefit concert in late April to raise money for Discovery University and its program of university courses for low-income and homeless people in Ottawa.
“We were delighted to be able to raise $5,000 for Discover University,” said CAUT president Greg Allain. “We hope community groups and faculty in other communities will follow Discovery University’s example and establish educational opportunities for individuals who might otherwise not have access to university courses.”
Supported by donated time, talent and money from a number of organizations in the Ottawa area, including the First Baptist Church, the University of Ottawa, the Centre for Research on Community Services, Saint Paul University, the Ottawa Mission, Cornerstone and the City of Ottawa, Discovery University offers four university-level, non-credit courses: Discovering Fiction, Critical Thinking Skills, What is History? and Moral Living: Contemporary Issues in Ethics.
The 11-week courses are taught by volunteer faculty from Saint Paul University and the University of Ottawa, and the University of Ottawa donates the classroom space. There are no exams to pass, but students are required to come to class having read the assigned material and prepared to discuss it. Students receive course materials free of charge and free bus tickets if needed.
Senyshyn, a member-at-large of the CAUT Executive Committee, has won acclaim for his performances at many of the world’s foremost concert halls, including New York’s Carnegie Hall, Washington’s John F. Kennedy Centre for the Performing Arts, Toronto’s St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts and Massey Hall and the Grand (Bolshoi) Hall of the Moscow Conservatory. Georgetown University Radio featured Senyshyn in a broadcast about Canadian pianism, including Glenn Gould, Louis Lortie and Anton Kuerti, and the Washington Post described him as a pianist of “enormous power” and “sophistication.” In addition to his concert activities, Senyshyn is an associate professor of music and philosophy at Simon Fraser University and a former president of the SFU Faculty Association.
O’Neill-Senyshyn studied flute with Ervin Monroe (Detroit Symphony Orchestra), Robert Cram (National Arts Centre Orchestra), Paul Edmund-Davies (London Symphony Orchestra, UK), and the late Geoffrey Gilbert, who taught many players of international repute, including Sir James Galway. She has performed as a soloist and chamber musician in both England and Canada, and will begin teaching in the faculty of music at the University of Western Ontario this fall. Formerly, she was senior lecturer and associate director of the unit for the study of musical skill and development at Keele University in England.
“CAUT wants to express special thanks to the two guest artists who performed at the concert,” Allain said. “It is not often that we have an internationally-acclaimed musician on the executive of CAUT.”
CAUT professional officer Linda Rumleski can provide additional information for academic staff interested in pursuing a similar initiative in their community.