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Oak Bay cellist takes her playing to the next level

Lexie Krakowski follows national festival win with placement at Glenn Gould School of Music
Recent Oak Bay High graduate Lexie Krakowski won the grand prize at the Federation of Canadian Music Festivals national event for her cello playing. (Courtesy Lexie Krakowski)

The prowess of Oak Bay cellist Lexie Krakowski is a shining example for the exploration of music.

In a bid to shake the old convention that a conservatory is just a place for protegees, the Victoria Conservatory of Music has long offered accessible options for people to explore and develop a relationship with music, said dean Stephen Green.

Enter then seven-year-old Krakowski.

During one Discovery Summer Camp at the VCM, she found herself perusing instruments and the cello stuck.

“I was really inspired by the teachers at the camp, they made me want to continue learning the cello,” Krakowski said. “Over time I started getting more involved at the VCM and their Collegium program, as well as the Greater Victoria Youth Orchestra and Greater Victoria Performing Arts Festival, and now playing cello became the most important part of my life.”

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Green remembers her starting to invest in herself and in her music. For the past five years she’s studied with Brian Yoon – principal cellist with the Victoria Symphony – and previously studied with Paula Kiffner and Karen Whyte.

Now 18, Krakowski competed among 53 other young musicians in the 50th Federation of Canadian Music Festivals, a national festival where performers compete for a prize pool of $25,000. Krakowski was chosen among all disciplines by an international panel for the grand award of $5,000 and a performance opportunity with Symphony New Brunswick.

But that has to wait, as the recent Oak Bay High grad spent her final days of summer driving east to pursue the next phase of her musical career.

This fall she studies at the prestigious Glenn Gould School of Music with Hans Jensen and Andres Diaz, “both of whom are phenomenal pedagogues,” Krakowski added excitedly. “I’m really looking forward to focusing on improving my playing, while also learning from the musical environment in Toronto as well as my peers at school.”

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While he chuckles about her potential shock, moving from Oak Bay to Toronto, Green expects Krakowski to not only be fine, but to thrive. An avid member of school and community programs, she’s not one to remain quiet.

“The arts isn’t something you should do in seclusion, it’s really all about having a perspective of the world and being able to share that. You need to be somebody who can connect,” Green said.

Krakowski fits the bill.

“The music industry has, for a long time, been very male dominated … I think Lexie’s a great advocate for women in the arts. She shows leadership qualities and I look forward to seeing how she can advocate for women in the arts.”

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Christine van Reeuwyk

About the Author: Christine van Reeuwyk

I'm dedicated to serving the community of Oak Bay as a senior journalist with the Greater Victoria news team.
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