Reanne Vanden Brink
Give a brief bio about yourself/ your background/ your history
I was born in Lethbridge, Alberta, living there for 21 years before moving to Brandon, Manitoba in 2020. Both pairs of my grandparents immigrated to Canada from the Netherlands in the 1960’s and established their own farms and families in southern Alberta. I am the second youngest of my parent’s five children and am currently an aunt to seven nieces and nephews. In my free time, I enjoy travelling, reading, cooking, and any other art project I can get my hands on.
What education have you taken?
I began my post-secondary education studying at the University of Lethbridge, after graduating high school in 2016. I was originally enrolled in a 5-year combined Bachelor of Music/Bachelor of Education program but switched to the full Bachelor of Music program in my second year after realising that I wanted to pursue graduate studies in music. After graduating from the University of Lethbridge in 2020, I was accepted into the Master of Music program specialising in piano performance here at Brandon University, under the mentorship of Prof. Megumi Masaki. I am currently in my second year of graduate studies here at BU and hope to graduate in 2022.
What accomplishments are you proud of?
I am most proud of being in the place where I am today, considering I very nearly dropped out of university after my first semester of my undergrad due to mental health concerns. I’ve grown so much as a person and musician since then, due to the inspiration and support of my family, friends, and mentors. It was through the encouragement of these people that I was able to achieve other accomplishments that I am also proud of, such as being invited to participate in the 2019 edition of the Casalmaggiore International Music Festival in Italy, as well as in the upcoming 2022 edition of Musiktage am Rhein International Music Festival in Germany. I was also honoured to win first prize in the CFMTA National Music Essay Competition in 2020, for my paper discussing the music of Robert Schumann and the lens of mental illness; and was recently invited to present another research project on Björk’s album app Biophilia as a guest presenter at the 2021 University of Lethbridge Digital Audio Arts Student Symposium. I am grateful to Brandon University for choosing me as a recipient for several significant scholarships, further supporting me in my education as a performer and researcher.
How did you become interested in your field of study?
Music has been a large part of my life for as long as I can remember. Neither of my parents had the opportunity to take music lessons in their own childhoods, so it was important to them that their own children would be given that chance. I began piano lessons at the age of 6, and took violin lessons for several years as well; even joining a local youth orchestra for a year. I had a lot of uncertainties in high school about what direction I should move career-wise, but ultimately decided to enrol in a combined music/education program. My years at the University of Lethbridge were incredibly formative for me, challenging and causing me to think critically about my conceptions of what music, education and community were. It was also during these years that I began to explore the relationships of mental health and music perception, a thread that has extended through my research during my time at Brandon University.
What is your philosophy in life?
Have humility, respect, and understanding in your interactions with the world and with yourself.
Where do you see yourself in the future?
In the future, I hope to continue working as a piano instructor for the Eckhardt-Gramatté Conservatory of Music, as well as maintaining the position of administrative officer for the Eckhardt-Gramatté National Music Competition. As of right now I do not have any concrete plans in place following the completion of my Masters degree, but am considering pursuing doctoral studies at some point in the future.
In one sentence, how will you #BreakTheBias?
I will #BreakTheBias by actively promoting and including the works of female and marginalised composers in the performance and in discourse of classical music.
I have worked closely with Reanne Vanden Brink since 2019. Reanne immediately impressed me with her deep musical knowledge across a wide range of repertoire. Reanne is one of the top academic students in our Master of Music Piano Performance and Literature degree programs. She has been invited to disseminate her research on biographical listening and technology in music performance at local and national symposiums, and to perform at international music festivals.
In addition to her significant pianistic and academic accomplishments, Reanne is a leader always ready to contribute greatly to the student environment and community in the School of Music. She served as the graduate student’s representative for the Music Faculty Council and is always available to support, coach and accompany other students for their instrumental/vocal exams and recitals (even at very short notice). She has volunteered to mentor students to prepare for the BU Indigenous New Music Festival, showing sincere interest in advancing reconciliation and establishing collaborations with BIPOC artists through right relations. Reanne has been a valuable volunteer for the Eckhardt-Gramatté National Music Competition based at Brandon University. She has proven that she will seize every opportunity available to her with immense curiosity, passion and gratitude. I am honoured and grateful to Reanne for all her contributions to making the School of Music and Brandon University a better place for all.