Valerie Sylvester


  • Instrument: Principal First Violin
  • Member Since: 1993

Valerie Sylvester, NSO concertmaster, enjoys an eclectic musical career. She was introduced to the violin right here in the Niagara region by her grandfather, who played in local dance bands and was a member of the Niagara Region Musicians' Association. She now plays violin and viola as well as Baroque violin and bass viola da gamba. She received a Master's Degree in violin performance from Mannes School of Music in New York after completing undergraduate studies at the University of Toronto. In addition to her work with Niagara Symphony, Valerie is concertmaster of Opera York, Talisker Players Choral Orchestra, and is a founding member of Nota Bene Baroque Players. She also free-lances, and has performed with many of the province's orchestras including Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, Orchestra London, Esprit, and Tafelmusik. In addition to working as an orchestral musician, Valerie is an active chamber musician, a founding member of Harmonie, Musathena, and the Yorke String Quartet, as well as a frequent guest soloist with the Toronto Continuo Collective. She has participated in the premieres of many new Canadian works and enjoys interacting with composers and arrangers. Valerie has performed in several series and summer festivals including Elora, Ottawa, Vancouver International, and Luminato, and has made tours of several Asia-Pacific nations with various orchestras. In addition, she frequently performs in small ensembles for social events and functions. As a bass viol player, Valerie is a member of The Cardinal Consort of Viols, Ontario's only performing viol consort. She also maintains a small violin teaching studio, enjoys adjudicating music festivals and workshops, and coaching in an arts-focussed high school. Valerie deeply values Niagara Symphony's varied and innovative programming which gives our audience the chance to hear the orchestra in many different styles and genres of music. She has played for many touring artists, and was a member of the onstage band for the hit television show 'Canadian Idol' for its last five seasons. Most recently, Valerie joined 'The Wintergarten Orchestra', an eleven-piece band specialising in prohibition-era music from the dawn of jazz.