Born in Russia, Yuri Klaz came to Canada in 2000. In 2003, he was appointed the artistic director and conductor of The Winnipeg Singers.
Artistic Director and Conductor
Yuri Klaz was born in Petrozavodsk, Russia, where he was a graduate of the music college and the conservatory of music. He received his Masters degree in conducting at the St. Petersburg State Conservatory. In 1982 he became an associate professor of choral and orchestral conducting at the Petrozavodsk Conservatory. In 1987 Mr. Klaz was appointed the artistic director and conductor of the Chamber Choir of the Karelian Art Centre in Petrozavodsk. Under his direction, the choir led an active concert life and participated in national (Russia) and international concert tours and competitions in Germany, Finland, Estonia, Ireland, and Norway, where the choir received numerous awards.
In 1995, by decree of President Boris Yeltzin, Mr. Klaz was awarded the prestigious title, "Honoured Artist of Russia" and received a silver medal for exceptional achievement in the development of art in Russia. Mr. Klaz came to Canada in 2000 to become the artistic director and conductor of the Winnipeg Philharmonic Choir.
In addition to the Philharmonic concert series, he has prepared the choir for performances with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Brahms’ German Requiem in 2003, Mozart’s Requiem in 2006 and most recently Vaughan Williams A Sea Symphony. He has conducted performances at the WSO New Music Festival each year since 2001. Mr. Klaz made his debut as conductor of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra to critical acclaim in a concert featuring The Winnipeg Singers and the Winnipeg Philharmonic Choir in March 2005. In 2006 Mr. Klaz made his conducting debut with the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra in Mozart’s Mass in C minor (Robert Levin edition) again with the combined forces of The Winnipeg Singers and The Winnipeg Philharmonic Choir.
In April of 2003, Mr. Klaz was appointed the artistic director and conductor of The Winnipeg Singers. In the past four years he has conducted the Singers in performances of many major choral masterpieces including Bach’s Mass in B minor and Christmas Oratorio and Rachmaninov’s All Night Vigil and the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom.
Mr. Klaz also directs the First Mennonite Church Choir and continues as conductor of The Winnipeg Philharmonic Choir.
Mr. Klaz has attended four World Symposia on Choral Music, most recently Kyoto in 2005, where he conducted The Winnipeg Singers, honoured as an invited choir. He has written numerous articles devoted to the choral and artistic activities of Sibelius, Kuula, and Madetoja. An active teacher and conductor, Mr. Klaz has toured the northern United States giving conducting seminars. Since his arrival in Canada, Mr. Klaz has attended two Association of Canadian Choral Conductors (ACCC) conventions, 2004 in Winnipeg, where he was a clinician and 2006 in Victoria.