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Young alumnus goes ‘West’ to find the world

by Paul Mayne, Western News | August 19, 2016

John Yun
Western alumnus John Yun, MMus ’12, recently landed a performance and associate conductor role in the international tour of West Side Story. This 40-plus-week tour will play major opera houses and theaters across Europe and Asia.

Here comes John Yun. Little world step aside.

Yun, MMus ’12 (Literature and Performance), is a multi-faceted musician, one who effortlessly moves between the roles of musical director, collaborative artist, jazz pianist and opera tutor. This versatility played a significant role in the alumnus landing the Associate Conductor role with the international travelling production of West Side Story, which kicks off this October.

And the credit for setting him on this musical journey, Yun said, goes to his time at Western under the tutelage of Don Wright Faculty of Music professor Stephan Sylvestre.

“The people you meet during your masters are the people and connections who are going to carry you through the rest of your life,” Yun said. “It’s been interesting to see how everyone has progressed in all kinds of things from opera and churches to Second City. You are sort-of banded together.

“Everything ties back to that one summer between first and second year at Western, which pretty much started the whole snowball and the gigs kept getting bigger.”

After a tip from a fellow Western student, Yun worked at the Sarnia Imperial Theatre as a student. There, he first met Mark Payne, currently Musical Director of the Victoria Playhouse in Petrolia, who gave him his first musical theatre gig. After a couple years of performances with Payne, Yun was asked to be the Musical Director for Sounds of Sinatra at the Drayton Festival Theatre.

At the time, he was already working as Head Opera Coach and Assistant Conductor for UWOpera’s production of Cosi Fan Tutte, but didn’t want to turn down the experience.

From there, Yun became the Music Director for the U.S. travelling tour of Godspell in 2014. On that tour, he met Musical Director Keith Levenson, who got him a performance job with the 2015 National Broadway touring production of Annie. Yun, eventually promoted to the role of Associate Music Director, wrapped up that show in Indonesia this month.

Read the complete story: Western News

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