2021 Adjudicators

Hailed as “one of the great players of our time,” Iliana Matos has firmly established herself as a masterful performer, critically acclaimed recording artist, dutiful mentor, and inspiration to guitarists around the world.

Over the last 3 decades, Matos has shared her passion and virtuosity with audiences around the world, including extensive touring in Latin America, North America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.

Her decorated competition career includes eleven prizes, including 1st place in the Andrés Segovia in Palma de Mallorca, Luys Milán, and Manuel Ponce International Guitar Competitions. She is the first woman to win the prestigious S.A.R. La Infanta Doña Cristina International Guitar Competition, and the only person to win the special prize for Best Interpretation of Spanish Music in two consecutive years, 1995 and 1996.

Throughout her career, Matos has maintained a commitment to fostering a new generation of young guitarists. For over 20 years, she nurtured rising Spanish guitarists while teaching at the Conservatory of the Balearics, the Conservatory of Salamanca, and the Royal Music Conservatory of Madrid. Today, she serves as the Head of Guitar Studies at the University of Lethbridge, while continuing to teach master classes around the world.

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Jamie Syer received first prize in the CBC Talent Competition in 1977 and completed his Doctoral degree from the Yale School of Music in 1986. His first academic position was at Mt. Allison University. He was subsequently on faculty at Mount Royal Conservatory, the University of Calgary, and the University of Regina. Jamie has long been a proponent of music by contemporary Canadian composers, including 10 years as the Artistic Director of New Works Calgary. From 2004-2012 Dr. Syer was based in Victoria, where he held several positions at the Victoria Conservatory of Music, including as its first Dean.

Jamie founded and directed the Victoria Conservatory’s Young Artists Collegium Program, which continues to provide enriched instruction and mentoring for talented young classical musicians. He was a sessional instructor at the School of Music, University of Victoria, where he also lectured for the Department of Continuing Education and led two travel study tours to France. For 20 years, Jamie and his wife, Laurie Syer, ran an annual summer music workshop for young people in Bergen, Alberta. Strings & Keys attracted hundreds of students, who came to Bergen to study with faculty from across Canada.

Dr. Syer has performed at a wide variety of venues in England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Denmark, Hungary and the US, as well as across Canada. Together, he and Laurie were featured performers at the Cambridge History Festival, and at the central-European interdisciplinary conference Canada in the European Mind.

Jamie continues to enjoy teaching and performing. In 2019 he was a guest artist with the Sidney Classical Orchestra on Vancouver Island, and he plays chamber music with the Springbank Trio and other ensembles. He has also been Music Director for four musical theatre productions, including In the Heights and Matilda the Musical. Jamie currently produces an ongoing series of instructional piano videos and other material, which can be found at JamieSyer.ca

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Violinist Frank Ho enjoys a multi-faceted career as a chamber musician, soloist, and pedagogue. His early training was at the Alberta College (now MacEwan University) Conservatory of Music. Further studies with Sidney Harth and Erick Friedman (Yale School of Music) and Yfrah Neaman (Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, England) led to performance opportunities on three continents. Highlights include concerts at venues such the Royal Festival Hall and the Purcell Room in London; Weill Recital Hall, Alice Tully Hall, and Merkin Hall in New York City; and numerous campuses and concert series in western Canada. Many of his concerts have been featured on the CBC.


He is currently a faculty member of the MacEwan University Conservatory of Music, and sessional violin instructor at King’s University and Concordia University of Edmonton. Frank is an active adjudicator nationally and international--most recently as a member of the international jury panel for the 2019 Hong Kong Music Schools Festival--as well as a member of the College of Examiners for the Royal Conservatory of Music. He is currently the concertmaster of the Concordia Symphony Orchestra.  A sought-after private teacher, many of his students are previous prizewinners of local, provincial, and national competitions; in 2017, two of his students were chosen to perform at Carnegie Hall in New York City through the American Protégé International Competition. Since November 2019, he has been the president of the Alberta String Association.