Protege Profile: Emily Traversy ~ CMK Arnold Draper Award for Young Artists

In this issue, our “Protege Profile” in support of the Chamber Music Kelowna Arnold Draper Fund for Young Artists, features Emily Traversy (violin). An accomplished violinist, Ms. Traversy began playing when she was five years old; during her development and studies, Arnold Draper has held a significant mentorship role since she was a child, through her teens, and into adulthood. 

Emily was first introduced to Arnold at just nine years old by her violin teacher for her participation in the local Kiwanis Festival, during which she performed the Brahms Violin Sonata in G major.  Exactly ten years later in 2016, Arnold accompanied Emily for her Royal Conservatory ARCT performance examination, which she passed with honours. She then competed in both the local and provincial Kiwanis Music Festival, where she won first place in the national strings level class over the entire province of BC in 2017; Arnold once again accompanied her on piano for the competition and gala. 

“Every single time I’ve worked with him has been absolutely wonderful,” says Emily.  “Winning the 2017 Provincial Kiwanis Festival (in Kamloops) for my ARCT strings category with him is such a fantastic memory.” She remembers fondly how Arnold stayed much longer than he had planned in Kamloops for the specific purpose of accompanying her for the gala concert that evening. “Rehearsing with him was such a joy, every single time,” she muses. “Without the added pressure of an audience, I was able to focus so much more on creating art rather than performing—and those moments were always the loveliest.”

Immediately after high school Emily started teaching violin, while also becoming the concertmaster and eventually the assistant strings coach of Okanagan Symphony Youth Orchestra. Her foundational training in classical music led her to perform for many renowned soloists in masterclasses, such as Sarah Chang, Martin Beaver and Lara St. John. She now teaches over thirty students, and also posts practice videos and musical advice on her Instagram profile, which has amassed over 20,000 followers. 

Coming this far in her young career has not always been an easy road. Along with her own dedication to the craft, she gives credit to those who have believed in and supported her along the way. “There have been many challenges I have personally faced as a musician in the classical music community, but the most stark one has to be my faith conviction of not performing from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset, since that is my day of rest and worship,” she begins. “It’s been people like Arnold who go out of their way to create space for people like me, and who have never once tried to reason me out of my belief.”

More than even solo performance is her love for chamber music. Quite eloquently stated, Emily feels that chamber music exemplifies the intimacy of conversation between a sparser number of instruments that is truly magical and can paint more vivid pictures onto the silence. “Solo performance is so often eclipsed by a type of proud bravado,” she says. “But chamber music requires humility and an unselfish awareness for others in order for the music to truly say what it is meaning to say…I think it must be one of the most beautiful things in the world.”

Readers may recall Emily’s collaboration with her friends Thomas Bauer (flute) and Evelyn Gisbrecht (piano) for a two-concert series, one of which was sponsored by Chamber Music Kelowna and held in a private home to the delight of all in attendance.  “Chamber Music Kelowna has provided so many opportunities to our local musicians and to the entire community,” Emily comments with gratitude. “CMK’s support of young artists is generous and unlimited, and each concert season brings some of the best classical musicians in the world to our beautiful little corner of the Okanagan.” 

To her students and to other young musicians, Emily imparts words of wisdom that she has learned through experience. “Don’t consume yourself in your instrument so much that you forget that you love it. Don’t be so hungry for the stage that you forget to relish what music actually means and why you are important to music’s cause, she cautions. “You are not your practice room–you are your life. You must feed your art, or it will starve.” 

Her final thoughts on her one-time mentor are of a beautiful memory, from not so long ago. When Arnold and his wife moved residences, they gifted Emily a “twelve-inch-high stack collection” of original copies of violin music that they couldn’t keep. “Because of that gift, I have not only found new music to love and learn, but have used many of the pieces to teach my own violin students,” she says. “Arnold’s generosity is a light that not only goes out into the community, but grows and spreads to the next generation of young musicians. He is truly a beautiful soul.”


The Chamber Music Kelowna Arnold Draper Fund for Young Artists, in cooperation with the Central Okanagan Foundation, was created to assist young musicians who are pursuing a career in classical music. Mr. Draper has dedicated countless hours as teacher, coach and performing colleague to many young and emerging artists from the Okanagan. 

If you would like to support the CMK Arnold Draper Award Fund, please click on the DONATE button to be taken to our secure donation page through our partner, Canada Helps, and click on the fund in the drop-down menu. For more information about the CMK Arnold Draper Award Fund, please visit this page on our website

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