The Calgary Pro Musica Young Artists Development Program (YADP) is intended to discover, nurture and promote young Calgary musicians. The resources of Calgary Pro Musica (CPM) allow us to offer unique opportunities in individual instruction, performance and career development for emerging musicians in Calgary.


2021-2022 Participants


Joseph Liang, violin 

Ever since Joseph discovered the violin at the age of 3, he has been fascinated with music and the capacity it has to tell stories and create emotions. Now in his senior year of high school, Joseph has been playing the violin for 13 years. He has played in festivals and competitions locally and nationally and is also a member of the Calgary Youth Orchestra. When Joseph isn’t playing the violin, he can be found listening to his favorite composers (especially Debussy!).  

Nikolai Nesterov, piano

Born into a family of musicians, Russian-Canadian pianist Nikolai is in the second year of his Bachelor of Music degree in performance at the University of Calgary, currently studying with Dr. Jani Parsons. An alumnus of the Academy of Music for the Gifted Youth at the MRU Conservatory, Nikolai has been an annual prize and scholarship winner at the Calgary Performing Arts Festival, the Alberta Provincial Music Festival as well as the Canadian Music Competition since 2012.

Dakota Perez, piano

Dakota obtained his ARCT in piano performance from the Royal Conservatory of Music at the age of 16. Dakota was one of the winners of the Rotary Calgary Concerto Competition in 2021 and also placed second in the CANIMEX Canadian Music Competition. He was a student in the Academy for Young Artists at MRU Conservatory and is in his second year at the University of Calgary for his BMus in Piano Performance.

Calgary Pro Musica announces their new Musical Body Break project.

The Musical Body Break  project is a series of twelve 3-5-minute “Musical Body Break” videos. These videos will incorporate motion with the live-recorded music by the Young Artist Development Program (YADP) participants. Each video illustrates a musical concept and is targeted to children 12 and under.

Click here for more information on the YADP Musical Body Break Project

Education Advisor

Samantha Whelan Kotkas

Samantha Whelan Kotkas M. Music, B. Music

Born in Canada, raised in Africa and educated in Calgary and Houston,Samantha has been praised for creating truly unique and totally engagingmusical experiences. She currently lives in Calgary and is the second trumpetplayer in the Red Deer Symphony.

As a Teaching Musician for the National Arts Centre of Canada she has performed her trumpet for over 3000 students a year since 2005. In September 2010 Samantha was appointed the position of education advisor for the Calgary Pro Musica society, one of the leading chamber music presenters in Canada.

In February 2010 Samantha joined George Zukerman and Daniel Bolshoy in Nunavut, Canada for an exciting tour of the North. She joined George Zukerman again in April 2011 for a tour of Canada’s Northwest Territories. Her high energy and fun filled performances have made her a crowd favorite for small and large audiences alike.

If you would like to know more about Samantha Whelan Kotkas please visit her website at Storyfair.



We are looking for players with outstanding talent and a serious commitment to developing themselves as well-rounded musicians.

Participants in the Program receive:

  • exclusive instruction from the prestigious CPM visiting artists,
  • be presented in a fully sponsored and publicized CPM concert,
  • prepare and perform a series of school concerts with CPM Artistic Director and
  • receive valuable career development instruction
  • scholarship support to the winning individuals or pre-formed ensemble. Scholarships will be used to fund the student’s regular individual instruction.

Depending upon the audition results, there will be 2 to 6 students in the program per season.