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The Shean Piano Competition

The Shean Competition for Strings and Piano, made possible by a generous grant to the Edmonton Community Foundation from Ranald and Vera Shean in 1996, is open to young amateur musicians between 15 and 28 years of age who are residents of Canada currently studying here or abroad, or to non-residents who have been studying in Canada for a minimum of two academic years. Six semi-finalists are chosen from the submitted discs. The winner of the Competition will be invited to perform with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra at a later date. Strings and piano are featured in alternative years.

Ranald Shean excelled in both music and sports and was a “Master Teacher”. Vera Shean was an equally gifted violinist and pianist. They met in Vancouver where Ranald was Gregori Garbovitsky’s associate teacher and Vera was Garbovitsky’s student. Vera also continued advanced piano studies with Sir Arthur Benjamin. They married and began a lifelong collaboration in music, predominantly in the Edmonton area.

In the 1940’s, Ranald was concertmaster and conductor of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra. In addition to playing violin in the Symphony, Vera performed in recital and as an accompanist on the CBC. Ranald also conducted the Edmonton Youth Orchestra. In 1966, they established the Edmonton Conservatory of Music that later merged with the Alberta College Conservatory of Music.

Their passion was teaching. During their lives, they both maintained a full teaching schedule (Vera – piano, Ranald – violin) working seven days a week. Sunday was “Open House” for their students. Any student who wanted to come and practice, work with an accompanist (Vera), get extra coaching, play in an ensemble, etc. was welcome. Both Ranald and Vera were elected to the City of Edmonton’s Cultural Hall of Fame.

Their dream for young musicians to experience the same passion they had lives on in The Shean Competition.

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