“Conducting is more than slicing air, it has to be heartfelt.” This simple statement captures the core of Kenneth Hsieh‘s passion for his livelihood. 

Kenneth Hsieh, orchestra, theatre, music, helen siwak, folioyvr, vancouver, bc, yvr

Hailed for his charming, passionate, and compelling podium presence, award-winning conductor
Kenneth Hsieh has garnered widespread praise for his vibrant performances, making him one of the most exciting and versatile conductors on the global stage. 

Ken is internationally notorious for his passion, personality, and ‘never say die’ approach to life. Always building momentum, the 2023-2024 Season marks his 
21st year as Music Director of the Vancouver Metropolitan Orchestra, in addition to many international guest conducting engagements 
which recently include debuts with Boston Ballet, Shanghai and Sendai Philharmonic Orchestras.

Born in Edmonton, Alberta, a young Ken won numerous prestigious conducting prizes, including the 
Heinz Unger Award in Conducting and the Jean-Marie Beaudet Award in Orchestral Conducting. His conducting teachers and coaches include the renowned and much respected Kurt Masur, Kazuyoshi Akiyama, Morihiro Okabe, Yuji Yuasa, Ronald Zollman, and Jorma Panula. 

An alumnus of the Royal Conservatory of Music and the University of British Columbia, Ken completed his postgraduate studies in orchestral conducting in Japan at the prestigious Toho Gakuen School of Music and Senzoku College of Music on 
full scholarship. Ken also took further studies in Austria 
with Yuji Yuasa and masterclasses with 
Seiji Ozawa and Pinchas Zukerman.


At only 22, Ken was appointed Assistant Conductor of the Pacific Music Festival (founded by Leonard Bernstein), where he worked with the Sapporo Symphony Orchestra and the Pacific Music Festival Orchestra, as well as serving as an assistant and collaborator to Bernard Haitink, 
Edo De Waart, Krzysztof Penderecki, Seikyo Kim, Yutaka Sado, Ken Takaseki, and Wen-Pin Chien. 

It was in the following year that he 
became Assistant Conductor at the National Academy Orchestra and the youngest Conductor-in-Residence/
Assistant Conductor with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra (2004-2007), 
where he conducted over 100 performances from the main subscription series to lighter and pop series concerts. 

Ken’s legacy includes performances in nine Canadian cities, dozens of international venues, and digitally through recordings, play on CBC Radio Canada, and broadcast in Taiwan, Japan, and the USA

Honours and recognitions have been steady throughout his career, including being named one of the Top 100 Most Influential Asian-Canadians by the Vancouver Sun, Top 10 Most Beautiful People by TV Week Magazine (with Michael Buble), and most recently, 
Top 33 Most Influential Leaders by 
Sing Tao News and Top 10 Elite Chinese-Canadians.

Kenneth Hsieh, orchestra, theatre, music, helen siwak, folioyvr, vancouver, bc, yvr


In 2003, with a desire to build a much needed al cultural resource for the city, 
the Vancouver Metropolitan Orchestra was founded by Ken. 

The VMO is dedicated to outstanding 
young musicians’ artistic, personal and professional development, creating opportunities for talented young musicians to perform with the mentorship of seasoned professionals, in front of live audiences.

With its first concert that summer at the Shaughnessy Heights United Church, 
a packed audience was enthralled by 
16 orchestral members who performed string orchestral works by Vivaldi, Bach, 
and Tchaikovsky

Since then, the orchestra has grown exponentially, performing works from the Baroque and classical periods 
and large-scale works from the Romantic and contemporary periods. Before becoming an orchestra 
under the American Federation of Musicians/Vancouver Musicians’ Association (2009), the orchestra performed up to an astounding 
12 concerts per season! 

Kenneth Hsieh, orchestra, theatre, music, helen siwak, folioyvr, vancouver, bc, yvr


“The last few years or so have been quite an adventure! I had the great pleasure of conducting Boston Ballet and Tokyo Ballet, where I have come to enjoy working with these professional, talented dancers! 

“Tying in with my debut with the Sendai Philharmonic Orchestra through Beethoven Symphony No. 9, I hosted two documentary programs for the Japan National Tourism Organization featured on CTV.“This opportunity included incredible experiences in Okinawa, Ishigaki, Taketomi, Nago and Naha. I was able to reconnect with Karate – my childhood passion, having reached brown belt level – so many years ago.

Hosting the program allowed me to learn the history of Karate and its origin in Okinawa and to practice and renew my interest in this martial art. Guiding me along the way was 
Akihito Yagi, who is the youngest and highest 9th-degree black belt and who became one of my most incredible friends and mentors. 


“Aside from conducting great professional orchestras in Japan, 
one of my fun rewards is conducting 
the Honour Orchestra in Japan. It consists of high-level young students who perform so beautifully I had chills up my spine! 

“Through my travels, especially in China, I am amazed at how far 
China has come regarding music performance. The professional orchestras in Suzhou, Shanghai, and Chengdu are all performing very well, and some at an extremely high level.

“Although the pandemic was a trying time for all of us, I kept myself busy 
and mentally fulfilled by creating 
many recording projects for the VMO. Even without a live audience, these undertakings worked to keep morale 
of the musicians (and myself) high! =

“The first five to six months of the pandemic allowed me to slow down, and it became a welcome to rest time and find clarity for my future undertakings.” 

“In September 2021, at the Orpheum Theatre, the VMO became one of the first orchestras to give a live performance to a live audience. Hope and spirits were high, but I must admit, seeing so many musicians leave their careers to find other work made me sad.  

“We are a couple of years out from those days, and I am slowly returning to Japan and China to conduct, and hopefully, Europe very soon! Outside of music, I am happy to get back to being involved with various charities to give back to the community. 

Kenneth Hsieh, orchestra, theatre, music, helen siwak, folioyvr, vancouver, bc, yvr


“I am still very honoured and humbled to have had the opportunity to co-chair the LIVERight Gala 2019 for the Canadian Liver Foundation. This event was recording breaking in 
its fundraising and set the stage 
for the following galas to excel. 

“As I enter the 21st season with 
the VMO, I am proud that we can present and showcase to our beautiful city acclaimed soloists like David Fung, Sunny Zhang, and the incredible “Cateen” Sumino Hayato, who is coming in the spring to perform with us. 

“Cateen is a fantastic, brilliant pianist who used the YouTube platform to gain over 1.5 million followers and is now recognized by Forbes Magazine as one of the ‘Top 30 Under 30’ and an Apple Music global ambassador. I am looking forward to working with him and also learning from him. 

“For the Marco Polo development project by the award-winning Gryphon Development, I wrote and recorded a composition with the fantastic Evergreen Symphony Orchestra in Taipei, Taiwan. What an experience with two significant entities that bring such passion to their respective fields! 

“As I move into 2024, I am happy 
to share that new and exciting projects and collaborations are underway, and I cannot wait to share them with everyone. I want to invite everyone to learn more about the VMO, to help us grow, and, of course, buy tickets for this year’s season!”


Author Profile

Helen Siwak, Luxury Lifestyle Observer
Helen Siwak, Luxury Lifestyle Observer
Helen Siwak is the founder of EcoLuxLuv Marketing & Communications Inc and publisher of Folio.YVR Luxury Lifestyle Magazine, PORTFOLIOY.YVR Business & Entrepreneurs Magazine, and digital women's lifestyle magazine EcoLuxLifestyle.co. She is a prolific content creator, consultant, and marketing and media strategist within the ecoluxury lifestyle niche. Post-pandemic, she has worked with many small to mid-sized plant-based/vegan brands to build their digital foundations and strategize content creation and business development. Helen is the west coast correspondent to Canada’s top-read industry magazine Retail-Insider, holds a vast freelance portfolio, and consults with many of the world’s luxury heritage brands. Always seeking new opportunities and challenges, you can email her at helen@ecoluxluv.com.
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