Born in Canada, raised in Africa, and educated in Calgary and Houston, Samantha has been praised for creating truly unique and totally engaging experiences for young audiences. Samantha Whelan Kotkas (M. Music, B. Music) is a teaching artist, trumpet player, storyteller, and producer. She has been a teaching artist for the National Arts Centre of Canada since 2005 and finds the cross-cultural work she has done as part of this program very meaningful. In 2011-12, she co-produced a project in Calgary with high school band director Ross McIntyre, ‘From Blue to Red’ (www.frombluetored.net / www.dubleuaurouge.net) in collaboration with the Canadian Space Agency and the Calgary Board of Education. The resulting book and eBook won the Alberta Book Publishing Award for Best Children and Young Adult Book of the Year in 2013. She is also the Education Advisor for Calgary Pro Musica where she works with the Young Artist Development Program nurturing and promoting young Calgary musicians.
Samantha’s trumpet playing has taken her all over the world. She has performed across Canada as far north as Nunavut as well as Japan, Europe, the United States, and Mexico. A passionate producer and storyteller, she has performed her works with some of Alberta’s finest jazz musicians, the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, and Calgary Pro Musica Society. She is a full-time member of the Red Deer Symphony and Altius Brass. In her free time she can be found, with her husband, cheering on her two daughters in gymnastics and hockey.