With great sadness, we announce the passing of Victor Kolstee, international guitarist and co-founder and musical director of Flamenco Rosario and the Vancouver International Flamenco Festival.

Born Hans Victor on February 10, 1946, in Den Haag, the Netherlands, Victor moved to Vancouver in 1956 with his parents Anton and Cornelia and his siblings Yvonne, Anton and Wim.

Guitar came into Victor's life as a teenager in the 1960s. A passion for flamenco soon overtook rock and roll. In his search for teachers, he began to travel the world. A Canada Council grant gave him the opportunity to be in the heart of the art form in Spain. There he learned the essential combination of guitar, dance and song and that total immersion in the culture was crucial. He moved to Madrid and began his lifelong career continuing his guitar studies with notable artists Diego and Paco del Gastor, Justo de Badajoz and Victor Monje' Serranito.

In the flamenco world of Madrid, he met his beloved wife Rosario Ancer, a native of General Terán, Mexico. She had recently launched her professional dance career in Spain as a Ballet Español Antonio del Castillo member. Victor and Rosario married in 1982. As a guitarist and dancer duo, they joined the Ballet Español Maria Velasquez y Paco Mundo to tour Mallorca, Spain, Southeast Asia and Moscow. During his time in Spain, Victor performed regularly in the Café de Silverio accompanying legendary Rafael Romero El Gallina, among others. In addition, he appeared on radio and Spanish national television.

In 1982 their daughter Alejandra Daniela was born in Madrid. At the end of 1984, Victor and Rosario moved to Vancouver briefly, where their son Antonio Elias was born in 1985. In 1986 they took up residence in Monterrey, Mexico, establishing a school of flamenco and performing. They returned to Vancouver in 1989 and ignited what became the well-established culture of flamenco in the city.


These disciplines have formed my aesthetic sense; my palette; my harmony and dissonance; my silent sounds; my inertia and my movement. VK

That first year in Vancouver, the artistic duo opened Centro Flamenco School and founded the Vancouver International Flamenco Festival, now in its thirty-second year. As musical director for the dance company Flamenco Rosario, Victor arranged and composed original creations and performed as the lead guitarist. His life as a performer included working with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Arts Umbrella and participating in numerous festivals.

Victor has been a much sought-after teacher throughout his career, inspiring generations of students in the art of flamenco guitar and mentoring numerous young guitarists. He returned to Spain regularly, always staying in tune with the contemporary trends of his art form.

In 1999, Victor released Tocaor, his inaugural album project that also welcomed artists Antonio de Jerez, Jose Lara and Jesus Montoya. Victor's generosity as an artist extended to a broad audience through local music venues, including Chai and Kino Café. Victor was the focus of the 2002 nationally broadcast Amerimage-Spectra CTV documentary Men of Music.

Photography was among Victor's many passions in life and another art form he was recognized for. The Salt Spring National Art Prize selected him as one of fifty photographers from over 1400 entries to present his photograph, If Onley Toni, in their exhibition of 2015. He also had two solo photography exhibitions at Yuko Onley's Visual Space in 2016 and 2019.

Victor leaves us a legacy of influence with the dance and music communities of Canada. Beloved by family and friends, colleagues, and devotees of the flamenco art form, he lived life with passion, always uniquely observing the details around him. His wry sense of humour was delivered with generosity and love. He will be greatly missed by those lucky enough to have known him and been moved by his artistry.

Flamenco has given me everything—my wife, my kids, my work. VK

Above all, Victor was a loving husband to Rosario, father to his children Alejandra and Antonio and his son-in-law Benjamin Hergert; devoted brother to his sister Yvonne, brothers Anton and Wim and uncle to his many nieces and nephews and his extended Mexican and Dutch family. He was a doting grandfather to Sebastian and Romy, the apple of his eyes.

Victor, amor mío... We found each other once before, we will find each other again in eternity. Rosario

In lieu of flowers please make a donation to a charity of Victor’s choice:

Heart and Stroke Foundation
BC Cancer Foundation
Vancouver General Hospital Foundation
BC Children’s Hospital Foundation