Professor Emeritus Henry Engbrecht is celebrated today for his musical exploration and innovation.
A pioneer, he served as the University's first Director of Choral Studies from 1978 until 2006. For the sixteen years prior to this appointment, he taught music and directed choirs in various schools and colleges in southern Manitoba.
Recognized as a leading music educator, choral conductor, clinician and adjudicator, he has made significant contributions to the development of music education and choral music throughout Manitoba and across Canada over the past fifty years. He helped establish the Manitoba Choral Association, the Foundation for Choral Music in Manitoba, and the Manitoba Summer Academy in Advanced Choral Conducting. He has conducted the University of Manitoba Singers, the Winnipeg Philharmonic Choir, the Manitoba Opera Chorus, and Canzona, his own professional chamber choir. He also created CAN-AM Choir – the Canadian-American University Choir – in collaboration with former WSO Conductor Bramwell Tovey. This international choir offered students an extraordinary way to experience masterworks.
Professor Engbrecht was twice awarded the University’s Campbell Outreach Award in recognition of his achievements in promoting the University through concerts and tours of the University Singers across Western Canada, North Dakota, Minnesota, and Europe.
In 2000, he received the Prix Manitoba Award from the Government of Manitoba for his then forty years of service to choral music development across Manitoba and Canada. This admirable record of service also inspired the Manitoba Choral Association to award him with an Honorary Life Membership. In 2006, he was thrice honoured: the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra presented him with the Manitoba Choral Association’s Award for Distinguished Service, the Association of Canadian Choral Conductors presented him with the Distinguished Service Award, and his students nominated him for the UMSU Professor of the Year Award.
He is so well loved by his friends, colleagues, and former students that they established an endowment fund in his name at the University of Manitoba to recruit top graduate students to the Faculty of Music. The award celebrates Professor Engbrecht’s dedication to choral music at the University and throughout Manitoba.
Professor Engbrecht retired from the university in 2006 after twenty-eight years as Director of Choral Studies, but he continued to teach courses for two more years. He is a donor, a teacher, an artist and a source of inspiration. He forever changed the Faculty of Music for the better, and he continues to enrich Manitoba with his artistic gift. The University of Manitoba recognizes this creator and pioneer with an Honorary Doctor of Laws.
Henry John Engbrecht