“Students come first. Our job is to mentor them, giving them the tools that they need to grow and move forward, ultimately becoming their own teachers. When we work together as Faculty and find all kinds of creative ways of collaborating, we survive and flourish. Collaboration is the way that people on the prairies have always survived and passing this ethos on to our students is a gift that will prepare them for fruitful ongoing lives as human beings and creators in their own right.” - Mel Braun
As an educator, Mel Braun heads up the Vocal Program at the Marcel A. Desautels Faculty of Music, a program renowned for its collaborative and holistic approach to training singers. He has seen many of his students go on to significant careers as performers and teachers. As a music director Mel looks after the operatic ensembles at the U of M, as well as working with Winnipeg’s Camerata Nova; a choir devoted to exploring new approaches to choral music making. Workshopping new operatic works by Student composers through the Contemporary Opera Lab at the Faculty is another of his interests.He is much in demand as an Adjudicator and choral clinician, and also enjoys teaching many of the young rock singers that make up Winnipeg’s burgeoning Indie Music scene. You’ll find him wherever young singers need mentoring.
Church Music degree (Canadian Mennonite Bible College)
Mel has been awarded Merit and Outreach Awards for his efforts.
In addition to many performances and broadcasts of Early Music with Tafelmusik and Opera Atelier, Mel has performed New Music premiers with the Banff Centre, Winnipeg’s Groundswell, Winnipeg New Music Festival, Kitchener’s Sound in the Land Festival, and many others. He has been heard across Canada in the Masterworks of Bach and Handel, appearing with Tafelmusik, the Calgary Bach festival, Symphony Nova Scotia, and Pro Coro Edmonton. He is also a regular with Manitoba Opera, most recently seen in Madama Butterfly.
ONGOING RESEARCH / CREATIVE WORKS
Recent projects of Mel’s include his work with Camerata Nova, particularly their Indigenous themed concerts. He works closely with Cree Artistic Director and Composer Andrew Balfour, putting together and directing concerts as a response to the truth and reconciliation initiatives. Set to premiere next fall, Camerata Nova is performing a new piece by Andrew titled Notinikew about a Cree sniper who fought for Canada overseas. This piece serves to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of the end of WW1. As a composer, Mel also continues to contribute to Camerata Nova’s choral canon with works like Le Temps Passe (Metis Folk Song Suite) and Invocation to the 4 Directions. New ways of presenting Art Song is another of his passions, and his collaborative work with pianist Laura Loewen has allowed him to explore all kinds of possibilities. These collaborations include recent performances of John Greer’s “A Prairie Boy’s Life” and a concert combining the songs of Franz Schubert with those of Gordon Lightfoot.
IN THE FACULTY
Vocal Area Coordinator
Desautels Performance Series
Room 223 Taché Hall
Desautels Faculty of Music
University of Manitoba
136 Dafoe Road
Winnipeg, MB. R3T 2N2