News and Announcements

Dr. Elroy Friesen, Director of Choral Studies at the Marcel A. Desautels Faculty of Music, will conduct at the Canada Day celebrations in Ottawa on July 1, 2012.

The National Arts Centre presents an impressive lineup of music, including the NAC Orchestra and Unisong, a 350 voice choir of singers from across Canada.

dialogueJust released: a new CD of duo piano with our dean Dr. Edmund Dawe and East coast colleague Lynn Johnson. 




Dr. Richard Gillis collaborates for the second time with Icelandic guitarist Björn Thoroddsen on their album "Morgana's Revenge" (Independent, 2012). Incoming Jazz Piano professor Will Bonness joins in on piano!

Icelandic guitarist Björn Thoroddsen is no stranger to local jazz fans through his collaborations with Winnipeg trumpeter Richard Gillis and he cooks on this new disc filled mainly with Gillis originals alongside a couple of Icelandic folk tunes.

The music runs from blues to ballads performed by a great band that includes Will Bonness on piano and keyboards, Gilles Fournier on bass, Scott Senior on percussion and Brandon's Eric Platz on drums.

Gillis has a beautiful, warm tone throughout, and Thoroddsen is both swinging and subtle. Highlights include the title track, Querida, Beagle Blues and Rhymes, one of the folk tunes jazzed up.
Winnipeg Free Press review, June 2012

Students and faculty from the Marcel A. Desautels Faculty of Music and Brandon University
enjoyed a Percussion Masterclass with Chen Zimbalista on June 2, 2012.

Victoria Sparks, Coordinator of Percussion Studies at Brandon University: "We had a wonderful time at the class, where 3 students performed and Chen worked with them as well as performing several pieces for the students, and then wrapping up with a large group improvisation. We learned a lot and had a lot of fun, and we were also able to go as a group to the concert where Chen performed. Both music schools at Brandon University and the University of Manitoba were recognized at the concert for their generous support of the Masterclass... I saw first hand what an impression Chen made on all of our students and I wanted you all to know how much I appreciate having your support in planning events like this."

tracySoprano Tracy Dahl, instructor at the Faculty and world-renowned vocalist, was awarded the "Golden Baton" from the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra at a gala event in April 2012. The Golden Baton, given for significant contribution to the musical life of the community through excellence or support of the WSO, was given to Dahl for artistic achievement.

Read the full article here.


 An Afternoon of Brass - Winnipeg Brass Collective

Richard Gillis and the brand-new group "The Winnipeg Brass Collective" enjoyed their premiere concert on April 22, 2012.

Winnipeg Brass Collective is an association of some of the most talented and active brass performers in Winnipeg. The goal of the organization is to promote brass performance, literature and education in Winnipeg.

This free concert is in support of Hands of Hope,a local charity that supplies families in need with free furniture and household goods.



Project Rioproject rio

On Friday March 30, 2012, our faculty and students presented a vast concert of Brazilian music, as well as other beloved composers, for cello choir and collaborative string ensembles. All proceeds provide travel scholarships to young musicians for the educational master class series at the Rio International Cello Encounter.

Read more about Project Rio



Announcing our new Assistant Professor of Jazz Piano - Will Bonness! will

Mr. Bonness has been an active member of the Winnipeg, Canadian and international jazz scenes since his teen years. At age 17, Will joined Maynard Ferguson’s Big Bop Nouveau Band for a year-long world tour which included performances at such venues as the Blue Note Jazz Club in New York and Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club in London. After leaving Maynard’s band in 2004, Will completed a Music degree at the University of Manitoba and then continued his studies in New York and Boston.

“My colleagues and I are delighted to welcome Will to the Faculty,” states Marcel A. Desautels Faculty of Music Dean Edmund Dawe. “He brings to the position exceptional talents as a performer, success and dedication as a teacher at the post-secondary level, and strong connections to the local, national, and international jazz communities."

Learn more about Will Bonness at his website:


Composition professor Örjan Sandred composition Ice Fog was featured at two events in Fall 2011: ice fog

  • Auditorium Saint Germain where Ensemble de Musique Interactive premiered the live-electronic version (September 26, 2011)
  • Shanghai Electronic Music Week, with Pan Chenfei (saxophone) and Fan Xing (piano), October 13, 2011. Örjan also lectured at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music in October 2011.

On March 19, 2012, Professor Örjan Sandred will be presenting at Columbia University in New York, on the topic "10 Years of Research".

Örjan says of his presentation: "It will outline my research in Rule Based Composition Systems, from my previous focus on methods to structure rhythm (and ultimately better understand what parameters determine good musical rhythm) to my present research in developing effective tools to process complex, multilayered musical structures."

On March 24 his piece Ice Fog is performed at the Miller Theatre in New York, by performers will be Philippe Bouveret and Veronique Ngo Sach-­Hien of France:

Ice fog appears when humidity in very cold air freezes into small ice crystals to form a thick fog.  Suspended in the air, the ice crystals are delicate, and will only remain as fog if there is no wind. Ice fog can therefore only exist on very calm and cold winter days (with a temperature below -30˚ Celsius). If there is an air movement, the ice fog dissolves.

This composition attempts to create the same feeling of a frozen and fragile moment of magic stillness. The piano plays a sparse music around the saxophone’s sustained multiphonics. The live electronic part suspends the timbres and creates a slow moving fog around which the instruments move.

2010 Rh Awards announced:
Dr. Gordon Fitzell (Associate Professor, Theory and Composition) recieves award for Creative Works

Read more about it here!

Our Faculty appear on countless recordings! Keep an eye on this spot to catch the latest information and releases.

Michael Matthews: 14 Preludes; Bagatelles Nos 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, and 10; Postlude. Daan Vadewalle, piano.


Dr. David Moroz (Associate Professor of Piano and Chamber Music) was nominated for a Western Canadian Music Award for the recording From the Heartland, a program of works by three distinguished Canadian composers, for violin (Erika Raum) and piano (David Moroz).

Click on the CD cover to hear samples or to learn more...

heartland cd