Chamber choir Luminous Voices releases third album, Sea Dreams

Led by UAlberta Choral Director Tim Shantz, Sea Dreams features Faculty of Arts alumni performers.

Erik Einsiedel - 25 August 2020

Professional chamber choir Luminous Voices, led by UAlberta Choral Director Tim Shantz, recently released their third full-length album, entitled Sea Dreams. Featuring Department of Music alumni, Sea Dreams was made possible in part by the Support for the Advancement of Scholarship (SAS) Research Fund, a grant provided by the Faculty of Arts.

We caught up with Tim Shantz to learn more about this Calgary-based chamber choir, and their latest recording.

ARTS NEWS (AN): Tell us about Luminous Voices and your role with them. 

TIM SHANTZ (TS): Luminous Voices is a professional choir based in Calgary. I am the Founder and Artistic Director and work with the ensemble on several musical projects each season. 

We have been making music together since our launch in 2012 as part of the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra's War & Peace Festival. As an ensemble, we commission, perform, record and workshop choral music of the past and present. We unite local, national and international artists, organizations and audiences in choral music collaborations, connections and exceptional experiences. 

AN: How did the grant from the Faculty of Arts help make Sea Dreams possible? 

TS: The Support for the Advancement of Scholarship grant allowed for the commercial release of Sea Dreams through Leaf Music, a boutique classical recording label based out of Halifax. Music recordings are about dissemination and Leaf Music has a track good record in the wild world of the 21st century audio recording industry.

We held a wonderful Zoom recording release celebration in July. We have already been heard on CBC Radio, CKUA and Classic 107 in Winnipeg among other channels and through worldwide streaming services. We look forward to reaching a wider audience and hearing the response of choral music fans through radio, streaming and critical reviews.

AN: Luminous Voices features a number of Faculty of Arts alumni. Were any involved in the production of Sea Dreams?

TS:  Over the years, we have had many University of Alberta alumni invited to sing in Luminous Voices for our performances and recordings. This recording includes alumni Graham Fast (MMus ‘17), Oliver Munar (MMus ‘17), Benila Ninan (BMus ‘99, BEd ‘02), Kathleen Warke (BMus ‘94, MA ‘99) and even retired professor and former UAlberta Choral Director Leonard Ratzlaff.

AN: Sea Dreams is the third recording for Luminous Voices. What was it like creating this one?

TS:  Working with composer Peter-Anthony Togni on this project was greatly rewarding. From the commissioned work to the recording sessions, he became part of the process, although usually remotely. I enjoy these kinds of full collaborations that allow many contributors and artists to have a voice in the process. Peter's music beautifully weaves together old and new as well as some improvisatory elements. It is a unique sonic landscape that gives space for listeners to contemplate and interpret in their own way. I have enjoyed getting to know him more through this process.

During COVID-19, it has been rewarding to send our music out in the air again, after so many months of being silent. We have been really pleased with the reception of the recording and look forward to making music together again, whenever that may be.

Luminous Voices was founded in 2012 by conductor and Artistic Director Tim Shantz, and is the recipient of the 2016 and 2018 Choral Canada Award for Outstanding Choral Recording. For more information, visit