The University Symphony Orchestra is currently directed by Petar Dundjerski, a fierce advocate for music education. Petar was born in Belgrade, Yugoslavia and has lived in Canada since 1994. He received his Master's degree in Orchestral Conducting from the University of Toronto and continued his studies at the American Academy of Conducting in Aspen, Colorado and the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati. His principal teachers were Mark Gibson, Raffi Armenian and Earl Davey. Mr. Dundjerski has also studied with David Zinman, Jorma Panula, Boris Brott and Gary Kulesha.
In 2002 he was the Assistant Conductor with the National Academy Orchestra of Canada and in the summer of 2004 served as a Resident Conductor at the Banff Centre for the Arts.
Mr. Dundjerski has received various awards including a 2003, 2006/08 Canada Council for the Arts Grants. He has worked with several distinguished instrumentalists including Shauna Rolston, Scott St. John and Jens Lindemann.
Petar also teaches within Edmonton Public School Board Music Enrichment Program. Mr Dundjerski was the Assistant Conductor-in-Residence of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra 2006/08, under the mentorship of Music Director William Eddins. This was a two-year appointment, funded in part by the Canada Council for the Arts.
The University of Alberta Symphony Orchestra (USO) was established in 1945 as a student orchestra which presented at least two major concerts a year.
Decades of stellar performances, memorable collaborations, and fearless directors have seen the ensemble grow into Edmonton's premier community orchestra. Although membership is based around the Music Department at the University of Alberta, students from other faculties in the University and members of Edmonton's musical community also perform in the USO.
The University Symphony Orchestra regularly gives up to six concerts a year and often participates in choral and operatic presentations. The repertoire performed ranges from the Classical period to present day. Although most concerts are held in the University's Convocation Hall, the USO also performs in Edmonton's renowned Winspear Centre for Music.
The USO's mandate is to prepare the music students thoroughly for professional symphony orchestra life, by providing study and performance of the main symphony repertoire and preparation for the professional audition process through judicious choice of repertoire and individual and sectional excerpt coaching. Members also receive training in orchestral etiquette.
Past conductors of the orchestra include G.T. Lindskoog, Arthur Crighton, Norman Nelson, Malcolm Forsyth and Tanya Prochazka.
Sara Brooks is active throughout Canada as conductor, choral clinician, adjudicator, collaborative pianist and teacher. She holds degrees in piano performance from Acadia University (BMus) and the University of Ottawa (MMus), as well as a DMus in choral conducting from the University of Alberta.
During her time in Edmonton, Sara has conducted numerous notable ensembles, including the University of Alberta Madrigal Singers, the Richard Eaton Singers and Pro Coro Canada. Sara is frequently called upon to serve as guest conductor and vocal clinician with a variety of ensembles in the Edmonton area.
Sara is currently a sessional instructor at the University of Alberta teaching choral conducting and pedagogy and is the conductor of the University of Alberta Concert Choir. Her most recent area of research is the relationship between gender and gesture as it relates to choral conducting.
Founded in 1970, the University of Alberta Concert Choir is a large ensemble of 50 singers from a variety of faculties across the University. Membership in the choir is open to students across campus through auditions held at the beginning of each year. Singers come from such diverse disciplines as business, sciences, education and the arts, as well as music itself.
A wide variety of sacred and secular choral masterpieces are studied each year, ranging from motets, part songs and spirituals, to large works with orchestra. The University of Alberta Concert Choir has appeared with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, has performed at the Alberta Music Conference, been heard on national broadcast of the CBC, and been regular national semi-finalists in the CBC Amateur Choir Competition.
Tours form an important part of the education and experience of these young singers. Over the 38-year history of the choir, travels have taken the ensemble to Europe, China and the United States. In recent years the choir has traveled to the east coast of Canada, southwestern Ontario, Vancouver Island, various parts of Alberta, Iceland, and most recently to Vancouver in 2014.
Leonard Ratzlaff has been professor of choral music at University of Alberta since 1981. His duties include supervising the Department of Music’s graduate programs in choral conducting, and directing the Madrigal Singers, one of Canada’s pre-eminent university choirs, who have garnered national and international awards for their performances and recordings. He is also artistic director of the Richard Eaton Singers, Edmonton’s symphonic chorus, who in addition to their own series of concerts, are frequent guests of the Edmonton Symphony, Alberta Baroque Ensemble and Edmonton Youth Orchestra. His research interests span the entire gamut of choral music, but his focus on Canadian music has resulted in premieres of works by Archer, Bevan, Estacio, Fisher, Forsyth, Hatzis, Krapf, Henderson, Martin, Raminsh, Rolfe and Sirett. Honours include induction into the Alberta Order of Excellence, Order of Canada, and Royal Society of Canada. Most recently Ratzlaff received the University of Alberta’s Graduate Teaching Award, as well as Choral Canada’s Distinguished Service Award at its Podium 2018 conference in St. John’s NL.
The University of Alberta Madrigal Singers, under the direction of Leonard Ratzlaff, is an auditioned choir of around 30 singers that has distinguished itself over three decades as one of Canada’s finest university choirs. The choir’s membership is comprised mainly of music students but is open to singers from across campus through auditions each September. The Madrigal Singers perform in Convocation Hall on campus, and at other venues in Edmonton, including Winspear Centre and various churches. They have sung frequently as guests of the Edmonton Symphony, Alberta Baroque Ensemble and Pro Coro Canada.
Beyond Edmonton, the choir frequently tours western Canada, and in recent years has participated in University Voices, a festival of Canadian university choirs held in Toronto. They have performed at the national conventions of Choral Canada and the American Choral Directors Association, as well as the Music Conference Alberta. Winners in the Canadian Competition for Amateur Choirs on four occasions, their international successes have included First Prizes at competitions in Germany and Ireland. The Madrigal Singers have released five recordings, two of which (Balulalow and The Passing of the Year) won the National Choral Award from Choral Canada for best Canadian recording.
A native of Alberta, Dr. Angela Schroeder completed undergraduate studies in Music at University of Calgary, majoring in Secondary Education, with performance studies in piano and trumpet. She also completed the Diploma of Fine Arts in Wind Band Conducting at University of Calgary under the supervision of Glenn Price. After several years of teaching at various secondary schools in the Calgary area, she entered the Long Term Residency program at The Banff Centre, where she studied and performed on piano, trumpet and as a conductor. Angela entered the Master's program in Wind Conducting at Northwestern University in 2002, where she studied with Mallory Thompson and earned the Master of Music in Conducting. In 2007, she completed the degree Doctor of Musical Arts in Wind Band Conducting at the University of North Texas, under the supervision of Eugene Corporon.
Dr. Schroeder is currently Associate Professor of Music in the Department of Music at the University of Alberta. She is the Director of Bands, the Area Coordinator for Winds and Percussion, and conducts the Symphonic Wind Ensemble and Summer Band. Angela was awarded the 2017 Rutherford Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching by the University of Alberta. She teaches courses in conducting and music education, and works with Graduate students in instrumental conducting. She previously taught conducting at the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas. Angela is the conductor of the St. Albert Community Band, an ensemble that is currently in their 48th concert season. She lead the ensemble on their first overseas tour in July 2015, performing in Austria and Germany, and will continue to conduct them into their 50th season in 2020.
Angela Schroeder is well known in the Alberta music education community, not only through her teaching and conducting both in schools and in community music organizations, but through her involvement as an executive director of the Alberta Band Association for several years. Angela has performed on cornet with the Mill Creek Colliery Band and was the Principal Trumpet for the Concordia University Orchestra for seven seasons. Angela has guest conducted and adjudicated numerous school bands in festivals and clinics throughout Canada, the United States, Germany, Australia and Thailand. She is a contributor in eleven volumes of the Teaching Music through Performance in Band series, which profile wind literature for all levels of instrumental instruction, published by GIA. She is also joyfully married to husband Geoffrey and mother to her brilliant sons, Joshua and Jonah.
The Symphonic Wind Ensemble is a group of 48 of the university's most talented wind and percussion musicians, directed by Dr. Angela Schroeder. The Symphonic Wind Ensemble performs the most serious and challenging wind band music available. With essentially one player to a part, the repertoire is largely music that was originally conceived for the wind band. Recognized in national festivals and internationally, the Symphonic Wind Ensemble performs four concerts a year and several performances away from the campus and for special events.
The ensemble has performed with notable soloists including Dr. Brian Bowman (euphonium), Jeff Nelson (horn), Jens Lindemann (trumpet), Dr. Matthew Coley (percussion), Jeff Campbell (clarinet), Lidia Khaner (oboe), Dr. Allison Balcetis (saxophone) and the Quatour International de Saxophones (saxophone quartet). The ensemble has hosted two Pulitzer Prize winning composers on campus - Michael Colgrass and John Corigliano - and performed the Canadian premiere performance of Corigliano’s Circus Maximus: Symphony No. 3 for large Wind Ensemble, under the supervision of the composer. In 2010, the Symphonic Wind Ensemble performed at the regional conference of the College Band Directors National Association in Reno, NV. Most recently the ensemble were invited performers at the Percy Grainger Wind Band Festival in Chicago, IL, and had the distinction of performing at Orchestra Hall – home of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra – in March 2016. They have participated in numerous composition consortiums, including works by Jonathan Newman and Libby Larsen, and continue to program Canadian premiere performances annually.
The Symphonic Wind Ensemble participates in the annual Department of Music Concerto Competition, offering students the opportunity to perform a solo concerto with the ensemble. In addition, the ensemble hosts the University of Alberta High School Honour Band each spring, inviting students from across the province to come to campus to work and perform with members of the Symphonic Wind Ensemble as well as our applied instrumental faculty. Alumni of SWE have gone on to positions with major orchestras, military bands – even the world-famous Canadian Brass!