Choral Area

UofA Madrigal Singers

The Music Department's Choral Area has had a long and distinguished history, dating back to the late 1940's under the leadership of one of Alberta's musical pioneers, Richard Eaton. In 1989, under the co-supervision of Debra Cairns and Leonard Ratzlaff, the Department founded what is now considered the most established graduate choral conducting program in Canada. It offers both Masters and doctoral programs in choral conducting, with a strong dual emphasis on practical conducting experience and academic training. Undergraduate students are also provided many opportunities to study choral music in conducting and choral techniques classes as well as in the Department's choral ensembles.

Edmonton's vibrant choral community provides additional experiences for conductors and singers at both professional and amateur levels, with a wide range of children's, youth and adult choirs to choose from. Regular training opportunities have been frequently enhanced through concert projects and individual workshops by distinguished invited conductors such as Mark Bailey, Frieder Bernius, Simon Carrington, Eric Ericson, Maria Guinand, Richard Sparks, Robert Sund, Ivars Taurins and Michael Zaugg. Other enhancements have included opportunities for our ensembles to perform with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra and the Alberta Baroque Ensemble. A recent purchase of a new positive organ with Baroque pitch levels as well as a collection of Baroque bows has provided students with opportunities to perform period works at appropriate pitch levels and styles.

The Department features several outstanding choral ensembles. The University of Alberta Madrigal Singers, under the direction of Dr. Timothy Shantz, is one of Canada's leading university chamber choirs, with a long history of success in competitions at both the national and international level, and with several award-winning recordings to its credit. The University of Alberta Concert Choir, under the direction of Dr. Adam Robertson, also has a long and distinguished history of performance and touring. Both of these ensembles offer graduate assistantships, and in addition our graduate students present their degree recitals with the Graduate Recital Choir.

For a full list of faculty and instructors in the Choral Area, please visit the Faculty by Area page.