Madrigal Singers

Ensemble Director: Dr. Timothy Shantz
Auditions: Auditions for the Madrigal Singers typically take place prior to Labour Day weekend and during the first week of classes in the Fall term. See Ensemble Auditions to learn more.

The University of Alberta Madrigal Singers is comprised of 20-40 auditioned singers from across the North Campus of the University of Alberta. The ensemble was formed under the direction of Dr. Larry Cook in 1974 with occasional performances through the early 80's. From 1982 to 2019 the Madrigal Singers was led by Dr. Leonard Ratzlaff and emerged as one of the foremost university chamber choirs in Canada. Under the direction of Dr. Timothy Shantz starting in 2019, the choir continues its tradition of excellence through performances and collaborations throughout the university, faculty and the community. Frequent first-prize winners in the CBC's Choral Competition for Amateur Choirs, the Madrigal Singers have also had several successes at major international competitions, including first prize at the Robert Schumann International Choral Competition in Zwickau (1995), third prize in the 5th International Chamber Choir Competition in Marktoberdorf (1997), first prize in the International Choir Competition in Cork, Ireland (1999), and the International Jury Award at this same competition in 2008. In 2017 the Madrigal Singers were invited to participate in a festival in Athens, Greece, together with several choirs from the US, under the direction of esteemed British choral conductor Simon Carrington. The choir presented three independent concerts in Athens.

The Madrigal Singers have frequently been recorded by the CBC for regional and national broadcast, and have appeared as guests of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, performing Ravel's ballet music Daphnis et Chloé and Handel's Messiah. In 2005 they appeared with renowned Canadian soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian. The Madrigal Singers are also regular guests of the Alberta Baroque Ensemble, appearing on that ensemble's annual Christmas concert. They have participated on four occasions in University Voices, a festival of Canadian university choirs sponsored in Toronto by Soundstreams Canada, performing under the direction of European conductors Robert Sund, Tõnu Kaljuste and Kaspars Putninš. The Madrigal Singers were invited to perform at the National Convention of the American Choral Directors Association in Los Angeles in 2005, and in November 2007 they performed as guests of the Royal Society of Canada's Installation Ceremony at the Winspear Centre for Music. In 2010 they were featured at Podium 2010, the biennial conference of Choral Canada in Saskatoon. Recent activities include a performance and workshop at Music Conference Alberta in Red Deer in 2017, and a tour to Calgary and Vancouver in Spring 2019.


  • 2007 - Hesperides (UAMS 200905), featuring Canadian composer and U of A professor emeritus Malcolm Forsyth's choral cycle Hesperides with duo harpists Nora Bumanis and Julia Shaw.
  • 2006 - The Passing of the Year (Arktos 200477), offers the premiere recording of British composer Jonathan Dove's cycle for double chorus and piano, The Passing of the Year, featuring pianist Roger Admiral. Also heard on this recording are works for chorus and organ with Dr. Marnie Giesbrecht, professor of organ at The University of Alberta. The CD was recorded at Edmonton's Winspear Centre for Music, using the Davis Concert Organ. The Passing of the Year was awarded the Association of Canadian Choral Conductors (ACCC) National Choral Award in the Recordings category in 2006.
  • 2001 - My Soul, There is a Country (Arktos 200149): Features the premiere recording of British composer Gavin Bryars' On Photography, as well as choral music by John Tavener and several Canadian composers including Allan Bevan's Three Motets on Poetry by Henry Vaughn and James Rolfe's haunting setting of Walt Whitman's Come, Lovely and Soothing Death.
  • 1999 - Balulalow: Anthems, Carols and Lullabies for Christmas (Arktos 99037): this recording features American composer Conrad Susa's Christmas suite for chorus, guitar, harp and marimba, Christmas in the Southwest: Carols and Lullabies, and seasonal music by Bevan, Gawthrop, Kverno, Mendelssohn and Sirett. It was awarded the ACCC National Choral Award in the recording category in 2000.
  • 1997 - Musicians Wrestle Everywhere (Arktos 97016): the initial release of the Madrigal Singers includes a range of choral music from the 19th and 20th centuries, and features the premiere recording of Canadian composer Leonard Enns' award-winning motet Most Glorious Lord of Lyfe and American composer Morten Lauridsen's Six Fire Songs on Italian Renaissance Poems.

Further details and online purchase information for all of these recordings are available on the Madrigal Singers website.

2019-2020 Season Highlights

  • Friday, November 22, 2019 at 7:30 pm (Convocation Hall) - The Madrigal Singers present our Fall Concert, in a program of works by Canadians Jordan Noble, Sarah Quartel, Peter-Anthony Togni and Don MacDonald in addition to works by Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, Arvo Pärt, and Jake Runestad. Admission free.

  • Audio & Video Recording 2019

  • Pop-upInformal Performances around the University Alberta North Campus Monday, October 7, 2019 (6:00-6:50pm), Monday, November 4, 2019 (6:00-6:50pm), Monday, February 3, 2020 (6:00-6:50pm) and Monday, March 2, 2020 (6:00-6:50pm)

  • Saturday, March 28, 2020marks a very special occasion as we honour the legacy of Dr. Leonard Ratzlaff through his teaching and mentorship of countless undergraduate and graduate students. There will be a special retirement dinner and celebrationon Saturday, March 28, 2020 at The Faculty Club. Registration and Ticket information will be made available in the fall of 2019.

  • Sunday, March 29, 2020 at 3:00pm (Winspear Centre) - The Madrigal Singers will join forces with the University of Alberta Concert Choir and the University Symphony Orchestra all under the direction of Dr. Leonard Ratzlaff to present Haydn's Harmoniemesse in B flat, Hob. XXII:14. Alumni of the University of Alberta Madrigal Singers and Choral Conducting program will combine together to perform a set of unaccompanied pieces conducted by Dr. Leonard Ratzlaff & Dr. Timothy Shantz.


Madrigal Singers Audio