Co-Creating Indigenous-Settler Performances: A Conversation with Composers Andrew Balfour and Mel Braun

Co-Creating Indigenous-Settler Performances: A Conversation with Composers Andrew Balfour and Mel Braun

Wednesday@Noon Discussion

Wednesday, May 16, 2018
12:10–1 p.m.
Arts Building Music Rehearsal Hall, ARTS 157



Co-Creating Indigenous-Settler Performances: A Conversation with Composers Andrew Balfour and Mel Braun

In conversation with Liz Przybylski, composer-performers Andrew Balfour and Mel Braun will discuss collaborative performance as a political strategy. This presentation shares media from recent shows from the innovative vocal ensemble Camerata Nova, focusing on Indigenous-Settler relationships and improvisation.

Of Cree descent, Winnipeg based composer Andrew Balfour is an innovativecomposer/conductor/singer/sound designer with a large body of choral, instrumental, electro-acoustic and orchestral works, including; Take the Indian (A Vocal reflection on Missing Children), Empire .trange: The Death of Louis Riel, Migiis: A Whiteshell Soundscape, Bawajigaywin (Vision Quest), Gregorioʼs Nightmare, Wa Wa Tey Wak (Northern Lights), Fantasia on a Poem by Rumi, Missa Brevis and Medieval Inuit, Quamaniq, Manitou Sky-An orchestral tone poem. His new Indigenous Opera, Mishaboozʼs Realm was recently premiered in Montreal and Halliburton, Ontario, commissioned by LʼAtelier Lyrique de Op.ra de and Highlands Opera Workshop. He has also been commissioned by the Winnipeg, Regina and Toronto Symphony Orchestras, Ensemble Caprice, Groundswell, the Winnipeg Jazz Orchestra, the Winnipeg Singers, the Kingston Chamber Choir and Camerata Nova, among many others. His works have been performed and/or broadcast locally, nationally and internationally.

Andrew is also the founder and artistic director of the innovative, 14-member vocal group Camerata Nova, now in its 22nd year of offering a concert series in Winnipeg. With Camerata Nova, Andrew specializes in creating “concept concerts”, many with indigenous subject matter (Wa Wa Tey Wak (Northern Lights), Medieval Inuit, Chant!). These innovative offerings explore a theme through an eclectic array of music, including new works, arrangements and innovative inter-genre and interdisciplinary collaborations.

Andrew has become increasingly passionate about music education and outreach, particularly on northern reserves and inner city Winnipeg schools where he has worked on behalf of the National Arts Centre, Camerata Nova, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and various Winnipeg school divisions for the past eight years.

Andrew was curator and composer-in-residence of the WSOʼs Indigenous Festivals in 2009 and 2010 and in 2007 received the mayor of Winnipegʼs Making a Mark Award, sponsored by the Winnipeg Arts Council to recognize the most promising midcareer artist in the City. In 2017 he was awarded the Canadian Senate Gold Medal for artistic achievement.

Baritone Mel Braun is a versatile performer, equally at home in oratorio, recital, and opera, always open to new collaborations. He is well known to Canadian audiences for his frequent performances and broadcasts in the masterworks of Bach and Handel. These include performances with Tafelmusik, Calgary Bach Festival, Pro Coro Edmonton, Symphony Nova Scotia, and the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. New Music, another of Mel’s interests, has seen him premiere works with Banff Centre, Manitoba Opera, Winnipeg’s New Music Festival, Groundswell, and Toronto’s New Music Gallery. As a recitalist, he is renowned for his creative approach to Song, whether singing Schumann’s Liederkreis while on stage with Winnipeg’s Q Dance, staging Wolf’s Italienisches Liederbuch, or tracing the life of Schubert among his friends as he completed his final work, Die Winterreise. His ongoing duo partnership with pianist Laura Loewen is at the heart of many of these collaborations.

As a teacher, Mel heads up the vocal program at the Desautels Faculty of Music, a program renowned for its collaborative and holistic approach to training singers, he has seen many of his students go on to significant careers as performers and teachers. Among Mel’s many initiatives at the Faculty are the annual Opera Theatre School Tour, the Contemporary Opera Lab, and the Professor Bach Project.

As a music director, Mel looks after the operatic ensembles at the Desautels Faculty, as well as working with Camerata Nova, a choir devoted to exploring new approaches to Indigenous choral music. He is much in demand as an adjudicator and choral clinician, and also enjoys teaching many of the young rock singers that make up Winnipeg’s ever-burgeoning Indie Music scene. You’ll find him wherever young singers need mentoring.

Free and open to the campus
Information: (951) 827-3245 | |

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