University Singers is a high-end choral performance ensemble that focuses on developing professional choral, musicianship and performance skills. Our ensemble meets twice a week and consists of approximately 40 members. Led by Dr. Elroy Friesen, we perform a wide variety of exciting, challenging and culturally diverse repertoire throughout the year at numerous events on campus, locally, nationally and internationally as ambassadors of Winnipeg and Canada. Auditions are held at the beginning of September and are open and welcome to students from all faculties of the University of Manitoba and members of the community. We strive for consistent achievement of musical excellence and entertainment, and often collaborate with other choirs, ensembles and arts organizations to create engaging presentations of music.
The last three decades have brought the University of Manitoba Singers to prominence as a performing ensemble in Canada, known for their performances of both new and traditional choral repertoire.
The Singers have appeared on numerous occasions with leading professional organizations having performed and recorded Arvo Pärt’s Litany with the Hilliard Ensemble and the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, and Glen Buhr’s Ritchot Mass with the Penderecki String Quartet. Premieres of new music also include Canzoni Romane by Sid Robinovitch (1999), Styx by Kancheli (2003), Raft of the Medusa by Veda Hille commissioned by the CBC and the WSO’s New Music Festival (2008), and Sid Robinovitch’s Cantus Borealis (2011) with the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, under the direction of Maestro Scott Yoo. Most recently they performed in the world premiere of Phil Kline’s opera, Tesla in New York (2014).
In addition to the University Singers’ extensive performance of new works, they regularly perform traditional choral repertoire and masterworks. Recent concerts have included Handel’s Messiah, Weihnachtsoratorium by Bach, Mozart’s Requiem, Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms, Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana, Haydn’s Creation, and Mendelssohn’s Elijah.
The University Singers have placed first in the CBC Radio National Amateur Choir Competitions (Chamber Choir Category). They have toured extensively throughout the Americas and they have taken numerous concert tours to Europe, including Germany, Holland, Austria, Poland, Finland, Switzerland, Italy, Ireland and England. In 2011 they toured Sweden and Finland, and represented Canada at the Vaasa International Choral Festival.
The Singers are regularly invited to Toronto and Montreal to be part of “University Voices” produced by Soundstreams Canada, conducted by Dr. Martin Neary (UK), Maria Guinand (Venezuela), and most recently by Kaspars Putniņš (Latvia).
Recent performance tours include Serbia, Montenegro and Hungary (May 2014), and Germany, Slovenia, Croatia, and Italy (May 2017).