Faculty of Music student Dinuk Wijeratne is one of three U of T composers nominated for Classical Composition of the Year (photo by Michelle Doucette)

16 reasons to watch the Junos this year

43 Faculty of Music alumni, students and faculty from U of T nominated in 8 categories

Forty-three University of Toronto musicians, from jazz to classical to world music, have received 16 Juno nominations.

Three U of T composers – one student and two alumni – have Classical Composition of the Year-nominated pieces. Dinuk Wijeratne, a Doctor of Musical Arts candidate, John Burge (MMus 1984, BMus 1983) and Jordan Pal (DMA 2011) join only two other candidates in this category.

The Classical Album of the Year categories – Solo or Chamber Ensemble and Vocal or Choral Performance – are also strong with U of T alumni, such as the Cecilia String Quartet (currently the Faculty of Music’s Ensemble-in-Residence and performing a student-composed piece tomorrow at noon). The Aradia Ensemble worked with soprano Claire de Sévigné (MMus 2011) on Vivaldi: Sacred Music, Vol. 4.

“I am so excited to be nominated,” says de Sévigné. “I initially signed on to this album as a passion project since I wasn’t sure I could do Vivaldi’s music justice at the time. But I was encouraged to make the music my own. I am so proud to say that I was included in this project with a wonderful group of Canadian musicians.”

Five nominations are in jazz categories – Vocal Jazz Album of the Year, Jazz Album of the Year: Solo and Jazz Album of the Year: Group – including recent alumna Tara Kannangara (pictured below in a photo by Vanessa Paxton) nominated for her vocal album Some Version of the Truth.

“The nomination was a complete surprise, definitely unexpected as we are just emerging on to the Canadian Jazz scene,” says Kannangara, who graduated in 2013. “That being said, I'm very proud of the work that my group put into the album; it was a true labour of love. I'm thrilled that our hard work is being recognized, and I'm happy that the Junos took a chance on us.”

photo of Tara

The Afiara Quartet’s album Spin Cycle, nominated for Instrumental Album of the Year, features compositions by three alumni and Wijeratne, including the piece nominated for Composition of the Year, while the Lemon Bucket Orkestra (with two alumni) were nominated for World Music Album of the Year with Moorka.

As well, another of the pieces nominated for Best Classical Composition, Centennials by Michael Oesterle, was commissioned and recorded by the Gryphon Trio, which includes Professor James Parker, Rupert E. Edwards Chair in Piano and Associate Professor Annalee Patipatanakoon

“It’s inspiring to see the continued presence of U of T Music’s faculty, students and alumni in the Juno nominations,” says Dean Don McLean. “The Faculty continues to be an engine for the creative arts culture in Canada. It’s a testimony to the excellence of teaching and training for professional musicians that the Faculty is known for.”

Listen to Wijeratne's composition:

The 2016 Juno Awards will broadcast on Sunday, April 3 in Calgary. Here is the full list of nominees:

Vocal Jazz Album of the Year

1. Clear Day – Emilie Claire Barlow – Members Jon Maharaj, bass (BMusPerf 2003), Chris Donnelly, piano (MMus 2007, BMusPerf 2005), Kelly Jefferson, tenor saxophone (faculty), Jason Logue, trumpet (faculty), Kevin Turcotte, trumpet (faculty), Terry Promane, trombone (faculty) and Kelsey Grant, trombone (faculty)

2. Some Version of the TruthTara Kannangara, trumpet and vocals (BMusPerf 2013) with members Colin Story, guitar (BMusPerf 2010), Chris Pruden, piano (BMusPerf 2010) and Mackenzie Longpre, drums (BMusPerf 2010)

Jazz Album of the Year: Solo

3. DuetsTara Davidson, alto and soprano saxes (BMusPerf 2002), with members Trevor Hogg, tenor saxophone (BMusPerf 1998), David Occhipinti, guitar (instructor), David Braid (BMusPerf 1998, faculty), Mike Murley (faculty) and Andrew Downing, acoustic bass and cello (MMus 2008, BMusPerf 1996)

4. What I Hear Now – Jerry Granelli trio featuring Lecturer Mike Murley, tenor saxophone, and DMA candidate Dani Oore, tenor and soprano.

Jazz Album of the Year: Group

5. Forest Grove – Allison Au Quartet – John Maharaj, bassist (BMusPErf 2003)

6. Sheer Tyranny of Will – Peripheral Vision – Don Scott, guitar (BMusPerf 2001), Michael Herring (BMusPerf 2000), Trevor Hogg, tenor saxophone (BMusPerf 1998)

Instrumental Album Of The Year

7. Spin Cycle – The Afiara Quartet – Features compositions by Kevin Lau (DMus 2012, MMus 2007, BMus 2005), Laura Sgroi (DMA 2014, MMus 2010, BMus 2008), Rob Teehan (BMusPerf 2005) and Dinuk Wijeratne (current DMA student)

Classical Album of the Year: Solo or Chamber Ensemble

8. Mendelssohn: Op. 44 nos. 1,2 – Cecilia String Quartet – Members Min-Jeong Koh (DMA 2014, BMusPerf 2007), Sarah Nematallah (MA Music 2013, BMusPerf 2006), Caitlin Boyle (DMA 2015)

9. Chamber World by Jerzy Fitelberg – ARC Ensemble – Members Marie Berard (ArtDip 1983 and faculty), Steven Dann (BMusPerf 1977), Erika Raum (BMusPerf 1993 and faculty), Joaquin Valdepenas (faculty), Dianne Werner (BMusPerf 1979)

Classical Album Of The Year: Vocal Or Choral Performance

10. Vivaldi: Sacred Music, Vol. 4Claire de Sévigné (MMus 2011), Maria Soulis (BMus 1986), and Aradia Ensemble members Nadina Mackie Jackson (faculty), Ed Reifel (DMA 2011), Paul Zevenhuizens (BMusPerf 1984), Paul Jenkins (MMus 1988, BMusPerf 1986) and Elyssa Lefurgey-Smith (BMus 2004)

11. Sacred Reflections of Canada – A Canadian Mass – Canadian Chamber Choir – Jeff Reilly, producer (BMusPerf 1983)

12. Peter-Anthony Togni: ResponsioJeff Reilly (BMusPerf 1983) with Andrea Ludwig (OpDip 2001)

Classical Composition Of The Year 

13. Two Pop Songs on Antique Poems Dinuk Wijeratne (current DMA student)

14. Piano Quartet John Burge (MMus 1984, BMus 1983) 

15. The Afar Jordan Pal (DMA 2011)

World Music Album Of The Year

16. Moorka – Lemon Bucket Orkestra – Members Mike Romaniak, sopilka (BMus 2011), John David William, clarinet (BMusPerf 2008)

Jessica Lewis is a writer with the Faculty of Music at the University of Toronto

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