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U of T student Dinuk Wijeratne wins Juno Award

Dinuk Wijeratne (photo by Michelle Doucette)

Dinuk Wijeratne, a current Doctor of Musical Arts candidate at the Faculty of Music, has won the Juno Award for Classical Composition of the Year with his piece “Two Pop Songs on Antique Poems,” which was featured on the Afiara Quartet’s nominated instrumental album, Spin Cycle.

“It was an honour to receive a Juno Award, and to be nominated amongst such esteemed composers in my category,” said Wijeratne said, following the ceremony this past weekend.

“The piece is very much about the collision of 'old and new,' and of very diverse influences. I felt very stimulated working on this music under the guidance of my dear mentor Professor Christos Hatzis, and I am so glad that at U of T I could feel free to explore the fusion of such disparate influences.”

Hatzis was equally excited for Wijeratne’s win.

“I am so proud of Dinuk’s Juno Award. He is a fabulous composer writing music full of energy, expressivity, rhythmic complexity and non-stop excitement,” he said. “As a composer, conductor, pianist, improviser and experimenter across various musical genres, Dinuk redefines what a classical musician is and does.

“To have one of our current DMA students be honoured by this top professional distinction is exceptional but, in Dinuk’s case, not surprising. It is also a testament about our composition program and the caliber of students it currently attracts.”

Wijeratne joins other winners from the Faculty – alumnus John Maharaj (BMusPerf 2003) contributed to two winning albums: Vocal Jazz Album of the Year (Emilie Claire Barlow’s Clear Day) and Jazz Album of the Year: Group (Forest Grove by the Allison Au Quartet). Alumnus Chris Donnelly (MMus 2007, BMusPerf 2005) and faculty members Kelly Jefferson, Jason Logue, Kevin Turcotte, Terry Promane and Kelsey Grant also appear on the Vocal Jazz Album of the Year.

“It’s inspiring to see the continued presence of U of T Music’s faculty, students and alumni in the Juno nominations,” said 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.”

Read about all the U of T nominees for this year's Juno awards