MEL BRAUN

Mel Braun is a versatile performer, who is equally at home in oratorio, recital and opera, and is always open to new collaborations. He is well known to Canadian audiences for his many performances and broadcasts of early music with Tafelmusik and Opera Atelier, and for his frequent appearances across Canada in the Masterworks of Bach and Handel. New music, another of Mel’s interests, has seen him premiere works with the Banff Centre, Winnipeg’s Groundswell, Toronto’s New Music Gallery, and Camerata Nova, among others. His ongoing duo partnership with pianist Laura Loewen is at the centre of many collaborations as a recitalist. When not performing as a soloist, he sings with the Emerado Trio.

As a teacher, Mel heads up the Vocal Program at the Marcel A. Desautels Faculty of Music, a program renowned for its collaborative and holistic approach to training singers. Among Mel’s many initiatives at the faculty are the Annual Opera Theatre School Tour, the Contemporary Opera Lab, the Professor Bach Project, and Tuesdays in Winnipeg, a venture that brings together high-school-age boys who love to sing. He has been awarded Merit and Outreach Awards for his efforts.

As a music director, Mel looks after the operatic ensembles at the U of M, as well as working with Camerata Nova. 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 burgeoning indie music scene. You’ll find him wherever young singers need mentoring.

Mel has a master’s degree in Vocal Performance from the University of Toronto and a degree in Church Music from Canadian Mennonite Bible College.

VICTOR PANKRATZ

Victor Pankratz is a one of Camerata Nova’s guest conductors for the 2016-2017 season. He is in charge of the choral program at Westgate Mennonite Collegiate, directing six ensembles. He received his formal training at Canadian Mennonite Bible College, graduating with a Bachelor of Church Music, a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Winnipeg, and a Bachelor of Education from the University of Manitoba.

Vic is well known in Manitoba for his singing and conducting. He sang for six seasons on CBC television’s Hymn Sing, and with the Winnipeg Singers for many years. As a tenor soloist Victor has performed with groups and conductors such as Robert Shaw, the Manitoba Opera Association, Pro Coro of Edmonton, and the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. He has conducted the Westman, Eastman and the Central Manitoba Youth Choirs, the Provincial Senior Honour Choir and the Louis Riel Senior Divisional Choir. He was artistic co-director of the Winnipeg Singers for four seasons, and was artistic director of Prairie Voices for the past five seasons. Vic enjoys riding his bike year round, and loves that he is a grandfather.

JOHN WIENS

John Wiens is a dynamic and versatile conductor with a wide-ranging repertoire. Equally at home in chamber or orchestral settings, he is widely recognized for his energetic, compelling interpretations and persuasive musicality.

Born into a musical family in Morden, Manitoba, he studied violin and piano, and sang in the All Saints’ Men and Boys choir in Winnipeg. It was in Winnipeg, he began learning the art of conducting from mentors Rudy Schellenberg, Victor Pankratz and Mel Braun. John holds degrees in conducting, voice and violin, and has studied privately with Robert Ingari, Christopher Jackson and Andrew Megill.

John’s conducting career has ranged from Belgium (University Chorus for the Université catholique de Louvain) to Morocco (Ensemble Voca Me) to Montréal (St. Matthias Anglican Church in Westmount, and early music chamber choir Ensemble Bellechose). Now based in Winnipeg, John conducts Polycoro and is one of Camerata Nova’s conductors. In 2017-2018, he will also be Director of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra Chorus.