Trio of music events harmonize dates to put on a packed program of performances

Two students walk down the steps in front of a door with a sign saying Queen Elizabeth II Music Building
The Queen Elizabeth II Music Building houses the School of Music at Brandon University.
  • May 10–15, 2024
  • Queen Elizabeth II Music Building

Three major music events are coming together at Brandon University this weekend and early next week, putting on a series of concerts and performances that promise to wow audiences.

The annual E-Gré competition this weekend will be followed by a conference of the Canadian University Music Society, or MusCan, early next week, as well as a simultaneous meeting of the Canadian Network for Musicians’ Health and Wellness (CNMHW).

“Our School of Music is delighted to host these events, which bring a remarkable amount of intelligence, ambition, generosity, collegiality, and creativity together,” said BU Dean of Music Greg Gatien, who will himself be performing during the week. “I wish to thank my many colleagues, led by Dr. Jon-Tomas Godin, for their incredible work in putting this conference together.”

While the conference is targeted at musicians and music academics, there is an enormous variety of shows and performances on the program that will appear to music lovers of many stripes.

Up first are the finals of the prestigious Eckhardt-Gramatté National Music Competition, or E-Gré, which is featuring strings this year. The E-Gré is the most important annual Canadian and contemporary music competition and was founded in 1976, making this the 47th edition. It kicks off Friday, May 10, with public presentations in the afternoon, followed by a gala concert at 7:30 p.m. in the Lorne Watson Recital Hall, featuring the Juno-nominated Land’s End Ensemble of Calgary.

On Saturday, the E-Gré strings competition tautens, with finalists Tiffany Yeung, Danielle Greene, Juliana Moroz, Justin Saulnier, Astrid Nakamura performing in randomly-selected order throughout the day. An awards ceremony and evening keynote will be held on Sunday.

The simultaneous MusCan conference and CNMHW meeting will run Monday through Wednesday next week (May 13–15), with a series of mini-concerts, lecture-recitals, and paper presentations all three days. Keynotes for the conference will be presented by T. Patrick Carrabré (formerly of BU, and now at UBC and the Chan Centre) and Ellen Waterman, from Carleton University. Evening receptions for attendees will be held Monday and Wednesday evenings, with a major concert scheduled for Tuesday evening.

The New Music Concert on Tuesday evening, which will be held in the Lorne Watson Recital Hall starting at 7:30 p.m., features a panoply of innovative pieces. These contemporary works are by a variety of composers, including many student/young composers. The opening piece, “Breath Chasing Wind,” by BU alumnus Mark Marinic, features a septet for flute, three violins, and three cellos in a performance that’s described as “a love letter to groove, progressive metal, and video game soundtracks.” Other pieces include musical reference to a fairy tale in which a girl falls in love with the moon, a 1909 science-fiction short story, and the Black Lives Matter protests.

“The astounding creativity coming to Brandon stages over the next few days is so, so powerful — this really is must-hear music,” said conference chair Jon-Tomas Godin, a BU Associate Professor in the School of Music.

“Some of the highlights include a performance of Andrew Balfour’s “Notinikew” by the BU Chorale and guests, a performance of “Sonic Terrarium” by BU’s own Nora Wilson and Brendon Ehinger, and lecture recitals by BU student Ariadna Ortega and E-Gré past winner Amy Hillis, among others,” Godin said. “We’re also proud to feature important round table discussions on diversifying the music curriculum, AI and social media in the music classroom, and Indigenous storytelling through music.”

There is no charge for the public to attend, although payment of a small fee is requested for those who wish to partake in refreshments on offer. Any additional funds raised would go to scholarships in the School of Music, to which donations are gratefully accepted. More information and registration is available through the School of Music main office, online at, or through the BU Events online calendar.


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