Joel Tranquilla, DMA

Associate Professor of Music; Director of Choral Activities

Dr. Joel Tranquilla is a conductor and music educator noted for his versatile musicianship and creative programming. As the Director of Choral Activities at Trinity Western University, he oversees a program of six choirs and teaches various other courses within the School of the Arts, Media + Culture. TWU’s signature event, “Christmas at the Chan Centre” has become an important annual tradition for many concert-goers in the Lower Mainland, and it represents an important link with members of the local professional musical community, including soloists, orchestral musicians, and organizations such as the Vancouver Chamber Choir. Joel has led the TWU Chamber Choir on recent tours to Ottawa, New York City, China, Japan, and Taiwan. 

In addition to his work at TWU, Joel is currently the Artistic Director of the Valley Festival Singers in Abbotsford and has previously served as the conductor of the award-winning Coastal Sound Youth Choir in Coquitlam. As the Associate Conductor of the Canadian Chamber Choir, he has performed extensively with that ensemble, visiting communities from coast to coast and working with countless singers, conductors, and composers. In 2016, the CCC was nominated for a Juno Award for its album, Sacred Reflections of Canada. Seasons of Life and Landscape was released in October 2019, and it has been praised as a showcase for the ensemble’s “impeccable and extraordinarily consistent blend” (Choral Journal).

In high demand as an adjudicator and clinician across the country, Joel is a past Guest Conductor of the New Brunswick Youth Choir and the Manitoba Provincial Honour Choir and was the Assistant Conductor of the 2012 National Youth Choir. He was the winner of the 2012 Sir Ernest MacMillan Memorial Foundation Award as well as the recipient of the Emerging Artist Award at the 2013 Ontario Premier’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts. He holds degrees from Mount Allison University, the University of Michigan, and Michigan State University where his doctoral research was in the area of Canadian choral-orchestral repertoire. 

Major works conducted include Respighi’s Lauda per la Nativita, Poulenc’s Gloria, Vaughan Williams’ Hodie, Ramirez’s Navidad nuestra (TWU’s "Christmas at the Chan Centre"), Mendelssohn’s St. Paul (Sea to Sky Symphony and TWU Choirs), Handel’s Alexander’s Feast, Requiems by Fauré and Duruflé (Windsor Symphony Orchestra and Chorus), Bach’s St. John Passion (Masterworks Chorus and Valley Festival Singers), and Allan Bevan’s oratorio Nou Goth Sonne Under Wode (TWU Choirs and Orchestra). Choirs prepared by Tranquilla have appeared under the batons of Robert Franz, Kevin Mallon, John Morris Russell, and Ivars Taurins. In March 2016, the TWU Chamber Choir was invited to take part in a performance at Carnegie Hall under the direction of Dr. Richard Sparks.

Joel believes in the power of choral music to build and strengthen community. He lives in Langley with his wife Meghan and their two children, Everett and Penelope.

  • DMA (Michigan State University, Lansing, MI)
  • MMus (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI)
  • BMus (Mount Allison University, Sackville, NB)


  • Canadian music
  • Conducting
  • Choral literature
  • Score study and analysis
  • Ear training
  • Choral arranging
  • Vocal pedagogy


  • Canadian Chamber Choir. Seasons of Life and Landscape. Conducted by artistic director Julia Davids and associate conductor Joel Tranquilla. Independent, 2019.
  • Canadian Chamber Choir. Sacred Reflections of Canada – A Canadian Mass. Conducted by artistic director Julia Davids and associate conductor Joel Tranquilla. Independent, 2015.
  • Canadian Chamber Choir. In Good Company. Conducted by artistic director Julia Davids, featuring mezzo-soprano Christianne Rushton, pianist Joel Tranquilla, and cellist Se Hee Kim. Fontana North, 2010.
  • Halifax Camerata Singers. Solace: Songs of Remembrance. Conducted by artistic director Jeff Joudrey and assistant conductor Joel Tranquilla. Consignment CDs, 2009.

Major Works conducted

  • Bach, St. John Passion
  • Bernstein, Missa brevis
  • Bevan, Nou Goth Sonne Under Wode
  • Copland, In the Beginning
  • Corlis, God So Loved the World
  • Dett, The Chariot Jubilee
  • Doolittle, Elegy
  • Duruflé, Requiem
  • Fauré, Requiem
  • Grieg, Four Psalms
  • Handel, Alexander's Feast
  • Mendelssohn, St. Paul
  • Mozart, Vesperae solennes de confessore
  • Poulenc, Gloria
  • Purcell, Come, ye sons of art
  • Raminsh, Magnificat
  • Ramirez, Navidad nuestra
  • Respighi, Lauda per la Nativita
  • Schubert, Mirjams Siegesgesang
  • Schubert, Wind Mass
  • Squires, Magnificat
  • Tavener, Svyati
  • Vaughan Williams, Five Mystical Songs
  • Vaughan Williams, Hodie
  • Watson Henderson, From Darkness to Light
  • Willan, Apostrophe to the Heavenly Hosts

Works Commissioned

  • David Squires, Gardens: a sacred oratorio (2020)
  • Kathleen Allan, “The Singing Shepherd” (2015)
  • Ben Duinker, “Materia ex nihilo” (2014)
  • Jeff Enns, “O Holy Spirit, Root of Life” (2011)

Awards & Honors

  • 2016 Juno Award for Classical Album of the Year (Canadian Chamber Choir, nominee)
  • 2013 Emerging Artist of the Year, Ontario Premier’s Award for Excellence in the Arts
  • 2012 Sir Ernest MacMillan Foundation Award in Conducting

    Affiliations & Memberships

    • British Columbia Choral Federation
    • Choral Canada
    • Chorus America
    • National Collegiate Choral Organization
    • International Federation for Choral Music

    • MUSI 362 Vocal Ensemble
    • MUSI 381/382 Concert Choir
    • MUSI 406 Advanced Conducting
    • MUSI 406 Conducting II
    • MUSI 420 Lyric Diction
    • MUSI 453/454 Chamber Choir
    • MUSI 460 Vocal Pedagogy
    • MUSI 461/462 Chamber Singers
    • MUSI 462 Musical Theatre Vocal
    • MUSI 481/482 Concert Choir
    • SAMC 111 Critical Issues in the Arts