Director of Choral Activities and Assistant Professor of Music
Office
Music Building
Phone
+1 (604) 513-2121 ext. 2053

Department(s) or Program(s)

Biography

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 in Langley, BC, 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 in every province 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. The next recording is due to be released in October 2019.

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 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 Fort Langley with his wife Meghan and their two children, Everett and Penelope.

Research & Scholarship

Education

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

Awards & Honors

Major Works Conducted

  • Bach, Cantata 106 and Johannes-Passion
  • Bernstein, Missa brevis
  • Bevan, Nou Goth Sonne Under Wode
  • Dett, The Chariot Jubilee
  • Doolittle, Elegy
  • Duruflé, Requiem
  • Elgar, Serenade for Strings
  • Fauré, Requiem
  • Grieg, Four Psalms
  • Handel, Alexander's Feast and Coronation Anthem No. 4
  • Mozart, Vesperae solennes de confessore
  • Purcell, Come, ye sons of art
  • Raminsh, Magnificat
  • Tavener, Svyati
  • Vaughan Williams, Five Mystical Songs
  • Watson Henderson, From Darkness to Light
  • Willan, Apostrophe to the Heavenly Hosts

Works commissioned

  • Kathleen Allan, TBA (2015)
  • Ben Duinker, “Materia ex nihilo” (2014)
  • Jeff Enns, “O Holy Spirit, Root of Life” (2011)

Affiliations & Memberships

  • American Choral Directors Association
  • British Columbia Choral Federation
  • Choral Canada (formerly the Association of Canadian Choral Communities)
  • Chorus America
  • International Federation for Choral Music

Expertise

Canadian music, conducting, choral literature, score study and analysis, ear training, choral arranging, vocal pedagogy