The University of Alberta Madrigal Singers, begun in 1974 by Professor Larry Cook, have been under the direction of Dr. Leonard Ratzlaff since 1983.
Initially formed to explore the repertoire of the Renaissance and Baroque periods, the Madrigal Singers have emerged in the past 30 years as one of Canada’s premier university chamber choirs, drawing on music from all periods and styles for their repertoire.
With their membership drawn principally from students in the Department of Music, the Madrigal Singers have also attracted qualified singers from across campus. Membership is determined through annual auditions each September. The Madrigal Singers ensemble is available for a half-course credit, either as a required course in some music degree programs, or as a Fine Arts option for non-music majors.
The Madrigal Singers have a student-elected executive which is responsible for helping to manage the affairs of the choir, including tour preparation, financial management, costuming, media and communications, and relations within the choir and between choirs.
Where do we perform?
The Madrigal Singers have sung as guest artists with the Alberta Baroque Ensemble, Edmonton Symphony Orchestra and Pro Coro Canada, performing a wide range of repertoire, including Handel's Messiah and other Baroque masterpieces, as well as contemporary works, including Esenvalds Passion and Resurrection, Poulenc Gloria, Raminsh Magnificat and Ravel Daphnis et Chloe. In past years CBC frequently recorded the choir's concerts for regional and national broadcast.
Beyond Edmonton, the "Mads" tour Alberta and British Columbia, and in recent years they participated in University Voices, a festival of Canadian university choirs sponsored by Soundstreams Canada, held in Toronto. In 2005 the Madrigal Singers were invited to perform at the National Convention of the American Choral Directors Association in Los Angeles, and they have performed at several Podium conferences of Choral Canada..
The Madrigal Singers have won first prize in the CBC Choral Competition for Amateur Choirs (1992, 1996, 2004), as well as in international choral competitions, including the Robert Schumann International Choir Competition in Zwickau, Germany (1995) and the Cork International Choral Festival in Cork, Ireland (1999 and 2008).
Each member brings his or her personal medley of vocal and musical abilities to the choir. We believe in encouraging each member to contribute his or her unique vocal quality to create a unified, choral sound.
One of the goals of our practice is to bring our diverse abilities into focus in our study and performance of a wide variety of music.
Our further objectives include:
• enhancing our members’ appreciation of and skill in performing choral music through exposure to and instruction in a wide variety of choral styles
• fostering and maintaining amongst our membership a high standard of choral performance
• promoting of concerts and tours which are deemed stimulating to choral achievement
• making capital expenditures with the end of enhancing the performance of the Madrigal Singers
The Madrigal Singers have always strived for excellence both musically and as a choir. We believe it to be an honour and our duty to promote choral music through our role as representatives of the University of Alberta and the city, province and country to which we belong.