Allison Balcetis, DMus

Associate Lecturer, Faculty of Arts - Music Dept


Associate Lecturer, Faculty of Arts - Music Dept



Internationally recognized as an ambitious contemporary saxophonist, Allison Balcetis has studied and collaborated with artists from around the world.  Her international performance career includes concerts throughout North America, Europe, Brazil, Thailand, and Taiwan. Recent projects include partnering with André Mestre to create Curto-Circuito, a yearly workshop for young Brazilian composers, which has seen the creation of over 30 new pieces for saxophone and piano since 2014.  Other creative partnerships include Colin Labadie, Ian Crutchley, Nicolás Arnáez, Thierry Alla, Rodrigo Bussad, and André Ribeiro.  Her work as a soloist and chamber musician has produced over 70 world premieres. 

As a faculty member of the University of Alberta since 2009, Allison trains the next generation of thoughtful, artistic musicians, teaching saxophone, chamber music, woodwind techniques, and aural skills.  Outside of the university, Allison helps develop the contemporary arts community as co-curator of SubArctic Improv and Experimental Arts, a monthly concert series pairing dancers, musicians, text, and visual artists in a totally improvised context.  Co-curating with dancer Jen Mesch, the first season welcomed over 50 artists to the stage in 2015/2016.  She has also been an Executive Board Member of New Music Edmonton, Alberta’s premiere new music concert presenters, since 2010.

Allison's recent chamber activities include performing with pianist Sandra Joy Friesen as the Bent Note duo, the Edmonton Saxophone Quartet, improvisation ensemble Damn Magpies, New Music Edmonton's in-house ensemble Violet Collective, and work with Edmontonian musicians and dance companies such as the Jen Mesch Dance Conspiracy and Mile Zero Dance.  In 2017 Allison was awarded the Qualico Artistic Leadership Award from the Mayor's Awards for the Arts.  

In 2007 Allison co-founded Anubis Quartet, a Chicago-based ensemble with more than 30 commissions and premieres of provocative new music, performing with them until 2014.  During her undergraduate degree, Allison won first place in the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition in 2005.

While earning her Doctorate of Musical Arts from the University of Alberta under the direction of Dr. William Street, Allison produced her first solo recording, Zeniths and Nadirs. She also holds degrees from Bowling Green State University where she studied with Dr. John Sampen, and is the first – and only – saxophonist to earn a joint degree from the Université de Bordeaux and the Conservatoire National de Région de Bordeaux where she studied with Marie-Bernadette Charrier.


  • Collaboration with professional and emerging composers to better understand and compose for saxophone
  • Interdisciplinary artistic production, such as co-curating the SubArctic Improv and Experimental Arts series through Mile Zero Dance
  • Presenting contemporary sonic art to Edmonton through service on the board of New Music Edmonton since 2010
  • Free Improvisation


  • saxophone performance
  • chamber music coach and program coordinator
  • Woodwind Techniques for students who intend to become band directors
  • Aural Skills - ear training and sight singing skills for all music majors


June 2016: The Edmonton International Music Academy with featured instructors from the Conservatoire de Bordeaux and McGill University


MUSIC 213 - Woodwind Techniques

Introduction to woodwind instruments for music educators. Prerequisite: Music 150 or 156 and 151. Corequisite or prerequisite: Music 121 or 125, or 124, or consent of Department. NOTE: Restricted to BMus (all routes), BMus/BEd Music Major/Minor, and BA (Honors) Music Major students.

MUSIC 251B - Aural and Keyboard Skills II

A continuation of MUSIC 151. Prerequisite: MUSIC 151. Corequisite: MUSIC 255 or 256 or consent of Department.

MUSIC 439B - Vocal and Instrumental Chamber Ensemble

Prerequisite: consent of Department, based on audition.

MUSIC 639B - Vocal and Instrumental Chamber Ensemble

Prerequisite: consent of Department, based upon audition.

MUSIC 739B - Special Projects in Chamber Music

Restricted to Doctor of Music students.

Browse more courses taught by Allison Balcetis

Scholarly Activities

Research - Curto-Circuito de Música Contemporânea

2014-08 to 2016-04

A yearly workshop for emerging Brazilian composers to receive feedback and professional public performances of their compositions.  

Short Documentary on Curto-Circuito

Research - New Music Edmonton

2010 to Ongoing

New Music Edmonton - the city's foremost organization promoting Canadian composers and producing an annual new music concert series as well as an annual festival.  
Visual documentation from past shows and outreach events.

Research - SubArctic Improv and Experimental Arts

2015-09 to Ongoing

SubArctic Improv and Experimental Arts - A monthly concert series dedicated to interdisciplinary improvisational work in dance, music, text, and visual arts, co-curated by Allison Balcetis and Jen Mesch, hosted by Mile Zero Dance.  Since September 2015 SubArctic has presented over 120 artists.  

Some visual documentation from past shows