Dr. Leonard Ratzlaff has been on the faculty of the Department of Music since 1981, teaching in the area of choral music at both graduate and undergraduate levels. With Prof. Debra Cairns, Ratzlaff co-founded and now directs what is now the most established graduate training program for choral conductors in Canada. He directs the University of Alberta Madrigal Singers, one of Canada's leading university choirs, which have gained both national and international competition awards for their performances and recordings. The Madrigal Singers have also appeared at the national conventions of the American Choral Directors Association (Los Angeles, 2005) and Choral Canada. Ratzlaff has produced 5 CD recordings with the Madrigal Singers, of which 2 (Balulalow, 1999; The Passing of the Year, 2004) received a National Choral Award in the recordings category from Choral Canada.
Professor Ratzlaff has conducted premieres of new works by numerous Canadian composers, including Violet Archer, Allan Bevan, John Estacio, Malcolm Forsyth, Allan Gilliland, Christos Hatzis, Margaret King, Imant Raminsh, Sid Robinovitch, James Rolfe, Mark Sirett and Ruth Watson Henderson. He has sung in numerous projects in North America and Europe with the late American conductor Robert Shaw, and participated as soloist in the Classical Music Festival in Eisenstadt, Austria for many years.
Professor Ratzlaff also directs the Richard Eaton Singers, a 110-voice symphonic chorus that performs regularly with the Edmonton Symphony and that has toured both nationally and internationally, most recently to Germany in 2013. He has served as president of the Association of Canadian Choral Conductors, and is currently on the board of Chorus America. Honours include induction into the Alberta Order of Excellence, the Order of Canada and the Royal Society of Canada.
Representative Works"Balulalow: Anthems, Carols and Lullabies for Christmas". University of Alberta Madrigal Singers, 1999 (Arktos 99037CD)
"In Praise of Music". Richard Eaton Singers, 2003 (RES 200301)
"The Passing of the Year". University of Alberta Madrigal Singers, 2004 (Arktos 200477)
"A Richard Eaton Singers Christmas". Richard Eaton Singers, 2007 (RES 200701)
"Hesperides: Works by Forsyth, Fauré, Holst and Pärt". University of Alberta Madrigal Singers, 2009 (UAMS 200905)
Areas of Research & Interest:
19th Century Austro-German choral music
Contemporary Scandinavian & Baltic choral music
Canadian choral music
Areas of Instruction:
Choral Conducting & Literature
Vocal Coaching (Song & Oratorio)
Prof. Ratzlaff is conductor of the U of A Madrigal Singers, a 40-voice select chorus open to all members of the U of A community through annual auditions. The Madrigal Singers is a for-credit course.
The University of Alberta Madrigal Singers have been invited to participate in a choral festival in Athens, Greece, from Dec. 28, 2015 - Jan. 2, 2016. The festival will feature several gala performances under the direction of British choral conductor Simon Carrington, as well as two individual performances in the Athens area.
The Richard Eaton Singers will be giving the Western Canadian premiere of a co-commissioned work, No Mortal Business, by Canadian composer Allan Bevan, on March 13, 2016, as part of a concert celebrating the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare. The concert will also include works by British composers John Rutter and Ralph Vaughan Williams. The concert takes place at 7:30 pm at the Winspear Centre for Music in Edmonton. Tickets are available through Tix on the Square, and at the Winspear Box Office.