Joel Balzun
  • Male
  • Calgary, Alberta
  • Canada
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  • Jennifer R. Ellis
  • Evan Taylor

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Profile Information

I am a:
Student, Teacher, Performing Artist
My school is:
Eastman School of Music
My style(s) of music:
Classical, Opera
I am interested in:
Composing / Arranging, Performing
My musical instrument(s):
Piano / keyboard, Voice
My other musical interests, styles, and instruments are:
Teaching and Pedagogy
My favorite artists, influences, and inspirations are:
Singers: Simon Keenlyside, Sir Thomas Allen, Gerald Finley, Mariusz Kwiecien

Composers: Alexina Louie, Joseph Schwantner, Aaron Copland, Antonin Dvorak, Andrew Norman
More about me:
Baritone and Composer Joel Balzun is establishing himself as a mature new voice in the future of music. His multi-faceted career has led him to work with some of the world’s most respected musicians and ensembles.

Joel composes music for a variety of media and ensembles, inspired by the stories and experiences of himself and others. His “haunting and beautiful” music has received international recognition. His accolades include winning the Dallas Wind Symphony’s 9th annual “Call for Fanfares”, as well as winning first prize in the Classical Marimba League International Composition Competition. In 2010, Joel was also a prize-winner in the National Broadcast Orchestra’s Galaxie Rising Star Composers’ Competition, winning both the Young Composers Prize and the Grand Prize. He was also a guest presenter and composer at the CBDNA 2013 National Conference in Greensboro, North Carolina. Notably, Joel was a finalist for the prestigious 2014 ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Young Composer Awards.

Praised as “a composer to watch” by the Calgary Herald, Joel has been the recipient of numerous commissions. His music has been performed across Canada, the United States, Costa Rica, and Italy, by ensembles such as Alberta Winds, Calgary Civic Symphony, Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, Dallas Wind Symphony, the National Broadcast Orchestra of Canada, La Orquestra Vientos de Costa Rica, Standing Wave Ensemble, and Windago. His music has been broadcast on CBC Radio 2 and Espace Musique in Canada. A selection of Joel’s music is currently published by C. Alan Publications and Lovebird Music. Joel is also a member of ASCAP, CFAMC and SOCAN.

As a baritone, he has appeared with California International Theatre Festival, Cowtown Opera Company, La Mirada Vocal Arts, and the Rochester Oratorio Society, among others. His roles include "Count Ceprano" and "Marullo" (Rigoletto), “Fiorello” (Il barbiere di Siviglia), “Schaunard” (La bohème), “Marquis de la Force” and “Le Gaoler” (Dialogues des Carmélites), “John Brooke” (Little Women – M. Adamo), “Count Ceprano” and “Marullo” (Rigoletto), as well as starring in the premiere of Peter Michael von der Nahmer's award-winning opera, El Canguro. Additionally, he has performed excerpts from Carmen, Les contes d'Hoffmann, Die Zauberföte, H.M.S. Pinafore, The Medium, Les pêcheurs de perles, and Turandot. In concert, Joel has appeared as a soloist on multiple occasions, singing Bach’s Cantata BWV 4 and Johannes-Passion, Peter Maxwell Davies' virtuosic Eight Songs for a Mad King, Dvorak’s Te Deum, and Haydn’s The Creation. In April 2014, Joel made his Kennedy Centre debut, representing the Eastman School of Music as a part of the Conservatory Project. Upcoming engagements include playing “Sid” in Albert Herring with Eastman Opera Theatre. Currently, Joel is a Roster Artist with Cowtown Opera Company, with whom he performs in numerous recitals, pop-up performances, and other corporate and media events.

Joel holds a Bachelor's of Music Degree in Music Composition. He has studied composition with Robert Denham, David Eagle, Laurie Radford, and Christopher Wills. He has also studied voice with William Lock and Michelle Minke, and piano with George Boespflug, Charles Foreman, and Vladimir Levtov. Joel has continued his studies in composition at the Atlantic Music Festival Composition Institute and Vancouver International Song Institute’s Art Song Lab, studying with Eric Ewazen, David Ludwig, Imant Raminsh, and Ken Ueno. He is currently pursuing a Master’s of Music Degree in Vocal Performance and Literature at the Eastman School of Music, where he studies with Jan Opalach, and is also an Applied Voice Teaching Assistant, teaching his own studio of students from Eastman and University of Rochester. For more information on Joel and his music, please visit his website:

Comment Wall (1 comment)

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At 3:19pm on September 29, 2014, Evan Taylor said…

Hey Joel! Welcome to our community. Check out the songwriting group! Think you’d love it there.



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