- M.M. Performance and Literature (Voice), Eastman School of Music
- B.M. Composition, Biola University
- Additional studies at University of Calgary (Music Composition)
Adjunct Professor, Voice
Baritone and Composer Joel David Balzun (b. 1990, Calgary, AB) 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.
Mr. Balzun has appeared successfully on both the operatic and concert stages. Since his professional debut in 2011 in Peter Michael von der Nahmer's award winning opera, El canguro with the California International Theatre Festival, Mr. Balzun has performed all over North America and in Europe. Highlights of the upcoming 2015-2016 season include covers for “Dr. Falke” (Die Fledermaus) with Celestial Opera Company, and “Valentin” (Faust) with Redlands Opera Theatre. His 2014-2015 recently finished with the title role in Don Giovanni in Vancouver. Other highlights include the four villains in Les contes d'Hoffmann with Napa Music Festival, “Sid” (Albert Herring) with Eastman Opera Theatre, and “Commissario” (La traviata) with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. On the concert stages, Mr. Balzun was featured in Bach's Cantata BWV 36 and Cantata BWV 72 with the Eastman Cantata Ensemble, his first Messiah at the EastmanSchool of Music, and Bach's Mass in b minor with “Voices” in Rochester, NY. The 2013-2014 season included his solo debut at the Kennedy Centre, singing excerpts from Turandot. He also performed with Calgary Concert Opera Company (“Count Ceprano” and “Marullo” - Rigoletto), Cowtown Opera Company (“Fiorello” - The Barber of Cowtown), and Eastman Opera Theatre (“Le gaoler” and “Marquis de la Force” - Dialogues of the Carmelites). On the concert stage, he was seen in presentations of Dvořák’s Te Deum, Haydn's The Creation, and Bach's Cantata BWV 4 and Johannes-Passion. Mr. Balzun also performed recitals for Calgary's ProArts Society and Fullerton's Friends of Music Recital Series. The 2012-2013 included “John Brooke” (Little Women – M. Adamo), and Peter Maxwell Davies' virtuosic Eight Songs for a Mad King.
Also an accomplished composer, Mr. Balzun's “haunting and beautiful” music has received international recognition. In 2014, he was named a finalist for the prestigious ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composers Awards. Other 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, Mr. Balzun 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. In 2012, he was the youngest composer invited to participate in the Art Song Lab through the Vancouver International Song Institute. He was a guest presenter and composer at the CBDNA 2013 National Conference in Greensboro, North Carolina, as well as the 2014 CFAMC National Conference, where he was also a featured soloist.
Praised as “a composer to watch” by the Calgary Herald, Mr. Balzun has been the recipient of numerous commissions. His music has been performed across Canada, the United States, and Costa Rica, by ensembles such as Alberta Winds, Calgary Civic Symphony, Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, CCM Wind Orchestra, Dallas Wind Symphony, the National Broadcast Orchestra of Canada, La Orquestra Vientos de Costa Rica, and Windago. Additional performances include those by Cadillac Moon Ensemble, Standing Wave Ensemble, and such luminary soloists as Corey Hamm and Richard Zeller. His music has been broadcast on CBC Radio 2 and Espace Musique. A selection of Mr. Balzun’s music is currently published by C. Alan Publications and Lovebird Music. Joel is also a member of ASCAP, CFAMC and SOCAN.
Mr. Balzun studied Music Composition and Vocal Performance at University of Calgary, Biola University, and the Eastman School of Music, where he earned his Master's degree. He has studied composition with Robert Denham, David Eagle, Laurie Radford, and Christopher Wills; and voice with William Lock,Michelle Minke, and Jan Opalach. Mr. Balzun currently serves on the voice faculty of Biola University.