Two Dalhousie faculty members receive Juno Awards nominations

- February 9, 2024

Dr. Jérôme Blais, left, and Amy Brandon, a composition faculty member. (Nick Pearce image/Provided image)
Dr. Jérôme Blais, left, and Amy Brandon, a composition faculty member. (Nick Pearce image/Provided image)

The Juno Awards recognize outstanding achievements in Canada's music industry. This year’s nominees include works by two faculty members in Dalhousie’s Fountain School of Performing Arts.

Fountain School Director Dr. Jérôme Blais is the composer of the classical album, mouvance, which he created with Acadian soprano Suzie LeBlanc. It has been nominated for Classical Album of the Year (Solo Artist).

“People say it’s an honour just to be nominated, and it’s true,” says Dr. Blais, who is also an associate professor at Dal. “It is so nice to have recognition from our peers.”

At 59 years old, this is Dr. Blais’s very first nomination for a major national award.

“I feel like a veteran hockey player who’s getting his last chance to go to the Stanley Cup! Having the Canadian music industry tell you your work is valued feels great,” he says.

Buy and listen: mouvance

Nourishing creativity

Composition faculty member Amy Brandon is nominated for Classical Composition of the Year for Simulacra (cover shown below)— a piece recorded with Symphony Nova Scotia and cellist Jeffrey Zeigler.

Collaboration between Brandon and Zeigler began in March of 2020 at the beginning of the pandemic. Taking three years to come to fruition, Brandon says recognition of this piece fills her with pride.

"I am exhilarated that the creative work we have made here is receiving this national and international attention," she says. "I think these Juno nominations show the power that contemporary classical music has in the national and international music scene."

She credits the Fountain School and the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at Dalhousie for "nourishing these seeds of contemporary and experimental musicianship."

Buy and listen: Simulacra

Community excitement

Dr. Jennifer Andrews, dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, says the faculty is incredibly proud of their colleagues in the Fountain School on receiving this recognition for their contributions to composition and the performing arts in Canada.

“These amazing composers, who work with Dalhousie students every day, demonstrate the national and global power of music-creation,” says Dr. Andrews. “We wish them the best of luck at the upcoming Juno show in Halifax.”

Dalhousie President Dr. Kim Brooks shares Dr. Andrews’s excitement of the news about these nominations.

“Having two members of the Fountain School community nominated is a testament to the calibre of the talent there, and it’s an amazing source of inspiration for our students,” says Dr. Brooks. “We’ll all be rooting for Jérôme and Amy on Juno night.”

The Juno Awards are presented by the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.

Stellar support systems

Already working on his acceptance speech, Dr. Blais wishes to thank fellow nominee and colleague Amy Brandon, adding “It has been a tremendous privilege to work with such a great artist as Suzie LeBlanc, and fellow world-class Halifax-based mouvance musicians, Norman Adams, Jeff Torbert, Doug Cameron, and the Fountain School’s very own Eileen Walsh!"

Brandon, shown performing on the right, believes both nominations are the result of widespread support from the community of musicians and composers working in the contemporary and experimental music fields in Halifax and at Dalhousie.

“The premiere of Simulacra was of course not possible without the support of Upstream Music Association and Symphony Nova Scotia,” says Brandon.

This year’s winners will be revealed in Halifax, Nova Scotia at the Juno Opening Night Awards Presented by Music Canada on Saturday, March 23 and The Juno Awards Broadcast on Sunday, March 24, live on CBC.

Recommended reading: Black identity, artistry and power celebrated in new Dal exhibitions


All comments require a name and email address. You may also choose to log-in using your preferred social network or register with Disqus, the software we use for our commenting system. Join the conversation, but keep it clean, stay on the topic and be brief. Read comments policy.

comments powered by Disqus