Janet Brenneman, Conductor

Janet Brenneman is Associate Professor of Music at Canadian Mennonite University in Winnipeg Manitoba, where she conducts the CMU Chamber Choir, CMU Singers, the CMU Women’s Chorus, teaches music education, and currently serves as Dean of the School of Music. Under Janet’s direction, the CMU choirs may be heard regularly on local radio broadcasts, in concert in the Winnipeg area and on cross-Canada tours, and on their recently released CDs, On Earth as in Heaven and hope, faith, life, love. Janet is also a conductor for Pembina Trails Voices in Winnipeg.

Born and raised in Wellesley, Ontario, Janet holds Bachelor and Master Degrees in Music Education from the University of Toronto where she was inspired by her mentors and teachers Doreen Rao, Elmer Iseler, and David Elliott. She completed a Ph.D. in Music Education at Michigan State University where she had the privilege of studying with Charles Smith and Cynthia Taggart. In 1996, Janet received the distinguished Sir Ernest MacMillan Award in Music for her graduate work and scholarship in music education. Her research interests include gender issues in choral music education, and rehearsal pedagogy for the boys expanding voice.

Janet has conducted children’s choirs, community choirs, university choirs and taught elementary music education in Ontario, Michigan, and in Manitoba. She was the conductor of the Woodstock Fanshawe Singers in Woodstock Ontario, and a member of the Gerald Fagan Singers in London Ontario before moving to Winnipeg in 2000. She is delighted with her new position as Artistic Director of Renaissance Voices and is looking forward to carrying on the wonderful work and maintaining the high musical standards of this beloved Winnipeg ensemble.

Janet has served on the Board of the Winnipeg Singers and on the Council of the Manitoba Music Educators Association. She is currently a member of the Association for Music Administrators in Manitoba and is actively involved in writing a philosophical statement on music education for the Manitoba Music Educators Association.

Frequently in demand as a choral clinician and music educator, Janet has served on the teaching faculty of the Choral Music Experience Institute where she was awarded the Artist-Teacher Diploma. Conductor and CME Institute Director Doreen Rao has described Janet as a “truly gifted and accomplished conductor and teacher [whose choirs] are a new treasure, rare, brilliant and Canadian.” Janet was also a member of the teaching faculty of the Toronto Bach Festival with Helmuth Rilling.

Janet enjoys a busy family life with her husband John Balsillie and their daughters, Lydia and Naomi. When not on the podium or in the classroom, Janet can be found on the side-lines of the soccer pitch or the swimming pool, and at the recital hall enthusiastically supporting her favourite young athletes and musicians.