Neil Weisensel

Adjunct Professor

Neil Weisensel


Music Theory, Composition, Orchestration/Arranging, Organ




204.487.3300 x688



Website: www.neilmusic.com

Composer and conductor Neil Weisensel is one of the most frequently-performed and prolific opera composers in Canada. Vancouver Opera premiered his newest opera, Stickboy (libretto by internationally-recognized spoken word poet Shane Koyczan) in October of 2014. His latest project, a new musical dramatic work based on the life of Louis Riel, a major Canada Council New Chapter commission, was performed by the Regina Symphony Orchestra in 2019 MArch 2019. Weisensel’s seven operas (Gisela in her Bathtub, City Workers in Love, The Bachelor Farmers of the Apocalypse, Merry Christmas Stephen Leacock, The Master’s Stroke and Secret Service) have seen 124 total performances across Canada. Recent highlights include productions of City Workers in Love and Gisela in her Bathtub in Kitchener/Waterloo, a production of Gisela in her Bathtub in Halifax in summer 2012, and a new 2014 production of City Workers in Love at UWO in London, Ontario. The USA premiere of a new orchestral version of Gisela in her Bathtub took place at Kent State University in Ohio in March 2017.

For eight years Neil was Guest Conductor of the Vancouver Philharmonic Orchestra, conducting repertoire that included the Requiems of Mozart, Verdi, Fauré, John Rutter, and Duruflé along with other choral/orchestral works like Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. Neil has been a conductor/music director for many professional ensembles including Vancouver New Music, Vancouver Opera, Edmonton Opera, Little Opera Company, Manitoba Theatre for Young People, Arts Club Theatre, University of Manitoba, and the Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra.

With wife Rachel Landrecht, Neil co-composed and performed an original song, I Feel a Change Today, for former U.S. President Bill Clinton and the Clinton Foundation in Vancouver. Neil also had an exclusive engagement performing solo piano at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics. He and Rachel have provided keynote musical presentations for Oscar winner Al Gore and also for Justin Trudeau, and Neil’s big band collaboration with superstar Michael Bublé earned him a Genie nomination.

Neil has received grants, fellowships, and commissions from The National Endowment for the Arts (U.S.), the Canada Council, the Manitoba and BC Arts Councils, OPERA America, the Vancouver Opera Guild, and the Banff Centre. He holds advanced music degrees from UBC (Composition) and from the University of Manitoba.

Areas of Teaching

Music Theory, Composition, Arranging, Orchestration. Organ


B.Mus. Piano Performance (University of Manitoba) M. Mus. Composition (UBC)

Work in Detail


2018–2020: Instructor of Music – Canadian Mennonite University 

2015–2018: Sessional Instructor, Theory and Composition – Canadian Mennonite University 

2015: Guest Lecturer – University of British Columbia, University of Manitoba


Selected Compositions


Riel's Heart of the North – Canada Council New Chapter Commission, premieres with Regina Symphony in 2019, Winnipeg Symphony in 2020

Stickboy – (Vancouver Opera commission and premiere) 90-min. opera for chamber orchestra, ensemble and pricipals: 12 performances

Secret Service – 80-min. tragi-comedy Fugue Theatre (Vancouver) commission (Kico Gonzales-Risso, libretto) 11 performances City Workers in Love – 75-min. comic chamber opera(Michael Cavanagh, libretto) 6 production, 39 performances

The Master's Stroke – 2 hour opera (Canada Council Commission)(Michael Cavanagh, libretto)Merry Christmas Stephen Leacock – (Stephen Leacock, book) 25-min. chamber opera The Bachelor Farmers of the Apocalypse – 65-min. chamber opera(Michael Cavanagh, libretto) 2 productions, 16 performances Gisela in her Bathtub- 17-min. comic chamber opera (Michael Cavanagh, libretto) 8 productions, 48 performances


Victoria Symphony Orchestra – For the Children of Today, Change and 7 other arrangements for solo voice and orchestra

Victoria Symphony Orchestra Beat the Clock (premiRe)Vancouver Philharmonic Orchestra - Lord of the Worlds (12-minute work for tenor soloist, choir and orchestra)

Vancouver Symphony Orchestra – Night Sequence (10-minute work for large orchestra) Vancouver Symphony Orchestra - Suite for Orchestra (from the opera Coup de Sifflet) (Georges Astalos, libretto)

Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra Various arrangements


Quartet # 1 – for String Quartet – workshopped and recorded by the Arditti String Quaret Thorax the Conqueror – for chamber orchestra and animated film (BC Arts Council Commission)

Concertino – 20-min. work for 2 pianos and percussion. (Manitoba Arts Council Commission)

Presence – 10-min. work for Vancouver Intercultural Orchestra, choir, soloists

Meditation – 4-min. chamber orchestra work.


I Lift Up My Soul – SATB choir and piano

God of Resurrection – SATB choir and organ/brass quintet

Praise to the Lord – SATB choir a cappella

Lord Make Me an Instrument of Your Peace,

Thank You – SATB choir and soloist


Opera performances

2020 – Riel's Heart of the North - Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra

2019 – Riel's Heart of the North - Regina Symphony Orchestra

2019 – City Workers in Love/Gisela in her Bathtub - CMU Opera Workshop

2018 – Merry Christmas Stephen Leacock - Saskatoon Opera

2018 – City Workers in Love - Opera NUOVA, Edmonton AB

2017 – Gisela in her BathtubvKent State University School of Music - world premiere of new orchestral version

2016 – Stickboy - Vancouver Opera in Schools        

Merry Christmas Stephen Leacock (World Premiere) Little Opera Company, Winnipeg Canada                 

Gisela in her Bathtub - Flipside Opera, Winnipeg, Canada

2015 – Gisela in her Bathtub - New England Conservatory of Music, Boston USA

2014 – Stickboy - Vancouver Opera (World Premiere)        

City Workers in Love, Gisela in her Bathtub- University of  Western Ontario         

Gisela in her Bathtub - 9th Ward Opera Company of New Orleans, USA

2013 – Secret Service - Fugue Theatre, Vancouver, Canada

2012 – Gisela in her Bathtub - Halifax Summer Opera, Canada         

Gisela in her Bathtub, City Workers in Love - Wilfrid Laurier University, Canada

2006 – The Master's Stroke - Universities of Winnipeg/Manitoba,                   





World Village Gospel Choir (Founder, Co-Director) – 2012–present

SummerChör Community Choir – 2017–present

Minister of Music, Canadian Memorial United Church – 2000–2012


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