Active internationally since 1995, Odawa First Nation composer Barbara Croall (b. 1966; Manidoo Mnissing, Giniw dodem) has had commissions and performances from leading orchestras, ensembles and soloists across Canada, the US, the UK, Europe, Latin America and Asia. As a musician Barbara also plays, performs, and composes on the pipigwan and for voice in the traditional Anishinaabe way. Classically-trained, she holds music degrees and diplomas from Centre Acanthes (France), the Musikhochschule in Munich (Germany), The Royal Conservatory of Music (Toronto), and the University of Toronto. The child of a residential school survivor, Croall is also a direct descendant of hereditary chiefs who signed the major treaties in Ontario and who fought in major battles of the Indian Wars and War of 1812.
Recording credits of her music and performances include: CBC Radio One, CBC Radio Two, Bayerische Rundfunk-Bayern 3, Deutsche Radio Swiss (DRS-II), Radio France, Italian National Television, APTN (Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, Canada), Kennedy Center Live Broadcasts (Washington DC). Awards include: the Glenn Gould Award in Composition (1989), numerous scholarships at the Royal Conservatory of Music/Glenn Gould School (1992-96) and awards from the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation (1993-98), three nominations for the K.M. Hunter Award (2003, 2007, 2012), a Visual and Expressive Arts Program Award (National Museum of the American Indian, 2009), and a Dora Mavor Awards nomination (2012).
Barbara is also the Founder and Director of Women of the Four Directions (WFD), promoting Indigenous women’s artistic and cultural activities. She has also served as an Advisory Board Member of the First Nations Composers’ Initiative (FNCI). Barbara is currently Artist-in-Residence and Cultural Consultant with the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Orchestra.
Of Cree descent, Andrew Balfour is an innovative composer/conductor/singer/sound designer with a large body of choral, instrumental, electro-acoustic and orchestral works, including Take the Indian (a vocal reflection on missing children), Empire Étrange: The Death of Louis Riel, Bawajigaywin (Vision Quest) and Manitou Sky, an orchestral tone poem. His new Indigenous opera, Mishaboozʼs Realm, was commissioned by LʼAtelier Lyrique de l’Opéra de Montréal and Highlands Opera Workshop.
Andrew is also the founder and Artistic Director of the vocal group Camerata Nova, now in its 22nd year of offering a concert series in Winnipeg. With Camerata Nova, Andrew specializes in creating “concept concerts”, many with Indigenous subject matter. These innovative offerings explore a theme through an eclectic array of music, including new works, arrangements and innovative inter-genre and interdisciplinary collaborations.
Andrew has become increasingly passionate about music education and outreach, particularly on northern reserves and in inner-city Winnipeg schools where he has worked on behalf of the National Arts Centre, Camerata Nova, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and various Winnipeg school divisions.
In 2007 Andrew received the Mayor of Winnipegʼs Making a Mark Award, sponsored by the Winnipeg Arts Council to recognize the most promising midcareer artist in the City.