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Bio

Born in Vancouver, Canada in 1960, Ramona Luengen received both her B.Mus and M.Mus from the University of British Columbia where she studied composition with Cortland Hultberg, piano with Jane Coop, and choir with James Fankhauser. In 1996 she completed her Doctor of Music in Composition from the University of Toronto with Derek Holman and Harry Freedman.

After cutting her conducting teeth on secondary school and church choirs, Luengen was appointed Artistic Director of the Phoenix Chamber Choir in 1995. Under her direction, the ensemble became the most celebrated choir in the history of the CBC National Choral Competition. Known for its fearless and inspiring forays into contemporary music, its strong support of Canadian composers, and its ability to connect intimately with audiences, Phoenix Chamber Choir carved out an important niche in Canada’s rich and vibrant choral life. A respected composer herself, Luengen was instrumental in establishing the highly valued and instructive Phoenix Young Choral Composers Development Programme.

Encouraging of colleagues and students, she also initiated many commissions and premières. Luengen has always believed that the appreciation of contemporary music is a matter of education and conducive presentation, and she continues to foster love and appreciation for the idiom in all aspects of her work. As she explained in recent programme notes: “It is in the realm of the unfamiliar that we often encounter moments of great and disturbing beauty, startling transcendence and unanticipated spirituality , and a bracing, invigorating opening of our hearts and minds.”

In May 2012, after 17 years at the helm, Luengen resigned as Artistic Director of the Phoenix Chamber Choir. She continues to conduct the Shaughnessy Heights United Church Choir, a highly dedicated and accomplished ensemble which she has led since 2004, as well as the Amabilis Singers, a community group of hard-working, eager and joyful singers which she has directed since 2006.

Luengen is a member of the Association of Canadian Choral Communities and the BC Choral Federation.