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Bio

After cutting her conducting teeth on secondary school and church choirs, Ramona 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 established the highly valued and comprehensively 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 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. “This group embodies the truth that singing sacred music can be both a deep and significant expression of faith as well as an exploration of spirituality unlimited by the boundaries of denomination. It has provided for a truly beautiful and rewarding search for the ineffable, allowing us to grasp together – albeit fleetingly – the transcendent our hearts and souls so long for.”

Since 2006 Luengen has been the Artistic Director of the Amabilis Singers, a community group of hard-working, eager and joyful singers. “The adage of being greater than the sum of its parts holds true and fast for this choir: with a shared vision and work ethic, an unshakeable desire to unearth the beauty and meaning of the written score coupled with gumption and trust, we are, at times, rewarded with extraordinary music-making and thus profoundly reminded why it is we sing as choirs.”