Leonard Enns

composer, conductor, Monarda Music

Leonard Enn

Canadian composer and conductor Leonard Enns holds advanced degrees from Northwestern University, Chicago: a PhD in Music Theory (with a dissertation on the choral music of Harry Somers), and a Master of Music in choral conducting (supervised by the late Margaret Hillis); and undergraduate degrees from Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario, and Canadian Mennonite University, Winnipeg, Manitoba. He has an ARCT in piano performance.


Enns is Professor Emeritus at Conrad Grebel University College, University of Waterloo, Ontario where he taught in the Music Department and served in various administrative roles for over three and a half decades. He founded the Conrad Grebel Chapel Choir, directing it for over three decades (1977-2010), and producing six CDs with that ensemble; he is a past director of the UW University Choir (1977-82), the UW Chamber Choir (2011-2013), and the founding director of the national award-winning DaCapo Chamber Choir (1998-  ). For two successive years DaCapo recorded JUNO nominated works (2009 and 2010); in 2010 the ensemble received the Outstanding Recording Award from the Association of Canadian Choral Communities (for the CD ShadowLand), and the choir has been the winner or finalist in a number of biennial competitions of Choral Canada (formerly ACCC).  The DaCapo Chamber Choir has recorded three CDs: Still (2004), ShadowLand (2009) and NewWorks (released November 2018). Enns’ music is included on the first two recordings. 


Prior to his career at Conrad Grebel University College, Enns was music director at United Mennonite Educational Institute in Leamington, Ontario (1969 to 1972), and during his graduate studies at Northwestern University he was director of the NU University Choir (1975-76) and the NU Chamber Choir (1976-77).


Assignments as guest conductor, choral adjudicator and clinician engage him both in Canada and internationally (including a four year sequence as choral adjudicator at the Llangollen Eisteddfod in Wales). 


An Associate Composer of the Canadian Music Centre, Enns has produced a significant body of compositions ranging from vocal and instrumental solo works to major works for full choral/orchestral forces. In 2007 he was named the International Winner of the Polyphonus choral composition competition, sponsored by the Esoterics Chamber Choir of Seattle, Washington. His Nocturne, commissioned by the Guelph Spring Festival in 2005, was nominated as JUNO Classical Composition of the Year in 2010. His I Saw Eternity is the title track on the eponymous 2013 JUNO nominated CD by the Elora Festival Singers on the Naxos label (nominated as Classical Album of the Year: Vocal or Choral Performance). 


Recent premieres of significant commissioned works include Waking for the Golden Gate Men’s Chorus, San Francisco (2019); the 25-minute work, This Thirsty Land, for choir, strings and oboe for the University of Guelph choirs, Guelph Ontario (2018); I will lift up mine eyes for the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir (2016); Aperi, Domine, os meum for ChAPW, Warsaw Poland (at the Warsaw Filharmonia, October 2015); and There is a River the national RCCO convention, Winnipeg Manitoba (2015).


Recordings dedicated solely to Enns’s music include the 2006 CD NorthWord, by the Elora Festival Singers on the Canadian Music Centre Centrediscs label, and the 2007 CD Hammer and Wind, featuring instrumental chamber and vocal solo works. Further information about these and the DaCapo Cds, along with sound samples, can be found on  this site under the Recordings heading. His choral music appears on the commercial recordings of numerous choirs, including those of the Canadian Chamber Choir, the Winnipeg Singers, the Toronto Children's Chorus, San Francisco's Golden Gate Men's Chorus, and some dozen or more others.  His 20-minute Vanishing Point for Organ and saxophone is recorded on the eponymous 2016 CD by Allen Harrington (saxophone) and Lottie Enns-Braun (organ) on the Ravello label.


His music is published by Boosey & Hawkes, E.C. Schirmer, Galaxy Music, Gordon V Thompson/Warner Chappell, Gentry, Kelman Hall , Cypress Choral Music and other publishers. Much of his unpublished music is available for self-print on his personal Monarda Music label.