Biography

Joanna Estelle is a Canadian composer, lyricist, and arranger who has won the critical acclaim of audiences from Parliament Hill, Ottawa to London, England and Barcelona, Spain.

She studied classical piano and basic theory with the Royal Conservatory of Music (Toronto) as a young person, but was not encouraged by her family to pursue music as a career. She graduated in Psychology and English, then went on to study management accounting. However, her enthusiasm for music and composition never waned.

While building a successful professional career in Canada's federal public service, Joanna channelled her creative energies into composing songs and pursued private studies in modern piano, advanced theory and arranging. In April 2009, she completed an undergraduate degree in music after eight years as a part-time special student at University of Ottawa, graduating summa cum laude on the Dean's list as winner of the Faculty of Art's silver medal.

Joanna then left the public service to begin full time graduate studies in composition at York University, Toronto (September 2009), successfully completing the MA Music Program in April 2011 at which time she was invited to become a member of the prestigious Heliconian Club of Toronto. She is currently pursuing private studies in advanced composition with Larysa Kuzmenko at University of Toronto and participating in Dr. Neil Douglas-Klotz's Abwoon Interspiritual Leadership Program to prepare for future doctoral studies, while working on commissioned pieces.

Among Joanna’s many other accomplishments, her work has been arranged and orchestrated for performance and recording by artists and choirs in Canada, the United States, and Europe, as well as broadcast on CBC. Several of her choral works have been published. Her well known Christmas carol Child of the Manger was included in a recording by Cantata Singers of Ottawa Songs of Inspiration: A Feast of Canadian Choral Music. Two of her choral compositions have been premiered at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa as part of the UNISONG festival on Canada Day (2004 and 2009). Her music has often been included in the Dominion Carillonneur's Summer Programme which originates from the Peace Tower, Parliament Hill, Ottawa.

Joanna's many affiliations include: SOCAN/ASCAP, Chorus America, Association of Canadian Choral Communities (ACCC), Choirs Ontario, Scriabin Society of America; National Board of Directors for Association of Canadian Women Composers (2004-present) and current Chair (2012-2014); Founding Board of Ottawa New Music Creators (2007).

Her personal mission includes: creating national and international cultural infrastructures to promote Canadian women composers and their works through effective partnerships: to this end, she has established the Joanna Estelle Commemorative Scholarship Fund as a bequest to the University of Ottawa to encourage other women to find their musical voices. Joanna is also committed to exploring the relationship between spirituality and creativity, particularly with respect to music.

Photo: Joanna Estelle