Premiere Performances of December 26, 2014  by Timothy Brennan (First Award), and the Second Award for 2013, Night: Walking in the Shadow of the Earth, by Jenny Griffioen. 

Timothy Brennan, a piano performance major at Memorial University’s School of Music with a minor in Composition, holds an Associate Performance Diploma (A.R.C.T.) in Piano Performance from the Royal Conservatory of Music. He is a past winner of the Senior Instrumental Rose Bowl at the St. John’s Kiwanis Music Festival and the piano division of the Newfoundland and Labrador Provincial Music Festival. In 2013 he received the Dorothy Buckley Prize for the Best Performance of a Canadian Composition at the CFMTA National Piano Competition in Halifax, N.S. In April 2014 his orchestral tone poem The Banshee was premiered by Memorial University’s Chamber Orchestra and was later awarded first place in the CFMTA National Composer’s Competition. December 26, 2004 is sub-titled In Memory of the Indian Ocean Earthquake and Tsunami, and tells the story of that fateful event in a gripping tone poem. 

Jenny Griffioen came to Newfoundland from Guelph, Ontario. She graduated from Memorial University’s School of Music with a Bachelor of Music in piano performance and a minor in composition. She is active in solo performance, collaborative piano and church music. In composition she enjoys discovering patterns in music and explores playing with lines, harmonies and textures. Night: Walking in the Shadow of the Earth is based on the final lines of a poem which she wrote: Moon shines through a thin veil of colour, as Earth hides in its own shadow, watching and waiting, quiet and still.  It is her first work for a large ensemble.


Premiere Performances of Unsubstantiation  by Chris McGee (First Award), The Lost Voyager by Colin Taylor (Second Award) and Lukey's Lullaby by Aiden Hartery (Second Award).

Chris McGee of St. John's is a fourth-year Music Major at MUN Music, studying saxophone with Paul Bendzsa.  He has been involved with music from an early age, beginning with the Music for Young Children program at age 5, and has been involved with studying and performing ever since.  In 2010 he was a Second Award winner in the 2010 Terra Nova Composition Competition, and in 2011 was the recipient of the Senior Rose Bowl in the St. John's Kiwanis Music Festival.  He describes this years winning piece as "a non-programmatic work with several contrasting sections, structured around the motive C-G-F#."

Colin Taylor is a composer and trumpet player from St. John's.  He is a fourth-year Theory and Composition Student at Memorial's School of Music, where he has studied trumpet with Dr. Aaron Hodgson and Alan Klaus, and Theory and Composition with Dr. Andrew Stanliland and Dr. Clark Ross.  The three movements of his award winning piece depict the story of a poor and inexperienced voyager lost at sea, and his struggles returning home, ending with an aptly titled third movement, Celebrations, in which the mariner finally succeeds in finding his home port.

Aiden Hartery is a composer and trombonist from Labrador City.  He holds a Bachelor of Music (Hon.) in Theory and Composition and a Bachelor of Music Education from Memorial University of Newfoundland.  Aiden has been active as a composer, winning  awards such as The Festival Wind Orchestra's 25th Anniversary Composition Competition in Toronto, The Gower Community Band's Terra Nova Composition Competition (First Awards in 2010 and 2011, and a Second Award in 2012), and a Newfoundland and Labrador Arts and Letters Award in Senior Music Composition in 2011 and 2012.  Aiden is currently working towards a Master's degree in Music Competition at the University of Toronto.  Aiden's piece is a lullaby arrangement of the popular Newfoundland Folk Song "Lukey's Boat" and was a present for Dr. Karen Bulmer following the birth of her first child, Luke.

Premiere Performances of Through the Haze by Aiden Hartery (First Award); Rah Rah Rah by Jessica Blenis (Second Award); and You Can’t See It ‘Til It’s Finished by Chris McGee (Second Award).

Aiden Hartery was born and raised in Labrador City. A trombone major at MUN Music, he entered the Theory and Composition program in the fall of 2009. Through the Haze was one of his early compositions, and his first work for concert band.

Jessica Blenis graduated from MUN in 2010 with a Bachelor of Music degree in Theory and Composition, and returned to study Music Education as a second degree. In addition to winning a GCB Terra Nova Award in 2009, she also won a NL Arts and Letters Award for her piano work Egoism. The award-winning Rah Rah Rah is an energetic piece mixing the styles of Klezmer music and Indie folk.

Chris McGee of St. John’s wrote You Can’t See It ‘Til It’s Finished while in his second year of studying saxophone with Dr. Paul Bendzsa at MUN Music. The high-energy work incorporates elements of jazz, rock, classical, and renaissance music.

2013: Gala (November 30)



2010 (left to right): Associate Director Ron Collins; Director Edsel Bonnell; Composer Chris McGee, You Can’t See it ‘Til It’s Finished (Second Award, shared); Composer Jessica C. Blenis, Rah Rah Rah (Second Award, shared); Aiden Hartery, Through the Haze (First Award); Adjudicator Kjellrun Hestekin, Dr. Ellen Waterman, Dean, MUN School of Music). (Photo Credit and Special Thanks to Robert Young, Celebrity Photo Studio)

2011: Gala (October 30)



2015: Gala (September 27)

Premiere Performance of The Traveller by Duane Andrews (First Award).

Duane Andrews’ music is the product of a great ear, an adventurous spirit, and a love of music regardless of genre or category. Uniting what would seem to be impossible – traditional Newfoundland music with the swing jazz of the legendary guitarist Django Reinhardt – Andrews makes it not just work…. he makes it soar! Duane holds an undergraduate degree in Jazz Studies from St. Francis Xavier University, and has studied composition at the Conservatoire International de Paris and the CNR de Region in Marseilles, France. While composing The Traveller he was working on a Master’s Degree in Instrumental Conducting at Memorial University’s School of Music. The Traveller is based on a traditional tune from Newfoundland and Labrador called “The

Traveller’s Reel”, which comes from the legendary fiddler Rufus Guinchard. The reel is set to a more modern groove and used as a theme which is passed around through the different families of instruments in the concert band. Duane also explores the composition technique of the sound mass which focuses on texture, colour, and dynamics more so than traditional composition concepts of melody and harmony. In Duane’s words: “You can listen to the piece like a musical traveller starting a voyage at home with the main theme which visits the different families of instruments and meets some mysterious sound masses along the way. About halfway through the journey, we meet a relative of the main theme which takes the form of a chorale; then we head back home at the end of the piece where we meet our main theme again.”   

2009 (left to right): Dr. Tom Gordon, Director, MUN School of music; Composer Jessica C. Blenis Astéroide B-612 (First Award); Composer Michael Codner, Chorale Prelude: Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ (Second Award); Composer Kimberly Codner, Wreckhouse Winds (Third Award); Director Edsel Bonnell. (Photo Credit and Special Thanks to Robert Young, Celebrity Photo Studio)

2014 Gala: Left to Right:  Director Edsel Bonnell, Composer Timothy Brennan ("December 26, 2004"), Adjudicator Kjellrun Hestekin, Composer Jenny Griffioen ("Night: Walking in the Shadow of the Earth") and Associate Director Ron Collins. (Photo Credit and Special Thanks to Robert Young, Celebrity Photo Studio)

2014: Gala (October 19)

2016: Gala (September 25)

Premiere Performances of The Handful That Survived by Benjamin Taylor and Life Is A Journey by Kate Thomas (First Place Awards) as well as Echoes Through The Valley by Benjamin Taylor which received a GCB TNP Special Award.

Benjamin Taylor was born and raised in Nova Scotia, playing trombone in major bands in the Halifax region. He studied basic skills of composition with Michael Colgrass, composing for wind ensemble, solo instruments, and chamber group. He was accepted into his undergraduate program for Bass Trombone at Memorial University’s School of Music under Dr. Karen Bulmer, and in 2015 was accepted into the Composition Program at MUN, studying with Dr. Andrew Staniland and Dr. Clark Ross. The Handful That Survived is a gripping portrayal in instrumental sound of the battle of Beaumont Hamel on July 1, 1916, where the Newfoundland Regiment was all but wiped out in what was recorded historically as “a magnificent display of trained and disciplined valour, and its assault only failed because dead men can advance no further”. Echoes Through the Valley, also by Benjamin Taylor, represents the musical sound which echoes would make throughout valley walls; echoes which are never the same twice, and their sound is always dissipating the further it goes. Triumphant fanfares are heard on the mountain tops, while the valley holds something mysterious and eerie below.


Kate Thomas is a composer, flutist and pianist from British Columbia studying Composition at Memorial University’s School of Music with Dr. Andrew Staniland and Dr. Clark Ross, along with flute and piano with Michelle Cheramy and Timothy Steeves, respectively. Life is a Journey is a musical memory of a t-shirt which bore that enigmatic message which was made for her during her high school years. Kate says that “writing this music connected me to the days of playing in high school band, of my first attempt at writing a piece for band, and of my growth as a musician.” It is her first work for large ensemble.

2013 Gala: Left to Right:  Associate Director Ron Collins,  Composer Colin Taylor ("Zephyrus"),  Dr. Ellen Waterman (Dean, MUN School of Music), Director Edsel Bonnell.  Missing: Composer Bekah Simms ("Wind and Watercolour"). (Photo Credit and Special Thanks to Robert Young, Celebrity Photo Studio)

Premiere Performances of Astéroïde B-612 by Jessica C. Blenis (First Award); Chorale Prelude: Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ  by Michael Bramble (Second Award); and Wreckhouse Winds by Kimberly Codner (Second Award).

Jessica Blenis, a native of Upham, New Brunswick, was a fourth-year violin student at MUN Music with a passion for composition when she wrote Astéroïde-B-612, a four-movement work based on the novel Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. It was her first work for concert band, and an experiment in employing both tonality and atonality as a means of colourful expression.

Michael Bramble  from Maugerville, New Brunswick, was an organ major at MUN Music in 2009, and an avid trumpet player who served as a member of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment Band. His work is based on the 16th-century chorale Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ written by Johannes Agricola.

Kimberly Codner of Torbay wrote Wreckhouse Winds in her final year of composition and piano at MUN Music. The work describes musically a type of intense wind that occurs in the Wreck House area of western Newfoundland, strong enough to occasionally blow trains off the railroad track!

2009: Gala (December 12)



World Premiere Performance of Concerto for Horn and Symphonic Band by David Gillingham, a work commissioned by the Gower Community Band to mark the establishment of its Terra Nova Program. Horn Soloist was Bruce Bonnell.

2012 (left to right): Adjudicator Kjellrun Hestekin, Composer Aiden Hartery, Lukey’s Lullaby (Second Award, shared); Director Dr. Edsel Bonnell, Dr. Ellen Waterman, Dean MUN School of Music; Composer Chris McGee, Unsubstantiation (First Award); Composer Colin Taylor, The Lost Voyager (Second Award, shared); Associate Director Ron Collins. (Photo Credit and Special Thanks to Robert Young, Celebrity Photo Studio)

2012: Gala (October 28)



Premiere Performances of Liminal Fair by Mark Edwards (First Award); GO by Neal Read (Second Award); and Shanshu by Denis John Callaghan (Third Award).   Mark Edwards was born in Burin Bay Arm, NL. As a percussionist interested in new and unconventional ways to make music, he studied in the Bachelor of Music program at MUN Music with composers Dr. Kati Agócs, Dr. Clark Ross and Scott Edward Godin, as well as with percussionists John Wrye, Bill Brennan, and Rob Power.                     

Neal Read was born in East York, Ontario, and raised in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. He studied Composition at MUN Music with Dr. Clark Ross, and Saxophone with Dr. Paul Bendsza. He drew on his experiences as a competitive rower for the tension between calm and chaos conveyed musically in Go.

Denis John Callaghan was born in Elliot Lake, Ontario. He studied Composition at MUN Music with Dr. Kati Agócs. His music combines pop music idioms such as rock, jazz, and heavy metal with chromatic harmony and atonality to create a unique sound experience.

2011 (left to right): Associate Director Ron Collins, Aiden Harterey, The Knight and his Knemesis (First Award); Dr. Ellen Waterman, Dean, MUN School of Music; Composer Bekah Simms, Overture for a Katet (Second Award); Director Dr. Edsel Bonnell. (Photo Credit and Special Thanks to Robert Young, Celebrity Photo Studio)

Dr. Gillingham is Professor of Composition at Central Michigan University, and has an international reputation for the works he has written for band and percussion, many of which are considered standards in the repertoire. This commissioned work is his first concerto for horn, and has since been published, performed and recorded in the United States with critical acclaim.

Dr. Bonnell is Professor of Horn at Central Michigan University. Born in St. John’s, he began his instrumental training with the Gower Youth Band, where he served as Principal Horn and Associate Director. He earned his Bachelor of Music Degree at Memorial University, Master of Music from Northwestern University, and Doctor of Music at Indiana University.

2007: Launch Gala (May 27)



Premiere Performances of The Knight and his Knemesis by Aiden Hartery (First Award) and Overture for a Ka-Tet by Bekah Simms (Second Award).

Aiden Hartery completed his Bachelor of Music (Honours) in Theory and Composition from MUN Music in May 2011, having studied trombone with Karen Bulmer, Theory and Composition with Dr. Clark Ross, and Composition, Orchestration and Arranging with Dr. Andrew Staniland. In addition to winning a GCB Terra Nova Award in 2010, he won the Festival Wind Ensemble’s 15th Anniversary Commission Competition, a NL Arts and Letters Award in Senior Music Composition, a commission for the MUN Brass Ensemble, and a commission for a new wind band work for Toronto’s Festival Wind Orchestra.

Bekah Simms of St. John’s was a fourth-year Bachelor of Music Student at MUN Music in 2011, studying flute with Dr. Michelle Cheramy and Theory and Composition with Dr. Andrew Staniland. Overture for a Ka-Tet is based on Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series, a sprawling epic that takes place in a fantasy world parallel to ours, with mysterious doors that lead to our own universe.

The 2008 award winning composers, on stage receiving accolades from the band and audience at MUN Music D. F. Cook Reital Hall:  Left to Right, Mark Edwards (First Award), Dennis John Callaghan (Third Award), and Neal Read (Second Award).  (Photo Credit and Special Thanks to Robert Young, Celebrity Photo Studio)

2010:  Gala (October 30)



2016 Gala Left to Right - Ron Collins (Associate Director), Benjamin Taylor (The Handful That Survived, Echoes Through the Valley), Kate Thomas (Life is a Journey), and Edsel Bonnell (Director). (Photo Credit and Special Thanks to Robert Young, Celebrity Photo Studio)

Premiere Performance of Zephyrus by Colin Taylor (First Award). The Second Award for 2013 went to Bekah Simms for Wind and Watercolour, but the Premiere Performance was deferred to 2014 as the composer was unable to be present due to her work commitments on a Master’s program in composition at the University of Toronto.

Colin Taylor, a composer and trumpet player from St. John’s, was a Second Award winner in the 2012 TNP competition for his multi-movement work for Concert Band, The Lost Voyager (see below). He holds a Bachelor of Music (Theory and Composition) from Memorial University. Colin participated in the Tuckamore Festival Young Composer Program in 2012, where his piano trio Metamorphosis was premiered. His work for Brass Ensemble and Percussion, Boreas, was premiered in March 2013 by the MUN Brass Ensemble and was a winner in the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts and Letters Competition. Zephyrus, a work for Concert Band, was inspired by the Greek god of the west wind sharing the same name.

Bekah Simms is a composer and flutist from St. John’s. She was a Second Award winner for her Overture for a Ka-Tet in the 2011 TNP competition (see below). Her music has also been performed by ensembles such as the Euridice Quartet, Keene State Contemporary Ensemble, Elastic Momentum Choir, Spectrum, and MUN Chamber Choir. She holds a Bachelor of Music (Theory and Composition) from Memorial University, and is pursuing a Master’s degree at the University of Toronto. Wind and Watercolour maintains a lush colour palette and unique set of textures. The motif, accompanied by the airy and ethereal sound of whirly tubes, is gradually pieced together in various instrument combinations, harmonies, and colours. In the end, the colours fade out one by one, leaving just the wind.

TNP - Distinguished winners list

2008:  Gala (November 16)