Laura Hawley is a Canadian musician known for her distinctive compositional voice, compelling approach to leadership and artistic programming, and multi-faceted community engagement.
As an internationally recognized composer, her works have been commissioned, performed, and recorded by many of Canada’s finest ensembles including Elektra Women’s Choir, Pro Coro Canada, Inuksuk Drum Dancers, Canadian Chamber Choir, Spiritus Chamber Choir, Cantiamo Choirs of Ottawa, Halifax Camerata, and Shallaway Youth Choir. Her setting of the French poem Au champ d’honneur is performed annually on national broadcast by the Ottawa Children’s Choir and Canadian Armed Forces Band as part of the Remembrance Day Ceremony at the National War Memorial. Her piece, Alhamdoulillah, became internationally famous when it went viral on YouTube with the title “Welcome to Canada Syrian Refugees” in December 2014. The Canadian Chamber Choir recently toured and recorded her multi-movement work, In Song, for mixed choir and instrumental ensemble with bass clarinettist Jeff Riley, percussionist Beverly Johnston, and violist Kieth Hamm.
While Ms. Hawley writes for many of Canada’s top performing ensembles, her unique understanding of developing musicians and sensitivity to a commissioner’s vision has established her as a widely sought composer for educational ensembles as well. As a result, Laura has written a variety of instrumental and choral works for children, youth, and developing adult musicians; works that lend themselves well to educational growth. In 2019, Laura received the Roberta Stephen Award from the Association of Canadian Women Composers. Her works are published with Rhythmic Trident Music Publishing, Cypress Choral Music, and on www.laurahawley.ca.
Laura is artistic director of Da Camera Singers (Edmonton), founding artistic director of Hypatia’s Voice Women’s Choir of Ottawa (2015-2019), and conductor of ChandraTala (Edmonton) and collaborative pianist/member of the Canadian Chamber Choir. An active clinician throughout Canada, Laura has worked with a wide variety of community-based choral and orchestral ensembles including CAMMAC, Music & Beyond (Ottawa), Choirs Ontario, Choir Alberta, Nova Scotia Choral Federation, and Choral Canada. She is a founding pianist and associate conductor of the Cantiamo Choirs of Ottawa, and was their composer-in-residence from 2003-2017. From 2007 to 2018 she was Director of Music at St. John’s South March Anglican Church, leading the adult choir and establishing a thriving parish youth choir. In 2014, 2016, and 2018 she was nominated for the prestigious “Leslie Bell Prize for Choral Conducting.”
Laura Hawley has taught at both of Ottawa’s universities as a part-time professor at the University of Ottawa in the position of Coordinator of the Solfège program at the School of Music, and at Carleton University School for Studies in Art & Culture (Music) as an Associate Performance Faculty Member (teaching classical piano) and Contract Instructor (teaching conducting and theory), and she is looking forward to teaching composition at Concordia University of Edmonton in the 2019-2020 academic year. She teaches piano, theory, harmony and history in her studio.
Ms. Hawley earned an ARCT from the Royal Conservatory of Music with the guidance of Sandra Webster, Arlene MacNay, and Sandra Cooke; and completed a Bachelor of Music in piano performance and Master’s in music theory at University of Ottawa working with professors Sandra Webster, Lori Burns, and David Currie. More recently, she has studied with Lone Larsen, Laurier Fagnan, Ugis Praulins, Michael Zaugg, Morihiro Okabe, and Wayne Toews. Her mentors include Morna Edmundson, Michael Zaugg, Jackie Hawley, Lisa Cruickshank, and Matthew Larkin. She is currently based in Edmonton.