Seven Series Centre Stage



The excitement is electric.

The sound-check’s done and… we’re about to take centre stage.

In 2015, we completed construction and opened the Award-winning Bella Concert Hall and the Taylor Centre for the Performing Arts.  While it still has that ‘new theatre smell’ we’d like to amplify its acoustics by showcasing the finest local, national and international talent to play it.

We would like to announce the debut of SEVEN CONCERT SERIES taking place at the versatile venues in the Mount Royal University Conservatory’s Taylor Centre for the Performing Arts in 2016-17. These concert events will showcase some of the most innovative contemporary artists to bring music to your ears. We want our MRU Insiders to be the first to know what’s up.

Join us on May 13th, 2016 as we announce the line-up.

This will take place at the James Ehnes concert, our final Wyatt Series event for this season.

For tickets, go to or call 403-440-7770.

Our follow us online for up-to-the-moment social media releases. (Follow @MRUConservatory or

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Soundscape Series

The Bella Concert Hall was built on sound.

The Soundscape Series showcases the amplification of these artistic vibrations in their acoustic glory.

* 5 concerts from local, national and international influential artists and ensembles.


Travelers SeriesScreen Shot 2016-04-28 at 2.45.31 PM

Importing world-class musicians from around the globe. Let’s give them a true Calgarian white-hatted welcome.

* 5 concerts will take audiences on musical adventures in many musical genres.  


Screen Shot 2016-04-28 at 2.46.38 PMNorthern Lights Series

2016 is the Year of Music in Calgary.  2017 is Canada’s 150th Birthday.

What better way to celebrate our home and native land than to feature some of its finest artists.

*5 concerts will define our country’s energy, diversity and talent.


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Our celebrated Wyatt Series continues to feature contemporary masters of classical works in performance and mentorship of our music students. This series honours the late Hal and Marnie Wyatt, longtime supporters of the Mount Royal University Conservatory.

* 3 concerts from modern masters.


Screen Shot 2016-04-28 at 2.48.22 PMFamily Portrait Series

Music, Speech Arts and Theatre are for all-ages. To ensure that the younger family members, and those who are young at heart, get to experience amazing music and storytelling, we have the Family Portrait Series.

* 2 narrative shows that will inspire imaginations, whether it’s your first or ‘bazillionth’ time at a performance.

Spotlight SeriesScreen Shot 2016-04-28 at 2.50.10 PM

The Spotlight Series showcases our diverse and talented instructors in performance. We’re so proud of our instructors, we want to bring their talents to centre stage. This monthly feature is as varied and exciting as the programs we offer.

Salon Series

Historically, the Salon was a favourite meeting place for musicians of all styles to play, listen and collaborate. We’re bringing it back. Throughout the season, we’ll be offering these opportunities for folks to mix, mingle and enjoy a variety of musical entertainment.

Of course, we’ll still be presenting concert events featuring all of our incredible performance ensembles and programs, including festive favourites Winter Fantasia and Sounds of the Season.

Connect with us on social media for your chance to win tickets to each of the series, or the grand prize, seasons tickets to ALL concert events in our 2016-17 Season!

Like, follow and spread the message to your friends and family.  It’s going to be an inspiring season of sound at the Mount Royal University Conservatory!

– by JLove


Passed with Honours

Some of the CBEREA visiting the Bella

This past week, the Bella Concert Hall was examined by some lifelong masters of assessment… retired teachers.

Forty-five former teachers met with MRU Conservatory Director Elaine Danelesko for a private tour of the Taylor Centre for the Performing Arts, with a special focus on the Bella herself. By all accounts, she passed with flying colours.

Teachers are always ‘classy’

The Calgary Board of Education Retired Employees Association (CBEREA) provides members with various experiences and activities. Regular bowling and golf tournaments, bridge groups and luncheons are among the featured offerings. There is also a walkers and hikers division of the group who chose to end their trek in the lobby of the Bella.

Elaine Danelesko, who radiates with pride as she introduces all guests to the MRU Conservatory facilities, effortlessly spoke about the programs offered, the private studios’ acoustic treatment and the merits of the state-of-the-art practice rooms capable of accommodating worldwide private lessons through Skype to a responsive audience.

The reactions to the facilities, the programming and the design all made the grade.

These teachers gave the Bella an exemplary grade

Having just opened in the fall, it was a new experience for most, “Today I realized that there is a wonderful opportunity not far from home that has not been on my radar.”says Sharon Terray, retired Social Studies teacher who last taught at Lord Beaverbrook High School. Terray, who helped arrange the tour for the group, continues, “Because of what I saw today, I hope to be aware of programming and upcoming events, and thanks to free Sunday parking, take advantage of what the Conservatory has to offer the public.”

Seeing how it might directly affect the group’s demographic, Terray’s friend and co-walker Barbara Hongisto chimes in, “The facilities provide super opportunities for parents and grandparents to offer musical programs to young ones!”

Terray assess the Bella. “All the attention to detail both from an aesthetic and an acoustic point of view means that there is always more to take in; you have to sit there for a while to really appreciate it all.”CONS_blog_insiders_button_250x125-rev2

Sharon’s husband Dr. John Terray, who is the retired chairman of Mathematics, Physics, and Engineering, MRU, has an eye for quality, “I was very impressed with the architecture and design of the building. “ Of the Bella herself, he claims, “The concert hall conveyed a sense of quality with warmth.”

The offering that seemed to achieve bonus marks from this gathering is the outreach that MRU Conservatory is building within the education community in our Calgary school boards.

In discussion at the back of the class while the group hiked through the Music with Your Baby area and the Atelier Room, Dr. Terray sums up, “The tour informed me of the many opportunities the MRU Conservatory provides to the citizens of Calgary.”

Congrats to the Taylor Centre for the Performing Arts on an inspiring spring report card.

  • by JLove


The Stage is Set for Bella Concert Hall Opening Festival

Take your seat in history

The building of the Taylor Centre for the Performing Arts is now complete and the doors are open. All that is missing is you!

Join the Mount Royal Conservatory for the Opening Festival for the stunning new Bella Concert Hall from September 19 to October 3. Four gala concerts will launch the Bella as Calgary’s newest performing space, which will truly come alive when audiences are there to appreciate the incredible acoustics.

The Opening Festival performances are:

  • Sept 19; 8 pm – Bella Voce Opera Gala featuring the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus with Sally Dibblee, Andrea Hill, Gordon Gietz and Brett Polegato
  • Sept 27; 3 pm – Luminous Night, a 250-voice choral extravaganza with Mount Royal’s Artio and Kantorei choirs as well as Calgary’s best choral ensembles
  • Sept 30; 7:30 pm – Yuja Wang, internationally acclaimed as the most important pianist of her generation and graduate of Mount Royal Conservatory’s Academy for Gifted Youth; playing the exceptional Hamburg Steinway she helped to select especially for the new concert ahll
  • Oct 3; 8 pm – Yuja Wang & Friends, including renowned artists Ning Feng, violin, Teng Li, viola, and Tao Li, cello, in a concert of Brahms chamber music masterworks.

The Opening Festival sponsor is United Active Living. Tickets start at $60 and are available through MRU Tickets. Students, seniors and members of the MRU community are entitled to a discount.

Wednesday, August 26 marked the official VIP opening of MRU’s new Taylor Centre for the Performing Arts, with the dazzling Bella Concert Hall at its heart. Sixteen years in the making, under the leadership of former Conservatory Director Paul Dornian, this new facility is now the home of the Conservatory, which welcomes over 4000 students annually to learn music, speech arts and more.

Paul Dornian is now President and CEO of the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, and will be on hand for the opening festivities to see his dreams become reality.

“The Conservatory nurtures and optimizes artistic potential within each student,” says Program Director Elaine Danelesko. “We empower individuals to creatively express themselves through music and speech arts by offering instruction to every person, every age and every level of development. We support students to achieve their dreams, from recreational enrichment to pre-professional training.”

The spaces in the Taylor Centre for the Performing Arts — comprising the TransAlta Pavilion, 43 soundproof studio rooms and several meeting/ensemble spaces — are also available for rent to the Calgary community and beyond for events and performances.

The Taylor Centre for the Performing Arts is named for the philanthropic Taylor family, who donated $21 million dollars for the building, The Bella Concert Hall is named in honour of the beloved matriarch of the Taylor family.


Popular music classes coming to Conservatory

Popular music classes are coming to the Conservatory this fall: instructor James Desautels is teaching from experience. The award-winner is leading classes in songwriting, music industry business, rock bands and orchestra and more.

Even if you haven’t met James Desautels yet, chances are you may have already heard him.

The newest Conservatory strings faculty member (and Academy alumnus) is enjoying more than two decades working full-time in the music entertainment industry.

If you watched the final episode of NBC’s The Office, you were hearing Desautels as first violinist during Dwight and Angela’s wedding scene. Here he is performing what we heard:

From Itzhak Perlman to Pearl Jam, Desautels has toured the world sharing the stage with stars of the classical world, famous rockers and everyone in between.

Now, the award-winning Calgarian is sharing his experience as an accomplished songwriter, composer, producer, conductor and Grammy voting member by offering a host of new classes in popular music at the Conservatory.

This fall, the Conservatory is offering new classes in songwriting, rock bands and rock orchestra, country, rhythm and blues, music industry business, history of popular music and more.

“Popular music is timeless. Great songs live forever,” said Desautels. “Popular music is for everyone. This opportunity for musical expression and performance is unparalleled.”

New group classes for rock band offers an opportunity for people who are looking to play with other musicians and strut their stuff on stage.

“The thrill of live music is universal,” he says. “Great things happen when we come together to share music.”

Performance opportunities lead to confidence and practical training in popular music, says Desautels.

“Many people are  interested in taking their playing to a higher level. The Conservatory offers Rock band courses for all combinations of instruments Faculty and students can dream up. This offers a unique opportunity for students to collaborate while studying and performing together.

Rock orchestra is “a one of a kind opportunity and life changing experience for students to be a part of a massive sonic landscape,” said Desautels.

The classically-trained violinist (who also plays piano, viola, mandolin and guitar, says expanding performing opportunities and introducing songwriting for Conservatory students offers them a unique experience.

“It’s freeing to write what I’m feeling. I find that collaboration is key — co-writing is magical. The flow that comes with another person cannot be matched alone. And it is thrilling to create something that wasn’t there before. Performing this music the energy exchange between the stage and the crowd is immediate.”

Desautels got his start studying classical violin at age five. Two years later he began studying fiddle, country and bluegrass music. As a teenager he toured internationally, performing classical and fiddle music, and earned a Bachelor of Music degree with distinction at age 21. Desautels received a Master of Music degree from the University of Arizona and moved to Austin, Texas to pursue a Doctor of Musical Arts degree.

Desautels says popular music classes offer students of all backgrounds and abilities opportunities to enrich themselves.

“We are completing Mount Royal Conservatory’s music with all the branches of the musical tree.”

Watch for more announcements about popular music at the Conservatory. Sign up for our enewsletters to receive the latest news.

Sherri Zickefoose, Jan. 20, 2015

Conservatory construction nearing completion, community open house Jan. 24, 2015


Mount Royal University Conservatory, Bella Concert Hall, Mount Royal Conservatory construction
Construction on Mount Royal’s new Conservatory and Bella Concert Hall is nearing completion. Our Community Open House is Jan. 24, 2015 from 1-4 p.m. Bring the family for a tour of the beautiful new music school and concert hall.

It’s been going up before our eyes for the past three years, and now we’re in the home stretch.

Mount Royal’s new Conservatory and Bella Concert Hall are nearing completion as Calgary’s newest performing arts centre.

On Jan. 24, 2015, everyone is invited to sneak a peek inside the state-of-the-art $90 million construction project. Our Community Open House will give the public, our faculty, and students a first look inside our new home.

Inside, you’ll find a glamorous two-storey lobby, six ensemble rehearsal halls, 43 private teaching studios, masterclass rooms, an early childhood education suite with parents’ lounge and stroller parking, and practice rooms.

“Architectually, it’s a stunning space. It’s a signature piece. When people walk in, their jaws will drop,” says Conservatory Director Paul Dornian.

In September 2015, our grand opening festival will be launching the new Conservatory and Bella with a star-studded array of local and internationally-renowned musicians for a spectacular performing arts celebration.

Until then, consider joining the Conservatory by claiming your seat in history: only 500 seats in the Bella Concert Hall are available for naming by donation. It’s a wonderful way to create a family legacy.

Stay tuned for more details about Community Open House and our September Opening Festival.

We’ve gone from this:

bella concert hall, mount royal university conservatory, mount royal conservatory

To this:


See more photos on our webpage.

Sherri Zickefoose, Nov. 7, 2014