Neil Weisensel

Neil Weisensel

Composer and conductor Neil Weisensel is one of the most frequently-performed and prolific opera composers in Canada. Vancouver Opera premiered his newest opera, Stickboy (libretto by internationally-recognized spoken word poet Shane Koyczan) in October of 2014. Weisensel’s six operas (Gisela in her Bathtub, City Workers in Love, The Bachelor Farmers of the Apocalypse, Merry Christmas Stephen Leacock, The Master’s Stroke and Secret Service) have seen 124 total performances across Canada. Recent highlights include productions of City Workers in Love and Gisela in her Bathtub in Kitchener/Waterloo, a production of Gisela in her Bathtub in Halifax in summer 2012, and a new 2014 production of City Workers in Love at UWO in London, Ontario. The USA premiere of a new orchestral version of Gisela in her Bathtub took place at Kent State University in Ohio in March 2017. His latest project is a new musical dramatic work based on the life of Louis Riel, a major Canada Council New Chapters commission.

For 8 year Neil was Guest Conductor of the Vancouver Philharmonic Orchestra, conducting repertoire that included the Requiems of Mozart, Verdi, Fauré, John Rutter, and Duruflé along with other choral/orchestral works like Beethoven’s 9th Symphony.  Neil has been a conductor/music director for many professional ensembles including Vancouver New Music, Vancouver Opera, Edmonton Opera, Little Opera Company, Manitoba Theatre for Young People, Arts Club Theatre, University of Manitoba, and the Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra.

With wife Rachel Landrecht, Neil co-composed and performed an original song, I Feel a Change Today,  for former U.S. President Bill Clinton and the Clinton Foundation in Vancouver. Neil also had an exclusive engagement performing solo piano at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics. He and Rachel have provided keynote musical presentations for Oscar winner Al Gore and also for Justin Trudeau, and Neil’s big band collaboration with superstar Michael Bublé earned him a Genie nomination.

Neil has received grants, fellowships, and commissions from The National Endowment for the Arts (U.S.), the Canada Council, the Manitoba and BC Arts Councils, OPERA America, the Vancouver Opera Guild, and the Banff Centre. He holds advanced music degrees from UBC (Composition) and from the University of Manitoba, teaches Theory and Composition at Canadian Mennonite University, and lives in Winnipeg with wife Rachel and daughter Miracle.


Work Samples

Praise & Reviews for Stickboy


2019 Louis Riel: Heart of the North Winnipeg and Regina Symphony Orchestras (libretto: Suzanne Steele)

2018 Stickboy (original opera)Manitoba Opera, Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra

2017 Gisela in her BathtubKent State University School of Music, USA

2016 Merry Christmas Stephen Leacock (World Premiere) Little Opera Company, Winnipeg Canada

2016 StickboyVancouver Opera in Schools (Shane Koyczan, libretto)

2016 Gisela in her BathtubFlipside Opera, Winnipeg, Canada

2015 Gisela in her BathtubNew England Conservatory of Music, Boston USA

2014 StickboyVancouver Opera (World Premiere)

2012 City Workers in Love, Gisela in her BathtubUniversity of Western Ontario

2012 Gisela in her Bathtub9th Ward Opera Company of New Orleans, USA

2013 Secret Service Fugue Theatre, Vancouver, Canada

2012 Gisela in her BathtubHalifax Summer Opera, Canada

2012 Gisela in her Bathtub, City Workers in Love – Wilfrid Laurier University, Canada

2001 The Master’s Stroke – Universities of Winnipeg/Manitoba, Canada

1999 Gisela in her BathtubEdmonton Opera, Canada

1997 Merry Christmas Stephen Leacock (workshop) – Vancouver, Canada

1996 The Bachelor Farmers of the Apocalypse Vancouver and Victoria Fringe Festivals, Canada

1995 City Workers in LoveEdmonton Opera, Canada

1995 City Workers in Love, Gisela in her Bathtub – Vancouver and Victoria, Canada

1993 The Bachelor Farmers of the Apocalypse – Winnipeg, Canada (World Premiere)

1992 City Workers in LoveWinnipeg, Canada (World Premiere)

1992 Gisela in her BathtubWinnipeg, Canada

1991 Gisela in her BathtubWinnipeg, Canada (World Premiere)


Stickboy: 12 performances (mainstage version), 52 performances (touring version)

Gisela in her Bathtub: 14 productions, 62 performances

City Workers in Love: 7 productions, 41 performances

The Bachelor Farmers of the Apocalypse: 2 productions, 16 performances

The Master’s Stroke – 2 performances

Merry Christmas Stephen Leacock – 4 performances

Secret Service – 11 performances




2016 Gisela in her Bathtub – original opera for film
2013 The Patio – Canadian Independent
2012 Burn Down the Sky – Canadian Independent
2008 Hair of the Sasquatch – Canadian independent
2005 Firewall – (Orchestrator) – Warner Bros.
2003 Burial Society (Orchestrator)
2000 Here’s to Life (co-writer – Michael Buble) Genie nomination
1999 Tail Lights Fade – Canadian independent feature


2012 She Stoops To Conquer – Arts Club Theatre, Vancouver BC
2007 It’s a Wonderful Life – Arts Club Theatre, Vancouver BC
2006 School for Scandal – Arts Club Theatre, Vancouver BC


1999 Dumb Ol’ Heart – (co-writer – Michael Buble)
Shake, Rattle and Roll
Assorted arrangements


2003 Lord of the Worlds – 12 min. work for choir and orchestra
2001 Presence – 20 min. work for Vancouver Inter-cultural Orchestra
2000 Meditation – 4 min. chamber orchestra work.
1999 Night Sequence – 10 min. suite for large orchestra.
1997 Suite for Orchestra – from the opera Coup de Sifflet


2007 Smallville (Season VI) – source music
2000 Madness to Miracles (CTV Sportsnet) – 60 min. documentary
Granite Ocean (Bravo!) – 6 min. dance video
Row for Gold (TSN) – 60 min. documentary
Two Teams, One Dream (TSN) – 60 min. documentary
1999 Everyday Workout (W Network)


2011 The Dolphin – Ocean Rescue (iPad game)
2000 Expo 2000 – (Hanover, Germany) German pavilion
Production of large-scale multi-media installations;
music and sound design for interactive video games


1998 String Quartet – 12. min. work, performed by Arditti Quartet.
1997 Concertino – 20 min. work for 2 pianos & percussion.


2008 Running –Victoria Symphony Orchestra
2003 Thorax the Conqueror – 15-minute short/Dir. Dwayne Beaver

Awards, Commissions & Prizes

2017 Canada Council – New Chapter grant
2016/2017 – Manitoba Arts Council, Canada Council, Winnipeg Arts Council – Travel Grant
2014/2016 Winnipeg Arts Council – Project Grant
2011 The Banff Centre – Theatre Arts (Opera) Residency
2008 Victoria Symphony Orchestra – Reel Music filmscoring finalist
2004 The Banff Centre – Theatre Arts (Opera) Residency
2003 NEA/OPERA America – Artist Development Fellowship
2003 Vancouver Opera – Composer Workshop
2000 Genie Awards –Best Song nomination (with Michael Bublé)
2000 Canada Council for the Arts – Composer Commission
1999 BC Arts Council – Composer Commission Award

SOCAN Foundation
Associate Member – Canadian Music Centre

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