Dr. Zane N. Zalis Ph.D.

University of Manitoba


  • Advanced study in the area of Music and Creativity Education and Music Composition (Arts Based Educational Research/Performative Inquiry/Critical Arts Pedagogy/Creative Dissertation), Entangled Cognition, Multimodal learning, Phenomenology of Arts Based Educational Research and Inquiry

M. Ed.

  • (Artist/Researcher/Educator in Curriculum/Teaching/Learning – Arts Based Educational Research – knowledge/knowing, social intelligence, human rights, critical thinking, creativity, and moral development through original music composition/performance

Pre-Masters in Education (Music)

Bachelor of Education (Music & History)

Private Study/Professional Practice

  • Composition-Music & Lyrics/Arranging – Symphonic/Oratorio, Choral, Jazz, Songwriter, Musical Theatre

  • Conducting – Instrumental/Choral (choir and contemporary ensemble)

  • Music production/audio engineering

  • Piano

  • Guitar/Bass

  • Accordion

  • Music Theory

  • Prime Ministers Award for Teaching Excellence
  • Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal
  • Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal
  • Recording contract with Ars-Produktion (Germany) – International Classical Music Awards – label of the year 2018
  • Received six(6) Opus Klassik Award nominations for original contemporary oratorio I Believe: Composer of the Year, Concert Play, Classic without Limits, Symphonic Playing, Choir Play of the Year, and Innovative Concert of the Year  LINK
  • Music exclusively published by Palliser Music
  • Canon of Culture Prize 2017 – Lodz, Poland – 2nd place Best event classical music category – I Believe (Oratorio for Humanity-comp. Zane Zalis) Opera House performance – Days of Remembrance
  • University of Manitoba Graduate Student Association Award
  • Lieutenant Governor’s Medal for the Advancement of Inter-Religious Understanding
  • Canadian Interfaith Leadership Award 
  • Composer laureate: St. Paul’s College, University of Manitoba
  • Awarded Special Grant (composing) Jewish Foundation of Manitoba
  • Invited to become a member (composer) of the prestigious BMI Musical Theatre Workshops  New York
  • Awarded Manitoba Film and Sound grant
  • Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN) member
  • Canada Council for the Arts – grant recipient
NOSTOS: A Journey of Others
  • Composer/lyricist (PhD study in composition with Patrick Carrabre) – an independent work and a thematic continuation of I Believe.  A musical performative inquiry (modern oratorio) exploring, confronting, and revealing Others and otherness through experiences of migration, immigration, discrimination, fear, and reclamation/building of place and identity. Scored for symphonic orchestra, adult chorus, soloists and (75-80 minutes performance time)
  • World Premiere of NOSTOS – oratorio (composer/lyricist) examining identity, otherness, reclamation, and place, through experiences of immigration and survival of atrocity – Stuttgart, Germany, Feb 3 & 4 2018 Kultur & Kongresszentrum Liederhalle – Beethoven-Saal. Conductor – Klaus Breuninger, Solitude Chor, University of Hohenheim Orchestra, Guest performers.
  • Performed August 24 & 25 2018 – Murau International Music Festival, Murau Austria
  • I Believe – Los Angeles performances – 2021 pending
  • I Believe – Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra – 2021 pending
  • I Believe – Warsaw – 2021 pending
  • Nostos – Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra – 2022
  • See LINK
I Believe
    • Composer/lyricist – (retrospective/prospective study for M.Ed in music education) modern oratorio about humanity as experienced through the lives of two young people living through the Holocaust. Scored for symphonic orchestra, adult chorus, children’s chorus, soloists (Sop, Ten, Ten), and narrator (80-85 minutes performance time)
    • I Believe – An Oratorio for Humanity – Recording (2019) – Ars Produktion (Schumacher) – International Classical Music Awards – Winner (label of the year)
  • I Believe – March 9&10, 2019 Leverkusen/Wuppertal – Bayer-Philharmoniker Conductor – Bernhard Steiner, Soloists – Kelsey Cowie, Jean-Pierre Oullet, Marko Zeiler, Chorus – Solitude Chor (Klaus Breuninger), Chor de Konzertgesellschaft Wuppertal (Georg Leisse), Youth Choir Leverkusen (Nicole Jers/Martin te Laak), Narrator – Stefan Müller-Ruppert  LINK TO SPOTIFY          LINK TO SACD
  • Lodz (Poland, January 31, 2017) Grand Theatre, Opera Orchestra, sold out – Solitude Chor (Stuttgart), Opera Children’s Chorus, Klaus Breuninger – conductor
  • US premiere – New York, Nov. 9, 2014, Lincoln Center, Alice Tully Hall – sold out. Jonathan Griffiths (Artistic Director – DCINY) – conductor, Solitude Chor (Germany), Murau – members of MIMF(Austria), Project Z Singers (Canada), Winnipeg Youth Chorus (Canada), Soloists – Sarah Jean Ford (NYC), Drew Gehling(NYC), Alex Gemignani(NYC).
  • Stuttgart, Germany – European premiere. November 9 & 10, 2013  – sold out – Klaus Breuninger – conductor,  Kelsey Cowie (Winnipeg), Marko Zeiler (Austria), Jean-Pierre Oullet, Solitude Chor, Sinfonieorchester der Universistat Hohenheim. LINK
  • Toronto performance at Roy Thomson Hall, Oct. 25, 2011. Sold out.  Conductor – Maestro Roberto Paternostro (Music Director – Israel Chamber Orchestra) Orpheus Choir – Robert Cooper, U of T ( McMillan singers) – Hilary Apfelstadt , Hamilton Children’s Choir – Zimfira Poloz, Kelsey Cowie (Winnipeg), Marko Zeiler (Austria), Marc Devigne (Toronto). LINK
  • World Premiere of I Believe – Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra – (Conductor –Alexander Mickelthwate), 200+ performers on stage –Orch., Adult Chorus, Children’s Chorus, Soloists and Narrator. Sold out  May 21, 2009
Winnipeg Jazz Orchestra (2017)
  • Guest arranger and conductor – performance by Prodigy vocal ensemble.
Symphonic arranger for Nathan (Juno Award winner) and the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra 2014 Juno Awards Celebrations
Guest speaker and performer
  • RE:  I Believe/music/education/human rights. Toronto – 2011 & 2012.
Guest performer at Freedom Day 2012 Toronto
  • excerpts from I Believe. 0ver 4000 students and general public in attendance.
Invited as guest presenter for Holocaust Education Week
  • Toronto November 2012
I Believe – director/conductor
  • Performance at the Murau International Music Festival – Austria – 2006-2009
  • Guest presenter
  • International Holocaust Conference Yad Vashem (Jerusalem) July 2008
Composer and Music Director for the opening of the Gala Concert for Queen Elizabeth II 50th anniversary
  • Live attendance 50,000 people; broadcast nationally.
Orchestral arranger for Nathan (Juno Award-winning band)
Choir Director for Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra & North American premiere of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring Live performance of the score to film – MTS Centre
Co-Founder and Festival Director- Murau Summer Music Festival (Austria) 2006 – present
Endorsed by the Canadian Embassy (Vienna). Numerous guest artists including – Donna Ellen (Vienna State Opera), Juan Garcia-Herreros (Latin Jazz Grammy Nominee), Ash Koley (Sony Recording Artist)
Guest Composer/Conductor for the StadtKapelle – Murau/Styria (Austria)
Composer and conductor with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra (2005, 06, 07)
Executive producer, producer and arranger of the 60th Anniversary D-day national recording project entitled REMEMBER
  • Involving artists from across the country (Denzal Sinclaire- Juno nominee, Terry Kelly 6 time ECMA winner, Matt Andersen ECMA nominee et al)- recorded in Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto, Halifax, Montreal, and Summerside, Prince Edward Island.
  • REMEMBER CD was purchased by the Manitoba and British Columbia governments as a resource to the curriculum guides.
Music director for Rainbow Stage
  • Crazy for You, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Singin’ in the Rain, 42nd Street, and BIG
Former Board member
  • Rainbow Stage (chair of production)
  • Virtuosi Concerts (International Chamber Music Series – Winnipeg)
Producer and arranger for Rainbow Stage 50th anniversary album
  • Guest performers include- Len Cariou, Jeremy Kushnier, Jayne Paterson, Richard Hurst, Jeff Goldblum, Kevin McIntyre, Stan Lesk, Debbie Maslowsky and many others
Performed in Austria, United States, Mexico, Scotland, and across Canada
Radio and television performances with CBC (national broadcasts)
Hundreds of performances in support of our Manitoba communities and special events.
CBC first call commercial writer and producer, national and provincial award-winning work
Miles Macdonell Collegiate      1980 – Present
  • Music Director and founder of the advanced music production/composition program, MightyMac recording studio (Professional quality studio housed in Miles Macdonell Collegiate), Prodigy (vocal ensemble) and Choir. Courses were designed for professional training conjoined with my professional network as a composer/arranger/producer. Numerous students have advance admirably to academia, touring professionals, musical theatre, education, and recording studio production (national and international – including Grammy award nominees)
  • Created a unique method of developing and fostering creative/critical thinking through a novel approach to music creation and music theory. Students are challenged by the acts of confronting, examining, reflecting upon, and creating as they relate to aesthetic presentation, performativity, and self-expression within the context of exploring the human condition.  This continuous research and pedagogy has deeply influenced my PhD research.  Additionally, this particular program has garnered international attention with many international students attending.
  • Mentoring – university music students and professional musician in composing and song-writing
  • Researching the application of music composition practices and processes of creative and critical thinking to teaching English courses (read, write, think) to grade 12 students.
  • Hundreds of performances by Miles Macdonell student musicians within the education, community service, and professional music communities – national/international (over 25 musical tours)
  • Prodigy – A unique program for professional vocal development offered by audition to MMC students that has gained an international and national reputation for outstanding excellence. Many members have advanced significantly in establishing notable professional music careers.
  • Prodigy was the only student performing group to be invited to perform at the Gala Concert for Queen Elizabeth II 50th anniversary – live attendance 50,000 people; broadcast nationally. Other performers included the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Royal Winnipeg Ballet, McMaster & James, Loreena McKinnett, and Tom Jackson,
  • Pioneered the development of music technology in schools (national)
    1980 – present
  • Beta tested music software for education – first in Canada
  • Among the first of all recording studios in Canada to use various software and hardware tools. Students have consistently been given cutting edge opportunities to create music.
  • Professional CD releases of music created at Miles Macdonell – received notable public recognition and significant radio play – Mexico, Scotland (BBC), Canada (various stations)
  • Recorded at Abbey Road Recording Studio with music students of Miles Macdonell Coll.
  • Conductor and music director for award winning bands at Miles Macdonell Collegiate
  • Guest conductor for Divisional Honour Band
  • Guest performance (Miles Macdonell) with the Winnipeg Philharmonic Choir
  • Numerous students given the opportunity to interact and work with world class musical artists (guests of our program), e.g. Zemlinsky Quartet (Czech Republic)
  • Teacher of many successful students in all aspects of the music industry: Broadway performers, Theatre director, recording contracts, touring, studio production, Grammy nominated projects, music education and music professor
  • Presented provincial clinic on creativity and the language of music/composing as part of the Juno celebrations (2005)
  • Workshop for teachers on Notion software and creative usage
  • Assisted in Curriculum development for the Province of Manitoba

Canadian Mennonite University

  • Director/Founder for Jazz Ensemble
Concord College
  • Director/Founder for Contemporary Ensemble
  • Routledge – offered contract for a book chapter entitled “Composing Music, Words & Worlds: A Performative Autoethnography” (2020)
  • Compositions published by Palliser Music   LINK
  • Published in Steinberg International Newsletter – Music Production/Composing Overview – critical analysis and reflection about creating original music in an educational setting
  • Numerous national/international performances of my compositions and arrangements by various artistic organizations and performers. In particular artistic director/conductor/composer/arranger for the Murau International Music Festival (Austria) – scored for chorus, soloists, string quintet, and contemporary rhythm section
  • Composed for the CBC Jazz Orchestra and vocal ensemble
  • Arranged for the Winnipeg Jazz Orchestra and vocal ensemble
  • Producer/composer/arranger/audio engineer for numerous recordings: commercial (radio and television – CBC national/international) and albums (multi-genre including orchestral and popular music , including Juno Nominees – Denzel Sinclaire, Matt Andersen)
  • Multiple professional performances of I Believe & NOSTOS (as noted above)


  • Guest speaker in Wuppertal/Leverkusen – Germany (2019) – three presentations on I Believe and Nostos, regarding the phenomenology of creation and content as lyricist and composer
  • Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba Guest Speaker Series – “Creating Creativity” September 11, 2018
  • Graduate Symposium University of Manitoba – Faculty of Education – March 3, 2018
    Presenter: Music Composition and Entangled Cognition.
  • Provoking the Curriculum Conference (McGill University Feb. 2017) presenter – Learning and Teaching at the Intersection of Reason and Feeling: The I Believe Project – A Modern Oratorio for Humanity
  • Canadian Society for the Study of Education Conference – Toronto May 2017 – Ryerson University – Arts Based Research: Music, Words, and Concert Halls – Research Tools for Developing Empathy
  • Creative Development Workshop for Educators (Murau, Austria) August 2017
  • Peace and Conflict Studies International Conference – Winnipeg 2016 – presenter
  • Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra – New Music Festival – creative development – 2016
  • Canadian Educator’s National Music Education Conference – research session 2015 – creative thesis presentation and performance (approx. 200+ in attendance)
  • Faculty of Education Graduate Student Symposium – 2017  (ABER)
  • Brandon University School of Music – new methods for teaching composing
  • City of New Orleans Public Schools – music education/music improvisation
  • Speaker at Steinberg Canada Toronto – developing composing/writing program
  • University of Winnipeg – Pedagogical methods/music
  • University of Manitoba – Arts based research guest presenter 2019
  • Toronto – St. James Church (HEW) – Holocaust Education and I Believe
  • Association for Popular Music Education (APME) – Minneapolis (new methods in teaching for creativity and songwriting/composing)
  • MIMF (Austria) – developing creativity/critical thinking – Aug 2014 & 2015