Laura Hawley

Laura Hawley

Conductor, ChandraTala

Laura Hawley is a Canadian musician known for her compelling approach to musical leadership and artistic programming, multi-faceted community engagement, and distinctive compositional style.

Laura is artistic director of Da Camera Singers (Edmonton), conductor of ChandraTala (Edmonton), and singer and collaborative pianist of the Canadian Chamber Choir, and founding artistic director of Hypatia’s Voice Women’s Choir of Ottawa (2015-2019).  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's works have been commissioned, performed, and recorded internationally and by many of Canada’s finest ensembles including Elektra Women’s Choir, Pro Coro Canada, Inuksuk Drum Dancers, Canzona, 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. In 2019, two new Canadian choral album releases featured works by Hawley; the Canadian Chamber Choir's Seasons of Life and Landscape showcased her multi-movement work, In Song, and Elektra Women's Choir's On Christmas Night presented Hawley's Carol Trilogy.  In 2019 Laura was awarded the Roberta Stephen Award by the Association of Canadian Women Composers. 

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 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.  Her works are published with Oxford University Press, Silent Dawn Music Publishing, Rhythmic Trident Music Publishing, Cypress Choral Music, and on

Laura Hawley teaches at Concordia University (composition and theory), and 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). She teaches piano, theory, harmony and history in her studio.

Ms. Hawley holds an ARCT from the Royal Conservatory of Music and completed a Bachelor of Music in piano performance and Master’s in music theory at University of Ottawa.  Her teachers include Sandra Webster (piano); David Currie, Wayne Toews, Morihiro Okabe, Lone Larson, and Michael Zaugg (conducting); Ugis Praulins, and Allan Bell (composition). She is currently based in Edmonton.