Congratulations to Our Composition Competition Winners!

Thank you to everyone who took part in our Composition Competition. We are happy to announce that the winners have been selected by our wonderful jury. We were impressed by the originality and professionalism of the work submitted!

Category 1 – lead sheet winner: Esther Forseth
Category 2 – fully notated score winner: Aaron Addorisio

Honourable mention to Ryan Johnson, and thanks to all who submitted — your work truly inspired us!

Also, we want to thank our jurors for their time and for deciding on the winners for this competition. 

We are extremely happy with this year’s results and your submissions. It’s amazing to see how much talent exists among our students and we were so impressed with all who participated.

Meet Our New Team Members

Larisa Pitchko is a Design student at MacEwan University. “I believe art and design, just like music, can tell a story. It can also find a story that wants to be told. The key is to find the balance between imagination and reality.” As a freelance photographer, designer, and artist, Larisa tries to bring ideas to life through various genres and mediums. Drawing inspiration from music, people, and nature, she strives to capture a unique moment in time and bring it to life. Larisa is inspired by her life growing up in Russia and Canada. She calls Canada her home, and currently resides with her daughter Masha in Edmonton, Alberta. She started her designing path at the Digital Media and IT program at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology and finished it with an honour’s degree. Currently, Larisa is working on a Bachelor of Design at MacEwan University in her third year of studies with plans to do a master’s degree after graduation.

Keegan Hewitt is in his last year of studies in the department of Music at MacEwan University, with a general major and a music career management minor. He is new to the Bent River Records team, and excited to learn from and work alongside such a talented group of people. In past years at MacEwan, Keegan has worked with the MacEwan Live Music Club, a group of students dedicated to creating professional performance opportunities for other student musicians. He finds interest in management, creation, and hosting of live & recorded music events, and aspires to work with a band or label in the future. With the team, Keegan hopes to learn more about the business and legal aspects of recording and music production, as well as gain insight into the operations of the professional world of music.

Chris Larsen is a second year recording and production major at MacEwan University and has joined the BRR team as an intern for winter 2022. Prior to MacEwan, he studied music performance on saxophone at Red Deer College for 2 years. During that time at RDC, he took a recording studio class where he discovered his passion for creating and capturing music with technology. He has since been developing his skills doing projects with bands, solo artists, and personal projects, producing everything from singer/songwriter to heavy metal. Fun fact: Chris spent 7 years in The Red Deer Royals, a competitive marching band, playing saxophone, euphonium, tuba, and also held the position of Drum Major. He has traveled to Europe 3 times to compete in Italy, The Netherlands, and Ireland.

Ian Small is a 5th-year Music major, specializing in composition, as well as recording and production. He loves working with artists, helping them take their music to the next level. He hopes to use his time with Bent River to learn as much as he can about the unique music scene in Edmonton and to meet and work with people from all walks of life, adding to the scene in the process. He is very excited to be a part of the Bent River team, ready to work alongside his incredibly skilled peers to learn and create during the last year of his degree.

‘Going Down Slow’ by Kevin Dean is one of CBC’s favourite jazz albums of 2021

Congratulations to Bent River recording artist Kevin Dean for his album Going Down Slow being listed in the top 15 favourite jazz albums of 2021 by CBC Music!

“[Kevin Dean] put together a phenomenally gifted sextet to explore the blues across nine tracks, including six Dean originals. He’s joined in this endeavour by Caoilainn Power (alto saxophone), Gabriel Lambert (guitar), Andrés Vial (piano), Martin Heslop (bass) and Daniel Verdecchia (drums). Dean, who has one of the most attractive trumpet tones going, sounds especially great on “Get Along or Get Along Now,” an energetic boogaloo. Further highlights include the slowly loping “Lonesome Cowboy Blues;” “Can’t Wait to see you Go,” on which the band has fun stretching the tempo; the surprising acoustic guitar on “Down the Dirt Road;” and Heslop’s sign-off when the album comes to a close with the title track.” — RR

Congrats also to all who worked on the album, including the musicians, MacEwan Design student Sohee Kim who created the cover artwork, the Bent River Records (BRR) team, and to Executive Producer Dr. Craig Monk for making projects like this possible.

Purchase or listen to Going Down Slow

Buy it on CD      |      Buy it on Vinyl

Other albums on the list include Winnipeg Jazz Orchestra’s Twisting Ways, which was mixed by BRR’s Paul Johnston, and Embraceable You by BRR alum Josh Rager.

Check out the full article from CBC Music

Art-Song Composition Competition Now Open to MacEwan Music Students!

Calling all composers and art-song enthusiasts!

In the spirit of MacEwan’s long history of artistic collaborations, Bent River Records (BRR) is offering an opportunity to have your collaborative original work recorded.

This competition honours the continued support of MacEwan’s Provost and Vice-President, Academic, Dr. Craig Monk. His generous contributions to Bent River Records have made student opportunities like this possible. This contest is open to all currently enrolled (fall 2021) MacEwan Department of Music students.

Thank you to everyone who submitted lyrics in the first round of the competition. We are pleased to announce that Esther Forseth has been selected! Please see an excerpt below of “Preacher’s Daughter” :

“You’re the creature in the water
I’m the preacher’s youngest daughter
Find me swimming with the fishes
Free from breathing old traditions”

ABOUT THE COMPETITION: We will be selecting two original compositions that incorporate and feature the winning lyrics. Instrumentation will be a vocalist and string quartet. 

To protect the anonymity of the composition adjudication process, please do not include your name on the file – please only include that information in the google form. Happy composing!

Submission Category 1: Open to any currently enrolled (fall 2021/winter2022) students. We are asking for a lead sheet with a vocal melody set to the lyrics of “Preacher’s Daughter” and chord changes.  Please submit the lead sheet in PDF format. Mp3 demos are optional. If your work is selected, it will be arranged, performed, and recorded by a professional string quartet and vocalist.

Submission Category 2:  Open to any currently enrolled (fall 2021/winter 2022) BMUS students with experience writing for string quartet and voice. Please submit a fully notated score with 32 bars or 30 seconds of music for string quartet and voice set to the lyrics of “Preacher’s Daughter.” (* with the understanding that the full score will be completed before January 30th if your piece is selected).  The Score should be in PDF format.  

A downloadable PDF of “Preacher’s Daughter” is available below:

Visual artists and designers stay tuned! We will be announcing the cover art design competition soon!

PRIZE: $750.00 honorarium for the winner of each category!

DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSIONS: 4:00 pm MST on January 7th, 2022 – extended to January 28th, 2022.

The call for entries is now closed.

Submission Link:

TERMS & CONDITIONS: For recording purposes, BRR reserves the right to select performers for the winning pieces. The author will retain all intellectual property, and BRR will only have the right to print a limited run for the music department CD as well as a single version, both of which will be for promotional purposes only.

Adjudication will be done by a panel of jurors selected by BRR, and will contain members of the department of music and representatives of BRR. The anonymity of entrants will be maintained; judges will not know the identity of the composers they are evaluating until after adjudication is complete.

Bent River Records values, promotes and prioritizes diversity, equity and inclusion in all of its work. We recognize the systemic barriers that have led to many artists being underrepresented and will continue to do work to amplify and uplift voices that reflect Edmonton’s diverse communities. We are committed to fostering an inclusive culture that represents diverse backgrounds.

Please contact if you have any questions.

Alexa Cable Interviews Paul Johnston

Hi Everyone!

We wanted to take a moment to highlight something a couple of our team members worked on over the summer.

Alexa Cable (one of our interns) got together with Paul Johnston (Head of Recording at MacEwan University) to discuss the future of recording and recording education. Paul explains how staying employed is the most important skill in the recording industry.

Please show the video some love!