Joel Balzun

baritone and composer


As "Joseph de Rocher" in  Dead Man Walking  with Miami Music Festival

As "Joseph de Rocher" in Dead Man Walking with Miami Music Festival

Soloist in "A Wagnerian Idyll" with Pittsburgh Festival Opera

"Most impressive among the evening’s young artists was baritone Joel Balzun, an already mature artist with a voluminous sound that he had always under control, capable of scaling down and coloring the words for the meaning and emotive purposes."
          Robert Croan, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, July 2018

As “Joseph De Rocher” in Dead Man Walking
“Joel Balzun, como el reo en el pabellón de la muerte, tuvo momentos brillantes y fue siempre muy creíble en su papel.” [“Joel Balzun, as the death row inmate, achieved brilliant moments, and in every way made his role believable.”]
Daniel Fernández, el Nuevo Herald, July 2017

“As De Rocher, the baritone Joel Balzun was the portrait of the slovenly, scary Death Row inmate, with shackles, tattoos and an exposed undershirt. With a stentorian voice, he managed his character’s transformation from the face of criminal menace glaring from the newspaper photos to a portrait of raw humanity, filled with fear, guilt and a wisp of hope that something could transform his life this late in the game.”
          David Fleshler, South Florida Classical Review, July 2017

As “Husband” in Amelia Goes to the Ball

“There was much to love, with outstanding and memorable vocal performances from Joel Balzun (The Husband, Amelia)...As [the] beleaguered hubby, Balzun was strong and suitably uppity, and both he and Ms. Beal managed to make their deeply flawed and not a little crazy characters loveable, somehow — and they sounded great, to boot.”
          Lauri D. Goldenhersh, Lauri's List, March 2018

As “Albert” in Werther
“Played with great sensitivity in his singing and his acting alike, baritone Joel David Balzun brought this role to life with a refined voice. He delivered a hopeful and affectionate 'Quelle priere de reconnaissance'.”
          Yayra Sanchez, Lauri's List, December 2016

As “Keeper of the Madhouse” in The Rake's Progress
“...Joel David Balzun's sober keeper of the madhouse [all] added fine character touches.”
          Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times, September 2016

“...Joel David Balzun [was] a memorable madhouse keeper...”
          Maria Nockin, Opera Today, September 2016

Bass soloist in Symphony No. 14 (Shostakovich)
“A capable group of TMC Vocal Fellows – Sarah Tuttle, Adriana Velinova, Quinn Middleman, Joel Balzun, and Keith Colclough – divided up the songs and delivered them with skill and directness.”
          Jeremy Eichler, Boston Globe, August 2016

As “Cascada” in The Merry Widow
“...[Kyle Patterson] and Joel [Balzun] have some very fun Abbot & Costello-type bits throughout the opera...their banter of comedy and music [that] was just so much fun to watch. I loved his [Joel's] 'straight-man' routines and physical nature as he and Kyle really sparked some comic energy together.”
          Lorenzo Marchessi, Geek Authority, March 2016

Miracle Ten-Zero-Two-Five-One
“At only 19, [Joel] Balzun shows much promise as a composer.”
          Charles Velte, Daily Courier (Kelowna, BC), November 2010

“... Joel Balzun, was the winner of the NBO’s first Galaxie Rising Star Composers’ Competition for composers [under] on 35 with Miracle Ten-Zero-Two-Five-One, a very sophisticated’s clear that the state of new composition in Canada is healthy.”
          Lloyd Dykk, (Vancouver, BC), November 2010

A Missing Generation (for orchestra)
“With simple Cambodian melodies floating through the larger piece, [Joel] Balzun created a haunting and beautiful work that evoked the scale and scope of a people gutted by their government and the hope that sustains humanity even during chaos and horror. was emotionally effective and well received. Balzun reflects the talent here in Alberta and I’ll look forward to hearing his future works.”
          Andrea Brussa, Brussa Bravo! Legacy Program, Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, June 2010

“...the Balzun work displays an impressive mastery of orchestral writing that reminds you of Hollywood epic (a la Exodus)-meets-Mahler, especially in the big play on the major-minor treatment that Balzun accords his own variant on Frere Jacques for the bulk of the piece. Ending on a jubilant note, A Missing Generation struck an obvious positive chord with many of the younger members of the audience - as well it should, given the buildup of excitement that came through in the writing and the CPO realization of it. Clearly, a composer to watch.”
          Bob Clark, Calgary Herald, May 2010