Carmen Braden is a WCMA-nominated composer / performer from the Canadian sub-Arctic. Her music+sound company Black Ice Sound is based in her hometown of Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. Hailed as “a talented, bold musician” (Up Here Magazine), Carmen is a life-long Northerner whose music has been described as “drop-dead gorgeous” (Ottawa Citizen). Carmen’s debut studio album Ravens was released by Centrediscs in 2017.
Carmen’s vocal, instrumental, and electroacoustic music is greatly tied to her soundscape. She draws from the environment by examining natural phenomena through sonic, visual, sensual and scientific ways of understanding. Her creative research has led her into deep study of ice on Great Slave Lake, as well as raven calls, bedrock, and different qualities of light. Carmen often collaborates with other mediums including dance, theatre, film, and story-telling.
Her music has been performed across Canada by James Ehnes, the Elmer Isler Singers, the Gryphon Trio, the Land’s End Ensemble, GroundSwell and the Penderecki Quartet. Carmen’s works have been performed across Canada and internationally, including at the 21C Festival in Toronto’s Koerner Hall, the Stratford Festival, the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, the ArtArctica festival in Finland, the National Arts Centre 2013 Northern Scene Festival, The Global Composition in Germany, the Shattering the Silence New Music Festival, the Land’s End Emerging Composer Competition (Audience Choice Award), and the University of Calgary New Music Festival.
Carmen is passionate about creative education. She teaches individual students in Yellowknife, as well as contributing to music education in the North. Carmen was a pivotal member of the Gryphon Trio’s NWT Listen UP! project, which was a year-long program held in six NWT communities incorporating poetry, music composition, and performance. Carmen also delivers customized workshops on music education, composition and improvisation.
Carmen is currently chair of the Canadian Association for Sound Ecology. Carmen’s academic study has been supported by a SSHRC grant, and her creative work has been supported by the NWT Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts.
Born in 1985 in Whitehorse, Yukon, Carmen grew up in Yellowknife and learned to love music with Bill Gilday and Ardith Dean. She earned the International Baccalaureate from Lester B. Pearson United World College of the Pacific and continued to study under Michelle Hewitt. In 2009 Carmen received her Bachelor of Music in Composition from Acadia University where she studied with Derek Charke and Stephen Naylor. She received her Masters of Music in Composition from the University of Calgary in 2015, studying under Allan Gordon Bell, Laurie Radford and David Eagle.
CBC Yukon – Problematic Orchestra commission. December 20 2017
The Gauntlet February 28 2017 – Ice Seasons Premiere
CBC Interview – Daybreak Alberta with Russell Bowers. January 22 2017 – Launch of Ravens
The Whole Note – March 2017 – Review of Ravens 2206-TheWholeNote-March-2017-FULL FINAL_RFS 68