Dinuk Wijeratne

Curator, Piano & Conductor

Sri Lankan-born Canadian Dinuk Wijeratne is a JUNO and multi-award-winning composer, conductor, and pianist who has been described by the New York Times as ‘exuberantly creative’, by the Toronto Star as ‘an artist who reflects a positive vision of our cultural future’, and by the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra as ‘a modern polymath’. His boundary-crossing work sees him equally at home in collaborations with symphony orchestras and string quartets, tabla players and DJs, and takes him to international venues as poles apart as the Berlin Philharmonie and the North Sea Jazz Festival.

Dinuk was featured as a main character in ‘What would Beethoven do?’ – the 2016 documentary about innovation in classical music featuring Eric Whitacre, Bobby McFerrin and Ben Zander. Forthcoming projects include new works for Grammy-winning baritone Elliot Madore (featuring Dinuk as pianist) and Grammy-nominated mandolinist Avi Avital, the test piece for the Banff International String Quartet Competition 2022, and conducting debuts with the Calgary Philharmonic and Qatar Philharmonic, Doha.

Dinuk made his Carnegie Hall debut while still a student in 2004 as a composer, conductor, and pianist performing with Yo Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble. A second Carnegie appearance followed in 2009, alongside tabla legend Zakir Hussain. Dinuk has also appeared at the BoulezSaal (Berlin), Kennedy Center (Washington DC), Opéra Bastille (Paris), Lincoln Center (New York), Teatro Colón (Buenos Aires), Sri Lanka, Japan, and across the Middle East. Dinuk grew up in Dubai before taking up composition studies at the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM), Manchester, UK. In 2001, he was invited by Oscar-winning composer John Corigliano to join his studio at New York’s Juilliard School. Conducting studies followed at New York’s Mannes College of Music, and doctoral studies under Christos Hatzis at the University of Toronto.

Dinuk has composed specially for almost all of the artists and ensembles with whom he has performed; to name a few: Suzie LeBlanc, David Jalbert, James Ehnes, Kinan Azmeh, Bev Johnston, Joseph Petric, Sandeep Das, Tim Garland, Ed Thigpen, Ramesh Misra, Barry Guy, Eric Vloeimans, Buck 65, DJ Skratch Bastid, the Gryphon Trio, the Afiara, Danel & Cecilia String Quartets, the Apollo Saxophone Quartet, TorQ Percussion, and the Symphony orchestras of Toronto, Vancouver, the National Arts Centre, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Buffalo, Illinois, Fresno, Asheville, Saskatoon, Windsor, Victoria, PEI, and Thunder Bay. Dinuk is the only artist to have served both as Conductor-in-Residence and Composer-in-Residence of a Canadian orchestra (Symphony Nova Scotia).

A passionate educator, Dinuk is committed to helping emerging and mid-career classical artists navigate the classical music industry in today’s increasingly complex, diverse, and globalized world. As a Creativity Consultant he serves private clients as well as students of the Banff Centre (Evolution Classical) and Toronto’s Glenn Gould School. His educational guide ‘Define Your Artistic Voice’ was downloaded 150 times from his blog within the first two days of its release. Dinuk also served as Music Director of the Nova Scotia Youth Orchestra for thirteen seasons. He is also the recipient of the Canada Council Jean-Marie Beaudet award for orchestral conducting; the NS Established Artist Award; NS Masterworks nominations for his Tabla Concerto and piano trio Love Triangle; double Merritt Award nominations; Juilliard, Mannes, & Countess of Munster scholarships; the Sema Jazz Improvisation Prize; the Soroptimist International Award for Composer-Conductors; and the Sir John Manduell Prize – the RNCM’s highest student honour. His music and collaborative work embrace the great diversity of his international background and influences.