Our People

Allan Gilliland

Assistant Professor, Department of Music
Head, Composition
Dean, Faculty of Fine Arts and Communications

PhD (Edinburgh)

11-413A, Allard Hall
11110 – 104 Avenue
Edmonton, AB


Dr. Gilliland is one of Canada’s busiest composers. He has written music for solo instruments, orchestra, choir, brass quintet, wind ensemble, big band, film, television and theatre. His music has been performed by ensembles and soloists from around the world and recorded on over 20 CDs.

From 1999‐2004, Gilliland was composer-in-residence with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra. He has also been composer-in-residence at the Festival of the Sound in Parry Sound, the Colours of Music Festival in Barrie, Ontario and the Strata New Music Festival in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. In 2002, his orchestral work On the Shoulders of Giants took first prize at the prestigious Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra’s Centara New Music Festival Composers Competition. In 2012, his CD O Music was nominated for two Western Canadian Music Awards and won for Best Classical Composition. Allan has also won composition contests sponsored by Pro Coro Canada and the Alberta Band Association as well as first place in the Jean Coulthard Competition for Composers and the Lydia Pals Composers Competition.

Gilliland holds a diploma in Jazz Studies (trumpet) from Humber College, a Bachelor of Music degree in performance and a Master of Music degree in composition from the University of Alberta and a PhD in Composition from the University of Edinburgh. He has taught at the University of Alberta, the University of Edinburgh, Red Deer College and MacEwan University in Edmonton, Alberta , Canada where he is currently the Dean of the Faculty of Fine Arts and Communications.

Available to supervise honours or individual study students.

composition, arranging, orchestration

Teaching and Research Interests

As an educator, Dr. Gilliland aims to inspire, encourage and support learning as students take their first steps into the incredibly wide world of composition. He feels strongly that regardless of whether you are teaching undergraduate or graduate students, your teaching must be grounded in the real world, that is, the musical environment students will enter after completing their degree. In some cases, this may be more education, and eventually teaching, but for the majority of them it is the world of freelance artist. As a result, he wants students to have the best skillset to succeed, and that skillset is one that is diverse. They must be able to work in many genres, styles and mediums and above all, must be able to collaborate. To achieve these goals, he breaks down the arbitrary barriers between classical and popular music and has students explore everything from classical era piano variations to big band jazz and popular song. Within these projects, he makes sure students get experience writing for all standard instruments and are fluent with music technology.

Selected Performances / Recordings / Compositions

There is Sound, National Youth Choir (2016)

Dreaming of the Masters III, Edmonton Symphony Orchestra (2010)

Kalia, National Youth Band (2009)

Hannaraptor, Calgary Opera (2008)

 Concerto for Oboe, Strings and Harpsichord (2005) 


Awards / Grants / Fellowships


  • Legacy Live, Juno Nomination (2016 )
  • Distinquished Teaching Award, Nomination, MacEwan University (2016) 
  • Sterling Awards, Nomination (2015) 
  • Distinguished Research Award, MacEwan University (2014)
  • Logos Futura, Juno, Western Canadian Music and Orpheus Awards, Nominations (2013)
  • Classical Composition of the Year, Western Canadian Music Awards (2012) 
  • Classical Album of the Year, Western Canadian Music Awards, Nomination (2012)
  • Dreaming of the Masters, Solo Brass Band CD of the Year (2012) 
  • Salute to Excellence Award, City of Edmonton (2004)
  • Winnipeg Symphony Canadian Composers Competition, First Prize (2002) 
  • ProCoro National Composition Contest for a cappella choir, First Place (1999) 

Professional Associations / Memberships

  • Associate Composer, Canadian Music Centre
  • Member, Canadian League of Composers