Darryl Friesen has been praised for his “rich palette of tonal colour” and performances of “intimate, poignant simplicity” (Winnipeg Free Press). He has given acclaimed performances as a soloist and collaborative artist across Canada, the United States, Europe, China, and Brazil, and has been featured many times in concert on CBC Radio. He has performed with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Winnipeg Chamber Music Society, and has appeared on the Virtuosi recital series. As a collaborator and recitalist, he has performed with many distinguished artists, including Elliot Madore, Andrew Wan, Allen Harrington, David Moroz, Jessica Strong, Valdine Anderson, Oleg Pokhanovski, the Adaskin String Trio, and the Martha Graham Dance Company. He also had the rare privilege to serve as rehearsal pianist for a memorial concert featuring Frederica von Stade, Elizabeth Futral, Richard Leech, Thomas Hampson, and Samuel Ramey.
Friesen has been the recipient of many awards and honors. His doctoral studies were made possible through generous grants from the Canada Council of the Arts in both 2005 and 2006, including the coveted Sylva Gelber Foundation Award, given annually to the most talented Canadian classical artist under the age of 30. He was awarded the Nancy Kennedy Wustman Memorial award in Vocal Accompanying at the U of I in 2006, and was the grand prizewinner of the 2003 CBC Arts Encounters Young Performers Competition. He was a finalist in the International Stepping Stone Competition (2004) and Canadian Music Competition (2001), received the Lawrence Genser Memorial Scholarship (2002) as the most outstanding performer at the University of Manitoba School of Music, and has received numerous grants from the Manitoba Arts Council throughout his academic studies. He performed in the Winnipeg Art Gallery’s Muriel Richardson Auditorium as a featured artist in the Prairie Performances series, and has participated in masterclasses with such artists as Murray Perahia, Jeaneanne Dowis, and Marc Durand.
After studying with distinguished pedagogue Lee Kum-Sing at the Vancouver Academy of Music, Friesen received B.M. and M.M. degrees in piano performance from the University of Manitoba as a student of well-known Canadian pianist Dr. David Moroz. He subsequently completed his D.M.A. at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2009 as a Fellow of both the University of Illinois (Creative and Performing Arts) and the Kate Neal Kinley Memorial Society, studying with Fulbright scholar Dr. William Heiles and renowned collaborative pianist and coach Prof. Dennis Helmrich.
Friesen has enjoyed a diverse academic career. From 2011–2015, he held the position of Assistant Professor of Piano and General Music Studies at Providence University College. In addition to teaching piano and chamber music, he taught a variety of core academic courses, including Music Theory, Musicianship, and Music History. He is also committed to the development of community among music teachers and pedagogues, and to that end he co-founded Shop Talk, a masterclass series and pedagogical forum in Steinbach MB. He is a past faculty member of the celebrated Morningside Music Bridge international summer music program.
Friesen is in great demand as a soloist, collaborative artist, teacher, and clinician. He and his wife live with their four children in Winnipeg, where he teaches full time at the University of Manitoba’s Desautels Faculty of Music.