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Smith, Linda Catlin: Wanderer (Another Timbre)

Eight sophisticated chamber pieces composed by Linda Catlin Smith and realized by the Canadian Apartment House ensemble, including a solo piano performed by Philip Thomas, a piano duo with Thomas and Mark Knoop, and works for percussion & cello, 2 quintet pieces for strings, percussion and winds, and two 7-piece conducted works with two percussionists, strings and brass.
 

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Label: Another Timbre
Catalog ID: at130
Squidco Product Code: 26343

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2018
Country: UK
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold
Recorded May 2017 at the University of Huddersfield, except 'Velvet', which was recorded in September 2017, and 'Light and Water', which was recorded at Fersfield Church, Norfolk, in February 2017


Personnel:

Linda Catlin Smith-composer

Apartment House-ensemble

Philip Thomas-piano

Anton Lukoszevieze-cello

Mira Benjamin-violin

Heather Roche-clarinet

Nancy Ruffer-flute

James Opstad-double bass

Chloe Barrett-trumpet

Simon Limbrick-percussion

George Barton-percussion

Mark Knoop-piano

Jack Sheen-conductor



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Artist Biographies:

"Linda Catlin Smith grew up in New York and lives in Toronto. She studied music in NY, and at the University of Victoria (Canada). Her music has been performed and/or recorded by: Tafelmusik, Other Minds Festival, California Ear Unit, Kitchener-Waterloo, Victoria and Vancouver Symphonies, Arraymusic, Tapestry New Opera, Gryphon Trio, Via Salzburg, Evergreen Club Gamelan, Turning Point Ensemble, Vancouver New Music, and the Del Sol, Penderecki, and Bozzini quartets, among many others; she has been performed by many notable soloists, including Eve Egoyan, Elinor Frey, Philip Thomas, Colin Tilney, Vivienne Spiteri, and Jamie Parker. She has been supported in her work by the Canada Council, Ontario Arts Council, Chalmers Foundation, K.M. Hunter Award, Banff Centre, SOCAN Foundation and Toronto Arts Council; in 2005 her work Garland (for Tafelmusik) was awarded Canada's prestigious Jules Léger Prize. In addition to her work as an independent composer, she was Artistic Director of the Toronto ensemble Arraymusic from 1988 to 1993, and she was a member of the ground-breaking multidisciplinary performance collective, URGE, from 1992-2006. Linda teaches composition privately and at Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Canada."

-Linda Catlin Smith Website (http://www.catlinsmith.com/)
12/12/2018

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"Philip Thomas (b.1972, North Devon) specialises in performing new and experimental music, including both notated and improvised music. He places much emphasis on each concert being a unique event, designing imaginative programmes that provoke and suggest connections.

He is particularly drawn to the experimental music of John Cage, Morton Feldman and Christian Wolff, and composers who broadly work within a post-Cageian aesthetic. In recent years he has been particularly associated with the music of Christian Wolff, giving the world premiere of his Sailing By in 2014 and Small Preludes in 2009, the UK premiere of Long Piano (Peace March 11), having co-edited and contributed to the first major study of Wolff's music, Changing the System: the Music of Christian Wolff, published by Ashgate Publications in 2010, and currently recording all of Wolff's solo piano music for sub rosa. He is an experienced performer of John Cage's music, having performed the Concert for piano and orchestra with both Apartment House and the Merce Cunningham Dance Company as well as most of the solo piano and prepared piano music, including a unique 12-hour performance of Electronic Music for piano

He has commissioned new works from a number of British composers whose ideas, language and aesthetic have been informed in some ways by the aforementioned American composers, such as Stephen Chase, Laurence Crane, Richard Emsley, Christopher Fox, Bryn Harrison, John Lely, Tim Parkinson, Michael Parsons, and James Saunders.

In recent years Philip has pursued a passion for freely improvised music, after significant encounters with the music of AMM and Sheffield-based musicians Martin Archer, Mick Beck and John Jasnoch. He has worked with improvisers in a variety of contexts and recently devised a programme of composed music by musicians more normally known as improvisers as well as others who have been influenced by improvisation in some form. This led to a CD release, Comprovisation, which featured newly commissioned works by Mick Beck, Chris Burn and Simon H Fell. Other CD releases include music by Martin Arnold, Laurence Crane, Christopher Fox, Jürg Frey, Bryn Harrison, Tim Parkinson, Michael Pisaro, James Saunders, Christian Wolff, as well as with improvisers Chris Burn and Simon H Fell.

Philip is a regular pianist with leading experimental music group Apartment House, with whom he has performed in festivals across the UK and Europe. He has also performed with the Quatuor Bozzini, and in duos with Mark Knoop, Ian Pace and John Tilbury (piano duet and two pianos) and James Saunders (electronics).

In 1998 Philip was awarded a PhD from Sheffield University in the performance practice of contemporary piano music. Between 2000 and 2005, he was Head of the Sheffield Music School whilst pursuing an active performing and teaching career. He joined the staff team at the University of Huddersfield in 2005, and became Professor of Performance in 2015. Philip is one of the Directors of CeReNeM, the University's Centre for Research in New Music. He continues to live in Sheffield, where he premieres the majority of his programmes, with his wife Tiffany and children Naomi and Jack."

-Philip Thomas Website (http://www.philip-thomas.co.uk/biog.html)
12/12/2018

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"Cellist Anton Lukoszevieze (born 1965 in the UK) is one of the most diverse performers of his generation and is notable for his performances of avant-garde, experimental and improvised music. Anton has given many performances at numerous international festivals throughout Europe and the USA (Maerzmusik, Donaueschingen, Wien Modern, GAS, Transart, Ultima, etc.etc.). He has also made frequent programmes and broadcasts for BBC Radio 3, Danish Radio, SR2, Sweden, Deutschland Rundfunk, WDR, Germany and ORT, Austria. Deutschlandfunk, Berlin produced a radio portrait of him in September, 2003. Anton has also performed concerti with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra at the 2001 Aldeburgh festival and the Netherlands Radio Symphony Orchestra. He has collaborated with many composers and performers including David Behrman, Alvin Lucier, Amnon Wolman, Pierre Strauch, Rytis Mazulis, Karlheinz Essl, Helmut Oehring, Christopher Fox, Philip Corner, Alvin Curran, Phill Niblock and Laurence Crane, He is unique in the UK through his use of the curved bow (BACH-Bogen), which he is using to develop new repertoire for the cello. From 2005-7 he was New Music Fellow at Kings College, Cambridge and Kettles Yard Gallery. Anton is the subject of four films (FoxFire Eins) by the renowned artist-filmmaker Jayne Parker. A new film Trilogy with compositions by Sylvano Bussotti, George Aperghis and Laurence Crane premieres at The London Film Festival, October 2008. In November will premiere a new hour long work by Christopher Fox for cello and the vocal ensemble Exaudi commissioned by the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival and will also present new solo works for cello and live electronics. Anton is also active as an artist, his work has been shown in Holland (Lux Nijmegen), CAC, Vilnius, Duisburg (EarPort), Austria, (Sammlung Essl), Wien Modern, The Slade School of Art, Kettles Yard Gallery, Cambridge Film Festival and Rational Rec. London. His work has been published in Musiktexte, Cologne, design Magazine and the book SoundVisions (Pfau-Verlag, Saarbrucken, 2005). Anton Lukoszevieze is founder and director of the ensemble Apartment House, a member of the radical noise group Zeitkratzer and recently made his contemporary dance debut with the Vincent Dance Company in Broken Chords, Dusseldorf."

-Kalvos Damian (http://www.kalvos.org/lukosze.html)
12/12/2018

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"Mira Benjamin is a Canadian violinist, researcher and new-music instigator.

She performs new and experimental music, with a special interest in microtonality & tuning practice. She actively commissions music from composers at all stages of their careers, and develops each new work through multiple performances. Current collaborations include new works by Anna Höstman, Scott McLaughlin, Amber Priestley, Taylor Brook and James Weeks.

Since 2011, Mira has co-directed NU:NORD - a project-based music and performance network which instigates artistic exchanges and encourages community building between music creators from Canada, Norway & the UK. To date NU:NORD has engaged 79 artists and commissioned 62 new works. Through this initiative, Mira hopes to offer a foundation from which Canadian artists can reach out to artistic communities overseas, and provide a conduit through which UK & Norwegian artists can access Canada's rich art culture.

Originally from Vancouver, British Columbia, Mira lived for ten years in Montréal, where she was a member of Quatuor Bozzini. Since 2014 she has resided in London (UK), where she regularly performs with ensembles such as Apartment House, Decibel, and the London Contemporary Orchestra Soloists, and is currently the Duncan Druce Scholar in Music Performance at the University of Huddersfield.

Mira is the recipient of the 2016 Virginia Parker Prize from the Canada Council for the Arts. The prize is awarded annually to a Canadian musician in recognition of their contribution to the artistic life in Canada and internationally."

-St. Martin in the Field Website (http://mirabenjamin.com/about/)
12/12/2018

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"Born in Canada, clarinetist Heather Roche trained in England, lived in Germany for 7 years and now lives in London.

She has performed at some of the major European festivals, including musikFest (Berlin), BachFest (Leipzig), Musica Nova (Helsinki), Acht Brücken (Cologne), the International Computer Music Conference (Huddersfield, Ljubljana), the Dias de Música Electroacústica (Seia, Portugal) and the Agora Festival (Ircam, Paris). She has also performed solo programmes at the Zagreb Music Biennale, the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, the New York Electroacoustic Symposium, at CIRMMT (Montreal), Unerhörte Musik (Berlin), Eavesdropping (London), and with the Birmingham Electroacoustic Sound Theatre (BEAST).

She has performed with ensembles and orchestras including Musik Fabrik (Cologne), the WDR Orchestra (Cologne), mimitabu (Gothenburg), the London Symphony Orchestra (London), ensemble Garage (Cologne), ensemble interface (Berlin), the Riot Ensemble (London), the Alisios Camerata (Zagreb), and ensemble proton (Bern). She also plays across the UK in a trio with Carla Rees (flutes) and Xenia Pestova (piano) and in 2015 formed an duo with the accordionist Eva Zöllner, with whom she has played across Germany, the UK and in Portugal. She is a founding member of hand werk, a 6-person chamber music ensemble based in Cologne, and worked with the group from 2010-2017.

She has solo CDs out on the HCR/NMC and Métier labels. Please see the Discography for further details.

In 2014 she was awarded a DIVA (Danish International Visiting Artists Fellowship), and lived in Copenhagen for two months.

Since 2016 she has acted as the Reviews Editor for TEMPO, a quarterly journal for contemporary music published by Cambridge University Press.

Her website is host to one of the most widely read new music blogs on the Internet. In 2017 it had 75,000 hits from around the world. She successfully crowdfunded in 2014 in order to host her first composition competition. Six young composers were chosen out of 270 applicants to write new pieces, which were premiered in 2016.

She is a fervent advocate of collaboration, and her PhD research at the University of Huddersfield (under the supervision of Dr. Philip Thomas) explored the nature of dialogue within performer-composer relationships. She has given workshops in instrumental technique and/or iPad use in performance all over Europe, for example in London, Munich and Copenhagen.

Heather completed her Masters of Music (Orchestral Training) in 2006 at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, studying under Joy Farrall and Laurent Ben Slimane, in addition to conducting with Sian Edwards. Following her degree she completed residencies with the International Ensemble Modern Academy, at IMPULS in Graz and with ensemble recherche in Freiburg, the Darmstadt Summer Courses 2008 and 2010 and the International Ensemble Modern Academy in Innsbruck, Austria. She has performed in masterclasses with Michael Collins, Ernesto Molinari and Shizuyo Oka, to name a few. She completed her BMus in 2005 at the University of Victoria, Canada, studying under Patricia Kostek."

-Heather Roche Website (https://heatherroche.net/about/)
12/12/2018

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"Nancy Ruffer was born in Detroit and received a Master of Music degree from The University of Michigan. She received a Fullbright-Kays Scolarship in 1976 to study at the Royal Academy of Music, London, and she has remained in London working as a freelance flautist specialising in contemporary music. Composers who have written for her include Michael Finnissy, Chris Dench, John White, Christopher Fox, Ian Wilson and Graham Fitkin. In 1984 she was awarded the Kranichsteiner Prize for Performance at Darmstadt and she was elected an Associate of the R.A.M. Nancy Ruffer is principal flute of the ensembles MusicProjects/London, Matrix, Almeida Ensemble and Topologies as well as performing with ensembles of the Royal National Theatre.

In addition she records regularly for the BBC and performs in festivals and concert halls throughout Britain and abroad. In 1999 she toured Canada performing works by, among others, Ferneyhough and Dillon, and in 2002 she toured Georgia and Tennessee with pianist Helen Crayford, performing works by British and American composers.

Ms Ruffer was awarded the Kranichsteiner Prize for Performance at Darmstadt in 1984 and was appointed an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music."

-Divine Art Records (https://divineartrecords.com/artist/nancy-ruffer/)
12/12/2018

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"James Opstad is a United Kingdom bassist, composer and one third of duck-rabbit music."

-James Opstad Twitter Feed (https://twitter.com/james_opstad)
12/12/2018

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Simon Limbrick's involvement in music embraces performance, composing and education.

He was a member of the cult systems orchestra The Lost Jockey and Man Jumping, recording for EG Editions and creating scores for leading dance companies, Second Stride, London Contemporary Dance, Rosemary Lee and Sue MacLennan. He has been in demand as a percussionist performing all over the world with the Nash Ensemble, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, Endymion Ensemble, Composers' Ensemble and Fibonacci Sequence as well as recording with artists such as Alabama3, Gavin Bryars Pete Lockett and for Blue Note Records. He has been guest principal with the LSO and worked under conductors, Leonard Bernstein, Oliver Knussen, Simon Rattle and Tom Ades. He has featured on film and television including documentaries about Steve Reich and Kenneth MacMillan's award winning Judas Tree.Compositions created for him include works by Javier Alvarez, Brian Elias (Kenneth MacMillan's last ballet The Judas Tree), Vic Hoyland and Andrew Poppy. He has performed the world-premieres of solo pieces by James Dillon, Frederic Rzewski , Claude Vivier, Philip Cashian, Thea Musgrave, Harry de Wit, Howard Skempton, Michael Wolters and Ed Kelly. His solo performances have been broadcast by the BBC, RAI, Radio France, Dutch TV and radio.

Recently, he performed his own concerto Bulls Yard and Stockhausen's Zyklus at the Sage, Gateshead,(see review) solo steel-pan in Brian Elias' Judas Tree at Royal Opera House, London, in 2010 and directed his mixed-media project, dot-machine, a web-based musical construction accessible on www.marimbo.com. He created a 24 hour long piece surfaces with the composer James Saunders, with financial assistance from the Arts Council of Great Britain and premiered at the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival in 2011.

In education, Simon has led workshops since 1982, and been a returning resident artist in festivals and organisations, including Blackheath Concert Halls, Aldeburgh Music, Sound It Out , Spitalfields Festival. Workshop projects have been led by him throughout Europe. As a fully-qualified teacher, he has led Music and Performing Arts in Secondary Schools for five years. He has led school and community projects for Aldeburgh Music. As Artistic Director, he helped establish In Harmony Norwich, creating mixed-ability orchestral pieces for professional and young student players. Until the School of Music closed in June 2014, he was Director of 'Musician in the Community' and 'Creative Leadership' courses at University of East Anglia.



As a composer, Simon has gained an MA in Electroacoustic Composition from City University and collaborated as a composer on a number of large scale works, including a project at Fort Dunlop, Birmingham, with Rosemary Lee and site-specific work with Dutch composer/sound sculptor Harry de Wit in Holland and Brussels.He has produced film scores for TV and film festivals and composed music for theatre productions at the National Theatre and Royal Shakespeare Companies. Groups he has created pieces for include Mary Wiegold's Songbook, Roger Heaton Group, Ensemble Bash, Network of Sparks, Endymion Ensemble, Richard Durrant, Ritmatic, Hooloo. The Brighton Youth Orchestra performed machina lumina , for string ensemble and vibraphone throughout 2009. His composition Machine for Living for Landesmusikrat/Splash was recorded at Deutschlandradio. He has produced recordings for wergo and others.Currently composing a large piece for jazz brass and marimba.

He has created the CDs, Steam, Hooloo, Clean, Ritmatik, Dot-Machine, Hammer, Rise and Fall, , between and Relay, which are frequently broadcast and available on well-known download sites. NEW RELEASE of a double CD RELAY, of contemporary steel-pan music in Sept 2014. Sound Composer for the film 3 Church Walk by the director Emily Richardson premiered on 18th Oct 2014 at The London Festival, BFI, London."

-Simon Limbrick Website (http://www.marimbo.com/cv.html)
12/12/2018

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"George Barton is a solo, chamber and orchestral percussionist and timpanist based in London.

He is a member of the Colin Currie Group and has also worked with the London Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Nash Ensemble, Britten Sinfonia, Aurora Orchestra, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, Endymion, Music Theatre Wales, BBC Singers, Mahogany Opera Group, Notes Inégales, Riot Ensemble, London Contemporary Orchestra, the Royal Opera House, and the Multi-Story Orchestra, among many other ensembles and orchestras.

As a solo artist George has performed at the Southbank Centre's "The Rest is Noise" festival, the "Occupy the Pianos" festival at St John's Smith Square, and at a number of Nonclassical events across London, among other venues across the UK. His collaboration with Turner Prize -winning artist Jeremy Deller at the Barbican's Station to Station festival was featured on BBC2's Artsnight, and his playing has been recorded and broadcast many times for BBC Radio 3 and NMC. He was featured soloist at Filthy Lucre's The Sounding Body concerts and clubnight - footage available on the media page.

As an ensemble and orchestral player he has performed at all the major London concert halls, including at the BBC Proms every year since 2014, as well as such venues as the Cologne Philharmonie, Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, Tokyo Opera City, and many others.

He has performed chamber music at various venues around the UK and abroad, including the Concertgebouw Grote Zaal, Amsterdam, Cité de la Musique, Paris, Delft Chamber Music Festival, Royal Festival Hall, and Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival.

With duo partner Siwan Rhys he has performed at St John's Smith Square, Barbican Hall, the City of London Festival, XOYO, Scala and The Forge, among other venues. Committed to commissioning new music, the duo became New Dots artists in 2014; in 2017 they took part in the Stockhausen biennial at Kürten, performing Kontakte and solo works. The duo was selected to become one of three St John's Smith Square Young Artists for the 2017-18 season. Their programme for the season included the premiere of a 40-minute work from Oliver Leit and the UK premiere of Eric Wubbels' doxa, alongside music by Stockhausen, Kagel, Cage, Fran le Lohé and John Luther Adams, as well as unpublished music by Morton Feldman."

-George Barton Website (https://www.georgebartonpercussion.com/about)
12/12/2018

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"London based pianist and conductor Mark Knoop is known for his fearless performances and individual interpretations. He has commissioned and premièred countless new works and worked with many respected composers including Michael Finnissy, Joanna Bailie, Bryn Harrison, Bernhard Lang, Matthew Shlomowitz, Jennifer Walshe and Steven Kazuo Takasugi. His versatile technique and virtuosity also brings fresh approaches to the standard and 20th-century repertoire.

Mark performs regularly throughout Europe, the United Kingdom and Australia and in New Zealand, South Korea, Mongolia, United States of America, Canada and at festivals including Transit (Leuven), Ultima (Oslo), Huddersfield, London Contemporary Music Festival, Borealis (Bergen), Spor (Århus), Athelas (Copenhagen), and MaerzMusik (Berlin).

He performs with various ensembles including Plus-Minus (London/Brussels) and Apartment House (London), and has conducted EXAUDI (London), Scenatet (Denmark), and London Sinfonietta. His recordings of music by John Cage, Richard Beaudoin, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Peter Ablinger, and David Lumsdaine have been critically acclaimed."

-Mark Knoop Website (http://www.markknoop.com/home)
12/12/2018

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Jack Sheen (1993 - ) is a conductor and composer from Manchester.

In 2017 at the age of 23 he became the RNCM's youngest ever Junior Fellow in Conducting, appointed by Sir Mark Elder, through which he enjoys a close working relationship with the BBC Philharmonic, Manchester Camerata, and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra.

This year will see Jack take part in the Donatellia Flick LSO Conducting Competition, return to Aldeburgh's Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme to conduct the BPO alongside Marin Alsop, work as an assistant conductor to Thomas Adès and Ilan Volkov, tour to New York and Copenhagen with Apartment House, and complete a month-long residency at Royaumont Abbey, alongside a series of CD releases with NMC Records and Another Timbre.

Equally at home within internationally established and grass-roots activity, Jack has conducted at festivals and masterclasses around Europe including the Lucerne Festival Academy, Dartington International Summer School, Aldeburgh Festival, Royaumont (Voix Nouvelles), Cheltenham Festival, IMPULS, and Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival. His work with orchestras and ensembles such as the London Symphony Orchestra & GSMD Side-by-Side Orchestra, Royal Northern Sinfonia, Halberstadt Orchestra, Apartment House, and EXAUDI have led to performances at the Barbican, Wigmore Hall, LSO St Luke's, The Sage Gateshead, and Cafe OTO, alongside numerous appearances on BBC Radio 3 and NTS.

Jack's music has been performed by orchestras such as the London Symphony Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic, Aurora Orchestra and Manchester Camerata, ensembles including Apartment House, EXAUDI, Plus Minus Ensemble, and Psappha, and commissioned by organisations such as London Contemporary Music Festival, Aldeburgh Festival and BBC Young Artists Day.

Awards include a Royal Philharmonic Prize for Composition (2016), an RNCM Gold Medal (2012) and BBC Young Composer of the Year (2011). Between 2016-17 Jack held an Artist Fellowship at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, after completing a Masters at the School with Distinction. He graduated from the RNCM and University of Manchester Joint Course with First-class honours in 2015.

He is the founder and Director of An assembly, a group dedicated to contemporary and experimental music, installation, and performance."

-Jack Sheen Website (https://jacksheen.com/biography-1)
12/12/2018

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track listing:


1. Morning Glory 12:44

2. Music For John Cage 3:29

3. Stare At The River 12:22

4. Knotted Silk 4:34

5. Sarabande 8:36

6. Velvet 14:59

7. Wanderer 12:03

8. Light And Water 6:02
sample the album:








descriptions, reviews, &c.

"Interview with Linda Catlin Smith by Another Timbre

Extracts from an extended interview with Linda Catlin Smith in the booklet which accompanies the Canadian Composers Series CDs

You're not from Canada originally, so how did you come to settle there, and what was your musical training?

I was born in New York and lived there for my first 18 years. My mother was a piano teacher so I started reading music before I read words - just from sitting with her at the piano. I was a bad piano student - I preferred to make up things rather than practice, and the piano always sounded so beautiful, I liked to make up my own pieces, starting when I was about 9 or 10. I began my training in composition in high school. I went to an alternative high school in Greenwich Village called Elizabeth Seeger School. There were only about 50 students in the school. In my second year there, they hired a new music teacher, composer Allen Shawn. There were very few music students, so I had a lot of time and instruction from Allen - he was very supportive of the composer I was trying to be. After high school, for my first two years of University, I went to the State University of New York at Stony Brook, as it was close to Manhattan and had many great NY performers teaching there. There was no undergraduate program in composition, so I attached myself to some of the graduate composition students, who looked at my work from time to time. It was there that I met several Canadian grad students: Christopher Butterfield and Owen Underhill. Christopher and Owen became good friends and they both urged me to go to the University of Victoria in British Columbia, Canada, which had a very strong composition department. In particular, they thought I should study with their teacher, Rudolf Komorous. I went there and loved the school, and the place, and ended up staying on to complete my master's degree. It was one of the best things that I could have done for myself, though it meant having a long distance relationship with my boyfriend, percussionist Rick Sacks (pre-internet!). But we have been together ever since, so it all worked out. Then, after graduating, I ended up moving to Toronto. That was because Rick had joined a rock band with Christopher Butterfield (the same one) in Toronto. So I started life after university in Toronto. The contemporary music scene was in a growth period then, so we both just got busy. And we are still here...

What kind of music were you most interested in, and writing, when you were at University?

I was interested in everything, I was always curious about new things. In high school, I was very attracted to Stravinsky, Ives, Bartok and Satie. At SUNY Stony Brook, I had a job ordering recordings for the music library, so I was able to listen to music from all over the world that was completely unknown to me. The library at the University of Victoria was also very good, and students were allowed to take out 6 records (LPs!) per week, so I would browse the stacks, bringing home armloads of recordings. The most influential pieces for me were John Cage's String Quartet in Four Parts from 1950, Anton Webern's Symphony Op. 21 and Morton Feldman's False Relationships and the Extended Ending, the only Feldman recording they had at the time. I listened to them over and over, as well as some early music recordings, particularly the music of Francois Couperin, Josquin des Prez and Guillaume Du Fay. When the composer Jo Kondo came to teach for a year at Uvic, I had my ears completely opened by the course he gave on traditional Japanese music, especially Gagaku. Kondo's recording of his piece Standing was a complete inspiration to me. Kondo, Webern, Feldman, early Cage, Gagaku - these were my worlds.

The music I was writing was generally exploratory: I toyed with 12 -tone pitch methods, and other systems and processes. And then one year I had a key moment: I had written a chamber piece that was filled with complex rhythms and gestures, all derived by rather academic means. I just didn't feel attached to it at all. So I scrapped it entirely, and started over, writing only what I could hear. In the end, writing by ear made me feel more connected to what I was doing. The works became simple, more harmonic, and very much focused on orchestration and colour. In those years, I wrote my first string quartet, my first orchestra piece, and several chamber works including my first piece for Baroque instruments (soprano, Baroque flute and harpsichord), a sound world I love to this day (recently I wrote 'Ricercar' for Baroque cellist Elinor Frey, and a Baroque string orchestra piece for Early Music Vancouver). In those years I also cemented my continuing relationships with other composers who have become friends - artistic confidantes; having them in my mind makes the world of composition less solitary.

So do you still compose completely 'by ear' with no system at all?

I would say that composing by ear is my system. I think of this as speculative composition - that is to say, I don't plan everything in advance; rather, I respond to the material at hand on a moment-by-moment basis during the course of the creation of the work. This is not improvisation - not just writing whatever comes into my head, it's not "anything goes". It's a mode of working that calls for intense scrutiny, questioning, experimentation and a kind of ruthlessness in the process... This way of working- this system - is a combination of intuition and reflection, and most of all, listening. Behind it all, I am always wondering: what if...? What if it was longer, what if it was thinner, or higher, or brighter or more fluid...For the longest time with each work, I am unsure of what I am doing. But for me, when I don't know what I'm doing, I feel I am on the right track.

There is a strong group of quite individual and distinctive composers in Canada, but they don't seem to form a 'school' as such.

While not forming a school exactly, there are quite a few composers who studied with the Czech-Canadian composer, Rudolf Komorous, and there is a kind of connection between us. John Abram, Martin Arnold, Christopher Butterfield, Allison Cameron, Anthony Genge, Steven Parkinson, Rodney Sharman, Owen Underhill - this is just a selection of the variety of composers who studied with Rudolf and are currently active as composers. Rudolf treated each of us as an individual - our lessons were all quite different - but we all were encouraged and challenged by our lessons with him. There is nothing really definitive to tie these composers together in terms of style; perhaps it's more of an adventurous approach, an experimental bend of mind...and maybe a willingness to work outside of the mainstream, whatever that is.

I've often felt that Canadian composers have a particular freedom in terms of style and aesthetics. I've always felt free to explore music in my own voice with no pressure to fit in. I think Canada is so vast, with so much distance between cities, and it is so far from most other countries; we are largely unexamined by the world, for the most part, left alone to explore and experiment. Maybe it means we have a harder time having our work appear on the stages of Europe or the US...but I have the sense that I can work unfettered, without having to fit into any particular aesthetic frame. Composers such as Ann Southam and Claude Vivier and Rudolf Komorous - to me they exemplify artists who persevered in their own particular artistic path. We are just out there working in the wilderness, so to speak.

Does that sense of wilderness affect the sound of your music at all?

I don't think the idea of 'wilderness' affects the sound of my music as much as it relates to a kind of compositional approach - the move into new territory, trying new things, not knowing what the material really is, or even if it is anything at all - a step out into the wilderness of one's own imagination. In terms of sound, perhaps the wilderness aspect lies in the places where I let things overlap and overlay, as in the Piano Quintet, where melodic lines become entangled, like an overgrown garden.

I grew up in a culture in which modernism and the avant-garde were highly valued, and they were often defined in opposition to romanticism. Your music seems to combine elements of both aesthetic tendencies. Do you situate yourself in relation to those broad aesthetic categories?

I have never felt attached to romanticism in its broad strokes; for me, it seems too much about expressions of the artist's feelings, and I've never felt that I'm involved in that. I believe all music has an emotional component - every piece of music has its own tone, or subtle shade of feeling - but I never feel I start from a place of self-expression. Rather, the tone or emotion is there as a kind of background or atmosphere that surrounds the material I'm working with. I'm not making music that is about myself; I am making music so I can lose myself.

[........]

How have you survived financially as a composer in Canada? Presumably you can't survive solely on commissions, so what other work have you done? And has that other work been an annoying distraction, or do you think it has affected your composing in a positive way?

I've always had regular jobs to support myself. After university I worked as a waitress, meanwhile putting on occasional concerts in an artist-run art gallery. That led to the art gallery hiring me as an administrative assistant for a few years. I continued to put on concerts there, and at one of them the Artistic Director of Arraymusic in Toronto asked me to join Arraymusic's board of directors. Within a year or two, I was their new Artistic Director - a dream come true for any composer. I learned as much from rehearsals with those musicians, and from the other composers, as I had learned in university. I left Array after 5 years, and a few years later I was offered a part-time position at Wilfrid Laurier University, and I have been teaching composition two days a week ever since. Each of these places of work taught me something helpful: I learned so much from being around visual artists at the gallery - the way they talk about their work, their exploration of material, and the experimentation involved (all composers should have visual artists in their lives)... My teaching at the university has been especially helpful as it forces me to think and articulate ideas in a clear way. I also had to learn how to keep my composing going while working at other jobs; most composers I know have had to support themselves with other work, so we become very adept at managing our schedules, and protecting whatever spare hours we have for our work. Eventually, I found that I am quite flexible about my composing schedule; give me a quiet hour with my piano and I can usually get something done."

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