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BIOGRAPHIES

Maria Corley 

 

Maria Thompson Corley (DMA, piano, The Juilliard School) began composing and arranging as a child. A native of Jamaica who moved to Alberta when she was three, she studied piano with Dr. Alexandra Munn and composition with Lydia Pals. Her works for choir and solo voice have been commissioned by Dr. Odell Hobbs (Florida A&M University); Randye Jones, soprano; Dr. Darryl Taylor, countertenor; Dr. Louise Toppin, soprano; Dr. Buddy James (California State East Bay University), and Dr. Jillian Harrison-Jones (MUSE: Cincinnati's Women's Choir), among others. Her arrangement of "Mary had a Baby" was published by Walton; her song cycle, For Terry, is published by Classical Vocal Reprints, and negotiations are ongoing for publication by a major imprint of selections from her cycle, Grasping Water, in an anthology. In June, 2020, she had the honor of appearing on a panel with Thomas Hampson. On July 4 of that year, her new art song, “Big Yellow Taxi” was featured on the Hampsongs Foundation website. Her mini-opera, The Sky Where You Are, with a libretto by Jenny O’Connell, premiered in October, 2020 as part of The Decameron Opera Coalition’s award-winning virtual series of series, Tales from a Safe Distance. Dr. Corley was one of ten composers chosen for the 2020-21 American National Association of Teachers of Singing mentor program. Her music has been performed, recorded and/or taught internationally.

 

Christin Donkin

 

Christine Donkin studied music composition at the University of Alberta and University of British Columbia. She composes choral, chamber, and orchestral works which are performed across the continent and beyond, including such prestigious locations as Carnegie Hall, the Moscow Conservatory, and the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Mumbai. She has won awards at national and international composition competitions, and six companies publish her music.

Christine is also active in the field of music education as a composer, arranger, and adjudicator. She has written several volumes of pedagogical music for piano, violin, and double bass, and over seventy arrangements and figured bass realizations have been commissioned for the publications of the Royal Conservatory of Music.

 

Anna Sokolovic

 

An important figure in contemporary music, Ana Sokolović has distinguished herself both in Canada and internationally.

A native of Serbia, the composer has been immersed in the arts all her life. Before taking up theatre and music, she studied classical ballet. She began her university composition studies in Serbia, finishing with her master’s degree at the University of Montreal.

Her lyric works have won over the hearts of a substantial public, including her opera Svadba, which “seems to invent a phonetic universe of the human heart” and evokes a “small-scale Sacre du Printemps” (Le Monde). Among others, this piece was directed by Dáirine Ní Mheadhra and Teodor Currentzis and has been performed over 50 times across the world.

Pieces for voice, opera, orchestra and chamber music and the stage are evidence of her prolific work. Her musical language unites an immense creativity with the subtlety of her fine and complex writing, which is steeped in her roots and in different art forms. Thus, her language allows a force of imagination to move through her music and so plunges the listener into a vividly imagined world, in turn, illustrating the universal and theatrical character of her compositions.

She has received many awards and prizes over the course of the years and in 2011-2012 her music was praised across the country through the initiative of the SMCQ.

To date, a dozen recordings of her works have been produced. In addition to her activities as a composer, Ana Sokolović is also a professor of composition at the Université de Montréal.

 

Melissa Hui

 

MELISSA HUI was born in Hong Kong and raised in North Vancouver, BC. Initially inspired by the haunting music of the Ba-aka people of the Central African Republic, Javanese gamelan and Japanese gagaku court orchestra, she strives to create a personal music of ethereal beauty, intimate lyricism and raucous violence.

Her work has been commissioned and performed throughout North America, Europe and Asia, including performances by the American Composers Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, St. Lawrence String Quartet, Esprit Orchestra, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, National Arts Centre Orchestra, Focus Festival in New York City, Oregon Symphony, International Gaudeamus Music Week in Amsterdam, ISCM Festivals in Croatia and Switzerland, and the Hong Kong Arts Festival.

The recipient of awards from the Guggenheim and Fromm Foundations, and a doctorate from Yale University, she was on the composition faculty at Stanford University for 10 years before moving to Montreal. Melissa joined the Schulich School of Music at McGill University in 2010.

 

 

Joan Hansen

Victoria resident Joan Hansen was born in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, and grew up in Mission, B.C. After attaining her B.A., Hansen continued her music studies at UBC, majoring in piano and in composition with Jean Coulthard. Later, having attained her Pb teaching certificate for graduates (UVIC Ed.) she taught in Vancouver and North Vancouver schools. On returning to Victoria she attained an AVCM and taught both private and class composition and 20th-Century music courses at the Victoria Conservatory of Music, and started the composition classes at VCM summer school, now held at UVIC Piano Summer School.

She was twice awarded the Charles Shaw Scholarship for her early concert music. Her concert works have been aired on radio and television outlets including CBC and American Public Radio, and have been performed internationally. Her educational music has been performed worldwide, and is listed in numerous exam and festival syllabi. In 1979 Hansen was included in the World Who's Who of Women for "distinguished achievement as a composer, adjudicator and clinician."

Joan Hansen's published piano music includes the Music of Our Time series co-composed with Jean Coulthard and David Duke, pub. Waterloo; Two Sundances, the CFMTA Diamond Jubilee Collection, pub. Waterloo and recorded in the Glen Gould studio, Toronto, produced by CBC; Variations on a Theme by Murray Adaskin, co-composed with Imant Raminsh, Dale Reubart, Lorna Paterson, Ernst Schneider, Patrick Godfrey and Stephen Chatman, pub. Victoria Piano Summer School and available through CMC; and Whisper Time, a collection of 18 elementary and intermediate piano solos, pub. Waterloo, 2004. Her music also appears in didactic books such as Contemporary Class Piano by Elyse Mach, 6th edition, 2003, pub. Oxford University Press, USA.

In November, 2005, the Victoria Conservatory of Music presented a "Celebration of the Music of Joan Hansen" at the Alix Goolden Performance Hall.The concert featured the world premiere of Hansen's The Curfew Tolls, commissioned and performed by Lawrence Skaggs, principal cellist Victoria Symphony Orchestra, and Susan de Burgh, Victoria-based pianist and music educator

 

Alice Ping Yee Ho

 

One of the most acclaimed composers writing in Canada today, Hong Kong-born Alice Ping Yee Ho has written in many musical genres and received numerous national and international awards, including the 2022 Symphony Nova Scotia’s Maria Anna Mozart Award, 2022 Barlow Endowment Commissioning Prize, 2019 Johanna Metcalf Performing Arts Prize, 2016 Louis Applebaum Composers Award, 2014 Prince Edward Island Symphony Composers Competition, 2014 Kitchener Waterloo Symphony Friendship Orchestral Composition Competition, 2013 Dora Mavor Moore Award “Outstanding Original Opera” for her opera The Lesson of Da Ji, 2013 Boston Metro Opera International Composition Competition, K.M. Hunter Artist Award, du Maurier Arts Ltd. Canadian Composers Competition, MACRO International Composition Competition, Luxembourg Sinfonietta International Composition Prize, and International League of Women Composers Competition.
 
Critics have called her music dramatic and graceful, while praising its “organic flow of imagination,” “distinctly individual” style", "colourful orchestration", and "emotive qualities". Influences evident in her proudly eclectic approach include Chinese folk and operatic idioms, Japanese Taiko, jazz, pop culture, and other contemporary art forms. Her ongoing goal is to explore new musical styles that are provocative to the ears.
“Colors and tonality are two attractive resources to me: they form certain mental images that connect to audiences in a very basic way.” [AH] 
 
Often featured at national and international new music festivals such as ISCM World Music Days, Ottawa Chamberfest, Denmark’s CRUSH New Music Festival, and Asian Music Week in Japan, etc. Her works have also been performed by major ensembles and soloists including Finnish Lapland Chamber Orchestra, Esprit Orchestra, China National Symphony, Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra, Polish Radio Choir, Estonia's Ellerhein Girls' Choir, the Toronto, Vancouver, Winnipeg, Victoria, Nova Scotia, Hamilton, Kitchener Waterloo, and Windsor Symphonies, the Luxembourg Sinfonietta, Le Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, New Music Concerts, Penderecki String Quartet, TorQ percussion quartet, Duo Concertante, violist Rivka Golani, pianist Christina Petrowska Quilico, percussionists Sumire Yoshihara, Evelyn Glennie, and Beverley Johnston,  flutist Robert Aitken, Patrick Gallois, and Susan Hoeppner.


Alice holds a Bachelor of Music degree in composition with high distinction from Indiana University and a Master of Music degree in composition from the University of Toronto. Her teachers have included John Eaton (USA), Brian Ferneyhough (Germany), and John Beckwith (Canada).
She is a noted classical pianist and an active advocate of contemporary music. She had performed in many new music festivals, including a solo piano recital recorded by CBC Radio 2 in which she premiered Tan Dun’s solo piano work “Traces II”. She now makes her home in Toronto.

 

Kristin Flores 

Canadian composer Kristin Flores is captivated by the beauty of sound. She loves the way that different intervals have an effect on the listener – the frustration that dissonance creates and the calm of consonance.

Flores began studying composition formally at the University of Alberta in 1998 after completing a Bachelor of Arts degree in music from Augustana University College. In 2001 she obtained a Bachelor of Music degree in music composition and theory from the University of Alberta and in 2004 graduated with a Master of Music degree in composition from the University of Alberta. In 2010 she graduated from the University of Calgary with a Ph.D. in music composition, under the supervision of Dr. Allan Gordon Bell. She has studied composition with Malcolm Forsyth, Laurie Radford, Howard Bashaw, Paul Steenhuisen, William Jordan, David Eagle and Allan Gordon Bell.

Flores’ pieces have been performed by ensembles such as the Rocky Mountain Symphony Orchestra, Land’s End Ensemble, Ensemble Resonance, as well as by outstanding performers such as Tanya Prochazka, Debra Fast, Yehonatan Berick, Rachel Mercer, among others. Her compositions have received performances at the University of Calgary’s New Music Festival, Edmonton’s Nextfest and Tonus Vivus Festivals, and the Canadian Contemporary Showcase Festival. Her music has been presented by the National Arts Centre Orchestra ‘Lunch Break’ Series, Hamilton Ontario’s ‘5 at the First’, the Canadian Music Centre’s ‘New Music in New Places’ and New Works Calgary. Her pieces have been performed across Canada, the United States and in Europe.

 

 

Karen Sanubacka 

 

Composer Karen Sunabacka often finds inspiration from puzzles, stories and her Métis and mixed European heritage. She has deep roots in the Red River Settlement (what is now known as Manitoba, Canada) and feels a strong connection to the Métis, Scottish, Swedish and Finnish cultures. This mix of cultural connections sometimes creates conflicts and new perspectives which she finds both interesting and challenging. Her music reflects this cultural mix through the exploration of the sounds and stories of the Canadian prairies. 

She often collaborates with her Métis mother, Joyce Clouston, who is a writer, an Indigenous Cultural Carrier, and social worker. Together they have completed numerous works that explore family stories and the intersections of Indigenous -Settler relations and philosophies. Recent pieces include: Place Where the Creator Rests (2022) commissioned and premiered by the Andromeda Trio, …our inner lives were entwined…embroidered with the same pattern… for solo piano (2021) and commissioned and premiered by Naomi Woo and Virtuosi Concerts, I Wasn’t Meant for This for viola d’amore and percussion (2019) commissioned and premiered by Park Sounds and Mama’s Painting: Louis Riel’s Dream for piano quintet (2015) commissioned and premiered by the Agassiz Chamber Music Festival.

In September 2022 she released her first album titled Curlicue with pianist Darryl Friesen which includes all her solo piano music to date. The album was released by Ravello Records and full program notes and links to stream or purchase and download can be found here: https://www.ravellorecords.com/catalog/rr8074/.

Inspired by the natural beauty of Manitoba winters she wrote #DryColdConversations (2018) which was commissioned and premiered for the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. The Montreal Metropolitan Orchestra premiered her work “The Prairies” which was part of a bigger piece called De Natura Sonorum (2017), a commissioned work with four other composers to celebrate 150 years of Confederation. De Natura Sonorum was nominated in Québec’s 21st Prix Opus in the category Création de l’année (composition of the year). In 2009 she won the CMC Prairie Region Emerging Composers’ Competition with her work And There Was a Great Calm about a Prairie storm, which was premiered by the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra.

In demand as a composer, Karen enjoys the challenge of finding a balance between teaching, composing, performing, and keeping up with her favourite science fiction and fantasy series. Karen is an Associate Professor of Music at Conrad Grebel University College at the University of Waterloo.

 

 

Linda Catlin Smith

Linda Catlin Smith was born in New York in 1957, and currently lives in Toronto.  She studied composition and theory  with Allen Shawn in NY, and with Rudolf Komorous, Martin Bartlett, John Celona, Michael Longton and Jo Kondo at the University of Victoria in British Columbia; and attended lectures of Morton Feldman, by invitation, in Buffalo, NY.  She studied piano with Nurit Tilles and Gilbert Kalish at SUNY/Stony Brook, and with Kathleen Solose in Victoria, where she also studied harpsichord with Erich Schwandt. 

"sensuous, in an understated way"   The Globe and Mail, Toronto, 1993

"beautiful sonorities"   The Globe and Mail, Toronto, 1989

Her works have been performed by many ensembles and soloists including: Eve Egoyan, Anthony de Mare, Colin Tilney, Sabat/Clarke Duo, Arraymusic, Vancouver New Music, CBC Vancouver Orchestra,  Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, Pacific Baroque Orchestra, Penderecki Quartet,  the Modern Quartet, the Banff Centre for the Arts and Les Coucous Bénévoles, as well as by ensembles and soloists abroad and in the US. 

Her works have been recorded by: Arraymusic, Eve Egoyan, Barbara Pritchard,  Les Coucous Bénévoles, and the Penderecki Quartet, most of these available on the Artifact Music label.  Memory Forms, a recording devoted to her work, was released in October of 2001.  Her lecture "Composing Identity: What is a Woman Composer?" is published in Descant Magazine (#107) and Musicworks (#80).

Many of her compositions have been supported by commissions through: the Canada Council for the Arts; the Ontario Arts Council; the Toronto Arts Council; and the Laidlaw Foundation.  In addition, she was awarded two year-long grants from the Canada Council;   and in 1997, she was awarded the prestigious Hunter Foundation Award for individual artists.  She has created several of her works in residency at the Leighton Studios of the Banff Centre for the Arts. 

In addition to her work as an independent composer, she was Artistic Director of Arraymusic, one of Toronto's major contemporary music ensembles, from 1988 to 1993.  Since 1992, she has been a member of the multidisciplinary performance collective, URGE.  She has taught composition both privately and in university settings.  Tapestry New Opera commissioned her opera, Facing South, (libretto by Don Hannah) for production in spring 2003.

"  I am more than ever interested in making music based in subtlety, ambiguity, fragility and colour.  I tend to work in what I think of as expansive, or expanded, time.   I want to make time larger than it is,  as though the listener is examining something up close,  closer than a usual perspective... an intimate perspective." - Linda Catlin Smith

 

Alexina Louie

One of Canada’s most highly regarded and most often performed composers, Alexina Louie was born in Vancouver in 1949. At the age of seven she began piano studies and at seventeen became an Associate of the Royal Conservatory of Music in Piano Performance. Louie continued her piano studies at the University of British Columbia where she also attended the composition classes of Cortland Hultberg, graduating with a Bachelor of Music in Music History in 1970. She then went on to post-graduate work at the University of California at San Diego with Robert Erickson and Pauline Oliveros, completing her Masters of Arts in Composition in 1974. Remaining in California for the rest of the decade, Louie taught piano, theory and electronic composition at the City Colleges of Pasadena and Los Angeles. She has lived in Toronto since 1980, where she works as a freelance composer for concert, dance, television and film.

Alexina Louie is the daughter of second-generation Canadians of Chinese descent. Her uniquely personal style, rooted in a blend of East and West, draws on a wide variety of influences--from her Chinese heritage to her theoretical, historical and performance studies. Her music has been widely commissioned and performed by Canada's leading orchestras, new music ensembles, chamber groups and soloists. Notable performances include the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra’s presentation of The Ringing Earth for the gala opening of Expo 86; the Montreal Symphony Orchestra’s performance of the same work in the United Nations General Assembly on United Nations Day (1989); the Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s tours of Europe (1986) and the Pacific Rim (1990); and pianist Jon Kimura Parker’s performance of Scenes From a Jade Terrace, on the programme at the gala opening of the Canadian Embassy in Tokyo (1991).

In 1993, the BBC Symphony performed Louie’s O Magnum Mysterium: In Memoriam Glenn Gould, a work that was taken up the following year by the St. Louis Symphony under the direction of Leonard Slatkin and later choreographed by Dominique Dumais as one hundred words for snow. 1993 also marked the world premiere of Gallery Fanfares, Arias and Interludes, a one-hour work commissioned by the Art Gallery of Ontario for the opening ceremonies of its new gallery spaces. The following year Louie was awarded the prestigious M. Joan Chalmers National Music Award for the vocal sections of this work, independently titled Obsessions (Their Own Words).

Alexina Louie has been the recipient of many awards and honours. In 1986, the International Year of Canadian Music, the Canadian Music Council named her Composer of the Year. In 1988 she received the Juno Award, Best Classical Composition, for Songs of Paradise. In 1990 she received the first SOCAN Concert Music Award as the most performed composer of the year, a distinction that was repeated in 1992. Following the Chalmers Award in 1994 she received a Canada Council "A" Grant in 1995 and in 1996 she was appointed Composer in Residence with the Canadian Opera Company. In 1997 Louie received an honorary doctorate from the University of Calgary and the CBC released a disc that included Steven Dann’s performance of Winter Music, a chamber concerto for viola and eleven performers commissioned by the Vancouver New Music Society that was nominated for a Juno award for Best Classical Composition in 1998.

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