247 :: 3 December 2010 :: Ann Southam

247 :: 3 December 2010 :: Ann Southam


Ann Southam (1937-2010)

CMC Centredisques 14609
We are very saddened by the news that Canadian composer Ann Southam passed away last week. She was almost 74.  Her music is remarkable, and just becoming more well known and played. So tonight we will remember, quietly, Ann Southam with one of her most enigmatic and beautiful works for solo piano, released last year:

Ann Southam: Simple Lines of Enquiry
Eve Egoyan, piano. CMC Centredisques 14609


From CBC News:

Toronto composer Ann Southam dies

Last Updated: Thursday, November 25, 2010 

Ann Southam, one of Canada’s first prominent female composers of new music, died Thursday. She was 73.Southam has composed extensively for modern dance companies and choreographers, including the Toronto Dance Theatre, Danny Grossman, Dancemakers, Patricia Beatty, Christopher House.She was an instructor in electronic music at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto and composed extensively for electroacoustic instruments.In recent years, she has been interested in purely acoustic instruments and ensembles and worked with artists such as pianist Eve Egoyan, Christina Petrowska-Quilico and Arraymusic.Alex Ross of the New Yorker ranked Egoyan’s recording of her solo piano work, Simple Lines of Enquiry, among the top 10 classical recordings of 2009. Egoyan also premiered her Qualities of Consonance and Figures.

Her music was often described as minimalist, and for a period, she adopted 12-tone technique.

Her works include Glass Houses and Rivers, recorded by pianist Petrowska-Quilico, Song of the Varied Thrush for string quartet and Webster’s Spin for string orchestra, commissioned by the CBC.

Southam was born in Winnipeg and studied in Toronto’s Royal Conservatory with composer Samuel Dolin and electronic music expert Gustav Ciamaga. She began teaching there in 1966 and had a period as composer in residence for the New Dance Group of Canada (later Toronto Dance Theatre).

She said she enjoyed writing electronic music for the dance troupe, because she had a free hand and didn’t have to write anything down.

At that point, she didn’t seek out musicians to interpret her work live, but in later life, she came to value her collaborations with artists such as Egoyan.

An avowed feminist, Southam thought of her music as grounded in women’s experience.

“In the very workings of the music, there’s a reflection of the work that women traditionally do, like weaving and mending and washing dishes — the kind of work you have to do over again,” she said in an interview last year with the Globe and Mail.

Read the entire article here.

There are a number of videos on YouTube with Christina Petrowska Quilico performing some of her music:

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