New Music by Student Composers – Monday and Tuesday Night – Streaming FREE!

Tonight and tomorrow night, back for the first time since COVID, the University of Alberta’s music department composition area presents two concerts of new music by student composers, performed live and streamed for FREE!

Note:  University of Alberta students and faculty are welcome to attend the concert in person.  Both are in Convocation Hall on the University of Alberta’s North Campus.

Monday, December 13, 7:00 p.m.Compositions for saxophone & piano, composed by students in MUS 270Performers: William Street, soprano & alto saxophones; Andriy Talpash, tenor saxophone; Heather McGuire, piano

Live-Stream link:

Tuesday, December 14, 7:00 p.m.Six pieces for saxophone quartet, and one piece for saxophone + electronics, composed by senior undergraduate and graduate composition studentsPerformers: Edmonton Saxophone Quartet: Allison Balcetis, Kendra Heslip, Charles Stolte, and Ben Whittier

Live-Stream link:

Untitled (2021), by Anonymous.  Chalk and leaves on sidewalk.  Photo by Scott Smallwood

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Living Sound Better with Digital Music Instruments – Sound Studies Institute Lecture Series, with D. Andrew Stewart

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

7:00 – 8:00pm MST

D. Andrew Stewart explores the concept of a Digital Sound Performer – a performer of sounds on digital musical instruments, also known as gestural controllers. Stewart suggests that the Sound Performer’s essential duty is to Live Sound Better; that is to say, the Sound Performer promotes respect for sound and all of its features and as a consequence, promotes respect for the recipients of sound: all hearing creatures on the Earth. Similar to society’s Keepers of the Peace, Sound Performers are the keepers and conveyors of healthy listening practices, creating an aural fascination in the world’s soundscapes which we all share. In addition, D. Andrew Stewart illustrates how digital lutherie offers unique opportunities to enhance the Sound Performer’s practice with sensor technology that captures and sonifies – gives sonic form to – movements (gestures and postures). In this way, the use of digital musical instruments makes the aural experience for the audience more palpable and visible – making the living sound better.

D. Andrew Stewart is a composer, pianist and digital musical instrumentalist. A convergence of acoustic and electroacoustic instrumental praxis is at the centre of Stewart’s oeuvre. His music is dedicated to exploring composition and performance for new interfaces for musical expression by adapting and evolving traditional praxis. Stewart’s work asks whether musical idea – concept, theory, material, technique and means – has kept pace with developments in digital lutherie; furthermore, what are the essential constituents for creating a viable digital instrument for the twenty-first century performer? 

Stewart has contributed to the field of music technology through his demonstrations at: the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression, International Computer Music Conference / International Computer Music Association, Electroacoustic Music Studies Network, Electronic Music Foundation, ACM SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, Society for Music Theory, and the Guthman Musical Instrument Competition. Andrew Stewart’s music has been featured in countries such as: The UK, Netherlands, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Poland, USA, Germany, France, Mexico, Norway, Denmark, Austria, Italy, Korea Republic and his home country of Canada.

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SHHH!! Ensemble performs Spirits

March 4, 7:30 PM
Convocation Hall
University of Alberta

FREE (Donations Welcome)

SHHH! Ensemble, with Edana Higham, piano; Zac Pulak, percussion.

Featuring several newly commissioned works, structured improvisation, and creative instrumentation SHHH!! Ensemble’s innovative “Spirits” programme takes the listener on a journey through composer’s reflections on the nature of creativity, meditation, inspiration, whiskey, and the beyond.

SHHH!! Ensemble performs Spirits

Andy Akiho – Karakurenai
John Beckwith – Meanwhile +*
Kelly-Marie Murphy – Dr. Blue’s Incredible Boneshaking Drill Engine +*
John Gordon Armstrong – The Angel’s Share +*
Kevin Hanlon – SHHHuffle / Bach – O How Fleeting, O How Hollow *
Micheline Roi – Grieving the Doubts of Angels +

  • = Canadian Composer
  • = Commissioned by SHHH!! Ensemble

SHHH!! Ensemble Bio:

SHHH!!… a powerful utterance designed to draw attention forward… creating space and awareness… opening ears to something important.

SHHH!! Ensemble is a piano/percussion duo dedicated to the creation and dissemination of new and rarefied sounds. The Ottawa based duo of pianist Edana Higham and percussionist Zac Pulak pride themselves in the presentation of programmes that are as accessible as they are groundbreaking.

The ensemble is committed to creating and exploring works for piano and percussion through commissioning and arranging. Recent highlights include residencies at the Canadian Music Centre and the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, commissions from iconic Canadian composers such as John Beckwith, Jocelyn Morlock, and a forthcoming double-concerto from Kelly-Marie Murphy.

To stay up-to-date with all of SHHH!! Ensemble’s activities them on social media using the @shhhensemble handle.

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U of A Composer Concerts, Fall 2019/20

Please join us for two exciting concerts of brand new music, composed by University of Alberta undergraduate and graduate composers.

On Monday, Dec. 9, the Ultraviolet Ensemble, featuring Chenoa Anderson (flutes), Allison Balcetis (saxes), Amy Nicholson (cello), and Roger Admiral (piano) will perform new compositions by Cole Dorchester, Isaac Earl, Chuck Hanson, Sarah Hubert, Rio Houle, Catherine Labbe, Alex McNaughton, Ryan Miralles, Diana Tayler, and Ashley Weckesser.

MONDAY, Dec. 9, 7:30 PM
Convocation Hall
Free Admission (donations accepted)

On Tuesday, Dec. 10, organist Marnie Giebrecht-Segger and percussionist Mark Segger will perform new works for the organ and percussion by graduate composers Brendan Bevan, Derek Horemans, and Justin Sullivan. Not to be missed!

TUESDAY, Dec. 10, 7:30 PM
Convocation Hall
Free Admission (donations accepted)

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XImE: eXperimental Improvisation Ensemble in Concert

Student improvisors perform new and spontaneously generated sounds.

Monday, Dec. 2, 7:30 PM
Studio 27, Fine Arts Building
Admission free

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Hildegard Westerkamp: Artist Talk Oct. 10, 3:30 PM Studio 27

The Sound Studies Institute, in conjunction with Acoustics Week in Canada 2019, brings us an artist talk and masterclass from renowned soundscape composer and acoustic ecologist Hildegard Westerkamp.

Date:    Thursday, October 10, 2019
Time:    3:30pm – 5:00 pm
Venue:  Studio 2-7, Fine Arts Building, University of Alberta
Cost:    Free admission

After completing her music studies at UBC in the early 1970s, Westerkamp joined the World Soundscape Project under the director of R. Murray Schafer at Simon Fraser University. Her involvement with this project not only activated deep concerns about noise and the general state of the acoustic environment in her, but it also changed her ways of thinking about music, listening and soundmaking. A founding member of the World Forum for Acoustic Ecology and chief editor of its journal Soundscape for twelve years, Hildegard Westerkamp has written extensively on acoustic ecology and the practice of listening. She has hosted soundscape workshops, lead soundwalks, given lectures, and performed concerts both locally and internationally.

Hildegard Westerkamp’s electroacoustic compositions and audio art are centred around exploring aspects of the acoustic environment: urban, rural or wilderness soundscapes, voices, noise or silence, music and media sounds, and the everyday sounds of cultures around the world. She has created pieces from and for specific sites, including Vancouver’s Harbour Symphony, École Polytechnique, and the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts in New Delhi. Westerkamp’s compositions draw attention to the act of listening itself, to the inner, hidden spaces of the environments we inhabit and to details both familiar and foreign in the acoustic environment.

You can listen to the CBC Ideas podcast featuring Hildegard Westerkamp to learn more about her work in soundscape composition and acoustic ecology.

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Rensonance Prism: The Music of Howard Bashaw

This concert is a celebratory retrospective concert of the compositions of Professor Emeritus Howard Bashaw. Bashaw’s dense, complex language is brought to life by virtuosic performers across many genres, including chamber, choral, solo piano, and electracoustic sounds.

Friday, Oct. 19, 2019. 7:30 – 9:00 PM
Convocation Hall

More Info

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Welcome Back!

Welcome to another fun-filled year of new music and sound art at the University of Alberta! For those new to the department, this website is your one-stop resource for information about the program, concerts, visiting artists, etc. Note that the music department pages are still the official location for general music department info, so please make sure you get to know that site as well.  Please note: all dates for student concerts and events are listed in the sidebar (which are subject to change). Please check this site often for updates and reminders!

Composition Forum this year, as usual, will be on the 4th Wednesday of the month, 4-5:30 PM, in the electroacoustic studio (Fine Arts Building 27-D). Please see the sidebar ( ->) for dates, and PUT THEM IN YOUR CALENDAR NOW. For those new to the program, Composition Forum is a chance for all composers, grad, undergrad, faculty, to get together, talk about composition, show work to each other, etc. Or, we might just watch a film. If you are taking composition tutorials, attendance is required, and your teacher may ask you to present work-in-progress.

Please see the Department of Music website for information regarding orientation.


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Student Composition Concerts – April 15, 16 2019

MONDAY, April 15, 6 PM, Convocation Hall

Contempo and XiME, featuring acoustic music, electronic music, improvised music, new instruments – created and composed by undergraduate composers and undergrad/graduate improvisors. Please note the time is 6 PM, not 7:30.

TUESDAY, April 16, 12 NOON, Studio 27, Fine Arts Building

Come enjoy an hour of new electroacoustic music created by student composers from Music 445. And Donuts!

TUESDAY, April 16, 7:30 PM, Convocation Hall

New compositions by graduate student composers, featuring Allison Balcetis (saxes) and the Edmonton Saxophone Quartet.

Hope to see some of you there! Please forward to interested parties!

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Quasar Quartet – Sonic Territories

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Join Quasar quatuor de saxophones for their residency at the University of Alberta Department of Music! Culminating in their concert on February 5th featuring all Canadian works chosen from a massive nation-wide call:

Émilie Girard-Charest : Bestiaire
Jim O’Leary: Saxophone Quartet
Ofer Pelz: I need to hear it first
Rebecca Bruton: Mammalian Mother Tongues
Jean-Marc Bouchard : Cathédrale-Graffitis (with participation of UofA faculty and students!)

Concert Admission: $20 General, $10 Students and Seniors, Free for Dept. of Music Faculty and Students

All Other Events are FREE

Monday, February 4, 2019

  • 7:00 PM Graduate Composition Student Workshop, room 1-29

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

  • 8:00 PM Concert: Sonic Territories – Con Hall

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

  • 12:00 PM Masterclass – room 2-28
  • 3:00 PM Round Table: Composing Today: What? To What Ends? For Whom? Room Studio 2-7D
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