canadian music

World Music Exploration - Canadian Pop and Rock

Last week was Canada Music Week. I let my students choose which Canadian artist or band they'd like to share with me. Here are a few of their choices:


Celine Dion: we have been admiring her vocal range and stage presence.


Justin Bieber: Well, my students in his fan demographic would say "he's awesome". He's a cute kid. I like the drum grooves.

Frank Mills: This was one of the first "fun" (AKA, "supplemental") pieces my mom "asked" me to learn. Isn't Music Box Dancer catchy?

Two of my students introduced me to Cœur de Pirate last year. She sang at the 2011 Calgary Folk Fest. Here's C'était Salement Romantique:


 (c) 2011 by Musespeak(TM), Calgary, AB, Canada. All rights reserved.

World Music Exploration - Andrew Ager

Maestro gives his seal of approval (energetic singing) on this week's featured entry. This week we are learning about Canadian Composer Andrew Ager. 
Andrew Ager is a living composer. He has been the Composer-in-Residence of the Georgian Bay Symphony and Timothy Eaton Memorial Church. Ager has composed music for orchestra, chamber ensembles and opera. 


This is a clip from his 2005 opera "Frankenstein" based on Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein" (a collaboration with Tryptych Productions of Toronto) 
He has received grants from the Laidlaw Foundation, The Ontario Arts Council and The Canada Council for the Arts.
(c) 2011 by Musespeak(TM), Calgary, AB, Canada. All rights reserved.

World Music Exploration - Claude Champagne

This time, we are exploring some classical-style Canadian music. Our featured composer is Claude Champagne. 

Claude Champagne lived from 1891to 1965. Born in Montréal, he started piano and music theory at the age of 10. He was a composer, teacher, adjudicator and administrator. 
Champagne wrote for orchestra, piano, organ and choir. He also wrote five solfège teaching manuals, served as assistant director of the new Conservatoire de Musique du Québec and later became the editor-in-chief of the Canadian publications department of BMI Canada Ltd. (1949-65) and as an adjudicator or juror for many competitions. Fellow Canadian Clermont Pépin once said that Champagne "established the basis of a modern teaching approach for the training of young musicians in Québec."
This week's clip is from Champagne's first major work, the symphonic poem Hercule et Omphale (1918):
(c) 2011 by Musespeak(TM), Calgary, AB, Canada. All rights reserved.

World Music Exploration - Newfoundland Folk Music

My colleague Katrina may cheer over this week's music selection. We are heading east, all the way to Newfoundland for this clip. This is a traditional song from Newfoundland called "Lukie's Boat" - McInnis' Kitchen. This band performs Celtic music from Ireland, Cape Breton, NS and Newfoundland. They tour throughout Canada and the United States. Here they are:

(c) 2011 by Musespeak(TM), Calgary, Alberta, Canada. All rights reserved.

World Music Exploration - French Canadian Fiddle Music

Later this month, we will be celebrating Canada Music Week. Whenever there's a celebration, however, I like to stretch it out for as long as possible. So Maestro and I hereby declare November as "Canada Music Month".


The French and the English were the first European nations to colonize Canada. Yes, they were preceded by the Vikings but they didn't stay long. Yes, the First Nations people were here first. We highlighted them last year.


We are kicking things November with some French Canadian fiddle music. Long ago, I used to stepdance (Ottawa Valley style), so this brings back memories. These are the Thomsons, a father and son duo, performing three reels:
(c) 2011 by Musespeak(TM), Calgary, AB, Canada. All rights reserved.

World Music Exploration 2010/11 Week 11 - Canadian Composers

It was really difficult for me to choose just one classical Canadian composer to highlight. Our composers are truly prolific and they are not afraid to push Canadian music to new levels. Then I decided that since I've been highlighting two Canadian pieces per week, why stop now? This week, we are exploring Healey Willan and Alexina Louie.

The first Canadian composer we will explore this week is Healey Willan (1880 - 1968). According to Timothy J. McGee in The Music of Canada, Willan is Canada's best-known composer(Toronto: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. 1985). He was a teacher at the Toronto Conservatory of Music (now the Royal Conservatory of Music), as well as the University of Toronto. He also was a church organist, choirmaster and conductor.

Willan composed approximately 800 musical works, including operas, symphonies, concertos and liturgical music. He also wrote music for band, piano, organ, choir and solo voice. His musical style is considered conservative, incorporating late-romantic and post-romantic idioms.

This week's pick is How They So Softly Rest:

On the opposite end of the spectrum lies our second featured composer for the week: Alexina Louie (1949 - ). She is a composer, pianist and teacher. She has written for musical theatre, orchestra, chamber music, TV and film. She has explored electronic music and has blended elements of Asian music - a nod to her Asian heritage.

In 1986, the Canadian Music Council named Louie Composer of the Year. In 1994 she earned the Chalmers Award for her work, Gallery Fanfares. She received the Jules Léger Prize in 1999 for her composition Nightfall. In 2005 Louie became an Officer of the Order of Canada.

This is Fastforward. The performer is Israeli concert pianist Dorel Golan:

(c) 2010 by Musespeak(tm), Calgary, AB, Canada. All rights reserved.