Chamber

Chamber music is a central part of my work. A piece that epitomizes my early writing is THE SUN AT MIDNIGHT, a quintet for flute, oboe, guitar, cello and piano from 1977. It features cross-instrumental melodies, modal harmony, rhythm, and additive metres. Shortly after came RAINS OF SAILENDRA, inspired by Javanese music– a commission for the Canadian Federation of University Women, as a result of winning their Creative Arts Award in 1977. A major change in my music came with 1982′s SPIRIT REEL, which is based in a traditional folk music aesthetic, and is written for violin and two-row diatonic button accordion (my instrument). The aim was to combine the spirit, warmth and joy of folk music with the structure and forms of new music.

The button accordion is also featured in BLUE OCEAN, from 1990, in which I explore motion and physicality with dance music from Cuba and the Congo. Rhythm and joy are central to this piece, which begins the 2004 CBC Records CD of the same name, featuring chamber and solo pieces of mine.  On the same CD is STRING QUARTET #2, nominated as “Outstanding Classical Composition” in the Western Canadian Music Awards in 2004.  This piece by contrast is more abstract, with a focus on mood and texture.

Several of my pieces involve Balinese gender wayang quartet– Balinese music is a long-held passion of mine. The gender is a ten-keyed bronze metallophone, and a quartet of matched genders is traditionally used to accompany the Balinese shadow puppet play. Gender pieces include RIVERS OF BRONZE for gender quartet and Scottish bagpipe chanter quartet, and touches on both Balinese and Scottish melody; MAYA for a mixed ensemble of genders and Western instruments, is based on a Hindu concept of life’s vicissitudes; TREE OF LIFE is for gender quartet alone and named for the central opening ‘puppet’ of the shadow play; most recently, MAGIC PHOENIX, for gender wayang quartet and keyboard-with-sampler, expresses my feeling of the magic of Balinese music and dance as a force for renewal.

My work continues to be influenced by world traditional musics– THE SUN AND THE MOON for flute and cello is inspired by traditional Irish dance music; CAÑA (2012) is a fusion piece for Latin Band with string trio and button accordion, AMADOR, is a Tango for button accordion and piano quartet; and SHADOW PLAY is for European flute and North Indian tabla (in the Benares Tradition championed by dedicatee Shawn Mativetsky).

Literature (Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina) is an inspiration for TANGLE for oboe, bass and percussion; and spirituality for RIVER OF LIGHT for woodwind quintet, button accordion and double bass.

 

List of chamber music works

CAÑA (alto sax, button accordion, violin, viola, cello, Latin percussion [timbál, bongos, congas], piano and double bass) (2012).  Written for Papa Mambo Band and Rodrigo Muñoz.  Premiered May 16, 2013 by the Papa Mambo Sextet led by Rodrigo Muñoz, with Mary Lawton, Elise Lavallée and Emma Quackenbush, strings, and Jim Hiscott, button accordion; at Eckhardt-Gramatté Hall, the University of Winnipeg.

TANGLE (oboe, double bass, percussion) (2010).  Commissioned by Meredith Johnson. Premiered September 1, 2010 by Caitlin Broms-Jacobs, Meredith Johnson and Ben Reimer; at the Winnipeg Art Gallery, in the GroundSwell New Music Series.

AMADOR (button accordion, violin, viola , cello, and piano) (2008).  Commissioned by the Clear Lake Chamber Music Festival with a grant from the Manitoba Arts Council.  Premiered August 2, 2008 by Jim Hiscott, Joyce Lai, Daniel Scholz, Yuri Hooker, and Daniel Tselyakov; Onanole Community Centre, Onanole, Manitoba.

SHADOW PLAY (flute, tabla) (2007).  Commissioned by Shawn Mativetsky with a grant from the Manitoba Arts Council.  Premiered Feb. 25/08 by Laurel Ridd and Shawn Mativetsky, at Eckhardt-Gramatte Hall, University of Winnipeg.  Further pfces include Nov. 14/11 at Maison Symphonique de Montréal (flutist Marie-Hélène Breault) and Mar. 6/14 at Bangor University, Wales (flutist Josephine Wilkin).

MAGIC PHOENIX (Balinese gender wayang quartet and keyboard/sampler) (2006).  Written with grants from the Manitoba Arts Council and the Winnipeg Arts Council.  Premiered June 3/07  by Maja Gender (Ann Hepper, Michael O’Neill, Andrea Ratuski and Jim Hiscott) and Cheryl Pauls, at Crescent-Fort Rouge United Church, in the GroundSwell Series.

RIVER OF LIGHT (woodwind quintet, button accordion [G/C], double bass) (2006).  Commissioned by the Barlow Endowment for Music Composition at Brigham Young University, through Eric Hansen and the Orpheus Winds. Premiered May 12/07 by the Orpheus Winds, Jim Hiscott and Eric Hansen; Deseret Chamber Music Festival, Provo, Utah.

THE BAY OF NAPLES (viola, button accordion [G/C]) (2004).  Commissioned by Rivka Golani with the assistance of the Canada Council for the Arts.

SPIRAL for two violas (2003).  Commissiond by Daniel Scholz with the assistance of the Manitoba Arts Council. Premiered Feb. 19/09 by Daniel Scholz and Michael Scholz in the Carol Shields Auditorium, Millenium Library, Winnipeg, in the Skywalk Series.  Further pfces. by Daniel and Michael Scholz– June 23/09 at the Millenium Centre, Winnipeg,; Feb. 5/10 at the Winnipeg Art Gallery in the Happening, concert of the WSO New Music Festival; and May 2/11 in the Prairie Scene Festival in Ottawa.

WORLD DANCES for violin, piano and button accordion (2002).  Commissioned by the Winnipeg Chamber Music Society with the assistance of the Manitoba Arts council. Premiered Nov. 17/02 by Gwen Hoebig, David Moroz and Jim Hiscott in the Winnipeg Chamber Music Society Series, at the Winnipeg Art Gallery.

TREE OF LIFE (Balinese gender wayang quartet) (2002).  Premiered March 26, 2002 by Ann Hepper, Michael O’Neill, Andrea Ratuski, and Jim Hiscott; in the GroundSwell Series, at Crescent-Fort Rouge Church, Wpg. Also performed on five-concert tour in November/02 in Manitoba and B.C. by “Maja Gender” (same players as above).

AFTER SORROW (violin, viola, cello) (2001).  Commissioned by the Eden Trio with the assistance of the Manitoba Arts Council.  Premiered by Karl Stobbe, Elise Lavallée and Emma Quackenbush, in the WSO New Music Festival; Jan. 31/12, Winnipeg Art Gallery, Winnipeg.

WAVES OF PASSION (cello, two-row button accordion, piano, contrabass) (2001).  Commissioned by Paul Marleyn with the assistance of the Manitoba Arts Council. Premiered by Paul Marleyn, Jim Hiscott, Sara Laimon, and Eric Hansen, April 3/01 at Eckhardt-Gramatte Hall, the University of Winnipeg.

THE SUN AND THE MOON (flute and cello) (1999).  Commissioned by Shauna Rolston with the assistance of the Manitoba Arts Council. Premiered by Susan Hoeppner and Shauna Rolston, Feb. 4 and 5, 2006, at the Brandon University School of Music and the Winnipeg Art Gallery, Manitoba, respectively.

MAYA (two oboes, string quartet, Balinese gender wayang quartet) (1998).  Commissioned by the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra with the assistance of the Canada Council for the Arts. Premiered by Douglas Bairstow and William Bonness, oboes, Gwen Hoebig and Sara Serban, violins, Elise Lavallée, viola, Carolyn Nagelberg, cello, Ann Hepper, Michael O’Neill, Andrea Ratuski, and Jim Hiscott, Balinese genders, conducted by Bramwell Tovey; February 3, 1999, at the Centennial Concert Hall, Winnipeg, as part of the WSO DuMaurier Arts Ltd. New Music Festival.

STRING QUARTET #2 (1998).  Premiered by Gwen Hoebig, Karl Stobbe, Daniel Scholz, and Paul Marleyn in the GroundSwell Series, Nov. 8/98, at the Steinbach Cultural Centre, Steinbach, Manitoba; repeated Nov. 12/98 at the Site Gallery, Winnipeg.  Pfces by the Molinari String Quartet: Aug. 3/02 at Christ Church Cathedral, Montreal and Aug. 5/02, at Tabaret Hall, Ottawa as part of the Ottawa Chamber Music Festival.

RIVER FLOWING (flute, bass clarinet, percussion) (1997).  Premiered by Leslie Newman, Patricia Daniels, and Robert Gardner; Dec. 2/97, GroundSwell Series, the Winnipeg Art Gallery.

MOON LIGHT (violin, piano) (1997).  Commissioned by Stephen Sitarski and Earl Stafford with the assistance of the Manitoba Arts Council. Premiered by Duo Diorama– MingHuan Xu and Winston Choi– on March 13, 2010, at Eckhardt-Gramatté Hall, University of Winnipeg.

THE NEEDLE’S EYE (violin, button accordion [G/C], and piano) (1996).  Commissioned by Dolores Keahey with the assistance of the Manitoba Arts Council. Premiered by Steven Sitarski, Jim Hiscott, and Delores Keahey, in the “Ivory Echoes” series, Mar. 25/96, at Eva Clare Hall, the University of Manitoba, Winnipeg.

THE SHIELD OF ST. PATRICK (mezzo-soprano, violin, viola, cello, and bass) (1995).  Commissioned by Karen Jensen with the assistance of the Manitoba Arts Council. Premiered by Karen Jensen, Gwen Hoebig, Daniel Scholz, Arkadiusz Tesarczyk, and Zdzislaw Prochownik, conducted by Earl Stafford, Oct. 15/95, at Young United Church, Winnipeg. Premiere of version for soprano by Valdine Anderson, Gwen Hoebig, Daniel Scholz, Arkadiusz Tesarczyk, and Moragh Parks Jan. 26/03 in the WSO New Music Festival, Winnipeg.

BREATH (music for an interdisciplinary work for actor, dancer, and button accordionist; no score available) (1995).  Music composed/improvised/performed by Jim Hiscott, words by Muriel Hogue, and dance by Susan Burpee. Premiered by Hogue/Burpee/Hiscott, directed by Nancy Drake, July 15-22/95, in the Winnipeg Fringe Festival.

LESOTHO (arrangement for clarinet, trumpet, violin, vibraphone, marimba, piano, and bass).  Premiered by Arraymusic, Oct. 30/94, Toronto.

ROMANTIC NIGHTS (viola and two percussionists) (1993).  Commissioned by Rivka Golani with the assistance of the Canada Council. Premiered by Rivka Golani and members of the Hammerhead Ensemble, May 8/94, at the Edmonton New Music Festival, Edmonton, Alberta.

RIVERS OF BRONZE (four Scottish bagpipe chanters and Balinese Gender Quartet) (1993).  Premiered by members of the Stirling Pipe Band, Ann Hepper, Michael O’Neill, Andrea Ratuski, and Jim Hiscott, conducted by Robert Gardner, Jan. 31/94, at the Centennial Concert Hall, Winnipeg, as part of the WSO’s duMaurier Arts Ltd. New Music Festival.

RAIN AND MOURNING (bass clarinet, horn, violin, cello, and piano) (1993).  Premiered by GroundSwell Ensemble, March 30/93, at the Prairie Theatre Exchange, Winnipeg.

STRING QUARTET #1 (1992).  Premiered by the St. Lawrence String Quartet, Mar. 26/94, at Crescent-Fort Rouge United Church, Winnipeg.  Pfces by the Molinari String Quartet: Aug. 3/02 at Christ Church Cathedral, Montreal and Aug. 5/02, at Tabaret Hall, Ottawa as part of the Ottawa Chamber Music Festival.

LIFE IN PARADISE (bass clarinet and button accordion [G/C]) (1992).  Premiered by Lori Freedman and Jim Hiscott, Feb. 21/93, at the Centennial Concert Hall in Winnipeg, as part of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra’s second duMaurier Arts Ltd. New Music Festival.

HEART OF STARS (two saxophonists [playing five saxophones], piano) (1991).  Commissioned by the Quarks Trio with the assistance of the Manitoba Arts Council. Premiered by The Quarks Trio, May 4/92, GroundSwell concert, the Winnipeg Art Gallery.

BLUE OCEAN (clarinet, button accordion [A/D], cello, piano) (1990).  Commissioned by the Vancouver New Music Society with the assistance of the Manitoba Arts Council. Premiered by Lori Freedman, Jim Hiscott, Susan Round and Arly Thompson at a Vancouver New Music Society concert, April 8/90, at the Vancouver East Cultural Centre.

LES LARMES DE POLICHINELLE (flute, viola, cello) (1989).  Commissioned by Music Inter Alia. Premiered by Music Inter Alia, Nov. 28/89, at the Winnipeg Art Gallery.

ALTIPLANO (two versions: two trumpets, horn, trombone, and tuba or two trumpets, horn, trombone, and bass trombone) (1989).  Commissioned by The Great Lakes Brass with the assistance of the Manitoba Arts Council. Premiered by The Great Lakes Brass, Oct. 10/89, Rouyn/Noranda, Quebec.  Premiere of version with bass trombone by the New York Philharmonic Brass Quintet, at the Scotia Festival of Music, Halifax, June 4/90.

SCENES BEFORE THE FLOOD (two flutes, two trumpets, two percussion, contrabass) (1987).  Part of multi-media production “The Noah Project”, with artist Jack Butler, poet Patrick Friesen, dancer Stephanie Ballard, director Kim McCaw, dramaturge Per Brask, completed with the assistance of a Canada Council “Explorations” Grant. Performable independently. Premiered by the Noah Project Ensemble, Oct. 23/87, Winnipeg.

 

NOAH (flute, clarinet, trumpet, harp, percussion, contrabass) (1987).  Written with funds from a Canada Council “Explorations” Grant for “The Noah Project” (see note for following work).

SCHVESTER MUSIC (violin, clarinet, button accordion [A/D], piano accordion, percussion) (1987).  Suite from the puppet play SCHVESTER, from score written in 1985. Premiered by Nandor Szederkenyi, Myron Schultz, Jim Hiscott, and Frederick Liessens, May 26/87, at the Winnipeg Art Gallery.

CHANT (cello, piano) (1986).  Commissioned by Bryan Epperson with the assistance of the Manitoba Arts Council. Premiered by Karin Erhardt and Laurie Duncan, Apr. 18/91, at the West End Cultural Centre, Winnipeg. Transcription for viola and piano premiered by Rennie and Jenny Regehr, Nov. 17/91, at Jubilee Place, M.B.C.I., Winnipeg.  (Second movement available in a viola and piano transcription)

MÉTIS DANCE VARIATIONS (violin, two-row button accordion [A/D], percussion, piano) (1985).  Commissioned by Métis Arts of Manitoba. Premiered by Victor Schultz, Jim Hiscott, Barbara Riske, and Greg Black, March 17/86, at the Winnipeg Art Gallery.

QUATRAIN (two flutes) (1985).  Premiered by Nina Epperson and Virginia Helmer, Nov. 18/85, at the Winnipeg Arts Gallery.

SCHVESTER (voice, violin, clarinet, button accordion [A/D], piano accordion, percussion) (1985).  Commissioned by the Manitoba Puppet Theatre with the assistance of the Manitoba Arts Council. Premiered as a recording with the production of SCHVESTER, a puppet play by the Manitoba Puppet Theatre, at Rosh Pina Synagogue, Winnipeg.

EXOCET (electric guitar, electric piano) (1983).  Premiered by Greg Lowe and Peter Allen, Nov. 14/83, at The Gas Station Theatre, Winnipeg.

VARIATIONS ON A THEME OF GIUSEPPE VERDI (violin, piano) (1983).  Commissioned by Victor Schultz with the assistance of the Manitoba Arts Council. Premiered by Victor and Erica Schultz, Sept. 9/83, at St. Andrew’s and St. George’s Church, the Edinburgh Festival, Edinburgh, Scotland.

GUATEMALA (flute, clarinet, contrabass) (1983).  Commissioned by Music Inter Alia with the assistance of the Manitoba Arts Council. Premiered by Laurel Ridd, Theodore Oien, and Dan Armstrong, at a Music Inter Alia concert, Apr. 23/83, at the Winnipeg Art Gallery.

SPIRIT REEL (violin, two-row button accordion [G/C]) (1982).  Premiered by Victor Schultz and Jim Hiscott, Nov. 1/82, at the Winnipeg Art Gallery.

THE FLOWERING FOREST (alto flute, violin, cello, piano) (1982).  Commissioned by Aurora Musicale with the assistance of the Manitoba Arts Council. Premiered by Aurora Musicale, May 3/82, at the Winnipeg Art Gallery.

CEREMONY III (flute, clarinet, bassoon, violin, contrabass, 2 percussion, piano) (1978, 1981).  Premiered by the Canadian Contemporary Music Workshop Ensemble, May 25/85, Toronto. Revised version premiered by GroundSwell Ensemble conducted by Owen Underhill, Oct. 7/91, at the Winnipeg Art Gallery.    Pfce by Ensemble Musica Nova, cond. Jack Fortner, São Paulo, Brazil, in Festa Musica Nova, Oct. 13/10.

HERMAN THE THRUSH AND THE EMERALD (narrator, flute, oboe, clarinet, horn bassoon) (1980).  Commissioned by the Niagara Symphony Association with the assistance of the Ontario Arts Council. Premiered by Richard Ouzounian, narrator, with Izmusic Woodwind Quintet, at the Winnipeg Art Gallery.

MOON AND CLOUDS OVER THE CLYDE (flute, oboe, guitar, cello, piano) (1976, 1979).  Premiered Mar. 21/90 by IZMusic Ensemble, at The West End Cultural Centre.

TRIO II (flute, trumpet, cello) (1978)

BALLAD NO. 1 (alto flute, clarinet, baritone saxophone, percussion, free-bass accordion, piano) (1978).  Premiered by Barbara Ackerman, Robert Stevenson, Don Englert, Glenn Price, Frank Baggetta, Noreen Waibel, cond. Lawrence Shragge, Nov. 25/79, at The Music Gallery, Toronto.

RAINS OF SAILENDRA (flute, clarinet, violin, cello, percussion, piano) (1978).  Commissioned by the Canadian Federation of University Women. Premiered by the Array ensemble, May 18/79, at the Heliconian Hall, Toronto.  Pfce by the Canadian Chamber Ensemble conducted by Raffi Armenian; Feb. 12, 1987, Walper Terrace Hotel, Kitchener.

WATERWHEEL (guitar, piano) (1977).  Commissioned by Alan Torok with a grant from the Ontario Arts Council. Premiered by Alan Torok and Elizabeth Acker, July 20/78, at the Guitar ’78 Festival, Toronto.

VARIATIONS ON “MacCRIMMON WILL NEVER RETURN” (alto saxophone, free-bass accordion) (1977).  Premiered Nov. 25/79, at The Music Gallery, Toronto (musicians as in BALLAD NO. 1).

RED DAWN (flute, clarinet, percussion) (1977).  Premiered Nov. 25/79 at The Music Gallery, Toronto (musicians as in BALLAD NO. 1).

VARIATIONS ON OSCAR CELESTIN’S “MY JOSEPHINE” (alto flute, clarinet, baritone saxophone, percussion, piano) (1977).  Premiered Nov. 25/79 at The Music Gallery, Toronto (musicians as in BALLAD NO. 1).

MEMORIES OF THE FORGOTTEN STREAM (1975-76).  A cycle of six pieces for various combinations of flute, oboe, guitar, cello, and piano:

  1. MEMORIES OF THE FORGOTTEN STREAM (piano)
  2. PATTERN MELODY (alto flute, oboe, cello, guitar)
  3. BLOOD-DRINKING DEITIES (oboe, piano)
  4. LAST GRAINS OF DUST (flute, guitar, piano)
  5. ASIA (cello)
  6. THE SUN AT MIDNIGHT (alto flute, oboe, cello, guitar, piano)

Premiered by Barbara Ackerman, flute; Karen Rothenberg, oboe; Michael Jozefacki, cello; Alan Torok, guitar; and Elizabeth Acker, piano; March 12, 1977, at the David Mirvish Gallery, Toronto.

WAKE (oboe, clarinet, violin, cello, marimba) (1975).  Premiered by the University of Victoria Ensemble, July 23/80, at the Victoria International Festival.

CEREMONY II (flute, clarinet, 2 bassoons, 6 percussion [wood blocks, pot gongs, tenor drum, rawhide drum, tubular bells, brake drum], violin, viola, contrabass) (1975).  Premiered spring/1976, York University.

CEREMONY (clarinet, bassoon, trumpet, violin, 5 percussion) (1975).  Premiered by a faculty/student ensemble, March/75, York University.

TRIO (flute, cello, piano) (1975).  Premiered winter/1975 by Barbara Ackerman, Richard Armin, and Elizabeth Acker at York University, Toronto.

INFLUENCE AND INFUSION (bassoon, piano) (1974).  Premiered by Andrew Timar and Christopher Crawford, Oct., 1974, at York University, Toronto.

BRASS QUINTET (two trumpets, horn, trombone, tuba) (1973)

QUINTET FOR WOODWINDS (flute, oboe, clarinet, horn, bassoon) (1973).  Premiered by student ensemble, York University, 1974.