Dawson, Ted

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Dawson, Ted

Dawson, Ted , Canadian composer and teacher; b. Victoria, British Columbia, April 28, 1951. After training in violin, piano, and composition at the Victoria School of Music, he studied composition with Brian Cherney and Rudolf Komorous at the Univ. of Victoria (B.Mus., 1972); concurrently played viola in the Victoria Sym. Orch. He then pursued graduate studies in electronic music and composition with Gustav Ciamaga at the Univ. of Toronto (1972); he was also a student of Hambraeus and Lanza at McGill Univ. in Montreal (M.M.A., 1974) and took courses in music and visual arts at the Univ. of Toronto (1984), where he obtained his honors specialist certificate in music (1987). His advanced education was completed at the State Univ. of N.Y. at Buffalo (Ph.D., 1994). He taught at Concordia Univ. (1974–78) and Vanier Coll. (1978–80) in Montreal, and then was asst. prof, at Queen’s Univ. in Kingston, Ontario (1987–88) and at Brock Univ. in St. Catharines, Ontario (1988–90). In 1988 he founded the ComPoster Project, which included the creation of a comprehensive audiovisual kit with text to promote Canadian music via education. He served as director of Canadian Music Days at the invitation of the Estonia Music Council in 1993, and oversaw concerts and a film series in four Estonian cities. In 1995 he was awarded the SOCAN Prize. As director of the True North Foundation of Toronto, he oversaw the True North Festival in Taiwan in 1998. Dawson’s compositional style has evolved from an experimental abstract modernism with links to multimedia into an amalgam of both modernist and expressive styles that reflects his sense of living in the northern environment of Canada.


Pentad for String Quartet (1971); Concerto grosso I for Quadraphonic Tape or Amplified Viola, Amplified Bassoon, Trombone, Percussion, and Stereo Tape (1973–74) and // for 5 Instrumental Soloists and Orch. (1973); Chameleon for Amplified Flute (1974–75); The Land of Nurr for Electronics (1975); The Clouds of Magellan for 3 Slide Projectors, Computerized Dissolver, Synchronization Tape, and Quadraphonic Audiotape (1976–77); Binaries for 4 Dancers, 2 Amplified Percussion, and Amplified Piano (1980); Joint Actions for Female Dancer and Double Bass (1980–81); Traces in Glass for Orch. (1986–92); Portraits in a Landscape for Tape (1988); Topographical Sonata for Amplified Piano and Tape (1992–96); Sym. No. 1 (1993–96); Dragon Songs for Bass-baritone and Orch., after Li Ho and Li Shang-Yin (1995–98).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire