Mather, (James) Bruce

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Mather, (James) Bruce

Mather, (James) Bruce, Canadian composer, pianist, and teacher; b. Toronto, May 9, 1939. He studied at the Royal Cons, of Music of Toronto (1952–57) and at the Univ. of Toronto (B.Mus., 1959), his principal mentors being Alberto Guerrero, Earle Moss, and Uninsky in piano and Ridout, Morawetz, and Weinzweig in theory and composition. During the summers of 1957–58, he also attended the Aspen (Colo.) Music School. He then studied at the Paris Cons. (1959–61) with Milhaud (composition), Plé-Caussade (counterpoint and fugue), Messiaen (analysis), and Levy (piano). Following further training in composition with Leland Smith at Stanford Univ. (M.A., 1964), he returned to the Univ. of Toronto to take his D.Mus. in 1967. In 1969 he studied conducting with Boulez in Basel. After teaching at the Brodie School of Music and Dance and at the Univ. of Toronto (1964–66), he taught at McGill Univ. in Montreal from 1966. From 1980 to 1996 he directed its Contemporary Music Ensemble. As a pianist, he won approbation as an interpreter of contemporary scores. He appeared in duo piano concerts with his wife, Pierrett LePage. In 1979 he won the Jules Léger Prize for his Musique pour Champigny, and again in 1993 for his Yquem. In 1987 he was one of the winners of the Micheline Coulombe Saint-Marcoux prize for his Barbaresco. In his music, Mather has utilized various contemporary modes of expression, ranging from serialism to microtonality. He has displayed a special affinity in composing chamber and vocal pieces.


dramatic: opera: La Princesse Blanche (1993; Montreal, Feb. 2, 1994). o r c h. : Concerto for Piano and Chamber Orch. (Aspen, Colo., Aug. 20, 1958); Elegy for Saxophone and Strings (1959); Symphonic Ode (1964; Toronto, March 28, 1965); Orchestra Piece 1967 (1966; Toronto, Ian. 11, 1967); Ombres (1967; Montreal, May 1, 1968); Music for Vancouver for Chamber Orch. (Vancouver, Sept. 17, 1969); Musique pour Rouen for Strings (1970; Rouen, lune 9, 1971); Musigny (1980; Metz, Nov. 20, 1981); Scherzo (Toronto, Dec. 4, 1987; also for 18 Instruments, 1988; Montreal, March 16, 1989); Dialogue for Viola, Cello, Double Bass, and Orch. (Montreal, Nov. 4, 1988); Tallbrem Variations for 5 Percussion and Orch. (Toronto, March 29, 1996); Advanced Harmony for 12 Wind Instruments (Toronto, Ian. 18, 1997). chamber: Etude for Clarinet (1962); Mandola for Mandolin and Piano (1971); Music for Organ, Horn, and Gongs (Toronto, Oct. 20, 1973); Eine kleine Bläsermusik for Wind Quintet (1975; Ottawa, April 11, 1976); Clos du Vougeot for Percussion Quartet (1977; Toronto, April 3, 1978); Barolo for Cello and Tape (1978–85); Ausone for Flute, or for Flute and 2 Harps, or for Flute, 2 Harps, 2 Guitars, 2 Violins, 2 Violas, and 2 Cellos (1979); Coulée de Serrant for Harp and Piano (1980); Sassicaia for Clarinet and Piano (1981); Gattinara for Viola and Marimba (1982; Montreal, April 28, 1983); Elegy for Flute, Cello, Piano, and Percussion (Burnaby, Dec. 1, 1983); Barbaresco for Viola, Cello, and Double Bass (Metz, Oct. 7, 1984); Clos d’Audignac for Marimba and 3 Percussion (1984; Toronto, May 11, 1985); Vourray for Oboe and Harp (1986); Viola Duet (1987); Vega Sicilia for Guitar, Viola, Cello, Harp, and Marimba (1989); Aux victimes de la guerre de Vendée for Horn, 2 Pianos, and Tape (Metz, Nov. 17, 1990); Yquem for 4 Ondes Martenot and 4 Pianos (1991; Montreal, Ian. 15, 1993); Romance for Bassoon and Synthesizer (N.Y., Nov. 6, 1992); Standing Ware for Clarinet, Cello, Piano, and Percussion (1994; Vancouver, Feb. 10, 1995); Quintet for Clarinet and Strings (1995; Montreal, April 6, 1998); Duo Basso for Bass Flute and Bass Oboe (Ottawa, Feb. 5, 1997); Doisy Daëne for Flute and Piano (Montrejean, France, Aug. 26, 1998); Tempranillo for Guitar in 1/6 tones (Paris, Sept. 22, 1997); Hoy a de Cadenas for Alto Flute and Guitar in 1/4 tones (Paris, March 13, 1998). keyboard: piano:Smaragdin (1960); Like Snow (1960); Mystras (1962); Fantasy 1964 (CBC, Toronto, Nov. 22, 1964); Sonata for 2 Pianos (Manitoba, Oct. 14, 1970); In Memoriam Alexandre Uninsky (1974; Paris, Nov. 24, 1975); Régime Onze, Type A for 2 Pianos (Metz, Nov. 16, 1978); Poème du Delire for 3 Pianos (1982; Metz, April 21, 1983); D’après un eri (Ottawa, Oct. 17, 1997); Hommage à Carraio for Piano in 1/16 tones (Enghien les Bains, lune 21, 1997). O r g a n : 6 Études (1982; Sinzig, Germany, March 7, 1983). vocal: 2 Songs for Bassbaritone and Orch. (1956; Toronto, April 20, 1958); Venice for Soprano, Clarinet, Cello, and Piano (Aspen, Colo., Aug. 23, 1957); 3 Poems of Robert Graves for Soprano and String Orch. (1957–58); Cycle Rilke for Tenor and Guitar (1959; Paris, April 20, 1960); Sick Love for Soprano and Orch. (1960); The Song of Blodeuwedd for Baritone, Percussion, Harp, Piano, and Strings (1961); Lament for Pasiphae for Chorus and Chamber Orch. (1962; Stanford, Calif., April 28, 1963); Orphée for Soprano, Piano, and Percussion (San Francisco, Dec. 14, 1963); La Lune Mince for Chorus (1965; Montreal, April 2, 1970); Madrigal I for Soprano, Contralto, and 5 Instruments (Toronto, April 16, 1967), II for Soprano, Contralto, and 5 Instruments (Stratford, Ontario, luly 27, 1968), 11/ for Contralto and 3 Instruments (Toronto, luly 21, 1971), IV for Soprano, Flute, Piano, and Tape (1972; Montreal, April 13, 1973), and V for Soprano, Contralto, and Chamber Orch. (Montreal, April 12, 1973); Au Château de Pompairain for Mezzo-soprano and Orch. (1975; Ottawa, May 4, 1977); Musique pour Champigny for Soprano, Mezzo-soprano, Contralto, and 5 Instruments (1976; Montreuil, France, March 3, 1977); Les Grandes Fontaines for Soprano and Piano (1981); Un cri qui durerait la mer for Mezzo-soprano or Contralto and Piano (1985; Montreal, April 25, 1986); Travaux de Nuit for Baritone and Chamber Orch. (1989; N.Y., lune 24, 1990); Des Laines de Lumière for Baritone and 2 Pianos (Quebec, Dec. 7, 1998); La Voix de l’Oiseau for Soprano and Piano (Montreal, March 11, 1999).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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Mather, (James) Bruce

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