Schafer, R(aymond) Murray

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Schafer, R(aymond) Murray

Schafer, R(aymond) Murray, Canadian composer, writer, and educator; b. Sarnia, Ontario, July 18, 1933. After obtaining his Licentiate from the Royal Schools of Music (1952), he studied with Alberto Guerrero (piano), Greta Kraus (harpsichord), Arnold Walter (musicology), and John Weinzweig (composition) at the Royal Cons. of Music of Toronto (1952–55). He pursued studies in languages, literature, and philosophy on his own, and then lived in Vienna (1956–57). After receiving some lessons from Peter Racine Fricker in England, he returned to Toronto in 1961 and served as director of the Ten Centuries Concerts. From 1963 to 1965 he was artist-in-residence at Memorial Univ., and from 1965 to 1975 taught at Simon Fraser Univ. In 1972 he founded the World SoundScape Project for the purpose of exploring the relationship between people and their acoustic world. As the self-styled “father of acoustic ecology,” he campaigned against the “sonic sewers” of modern urban life caused by noise pollution. In 1974 he held a Guggenheim fellowship and in 1987 received the Glenn Gould Award. In addition to his many books on music, he also wrote literary works and was active as a visual artist. Over the years, Schäfer has utilized various contemporary techniques in his compositions. His explorations into ancient and modern languages, literature, and philosophy are reflected in many of his works. In his later scores, he made use of Eastern philosophy and religion.


British Composers in Interview (London, 1963); The Composer in the Classroom (Toronto, 1965); Ear Cleaning: Notes for an Experimental Music Course (Toronto, 1967); The New SoundScape (Toronto, 1969); The Book of Noise (Vancouver, 1970); When Words Sing (Scarborough, Ontario, 1970); The Public of the Music Theatre: Louis Kiel—A Case Study (Vienna, 1972); The Rhinoceros in the Classroom (London, 1975); E.T.A. Hoffmann and Music (Toronto, 1975); Creative Music Education (N.Y., 1976); ed. and commentator, Ezra Pound and Music: The Complete Criticism (N.Y., 1977); On Canadian Music (Bancroft, Ontario, 1984); Dicamus et Labyrinthos: A Philologist’s Notebook (Bancroft, Ontario, 1984); The Thinking Ear: Complete writings on Music Education (Toronto, 1986); Patria and the Theatre of Confluence (Indian River, Ontario, 1991).


DRAMATIC : Loving or Toi, opera (1963–65; first complete perf., Toronto, March 11, 1978); Patria, cycle of 12 musical/theatrical pieces (1966-in progress); Jonah, theater piece (1979); Apocalypsis, musical/theatrical pageant (London, Oct. 28, 1980). ORCH .: In Memoriam: Alberto Guerrero for Strings (1959); Partita for Strings (1961); Canzoni for Prisoners (1962); Untitled Composition No. 1 for Small Orch. (1963) and No. 2 for Full Orch. (1963); Statement in Blue for Youth Orch. (1964); Son of Heldenleben for Orch. and Tape (Montreal, Nov. 13, 1968); No Longer Than Ten (10) Minutes (1970; rev. 1972); East for Small Orch. (1972); North/White for Orch. and Snowmobile (Vancouver, Aug. 17, 1973); Train for Youth Orch (1976); Cortège for Small Orch. (1977); Flute Concerto (Montreal, Oct. 8, 1984); Ko wo kiku (Listen to the Incense; 1985); Dream Rainbow Dream Thunder (1986); Concerto for Harp, Orch., and Tape (1987); Concerto for Guitar and Small Orch. (1989); Scorpius (1990; Toronto, March 25, 1991); The Darkly Splendid Earth: The Lonely Traveller for Violin and Orch. (Toronto, April 17, 1991). CHAMBER : Concerto for Harpsichord and 8 Winds (1954); Sonatina for Flute and Harpsichord or Piano (1958); Minimusic for Any Combination of Instruments or Voices (1967); 6 string quartets (1970; Waves, 1976; 1981; 1989; Rosalind, 1989; 1993); Music for Wilderness Lake for 12 Trombones and Small Rural Lake (1979); Theseus for Harp and String Quartet (1983); Le Cri de Merlin for Guitar and Tape (1987). VOCAL : Minnelieder for Mezzo-soprano and Woodwind Quintet (1956; also for Mezzo-soprano and Orch., 1987); Protest and Incarceration for Mezzo-soprano and Orch. (1960); Brébeuf, cantata for Baritone and Orch. (1961); 5 Studies on Texts by Prudentius for Soprano and 4 Flutes (1962); Threnody for Chorus, Orch., and Tape (1966; rev. 1967); Lustro, part 1: Divan i Shams i Tabriz for 6 Solo Voices, Orch., and Tape (1969; rev. 1970), 2: Music for the Morning of the World for Voice and Tape (1970), and 3: Beyond the Great Gate of Light for 6 Solo Voices, Orch., and Tape (1972); Enchantress for Voice, Exotic Flute, and 8 Cellos (1971); In Search of Zoroaster for Man’s Voice, Chorus, Percussion, and Organ (1971); Miniwanka or the Moments of Water for Women’s Voices or Chorus (1971); Adieu Robert Schumann for Alto and Orch. (1976); The Garden of the Heart (The Thousand and One Nights) for Alto and Orch. (1980); Snowforms for Women’s Voices (1981; rev. 1983); A Garden of Bells for Chorus (1983); Letters from Mignon for Mezzo-soprano and Orch. (1987); The Death of the Buddha for Chorus, Gongs, and Bell Tree (1989); Gitanjali for Soprano and Small Orch. (1990; Ottawa, May 14, 1992). OTHER : Kaleidoscope for Tape (1967); Harbour Symphony for Fog Horns (1983).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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