For more than 40 Years the CMC has championed Canadian music in BC. And thanks to your efforts and support, Canadian music is thriving across the province.

2018 was a truly wonderful year! We heard some extraordinary music and performances. Learned a lot from the remarkably talented young composers participating in our seminars. Made new friends, got to know many of our Associate Composers a little better, and threw a few parties, CD launches, and book launches along the way. We even got to serenade a ship, co-host the JUNOs Classical Music Awards with the CBC, and helped a youth in detention write a love-song.

“The Canadian Music Centre is admired throughout the world, and the British Columbia Region is truly the leading model for engagement with the public, students and teachers, the professional music community, and all those who seek to participate in the rich living culture of Canadian music in British Columbia.”

— Owen Underhill, Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient

What else? We’ve moved into a cozier new Creative Hub in the Victoria Conservatory of Music shared with their wonderful music library. And we’ve had the honour of presenting awards to some of the most creative and brilliant performers, educators, and students in the province. Below I’ve shared some of those highlights.

But we need your help to do more — and every single donation helps. We’re 70% towards our goal of raising $30,000 in private donations. Can you help? If you haven’t had the opportunity to do so this year, please call our Operations Manager, Dave McLaughlin, at ‭(604) 734-4622‬ (or toll-free at ‭1-844-416-8742) and make your donation by phone‬. Or mail your cheque to CMC BC, 873 Davie Street, Vancouver, BC, V6Z 1B7.

Serenading the St. Roch on Canada Day

Our second annual Jean Coulthard String Quartet Readings saw double the number of submissions this year, in a juried process that saw ten emerging composer’s quartets selected to be performed by the Borealis String Quartet on June 30 in the Murray Adaskin Salon for friends and family.

New this year, thanks to the efforts of Associate Composer Thomas Beckman, we partnered with the Vancouver Maritime Museum to help them celebrate the 90th Anniversary of the fabled RCMP ship St. Roch in a concert that literally surrounded the historic vessel with ten world premieres of Canadian music written specifically about the ship on Canada Day. The performance was broadcast on CBC’s podcast North By Northwest.

Putting composers into the classroom

Over the past three years, thanks to your support and a generous grant from the BC Arts Council, we’ve been able to offer Composer in the Classroom seminars to grade school students in classrooms in both Vancouver and Victoria.

Students at Selkirk Montessori preparing a guitar.

This year we also offered the program in the Burnaby Youth Detention Centre in a seminar led by CMC Associate Composer Elizabeth Knudson. Composer in the Classroom is based on R. Murray Schafer’s book of the same name and — based on his principles — teaches children mindful listening and empowers them to create their own music using graphic notation. Each seminar culminates in a performance of the music created during the classes.

Recognizing extraordinary contributions to Canadian music across BC

Bramwell Tovey (right) accepting Lifetime Achievement Award from (left to right) George Laverock (CMC BC Chair), Stefan Hintersteininger (BC Head Librarian) and Sean Bickerton (BC Director)

Thanks to your generosity, we have been able to reward scholastic excellence and recognize the extraordinary contribution to Canadian music by conductors, composers, performers, students, choirs, orchestras, and opera companies across the Province of BC, with presentations in Smithers, Prince George, Victoria, Langley, Sooke, and Vancouver.

“CMC lies at the heart of the Canadian musical experience.”

Bramwell Tovey, Associate Composer, Conductor and Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient

Dedicated to BC Legacy Composer Barbara Pentland, the Pentland Awards seek to recognize extraordinary contributions to Canadian music, excellence in composition, and best performances of Canadian music within the Province of BC through five distinct awards. Award Winners this year include:

Lifetime Achievement Award

  • Maestro Bramwell Tovey

Award of Excellence

  • Jocelyn Morlock (on winning Trifecta of SOCAN, WCMA, and a JUNO)
  • Ian Hampton

Outstanding Composition Awards

  • Marie-Claire Saindon, Benjamin Bolden, and Gerda Blok-Wilson (Chor Leoni C4 Composition Competition)

Outstanding Performance Awards

  • Fionna Lyons (Kiwanis Competition)
  • Spurrell Studio Choir (International Choral Kathaumixw Festival)

Pentland Prize

The Pentland Prize is a new, $1,000 scholarship awarded annually to a BC graduate student in Composition at the School of Music at the University of Victoria, the School of Music at the University of British Columbia, or SFU’s School for the Contemporary Arts. The Prize rotates each year between those three schools, with the graduate student to be presented the award selected by the Composition faculty of that school. The Pentland Prize is generously sponsored by Dr. Geoffrey Newman.

The 2017 winner of the Pentland Prize was six-time Grammy-nominated pianist and composer John Stetch.

“Hi Sean, that’s such an honor, thank-you for telling me. There are so many deserving students in our department, so this is very special to me.”

— Associate Composer John Stetch, Winner of Inaugural Pentland Prize

Co-presenting the JUNOFest Classical Showcase with the CBC

Sublime pianist, performance artist, and composer Rachel Iwaasa, award-winning Associate Composer Jordan Noble, and visionary founder of Music on Main David Pay enjoying a laugh at JUNOFest Classical

This past spring the Canadian Music Centre and CBC joined forces for the first time to co-present the JUNOFest Classical Showcase at the CBC’s Studio One in Vancouver. The showcase, initiated over the past decade by the CMC’s Prairie Director John Reid, featured performances by Soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian, Pianist Jan Lisiecki, Tiresias Duo (Rachel Iwaasa & Mark McGregor), Bass-Baritone Philippe Sly, and ARC Ensemble among other remarkable artists.

Jocelyn Morlock won a JUNO for Classical Composition of the Year with her composition My Name is Amanda Todd, and Jan Lisiecki won Classical Album of the Year for Large Ensemble for his recording of Chopin with the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester. The concert was produced by Denise Ball, live-streamed on Facebook, and broadcast nationally on CBC TV the following day as part of their JUNO coverage.

“With its unparalleled breadth of offerings by Canadian composers both contemporary and historical, the Pentland Library is the first and best place to discover our musical past, to hear and see our vibrant present, and indeed to plan our exciting future.”

— Jocelyn Morlock, Associate Composer

Launching third sold-out season of the Murray Adaskin Salon Concert Series

“Deep heartfelt thanks for the honour you and the CMC staff have done me in celebrating my 75th year.”

Imant Raminsh, Associate Composer

“I’m still basking in the afterglow of that wonderful concert at the CMC!”

Barry Truax, Associate Composer

The Murray Adaskin Salon Concert Series is a unique, immersion-experience series, each concert featuring the music of one notable BC composer. Thanks to your enthusiasm, we’ve sold out every concert but one over the past three years. Building on that success, next spring we will launch the new Robin Wood Recital Hall series in Victoria with a Celebration of Leila Lustig.

“Friday night was a huge gift to me — to perform with so much talent and love on stage doesn’t get better than that. THANK YOU everyone.”

— Leslie Uyeda, Associate Composer

2018 Performances & Events

Leslie Uyeda Celebration
7:00 pm • Friday, March 9, 2018 • Murray Adaskin Salon

Unheard Women (Co-Presentation with AstroLabe Musik Theatre)
7:00 pm • Friday, March 23, 2018 • Murray Adaskin Salon

Hildegard Westerkamp Birthday Celebration
7:00 pm • Friday, April 6, 2018 • Murray Adaskin Salon

Barry Truax 70th Birthday Celebration
7:00 pm • Friday, May 11, 2018 • Murray Adaskin Salon

Pentland Prize Presentation To John Stetch
7:00 pm • Friday, June 1, 2018 • Murray Adaskin Salon

Ian Hampton Book Launch: Jan in 35 Pieces (Co-Presentation with Porcupine’s Quill Press)
4:00 pm • Saturday, June 23, 2018 • Murray Adaskin Salon

Skin & Metal: Homoerotic Music Theatre Works by Barry Truax (Queer Arts Festival Co-Presentation)
7:00 pm • Sunday, June 24, 2018 • Roundhouse Community Centre

Art Song Lab SongSparks Festival (Co-Presentation with Art Song Lab)
Monday, June 25 – Thursday, June 28 • Murray Adaskin Salon

John Dutcher Composition Workshop (Queer Arts Festival & Talking Stick Festival Co-Presentation with CMC BC)
5:00 pm • Tuesday, June 26, 2018 • Roundhouse Community Centre

Jean Coulthard String Quartet Readings Concert
2:00 pm • Saturday, June 30, 2018 • Murray Adaskin Salon

Jean Coulthard String Quartet Readings Concert (Co-Presented w/ Vancouver Maritime Museum)
2:00 pm • Sunday, July 1, 2018 • Vancouver Maritime Museum

Imant Raminsh: 75th Birthday Celebration
7:00pm • Monday, September 17, 2018 • Murray Adaskin Salon

Janet Danielson: Celebration of Women’s History Month
7:00pm • Monday, October 15, 2018 • Murray Adaskin Salon

Michael Conway Baker Celebration
7:00pm • Monday, November 26, 2018 • Murray Adaskin Salon

A new home in Victoria

Last month, we moved into a new, fun little Victoria Creative Hub in the main building of the Victoria Conservatory shared with their library. Stop in to see our new space (look for the signs in the lobby) and say hi to Associate Composer Daniel Brandes, who is staffing the space for us two afternoons a week as Victoria Liaison. We are also continuing, thanks to Associate Composer Christopher Reiche, to host the meetings of the Comparing Notes Composer Group at the Conservatory. And on Monday, April 29 at 7:00 pm, we launch our new Robin and Winifred Wood Recital Hall concert series in Victoria with a 75th Birthday Celebration of Associate Composer Leila Lustig.

Opening our home to hundreds of musicians, poets, songwriters, and filmmakers

Today the CMC’s reimagined and revitalized Vancouver Creative Hub is buzzing with activity day and night, fulfilling its role as the vibrant home of Canadian music in downtown Vancouver. Auditions, class visits, concerts, rehearsals, book launches, CD launches, press conferences, strategic planning sessions, board meetings, film screenings, receptions, and award presentations continually animate the space.

Hubert Klyne Headley Celebration

Audience members viewing original Headley scores during intermission.

Our Barbara Pentland Library remains at the centre of everything we do

Barbara Pentland Library

“For an opera company trying to widen the circumference of Canadian opera, the library at CMC-Vancouver is essential. It is unique, and without parallel. At City Opera, we look for gifted composers whose work — and potential — may be found and studied on those shelves.”

— Dr. Charles Barber, Founder & Music Director, City Opera Vancouver

Over the past year, our BC Head Librarian and CMC Associate Composer Stefan Hintersteininger has helped hundreds of patrons find the music they need; helped print and bind it with our highly specialized service that is unmatched for quality in Western Canada; and published every week the province’s go-to listing of Canadian music performances, events, and opportunities in our celebrated Enews Centrepulse, read by hundreds and hundreds of people every week.

And thanks to the efforts of a team of dedicated volunteers, our unmatched Digital Archive of the entire history of Canadian music in BC (now enriched with searches including video and audio recordings) has grown over the past year to contain more than 24,000 artefacts.

What’s next?

Stay tuned! Dave, Stefan, and I have lots planned for 2019, too. Best Wishes in the meantime for the Happiest of Holidays and a wonderful New Year!