I am a composer of expressive orchestral music and film score. I am also a creative writer of instrumental jazz, electronica and world music.
I have composed music since the late 1980′s. In my childhood in Regina, I studied piano and organ performance and recorded my first musical compositions on my Commodore 64. At Queen’s University I earned a B.Sc. in biology, but found myself spending my happiest times writing music. I switched gears for my Master’s Degree and studied music psychology and cognition at the Queen’s Psychology Department. I continued to compose, with my first professional work being scores for theatrical productions and student film projects in Kingston, Ontario.
My music developed rapidly under the mentorship of Queen’s music school composition professor Norman Sherman, who introduced me to contemporary art music by the likes of Bartok, Stockhausen and Messiaen. After graduating with a thesis on the cognitive representation of musical harmony, I returned to Regina determined to pursue a career in soundtrack and concert music.
I intended to stay in Regina for only a few months, but an encounter with Rob Bryanton of Regina’s Talking Dog Studios led to composing work on popular children’s programs “Incredible Story Studio” and “2030 CE”, which was nominated for a Gemini for its soundtrack. I pursued every composition opportunity I was given, writing for chamber ensembles, symphony orchestras, film and television productions, theatre and ballet productions, and recording projects. I am now one of Saskatchewan’s most well-known composers of both soundtracks and orchestral concert music. I also teach an upper-year course in the psychology of music at the University of Regina (through Luther College).
Today I continue to broaden my range through working as a PhD student in the field of adaptive music. My research involves creating tools for composers to write music that interacts with and responds to its audiences, with applications in video games, installation art and web-based media.
At home with sequencers and samplers since beginning to compose electronically as a teenager in the 1980′s, I have also written for live musicians (including orchestra and voice) on numerous occasions. My studio has several PC’s and some of the latest and most authentic-sounding instrumental, synthesizer and vocal sample libraries available.
KEY CREDITS AND AWARDS
Current PhD student at the University of Regina (2013 - present)
I am enrolled in an Interdisciplinary PhD in Fine Arts, with co-supervisors in faculties of Fine Arts (Dr. Rebecca Caines) and Computer Science (Dr. David Gerhard). I am working towards developing a computer-based system allowing composers to create music that interacts with and responds to its audience. I will also be creating a body of artistic work with this system, and exploring its implications for composers, audiences and interactive media productions.
I have won four scholarships to date during my PhD, including a $10,000 Saskatchewan Innovation and Opportunity Scholarship.
M.A. in the psychology of music from Queen’s University (1999)
My studies, in part funded by grants from the National Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, included topics such as how emotional responses to music are generated and how music is represented cognitively. I also studied advanced computer science, acoustics, and auditory perception during the program. My thesis dealt with the cognitive structures associated with musical harmony.
B.Sc. (Honours) in biology from Queen’s University (1994)
I won numerous scholarships as a biology student, producing an honours thesis on the topic of Locusts' visual collision avoidance systems.
Composition mentorship with Norman Sherman (1993 to 1998)
A respected composer and professor of music at Queen's University, Norman Sherman taught me music theory and score reading during frequent lessons while I was a student. He also critiqued my early work and introduced me to contemporary composers such as Boulez, Stockhausen and his own mentor, the great French composer Olivier Messiaen.
Lessons in piano, organ, and flute performance (1978 – 1985)