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Bruce Mather

BRUCE MATHER was born in Toronto on May 9, 1939, but has made Montréal his home since 1966 and is considered one of Québec's most important composers. He studied piano with Alberto Guerrero and composition with Oskar Morzwetz, Godfrey Ridout and John Weinzweig at the Royal Conservatory in Toronto and at the Faculty of Music at the University of Toronto, completing his Bachelor's degree in 1959. Post graduate studies took him to France where he worked with Darius Milhaud (composition), whom he had met previously at the summer course in Aspen, and Olivier Messiaen (analysis). Mather did his Masters at Standford University with Leland Smith and received his doctorate from the University of Toronto in 1967. He has taught composition, analysis and harmony at McGill University since 1966 and has been the director of the Contemporary Music Ensemble there since 1981. As a pianist, Mather actively promotes contemporary music and has performed widely with his wife Pierrette LePage as the Mather/LePage piano duo.

Mather's music has been performed regularly throughout Canada and is frequently heard in the United States and Europe. Beginning with Cycle Rilke in 1960, written while Mather was studying in France, many of his works have been broadcast by French national radio. On three occasions his pieces have been presented by the CBC at the International Rostrum of Composers (Symphonic Ode in 1965; Madrigal II in 1969; Sonata for 2 pianos in 1971). Mather has been commissioned by many important orchestras and contemporary music organizations at home and abroad, including the Montréal Symphony Orchestra, the National Arts Centre Orchestra, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Radio France, the Société de musique contemporaine du Québec, Toronto New Music Concerts, the Esprit Orchestra, the Rouen Chamber Orchestra, Trio Basso (Cologne) and the Collectif musical international de Champigny (2e2m). In 1979 he won the most prestigious composition prize in Canada, the Jules Léger Prize for new chamber music with Musique pour Champiny. In recognition of Mather's numerous works inspired by fine wines, he was initiated into the "Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin" at the Château Clos de Bougeot in 1987. Three years later, the SMCQ, an organization he had been associated with since its inception, celebrated Mather's 50th birthday and his two great passions, music and wine, in a concert at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Montréal. In 1993, he won the Jules Léger Prize a second time with another wine-inspired work, Yquem for 4 pianos and 4 ondes Martenot. Mather's first Opera La Princesse Blance, was premiered in Montréal in February, 1994. In the year 2000 the Émile Nelligan Foundation awarded him its Serge Garant Prize for his work as a whole.

April 2002

Link to University of Calgary Special Collections

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Canadian Music Centre