Calgary locationA composer’s life is largely about riding the wave. Sometimes you’re in a long, outwardly uneventful stretch of sitting at your desk with your pencil and paper, living in the world of a new piece. And then sometimes a bunch of performances happen in quick succession and you’re travelling all over the place in a very short amount of time.

WCMA programme

(Fingernails: Allegra Young)

For me, October fell into the latter category. First it was off to Calgary for the Western Canadian Music Awards. My piece Burn and Standing Wave‘s album Liquid States (on which Burn appears) were both up for awards. It seems like I’ve been in Calgary a lot the last couple of years, to the extent that the city is starting to feel like a home away from home. So it was great to have another reason to visit. And really, it’s only a hop, skip and jump away from Vancouver.

The Canadian Music Centre Prairie Region organises a Classical Showcase concert featuring the nominees in the classical categories. It was great that Standing Wave was able to come to perform Burn as part of that concert. Most of the nominees were represented and this event has gotten better and better every year thanks in large part to the CMC’s John Reid and Lindsey Wallis.


Nominee Pat Carrabré (l) with John Reid

The WCMA ceremony itself was a blast and a bit of a view into other parts of the music world I don’t spend a lot of time in. I mean, I knew it was going to be an interesting evening when it started with a rock version of the Pachelbel Canon. Who says classical music is dead?

Thanks to the miracle of WiFi, it was my first experience live-tweeting an event. And a few people were actually following me! I feel so very this century.



With composer (and winner) John Oliver (l)

It was much fun hanging out with my colleagues in primo seating (which we snagged early on), and thanks to Centrediscs Manager Allegra Young’s VIP status, a free beer made the fact that the Classical Album award inexplicably went to a MIDI file of orchestral samples a tiny bit more bearable.

And a big congrats to fellow Vancouver composer John Oliver on winning the Classical Composition of the Year award! In a year when the design of the trophy was quite pretty. John won for a great piece called Forging Utopia. Which, by the way, was performed and recorded by a real orchestra.