The State of the SSO

Each fall as we’re getting ready to launch a new season, I get to take some time to look back at the past year and reflect on the “state of the SSO”.  I have to admit that this is always a great chore – but particularly with this past season, there was much to be proud about.

The SSO is in a state of growth – measured and steady, but still rapid growth.  In Season 86 we added two new series to our programming, we embarked on a collaborative week of Mozart Festival-ing, and we continued to grow our subscriber base.  This is remarkable news…we are making more music, and bringing it to more people, and engaging with more of our community.  We have used what we do as a means for dialogue about how we can connect more, and I think we’re doing a very good job of that.  We’re always striving to improve the lives of our musicians, so last season our spending on artistic expenses went up – a great reason for a growing budget.  The growth at the SSO is driven by a growth in our music community.

We formed a lot of great relationships that will play a big role in the future of music in Saskatoon – the most important of which is the Memorandum of Understanding we signed with the University of Saskatchewan.   This one-of-a-kind partnership outlines the common goals and aspirations the two institutions have for the province.  While the musical intersection of the SSO and U of S has always been evident, we’re going to strive to see how we can connect music with the University’s wider search for knowledge.  While its too early to say much, we are excited about a medical research project that involves the SSO in the upcoming year.

Share in the Future was again a resounding success – with donations and the generous support of the Frank and Ellen Remai Foundation, the campaign raised more than $240,000 in just two months.  This not only paves the way for the SSO to continue embarking on its dreams, but allows for some very cool projects that we get to announce before too long!

With the AGM this week we’re announcing that I have officially signed on for four more years as Executive Director at the SSO.  In my time with the orchestra I have come to be so immensely proud of the work we do, both on and off stage.  I am grateful for exceptional staff who are at the ready when I walk in and say “I have an idea”.  We are all grateful for the incredibly generosity of our volunteers – from the board, to the concerts, to the amazing Book and Music Sale…the volunteers of the SSO show that making music together is more than just playing an instrument.  It is their dedication that keeps the orchestra playing.  I’m thrilled to work with such amazing musical colleagues who have such a love and passion for what they do – and continually grateful to have Eric, a musical partner in crime that likes to dream as much as I do.

To our audience and supporters and fans – thank you.  You seem to have decided that coming along for this ride is worth it.  It is an honour to bring concerts to the stage for an audience who will take risks, knows great music when they hear it, and will support it with their generosity.

What’s next in the new age of the SSO?  We have more expanding to do – we want to connect more young people with live music, we want to create more opportunities for our musical community, we want to give patrons a chance to get the music they need.  We want to keep connecting with the community in different and hopefully get out to perform across our region again!  We need to keep working harder to ensure that the SSO is artistically and fiscally sound – we finished season 86 with a significant surplus of approximately $60,000…I’d like to do that for a few years in a row!

And we need you to come to concerts, to get lost in sweeping symphonic works, to get inspired by breath taking soloists, and to hear music that is going to make you feel alive.  We want you to feel special about a night at the symphony.  And we want our musicians to play to packed houses – this orchestra is something we should all take pride in.

I’d like to invite you to join us to celebrate the new year ahead – we couldn’t have a bigger star for opening night than James Ehnes.  A super star violinist to share in a night with Saskatoon’s orchestra….its only fitting if you’re there to celebrate with us!

See you at the symphony,

Mark Turner
Executive Director

O Canada Concert Citizenship Ceremony

The Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra is proud to announce that it will become the first orchestra in the country to host a Citizenship Ceremony on stage.

On May 13th before the final concert of our 86th season, the SSO will celebrate and welcome 20 new citizens to the country.

The concert celebrates the 150th anniversary of the confederation of Canada.  The performance features Canadian music that celebrates the history before confederation and the future of our country.  The SSO orchestra, led by Eric Paetkau, brings two world premieres to the stage: a new fanfare by leading composer Derek Charke, Elan, commissioned for the SSO by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and Canada 150, and John Burge’s Four Seasons of the Canadian Flag.

Also featured that evening is actor Carol Greyeyes narrating the SSO’s performance of John Oliver’s The Raven Steals the Light, a work that explores the West Coast First Nation’s story of a Raven who brings light to the world.  SSO Principal Percussionist and National Music 2015 winner Bryan Allen will perform Vincent Ho’s The Shaman – the work is inspired by Shamanism in many international indigenous cultures, which explores the idea of connection between Shamans’ healing spirit and soul and the role that orchestras can play through emotional and inspirational music making.

“Having the citizenship ceremony at this concert is some of the most important work the SSO has ever done,” said SSO Executive Director Mark Turner.  “Regardless of anniversaries or festivities, this is a chance for the SSO to express our national identity.  Canadian music is in a new golden age and we can’t wait to share this music at the concert.  Welcoming new citizens to their home surrounded by an audience and an orchestra engaged in a collective sharing of their music is a very special thing.”

The first part of the citizenship ceremony will take place earlier in the evening, backstage.  The final swearing in will take place on stage, and then new citizens and audience will join with the SSO to sing O Canada.  Three of the four composers will be attending the performance and working with the orchestra during the rehearsals.

O Canada, the SSO’s season finale is on May 13th at 7:30pm at TCU Place.

Story of the Raven Steals the Light

There was a time many years ago when the earth was covered in darkness. An inky pitch blanketed the world making it very difficult for anyone to hunt or fish or gather berries for food. An old man lived along the banks of a stream with his daughter who may have been very beautiful or possibly quite homely. This didn’t matter to the old man however because after all it was dark and who could tell.

The reason why the world was dark had to do with the old man who had a box that contained a box that held many other boxes. In the very last box was all the light in the universe and this was a treasure he selfishly kept to himself.

The mischievious Raven existed at that time because he always had. He was none too happy about the state of the world for he blundered about in the darkbumping into everything. His interfering nature peaked one day when he stumbled by the old man’s hut and overheard him muttering about his boxes. He instantly decided to steal the light but first had to find a way to get inside the hut.

Each day the young girl would go to the stream to fetch water so the Raven transformed himself into a tiny hemlock needle and floated into the girl’s bucket. Working a bit of his “trickster” magic, he made the girl thirsty and as she took a drink he slipped down her throat. Once down in her warm insides he changed again; this time into a small human being and took a very long nap.

The girl did not know what was happening to her and didn’t tell her father. One day the Raven emerged as a little boy child. If anyone could have seen him in the dark, they would have noticed that he was a peculiar looking child with a long beaklike nose, a few feathers here and there, and the unmistakably shining eyes of the Raven.

Both father and daughter were delighted with their new addition and played with him for hours on end. As the child explored his new surroundings he soon determined that the light must be kept in the big box in the corner. When he first tried to open the box, his grandfather scolded him profusely which in turn started a crying and squawking fit the likes of which the old man had never seen. As grandfathers have done since the beginning of time he caved in and gave the child the biggest box to play with. This brought peace to the hut for a brief time but it wasn’t long until the child pulled his scam again, and again, and again until finally only one box remained.

After much coaxing and wailing the old man at last agreed to let the child play with the light for only a moment. As he tossed the ball of light the child transformed into the Raven and snatching the light in his beak, flew through the smokehole and up into the sky.

The world was instantly changed forever. Mountains sprang into the bright sky and reflections danced on the rivers and oceans. Far away, the Eagle was awakened and launched skyward – his target now clearly in sight.

Raven was so caught up in all the excitement of the newly revealed world that he nearly didn’t see the Eagle bearing down on him. Swerving sharply to escape the outstretched talons, he dropped nearly half of the ball of light which fell to the earth. Shattering into one large and many small pieces on the rocky ground the bits of light bounced back up into the heavens where they remain to this day as the moon and the stars.

The Eagle pursued Raven beyond the rim of the world and exhausted by the long chase, Raven let go of what light still remained. Floating gracefully above the the clouds, the sun as we now know it started up over the mountains to the east.

The first rays of the morning sun brought light through the smokehole of the old man’s house. He was weeping in sorrow over his great loss and looking up, saw his daughter for the first time. She was very beautiful and smiling, he began to feel a little better.

Oliver’s Raven Steals the Light

At our upcoming concert featuring new Canadian music, we’re thrilled to present the narration premier of John Oliver’s the Raven Steals the Light.  The work tells the story of a smart raven bringing the world from chaos into the light.  The tale comes from the West Coast Indigenous tradition and will feature Saskatoon actor Carol Greyeyes.

John Oliver about his work:

My composition is a musical setting of the story as told and illustrated by Bill Reid in a book of Native American tales, which he co-wrote with Robert Bringhurst, titled The Raven Steals the Light. The music begins with the ‘inky pitchy blackness fugue’ (the world before light). Raven bumbles around in the dark. Then raven discovers a house with no windows or doors. Inside he hears an old man who says, ‘I have a box and inside the box is another box and inside it are many more boxes, and in the smallest box of all is all the light of the world.’ Raven decide he wants the light , but he can’t find a way into the house, so he goes upstream to make a plan. He decides to transform himself into a hemlock needle to travel downstream until he reaches the place where the old man’s daughter collects water. She will collect water at the moment Raven arrives (as hemlock needle). Then she will drink from the bucket and swallow Raven. Raven will go to her womb. The daughter will go home and Raven will be born inside the house as Raven-boy.

After much stumbling around (in the dark, remember), he will find the box of boxes with light in the smallest one. He will convince the old man to open the boxes, against his will, one by one, until a strange light is cast and then the last box is opened and the old man picks up the ball of light and tosses it like a toy to Raven-boy who, at that instant, transforms himself back into the big black Raven. In the newly found light, the old man barely glimpses his grandson as the boy’s mouth becomes a beak and catches the light and Raven flies up out of the house through the smoke-hole.

As Raven flies into the sky, everything below is lit up, but, as Raven can now see, so can his predator, Eagle. Eagle chases Raven., Raven swerves to avoid Eagle, and in doing so, drops half the light, which breaks on the rocks below into one big piece and thousands of tiny pieces that bounce back into the night sky to become today’s moon and stars. Finally, tired of the chase, Raven drops the last piece of light on the horizon, creating the sun. The eternal Raven escapes the jaws of the Eagle and goes on to find food and new adventures in his newly illuminated world. The composition ends with the transformation of the world by light.




Vincent Ho’s The Shaman

On May 13th, the SSO will celebrate Canada and the music of four Canadian composers that you have to hear!

We’re thrilled to bring you Vincent

Vincent Ho’s The Shaman

The Shaman: Concerto for Percussion and Orchestra:

     I. Ritual

     II. Fantasia – Nostalgia

     Interlude: Conjuring the Spirits

     III. Fire Dance

I have always been fascinated with the music of indigenous cultures and the concept of shamanism. Practitioners of this tradition are known as “shamans,” and they are believed to be the intermediaries between the human and spirit world. They treat physical ailments by mending the person’s soul while connecting them to supernatural realms (by way of incantations, dance, music, and other methods). This is comparable to the role many great musicians have in our society and how listeners experience their performances. This is also how I see Dame Evelyn Glennie, one of the world’s greatest percussionists.

Throughout my years of attending her concerts, I always felt that her performances were more than just visual or aural experiences – they were “spiritual” events. She has the uncanny ability to draw the audience into a magical world and take us on wondrous journeys that are beyond material existence. Every performance she delivers leaves the audience spellbound and spiritually nourished. For me, Ms. Glennie is the modern day shaman I wrote this piece for.

The first movement, “Ritual,” showcases the soloist’s “shamanistic” abilities. It opens with otherworldly sounds (from the orchestra) that evoke the spirit world while the soloist makes her ceremonial entrance. As she “casts her spell” on the audience, the music becomes increasingly active, leading to a primal dance that harkens the ancient rituals of tribal celebrations and our modern day equivalents (ie. raves, discothèques, dance halls, etc).

The second movement is in two parts. The first, “Fantasia,” is a musical impromptu for solo marimba that captures the spontaneity of a free-form improvisation. The second part, “Nostalgia,” was initially inspired by three things: a photo taken by Doug Barber of an old man looking out of a window during sunset, a painting by Luc Leestemaker titled Voyager #7, and an accompanying poem to the painting by the same artist titled “Voyager” (about an endearing childhood memory). These three works shared a nostalgic quality that warranted musical interpretation. However, in order for me to capture this emotion, I had to search through my own personal history to find the one memory that brought me the same bittersweet longing; a moment in my life that I have treasured and kept close to my heart. Once I had found it, I was brought back to that sacred emotional space and the music soon wrote itself.

The “Interlude,” subtitled “Conjuring the Spirits,” explores the expressive possibilities of metal instruments. Here, the soloist summons up the “spirits of the earth” (as conveyed by the orchestra) as they prepare for the explosive finale.

Back when I was a college student, I was highly influenced by the concept of “primitivism” that many composers and artists had embraced during the early part of the 20th century. A number of great works were created from this direction and many of them showcased new ways of writing for the orchestra and individual instruments (from Igor Stravinsky’s ballet The Rite of Spring to Béla Bartok’s piano work Allegro Barbaro). As I was writing the last movement, I could not help but think of this period in music history. I went through many representative works and found two pieces that resonated with me: Stravinsky’s “Infernal Dance” (from his ballet score L’Oiseau de feu) and Manuel de Falla’s Fire Dance. Thus, I was inspired to compose a “Fire Dance” of my own that would capture the same degree of unbridled energy that these composers (and many others) have achieved in their own music. As well, this was the perfect opportunity to unleash my “inner inferno” (something that I have always wanted to do).

Handel’s Concerti Grosso

In 1735 Handel had started to incorporate organ concertos into performances of his oratorios. By showcasing himself as composer-performer, he could provide an attraction to match the Italian castrati of the rival company, the Opera of the Nobility. These concertos formed the basis of the Handel organ concertos Op.4, published by John Walsh in 1738.

The first and the last of these six concertos, HWV 289 and HWV 294, were originally written in 1736 to be performed during Alexander’s Feast, Handel’s setting of John Dryden’s ode Alexander’s Feast or The Power of Musick — the former for chamber organ and orchestra, the latter for harp, strings and continuo. In addition in January 1736 Handel composed a short and lightweight concerto grosso for strings in C major, HWV 318, traditionally referred to as the “Concerto in Alexander’s Feast”, to be played between the two acts of the ode. Scored for string orchestra with solo parts for two violins and violoncello, it had four movements and was later published in Walsh’s collection Select Harmony of 1740. Its first three movements (allegro, largo, allegro) have the form of a contemporary Italian concerto, with alternation between solo and tutti passages. The less conventional fourth movement, marked andante, non presto, is a charming and stately gavotte with elegant variations for the two violins.

Because of changes in popular tastes, the season in 1737 had been disastrous for both the Opera of the Nobility and Handel’s own company, which by that time he managed single-handedly. At the close of the season Handel suffered a form of physical and mental breakdown, which resulted in paralysis of the fingers on one hand. Persuaded by friends to take the waters at Aix-la-Chapelle, he experienced a complete recovery. Henceforth, with the exception of Giove in Argo (1739), Imeneo (1740) and Deidamia (1741), he abandoned Italian opera in favour of the English oratorio, a new musical genre that he was largely responsible for creating. The year 1739 saw the first performance of his great oratorio Saul, his setting of John Dryden’s Ode for St Cecilia’s Day and the revival of his pastoral English opera or serenata Acis and Galatea. In the previous year he had produced the choral work Israel in Egypt and in 1740 he composed L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato, a cantata-like setting of John Milton’s poetry.

For the 1739–1740 season at the Lincoln’s Inn Fields theatre, Handel composed Twelve Grand Concertos to be performed during intervals in these masques and oratorios, as a feature to attract audiences: forthcoming performances of the new concertos were advertised in the London daily papers. Following the success of his organ concertos Op.4, his publisher John Walsh had encouraged Handel to compose a new set of concertos for purchase by subscription under a specially acquired Royal License. There were just over 100 subscribers, including members of the royal family, friends, patrons, composers, organists and managers of theatres and pleasure-gardens, some of whom bought multiple sets for larger orchestral forces. Handel’s own performances usually employed two continuo instruments, either two harpsichords or a harpsichord and a chamber organ; some of the autograph manuscripts have additional parts appended for oboes, the extra forces available for performances during oratorios. Walsh had himself very successfully sold his own 1715 edition of Corelli’s celebrated Twelve concerti grossi Op.6, first published posthumously in Amsterdam in 1714.  The later choice of the same opus number for the second edition of 1741, the number of concertos and the musical form cannot have been entirely accidental; more significantly Handel in his early years in Rome had encountered and fallen under the influence of Corelli and the Italian school. The twelve concertos were produced in a space of five weeks in late September and October 1739, with the dates of completion recorded on all but No.9. The ten concertos of the set that were largely newly composed were first heard during performance of oratorios later in the season. The two remaining concertos were reworkings of organ concertos, HWV 295 in F major (nicknamed “the Cuckoo and the Nightingale” because of the imitations of birdsong in the organ part) and HWV 296 in A major, both of which had already been heard by London audiences earlier in 1739. In 1740 Walsh published his own arrangements for solo organ of these two concertos, along with arrangements of four of the Op.6 concerti grossi (Nos. 1, 4, 5 and 10).

The composition of the concerti grossi, however, because of the unprecedented period of time laid aside for their composition, seem to have been a conscious effort by Handel to produce a set of orchestral “masterpieces” for general publication: a response and homage to the ever-popular concerti grossi of Corelli as well as a lasting record of Handel’s own compositional skills. Despite the conventionality of the Corellian model, the concertos are extremely diverse and in parts experimental, drawing from every possible musical genre and influenced by musical forms from all over Europe.

The ten concertos that had been newly composed (all those apart from Nos. 9 and 11) received their premières during the performances of oratorios and odes during the winter season 1739–1740, as evidenced by contemporary advertisements in the London daily papers. Two were performed on November 22, St Cecilia’s Day, during performances of Alexander’s Feast and Ode for St Cecilia’s Day; two more on December 13 and another four on February 14. Two concertos were heard at the first performance of L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato at the end of February; and two more in March and early April during revivals of Saul and Israel in Egypt. The final pair of concertos were first played during a performance of L’Allegro on April 23, just two days after the official publication of the set.

Take a listen…

Mozart’s Coronation

Of the sacred works that Mozart composed in Salzburg none is as well known or as popular as the Mass in C K. 317. In 1779 Mozart returned from his disastrous trip to Paris and, partly out of material necessity and also to please his father, he took up a position in the Archbishop’s service in Salzburg. He was to “unbegrudgingly and with great diligence discharge his duties both in the cathedral and at court and in the chapel house, and as occasion presents, to provide the court and church with new compositions of his own creation”. At the first opportunity Mozart fulfilled this demand, composing the mass for the Easter Day service on 4th April 1779.

The musical style of the piece corresponds to the hybrid form that was preferred by the Archbishop: its use of wind instruments suggests a “Solemn Mass”, and its length suggests a “Short Mass”. Mozart himself described his task in a letter: “Our church music is very different to that of Italy, all the more so since a mass with all its movements, even for the most solemn occasions when the sovereign himself reads the mass [e.g. Easter Day], must not last more than 3 quarters of an hour. One needs a special training for this kind type of composition, and it must also be a mass with all instruments – war trumpets, tympani etc.” It therefore had be a grand ceremonial setting, but the mass also needed to have a compact structure. Mozart therefore omits formal closing fugues for the Gloria and Credo, the Credo with its problematic, vast text is in a tight rondo form, and the Dona nobis pacem recalls the music of the Kyrie.

Even as early as the 19th Century the mass was already popularly referred to as the “Coronation Mass”. The nickname grew out of the misguided belief that Mozart had written the mass for Salzburg’s annual celebration of the anniversary of the crowning of the Shrine of the Virgin. The more likely explanation is that it was one of the works that was performed during the coronation festivities in Prague, either as early as August 1791 for Leopold II, or certainly for Leopold’s successor Francis I in August 1792. (There is a set of parts dating from 1792, and the same parts were probably used the year before.) It seems that Mozart must have seen the chance to be represented at the coronation festivities in 1791, not only with La clemenza di Tito, but also with a mass composition: he wrote from Prague requesting that the parts for his old Mass in C be sent to him there. He was held in very high regard in Prague: The Marriage of Figaro had been a smash hit there, and they had commissioned Don Giovanni. It seems likely therefore that the city would have taken on the mass as its own, and the nickname would have grown from there.

Certainly the music itself is celebratory in nature, and would have fitted a coronation or Easter Day service perfectly. The soloists are continually employed either as a quartet, in pairs or in solo lines that contrast with the larger forces of the choir. The most stunning examples are the central hushed section of the Credo, and later when the Hosanna section of the Benedictus is well under way, the quartet begins the piece again, seemingly in the wrong place! Perhaps the most obvious reason for the mass’s popularity in Prague in 1791/2 was the uncanny similarity between the soprano solo Agnus Dei and the Countess’s aria Dove sono from Figaro which had been so successful there in the 1780’s.

Meet Erin Brophey

When did you join the SSO? September 2010

How did you become interested in music earlier in your life? My mother always cleaned to classical music. I still associate Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture with vacuuming and lemon scent.


How did you pick your instrument? I really liked the name. Seriously. I didn’t know what it looked or sounded like until it arrived in the mail.


When and how did you learn to play your instrument? Do you have your own way of learning/practicing? I learned from the great oboe master, Jim Mason (former SSO prinicpal oboe ) primarily in Music School. I have to make reeds for my instrument to make sound…I spend most of my time reed-making!

What piece of music would you most like to play that you haven’t before? Mahler Symphony no. 1

 What piece of music do you love so much you could play again and again? Anything by Brahms.

 Who are your biggest influences in classical music? Jim Mason, Jeanne Baxtresser and Measha Bruggergrossman

 What’s the best advice you ever received in your career? Always be prepared and make more reeds than you think you need.

 What advice would you give to young people pursuing music? Only pursue music if it is the only thing you wish to do……..if you have another interest,  do that.  It’s a calling not a career.

If you could work with one musician/composer/conductor, living or dead, who would it be and why? Poulenc. Based on the music he wrote, I believe he must have had a terrific sense of humour. I betcha I’d enjoy dinner with him,

What’s the best thing about being a musician? The music. Always the music. I love being surrounded by it.

What is your favourite sound?  My daughter’s spontaneous laugh.

Least favourite? (musical or not) My daughters doleful cry.

 What’s one of your favourite memories of playing with the SSO? I love remembering playing in the SSO with my daughter in my belly. She would dance inside me every time the timpani played.

What is your hope for the future of classical music in Saskatoon? I hope that the classical music continues to serve this  community by providing a unique experience of temporal musical beauty that transcends our the mundanity of every day lives.

Gilliland’s Oboe Concerto

SSO audience’s got their first dose of Allan Gilliland’s amazing work last season when he orchestrated an entire show for us to perform with Eileen Laverty.  Though born in England, Allan calls Edmonton home…and its easy to see where his adopted homeland has seeped into his musical styles.

His Oboe Concerto was the perfect fit for an SSO Baroque concert, and it gives us a chance to feature our own Principal Oboist Erin Brophey.

Photo of Erin BrophyFrom the composer about the work:

This piece was commissioned by the Alberta Baroque Ensemble to celebrate their 25th. The idea of composing a piece of new music for an ensemble that specializes in music of the Baroque era provided some interesting challenges. Do you write a 21st century piece of music, do you write a work that is in the Baroque style, or do you write a piece that reflects the textures and gestures of that era but still is rooted in the present? I decided on all three.

I began by listening to a considerable number of oboe concerti from the Baroque period, specifically the works of Tomaso Albinoni. This resulted in a principal theme for the 1st movement that was very much in the Baroque style. I originally thought of developing it in a 21st century language but this proved unsuccessful and I decided to compose a 1st movement that is firmly rooted in the sound of the Baroque (hence the subtitle Albinology).

The theme for the 2nd movement was originally written as a wedding processional for one of my closest friends. This movement is more romantic in tone and the subtitle, Go Deeply Now Everlasting, is derived from the couple’s initials.

The 3rd movement is subtitled with perpetual motion to reflect the constant 1/8th note that lasts throughout. This movement sounds the most “modern” of the three but still reflects a textures common to the Baroque. After completing the work I realized that the over-arching form is the movement from the Baroque to the 21st century.

Take a listen…

Composer – Emily Doolittle

Canadian-born, Scotland-based composer Emily Doolittle grew up in Halifax Nova Scotia and was educated at Dalhousie University, the Koninklijk Conservatorium in the Hague, Indiana University and Princeton University. From 2008-2015 she was  Assistant/Associate Professor of Composition and Theory at Cornish College of the Arts. She now lives in Glasgow, UK, where she is an Athenaeum Research Fellow at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

She has written for such ensembles as Orchestre Métropolitain (Montreal), Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra (Toronto), Symphony Nova Scotia, the Vancouver Island Symphony, Ensemble Contemporain de Montréal, the Motion Ensemble and Paragon, and such soloists as sopranos Suzie LeBlanc, Janice Jackson, Patricia Green and Helen Pridmore, pianist Rachel Iwaasa, violinist Annette-Barbara Vogel, viola d’amorist Thomas Georgi and viola da gambist Karin Preslmayr.

Emily Doolittle has an ongoing research interest in zoomusicology, the study of the relationship between human music and animal songs. She recently spent 3 months as composer-in-residence at the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Seewiesen, Germany. Other interests include the traditional music of various cultures, community music-making, and music as a vehicle for social change.

She was awarded a 2016 Opera America Discovery Grant, as well as funding from the Hinrichsen Foundation and the Canada Council of the Arts, for the development of her chamber opera Jan Tait and the Bear, which was premiered by Ensemble Thing, with Alan McHugh, Catherine Backhouse, and Brian McBride, conducted by Tom Butler and directed by Stasi Schaeffer, at the Centre for Contemporary Arts in Glasgow. Upcoming projects include commissions from the Cherry Street Duo and the Fair Trade String Trio, research on grey seal vocalizations at St Andrews University and a new seal-inspired piece for the St Andrews New Music Ensemble conducted by Bede Williams, and a set of new spring wassailing songs written and researched with the support of a Canada Council for the Arts Grant to Professionals.

Hear her work Sapling live March 25th, 2017 with violinist Carissa Klopoushak.