On March 9th the Department of Music is offering a unique opportunity to hear original pieces composed by University of Alberta faculty members. Dr. Howard Bashaw, Dr. Mark Hannesson, Dr. Scott Smallwood and Dr. Andriy Talpash have all contributed works to this concert. All four professors are both active teachers and composers in the Department of Music.

This concert will feature a little bit of everything, from pieces created for a small ensemble, to electroacoustic pieces and field recordings.

Here’s an inside look at the inspiration behind some of these original compositions.

Dr. Howard Bashaw


For this concert, Guillaume Tardif (violin) and Roger Admiral (piano) will be performing Dr. Bashaw’s piece, The World Premiere of 12 for Violin and Piano.
This piece is comprised of 12 contrasting movements with varying sources of inspiration. Dr. Bashaw collects bits of inspiration wherever he goes and saves them until the right opportunity arises. However, the main sources of inspiration for all 12 movements were the performing musicians.

Having worked with Dr. Tardif and Dr. Admiral on several occasions, Dr. Bashaw was inspired by their outstanding musical talent. Therefore, he set out to compose a piece that would both challenge and inspire these accomplished performers.

Here’s a sample of Dr. Bashaw’s composition, Checkered Present from his album 15 for Piano, which is also performed by Dr. Roger Admiral.


Dr. Mark Hannesson


Dr. Hannesson’s composition in this concert is titled “Undeclared” which he will perform himself, using a combination of electronics and whistling. This composition was premiered in 2016 by Dutch musician and composer, Antoine Beuger, at the Kunstmuseum Villa Zanders in Bergisch-Gladbach, Germany.

Following a drone attacked in Pakistan during 2006, which stuck a masadra and killed 80-82 civilians, including 68-70 children. Dr. Hannesson plays one note for every child killed in this attack.

Dr. Hannesson was kind enough to provide us with a sample from one of his self-composed CD’s titled Angels.


Dr. Scott Smallwood


Dr. Smallwood’s piece for Friday’s concert, titled Where the Bull Dozes, is electroacoustic and mainly comprised of his own field recordings. Where the Bull Dozes is dedicated to the late composer, Pauline Oliveros, who Dr. Smallwood considered to be an excellent mentor and constant source of inspiration. This piece was originally composed for World Listening Day: an annual event encouraging people to listen to the sounds around them.

The inspiration for this piece comes from Wood Buffalo National Park, where Dr. Smallwood recorded most of the field recordings present in this composition.
His interest in Wood Buffalo National Park stems from a concern for the boreal forest, which he views as the lungs of the planet – an endangered natural soundscape. He also loves the isolation of this park and aims to surround his audience with the healing sounds of nature uninterrupted by industrial sounds.

To get a sense of how Dr. Smallwood uses field recordings to create his compositions, here’s an example of his piece, Botanical Garden.



If you’re interested in hearing more from these fantastic composers, then please join us on March 9th and 7:30 PM in the Timm’s Centre.

You can purchase your tickets online at our showpage.

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