Composer John Sherlock declared Leader and/or Dreamer

Toronto composer John Mark Sherlock will be featured in an upcoming issue of Maclean’s magazine, which is roughly the Canadian equivalent to TIME magazine in the US. This issue, part of a series celebrating the 100th anniversary of the magazine, will profile 100 Canadian leaders in fields including the Arts, Sciences, Business and more than likely, puck-handling. John has been a fixture on the Toronto contemporary music scene for more than a decade now, fulfilling many commissions including works for chamber and dance groups. He and I met in guitar master class, and then had the good fortune to do the Array Music young composers workshop the same summer. John’s music often showcases his amazing collection of antique keyboards, which includes Rhodes pianos, Hammond organs, Yamaha Clavinets, and if I remember correctly, at least one Pianosaurus. If we are lucky, we will convince John to do a story about his collection here. We really shouldn’t do this, but one of our operatives went digital dumpster diving and turned up a PDF preview of the piece. Congratulations, John!

George Tsontakis wins Grawemeyer

George Tsontakis has been awarded the 2005 Grawemeyer award in composition. This is very nice to hear. I, along with half a million other student composers, studied with George at the Aspen school; in my case back in the summer ’89. In addition to being a brilliant composer he is a brilliantly funny person–and he does an infamous Peter Falk impression. That humour often comes out in his music, which usually has a very effective kind of American neo-romantic style. In particular, I like his string quartets and the Galway Kinnell songs.

The full title of the honour is the University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award For Music Composition. Carrying a prize of US$200K, the award is as prestigious as it is lucrative. Previous winners include Kaija Saariaho, Aaron Jay Kernis, Pierre Boulez, Toru Takemitsu, Karel Husa (who told me he liked my piece Wind and Silver, so he’s alright too), Krzysztof Penderecki, Gyorgy Ligeti and Witold Lutoslawski. George is in very good company.