Southam's early works were written in a Romantic style (ie, expressive music predominant in the 19th century). She later adopted 12-tone procedures, though never strictly. In the 1980s, Southam began drawing away from electronic music, while simultaneously developing an increasing interest in music by American minimalists Terry Riley and Steve Reich. Glass Houses (1981), for example, is constructed from short tonal units that combine and re-combine, creating an overall sense of lyricism. Around this time, Southam made an important professional ally when she hired the pianist Christina Petrowska-Quilico to record a demo tape of parts of Glass Houses and Rivers (1979-81, rev. 2004). The inspiration she found in such collaborative relationships inspired Southam to write an increasing number of works for acoustic instruments. In 1988, she composed Throughways, for chamber orchestra, with no electronic element. A commission of the Music Gallery, the work was premiered there by the Hemispheres Orchestra 9 Nov 1989.
In the 1990s Southam abandoned electroacoustic writing, creating wholly instrumental works such as Song of the Varied Thrush (1991) for string quartet; Webster's Spin (1993) for string orchestra, commissioned by the CBC and premiered by the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra 22 Mar 1994; and Full Circles (1996, rev. 2005) for Arraymusic. Later she began collaborating with Eve Egoyan, who premiered Qualities of Consonance (1998) at the Music Gallery 28 May 1999; Figures (2001) with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra at the Massey Hall New Music Festival 22 Nov 2001; In Retrospect (2004) 26 Mar 2004; and Simple Lines of Enquiry (2008) at Toronto's Enwave Theatre 30 May 2009. The Manitoba Chamber Orchestra premiered Music for Strings 20 Sep 2000. In July 2006 Angela Pickett, Teresa Doyle, and Kate Poole performed an acoustic version of Re-Tuning in St. John's. Christina Petrowska Quilico gave the first complete performance of Rivers in May 2005 at the Music Gallery in Toronto, and premiered Southam's Pond Life for solo piano in 2008 at the Sound Symposium in St. John's.
Southam's return to acoustic composition also came about in part through an interest in the physicality of performing. Four in Hand (1981), written for pianists Jane Blackstone and Ruth Kazdan, is a single-movement work for piano four hands that uses free 12-tone harmony and motifs, which lead to a closing D major chord. The composition essentially has the performer "blasting about the keyboard" (Musicworks, Summer 1998). It also demonstrates Southam's predilection for reconciling the 12-tone system with traditional practices. Re-Tuning (1985), however, is more indicative of the direction Southam's music took in years to come. Made up of 25 modular sections that are repeated and spun rapidly one into another over an electronic drone, this piece was heavily influenced by Southam's collaboration with Rivka Golani.
Feminist Elements in Ann Southam's Works
Southam is one of Canada's first prominent women composers. When she came of age as a composer, in the 1960s, it was comparatively uncommon for women to be recognized in the field of music composition, and for any composer, regardless of gender, to be recognized in the burgeoning field of electronic music. She was on the vanguard of a generation that profoundly and positively changed the landscape and social mechanics of contemporary Canadian music. Southam, an avowed feminist, proudly - and even provocatively - incorporated this change in her music. In Musicworks (no. 101, Summer 2008), Eve Egoyan and Gayle Young observed that for Southam, ". . . there is a close connection between composing for or playing the piano and other forms of work done by hand, such as weaving, that reflect the nature of traditional women's work - repetitive, life-sustaining, requiring time and patience. But through it all, runs a thread of questioning . . . ."
Southam was a member of the Canadian League of Composers; and a founding member, first president 1980-8, life member (2002) and honorary president (2007) of the Association of Canadian Women Composers. She was a sponsor for new music events, eg the Excentricities (1998) concert featuring women composers; the Arraymusic Young Composers' Workshop; and Continuum Contemporary Music. She was also an associate of the Canadian Music Centre, which named its recording collection the Ann Southam Digital Audio Archive. She received the Friends of Canadian Music Award in 2002. In 2010 Southam was named a Member of the Order of Canada. A forthcoming book on Southam's life and music was announced in 2011. The project is under the direction of Christina Petrowska Quilico and composer Constantine Caravassilis.
See also Ballets and dance theatre.
Momentum. 1967. Pf pre-recorded on tape, viola, violoncello, harpsichord, 2 percussion. Ms
Configurations. 1973. Pf, tape. Ms
CounterPlay. 1973. Str quartet, tape. Ms
Integruities (G. Arbour, M. Thompson). 1975. Pf, narrator, tape. Ms
Interviews (Arbour, Thompson). 1976. Pf, narrator, tape. Ms
Towards Green. 1976. Fl, clarinet, violin, viola. Ms
Waves. 1976. Str orch. Ms
Networks. 1978. Fl, viola, trombone, piano, violoncello, percussion. Ms
Re-tuning. 1985. Va, tape. RCI 634 (Golani)
Quintet. 1986. Pf, 2 violin, violoncello, violoncello. Ms
Alternate Currents, Percussion Music for Solo Performer. 1987. Ms
Throughways: Improvising Music. 1988. Instr ensemble. Ms
Song of the Varied Thrush. String quartet. 1991. Ms
The Music So Far. Clarinet and piano. 1992. Ms
This Time. Flute, cello, and piano. 1992. Ms
Webster's Spin. String orchestra. 1993. Ms
Full Circles. Trumpet, violin, percussion, and piano. 1996 rev. 2005. Ms
Music for Strings. String orchestra. 2000
Figures: Music for Piano and String Orchestra. Piano and string orchestra. 2001. Ms
Suite for Piano. 1960. Ms
Four Bagatelles. 1961. Berandol 1974. Melbourne SMLP-4031 (Kubálek)
Three in Blue. 1965. Berandol 1966. CCM-2 (Cavalho)
Quodlibet. 1966. Berandol 1967. CCM-2 (Cavalho)
Five Pieces in a Jazz Manner. 1970. Ms
Five Shades of Blue. 1970. Berandol 1981
Rivers: Set 1 (1979); Set 2 (1979); Set 3 (1981). Ms. (Set 2, No. VII) EK 1 (Keillor)
Cool Blue; Red Hot. 1980. Ms
Four in Hand. 1981. 2 piano. Ms
Glass Houses. 1981. Ms
Soundings for a New Piano. 1986. Ms
Spatial View of Pond. 1986. Pf, tape. Ms
In a Measure of Time. 1988. 2 piano. Ms
Remembering Schubert. Piano solo. 1993. Ms
Qualities of Consonance. Piano solo. 1998. Ms
Two by Two. Piano solo. 2000. Ms
In Retrospect. Solo piano. 2004
Simple Lines of Enquiry. Solo piano. 2008
Pond Life. Solo piano. 2008
Pond Life. Solo piano and dancer. 2008
Others, including Sea Flea (1962). BMIC 1963
A Thread of Sand. 1969. Tape
Boat, River, Moon. 1972. Tape. Melbourne SMLP 4024
Sky-Sails (O'Huigan). 1973. Tape. Berandol CSPS 645
L'Assassin Menace. 1974. Tape
Mythic Journey. 1974. Tape
The Reprieve. 1975. Tape. Hathor HS-290147
Nighthawks. 1976. Tape
Rude Awakening. 1976. Tape
Soundplay. 1978. Tape
Seastill. 1979. Tape
The Story's Dream. 1980. Tape
The Emerging Ground. 1983. Tape. Hathor HS-290147
Rewind. 1984. Tape
Music for Slow Dancing. 1985. Tape
Goblin Market. 1986. Tape
Fluke Sound. 1989. Tape. 4-ACM 37
Several other electronic works, mostly for dance; also scores for Toronto Arts Productions
Southam, Ann. "Music in the morning in Vancouver," Musicworks, 47, Summer 1990
Canadian Music for Piano. Louise Bessette piano. 1993. CBC Records MVCD 1064
Virtuoso Piano Music of Our Own Time. Christina Petrowska piano. 1993. JLH Lasersound JLH 1002 DDD
Mystic Streams. Christina Petrowska piano. 1996. Welsprings CD WEL001
Seastill: The Electronic Music of Ann Southam. 1998. Furiant Records FMDC 4604-2
Fluke Sound. Furiant Records FMDC 4677-2
Glass Houses: Music of Ann Southam. Eve Egoyan piano, Stephen Clarke piano. 1999. CBC Records MVCD 1124
Canadian Composer Portraits - Ann Southam. Christina Petrowska Quilico piano, Eitan Cornfield producer/narrator. 2005. Centrediscs CMCCD 10505
Simple Lines of Enquiry. Eve Egoyan piano. 2009. Centrediscs CMCCD 14609
Pond Life. Christina Petrowska Quilico piano. 2009. Centrediscs CMCCD 14109
Glass Houses Revisited. Christina Petrowska Quilico piano. 2011. Centrediscs
Author Revised: Evan Ware
Mitchell, C.J. "Warmth a characteristic of Ann Southam's electronic music," Music Scene, 269, Jan-Feb 1973
BMI Canada Ltd/PRO Canada Ltd. "Ann Southam," pamphlets, 1977, 1981
Colgrass, Ulla. "Electronic sound: Ann Southam on sound and space," Fugue, vol 2, Sep 1977
Edwards, Barry. "Some first recordings: composer of the month: Ann Southam," ibid
Mason, Roger Burford. "Ann Southam's new music," Music Scene, 367, May-Jun 1989
Anderson, Carol. "Choice and interpretation," Musicworks, 46, Spring 1990
Egoyan, Eve and Young, Gayle. "Ann Southam," Musicworks, 101, Summer 2008
Poole, Elissa. "Composer has a tough tone row to hoe," Globe and Mail, 15 Mar 1997
Báthory-Kitsz, Dennis, and Gunn, David. "If only I could sing: Ann Southam in conversation with Kalvos & Damian," Musicworks, 71, Summer 1998
Egoyan, Eve and Young, Gayle. "Ann Southam," Musicworks, 101, Summer 2008
Higgs, Jennifer. "Refusing to tow the line: Ann Southam and Electronic Music in Canada 1950s-1960s" (master's thesis, University of Toronto, 2009)
Links to Other Sites
Christina Petrowska Quilico
The website for acclaimed Canadian pianist Christina Petrowska Quilico. Features her biography, discography, repertoire and selected audio and video clips of her music.
Canadian Electronic Music Timeline
A timeline for electronic music in Canada. Check out the interactive version of this feature on HorizonZero's Flash site. From the multimedia magazine "HorizonZero."
Eve Egoyan Plays Ann Southam's Simple Lines of Enquiry
A review of Eve Egoyan's performance of Ann Southam's "Simple Lines of Enquiry."
Simple Lines of Enquiry
Listen to audio clips from Eve Egoyan's recording "Simple Lines of Enquiry." From emusic.com.
Governor General's appointments to the Order of Canada
Scroll down the page and click on the links to brief biographical notes of recent appointees to the Order of Canada. Click on "Find a Recipient" on the left side of the page to find previous recipients. From the website for the Governor General of Canada.
Eve Egoyan's miraculous one-hour meditation
A glowing review of Toronto pianist Eve Egoyan's interpretation of Ann Southam's one-hour piano suite "Simple Lines of Enquiry." Also includes comments about Christina Petrowska Quilico's performance of Ann Southam's "Pond Life." From thestar.com.
Ann Southam, a one-woman tone poem
Read an article in which minimalist composer Ann Southam reveals some of the experiences that inspired her creation of original compostions. From The Globe and Mail.
Toronto composer Ann Southam dies
A CBC obituary for celebrated Canadian composer Ann Southam.
See a biography of composer Ann Southam and links to audio clips from recordings of her music. From the Canadian Music Centre.
Friends of Canadian Music Award
The website for the Friends of Canadian Music Award, a joint venture between the Canadian League of Composers and the Canadian Music Centre that honours those who have demonstrated an exceptional commitment to Canadian composers and their music.
Shawnadithit grew anxious waiting for her uncle, Longnon, to return to camp at the junction of Badger Brook and the Exploits River, deep in the wilds of Newfoundland...