Mills-Cockell, John

Mills-Cockell, John. Composer, synthesizist, pianist, organist, b Toronto 19 May 1943. His teachers at the RCMT and the University of Toronto included John Coveart (piano), Samuel Dolin (composition), and Gustav Ciamaga (electronic music). Mills-Cockell won a BMI Award to Student Composers in 1967 for his Movements for orchestra and Reverberation for solo trombone and two stereo tapes, establishing early a specialization in electroacoustic music.

As pianist, organist, and one of the first musicians in Canada to employ the Moog and Arp synthesizers in live performance, Mills-Cockell worked in 1968 with Intersystems (a mixed-media group with sculptor Michael Hayden, architect Dick Zander, and poet Blake Parker), in 1969 with Kensington Market, in Vancouver 1969-70 with Hydro-Electric Streetcar, and again in Toronto 1970-2 with Syrinx. The last-named group, completed by Doug Pringle (saxophones), Allan Wells (percussion), and, later, Malcolm Tomlinson (drums and voice), made the LPs Syrinx (TNorth TN-2) and Long Lost Relatives (TNorth TN-5), was seen on TV (eg, the CTV series 'Here Come the Seventies,' playing the theme music on camera, and CBC's Music to See,' in a performance of Mills-Cockell's Stringspace) and performed in concert and clubs locally.

Mills-Cockell lived for most of the period 1972-4 in England, then returned to Toronto, where he has concentrated on the composition and recording of music for film, TV, and theatre. He made three LPs 1973-7: Heartbeat (TNorth TN-12), The Third Testament (TNorth TN-17, of music written in 1973 for a CBC/Time-Life TV series of the same name), and Gateway: A New Music Adventure (Anubis ANX-1).

He subsequently completed scores for the feature films The Clown Murders (1975), Deadly Harvest (1976), Terror Train (1979), and Humongous (1981), for the TV films Maggie and Pierre (1984), Labour of Love (1984), Striker's Mountain (1985), and Half a Lifetime (1985), and for many TV series and documentaries - eg, 'The Stationary Ark' (1975), 'Arc on the Move' (1981), Challenge: the Canadian Rockies (1982), and 'The Little Vampire' (1985). He also has written music for the National Ballet of Canada (January Tree and For Internal Use Only 1971), the Toronto Dance Theatre (Starscape 1971), the Anna Wyman Dance Company (Deflections 1976), and for many theatrical productions - eg, the Toronto Free Theatre's outdoor staging in High Park of A Midsummer Night's Dream (1983), Romeo and Juliet (1986) and The Tempest (1987).