Steven Gellman

Steven Gellman, composer, pianist (b at Toronto 16 Sept 1947). After early studies with Samuel Dolin in Toronto, Steven Gellman attracted attention in 1964 as soloist in his piano concerto, with the CBC Symphony Orchestra, and as first Canadian recipient of a BMI Award for student composers. Further studies were with Luciano Berio, Vincent Persichetti and Roger Sessions at the Juilliard School (1965-68), Darius Milhaud at Aspen, Colorado (1965-66), and Olivier Messiaen at the Conservatoire de Paris (1973-76). Since 1976 he has taught at the University of Ottawa.

Gellman's music is one of evocative, colourful sonorities, sometimes evoking a contemplative mood, "in praise of the transcendental." Though he can write music of great power, such as in Universe Symphony, his tendency in his later pieces has been towards introspection and personal expression but always with a desire to communicate directly with the listener. Among his works are commissions for the Stratford Music Festival (Mythos II, 1968), CBC (Symphony in Two Movements, 1971; Symphony II, 1972; Chori, 1974; Musica Eterna, 1994; Child Play, 1992), Hamilton Philharmonic (Odyssey, for rock band and orchestra, 1971; The Bride's Reception, 1983), Besançon Festival (Deux Tapisseries, 1978), McGill University (Trikaya, 1981), Toronto Symphony (Awakening, 1982; Universe Symphony, for orchestra and live electronics, 1985, revised 2005), pianists Angela HEWITT (Fantasia on a theme of Robert Schumann, 1983), Jon Kimura PARKER (Keyboard Triptych, 1986), and Christina Petrowska (Piano Concerto, 1989), Pierrot Ensemble (Chiaroscuro, 1988), Cantata Singers of Ottawa (Canticles, 1989), the Thirteen Strings (Burnt Offerings, 1990), the National Arts Centre Orchestra (Jaya Overture, 1995), Opera Lyra (Gianni, 1997) and Musica Camarata (Piano Quartet, 2003).