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Ann Southam


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Ann Southam (February 4, 1937 - November 25, 2010) was a Canadian composer and teacher.

Southam’s early works moved from Romanticism towards serialism and electronic music (such Waves, from 1976), and then towards the American minimalism of Riley and Reich. Glass Houses (1981), for example, is constructed from short tonal units that combine and re-combine, creating an overall sense of lyricism. 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, and Full Circles (1996, rev. 2005) for Arraymusic. Ann Southam began collaborating with pianist Christina Petrowska Quilico in 1981. Petrowska Quilico has recorded Southam’s 3 CD set “Rivers” for Centrediscs as part of their Canadian Composer Series. This highly acclaimed CD was followed by a 2 CD set “Pond Life” also for Centrediscs which Petrowska Quilico recorded. Earilier Christina Petrowska Quilico recorded and included Southam’s music on CDs “Northern Sirens”, “Mystic Streams”, “Ings”, “Virtuoso Piano Music of Our Own Time”. Each CD has received extraordinary praise. Later she began collaborating with Eve Egoyan, who premiered Qualities of Consonance (1998), Figures (2001), and In Retrospect (2004).

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 Kazden, 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.

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