• Composer Biography

  • Emilie is active in the music community in various capacities: composing, teaching, curating, and organizing. She composes for acoustic instruments and electronic media to create both discrete and mixed compositions and creates intermedia projects that incorporate electronics, video, photography, and acoustic instruments.
Blog posts
  • I have been working further on my composition for the Ground Floor Choir over the course of January and February. Now that I have some of the basic groundwork in place, such as text and a loose structure, I am presently focused on creating a series of small musical excerpts. These are allowing me to cultivate my musical materials to develop a series of progressive musical ideas for the choir to engage with. This has been a departure from my typical work process, necessitated by the back and forth dialogue with the choir as the piece develops. I usually start from large ideas when composing, such as focusing on overarching sections of the piece, and then work towards the smaller details. Deciding to alter my typical work process has facilitated having a dialogue with the choir during the creative development of the piece, as they are able to experiment with the small musical excerpts and I have been able to hear the results. Once I hear what the choir does with the musical materials, I then modify and work further on creating the composition. I have been sending these small excerpts to the choir in weekly installments for their Tuesday night choir rehearsal. They work through the excerpt, experimenting with musical materials and sometimes offering comments, and then they send a recording back to me. 

     

    Through this shared work process, I am discovering the varied skills and interests of the choir members while writing the piece. Usually, I have a very good sense of the performers' capabilities before starting a new work, and I gauge my plans for the composition accordingly. I strategize as to how I will bridge my musical interests with the desires and abilities of the performers. In this case, I have not had this information going into the project, and so I have developed an understanding through hearing the results of the choir working each week on their musical excerpt. Two months into this process I am starting to develop a sense of what is possible, and in what ways I can challenge the choir into new territory.  I have found that working in such a way has overcome one of the main challenges that I was concerned about when starting this project.

    If you listen to the recording below, you’ll hear an installment where I gave the choir a larger piece of music to work with. It’s the first time that the choir has been asked to sing in two parts, and they take on the challenge with gusto. Margaret introduces the choir at the beginning of the recording, and she has named the piece At the Bottom of the Lake. What a great title, thank you Margaret! 

    At the end of the month, I will be back in Toronto to work with the choir. I am looking forward to being back with this great group, and hearing our efforts come together. 

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  • Ask the Composer

  • Question
  • You split your time between Toronto and Missoula, MT, where you currently teach composition and music technology at the School of Music, University of Montana. What’s your favourite thing about each city?
  • Answer
  • Favourite thing about Toronto: the vibrant and diverse arts community. Favourite thing about Missoula: the mountains and fresh air.