1931-2001, Canada

Acknowledged as one of Canada's most innovative composers, Milton Barnes' music output is performed world-wide by soloists, chamber groups, choruses and symphony orchestras.

His music draws inspiration from such varied sources as mainstream 'romantic' classical music, jazz, latin and traditional hebraic music. As a composer, Barnes disregards definitions which usually segregate music into clearly defined categories. His eclectic fusion style is evident through a wide range of his repertoire. Barnes began his musical career as a jazz drummer and guitarist in the 50's while studying composition at the Royal Conservatory of Music (Toronto). He then graduated from the Orchestra and Opera Conducting School of the Vienna Academy of Music and the Chigianna School in Sienna, Italy.

In 1973 Barnes focused on composing full time. He served as a Composer-in-Residence/Conductor for the Toronto Dance Theatre, the Blue Mountain Music School, Collingwood, Ontario, the New Chamber Orchestra of Canada, and the Vaughy String Quartet Institute in Kingston.

His association with the St. Lawrence Centre, Toronto (1974-75) led to his invitation to compose the score for the 25th Anniversary production (Galileo, Brecht) of the Pittsburgh Playhouse (USA) in 1981. His credits include composing, orchestrating, and conducting scores for feature films and television.

Artist Compositions


Premiere Title of Commission Listen
06/25/1996 Arc of the Covenant Listen Close

Commissioned by Soundstreams to coincide with the 1996 celebration of Jerusalem’s third millennium as the capital of the Kingdom of Israel, 'Ark of the Covenant' draws its inspiration from the Old Testament. Composed in a Middle-Eastern Mediterranean style, this work is divided into four main sections bearing the subtitles: “Invocation,” “Recollections,” “Rituals and Cortege,” and “Bacchanal.”