Mozetich, Marjan

Marjan Mozetich. Composer, teacher, b Gorizia, Italy, of Yugoslavian parents, 7 Jan 1948, naturalized Canadian 1957; ARCT piano 1971, B MUS (Toronto) 1972. His family moved to Canada in 1952. He studied in Hamilton 1965-8 with Reginald Bedford (piano) and at the University of Toronto with Lothar Klein and John Weinzweig (composition) and Margaret Parsons and Clifford Poole (piano). While at university he organized concerts of new music by student composers and helped found ARRAY (1971), for which he was concert co-ordinator 1975-8. He studied composition privately 1973-5 under the supervision of Luciano Berio in Rome, Franco Donatoni in Siena, and David Bedford in London, and received a fellowship in 1974 from the Istituto musicale F. Canneti to attend a seminar in Vicenza, Italy. After his involvement with ARRAY, he worked for a time at the University of Toronto music library and then made his living as a freelance composer. He moved in 1990 to Howe Island, near Kingston, Ont, and in 1991 began teaching at Queen's University, where he taught as of 2010.

Recognition of Mozetich's Work

Early recognition of Mozetich's work included second prize at the International Gaudeamus Competition in Bilthoven, the Netherlands, for his wind quintet It's in the Air (1975), as well as having his Nocturne for string orchestra (1975) chosen to represent Canada at the adjudication for the 1978 International Society for Contemporary Music Festival in Helsinki. In 1977 he won CAPAC's Sir Ernest MacMillan Award/Fellowship.

More recently he has written compulsory pieces for the 1992 Banff String Quartet Competition (Lament in the Trampled Garden), and the 1995 Montreal International Music Competition (L'esprit Chantant for violin and piano). In 1995, he was the featured composer on postmodern music at the Ghent Conservatory Music Festival in Belgium, and in 2002 he was invited to be composer-in-residence at the Regina Symphony New Music Festival. Three of Mozetich's works were nominated for Juno awards as Classical Composition of the Year: Affairs of the Heart in 2001, Angels in Flight and Lament in the Trampled Garden in 2010, the latter piece winning the award.

Compositional Style

Mozetich has enjoyed particular success when adopting an existing style and expressing his individuality within it. That ability first emerged with his work Changes for string quartet (1971, revised 1983), which shows the influence of Penderecki and Ligeti. Other early works along these lines included Serenata del nostro tempo (string quintet, 1973) premiered by the Forum Players of Rome; solo pieces for piano (Maya, 1973) and viola (Disturbances, 1974); as well as various chamber works premiered by ARRAY and Days Months and Years to Come (Magnetic Band). From 1976 to 1981, his style moved toward a lyrical minimalism with strong harmonic definition, as exemplified by works like Procession for chamber ensemble (1981) and El Dorado for harp and strings (1981). After 1981 his music became essentially diatonic and post-romantic; this transition can be heard in pieces such as 'Fantasia ... sul un linguaggio perduto' for violin, viola, and cello (1981, later arranged for string orchestra 1985); Sonata for flute and harp (1983, BIS CD 320), and Death and the Morning Star for baritone, choir, and orchestra (1986).


Notable recordings of some of the composer's earlier works include the Galliard Ensemble's performance of his 1979 work Water Music (1981, RCI 536) and the Amadeus Ensemble's 1988 recording of Procession, El Dorado, Dance of the Blind (1980), and 'Fantasia ... sul un linguaggio perduto' (CBC Records 1038). The latter piece has also been recorded by the Arco Baleno Ensemble on the CD Radio 3; the arrangement by the composer for string orchestra has been recorded by I Musici de Montreal (Chandos 9748).

Works 1990s to 2004

Mozetich's works since the 1990s have continued to display a penchant for lyricism, rich romantic harmonies, and moto perpetuo rhythms. In addition, the introspective and meditative qualities that could be heard early on in pieces like El Dorado came to the fore during this period in works that explore the spiritual. Among these are A Dance Towards Heaven (1994) for orchestra; L'esprit Chantant (1995) for violin and piano, written for the Montreal International Music Competition; The Passion of Angels (1995) for two harps and orchestra (CBC Records 5200); Postcards from the Sky (1996), a three-movement work for string orchestra written for and premiered by the Thirteen Strings of Ottawa; Time to Leave (1997) for violin, clarinet, trumpet, bass, marimba and piano, written for ARRAY's 25th anniversary concert; Hymn of Ascension (1998) for harmonium and string quartet, premiered at the Ottawa Chamber Music Festival; Songline to Heaven and a Dance to Earth (1999) for string orchestra, premiered at the Guelph Spring Festival; Steps to Ecstasy (2001) for baroque orchestra, commissioned by the CBC and premiered by Tafelmusik; and At the Temple (2001) for solo piano, also commissioned by the CBC, and premiered by Kristina Szutor at Sound Symposium 2002.

Important concerted works from this period include Concerto for Bassoon, Strings and Marimba (2003), premiered by Michael Sweeney and the Seiler Strings; Concerto for Piano and Orchestra (1999), written in honour of author Robertson Davies and premiered by pianist Janina Fialkowska in February 2000; Affairs of the Heart, a concerto for violin and orchestra premiered by violinist Juliet Kang in 1997 (CBC Records 5200); and Concerto for Oboe and Strings (1995), commissioned by the CBC and premiered by Suzanne Lemieux and the Thirteen Strings of Ottawa (Forgotten Dreams, CAM CD 9503).

Notable works by Mozetich for solo instruments include Baroque Diversion (1985), a suite in four movements, and the composer's third work for solo viola, commissioned by Rivka Golani (Prouesse, CMC CD 4492); Songs of Nymphs (1994), a four-movement work for harp written for Erica Goodman (BIS 649); and Five Pieces for Guitar (1997), written for Paul Bernard and recorded by William Beauvais on A Bridge Beyond (CMC CD 6198)

In addition to his body of works for chamber ensemble, orchestra, and solo instruments, Mozetich has also written music for theatre, film, and dance. He is an associate of the Canadian Music Centre and a member of the Canadian League of Composers.