Schipizky, Frederick (Alexander). Composer, bassist, b Calgary 20 Dec 1952; B MUS (British Columbia) 1974, M MUS (Juilliard) 1978. He grew up in Vancouver and studied composition with Elliot Weisgarber at University of British Columbia and with Roger Sessions and David Diamond at Juilliard. He has also worked with Murray Adaskin, John Beckwith, Jean Coulthard, and Harry Freedman. He studied bass with Vancouver SO principal bass Kenneth Friedman, with David Walter at Juilliard, and with Gary Karr at Shawnigan in 1973, followed by advanced studies with Eugene Levinson at Aspen. At Juilliard, he was a scholarship student, a teaching fellow in theory, principal bass of the Philharmonia Orchestra, and recipient of a New York State Council of the Arts Grant. He has performed with the MSO, the CBC Vancouver Orchestra, the Esprit Orchestra, the Purcell String Quartet, Vancouver New Music Society and Arraymusic, and has been a member of the Victoria Symphony Orchestra (1974-76), the NYO (1975-7), and the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra (1978- ). He began to teach theory and composition at the Vancouver Academy of Music in 1981 and string bass at Douglas College in 1989.
His works have been performed by the orchestras of Calgary, Winnipeg, Vancouver, and Victoria, and also by Gary Karr and by Phyllis Mailing, who recorded his Three Songs for Mezzo-Soprano (1974) for the Centrediscs label (1983, CMC-1083). Commissions have come from the CBC, Expo 86, the Vancouver School Board, the Vancouver Chamber Choir, the Vancouver Cantata Singers, the Vancouver SO and the TS for its Evening Overtures series. The Vancouver SO gave premieres of five Schipizky works during the 1980s and featured his Symphony No. 1 in its 1985 tour of Japan, under Kazuyoshi Akiyama. It premiered his From under the Overture (1990) 27 May 1990, then performed it on tour throughout British Columbia later that year, under conductor Kirk Muspratt.
Schipizky thinks of himself as an eclectic composer and has acknowledged the stylistic differences between works such as his Symphonic Sketches (1976, rev 1977) and Variations for Solo Violin. (1979). Much of his music is lyrical, tonally centered and 'reflects a contemporary Gebrauchsmusik spirit,' Michael Davidson has noted, 'and certainly his active life as a professional musician has shaped and defined many of his attitudes as a composer.' He himself has remarked, 'If there's any single influence on my music, it has been from the Russian school of composers - especially Prokofiev, Shostakovich and Stravinsky.'