Jon Siddall

Siddall, Jon. Composer, performer, b Hamilton, Ont, 23 Sep 1957; BFA (York) 1979; MA (Mills College, California) 1981. His teachers have included James Tenney, Terry Riley, and Lou Harrison.

Siddall, Jon

Siddall, Jon. Composer, performer, b Hamilton, Ont, 23 Sep 1957; BFA (York) 1979; MA (Mills College, California) 1981. His teachers have included James Tenney, Terry Riley, and Lou Harrison. He has taught at Mills College and at the University of Toronto and has worked as a freelance broadcaster for CBC Radio and 'Sounds of Science,' a US syndicated program. He was the adminstrative director 1982-5 for the Canadian Electronic Ensemble. A Canada Council grant enabled him to study 1987-8 in Indonesia. In 1988 he became a music officer for the Canada Council.

Siddall's works have been performed and broadcast throughout North America, Europe and in Indonesia. He has been commissioned by the CBC (Jakarta Sleep), William Beauvais (Skook's Curiosity), Larry Lake (Strange Parade) and David Mott (Ocean). His work shows the strong influence of his association with Indonesian music, an association that began with his studies at Mills College with Lou Harrison and his performing experiences with a gamelan orchestra in Santa Cruz, California, soon after that. His background as a rock guitarist is apparent in many of the instrumental combinations for which he chooses to write. In addition to composing for traditional chamber instruments, he has written several works for gamelan ensemble including Where Edges Meet (1980, published in Musicworks 14, Winter 1981), and Strange Parade (1986), and other works involving the electric guitar (Casual Dance, 1984 and Shook's Curiosity, 1987), electronics (Still Life: Gamelan, 1984), percussion (Woman and Goldfish, 1989 and 5 Big Grooves, 1990), and for various instrumental groupings (Integrasi, 1988 and Jakarta Sleep, 1989), many of which feature himself as a performer. 'My music reflects an interest in stimulating our tradition of "art" music with certain elements (particularly rhythmic and architectural) of other musics, whether "popular" or "art," whether of the West or of the East,' Siddall has stated.

In 1983 Siddall founded the Evergreen Club Gamelan Ensemble with the aid of a Canada Council grant. From 1983 to 1988 he was director and performed both traditional Indonesian and contemporary music with them. In 1987 they recorded North of Java (Arjuna AR-001), a record that included a performance of Siddall's The Greenhouse - Act IV (1985), part of a major music theatre piece which includes dance, puppetry and electronic music in addition to the gamelan.

Siddall was a member of the Glass Orchestra and has been a recitalist on electric guitar, percussion and synthesizers. He is a member of the Canadian Electroacoustic Community.


Further Reading

  • Jon Siddall, 'Where edges meet,' (musical score) Musicworks 14, Winter 1981

    'Towards a populist music,' ibid 20, Summer 1982

    'Understanding intonation,' ibid 21, Fall 1982

    'The enduring allure of the tropics,' ibid 37, Winter 1987