William Jordan

Jordan, William (Sheldon). Composer, teacher, b Athens, Ga, 19 Nov 1951; B MUS (Georgia) 1971, MA (Pennsylvania) 1973, PH D (Florida State) 1976. In 1971 he went to France for two months' study with Nadia Boulanger and Jean Casadesus, and completed courses in composition and music theory.

Jordan, William (Sheldon). Composer, teacher, b Athens, Ga, 19 Nov 1951; B MUS (Georgia) 1971, MA (Pennsylvania) 1973, PH D (Florida State) 1976. In 1971 he went to France for two months' study with Nadia Boulanger and Jean Casadesus, and completed courses in composition and music theory. He then didgraduate studies in music in the USA, where his principal teachers were George Crumb and Alan Thomas. His PH D thesis, 'Time, space, and music: prolegomena to the history of musical theory,' is a study of the affinities between music theory and philosophy. Jordan taught music appreciation and theory at Florida State U 1973-7, then in 1978 joined the Music Department of the University of Calgary where in 1986 he became chairman of the theory and composition program. Jordan has stated that his goal is to create music able to communicate in its own terms: 'If it's persuasive, if it's charismatic, if it's musical, if it's well performed, people will respond to it'.(Music Scene, March 1989). He has composed music for orchestra, chamber ensemble, piano, voice, choir, and the musical stage.

Jordan' works include a Symphonic Fantasy (1980) commissioned for the Calgary Philharmonic in celebration of Alberta's 75th and the orchestra's 25th anniversaries. In constructing this work, he drew his materials from a variety of historical orchestral styles, retaining intact their characteristic harmonic and rhythmic structures, and by juxtaposing and interweaving these elements created a multitextured tapestry of music. His Piano Concerto was written for Charles Foreman, who also premiered Jordan's Piano Sonata No. 2 in 1985 and took part in premieres of the chamber works Passages and Quintet (both 1987). Foreman collaborated with the composer during development of the concerto, which was premiered by the Calgary Philharmonic in 1989. Jordan's other commissions include those from Alberta Culture, Barbara Haffner, the Alberta Chamber Players, and Calgary's Cathedral Church of the Redeemer for which he composed a Missa Brevis premiered there in 1982 and subsequently performed in England's Winchester, Chester, Norwich, and Canterbury cathedrals.

Jordan is an associate of the Canadian Music Centre.

Selected Compositions

2 Sonatas for Cello and Piano. 1973, 1982. Ms

Symphonic Fantasy. 1980. Orch. Ms

Archaic Images. 1981. Str orch, harpsichord. Ms

Missa Brevis. 1982. SAT soli, SATB, organ.

Children's Games, concert overture. 1983 (rev 1986). Orch. Ms

Topological Fantasy. 1984. Sop, fl, percussion. Ms

2 Sonatas for Piano. 1982, 1984. Ms

The Injustice Done to Tommie Tucker, opera. 1986. Ms

Passages. 1987. Fl, horn, piano. Ms

Quintet. 1987. Fl, bsn, violin, violoncello, piano. Ms

Concerto for Piano and Orchestra. 1988. Ms

Psalmus 8. 1989. Countertenor, TTB. Ms

Variations. 1990. Orch. Ms

Other works for band; chorus; chamber ensemble. Also 28 songs, including several settings of lyrics by G.M. Hopkins and Wallace Stevens

Writings

'Number, music, and the human spirit,' Composers West, vol 3, no. 1, 1980

'Augustine on music,' Grace, Politics and Desire: Essays on Augustine, ed.Hugo Meynell (Calgary 1990)


Further Reading

  • Smith, Rosemary. ' Symphonic Fantasy - a review,' Composers West, vol 3, no 4, 1980

    O'Rourke, Niall. 'Music that says it all,' MSc, 366, Mar 1989