Bruce Mather | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Bruce Mather

Bruce Mather, composer, pianist, educator, administrator (b at Toronto 9 May 1939).

Bruce Mather

Bruce Mather, composer, pianist, educator, administrator (b at Toronto 9 May 1939). He studied first in Toronto, notably with Godfrey RIDOUT, Oskar MORAWETZ and John WEINZWEIG; then at the Paris Conservatoire with Darius Milhaud, Simone Plé-Caussade and Olivier Messiaen; at Stanford University in California; and with Pierre Boulez in Switzerland. Mather has been an associate professor at McGill University's Faculty of Music since 1966. He has also taught at the Brodie School in Toronto and at the Paris Conservatoire. He was on the executive board of Ten Centuries Concerts, and was director-member of the SOCIÉTÉ DE MUSIQUE CONTEMPORAINE DU QUÉBEC.

Mather was awarded the Jules-Léger Prize for New Chamber Music on 2 occasions: in 1979 for Musique pour Champigny and in 1993 for Yquem. His preferred medium is the small ensemble, although his catalogue includes orchestral works and the opera La princesse blanche (1993). The inspiration for many of his works is poetic, and he is known for his deft vocal scoring. Mather is also recognized for his microtonal compositions, such as the solo piece Saumur (1990) for solo harpsichord. Recent works include the chamber works Sancerre (1999) and Bourgueil (1999), Quintette pour saxophones et piano (1999) and Huit études pour piano (2000).

Mather has been commissioned by various orchestras and organizations, including the ORCHESTRE SYMPHONIQUE DE MONTRÉAL, the National Arts Centre Orchestra, the CANADIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION, Radio France, the SOCIÉTÉ DE MUSIQUE CONTEMPORAINE DU QUÉBEC, Toronto New Music Concerts, The ESPRIT ORCHESTRA, the Rouen Chamber Orchestra, Trio Basso (Cologne) and the Collectif musical international de Champigny (2e2m).

Mather acknowledges the influence of Russian composer Ivan Wyschnegradsky, whom he met in 1974 in Paris and who impressed him with the rigour of his microtonal system, in which the octave is divided into intervals smaller than the semitone, with units as small as twelfths of tones. Mather's approach to music stands in opposition to post-modernism and to the styles of such composers as Gorecki, Pärt, Penderecki and Schnittke.

In 2000, Mather was awarded the Serge Garant Prize for his compositional achievements by the Émile Nelligan Foundation.