Thrower, John (David). Composer, conductor, clarinetist, b North Battleford, Sask, 5 Nov 1951; B MUS (Toronto) 1975. He began to study the clarinet at 8 and became principal clarinet of the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra at 16. He studied for two years at the University of Saskatchewan, where his teachers included Monte Keene Pishny-Floyd and David Kaplan, then moved in 1973 to the University of Toronto, where he studied composition with Gustav Ciamaga, Edward Laufer, and John Weinzweig, and conducting with Victor Feldbrill, Ernesto Barbini, Boyd Neel, and Kazimierz Kord. After graduating from the University of Toronto, he studied electronic and computer music in Stockholm on a Canada Council grant, returned briefly to Toronto, and then moved to Germany, living first in Konstanz and then, from 1982, in Stuttgart, working as a freelance performer and music teacher.
Thrower won two prizes in the 1978 CBC National Radio Competition for Young Composers for Recitatives, Arias for soprano and two pianos (recorded in 1982 on RCI 569 by Joanne Dorenfeld with James Anagnoson and Leslie Kinton), and for the electronic music work Suite from Atma. He later turned from the extreme modernist idiom of these and his other early works and explored instead a more communicative, lyrical style based on the use of an extended but nevertheless functional tonality. This new approach was evident as early as his Incidental Music for piano and string trio, commissioned by ARRAYMUSIC and premiered in 1980 on the CBC radio program 'Two New Hours.' Thrower has received other commissions from Canadian musicians and organizations, including Robert Riseling (Improvisations on a Blue Theme for clarinet and orchestra, 1981, recorded in 1988 by Joaquin Valdepeñas and the CBC Vancouver Orchestra on CBC SMCD-5094), NMC (Love Songs for contralto and chamber ensemble, 1982), the Wilson-McAllister Guitar Duo (Dreams, 1983), the CBC (Through Time and Space for solo viola, 1984), the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Orchestra (Archetypen for orchestra, 1987), and Amici (Trio 38 for clarinet, cello, and piano, 1990). While continuing to compose in traditional genres in 1991, he was also beginning to explore new ways of presenting his musical ideas, especially through the medium of video.