Larry Lake

Larry (Ellsworth) Lake. Composer, trumpeter, broadcaster, producer, b Greenville, Penn, 2 Jul 1943; B MUS (Miami) 1964, M ED (Miami) 1968, M MUS musicology (Miami) 1970.
Larry (Ellsworth) Lake. Composer, trumpeter, broadcaster, producer, b Greenville, Penn, 2 Jul 1943; B MUS (Miami) 1964, M ED (Miami) 1968, M MUS musicology (Miami) 1970.

Lake, Larry

Larry (Ellsworth) Lake. Composer, trumpeter, broadcaster, producer, b Greenville, Penn, 2 Jul 1943; B MUS (Miami) 1964, M ED (Miami) 1968, M MUS musicology (Miami) 1970. Raised in Florida and Georgia, Larry Lake moved to Toronto to study electronic music 1970-2 at the University of Toronto with Gustav Ciamaga. He undertook earlier studies at Southern Illinois University (1968) with Hubert S. Howe Jr, Will Gay Bottje, Robert Moog and Lejaren Hiller. In Miami he studied trumpet with Harry Glantz.

Lake was a music producer 1972-5 for CBC Radio and became a new music consultant in 1977. He became most well-known as the longtime host and music consultant for CBC Radio Two's flagship new music program, "Two New Hours" (1978-2007). Lake has also worked on other CBC programs such as "MusicScope," "Themes and Variations," "Music Alive," and "Symphony Hall." Larry Lake has also worked as a freelance writer, broadcaster, and record producer. He received awards from the Canadian Music Council (1982, 1984, 1987) and the Major Armstrong Foundation (USA). As a producer, he has been nominated three times for Juno awards.

He is a founding member (1971) of the Canadian Electronic Ensemble, of which he became the artistic director in 1985. With the ensemble he has performed in 11 countries in Europe and Asia. Lake has appeared as a soloist with L'Association pour la création et la recherche électroacoustique du Québec, Arraymusic, the Canadian Electronic Ensemble, Espace Musique, Music Inter Alia, the Orchestre Métropolitain, the Ottawa Symphony, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Vancouver New Music, and the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.


Larry Lake's works have been commissioned by many leading soloists and ensembles in Canada and the US and have been performed at major festivals around the world (eg, ISCM, Fylkingen, International Rostrum of Composers) and broadcast in 35 countries. His commissions include Psalm for Lawrence Cherney, Ulalume for the Canadian Electronic Ensemble, The Columbine for Gayle Young, Three Bagatelles for the Evergreen Club Gamelan Ensemble, Filar il Tuono for Contemporary Music Projects, Partita for Paul Benza, and Homage and Sonata No. 2 for the CBC.

Lake's interest in electroacoustic composition was fostered by his studies at Southern Illinois University and at the University of Toronto (1970-2) with Gustav Ciamaga, whose influence persists in his music. His early compositions were produced entirely by electronic means, but from 1975 his major concern has been the integration of acoustic instruments with electronic ones, especially in live performance. Communicating with a wide audience is important to Lake and his music has been described as 'unabashedly romantic' by CBC broadcaster Ian Alexander, a sentiment not refuted by the composer.

Lake has served as chair of the Canadian Music Centre's Ontario Region Council and executive member of the Canadian Music Centre's national board. He is a member of the Canadian League of Composers and the Canadian Electroacoustic Community and an associate of the Canadian Music Centre. In 2002, he received the Friends of Canadian Music Award.

Selected Works

Music Theatre and Multi Media
Choros. 1971. Tape, colour organ, strobe lights

'Tis Pity, opera. 1980. Live-elec. Ms


No More Blues. 1976. Trb, 2 synthesizer, tape. Ms

Slowly I Turn. 1982. Va, percussion, 2 synthesizer, vibraphone, elec. Ms

Sticherarion. 1984. Acc, tape, digital delay lines. Ms

Psalm. 1985. Ob, tape. Ms. Centrediscs CMC-CD-3288

Three Bagatelles. 1986. Gamelan, synthesizer. Ms. Arjuna AR-001 (Evergreen Club)

Five Pieces for Eight Synthesizers. 1987

Israfel. 1987. Fl, 8 synths. Trappist CD-9003/4-ACM 37 (Cram fl)

Ulalume. 1987. Rec, synthesizer. Ms

Filar il Tuono. 1988. 14 instr. Ms

Helices. 1988. Bsn, synthesizer. Ms

Partita. 1989. Cl, synthesizer. Ms


Eight Studies for Electronic Tape. 1971. Tape

Homage. 1979. Tape.

Sonata No. 2. 1981. Tape.

Also two works for voice: The Columbine (1980) text by Jones Very for soprano, columbine, tape; and The Devil in the Desert (1980) a setting of five poems by Steven Crane for soprano, vocoder, 4 synthesizer, and delay line

For collaborative works see Canadian Electronic Ensemble.

Further Reading

  • Piros, Joanna. "Missionary composition," Radio Guide, July 1996

    MacMillan, Rick. "Show sparks worldwide interest in Canadian music," Words & Music, February 1997