Michael Bussière | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Michael Bussière

Michael (Robert) Bussière. Composer, teacher, producer, b Ottawa 31 May 1959; BA (Carleton) 1980, B MUS (Carleton) 1981, ARCT 1982, M MUS (State U of NY, Potsdam) 1985.

Bussière, Michael

Michael (Robert) Bussière. Composer, teacher, producer, b Ottawa 31 May 1959; BA (Carleton) 1980, B MUS (Carleton) 1981, ARCT 1982, M MUS (State U of NY, Potsdam) 1985. Michael Bussière studied with Lydia Sierhuis; with John Churchill at Carleton University; and with Robert Washburn and Paul Steinberg (composition) at the State University of New York at Potsdam. He joined the music department at Carleton University in 1985 as director of the electronic and computer music program, founding Canada's first undergraduate fine arts program in new media. Bussière writes for both traditional instruments and electronic media, often combining the two to great effect. He won two CAPAC awards in 1987: the Rodolphe Mathieu Award for Veni Creator Spiritus (1987) for soprano and digital sounds, and the Godfrey Ridout Gold Award for Fields of Light: The Eternal Feminine (1985) for soprano, double choir, and computer-generated tape. The latter work, for which Ottawa video artist Joan Woodward prepared a series of photographic images, has been performed at the Music Gallery, by the Canadian Centennial Choir, at Ottawa's Festival of the Arts, and for New Music Concerts.

Since the 1990s, Michael Bussière's interests have tended towards interactive sonic installations such as the Virtual Instrument Paradigm (1994). Located outside Ottawa City Hall, a computer "composes" music to movements perceived by a motion-sensing camera, the results of which are emitted through quadraphonic speakers embedded in a five-tower sculpture.

Commissions and Performances
Michael Bussière has been commissioned by performers and organizations such as Christina Petrowska-Quilico (TransAtlantic Synergies, 1986); Julie West Dance Foundation (Triad, 1987); the Canadian Electronic Ensemble (Hypothesis of Memory, 1987); Sound Pressure (Eldorado Nuclear, 1988); Martin Beaver; Jamie Parker; the CBC; the National Film Board of Canada; Pierrot Ensemble; and Harmathy Films. His music has been performed outside Canada at the Video Roma Festival, the International Festival Avant-garde in Paris, the Bourges Festival of Electro-Acoustic Music, Boston's School of the Museum of Fine Arts, and Chicago's Ravinia Festival. Within Canada, his works have been performed at The Banff Festival of the Arts, Toronto Festival of Festivals, and the Canada Dance Festival.

Record Producer; Multimedia Work

Since 1990, Bussière has also worked as a producer for, among others, CBC Radio, Carleton Sound, the National Film Board of Canada, Naxos of Hong Kong, Polygram, and Summit Records. In 1995, he received a Canada Council grant for travel and research in the Middle East.

Michael Bussière founded SDI Inc. (Sonic Design Interactive) to further his work in interactive art in broadband as a medium. In the early 2000s SDI was awarded a substantial grant from CANARIE, which led to what is believed to be the first musical work composed for a multimedia broadband event: a concert combining Carleton University music students with students at Holy Heart High School in St. John's, NL, 9 Apr 2002. Bussière has continued to curate such performances, notably at the Banff Centre in 2004.

Bussière creates complex electronic colourations pitted against clear lines of instrumental writing, evoked in complex musical forms. He is a member of the Canadian League of Composers and the Canadian Electroacoustic Community and an associate of the Canadian Music Centre.

See also Electroacoustic Music; Electronic Musical Instruments


"The evolution of electro-acoustic," Trans FM, June 1990

Further Reading