Paul Dolden | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Paul Dolden

Created almost exclusively in his private recording studio, Dolden's music is extremely dense in texture.
Dolden, Paul
Composer Paul Dolden (courtesy Paul Dolden).

Paul Dolden

Paul Dolden, composer (b at Ottawa 23 Jan 1956). Dolden studied composition and electroacoustic music at Simon Fraser University. He won 18 prizes for his electroacoustic works up to 1996, including awards in Canada, the USA, the Czech Republic, Sweden and Italy. Dolden has been particularly successful in the electroacoustic category at the Bourges International Competition in France, winning first mention in 1984, the only prize in 1986, first prize in 1988 and 1990, and the Euphonies d'or, a special one-time award given in 1992. In 1995 he was the recipient of the Jean A.Chalmers Award for Musical Composition and in 1999 won the Victor Martyn Lynch-Stauton Award, a special Canada Council prize given to the top applicant of the year in the field of music. His music has appeared on Harmonia Mundi, Radio-Canada International and Justin Time recordings, and there are solo CDs of his work on both the Tronia Disc and empreintes DIGITales labels.

Created almost exclusively in his private recording studio, Dolden's music is extremely dense in texture. It is produced through the meticulous layering of hundreds of individual tracks of instrumental and vocal performances which are combined to produce timbres that it would not be possible to realize outside the studio environment. These "tape" compositions are often combined with live performance aspects through additional parts written for soloists or ensembles.

Dolden's early concern with exploring a dense and often abrasive sound world gradually gave way to a postmodernist juxtaposition and superimposition of disparate musical styles. This, in turn, was supplanted in the late 1990s by a focus on melody, where the listener is courted by luscious tonality in live instrumental lines, with only occasional hints of dark timbral density in the taped accompaniments.

Dolden has been commissioned by many of Canada's finest performers and ensembles, including the Vancouver New Music Society, the SOCIÉTÉ DE MUSIQUE CONTEMPORAINE DU QUÉBEC, Toronto's ESPRIT ORCHESTRA and Continuum.