Steve Tittle

Tittle, Steve (John Stephen). Composer, teacher, b Willard, O, 20 May 1935; B SC music education (Kent State) 1965; M MUS (Wisconsin) 1966; DMA (Wisconsin) 1974.

Tittle, Steve

Tittle, Steve (John Stephen). Composer, teacher, b Willard, O, 20 May 1935; B SC music education (Kent State) 1965; M MUS (Wisconsin) 1966; DMA (Wisconsin) 1974. He studied composition at Kent State U with Harold Miles, John White and Fred Coulter, and at U of Wisconsin at Madison with Hilmar Luckhardt, Robert Crane and Burt Levy. He was a school music teacher 1962-5 in Ohio, and his early performance experience was as a trumpet player in US Navy bands and in ensembles in Ohio and Wisconsin. In 1970 he joined Dalhousie University, where in 1990 he was associate professor of composition and theory. Founder and co-designer of the Dalhousie Experimental-Electronic Sound Studio, he also inaugurated an improvisation ensemble, Murphy's Law, which has evolved into the new music ensemble. He was a 1971 charter member, secretary and artistic director (1981-6) of NOVA MUSIC and in 1989, together with several other Halifax professional musicians, created its successor, Upstream. In these enterprises, and in numerous solo and ensemble appearances in the city, as conductor, organizer, trumpet and flügelhorn player, and mallet percussionist, he has been a catalyst for new music performance life in the Maritimes, in particular introducing the potential of synthesizer and tape composition to the region. He is a charter member of the Atlantic Canadian Composers Association and producer of its chamber music recording.

Tittle is a prolific composer, primarily in smaller forms. Drawing on influences from jazz, minimalist, and non-Western musics, he creates in each piece an original statement that is subtle, novel, and engaging both for the performer and the listener. Works such as orange-blossom book, it is all there all the time, where there is no other (only we), let it shine all the time, messages (four), and what finally matters most is grace are poised between Western and Asian aesthetics: an impression of timelessness and of the mobile tend to disguise tight control of material and logical, dynamic conclusions. The interplay between tape and performer in innocence and natural right, salvation dharma band, and only/other/always achieves a linear unity and contrapuntal contrast that is both lyric and deft. Tittle has been commissioned by the Atlantic Symphony Orchestra and Symphony Nova Scotia,Music GalleryNMC, CBC Radio, the Canadian Electronic Ensemble, the Kronos Quartet, Lawrence Cherney, Rivka Golani, Philippe Djokic, the Atlantic Camera Trio, the Karr-Lewis Duo, Scotia Festival, Technical U of Nova Scotia, and Dalhousie University. He has also written for CBC Radio drama, the NFB, and the Nova Scotia Communications and Information Centre. He has recorded one album, (one of the) merely players. He is an associate of the Canadian Music Centre.

Selected Compositions

it is all there all the time. 1972. Db, harpsichord. Ms. 1974. CBC SM-269 (Karr double-bass, Lewis harpsichord)

orange-blossom book (Eli Mandel). 1976. Mezzo, oboe, 2 clarinet, 2 horn, percussion. Ms

where there is no other (only we). 1976. Vn, violoncello, piano. Ms

let it shine all the time. 1977. Str quartet, vibraphone. Ms

messages (one). 1978. 3 percussion. Ms

mourning the loss of our demons. 1978-82. Orch. Ms

dreamspeaker. 1979. Fl, oboe, bassoon. Ms

innocence and natural right. 1980. Vib, tape. Ms

salvation dharma band. 1981. Flhn, tape. Ms. 1985. Nerve 002 (Tittle)

(one of the) merely players. 1982. Tape, improvising players. Ms. 1985. Nerve 002 (Tittle)

just like yr daddy done. 1983. Tape, male voice. Ms. Nerve 002 (Tittle)

mediterranean eyes. 1984. Fl (piccolo), piano, double-bass. Ms

messages (four). 1984. Va, percussion. Ms.

what finally matters most is grace. 1985. Vn, piano. Ms. 1987. AtlanticCanadian Composers' Association ACCA-1987 (Djokic)

only/other/always. 1987. Ob, tape. Ms.

dreams about dancing. 1989. Vc, orc tape


Further Reading

  • Rick MacMillan. 'Steve Tittle not inhibited by threat of Murphy's h. Ms

    Also other works for piano, chamber ensemble, voice, chorus, and Law,' MSc, 319, May-Jun 1981