Tim Brady | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Tim Brady

Tim (Timothy Wesley John) Brady. Composer, guitarist, b Montreal 11 Jul 1956; BFA (Concordia) 1978, M MUS jazz performance and composition (New England Conservatory) 1980.

Brady, Tim

Tim (Timothy Wesley John) Brady. Composer, guitarist, b Montreal 11 Jul 1956; BFA (Concordia) 1978, M MUS jazz performance and composition (New England Conservatory) 1980. He studied with Claude Dyotte (guitar, Montreal 1975-8), Mick Goodrick and Thomas McKinley (guitar and composition respectively, Boston 1978-80), James McKay (conducting, Toronto 1982-4), and Odaline de la Martinez (conducting, London 1986-7). Based in Toronto 1980-6 and in Montreal after 1987, Brady pursued parallel and equally productive careers as a composer in idioms ranging from serialism to minimalism and as a performer in jazz and, latterly, electroacoustic settings.


Brady led a succession of small jazz ensembles during the 1980s in Toronto and Montreal clubs and for CBC and BBC broadcasts. He also appeared in solo and/or duo settings at festivals in Edmonton (Jazz City, 1985), Ottawa (1987, 1989), and Victoriaville (1989). In 1989 he supplanted his jazz group with a chamber sextet, Bradyworks, which premiered his dance/jazz work Inventions that year and The Songline, in part a minimalist piece, in 1990. Bradyworks toured in Canada three times (1991, 1994, and 2000), performed in New York in 1991 and 2001, and toured Europe in 2003. Brady also toured North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia extensively as a soloist, performing his own music as well as new works commissioned from other composers. In 2002-3, he performed in Montreal, New York, and Marseille with the Nouvel Ensemble Modern, premiering his guitar concerto Playing Guitar.


While his early recordings, particularly for the Montreal-based Justin Time label, were primarily jazz based, the years after 1994 saw him concentrating on through-composed pieces and increasingly focused on densely layered forms that included as many as 20 multi-tracked guitars on the recording Twenty Quarter-Inch Jacks (2002). His recordings have featured a wide range of collaborators, including jazz trumpeter Kenny Wheeler, bassist Neil Swainson, drummer Terry Clarke, the Penderecki String Quartet, harpsichordist Vivé Vinçent, vocalist Annie Tremblay, the saxophone quartet Quasar, and the big band Kappa.

Music Promotion

As a founder and 1983-6 first artistic director of Contemporary Music Projects in Toronto, Brady organized concerts at the Music Gallery by Gil Evans in 1984 and Kenny Wheeler in 1985 with an ad hoc orchestra of local musicians. Brady conducted for the latter event. In 1994 he founded Innovations en concert to produce new music concerts in Montreal, and in 2000 co-founded Concerts M, a production company for Bradyworks and Quatuor Bozzini. He organized two international festivals of electric guitar, The Body Electric (1997) and Guitarévolution (2002), which staged concerts in Montreal and other Canadian cities.

Awards and Commissions

He won first or second prizes in the CAPAC Fellowships composition competition in 1981 (String Quartet No. 1), in 1983 (Piano Fantasy in Three Movements, Concertino for Orchestra), and in 1985 (Lyric); was a finalist in the CBC National Radio Competition for Young Composers with Visions in 1986; and recipient of CAPAC's Micheline Coulombe Saint-Marcoux award for Variants in 1987. In 2004, he was named Quebec composer of the year by the Conseil québécois de la musique. He received commissions from Topology (Brisbane), The Centre for Contemporary Arts (Glasgow), the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, ARRAYMUSIC, Radio-France, CBC radio's 'Two New Hours,' Quatuor Molinari, the English Guitar Quartet, the Festival international les Coups de théâtre (Montréal), the Festival international de musique actuelle de Victoriaville, NMC, the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, the Quatuor de saxophones de Montréal, Marie-Josée Simard, SMCQ, Vivienne Spiteri, and others. Several periodicals, including Musicworks, have featured Brady's articles.

Selected Compositions

Piano Music 1978. 1978. Pf. Ms. 1984. Apparition A-0984-4 (Marc Widner)

String Quartet No.1. 1980. Ms

Percussion Quartet. 1981. Ms

Concertino for Orchestra. 1982. Orch. Ms

Piano Fantasy. 1982. Pf. Ms. 1984. Apparition A-0984-4 (Marc Widner)

Variants. 1982. Orch. Ms.

Visions. 1982. Soloist, orch. Ms. Justin Time JTR-8413-2 (CD) (1985, O de Chambre de Montréal, Kaluzny conductor)

Lyric. 1983. Pf. Ms. 1984. Apparition A-0984-4 (Marc Widner)

Sound Off, outdoor performance spectacle. 1983. 40 saxophone, 30 trumpet, 30 trombone, 8 bass drums, 2 conductor. Ms

Symphony No. 1. 1983-6. Ms

Solo Games, multimedia. 1984. Vc, elecs. Ms

Chamber Concerto. 1985. Pf, chamber orch. Ms

Reaching Past. 1986. Hpd, tape. Ms. SNE 542 (CD) (Spiteri)

Double Variations. 1987-9. Elec guitar, synthesizer. Ms. See Discography

Changes. 1989. Perc, piano. Ms. SNE 572 (CD) (M.J. Simard)

Inventions. 1989. Dancers, 3 jazz soloists, chamber ensemble, tape. Ms. See Discography

Shadow Painting. 1989. Chamb ensemble. Ms

The Songline. 1989-90. Elec guitar, piano, synthesizer, percussion, violoncello, woodwind. Ms

Unison Rituals. 1991. Saxophone quartet. Ms

Also many works for solo instr; chamber ensemble; and 3 vocal works, Four Songs and an Intermezzo (1979), Ranei Te Take (1988), and Walker Songs (1990). All manuscript


Brady, Guitar
Chalk Paper. Swainson double-bass, Clarke drums. 1983. C-Note 831043

dR.E.aM.s. 1984. Apparition Records A-0485-5

The Persistence of Vision. 1986. Apparition A-0287-7

Visions. Wheeler fl horn, cornet. 1985, 1987, 1988. Justin Time JTR-8413-2 (CD)

Double Variations. Abercrombie guitar & guitar synthesizer. 1987,1989. Justin Time JTR-8415-2 (CD)

Inventions. Bradyworks (M.J. Simard percussion, Stone soprano, alto and tenor saxophone and fl, Drouin keybds, Best violoncello, Neufeld soprano), Surman soprano and alto saxophone, Phillips double-bass, Tanguay drums. 1988-91. Justin Time JTR-8433

Further Reading