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date: 22 August 2019

Southam, Annlocked

  • Tamara Bernstein


(b Winnipeg, MB, Feb 4, 1937; d Toronto, ON, Nov 25, 2010). Canadian composer. A unique and distinguished voice among Canada’s composers, Southam initially made her reputation through groundbreaking tape works that helped establish contemporary dance in Canada. In the late 1970s, she shifted her focus to concert music for acoustic instruments (principally piano and strings), developing a highly personal musical language that incorporates free use of 12-note rows, with their inherent dissonance/instability, within the consonance and stability of process music (minimalism) and drones. From seemingly simple musical materials, Southam created music of extraordinary emotional impact and subtlety, culminating in the spare, mysterious and deeply contemplative piano works from her last decade.

A private person, but a proud and outspoken feminist, Southam did much to advance women composers in Canada, both through her own success, and through her support of other women. She was instrumental in the founding of the Association of Canadian Women Composers, served as its first president (...

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Encyclopedia of Music in Canada (Toronto, 2/1992)