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Wesley Berg

(Denis)

(b Pietermaritzburg, Dec 8, 1936; d Edmonton, Alberta, July 5, 2011). Canadian composer and trombonist of South African origin. He earned undergraduate and postgraduate degrees from the University of Cape Town. After playing the trombone with the Cape Town SO (1961–7), he emigrated to Canada in 1968 where he joined the music faculty at the University of Alberta. He continued his orchestral playing with the Edmonton SO (1968–71, 1973–80). His first major composition, Sketches from Natal (1970), is strongly influenced by the African melodies and rhythms that surrounded him as a youth. Other works including the Symphony no.1 (1972), Music for Mouths, Marimba, Mbira and Roto-Toms (1973), African Ode (1981–7) and ‘Chopi’, the third movement of Tre toccate (1987), share similar characteristics. Atayoskewin (1984), however, evokes the atmosphere of his adopted homeland, the Canadian North. A prominent feature of his style is the intricate manipulation of intervallic cells, orchestral textures and rhythmic patterns derived from African and popular musics. Other important aspects of his work are an appreciation of wit and humour revealed in the forms of pastiche and parody and a desire to communicate with a wide audience. The recipient of numerous commissions, Forsyth was recognized as Canadian Composer of the Year in ...