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Robert Daigneault: Biography

Robert Daigneault
1940 -
Region: Ontario

Robert Daigneault

ROBERT DAIGNEAULT was born in Hamilton, Ontario in 1940. He won a scholarship to study at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto and was a composer-in-residence at the Toronto Dance Theatre providing them with over fifteen dance scores. He has written for numerous groups such as the Elmer Iseler Singers, the Guelph Chamber Choir, the Galliard Ensemble, the Toronto Percussion Ensemble, soloist Terry Helmer from the Orford String Quartet and many more. His music has toured all over North America and Europe including Sadlers Wells, London, England. It has been recorded on several LP records plus a CD, "Ghosts of summer's passing," which includes 3 choir pieces based on the poetry of John McCrae (1872 - 1918) performed by the Guelph Chamber Singers premiered in the River Run Centre, Guelph, Ont. Daigneault has written movie scores and his music has been broadcast on radio across North America ( CBC, CJRT, ) and Europe, as well as on TV.

Daigneault started by creating player piano rolls and writing short piano compositions. From there he went into musique concrete. He has done many collaborations with painters, sculptors, photographers, poets and other musicians. One collaboration was with painter Gord Rayner and the Toronto Dance Theatre to produce the music for "Painters and the Dance" performed at the St. Lawrence Centre, Toronto and the National Arts Centre, Ottawa. He collaborated with painter Paul Fournier to create "Bridges" at the Guelph Spring Festival and his music toured with the art show to six centres across Canada. Another collaboration was with violinist / composer Lorna Glover and pianist Valerie Nichol which toured Ontario. Lorna Glover also performed his music in Amsterdam.

Daigneault is fascinated by reality and mystery. He defines reality as anything that already exists in the world. What interests him is to use a fragment of reality as the starting point for a composition, and to make reality fanciful. He draws on many sources -- jazz, blues, hymn tunes, folk tunes, other composers, patterns from nature such as plant, rock, cloud, wood textures, organic forms, stories, poetry, photos, depression, and joy. He keeps many music sketchbooks ready for that rainy day. Each piece is based on a theme, and the entire composition emerges from that theme. He does not work with a preconceived plan but is drawn by the mystery of the unknown, and allows each piece to evolve in an improvised manner. One of his most pleasant pastimes is improvising on the piano.

He has received many commissions through the Canada Council, the Ontario Arts Council, and others. Daigneault has conducted workshops through Artist in the Schools Program in which students have created their own musicals- plus workshops at various music festivals and universities. He now teaches piano and composition privately.

Today his music includes works for almost all instrumentation.



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