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Robert Joseph Rosen: Biography

Robert Joseph Rosen
1956 - 2018
Region: Ontario

Robert Joseph Rosen

RJ Rosen's prairie heritage and mountain roots in western Canada infuse both the grandness and nuance of his compositions. His early studies with Canadian composers Malcolm Forsyth and Bruce Mather were supplemented by later work with iconic composers including R. Murray Schafer, Witold Lutoslawski, John Cage, Toru Takemitsu, Morton Feldman and Iannis Xenakis.

Rosen has composed and explored in different forms of concert music, electro-acoustic music, and site-specific environmental performance. As well, he has composed music for award-winning films and modern dance. In addition to concert halls across Canada and elsewhere, his music has been performed in Grotto Canyon in the Canadian Rockies, on Signal Hill in Newfoundland, in the Grand Canyon in the United States and as a site-specific work in the Great Hall of the Canadian Museum of Civilization.

Rosen received his music degree in composition "cum laude" from the University of Alberta where he studied with Forsyth and Violet Archer. He participated in the 1982 Internationales Fereinkurse für Neue Musik in Darmstadt, Germany. Subsequently, he held various positions at the Banff Centre for the Arts including a pivotal role as Associate Director of Music and Sound. He was also Music Director of Kokoro Dance of Vancouver. Currently, Rosen resides in Ottawa, Ontario.

Rosen’s music has been described by audiences and critics as “visceral,” “cerebral,” “evocative," “sensual,” “subversive,” and “having curiosity." Rosen’s roots in the 20th century do not preclude his visions for the 21st and its musicians and audience.


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