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COMPOSER SHOWCASE

Peter Ware: Biography

Peter Ware
1951 -
Region: Ontario

Peter Ware

PETER WARE was born in 1951. Music was always an integral part of his life. He obtained a Bachelor of Music degree from Virgina Commonwealth University, studying composition, conducting, violoncello and piano, and received a Masters degree in composition from Yale University, studying with Krzysztof Penderecki, Allen Forte, Roman Haubenstock-Ramati and Toru Takemitsu.

Ware's personal style, inspired by the North American landscape and its rich Indian heritage, is often termed "impressionistic" and his works as "paintings in sound". The titles themselves often evoke an exotic resonance of Indian lore. Tsankawi, the title of an orchestral piece, is the name of a Pueblo Indian village near Santa Fe, New Mexico, that was abandoned in the 17th century. Quite appropriately, many other works have been named after geographical sites.

Influenced by the works of Penderecki, Ware's early music predominantly features disjunct melodies and chromatic tetrachords. His concise and economical use of wide intervallic relationships has resulted in a dramatic and communicative style.

After 1980, Ware's music takes on an increasingly vocal character. His orchestral works regularly feature a melodic use of brass, percussion and winds. An innovator in percussion writing, Ware frequently transposes melodic material to the non-pitched timbales, gongs, tam tams and cymbals. Orchestral works of "impressionistic" character include Kusawa, Aishihik and Baca Location No.1.

Throughout his later chamber and solo compositions Ware consistently offers performers new technical challenges. While he is not one to construct unnecessary complexities, he does take players to the limits of their range and ability. Discussing his approach to composition, Ware points out that his studies of Gregorian chant and early polyphony have influenced his musical style. Throughout his career, other influences have surfaced. An Oriental aura is created in Chama as the flute chants "like a shakuhachi", and jazz overtones can be heard in Americana Quintet, Takhini and others.

Ware has received numerous commissions and his compositions have been frequently performed throughout Canada and in the United States.

Lynn Harting, 1987

PROCAN, Canadian League of Composers

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