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Mary Gardiner: Biography

Mary Gardiner
1932 - 2010
Region: Ontario

Mary Gardiner

Composer, pianist, educator, Mary Gardiner, B.A. Honours (Music), A.R.C.T. (Piano Performance) has composed for piano (including a piano concerto), string orchestra, voice, choir, chamber and vocal ensembles. Her music has been described as ‘rich in ideas’, ‘well-crafted’ and ‘honest without contrivance’. It has been published, recorded, broadcast and performed across Canada and internationally.

A Founding member and former Chair of the Association of Canadian Women Composers, Gardiner was also active for many years as President of the Alliance for Canadian New Music Projects. (ACNMP’s Contemporary Showcase, a festival of music by Canadian composers for students is now a national festival.) When Gardiner stepped down from the Presidency, a scholarship was established in her name. She also served on the Council of the Ontario Region of the CMC, several as Chair. As an educator, she first taught Music and English in secondary school before launching her own private piano studio, during which time, she conducted a church choir and studied Composition with Samuel Dolin. She presented workshops on Canadian music to teachers throughout Ontario and adjudicated at music festivals. In recognition of her exceptional commitment to Canadian music as a ‘builder of bridges between composers and teachers and students’, the CMC and the Canadian League of Composers presented her with the 2003 Friends of Canadian Music Award.

What the critics said......

“After the elegant rhetoric of the baroque masters, the quasi-jazzy but always genteel slang of Mary Gardiner’s Concerto for Piano was most refreshing. It’s a well-constructed dialogue between the piano and strings with arch urgings from the percussion. I kept wanting the music to be danced to. (Arthur) Ozolins’ dynamic pianism once more left one slack-jawed.”
Hugh Fraser, Hamilton Spectator 11/02/85

“Mary Gardiner’s Zhawaninodin drew the most exotic picture of all... The vocal sound effects... created a vivid mood-picture of a shadowy world.”
Ronald Hambleton, Toronto Star 28/09/87

“Mary Gardiner demanded a considerably different approach of Iraina Neufeld in De Profundis. At times, the instruments wove arabesques around the vocal line; at other times they blended into it; but what was particularly striking about this piece (was) the way the composer directed the soloist to speak some of Christina Rosetti’s verses and sing others.”
William Littler, Toronto Star 22/06/86

“A Pot of Gold by composer Mary Gardiner delighted the audience.”
Tim Smith, Winnipeg Sun 23/03/82

“ ... song of pungent impact” Downtowner (Winnipeg)

Centrestreams

Click here to listen to all works by Mary Gardiner