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Dennis Farrell: Biography

Dennis Farrell
1940 -
Region: British Columbia

Dennis Farrell

Dennis Farrell (1940, Green Bay, Wisconsin; dual Citizenship Canada-U.S.) Member SOCAN, CMC, CLC

Dennis Farrell came to Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, in 1968, to work with David Wilson and colleagues implementing new Dalhousie University Programs Music.

In 1971 he became a founding member of the new-music group inNOVAtions in MUSIC, helping to showcase in Halifax contemporary classical music by local, national and international, living composers; within twelve years inNOVAtions had already produced over sixty concerts. Founding members included Adrian Hoffman, Steve Tittle, Stephen Pedersen, Alexander Tilley and James Faraday. Farrell subsequently participated in the establishment of a regional, Atlantic Canadian Composers Association, later becoming the Canadian Music Centre Atlantic Chapter, now located at Mount Allison University, Sackville, New Brunswick.

His compositional career has been supported to large extent by an active music scene in Halifax, and certainly at Dalhousie University (under David Wilson, Walter Kemp, Lynn Stodola, current chair, Gregory Servant); also helpful were the Nova Scotia Department of Culture, the CBC, locally (Adrian Hoffman), regionally (Richard Gibson) and nationally (David Jaeger, Larry Lake, David Quinny, James Montgomery), the Canada Council, the Ontario Arts Council, and funding provided from various other commissions and organizations, the Elmer Eisler Singers, Canadian Federation of Piano Teachers and Scotia Festival of Music.

From 1996-98 he was Secretary to the Dalhousie University Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. He has served on national grants panels, notably SSHRC and the SSHRC Arts/Creation Councils. In addition to extensive University teaching, and university committee-work, he has been involved music education (Halifax School Board, Chalmers Doane, Kay Pottie, Joyce Pierece, Alexander Tilley, et al.) Sir Frederick Fraser (formerly, Halifax School for the Blind), over forty years of church music conducting, arranging and accompanying in various church denominations, assistance with High-School musicals, adjudications, music camps, and workshops for teachers of music. He has regularly delivered invitational lectures to the University of Kings College Foundation-Year Studies. His research interests, second only to composition touch upon music theory (history of actual craft, tuning systems), music theory pedagogy and refresher resources for teachers, linguistics, liturgy and genealogies.

Farrell’s composition-degree, honours-student recitalists (some also with performance degrees) have included Emily Doolittle, Teresa Connors, Pete Johnston, Colin Pridy, Gordon Williamson, Moe Touisnar, Stephen Mullin, Tim Cyr, Kevin O’Neill, Geoffrey North, Timothy Crofts, Jennifer Rudolf, Matthew Riendeau, et. al. Farrell currently makes his home in Vancouver.


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