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Allan Gilliland: Biography

Allan Gilliland
1965 -
Region: Prairie

Allan Gilliland

One of Canada’s busiest composers; Allan Gilliland was born in Darvel, Scotland in 1965 and immigrated to Canada in 1972. Based in Edmonton (Alberta) he has written music for solo instruments, orchestra, choir, brass quintet, wind ensemble, big band, film, television and theatre. His music has been performed by many ensembles around the world including: the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, St. Lawrence String Quartet, Canadian Brass, Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Alberta Baroque Ensemble, Pro Coro Canada, Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Orchestra, Hammerhead Consort, Rochester Philharmonic, the Boston Pops and the brass section of the New York Philharmonic. For five years (1999-2004) he was Composer-in-Residence with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, writing 11 works for the ESO including concerti for violin, trumpet, two harps, and clarinet. Other highlights include; The Winspear Fanfare composed for the opening of the Francis Winspear Centre for Music, An Overture for the Worlds commissioned for the opening ceremonies of the IAAF World Championships in Athletics, Dreaming of the Masters I a jazz concerto written for clarinetist James in 2004 by the Boston Pops, the 1-act opera Hannaraptor and the musicals The Seventh Circle and Dead Beats. In 2006 he was one of a handful of composers asked to participate in the ASCAP/Buddy Baker Film Scoring Workshop at New York University. In 2002 his orchestral work On the Shoulders of Giants took first prize at the prestigious Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra’s Centara New Music Festival Composers Competition. Allan has also won composition contests sponsored by Pro Coro Canada and the Alberta Band Association as well as first place in the Jean Coulthard Competition for Composers and the Lydia Pals Composers Competition. As an arranger, he has written hundreds of charts for almost every combination of instruments including three full “pops” shows for the Edmo nton Symphony Orchestra. Though no longer active, Allan was also a busy free-lance trumpet player. He was a regular member of the Tommy Banks Big Band, co-led The Creative Opportunity Orchestra (CO2) and Inside Track and performed with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, Edmonton Opera, Citadel Theatre and Capital Brass. He holds a diploma in Jazz Studies (trumpet) from Humber College, a Bachelor of Music degree in performance and a Master of Music degree in composition from the University of Alberta. His teachers include Violet Archer, Howard Bashaw and Malcolm Forsyth. Allan has taught at the University of Alberta and Red Deer College and is now Head of Composition at Grant MacEwan College in Edmonton where he lives with his wife and two children.


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