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COMPOSER SHOWCASE

Alasdair MacLean: Biography

Alasdair MacLean
1955 -
Region: Atlantic

Alasdair MacLean

Alasdair MacLean has a growing reputation as one of eastern Canada's most accomplished professional composers. From early influences in classical and popular music, MacLean has parlayed his wide-ranging creative interests into composition studies in Canada, the United States and France. His works, for solo instruments and voice, chamber ensembles, chorus and orchestra, have been described by critics as displaying "restless resourcefulness" and "hypnotic intensity".

Alasdair MacLean's experience as a musician and composer is wide-ranging. After childhood piano lessons, he began playing in a rock band at age 13, and continued performing rock and pop music until university, where he began formal studies again. While at Mount Allison University, he also became active in Windsor Theatre as an arranger, composer and pianist. His compositions have been gaining increased exposure on the Canadian new music scene; his works have been performed in Canada from coast to coast, as well as in the United States, Britain, France, China and Japan.

MacLean's appointment as the first Composer-in-Residence with Symphony Nova Scotia (October 1996) resulted in six works for the ensemble over four years: four for orchestra, one for chorus and orchestra, plus a CBC-commissioned piano concerto. He also participated in the 'Music to Your Ears' community outreach program in Halifax schools, and gave pre-concert chats for the orchestra's Celebrity Series. Outgrowths of MacLean's symphony activities included participation in Changing Arts Practices projects with British composer and improvisor Peter Weigold, as well as adjudicating the first-ever composition classes held in the Halifax Kiwanis Music Festival.

In July 2001, Alasdair MacLean was appointed Composer-in-Residence for Debut Atlantic, eastern Canada's premier classical music touring organization, and has written six new works for selected solo and chamber Debut artists during the past two years, as well as giving numerous school presentations and masterclasses throughout the region. Based on the overwhelming success of the residency, support for the position has been extended for a third year into the 2003-2004 concert season.

2003

Centrestreams

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