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Robert Evans: Biography

Robert Evans
1933 - 2005
Region: Ontario

Robert Evans

ROBERT EVANS (b. 1933, d.2005) was highly respected as a composer and conductor within the choral music community, having written music for such ensembles as the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, the Amadeus Choir, the Toronto Children's Chorus, and King's College Choir, Cambridge. He had a considerable number of commissions, performances and broadcasts, and his works appeared on 5 different CD choral anthologies. Evans composed in an accessible yet challenging style for a wide range of performers - children, amateurs, sacred and secular communities and his fellow professionals. Among his works were the choral compositions Shalom, Pie Jesu and Ring-a the News, the Fantasy Variations for organ, and a large-scale cantata to his own text, WhaleSongDancing.

His works included Three cantatas, WhaleSongDancing, performed by the Elora Festival Singers, For the Children, performed by the Toronto Children's choir and Bridges, performed by the Toronto Mendelssohn Youth Choir & Orchestra, in '93, '96 and 2000 rounding off the century with larger statements on the human condition. WhaleSongDancing, features five cantos on the plight and beauty of the largest of our mammals; For the Children, based on several poems written by children from the concentration camp Terezin in the Czech Republic, won the Association of Choral Conductors' Outstanding Choral Composition Award in Halifax in 1998.

Evans won the 1st place award for the Amadeus Choir Christmas Carol competition. More recently he had written for the National Prayer Book Societies 450th international celebration of Cranmer's Prayer Book of 1549.

Hiscantata, Bridges was based on the poems of the youth of Portage in Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick following their journey from alcohol and drug addiction through rehabilitation, hope and redemption. It was commissioned by the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir & Orchestra and conducted by Robert Cooper.

In 1996 Evans continued his pursuit of the arts in his community by mounting a 4 concert, 3 day exhibition festival 'In Your Own Backyard' with 22 visual, spoken word and musical artists showing and performing, celebrating the arts and their inter-relation with each other and the audience.

In 2000 Evans was honoured by being one of 60 composers from across Canada to be supported by MC2M as part of the millenium celebration of the arts.

In 2003 Evans mounted "Passage" at the Wellington County Museum and Archives, a multimedia exhibition of photographs, haiku, as well as launching a new CD of Cantata 4 "Carved By The Sea" with Tactus Vocal Ensemble. To round out "Passage" was the launch of a hand made leather bound book of photographs, poetry with Cantata 4 on CD.

In 2004, "Song of Becoming" for chamber orchestra was accepted at the Saskatoon Symphony's Festival of New Music. Recently, Evans was announced as a finalist in the Outside the Bachs choral competition in Fort Worth, Texas.

Robert Bruce Evans passed away peacefully on Thursday, March 10, 2005. In addition to being a prolific composer, he was an accomplished poet and an award-winning photographer. For a collection of some of Robert's works of poetry, music and photography here on his website. Up to his passing he enjoyed new commissions, broadcasts, a new recording by Tactus as well as award winning photography and poetry.


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