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Bill Gilliam: Biography

Bill Gilliam
1950 -
Region: Ontario

Bill Gilliam

Bill Gilliam is a composer who has spent most of his musical life exploring the boundaries between new music, electroacoustic music and contemporary jazz. He has worked and performed with many experimental artists of like mind in the areas of film, dance, theatre and sound poetry, and continues to create compositions for new music chamber performance ensembles.

Bill was born in London, England and moved to Toronto after completing his studies at Berklee College of Music in Boston in 1981. In Canada, he studied new music composition with Dr. Samuel Dolin, Alexina Louie, Norman Beecroft and Alexander Rapoport at the Royal Conservatory of Music. He has since written several scores for film, dance and theatre, including collaborations with experimental film makers Bruce Elder, Bruce McDonald and choreographers Philip Drube, Maxine Heppner and Marie-Josée Chartier. Bill participated in Arraymusic’s first young composer workshop and in 1988, as well as receiving a grant from the OAC to attend the Inter Arts program at the Banff Centre of Fine Arts. In 1990 he received a Canada Council grant to produce an electroacoustic album Cyclic Dancing, distributed by CMC Distribution Services.

Bill’s music has been performed many times at the Music Gallery in Toronto, including his “Burning Ambitions” concert (1994), “Solos & Duets” concert (2004) and a joint program, called “Deceptive Moves”, with Toronto composer Colleen Ostoforoff, which featured a suite of new music and electro-acoustic works (2005).

In 1998 Bill received funding from FACTOR to produce his first contemporary jazz CD Urban Undercurrents and in 2000 he was awarded an OAC grant to record his second such CD, Spirit Matter.

Using palettes of hand crafted sample sounds and keyboards, Bill has improvised with performance artists such as Lori Freedman, Ronda Rindone, Rick Sacks, sound poet Penn Kemp, actor Ann Anglin, and has performed electroacoustic solos at the Ought One Music Festival.

Bill’s Music was featured at the 2003 Distillery Jazz Festival and with the improvisation ensemble Soundspoke at the 2004 Distillery Jazz Festival spoken word series. In 2004 his String Quartet No. 2 was presented by the Canadian Contemporary Music Workshop.

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