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G. Gordon Nicholson: Biography

G. Gordon Nicholson
1942 -
Region: International

G. Gordon Nicholson

G. Gordon Nicholson, born in Alberta in 1942, received his B. Mus from Berklee College of Music in 1970, M. Mus. degree from the University of Alberta studying composition with Violet Archer, and Ph.D. (Saybrook Institute, San Francisco, 1998, dissertation on the process of composition. He has life-long experience as a professional musician, (composer, arranger, performer), with compositions performed on ACCESS Network (Alberta Educational Communications Corporation), CBC national radio, CTV, ITV, the Banff Center and numerous concerts. He received his undergraduate training in composition at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, and since 1973, has held the post of Instructor in the music program at Grant MacEwan Community College where he has retired from teaching composition and arranging.

Commissions have been written for the Canadian Music Conference, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the RCMP concert-band, Ottawa (including special commissions for their appearances at Expo '86 in Vancouver, BC, and Expo '88 in Brisbane, Australia), the Edmonton Composers' Concert Society; for Edmonton school ensembles, and the Alberta Band Directors (ABA) association where he conducted a "Composer in the Classroom" series in which he did workshops as part of this project with students (age 14-15) on the creative musical process. He has composed much music for radio and television, and has also done work as a commercial arranger for many years. Major works include "L.A. Suite" (for CBC); "Fox Drive" (for the RCMP concert band), "Edmonton Suite 1" (For Edmonton recorder quintet "The Plumber's Union" and CBC): "Edmonton Suite II" (For Radio Canada); "Ms Jaws" (For the A.B.A); "Tricerasuite" (For "Triceratops" and the A.F.A); "Hammersuite" (for the Hammerhead Consort and the A.F.A); Nine Miniatures (Neuf Miniatures) for alto sax and piano, for the group "Duo Dilemme."

In 1989-1990, he was granted sabbatical leave from Grant MacEwan Community College to travel and research the creative process and how it may be stimulated. This included extensive travel and consulting in Europe, India, south-east Asia, particularly Bali, Java and Thailand; and especially an interest in the music of Rhajastan, India and the Gamelan music of Bali and Java.

In 1991 he received Alberta Arts Foundation (AFA) commission for a fifteen minute work for the Brass Trio, "Triceratops." The work, "Tricerasuite" was premiered in the November of 1992 as part of a complete concert of personal chamber and jazz works presented by the composer. As well, in 1992 he received commission to compose a major work for Edmonton ensemble "Hammerhead Consort" which was premiered in May, 1993 which was broadcast on CBC radio ("Two New Hours") "The Hammerhead Consort" recorded the work on their award-winning CD in June, 1993.

Latest projects include two Alberta Foundation for the Arts commissions; (1) "Sonatine Les Fleurs", a five moment work for solo piano commissioned by Sylvia Shadok-Taylor and prèmiered at the University of Alberta (Convocation Hall) in late April, 2001. Sylvia has subsequently played the work for New Music Calgary in May, 2001, and at a concert featuring all some of my new music at Grant MacEwan College (the J.L. Haar Theatre) in November, 2002. (2) A work in progress: a suite of solo guitar pieces for Edmonton guitarist Lyall Steel which will be prèmiered some time (TBA) in 2003, another AFA commission.

Dr. Nicholson is a member the ECCS (Edmonton Composers Concert Society), an Associate Composer of the Canadian Music Center (CMC), and a member of the Canadian League of Composers (CLC), with memberships in the AFM and SOCAN. He sits of the board of the Edmonton Composers' Concert Society. He is married to Elisabeth Rinsoz, formerly of Lausanne, Switzerland. Currently he is residing in Switzerland with his wife where he composing, playing some jazz piano, and doing workshops involved with musical creativity



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