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COMPOSER SHOWCASE

Helen Hall: Biography

Helen Hall
1953 -
Region: Québec

Helen Hall

HELEN HALL, born Montréal in 1953, is a Montréal-based composer and filmmaker. She studied classical guitar and composition at the University of British Columbia and at McGill University in Montréal. Her music has been performed and broadcast in North America and Europe, and has been featured on CBC's Two New Hours, Radio Canada's Musique Actuelle, Le Festival International de Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville, New York's Bang on a Can Festival, Sonic Disturbance Festival of Sound in Ohio and the Subtropic Music Festival in Florida. Her work has been inspired and influenced by the music of many Eastern European composers, by American minimalism and postminimalism, and by the seminal work of John Coltrane and Albert Ayler, among others.

As a composer, Helen Hall has explored work in different media, including music for voices, instruments, electroacoustics, dance, theatre and film. Her view of her other interests as an extension of her music into different media has led her to work in film and theatre. She has taught sound design at the National Theatre School of Canada for a period of ten years, and has been a guest lecturer in music, literature, visual art and film departments of universities in Canada and the U.S. Her first film, Powerlines, is a documentary about the mystery of electromagnetic fields which began as a musical score based on the sound waves of electromagnetic radiation. Powerlines was premiered at the Vancouver International Film Festival in 1998 and has won the International Jury Award at the International Festival of Films on Energy in Lausanne, Switzerland in 1999. Body Weather, her first music theatre piece, is both a performance and an installation for string quartet, actors, and a sound and visual environment that completely surround the audience.

Hall's work has been supported by the Canada Council for the Arts, le Conseil des Arts et des lettres du Québec, the Department of External Affairs Canada, the National Film Board of Canada and the Flemish Government of Belgium, among others. She has received commissions from Le Grand Ensemble de Saxophones de Montréal, The Music Gallery, Hemispheres Orchestra, and S.O.I.L. (Brussels) and has had artistic residencies at STEIM in Amsterdam (1995) and at the Banff Centre for the Arts in Alberta (1991). Helen Hall lives and works in Montréal.

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