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Sara Scott Turner: Biography

Sara Scott Turner
1926 -
Region: Prairie

Sara Scott Turner

Sara Scott Turner's career as a composer has evolved from studies in London (Sir Lennox Berkeley), Paris (Nadia Boulanger), U.S. (Roy Harris) writing 12-tone and atonal music to more recent accessable works inspired by social issues. Such compositions include SECRET MUSIC (1992) which was written for Remembrance Day and SONGS OF RESISTANCE (1993) in celebration of Louis Riel Day, both broadcast on CBC for those occasions.

NISHKA ONAGAMON (1995), premiered and broadcast by the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra reflects Turner's years of research of Canadian Aboriginal lullabies. This work, honouring the birth of Turner's Aboriginal Grandaughter, Nishka, features tympani, which the composer studied and performed professionally.

In 2004, Turner wrote a commissioned work for soprano, choir, organ and Taiko drums performed to mark the welcoming of West-coast Japanese families 60 years previously to Knox United Church, Winnipeg. The haiku title is: AS THE STORM RAGES OUR DRAWING CLOSER KEEPS US WARM. MEMORIES OF INNOCENCE...CONFINED for recorder, piano, drum and voice explores feelings of longing for freedom, using traditional Jewish and First Nations music. Commissioned by the Manitoba Arts Council, this work was premiered at the Berney Theatre, Winnipeg in 2005.

Turner created an inner-city arts program in which children developed their sense of self worth through artistic creativity. Turner studied music therapy in the 1980's, subsequently presenting and publishing as a scientific member of the International Society for Music in Medicine on subjects ranging from music for chronic pain,music in childbirth and creative movement (dance) for the well-elderly.

Turner taught percussion, theoretical subjects, music history and piano at Peabody College, Vanderbilt University; The University of British Columbia; Acadia University and Brandon University. She studied at the University of Louisville, Juilliard, Tanglewood and Interlochen.

Since 2008, Turner has administered Meet the Composer, a monthly series by Manitoba composers illustrating and discussing their music. She is active as an adjudicator.


Click here to listen to all works by Sara Scott Turner