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Erik Ross composes for all musical media and he has written for productions that include electronics, theatre, film and dance. His large choral work, Icarus in the Sea, with text by Lorna Crozier, was toured four times in Canada by the Canadian Chamber Choir, and his chamber opera Northern Lights, Eastern Fire, with librettist Phoebe Tsang, premiered in 2013, for which he was also the pianist and music director. His commissions also include a piece for Toca Loca’s P*P Project, a solo steelpan and brass band piece for steelpan virtuoso Liam Teague for the 25th anniversary season of the Hannaford Street Silver Band, a large work for the Evergreen Club Contemporary Gamelan and a chamber orchestra piece for the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. His concerto for saxophonist Wallace Halladay and percussionist Ryan Scott premiered in March 2013 on the final concert of the 30th anniversary season of the Esprit Orchestra. His song cycle, Waypoints, with the poetry of Zachariah Wells, was written for Phillip Addis and Emily Hamper and was premiered in Toronto and was subsequently performed by the commissioners at the Bastille Opera house in Paris. His most recent commissions also include a song for tenor Lawrence Wiliford and a song cycle for soprano Ambur Braid and the Canadian Art Song project, on the death poetry of Charles Baudelaire, which will be premiered this fall.

Dr. Ross’s Concerto for Oboe and Orchestra was premiered by Joseph Salvalaggio and the Memphis Symphony in 2003, and it was performed again at the 2004 International Double Reed Society Conference in Melbourne, Australia, by Diana Doherty under the direction of Nicholas Daniel. His piano trio was premiered by the Gryphon Trio at the Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival, he wrote a chamber opera for Tapestry New Opera Works’ production at the 2002 Opera America Conference, and he wrote a marimba concerto for Ryan Scott and the Esprit Orchestra in 2006.

He holds a Doctor of Music degree from the University of Toronto where his advisor was Christos Hatzis and he was a two-time recipient of the John Weinzweig Scholarship. He spent two years composing for the Canadian Composers Music Workshop at the Festival of the Sound under the direction of Gary Kulesha, he has acted as musical interpreter for numerous John Oswald projects, and he has acted as dance captain for numerous Halo Ballet productions (a piece that combines live music with live video dancing).

He also takes great enjoyment in performing contemporary classical/jazz/rock repertoire, particularly that of his peers, and he is an improvising pianist and keyboardist, including performing for the New Creations Festival with the Toronto Symphony. He has received numerous awards, fellowships and scholarships, including top prizes at SOCAN, and has received commissions from the Canada Council, the Ontario Arts Council, the Toronto Arts Council, the Music Gallery, Roger D. Moore and the Laidlaw Foundation.

He is an avid educator, and has taught private and conservatory piano, theory, improvisation and composition lessons to individuals of all ages and ability levels for 18 years. He has taught classes at the University of Toronto and U of T at Scarborough and has been an instructor/composer for numerous music programs including: education director for Soundstreams Canada’s Cool Drummings Festival; the Canadian Music Centre’s outreach program; with the Gryphon Trio at Earl Haig Secondary School; the Classical Music Conservatory; the Canadian Composers Music Workshop; the Canadian League of Composers’ Composing the Future; the Canadian Children’s Opera Company’s OPERAtion KIDS program; Young People’s Theatre’s Music Theatre program.

He has also written works for artists and ensembles such as soprano Carla Huhtanen, counter-tenor Scott Belluz, the Aldeburgh Connection, Arpatambora, the Caliban quartet, the Lee-Villanueva Duo, oboist Sarah Jeffrey, accordionist Joseph Petric, hornist Gabriel Radford, as well as a cave installation that was produced in collaboration with the Contemporary Keyboard Society through the New Music in New Places series of the Canadian Music Centre. His compositions have been performed by artists such as vocalists Tracy Smith Bessette, Norine Burgess, Teri Dunn, Matthew Leigh, Allyson McHardy, Marion Newman, Giles Tomkins and Vilma Vitols, hornists Nancy Goodearl and Joan Watson, New Music Concerts, the Talisker Players, and the Land’s End Chamber Ensemble. He has had live performances of his works in Australia, Canada, England, France, Japan, Latvia, Thailand, and the United States.


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