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Featured Composer: Ann Southam

Born in Winnipeg, MB, the Canadian composer Ann Southam (1937-2010) is known for both her early tape music and her large-scale cycles for acoustic instruments, especially the piano. She has said that going into the arts was in part a reflection of "growing up gay in the 1950s," where she could be herself more openly. Influenced by composers such as Steve Reich and Terry Riley, her music often centered around collaborations with specific musicians. Much of her early piano music was composed for Christina Petrowska-Quilico (Glass Houses and Rivers), while many of her later sets were written for Eve Egoyan (Simple Lines of Enquiry and Pond Life).

One of Canada's first prominent female composers, Southam's feminist activism often featured in her music. She often compared the repetitive nature of her minimalist music to the 'repetitive nature of traditional women's work,' such as weaving.

In addition to large-scale acoustic sets, Southam composed many important early tape pieces (beginning in 1969), as well as pieces for various chamber groups, including music written for several dance troupes.

She was awarded the Order of Canada, the highest civilian award, in 2010 for her contributions to music.


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