When in 1956 R. Murray Schafer left Canada his plan was to study music at the Vienna Academy. Once there, however, his main attention was absorbed by medieval German - an early manifestation of his strong interest in unusual and exotic languages. After nearly two years in Vienna he went to England, where he studied briefly and informally with the composer Peter Racine Fricker. During his lengthy stay in Britain, Schafer supported himself largely by journalism (the major result of which was a book, British Composers in Interview) and by the preparation of a performing edition of the poet Ezra Pound's little-known opera Le Testament (1920-1), broadcast by the BBC in 1961. It was also in England, 1 Jul 1960, that he married his first wife, the Canadian mezzo-soprano Phyllis Mailing.
Back in Toronto R. Murray Schafer organized in 1961 and for a time directed the Ten Centuries Concerts. He then began 12 years of teaching, first (1963-5) as artist-in-residence at Memorial University, and then (1965-75) at Simon Fraser University. It was at Simon Fraser, with the aid of grants from UNESCO and the Donner Canadian Foundation, that he set up the World Soundscape Project dedicated to the study of the relationships between people and their acoustic environment. Schafer moved in 1975 to a farm near Bancroft, Ont (near the village of Maynooth), but remained affiliated with the project. In September 1975 he married Jean Elliott. (They later divorced.) Schafer left the Maynooth area in 1984, living temporarily in St Gallen, Switzerland, and Toronto before purchasing a farmhouse in the hamlet of Indian River near Peterborough, Ont, in 1987.
R. Murray Schafer's earliest extant works, such as the Concerto for Harpsichord and Eight Wind Instruments and the Sonatina for Flute and Harpsichord (or Piano), reveal a debt to his teacher Weinzweig and are modelled on the neoclassicism of Stravinsky and 'Les Six.' However, the Minnelieder, a setting of 13 love songs from medieval Germany, though neoclassical in flavour, generates an atmosphere that the composer acknowledges to be Mahlerian. Significantly, Schafer singled out this expressive work as his first important achievement.
In the early 1960s R. Murray Schafer began to draw on diverse mid-20th-century compositional techniques (serialism in particular), and on the language, literature, and philosophy of ancient and recent cultures, and to explore the mythology and symbolism of modern life. The result was a succession of chillingly effective multimedia studies on 20th-century urban themes of alienation and psychoneurosis. Protest and Incarceration, Canzoni for Prisoners, the bilingual stage work Loving, and the chamber work for mezzo-soprano Patria 2: Requiems for the Party Girl (winner of the Fromm Foundation Prize, 1968) reflect a searching, wide-ranging social consciousness that motivates and informs all of Schafer's activities. Canzoni for Prisoners, five interconnected movements for orchestra, is a sombre, pointillistic, and somewhat Webernesque work of great textural delicacy that may be viewed as an anti-totalitarian statement dedicated to the non-violent conscientious objectors who became a force in Western society in the mid-1960s. Requiems for the Party Girl documents the mental collapse and suicide of a young woman who becomes a poignant symbol of acute loneliness and alienation in the dehumanized labyrinth of contemporary urban society.
Mysticism and Eastern Influences
Soundscape and Environmental Works
Patria and Theatre of Confluence
In The Wolf Project and related works, Schafer sought inspiration from ritual as a way of revitalizing contemporary theatre; a number of his works transform the traditionally passive theatre audience into active participants. Patria 6: RA is a dusk-to-dawn ritual enacting the descent to the underworld and resurrection of the Egyptian sun god. For its premiere at the Ontario Science Centre in Toronto, the members of the audience - the 'initiates' - were led through 29 different performance sites during the course of the 11-hour ritual. Patria 10: The Spirit Garden, Part 1: Spring (premiered at Carleton University in Ottawa in 1997) explores the significance of the spring planting ritual by involving the audience as gardeners. A number of Schafer's concert works exhibit ritualistic and theatrical aspects as well: Ko wo kiku ('Listen to the Incense'), a commission from the Kyoto Symphony Orchestra, incorporates the Japanese incense ceremony in its first movement, as jars of incense are passed around from performer to performer. In Search of Zoroaster for 150-voice chorus is a newly invented ritual for an ancient Persian religion.
Concentration on Community
Although Schafer's outlook was largely internationalist, his belief in the importance of celebrating culture at the local level produced a unique brand of nationalism that might best be described as 'indigenism.' The composer believes one must fight the colonial or 'centre to margin' mentality: in other words, the tendency to regard culture as a commodity imported to Canada (usually from Europe or the US) or, within Canada, as the property of big cities, which then export it to smaller communities. Schafer encouraged artists - wherever they may find themselves - to draw on the riches of their local surroundings and culture. Using the beauty of Canada's wilderness for the setting of The Princess of the Stars (the prologue to Patria) and for Music for Wilderness Lake, Schafer has fashioned works that are uniquely Canadian.
Appointments; Commissions; Productions 1992-Present
Schafer's work continued to engage imaginations on a wide scale. Restagings or full-scale productions of earlier works have been mounted: his 1982 work The Alchemical Theatre of Hermes Trismegistos was staged in Toronto's Union Station in 1992; Requiems for the Party Girl in 1993 was presented for the composer's sixtieth birthday, as part of the larger celebration 'Schaferscape'; and In Search of Zoroaster and Patria 9: The Enchanted Forest were performed in 2002.
Appointments and Commissions
Honours and Assessment
The diversity of Schafer's output belies generalizations of style; however, much of his work could be described as a synthesis of 20th-century avant-garde techniques with the spirit of 19th-century romanticism. The highly original result has secured him a special status among Canadian musicians of his generation. He received the Canadian Music Council's first Composer of the Year award in 1977 and the first Jules Léger Prize for New Chamber Music (for his String Quartet No. 2) in 1977. In 1980 he was awarded the Prix international Arthur-Honegger for String Quartet No. 1, in 1985 he received the Banff Centre for the Arts National Award in the Arts, and in 1987 he became the first recipient of the $50,000 triennial Glenn Gould Award. Schafer received numerous commissions through the Canada Council and in 1990 received one of its major awards, an 'Arts Grant A.' Yehudi Menuhin, who presented the Glenn Gould Award to Schafer, praised the composer far beyond his work in music, stating that 'his is a strong, benevolent, and highly original imagination and intellect, a dynamic power whose manifold personal expressions and aspirations are in total accord with the urgent needs and dreams of humanity today.'
Recordings of Schafer's works received Juno awards in 1980, 1991, 1993, and 2004. Carnival of Shadows, a film adaption of Patria 3, won a Gemini award for best sound in 1990. Schafer's Princess of the Stars, as recorded by CBC radio in 1997, won prizes at both the 1999 International Festival of New York and the 2000 Prix Italia Broadcasting Competition. Beginning in the 1990s, Schafer was honoured in other forums for his innovations and commitment. He won the Canada Council Molson Prize for the Arts (1993), the first Louis Applebaum Composers Award (1999), and the SOCAN Jan V. Matejcek Concert Music Award (2001), the Canada Council's Walter Carsen Prize (2005), and a Governor General's Performing Arts Award (2009). Schafer was named an honorary member of the Society for American Music in 2010.
Schafer is an associate of the Canadian Music Centre. His music was published by Universal Edition, Berandol, and for works written since 1979, by his own company, Arcana Editions. His manuscripts were deposited at the National Library of Canada (Library and Archives Canada); a few are at the University of Calgary.
See also Apocalypsis, Loving; and Patria (various compositions listed below are excerpts from these three works)
In Memoriam: Alberto Guerrero. 1959 (Vancouver 1962). Str orch. Arcana 1985. Centrediscs CMC-2887 (Vancouver Symphony Orchestra)
Partita for String Orchestra. 1961 (Hal 1963). Arcana. CBC SM-15 (CBC Vancouver Orchestra)
Canzoni for Prisoners. 1962 (Montreal 1963). Full orch. Ber 1977
Untitled Composition for Orchestra No.1. 1963 (Toronto 1966). Sm orch. Ber 1977
Untitled Composition for Orchestra No. 2. 1963. Full orch. Ber 1977
Statement in Blue. 1964 (Toronto 1965). Youth orch. BMIC 1966, UE 1971. 1970. Mel SMLP-4017 (Lawrence Park Collegiate O, J. McDougall conductor)
Son of Heldenleben. 1968 (Montreal 1968). Full orch, tape. UE 1976. RCI 387/Sel CC-15-101/5-ACM 3 (MSO)
No Longer than Ten (10) Minutes. 1970. Rev 1972 (Toronto 1971). Full orch. Ber 1977
East (meditations on a text from Ishna Upanishad). 1972 (Bath, England, 1973). Sm orch. UE 1977. RCI 434/5-ACM 3 (NACO)
North/White. 1973 (Vancouver 1973). Full orch, snowmobile. UE 1980
Train. 1976 (Toronto 1976). Youth orch. Ber 1977
Cortège. 1977(Ott 1977). Sm orch. UE 1981
Ko wo kiku ('Listen to the Incense'). 1985 (Kyoto 1985). Full orch. Arcana 1989
Dream Rainbow Dream Thunder. 1986 (Kingston 1986). Full orch. Arcana 1989. CBC SMCD-5101 (Esprit Orchestra)
Scorpius. 1990 (Toronto 1990). Orch. Arcana 1990
Soloists and/or Choir with Orchestra
Minnelieder (various Medieval German poets). 1956 (chamber version), 1987 (orch version) (Quebec City 1987 orch version). Mezzo, woodwind quintet or mezzo, orch. Ber 1970 (chamber version), Arcana (rental, orch version, with one additional song 'Über den Linden,' text by Walter von der Vogelweider). (chamber version) RCI 218/RCA CCS-1012/5-ACM 3 (Mailing)
Protest and Incarceration (East European poets). 1960 (Toronto 1967). Mezzo, orch. Ms
Brébeuf, cantata (Brébeuf, transl Schafer). 1961 (Toronto 1966). Bar, orch. Arcana 1981
Threnody (Japanese children). 1966, rev 1967 (Vancouver 1967). Choir, orch, tape. Ber 1970. 1970. Mel SMLP-4017 (Lawrence Park Collegiate O and Choir, J. Barron conductor)
Lustro. 1970-2 (CBC Toronto 1973). Comprising:
Part 1: Divan i Shams i Tabriz (Jalal al din Rumi). 1969, rev 1970. 6 solo voices, orch, tape. UE 1977
Part 2: Music for the Morning of the World (various). 1970. V, 4-track tape. UE 1973. 2-Mel SMLP-4035-6 (K. Terrell)
Part 3: Beyond the Great Gate of Light (Tagore). 1972. 6 solo voices, orch, tape. UE 1977
Arcana (Schafer, transl into Middle Egyptian hieroglyphs by D.B. Redford) 12 of the 14 songs (all but no. 9 and 12) appear in Patria 4. 1972 (Montreal 1973 orch version). V, orch (voice, chamber ensemble). Ms. UE 1977 (chamber version). RCI 434/5-ACM 3 (Morrison)
Adieu Robert Schumann (Clara Schumann, adapt Schafer). 1976. Alto, orch. UE 1980. CBC SM-364 (Forrester)
The Garden of the Heart (The Thousand and One Nights). 1980 (Ottawa 1981). Alto, full orch. Arcana 1982
Concerto for Flute. 1984 (Montreal 1984). Fl, full orch. Arcana 1985
Letters from Mignon. 1987 (Calgary 1987). Mezzo, orch. Arcana 1989
Concerto for Harp. 1987 (Toronto 1988). Hp, full orch, tape. Arcana 1988
Concerto for Guitar. 1989 (Toronto 1990). Guit, small orch. Arcana 1989
The Darkly Splendid Earth: The Lonely Traveller. 1991 (Toronto 1991). Vn, full orch. Arcana
Gitanjali (Rabindranath Tagore). 1991 (Ott 1992). Sop, small orch. Arcana 1990
Accordion Concerto. 1993. Accordion, orch
Concerto for Viola and Orchestra. 1997. Viola, orch
Concerto for Harpsichord and Eight Wind Instruments. 1954 (Montreal 1959). Arcana 1990. RCI 193 (K. Jones harpsichord)/Centrediscs CMC-CD-3488 (Tilney harpsichord)
Sonatina for Flute and Harpsichord (or Piano). 1958. Ber 1976
Five Studies on Texts by Prudentius. 1962. Sop, 4 fl. BMIC 1965
4 arias from Loving: The Geography of Eros (1963), and Air Ishtar, Modesty, Vanity (all 1965). Sop, chamber ensemble (Modesty), mezzo, chamber ensemble (Ishtar, Vanity, and Eros). Ber 1979
Requiems for the Party Girl (Schafer) from Patria 2. 1966. Mezzo, chamber ensemble. BMIC 1967. RCI 299/5-ACM 3 (Mailing mezzo, SMCQ)/Mel SMLP-4026 (Mailing, instr ensemble, Schafer conductor)/CRI SD-245 (Pilgrim soprano, Chicago U Contemporary Chamb Players, Shapey conductor)
Minimusic. 1967. Any comb of instr or voice. UE 1971, Ber 1972
Enchantress (Sappho). 1971. V, exotic fl, 8 violoncello. Ber 1978
The Crown of Ariadne, from Patria 3 and Patria 5. Ca 1979. Hp, percussion (by the harpist). Arcana 1980. Aquitaine MS-90570/Centrediscs CMC-CD-41-4292 (Loman)/Mark MC-20485 (Mario Falcao)
Music for Wilderness Lake. 1979. 12 trombone, small rural lake. Arcana 1981
Beauty and the Beast (Schafer, after de Beaumont) from Patria 3. 1979. Alto with masks, string quartet. Arcana 1983 (Eng text and French transl)
Wizard Oil and Indian Sagwa (Schafer) from Patria 3. 1980. Speaker, clarinet. Arcana 1982
String Quartet No. 3. 1981. Arcana 1983. 2-Centrediscs CMC-CD 39-4090 (Orford String Quartet)
Theseus. 1983. Hp, string quartet. Arcana 1988. Centrediscs CMC-CD-41-4292 (Loman)
Buskers (formerly Rounds), from Patria 3. 1985. Fl, violin, viola. Arcana
Le Cri de Merlin. 1987. Guit, tape. Arcana 1987. Chandos ABTD-1419/Chandos CHAN-8784 (CD) (Kraft)
String Quartet No. 4. 1989. Str quartet, soprano. Arcana 1989. 2-Centrediscs CMC-CD-39-4090 (Orford String Quartet)
String Quartet No. 5 ('Rosalind'). 1989. Arcana 1989. 2-Centrediscs CMC-CD-39-4090 (Orford String Quartet)
String Quartet No. 6 ('Parting Wild Horse's Mane'). 1993
String Quartet No. 7. Soprano and percussion. 1998
String Quartet No. 8. Tape. 2001
Four-Forty. String quartet, orch. 2000
Four Songs on Texts of Tagore. 1962. Sop, mezzo, alto, SA. Ms
Gita (Bhagavad Gita), from Patria 1. 1967. SATB, brass, tape. UE 1977
Epitaph for Moonlight (invented words by Grade 7 students), from Patria 5. 1968. SATB, bells (optional). BMIC 1969, UE 1971. CBC SM-274/5-ACM 3 (Festival Singers)/Mel SMLP-4017 (Lawrence Park Collegiate Choir, J. Barron conductor)/Grouse GR-101-C (cass) (Vancouver Chamber Choir)/P3-C (cass) (Powell River Academy Singers, Don James dir)/World WRC-257 (University of Alberta Concert Choir, Larry Cook conductor)
From the Tibetan Book of the Dead (Bardo Thödol) from Patria 2. 1968. Sop, SATB, alto fl, clarinet, tape. UE 1973
Two Anthems (formerly Yeow and Pax ) (Isaiah). 1969. SATB, organ, tape. Ber 1980
In Search of Zoroaster (sacred books of the East). 1971. Male voice, SATB (at least 150 voices), percussion, organ (tape). Ber 1976
Miniwanka or the Moments of Water (North American Indian dialects). 1971. SA (SATB). UE 1973. RCI 434 (Vancouver Bach Choir)/Grouse GR-101-C (cass) (Vancouver Chamber Choir)/ARU 8701-CD (F.A.C.E. Senior Treble Choir, Iwan Edwards, dir)/Centrediscs CMC-2285 (Toronto Children's Chor)/Imperial unnumbered (Powell River Boys' Choir, James dir)
Psalm (formerly Tehillah), from Apocalypsis (Psalm 148). 1972, rev 1976. Mixed chorus, percussion. Ber 1976. RCI 434 (Vancouver Bach Choir)
Credo (Giordano Bruno, adpt by Schafer), from Apocalypsis. 1977. 12 choirs, tape, optional string and/or synthesizer. Arcana 1986
Felix's Girls (Henry Felix) from Patria 3. 1979. SATB quartet or choir. Arcana 1980. Grouse GR-101-C (cass) (Vancouver Chamber Choir)
Gamelan (Balinese solmization syllables), from Patria 3. 1979. Quar or choir (SATB, SASA, TBTB). Arcana 1980. Grouse GR-100/Marquis MAR-106/Grouse 101-C (cass) (Vancouver Chamber Choir)
Sun (words for sun in 36 languages) from Princess of the Stars (Patria prologue). 1982. SATB. Arcana 1983. 2-Centrediscs CMC-14-1584/RCI 585 (Elmer Iseler Singers)/Grouse GR-101-C (cass) (Vancouver Chamber Choir)
A Garden of Bells (Schafer et al). 1983. SATB. Arcana 1984. Grouse GR-101-C (cass) (Vancouver Chamber Choir)
Snowforms (Inuit words for 'snow'). 1981, rev 1983. SA. Arcana 1986. Grouse GR-101-C (cass) (Vancouver Chamber Choir)
The Star Princess and the Waterlilies (Schafer), from And Wolf Shall Inherit the Moon (Patria conclusion). 1984. Narr, children's chorus, light percussion. Arcana 1984. TCC TCC-D-004 (Toronto Children's Chor)
Fire (Schafer) from Patria 5. 1986. SATB, light percussion. Arcana 1986. Grouse GR-101-C (cass) (Vancouver Chamb Choir)
Magic Songs (Schafer). 1988. SATB (TTBB). Arcana 1988
The Death of the Buddha (Mahaperinibbana Sutta). 1989. Mixed chorus, gongs, bell tree. Arcana 1989
Vox Naturae, from De Rerum Natura. 1997
Three Contemporaries (Schafer). 1956. Mezzo, piano. Ber 1974
Kinderlieder (traditional, Brecht). 1958. Sop, piano. Ber 1975. CBC SM-141 (Mailing mezzo)
La Testa d'Adriane (Schafer), from Patria 3. 1977. Sop, accordion. Arcana 1980/in R. Murray Schafer: A Collection. Mel SMLP-4034 (Morrison soprano)
Sun Father Sky Mother (Schafer) from And Wolf Shall Inherit the Moon (Patria conclusion). 1985. Solo voice in a mountain setting, near water and forest. Musical Canada
Tantrika (Sanskrit words from Tantric texts), from Patria 3. 1986. Mezzo, 4 percussion. 1986
Gitanjali (Rabindranath Tagore). 1991. Soprano, orch
Kaleidoscope. 1967. Multi-track tape
Okeanos (Hesiod, Homer, Melville, Pound, et al). 1971. 4-track tape (composed with Bruce Davis, text compiled with Brian Fawcett)
Dream Passage (Schafer). 1969 (CBC radio 1969). Radio version of Patria 2: Requiems for the Party Girl. Mezzo, chamber ensemble, tape
Hear Me Out (Schafer) from Patria 3. 1979. 4 speaking voices. Arcana 1980
One movement for Ontario Variations. 1979. Pf, variations by Ontario composers, on a theme by Jack Behrens
Harbour Symphony. 1983. Fog horns. Ms. Portion of score printed in Musicworks 25, Summer 1983
Also a work for piano solo, Polytonality (1954,. Ber 1974), and several works in all categories, now withdrawn by the composer
'International Folk Music Council: twelfth annual conference,' Canadian Music Journal, vol 4, Autumn 1959
'Review of works by Alwyn, Vaughan Williams, Rubbra, Walton,' Notes, vol 17, Dec 1959
'Two musicians in fiction,' Canadian Music Journal, vol 4, Spring 1960
'Review of I. Stravinsky and Robert Craft: Conversations with Igor Stravinsky; M. Tippett, Moving into Aquarius, Canadian Music Journal, vol 4, Summer 1960
'Music and the Iron Curtain,' Queen's Quarterly, vol 67, Autumn 1960
'The limits of nationalism in Canada,' Tamarack Review, 18, Winter 1961; repr in On Canadian Music
'Ezra Pound and music,' CMJ, vol 5, Summer 1961; partial repr in Ezra Pound: A Collection of Critical Essays ed Walter Sutton (Englewood Cliffs, NJ, 1963); extract transl by Pierre Alien as 'Ezra Pound et la musique,' Les cahiers de L'Herne, no. 7, 1965; extract transl by Eva Hesse as 'Der absolute Rhythmus,' in Ezra Pound: 22 Versuche über einen Dichter, ed Eva Hesse (Frankfurt 1967)
'The Canadian String Quartet,' Canadian Music Journal, vol 6, Spring 1962
'Music ... 1961/62 in Toronto,' Canadian Art, vol 19, Jul-Aug 1962
'A perspective for musical appreciation,' Recorder, vol 5, Dec 1962
British Composers in Interview (London 1963)
'Short history of music in Canada,' Catalogue of Orchestral Music at the Canadian Music Centre (Toronto 1963); repr in On Canadian Music
'The creative process in music,' Music Across Canada, 1, May 1963
'Choral conducting: an interview,' Music Across Canada, 1, Jun 1963 (drawn from British Composers in Interview)
'Opera and reform,' Opera Canada, vol 5, Feb 1964
'What is this article about?' Canadian Forum, vol 44, Dec 1964; repr in On Canadian Music
The Composer in the Classroom (Toronto, New York 1965, London 1971); repr in Creative Music Education and The Thinking Ear/ Schoepferisches Musizieren (Vienna 1971)/ Zeneszerzö az osztályban (Bucharest 1977)
- writer, narrator. 'In search of Charles Ives,' CBC radio 'Tuesday Night,' 13 Sep 1966
'The philosophy of stereophony,' West Coast Review, vol 1, Winter 1967
Ear Cleaning: Notes for an Experimental Music Course (Toronto, New York, London 1967; repr in Creative Music Education and The Thinking Ear/ L'Oreille pense (Toronto 1974)/ Schule des Hörens (Vienna 1972)/ Hallástisztítás (Bucharest 1977)
'The future of music in Canada,' Proceedings and Transactions of the Royal Society of Canada, vol 5, Jun 1967; repr Musicanada, 7, Jul 1967; and in On Canadian Music
'Music and education,' Music Scene, 239, 240, Jan-Feb, Mar-Apr 1968, rev in The Rhinoceros in the Classroom.
'The most pressing need for the future in music education in the schools,' Music Education and the Canadians of Tomorrow: Proceedings of the Canadian Music Council (Montreal 1968)
'Cleaning the lenses of perception,' Arts Canada, vol 25, Oct-Nov 1968
The New Soundscape (Toronto, New York, London 1969); repr in Creative Music Education and The Thinking Ear/ Der Schallwelt in der wir leben (Vienna 1971)/ Az új hangkép (Bucharest 1977)
'A basic course,' Source: Music of the Avant Garde, vol 3, Jan 1969; revised in The Rhinoceros in the Classroom
'The city as a sonic sewer,' Vancouver Sun, 11 Mar 1969
The Book of Noise privately published (Vancouver 1970), 2nd edn (Wellington, New Zealand, 1970, 1973)
When Words Sing (Scarborough, Ont, New York 1970)/ Wenn Worte klingen (Vienna 1972)/ Mikor a szavak énekelnek (Bucharest 1977)
'A Middle-East sound diary,' Focus on Musicecology, vol 1, 1970; repr in The Thinking Ear.
'Threnody: a religious piece for our time,' AGO/ RCCO Music, vol 4, May 1970; repr in The Rhinoceros in the Classroom
'Discovering the word's soul,' Music Educators Journal, vol 57, Sep 1970; excerpt from When Words Sing
Review of Pierre Demers, ed Le Bruit: 4e pollution du monde moderne, Canada Music Book, 2, Spring-Summer 1971
'Lärmflut - eine Montage,' Musik und Bildung, vol 3, Jul 1971
'Thoughts on music education,' CMB, 3, Autumn-Winter 1971; repr in Australian Music Educator's Journal, Spring 1972; revised in The Rhinoceros in the Classroom
A Survey of Community Noise By-laws in Canada, Soundscape Document no. 4 (Vancouver 1972)
The Public of the Music Theatre: Louis Riel - A Case Study (Vienna 1972); excerpt in On Canadian Music
The Music of the Environment, No. 1 (Vienna 1973); repr from Cultures, vol 1, 1973 (also in French as 'La musique de l'environnement'); repr as 'Kankyono Ongaku' (Japanese transl) in Transonic, No. 10-11, 1976
'Where does it all lead?' Australian Journal of Music Education, 12, Apr 1973; repr in The Rhinoceros in the Classroom
'Tributes on Weinzweig's 60th birthday,' Canada Music Book, 6, Spring/Summer 1973; reprinted in On Canadian Music.
'The developing theories of absolute rhythm and great bass,' Paideuma, 1, 1973
The Vancouver Soundscape, Music of the Environment Series, No. 4 (Vancouver 1974)
'Notes for the stage work ''Loving'' (1965),' Canada Music Book, 8, Spring-Summer 1974; rev as 'My first work for the stage: Loving,' in Patria and The Theatre of Confluence
'The theatre of confluence (note in advance of action),' Canada Music Book, 9, Autumn-Winter 1974; repr in R. Murray Schafer: A Collection and as 'The Theatre of Confluence I' in Patria and The Theatre of Confluence
'Listening,' Sound Heritage, 3, 1974; excerpt from The Tuning of the World
The Rhinoceros in the Classroom (London 1975); repr in Creative Music Education and The Thinking Ear/Japanese transl, Kyoshitzuno Sai (Tokyo 1978)
'The graphics of musical thought,' Sound Sculpture, ed John Grayson (Vancouver 1975); repr in Festschrift Kurt Blaukopf, ed I. Bontinck and O. Brusatli (Vienna 1975)
E.T.A. Hoffmann and Music (Toronto 1975)
Creative Music Education (New York 1976)
'Exploring the new soundscape,' Unesco Courier, vol 29, Nov 1976
The Tuning of the World (Toronto, New York 1977, Philadelphia 1980)/ Le Paysage Sonore (Paris 1979)/ Il paesaggio sonorio (Milan 1985)/Japanese transl (Tokyo 1986)
'Music in the cold,' privately published (Toronto 1977), repr (Bancroft 1980); repr Vanguard, Apr 1977, and in Musicworks 26, Winter 1984, repr in On Canadian Music/Swedish transl, 'Musik i kylan,' Nutida Musik, 4, 1978. Read by author in English and French ('Musique dans le froid,') on 5-ACM 3
- ed, commentator. Ezra Pound and Music: The Complete Criticism (New York 1977, London 1978)
- ed. European Sound Diary, Music of the Environment Series no. 3 (Vancouver 1977)
- ed. Five Village Soundscapes, ibid no. 4 (Vancouver 1977)
A Chaldean Inscription, priv published (Toronto 1978); repr (Bancroft 1980)
'Ten Centuries Concerts: a recollection,' Only Paper Today, vol 5, Toronto 1978; repr in On Canadian Music
'The real reason for a poor mail service,' Toronto Globe and Mail, 16 Sep 1978
R. Murray Schafer: A Collection, eds bp Nichol and Steve McCaffery. Originally in Open Letter, double issue devoted to Schafer's writings on music, 4th series, Fall 1979; also published by Arcana
'Bricolage: there's a twang in your trash,' Music Educator's Journal, 66, Mar 1980; repr in The Thinking Ear
The Sixteen Scribes. (Bancroft, Ont 1981)
'Experience in Basel,' Orff Echo, 14, Winter 1982
'Hear the sounds go round,' phonodisk circulated by Gallery Stratford (Ont) to introduce its exhibition of Schafer's scores and sound sculptures; text transcribed in The Thinking Ear
'Radical radio,' Canadian Forum, Dec/Jan 1982-3
'For composers to become acoustic designers,' Musicworks 26, Winter 1984
On Canadian Music (Bancroft, Ont 1984)
'Canadian culture: colonial culture,' Canadian Forum, Mar 1984; abbreviated transcript of a lecture at the University of Waterloo, 4 Nov 1983; excerpt printed as 'Canadian culture abandoned,'Toronto Globe and Mail, 3 May 1984; complete text in On Canadian Music
Dicamus et Labyrinthos: A Philologist's Notebook (Bancroft, Ont 1984), expanded version of the original which first appeared in R. Murray Schafer: A Collection
Ariadne (Bancroft, Ont 1985), originally entitled Smoke: A Novel privately published (Vancouver 1976), repr in Exile, 4, 1977
'Acoustic space,' in Dwelling, Place and Environment, eds D. Seamon and R. Mugerauer (Dordrecht, Netherlands 1985)
'McLuhan and acoustic space,' Antigonish Review, 62, Summer/Fall 1985
'Jonah and the Maynooth Community Choir,' Council for Research in Music Education Bulletin, 84, Fall 1985; repr in The Thinking Ear
'Ursound,' Musicworks 29, Fall 1988; originally appeared in R. Murray Schafer: A Collection
'Concert spaces: a less orthodox view,' Musicanada, 55, Nov 1985; repr from On Canadian Music, taken from introductory notes to the scores of Music For Wilderness Lake and The Princess of the Stars.
The Thinking Ear: Complete Writings on Music Education (Toronto 1986)
'The Princess of the Stars,' Canadian Theatre Review, 47, Summer 1986; repr in On Canadian Music and Patria and the Theatre of Confluence.
'The Theatre of Confluence II,' ibid. Repr in Patria and the Theatre of Confluence
'Patria One: The Characteristics Man,' The Antigonish R 71-72, Autumn-Winter 1987-8; repr in J of Canadian Studies, vol 23, Spring/Summer 1988; in Patria and the Theatre of Confluence
'Seeking the sounds of silence,' Toronto Globe and Mail, 18 Sep 1989
' Patria 6: Ra,' Descant, 21, Spring 1990; repr in Patria and The Theatre of Confluence
Patria and The Theatre of Confluence (Indian River, Ont 1991); also as special issue of Descant, vol 22, Summer 1991
A Sound Education: 100 Exercises in Listening and Sound-Making (Indian River, Ont, 1992)
'Sound barriers,' UNESCO Courier, Jul-Aug 1993
Voices of Tyranny: Temples of Silence (Indian River, Ont 1993)
'Dub: Defending the value of the original in an age of duplicates,' Canadian Forum, Nov 1994
Patria: The Complete Cycle (Toronto 2002)
'Murray Schafer - a portrait,' Musicanada, 14, Oct 1968
Ball, Suzanne. 'Murray Schafer: composer, teacher and author,' Music Scene, 253, May-Jun 1970
Mather, Bruce. 'Notes sur ''Requiems for the Party Girl'' de Schafer,' Canada Music Book, 1, Spring-Summer 1970
Bissell, Keith. Review of The Composer in the Classroom, Ear Cleaning, The New Soundscape, When Words Sing, Canada Music Book, 2, Spring-Summer 1971
Barber, Dulan. 'Murray Schafer: a discussion with Dulan Barber,' London Times Educational Supplement, 18 Jun 1971
Such, Peter. 'Murray Schafer,' Soundprints (Toronto 1971)
Tremblay, Gilles. Review of The Book of Noise, Canada Music Book, 2, Spring 1971
Kasemets, Udo. Review of Threnody, Canada Music Book, 5, Autumn-Winter 1972
Kristl, Ljiljana. Review of The Public of the Music Theatre, International Review of the Aesthetics and Sociology of Music, 4, 1973
Shand, Patricia. 'The music of the environment,' Canadian Music Educator, vol 15, Winter 1974; rev as 'The World Soundscape Project,' Music Scene, 280, Nov 1974
Rea, John. 'Richard Wagner and R. Murray Schafer: two revolutionary and religious poets,' Canada Music Book, 8, Spring-Summer 1974
BMI Canada/PRO Canada Ltd. 'Murray Schafer,' pamphlets (1975, 1979, 1983)
Potter, Keith, and Shepherd, John. 'Interview with Murray Schafer,' Contact: Today's Music, 13, Spring 1976
Skelton, Robert. 'Weinzweig, Gould, Schafer: three Canadian string quartets,' DMA thesis, University of Indiana 1976
MacMillan, Rick, ed. 'Schafer sees music reflecting country's characteristics,' Music Scene, 293, Jan-Feb 1977
Adams, Stephen J. Review of Ezra Pound and Music, Paideuma 7, Spring 1978
Beckwith, John. 'Sound and silence,' review of Tuning of the World, Canadian Forum, Mar 1978
MacMillan, Rick. 'R. Murray Schafer and "The Music of Man" - outdoors,' Sound Canada, 10, Dec 1979
Pottie, Kaye Frances. ' Requiems for the Party Girl: an analysis of a musical drama,' M MUS thesis, University of Western Ontario 1980
Colgrass, Ulla. 'Murray Schafer,' Music, 3, Jan 1980
MacKenzie, Kirk. ' Music for Wilderness Lake: Sonaré 1979,' International Trombone Association Newsletter, 7, Apr 1980
Westerkamp, Hildegard. 'Wilderness lake,' Musicworks 15, Spring 1981
Zapf, Donna. 'The World Soundscape Project revisited,' Musicworks 15, Spring 1981
Bates, Duane. 'Murray Schafer interviewed by Duane Bates,' Canadian Music Educator, 22, Winter 1981
Torigoe, Keiko. 'A Study of the World Soundscape Project,' MA thesis, York University 1982
Adams, Stephen J. R. Murray Schafer (Toronto 1983)
Pearson, Tina. 'Beyond RA: R. Murray Schafer in conversation,' Musicworks 25, Fall 1983
Bradley, Susan. 'Extramusical references in the works of R. Murray Schafer,' M MUS thesis, University of Alberta 1983
Beaupre, Linda. A. 'A stylistic study of La Testa d'Adriane by R. Murray Schafer,' M MUS thesis, University of Western Ontario 1984
Wilson, Tim. 'The place of the princess,' Banff Letters, Spring 1985
Armstrong, Denis. 'Schafer - prize winner and cultural pioneer,' Music, 10, Sep-Oct 1987
Adams, Stephen J. 'Murray Schafer's Patria: the greatest show on earth?' Journal of Canadian Studies, 23, Spring-Summer 1988
MacKenzie, Kirk. 'Influences of soundscape theory on the compositions of R. Murray Schafer,' M MUS thesis, U of Cincinnati 1988
Dutton, Paul. 'The broken thread: Ariadne in the works of R. Murray Schafer,' Descant, 19, Fall 1988
Young, Stephen. 'Aesthetics of victim/victimization in three works of Anglo-Canadian music,' The American Review of Canadian Studies, vol 19, Winter 1989
MacKenzie, Kirk. 'A twentieth-century musical/theatrical cycle: R. Murray Schafer's Patria (1966),' PH D thesis, U of Cincinnati 1991
Haag, Stefan. Allegories of the postmodern: the work of Wilfred Watson and R. Murray Schafer, PH D thesis, U of British Columbia 1995
Waterman, Ellen Frances. 'R. Murray Schafer's Environmental Music Theatre: A Documentation and Analysis of "Patria the Epilogue: And Wolf Shall Inherit the Moon",' PhD thesis, U. of California, San Diego 1997
Waterman, Ellen. 'Confluence and collaboration,' Musicworks, spring, fall 1998
Trudel, Clément . 'Murray Schafer, iconoclaste,' Montreal Le Devoir, 27 novembre 1999
Steenhuisen, Paul. 'R. Murray Schafer,' Wholenote, Sep 2001
Bemrose, John. 'Aural borealis: A Canadian composer heeds the call of the wild,' Maclean's, 10 Sep 2001
Kasemets, Udo. 'R. Murray Schafer' The New Grove Dictionary
MacMillan, Keith and Beckwith, John, eds. Contemporary Canadian Composers (Toronto 1975)
Creative Canada, vol 2 (Toronto 1972)
Vinton, John, ed. Dictionary of Contemporary Music (New York 1974)
Music for Wilderness Lake (Fichman-Sweete Productions, now Rhombus Media 1980)
Adieu Robert Schumann (CBC 1981)
Carnival of Shadows, film adaptation of Patria 3: The Greatest Show (Rhombus Media 1989)
Salt Water People (NFB 1992)
The following recordings each contain several Schafer works. For recording information on individual works, see List of Compositions.
Schafer: 5. 1991. String quartet No. 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5. Orford String Quartet. Centrediscs CMCCD 39/4090
Vancouver Soundscape (1973) and Soundscape Vancouver (1996). 1997. Cambridge Street Records CSR-2CD 9701
R. Murray Schafer. 1993. Concerto for flute & orchestra - Harp concerto - The Darkly Splendid Earth. Aitken flute, Loman harp, Israelievitch violin, VSO, TS. CBC SMCD 5114
R. Murray Schafer String Quartets 1-7. 2000. Quatuor Molinari. Atma ACD 2 2188/89
The Garden of the Heart. 1997. Gitanjali - The Garden of the Heart - Adieu, Robert Schumann. NACO, Bernardi cond, Brown, Popescu, sop, Forst mezzo sop. SMCD 5173
A Garden of Bells. 1986. Grouse Records GR 101
Letters from Mignon. Esprit Orchestra, Alex Pauk conductor, Eleanor James mezzo. ACD2 2553 Atma Classique
Once on a Windy Night: The Choral Music of R. Murray Schafer. Vol 2. 2001. Once on a Windy Night- Seventeen Haiku - Vox Naturae - A Medieval Bestiary. Maclean sop, Quick tenor, Roberts, baritone, Olesen, sop. Grouse Records GR 105
Patria: R. Murray Schafer. 1996. Selections from operas. Schafer Ensemble. ODR 9307
Author Alan M. Gillmor, Kirk MacKenzie, Betty Nygaard King
Links to Other Sites
Canadian Music Centre
Search the extensive CMC website for Canadian composer biographies and interviews, music scores, online newsletters, audio clips, podcasts, and more. Check out "CentreStreams" to listen to online archived recordings featuring outstanding Canadian composers.
The website for the Esprit Orchestra, a full-sized Canadian orchestra devoted exclusively to new music. Features musician profiles, a current concert calendar, discography, and excerpts from their recordings.
R. Murray Schafer
Listen to typical Vancouver soundscapes and Michael Enright's interview with R. Murray Schafer. Schafer discusses noise pollution, his soundscapes, and his music. From the CBC Digital Archives website.
Arcana Editions is a publishing company specializing in various recordings, books and other works produced by composer R. Murray Schafer.
R. Murray Schafer fonds
A brief biography of R. Murray Schafer is provided in this guide to the R. Murray Schafer fonds. From Library and Archives Canada.
Vancouver New Music Society
The latest news and event calendar for the innovative Vancouver New Music Society.
Canadian Acoustical Association
News and information about the Canadian Acoustical Association. Features a listing of industry awards and abstracts from past conferences.
The magazine "Music Works" focuses on new and avant-garde music and sound exploration. Their site offers article abstracts, artist profiles, reviews, and more.
Composer R. Murray Schafer named honorary Royal Conservatory fellow
A CBC article about composer R. Murray Schafer, violinist Steven Staryk, and pianist John Perry being named as honorary Royal Conservatory fellows in 2008.
Walter Carsen Prize for Excellence in the Performing Arts
This Canada Council website features current and previous winners of the Walter Carsen Prize for Excellence in the Performing Arts, a prize that is awarded on a four-year cycle to honour outstanding Canadians in theatre, dance, and music.
A Garden of Bells - The Choral Music of R Murray Schafer, Vol 1
Listen to brief audio clips from the recording "A Garden of Bells - The Choral Music of R Murray Schafer, Vol 1" featuring the Vancouver Chamber Choir. From the emusic.com website.
The website for the acclaimed Molinari Quartet. Check out "Recordings" for audio clips and extensive notes about selected compositions.
GGPAA: Short Films
Watch a series of short films that pay tribute to numerous winners of the Governor General's Performing Arts Awards. From the National Film Board of Canada.
Search the grigorian.com site for JUNO award-winning recordings.
R. Murray Schafer
In this interview R. Murray Schafer offers his insights on soundscape design, noisy environments, and acoustic music. From YouTube.
See "Listener Notes" about R. Murray Schafer's composition "Snowforms." From elektra.ca.
An extensive collection of audio clips from recordings featuring the National Arts Centre Orchestra performing works by noteworthy Canadian and international composers. Click on a composer's name on the right side menu to access specific works. See also composer biographies and the interactive timeline of historical milestones in classical music. From artsalive.ca and the Virtual Museum of Canada.
Soundstreams presents R. Murray Schafer about The Children's Crusade II
A video clip with R. Murray Schafer talking about composing for children as well as the musical style and history associated with his opera The Children's Crusade. From YouTube.
My Life on Earth and Elsewhere
A brief synopsis of R. Murray Schafer's memoir "My Life on Earth and Elsewhere." From The Porcupine's Quill website.
R. Murray Schafer with the Orford String Quartet
A 1990 photograph of R. Murray Schafer with the Orford String Quartet during a recording session for Schafer: 5. From the Canadian Music Centre.