Though in 1948 Somers gave up his plans for a career as a pianist to devote himself to composing, he mastered the guitar during the 1950s. He continued to compose prolifically, earning income as a music copyist. (The latter activity refined the meticulous hand which always marks a Somers manuscript.)
In 1960, on a Canada Council fellowship, Somers returned to Paris to observe trends and to compose. He also studied Gregorian chant at Solesmes. Back in Toronto he supported himself through commissions, many of which came from the CBC. From that point, he did not hold a permanent post.
He became concerned with the teaching and performance of Canadian music in schools. He participated in the first phase of the John Adaskin Project in 1963 and was special consultant for school music in North York (Toronto) 1968-9. He was host on a CBC series of televised youth concerts in 1963 and on the CBC radio series 'Music of Today' 1965-9.
An $18,000 grant from the Canadian Cultural Institute in Rome allowed Somers to live 1969-71 in Rome, where he completed Voiceplay and Kyrie, fruits of a growing interest in new vocal techniques. Late in 1971 he returned to Canada via the Far East, where he experienced various aspects of Eastern music and philosophy. In 1977 he visited the USSR, where he heard performances of his own works, met Soviet composers, and spoke on contemporary Canadian music.
Somers is one of Canada's most important composers and one of the few to receive international recognition; his music has been performed in the USA, Central and South America, Europe, and the Soviet Union. Unusually versatile, he produced major scores for stage, concert hall, film, radio, and TV, and employed voices, instruments, and synthetic sounds in a wide variety of forms, traditional and new. His commissions indicate the level at which his work was appreciated. The Stratford Festival commissioned his Five Songs for Dark Voice for Maureen Forrester; the Vancouver International Festival his String Quartet No. 3 for the Hungarian Quartet; the CBC numerous works including Evocations, Movement for Orchestra, The Crucifixion, and (for Cathy Berberian) Voiceplay. Kuyas was commissioned for the 1967 Montreal International Competition; Louis Riel by the Floyd S. Chalmers Foundation for the COC; Lyric by the Koussevitzky Foundation; Stereophony by the TSO; The Fisherman and His Soul, Ballad, and House of Atreus by the National Ballet of Canada; and Music for Solo Violin by the Canada Council, the Guelph Spring Festival, and the violinist Yehudi Menuhin, who also gave its premiere.
In the 1980s his commissions included Limericks for the Guelph Spring Festival; Elegy, Transformation, Jubilation for the TS; the Guitar Concerto for the Guitar Society of Toronto; the test-pieces Movement for String Quartet and Shaman's Song, for the Banff International String Quartet Competition, and the S.C. Eckhardt-Gramatté Competition respectively; and the operas A Midwinter Night's Dream for the Canadian Children's Opera Chorus, Serinette for Music at Sharon, and Mario and the Magician for the COC, after Thomas Mann's novella of the same name.
Somers' output through the 1990s included the Third Piano Concerto (1996) for James Parker and the Esprit Orchestra. With the poet P.K. Page, he composed a choral piece for the 50th anniversary of the United Nations. In this latter part of his career, he accepted fewer commissions, and tended to compose only for musicians he favoured. Tribute concerts at the University of Ottawa and the National Arts Centre in 1995 honoured his 70th birthday. In October 1993, he gave the opening address at the Alberta Music Conference, and in 1997 he was writer-in-residence at the University of Windsor's first Word and Music Festival. After his death, various concerts were dedicated to his music (in November 1999 at Massey Hall with James Parker, Jean Stilwell, and the Esprit Orchestra; in May 2000, the TSO conducted by Victor Feldbrill); Serinette was revived in concert in Toronto in May 2001; and screenings of Images of Canada took place at the CBC Museum in Toronto, also in 2001.
In the mid-1970s, CBC had issued an LP boxed set of Somers' compositions. His work was not often recorded on CD until after he died. CBC Records released Harry Somers: A Celebration in 2000 (SMCD 5199), and Centrediscs launched A Window on Somers, a seven-disc series, in February 2001, through the Harry Somers Recording Project.
Somers' first wife, Catherine Mackie, died in 1963. In 1967 he married the Canadian actress Barbara Chilcott.
Although in the course of his career Somers absorbed many influences (eg, Weinzweig, Bartók, baroque counterpoint, 12-tone procedures, and Gregorian chant), his music retained certain trademarks, independent of trends such as the serialism of the 1950s. Many of these can be found in his student works. The piano pieces of 1939-41, written before his studies with Weinzweig, are mood essays with descriptive titles and a marked interest in non-functional harmonic colour. A favourite device is the parallel movement of fourths, fifths, triads, and chords of the seventh and ninth. This persists in the works of the 1940s (eg, the introduction to the first movement of North Country).
The String Quartet No. 1, the first large work written under Weinzweig's guidance, contains a number of elements carried forward into, and refined during, the late 1940s and 1950s: the extended melodic line (probably a result of exercises designed by Weinzweig to exploit a single line); ostinatos, often with a strong rhythmic drive; points of tonal repose in non-tonal contexts; the accumulation and release of tension (often through textural density) over an extended arc; and finally the use of rhetorical, declamatory gestures at climactic moments.
By the time of North Country, these elements had evolved into a distinctive style in which the communication of intense feeling was balanced by effective scoring and driving rhythms were contained within compact ternary structures. The first movement of North Country evokes a bleak, rugged landscape through the slow unfolding of spare melody in the violins' high tessitura against a quasi-ostinato of short rhythmic figures.
Somers' 'long line' functioned as a vehicle for intensity as well as a provider of continuity. Two main types of line are used. One unfolds slowly within a small range of pitch and often is accompanied thinly by nervous rhythmic interjections. Characteristic of this line are a falling minor second in a long-short rhythm, sharp dynamic fluctuations in otherwise sustained elements or short melodic segments, silences of varying lengths interrupting the line, and a built-in accelerando at the point of climax (often associated with the falling second). Examples can be seen in the final page of the Rhapsody (1948), the opening of Stereophony (1963), and Music for Solo Violin (1973). The second type of line may include one or more of these traits but is more active rhythmically, with wider intervals and greater range, and usually is accompanied by one or more continuous voices. Examples are the violin's theme in the Prologue of the Symphony No. 1, the opening of Lyric, and several of the long vocal solos in Louis Riel.
Another Somers device, dating from the 1940s and recurrent, has been the deliberate use of tension in manipulating the listener's emotions. In the 1950s he generated such tensions with neo-baroque counterpoint and with a juxtaposition of contrasting styles - for instance, the superimposition of tonal on non-tonal material. The effectiveness of Somers' counterpoint can be seen in the Passacaglia and Fugue, in which each section grows to a climax through the accumulation of imitative voices. Of 14 large works written between 1951 and 1959, 10 involve some fugal writing. Style juxtaposition, which first appeared in the second movement of the Suite for Harp and Chamber Orchestra (1949), was less successful in works of the 1950s (The Fool and Piano Concerto No. 2) than in Louis Riel (1967), where folksong, tonal writing, taped material, and Somers' own atonal fabrics work together to achieve a high dramatic impact.
Tension is produced also by sharp fluctuations in volume (Somers calls them 'dynamic unrest') which may be applied to single notes, to segments of a melodic line, or (especially in orchestral works) to sustained vertical aggregates. In fact, the growth pattern of many of Somers' works is an extension of a crescendo-decrescendo dynamic shape. A striking example is the fifth of Five Concepts for Orchestra (1961). The broad structure of many of the post-1940 works is ternary - eg, Symphony No. 1, Five Concepts, Twelve Miniatures - and this probably is a result of the tendency to plan works around the build-up, achievement, and release of tension.
The orchestral works of the 1960s grew, in part, from Somers' music, 1959-60, for the film Saguenay, in which he worked with non-thematic colours and textures. At first this affected only abstract works (Lyric, Five Concepts) but later it led to experiments with other dimensions: visual (Movement), spatial (Stereophony), and theatrical (The House of Atreus). In these works tonal or modal elements (common in pre-1959 works) are present no longer. The basis of pitch organization is a 12-tone series. Although Somers used a series in the mid-1940s, he did not employ it throughout a work until 1951 (Symphony No. 1, 12 x 12). His subsequent use of series (in all major works including Louis Riel) has been flexible and intuitive, tailored to complement other dimensions of a given work, not rigidly applied.
In 1963 Somers began showing particular interest in the voice, using phonetic sounds, timbral inflections, and minute ornamentation. In Twelve Miniatures, Evocations, and Louis Riel these colour a traditional treatment of words. However, in two large works of the 1970s the fabric consists mainly of non-semantic sounds and colour inflections. Voiceplay is a wordless lecture demonstration of new vocal techniques for singer/actor, and Kyrie is a 25-minute work for vocal quartet, choir, and instruments. In Kyrie the text is derived exclusively from the phonetic sounds of the words 'Kyrie eleison, Christe eleison.' His command of new voice techniques extends to performance: he recorded Voiceplay, and himself sang the original taping (of an ornamented and electronically elaborated folk ballad) for the opening scene of Louis Riel.
The earmarks of Somers' style are reflected in his works for solo instruments (in particular piano and violin), and small combinations of instruments. For discussion see Composition, instrumental solos and duos: Piano solos.
Somers' special interest in extended vocal techniques continued in three works of the early 1980s: Limericks, Shaman's Song, and Chura-churum. The first, written for the Healey Willan centenary, threatens to smother its text, three ribald limerick verses, by lengthy rhythmic and textural inventions - the result being a 'profane' sequel to Kyrie. In both Shaman's Song, an Inuit text set for solo voice and prepared piano, and Chura-churum, a Sanskrit text set for eight amplified solo voices and a small instrumental ensemble, the virtuosic demands achieve an intensity commensurate with the mystery and spiritual elevation of their subjects. Chura-churum may be the most notationally complex of all Somers' scores.
The trilogy Elegy, Transformation, Jubilation was 'conceived as evolving from the homophonic to the multiphonic, from one group to five,' according to the composer's note in the score. The large orchestra is divided into five unequal groups, spatially separated; the work calls for four assistant conductors in the 'Jubilation' section, coordinated by means of click-tracks. The 'Elegy' is a late example of Somers's eloquent 'long line' melody. Substantial solo-and-orchestra works of the 1980s are the Concertante for violin, percussion, and strings, and the Guitar Concerto - the latter developed from a five-note scale pattern whose treatment the composer said is 'distantly related to those principles applied to the Indian ragas.' (See also Concertos and concertante music.)
Starting in 1976 with Love-in-Idleness, a solo scene based on Shakespeare's Titania, Somers renewed his involvement with musical theatre. The later 1980s saw the premieres of the children's opera A Midwinter Night's Dream and the 'festival opera' Serinette. In an interview in 1990 Somers said in his work on the former he had 'wanted to go back to square one' stylistically, and to deliberately simplify his musical means. Both operas are on Canadian themes, aligning with an unselfconscious nationalism which marks Somers' career - from the early ballet Ballad and Louis Riel to his Images of Canada television scores and the two suites of folksong arrangements for chorus; the latter are among his most accessible and often-played works.
Honours and assessment
Somers was honoured variously - he received the Critics' Award of the Cava dei Tirreni Summer Festival, Italy, in 1965; the Italian Government Award; and the Wm Harold Moon Award in 1976; and he was made a Companion of the Order of Canada in 1972. On the occasion of the awarding of his honorary degree from the University of Toronto John Beckwith said: '[Somers'] music has been created ... out of a mastery of the technical processes of his time, out of a wide intellectual curiosity, out of a sense of his relation to tradition ... Through it all runs a remarkable elemental quality which ... identifies the Somers style like a thumbprint ...'
Faces of Canada, incidental music. 1956 (CBC-TV Toronto 1956). Full orch. Ms
Ballad, ballet. 1958 (Ott 1958). Full orch. Ms
Saguenay, film score. 1956. Chamb orch. Ms
Movement (formerly Abstract for Television). 1961 (CBC-TV Toronto 1962). Full orch. Ric 1964
The House of Atreus, ballet. 1963 (Toronto 1964). Full orch (chamber orch). Ms
The Gift, incidental music. 1965 (CBC-TV Toronto 1965). Ms
And, dance. 1969 (CBC-TV Toronto 1969). Sop, mezzo, tenor, bar, dancers, chamber ensemble. Ms
Images of Canada, incidental music for TV. 1972-5 (Toronto 1973, 1976). Various ensemble. Ms
Death of Enkidu: Part I, chamber opera (M. Kinch). 1977. 5 voices, actor, female dancer, fl, clarinet, 2 hns, harp, piano, 3 percussion. Ms
The Merman of Orford, mime. 1978. Fl, horn, violoncello, percussion. Ms
Mario and the Magician, opera (Rod Anderson, after T. Mann). 1991.
Sketches for Orchestra. 1946 (Toronto 1947). Ms. RCI 88 (R. Leduc)
Slow Movement for Strings (movement 2 of String Quartet No. 1). 1946. (Toronto 1946). Str orch. Ms
Symphony No. 1. 1951 (Toronto 1953). Ber (rental)
Prelude and Fugue for Orchestra. 1952 (Toronto 1952). Ms
Passacaglia and Fugue. 1954 (Toronto 1954). BMIC 1958. RCI 180/10-ACM 7 (CBC Symphony Orchestra)/Louisville LS-661 (Louisville O, Whitney conductor)
Little Suite for String Orchestra on Canadian Folk Songs. 1955 (Toronto 1956). BMIC 1956
Fantasia for Orchestra. 1958 (Montreal 1958). BMIC 1962. RCI 230/RCA LSC-2980/Mel SMLP-4039/10-ACM 7 (MSO)
Lyric for Orchestra. 1960 (Washington 1961). BMIC 1963
Movement for Orchestra. 1961. Ric 1964
Five Concepts for Orchestra. 1961 (Toronto 1962). BMIC 1964
Stereophony. 1963 (Toronto 1963). Kerby 1972, B&H
Picasso Suite. 1964 (Saskatoon 1965). Sm orch. Ric 1969. CBC SM-241 (Atlantic Symphony Orchestra)
Those Silent, Awe Filled Spaces. 1978 (Ott 1978). Orch. Ms
Variations. 1979. Str orch. Ms
Elegy, Transformation, Jubilation: in memoriam four suicides. 1981 (Toronto 1981). Ms
Of Memory and Desire. 1993. String orch.
Soloist(s) with Orchestra
Piano Concerto No. 1. 1947 (Toronto 1949). Ms
Piano Concerto No. 2. 1956 (Toronto 1956). Ber (rental)
Concertante for Violin, String Orchestra, and Percussion. 1982 (Toronto 1983). Ms
Concerto for Guitar and Orchestra. 1984 (Toronto 1984). Ms
Piano Concerto No. 3. 1996.
Duo. 1943. 2 violin. Ms
String Quartet No. 1. 1943. Ms
Suite for Percussion. 1947. Pf, 4 drums. Ms
Mime. 1947. Vn, piano. Ms
Rhapsody. 1948. Vn, piano. Ms. CBC EXPO-16/RCI 244/10-ACM 7 (J. Pach)
Woodwind Quintet. 1948. Ms
String Quartet No. 2. 1950. Ms. CBC SM-263/10-ACM 7 (Vaghy Str Quar)
Trio. 1950. Fl, violin, violoncello. Ms
Sonata No. 1. 1953. Vn, piano. BMIC 1968. RCI 221/RCA CCS-1015/10-ACM 7 (Hidy, Duncan)
Sonata No. 2. 1955. Vn, piano. BMIC 1968. RCI 222/RCA CCS-1016/10-ACM 7 (Staryk, L. Boucher)
Movement for Woodwind Quintet. 1957. Ms
Sonata for Guitar. 1959. Solo guitar. Kerby 1972. RCI 409/MS 4427 (Strutt)
Symphony for Woodwinds, Brass and Percussion. 1961 (Pittsburgh 1961). Peters (rental). CBC SM-134/10-ACM 7 (Feldbrill)
Theme for Variations. 1964. Any comb of instr. BMIC 1966
Etching - The Vollard Suite (from Picasso Suite). 1964. Fl. Ric 1969. 1970. CBC SM-114 (Michalska fl)
Improvisation (Shakespeare, Yeats). 1968. Narr, singers, woodwind, string, 2 percussion, piano. Ms
Music for Solo Violin. 1973. Ber 1975. RCI 413 (Menuhin violin, Somers commentator)/10-ACM 7 (Menuhin violin)
Movement for String Quartet. 1982. Ms
Fanfare to J.S.B. 1984. Brass quintet. Ms
11 Miniatures. 1992. Oboe and piano.
Magic Flute. 1997. Flute and tape.
Strangeness of Heart. 1942. BMIC 1947. RCI 93/RCI 132 (R. Pratt)/1976. RCI 450 (K. Quinton)
In manuscript: Étude (1943); Flights of Fancy (1944); Dark and Light (1944)
5 Piano Sonatas. 1945-57. (No. 1,2,5) Ber 1979, (No. 3, 4) Ber 1980. (No. 1) RCI 450 (Godden)/(No.2) RCI 450 (Helmer)/(No. 3) RCI 251 and RCI 451 (Savoie)/(No. 4) RCI 451 (J. McKay)/(No. 5 'Lento') CBC SM-102 (Buczynski)/(No. 5) RCI 452 and Mel SMLP-4023 (Kubálek)/(No. 5 'Lento') CBC SM-162 (Buczynski)
Three Sonnets. 1946, orch version 1952 (No. 2 and 3 only). BMIC 1948 (piano). 1976. RCI 450 (K. Quinton)
In manuscript: Solitudes (1947); Four Primitives (1949)
12 x 12: Fugues for Piano. 1951. FH 1955 (No. 1), BMIC 1959 (complete). RCI 452 (J. Couture)
Nothing Too Serious. 1997.
Two Songs for the Coming of Spring (Fram). 1955. SATB. BMIC 1957. RCI 206/10-ACM 7 (Montreal Bach Choir)
'God, the Master of This Scene' (J. Taylor). 1962. OUP 1964, GVT 1973. Cap ST-6258/Sera S-60085 (Festival Singers)/2-Audat WRC6-696 (University of Alberta Concert Choir)
Gloria (liturgical). 1962. SATB, 2 trumpet, organ. OUP 1964, GVT 1973. CBC SM-53/10-ACM 7 (Tudor Singers of Montreal)/RCA LSC 3043/Mel SMLP-4030 (Tor Mendelssohn Choir)/VBC 001 (Van Bach Choir)/World WRC1-4159 (All Saints' Cathedral Choir, Halifax)
'The Wonder Song' (Somers). 1963. SATB. BMIC 1964. CBC SM-19/10-ACM 7 (Festival Singers)
Crucifixion (Passion Psalm). 1966. SATB, english horn, 2 trumpet, harp, percussion. Ms
Five Songs of the Newfoundland Outports (traditional, coll Peacock). 1968. SATB, piano. GVT 1969. RCI 339/CBC SM-105/RCA LSC-3154/10-ACM 7 (Festival Singers)/Centrediscs CMC-0281/RCI 564 (Elmer Iseler Singers)/Protone PR-154 (U of Southern California Chamber Singers)/('Feller From Fortune') Fantasy Sound FS-23498 (Medway Senior Choir)/('Feller From Fortune') 2-Audat WRC6-696 (University of Alberta Concert Choir)
Trois chansons de la nouvelle-France/Three Songs of New France (traditional). 1976. SATB, piano. GVT 1977. RCI 491 (Tudor Singers of Montreal)
Limericks (anonymous, W.H. Auden). 1980 (Guelph 1980). SATB, mezzo, instr ensemble. Ms. Centrediscs CMC-2385 (Kern mezzo, Elmer Iseler Singers)
Chura-churum. 1985. SSAATTBB, fl, harp, piano, 4 percussion, 8 loudspeakers. Ms
Also 'Song of Praise' (W. Scott) for 2 part treble chorus, piano (GVT 1984) and an arr of 'We Wish You a Merry Christmas' for SATB, piano (GVT 1976)
A Children's Hymn to the United Nations (P.K. Page) for children's chorus, piano. 1995.
A Thousand Ages. Boy's voice, TB, orch, electric sounds. 1998.
'Stillness' (Somers). 1942. Sop, piano. Ms
'A Bunch of Rowan' (D. Skala). 1947. Med voice, piano. BMIC 1948
'A Song of Joys' (Whitman). 1947. Med voice, piano. Ms
Three Simple Songs (Fram). 1953. Mezzo. Ms
'Conversation Piece' (Fram). 1955. High voice, piano. BMIC 1957
Twelve Miniatures (Haiku, transl H.G. Henderson). 1964. Sop, recorder (fl), viola da gamba (violoncello), spinet (piano). BMIC 1965. RCI 217/RCA CCS-1011/10-ACM 7 (Morrison, Fiore, Buczynski, D. Whitton violoncello)
Evocations (Somers). 1966. Mezzo, piano. BMIC 1968. CBC SM-13/CBC SM-108/10-ACM 7 (Rideout, Somers piano)
Voiceplay (Somers). 1971. Singer/actor. Ms. 10-ACM 7 (Somers)
Zen, Yeats and Emily Dickinson (Zen poetry, Yeats, Dickinson). 1975. 2 actors, soprano, fl, piano, tape. Ms
Love-In-Idleness, operatic scene (Shakespeare, Midsummer Night's Dream). 1976. Sop, piano. Ms
Shaman's Song (phonetics). 1983. V, prepared piano. Ms
Analysis of Suite for Harp and Chamber Orchestra, CMCentre Study Course no. 1 (Toronto 1961)
'Stereophony for Orchestra,' Music Across Canada, vol 1, Mar 1963
'Composer in the school: a composer's view,' Mcan, 19, May 1969
'A letter from Rome,' CMB, 1, Spring-Summer 1970
'Harry Somers' letter to Lee Hepner,' CMB, 3, Autumn-Winter 1971
'How ''Music for Solo Violin'' was born,' CMB, 10, Spring-Summer 1975
'Dr. Somers replies,' News from the Faculty of Music, University of Toronto, vol 6, Summer 1976
'A reply to a citation awarded by the University of Toronto,' CME, Spring 1978
'Speaking of music,' Music, Apr 1986
'Conference address,' BC Music Educator, vol 5, May 1986
Author Brian Cherney, John Beckwith, Betty Nygaard King
Lowe, J.M. 'Agony of modern music,' Canadian Forum, vol 35, Sep 1955
Beckwith, John. 'Composers in Toronto and Montreal,' University of Toronto Q, vol 26, Oct 1956
Olnick, Harvey. 'Harry Somers,' CMJ, vol 3, Summer 1959
'Harry Somers: a portrait,' Mcan, 4, Sep 1967
Winters, Kenneth. 'Somers: in the spring of his career,' Toronto Telegram, 5 Jul 1969
Loranger, Pierre. 'Harry Somers: The Picasso Suite,' CMB, 1, Spring-Summer 1970
Hepner, Lee. 'An analytical study of selected Canadian orchestral compositions at the mid-twentieth century,' PH D dissertation, New York University 1971
Harry Somers CBC radio documentary tape (1972)
Such, Peter. 'Harry Somers,' Soundprints (Toronto 1972)
Duke, David. 'Neo-classical composition procedures in selected works of Harry Somers, 1949-59,' MA thesis, U of North Carolina 1973
Smith, Frances Jean. 'An analysis of selected works by Harry Somers,' M MUS thesis, University of Western Ontario 1973
Butler, Edward Gregory. 'The five piano sonatas of Harry Somers,' DMA thesis, U of Rochester 1974
Cherney, Brian. Harry Somers (Toronto 1975)
Schulman, Michael. 'Harry Somers: in the midst of journey into himself,' MSc, 284, Jul-Aug 1975
Callwood, June. 'The informal Harry Somers,' Toronto Globe and Mail, 1 Dec 1975
Fraser, John. 'The music of Somers: witty, thoughtful and dead-right,' SatN, vol 91, Jan-Feb 1977
Littler, William. 'Early Somers concerto spends time well,' Toronto Star, 14 Mar 1977
PRO Canada Ltd. 'Harry Somers,' pamphlets (1979, 1983)
Houghton, Diane. 'The solo vocal works of Harry Somers,' DMA thesis, U of Missouri at Kansas City 1980
Enns, Leonard J. 'The sacred choral music of Harry Somers: an analytical study,' (PH D thesis, Northwestern U 1982)
Dahlstrom, Helen. 'Harry Somers at home,' CFMTA Newsletter, vol 36, Aug 1983
Butler, Gregory E. 'Harry Somers: the culmination of a pianistic style in the Third Piano Sonata,' Studies in Music from the University of Western Ontario, vol 9, 1984
Margles, Pamela. 'Harry Somers' voyage of discovery,' Music, vol 7, May-Jun 1984
Schulman, Michael. 'Somers at sixty: the sacred and the profane,' MSc, 347, Jan-Feb 1986
Everett-Green, Robert. 'Answering theatre's call,' Toronto Globe and Mail, 28 Jun 1990
Snider, Roxanne. "Harry Somers in conversation," Words and Music, January 1995
Robertson, Dalton. "Somers's creativity was boundless," Globe and Mail, 13 March 1999
Cherney, Brian. 'Harry Somers,' Contemporary Canadian Composers
Beckwith, John. 'Harry Somers,' Dictionary of Contemporary Music
Links to Other Sites
Canadian League of Composers
The website for the Canadian League of Composers, an organization that supports and represents professional composers across the country. Offers the latest news, events, and online guides and publications of interest to composers.
Canadian Music Centre
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Canadian Children's Opera Company
The website for the Canadian Children's Opera Company, an organization devoted to developing and producing opera for children. Their website features a performance calendar, program information, artistic bios, and more.
Canadian composer Harry Somers dies
A CBC obituary for acclaimed Canadian composer Harry Somers.
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.