Robert James Berkeley Fleming, composer, educator (b at Prince Albert, Sask 12 Nov 1921; d at Ottawa 28 Nov 1976).
Robert James Berkeley Fleming, composer, educator (b at Prince Albert, Sask 12 Nov 1921; d at Ottawa 28 Nov 1976). One of the most prolific Canadian composers of his generation, Fleming gained an international reputation through his work at the National Film Board as a staff composer (1946-58) and as music director (1958-70). Some 250 film scores are complemented by his large output of music for other performance media - ballet, orchestra, chamber ensemble, band, organ, piano and voice. His ballet Shadow on the Prairie (1952) and the song cycle The Confession Stone, composed for Maureen FORRESTER in 1966, both recorded, are representative of the appealing blend of traditional and 20th-century techniques typical of Fleming's style. As texts for vocal works he frequently used Canadian authors. Having studied Canada's heritage of orally transmitted music in order to capture suitable aural atmospheres in film scores such as Canada at War, Struggle for a Border and Tuktu, Fleming subsequently made many effective arrangements of folk songs. He was a devout churchman and served several parishes as organist-choirmaster. A number of his hymns, carols and settings of the Anglican Eucharist have been published. From 1970 until his death, Fleming taught at Carleton University.