Barbara Lally Pentland

Barbara Lally Pentland, composer (b at Winnipeg 2 Jan 1912; d at Vancouver 5 Feb 2000). One of the first Canadian composers to use avant garde techniques, she studied at the Juilliard School of Music, New York City, and the Berkshire Music Center, Mass. Through her high-quality compositions for piano, orchestra, chamber ensemble and voice, she helped introduce 2 generations of Canadians to modern music. She taught at the Toronto Conservatory of Music from 1943 to 1949 and the University of British Columbia from 1949 to 1963. Honours include doctorates from University of Manitoba in 1976 and Simon Fraser University in 1985, and the Diplôme d'honneur bestowed by the Canadian Conference of the Arts in 1977.

Her compositions, some of them commissioned and 17 recorded, are performed all over the world and have been featured on many radio programs, particularly by the CBC. They include "News" (1970), her reaction to violence as reported in the media; "Disasters of the Sun" (1976, text by Dorothy Livesay), expressing her fight against male domination; Music of Now, a series of 3 books that introduced young pianists to the modern sounds; and her best-known composition, Studies in Line (1941), a set of 4 piano pieces that reflect different kinds of linear motion. Pentland was named to the Order of Canada in 1989 with the rank of Officer.