Toronto composer James Rolfe has been commissioned and performed by ensembles in Canada (including Arraymusic, Continuum, Esprit Orchestra, Soundstreams, and Vancouver New Music), the USA (Bang on a Can All-Stars, Cassatt Quartet), Europe (Ensemble Contrechamps de Genève, Ensemble Avant Garde, Ives Ensemble, Ixion Ensemble, Nash Ensemble, and Nieuw Ensemble), and New Zealand (175 East). He was the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2000, the K. M. Hunter Music Award in 2003, and the 2005 Louis Applebaum Composers Award.
Mr. Rolfe writes music for chamber ensemble, orchestra, choir, voice, and the operatic stage. His opera Beatrice Chancy, a tragedy set during the last days of slavery in Canada, received an extraordinary reception during productions by The Queen of Puddings Music Theatre Company between 1998 and 2001 in Toronto, Dartmouth, and Edmonton.The children’s opera Elijah’s Kite was premiered in New York in April 2006 by Tapestry New Opera Works with the Manhattan School of Music, and was given its Canadian premiere at Rideau Hall in October 2006. His new opera Swoon was premiered in December 2006 by the Canadian Opera Company. Mr. Rolfe is currently working on new operas for the Queen of Puddings and for the Toronto Masque Theatre.