Toronto (Ontario, Canada), 1947

The Canadian composer and pianist, Steven Gellman, showed great musical talent at an early age and received a strong foundation under the instruction of Dr. Samuel Dolin. Throughout his teenage years he appeared frequently as a pianist and composer. Notably at the age of 16, he appeared as soloist in his own Concerto for Piano and Orchestra. In 1964 Gellman was the first Canadian winner of the International BMI award. Further studies followed, at the Juilliard School in New York, with Vincent Persichetti and Luciano Berio, and at the Paris Conservatoire with Olivier Messiaen from 1973 to 1976, where he was awarded the Premier Prix. Since his return to Canada in 1976 he has been Professor of Composition and Theory at the University of Ottawa. In 1978 Steven Gellman composed a work in honour of Oliver Messiaen’s 70th Birthday. Deux Tapisseries was given its premiere in Besançon (France) by the Ars Nova Ensemble conducted by Marius Constant. Steven Gellman’s expertise in the area of orchestral music triggered a commission from the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO) to compose Awakening. In the spring of 1983, it was featured by the orchestra during a major tour throughout Europe. In 1986, TSO unveiled another newly commissioned Gellman opus, Universe Symphony, featuring the synthesizers of the Canadian Electronic Ensemble as soloists with the orchestra under conductor Andrew Davis. In the wake of Universe Symphony, Jon Kimura Parker commissioned him to compose Keyboard Triptych for Piano/Synthesizer with which Parker toured Canada, the USA and Britain. Since then Steven Gellman has composed a wide variety of works, including Loves Garden, for Soprano and Orchestra; Canticles of Saint Francis, for Choir and Orchestra, for the 150th anniversary of the Red Cross; a second Piano Concerto; Burnt Offerings for String Orchestra; Red Shoes for the SMCQ; the Jaya Overture for the National Arts Centre Orchestra; Piano Quartet (Musica Camerata Montréal); Viola Concerto received its world premiere at the National Arts Centre Ottawa. Steven Gellman was the resident composer at both the Agaziz and the Prince Edward County Music Festivals. In 2012 Gellman collaborated with La Caravan Dance Theatre to compose an opera-ballet for its premiere in Calgary.