Canada Mosaic: A record of a year’s worth of new Canadian music finds home in Library of Parliament

The Toronto Symphony Orchestra's Gary Hanson presented Heritage Minister Melanie Joly with a book of songs and a CD from last year's Canada Mosaic project, on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario on Feb 13, 2018. The Canada 150 cross-country music initiative involved over 40 new music commissions from orchestras and composers across Canada. Photo: David Kawai

A new book has entered the shelves of the Library of Parliament and it includes music written by 40 Canadian composers from sea to sea to sea.

The book, titled Canada Mosaic: Sesquies is the end result of a major effort by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra to commission new works to mark Canada 150.

The TSO commissioned several large works last season including the Triple Concerto for Three Violins and Orchestra featuring the concertmasters from the NAC Orchestra, the Montreal Symphony Orchestra and the TSO. The composition was written by the Toronto-based composer Alexina Louie and was performed at the NAC last fall during the Ideas of North festival. All three orchestras were involved in the commissioning of the piece.

But the orchestra also had another, even larger, swath of commissions. Working with 40 different orchestras from across the country they commissioned 40 two minute works from composers such as Ottawa’s Andrew Ager (who worked with 13 Strings) and Christine Donkin (with Symphony New Brunswick) and the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra’s Alain Trudel. These short works were dubbed Sesquies for the sesquicentennial.

There were also short pieces contributed by well-known composers such as Vancouver’s JUNO-nominated Jocelyn Morlock, Newfoundland’s JUNO-nominated Andrew Staniland, Montreal’s Nicole Lizée and Toronto’s Kevin Lau, to name just a few.

The book handed in to the Library of Parliament is 545 pages. Two copies have been made. The other copy is headed to the Canadian Music Centre.

As well a CD was produced as a musical record. Each composer received 10. And the Canadian Music Centre will also have some. No others will be made and the CD will not be made available for sale.

For more information about the Canada Mosaic project please see:

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Peter Robb began his connection with the arts community in Ottawa in the mid-1980s when he was the administrator and public relations director of the Great Canadian Theatre Company. After a long career in journalism with the Ottawa Citizen where he served in a number of different posts he returned to the arts when he became the Citizen's arts editor.