Search Pytheas   use Pytheas SiteSearch   need help searching?  

R. Murray Schafer (1933-    )

R. Murray Schafer, composerR. Murray Schafer is Canada's pre-eminent composer and is known throughout the world. In an era of specialization, R. Murray Schafer has shown himself to be a true renaissance man. Born in Sarnia, Ontario in 1933, Murray Schafer has won national and international acclaim not only for his achievement as a composer but also as an educator, environmentalist, literary scholar, visual artist and provocateur. After receiving a Licentiate in piano through the Royal Schools of Music (England) in 1952, he pursued further studies at the Royal Conservatory of Music and the University of Toronto, followed by periods of autodidactic study in Austria and England which encompassed literature, philosophy, music and journalism. A prolific composer, he has written works ranging from orchestral compositions to choral music as well as musical theatre and multi-media ritual. His diversity of interests is reflected by the enormous range and depth of such works as Loving (1965), Lustro (1972), Music for Wilderness Lake (1979), Flute Concerto (1984), and the World Soundscape Project, as well as his 12-part Patria music theatre cycle. His most important book, The Tuning of the World (1977), documents the findings of his World Soundscape Project, which united the social, scientific and artistic aspects of sound and introduced the concept of acoustic ecology. The concept of soundscape unifies most of his musical and dramatic work, as well as his educational and cultural theories. His other major books include E.T.A. Hoffmann and Music (1975), Ezra Pound and his Music (1977), On Canadian Music (1984), Voices of Tyranny: Temples of Silence (1993), and The Thinking Ear: On Music Education (1986). He has received commissions from numerous organizations as well as several prizes. He was the first winner of the Glenn Gould Prize for Music and Communication as well as the Molson Award for distinctive service to the arts. In 2005 he was awarded the Walter Carsen Prize, by the Canada Council for the Arts, one of the top honours for lifetime achievement by a Canadian artist.

COMPOSITIONS                              R. Murray Schafer Links     ~ ~ ~     Works by Genre    ~ ~ ~    Schafer on Schafer
[under construction]

WORKS BY GENRE                                      R. Murray Schafer Links    ~ ~ ~    Schafer on Schafer     ~ top of page ~
[under construction]
Loving/Toi, music theatre work (1963-66) [text by the composer]
Patria 2: Requiems for the Party Girl, theatre piece (1966-72) [text by the composer] [also reduced concert version, 1966]
Patria 1: Wolfman, theatre piece (1966-74; rev. 1975) [text by the composer]
Apocalypsis Part 2: Credo, music theatre work (1976) [text by Giordano Bruno, adapted by the composer]
Apocalypsis Part 1: John's Vision, music theatre work (1977) [text from the Book of Revelation]
Jonah, music drama (1978-79) [text from the Bible]
Patria 6: Ra, theatre piece (1979-80) [text from the Egyptian Book of the Dead]
    The Two Sisters Duet [one section that may be performed separately as a concert work]
Patria: The Prologue – The Princess of the Stars, theatre piece (1981; rev. 1984) [text by the composer]
    - Sun [concert version of one section]
Patria 5: The Crown of Ariadne, theatre piece (1979-82; rev. 1995) [text by the composer]
    - The Crown of Ariadne [one section that may be performed separately as a concert work]
Patria 3: The Greatest Show, theatre piece (1977-87) [text by the composer]
    - La Testa d'Adriane, soprano, speaker and accordion (1978) [may be performed separately as a stage work]
Beauty and the Beast, opera, mezzo-sopr/alto and str qt (1979) [libretto by RMS, after Madame Le Prince de Beaumont]
Wizard Oil and Indian Sagwa, speaker and clarinet (1980)
    - Buskers [Rounds] [one section that may be performed separately as a concert work]
Patria 4: The Black Theatre of Hermes Trismegistos, theatre piece (1988-89) [text by the composer]
Patria 9: The Enchanted Forest, theatre piece (1993-94) [text by the composer]
    - Three Songs from 'The Enchanted Forest' [one section that may be performed separately as a concert work]
Patria: The Epilogue – And Wolf Shall Inherit the Moon, theatre piece (1992-95) [text by the composer]
    - Wolf Music, soprano, male speaker & ensemble [one section that may be performed separately as a stage work]
    - Aubade for Two Voices [one section that may be performed separately as a concert work]
Patria 10: The Spirit Garden, theatre piece (1996-97) [text by the composer]
    - Two Songs from 'The Spirit Garden' [one section that may be performed separately as a concert work]
Patria 8: The Palace of the Cinnabar Phoenix, theatre piece (1999-2000) [text by the composer]
Patria 7: Asterion, theatre piece/labyrinth construction project (2004-????)

In memoriam Alberto Guerrero, string orchestra (1959)
Partita, string orchestra (1960)
Canzoni for Prisoners, orchestra (1961-62)
Untitled Composition No. 1, small orchestra (1963)
Untitled Composition No. 2, large orchestra (1963)
Statement in Blue, youth orchestra (1964)
Son of Heldenleben, orchestra and tape (1968)
East, small orchestra (1972)
... No longer than ten minutes, orchestra (1972)
North/White, orchestra (1973)
Train, youth orchestra [percussion and strings] (1976)
Cortège, orchestra (1977)
Music for Wilderness Lake, 12 trombones (1979)
Ko wo kiku: Listen to the Incense, orchestra (1985)
Dream Rainbow Dream Thunder, orchestra (1986)
Scorpius, orchestra (1990)
Manitou, orchestra (1995; rev. 1996-97)

Musique pour le parc Lafontaine, 4 symphonic bands (1995)

Soloist(s) w/Orchestra or Ensemble
Concerto, harpsichord and chamber ensemble (1954)
Concerto, flute and orchestra (1984)
Concerto, harp, orchestra and tape (1987)
Concerto, guitar and small orchestra (1989)
The Darkly Splendid Earth: The Lonely Traveller, violin and orchestra (1991)
Concerto, accordion and orchestra (1992-93)
The Falcon's Trumpet, high soprano ad libitum/tape, trumpet and orchestra (1995)
Concerto, viola and orchestra (1997)
4.40, string quartet and orchestra (1999)
The Shadowman, 5 percussionists and orchestra (2000; rev. 2003)

Chorus w/Orchestra

Four Songs on Texts by Tagore, soprano, mezzo-soprano, alto, female chorus, 1962
Threnody (texts by Japanese children about Nagasaki bombings), 5 child speakers, youth chorus, youth orchestra, tape, 1966
Gītā (text from the Bhagavadgītā), mixed chorus, 9 brass, tape, 1967
Epitaph for Moonlight, mixed chorus, percussion ad libitum, 1968
From the Tibetan Book of the Dead (text from the Bardo Thodol), soprano, mixed chorus, piccolo (+ alto flute), clarinet, tape, 1968
Minimusic, any 4–6 voices, any 4–6 players, 1969
Yeow – Pax (anthems, text from the Book of Isaiah), mixed chorus, organ, tape, 1969
Divan i shams i tabriz (text by Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī), 7 mixed voices, large orchestra, tape, 1970
Miniwanka – Moments of Water (text: native Amer words: "water/rain/stream/river/fog/ocean", youth chorus/mixed chorus, 1971
    - also version for female chorus/high chorus/male chorus, 1971
In Search of Zoroaster, male voice, 4 mixed voices, 4 male voices, 25 or more female voices, 2 mixed choruses (45 or more voices each), 25 or more male voices, organ, percussion, 1971 (also version for male voice, 150 or more mixed voices, 1971)

Tehillah (text from Psalm 148), mixed chorus (+ percussion), 1973 (also version as Psalm, 1976)
Hear me out (text from common aural-related phrases), any 4 voices, 1979
Felix's Girls (text by Henry Felix), mixed chorus, 1979
Gamelan (text from the words, pitches of the Balinese musical scale), 4 mixed voices, 1979
The Two Sisters Duet, 2 sopranos, countertenor, 1979–80 (section of Patria 6: Ra)
Sun (text from numerous international words for "sun"), 8 mixed voices, 1982 (concert version of section of Patria: The Prologue)
Snowforms, high chorus, 1983
A Garden of Bells (texts from international words for "bells", neologisms), mixed chorus, 1983
The Star Princess and the Waterlilies (text by the composer), alto, speaker, children's chorus, percussion, 1984
Fire, mixed chorus (+ clackers), 1986
Magic Songs, mixed chorus/male chorus, 1988
The Death of the Buddha (text from the Mahāparinibbāna Sutta), mixed chorus (+ Thai gongs, bell tree), 1989
Tristan and Iseult (text by Gottfried von Straßburg [translated by Andrew Lang]), 2 altos, 4 male voices, 1992
Three Songs from 'The Enchanted Forest', high chorus, 1993–94 (section of Patria 9: The Enchanted Forest)
Once on a Windy Night, soprano, mixed chorus, 1995
A Medieval Bestiary (text from the Book of Beasts), mixed chorus, 1996
Vox naturæ (text by Lucretius), 4 mixed voices, 1996
Seventeen Haiku, mixed chorus, 1997
Two Songs from 'The Spirit Garden', high chorus, 1998 (section of Patria 10: The Spirit Garden)
Imagining Incense, mixed chorus, 2002
The Fall into Light (texts from Gnostic sources), children's chorus, 6 mixed choruses, 6 percussion, 2002–03
The Death of Shalana (text by the composer), 4 mixed choruses, 2004–05

Sonatina, flute and harpsichord (or piano) (1958)
String Quartet No. 1 (1970)
String Quartet No. 2, "Waves" (1976)
The Crown of Ariadne, harp, percussion and tape (1979) [section of "Patria 5: The Crown of Ariadne"]
Music for Wilderness Lake, 12 trombones (1979)
String Quartet No. 3 (1981)
Music for Brass Quintet (1984)
Buskers (Rounds), flute, violin and viola (1985) [section of "Patria 3: The Greatest Show"]
String Quartet No. 4, off-stage soprano, off-stage violin and string quartet (1988-89)
String Quartet No. 5, "Rosalind", string quartet (+ bowed crotales) (1989)
String Quartet No. 6, "Parting Wild Horse's Mane" (1993)
String Quartet No. 7, moving soprano (+ percussion) and string quartet (1998) [text from diary of anon. 21-yr-old schizophrenic]
Wild Bird, violin and harp (c. 1999)
String Quartet No. 8, string quartet and tape (2000; rev. 2001)
String Quartet No. 9, string quartet and tape (2004)
String Quartet No. 10 (2005)
Trio for Strings, violin, viola and cello (2006)

Solo Instrument
Le Cri de Merlin, guitar and tape (1987)

Polytonality, piano (1952)
Deluxe Suite, piano (1995)

Three Contemporaries (text by the composer), mezzo-soprano, piano, 1954–56
Minnelieder (texts by various Minnesinger), mezzo-soprano, fl, ob, cl, hn, bsn, 1956 (also for mezzo-soprano, orchestra, 1986)
Kinderlieder (text by Bertolt Brecht), soprano, piano, 1958
Protest: Birthday Wishes for a Dictator – Incarceration, mezzo-soprano, orchestra, 1960
Brébeuf (cantata, text by St. Jean de Brébeuf [translated by the composer]), baritone, orchestra, 1961
Five Studies on Texts by Prudentius, soprano, 4 flutes (any one + alto flute, any one + piccolo), 1962
Vanity (text by the composer), mezzo-soprano, hp, gtr (+ elec gtr, banjo), mandolin, vln, vc, hpschd, 2 perc, tape, 1965
Requiems for the Party Girl, soprano, fl/picc, cl/bass cl, horn, harp, vln, va, vc, pf, timp (+ perc), 1966
    - (reduced concert version of stage work)
Enchantress (text by Sappho), mezzo-soprano, flute, 8 celli, 1971–72
Arcana (texts from Egyptian sources), soprano, fl, cl, tpt, trom, hp, vln, vc, db, pf (+ organ), perc, 1972 (also for voice, orch, 1972)
Adieu Robert Schumann (text by Clara Schumann, adapted by the composer), mezzo-soprano/alto, orchestra, tape, 1976
Hymn to Night (text by Novalis), soprano, 11 players, tape, 1976 (also version for soprano, orchestra, tape, 1976)
The Garden of the Heart (text from The Arabian Nights: 34 [translated by Sir Richard Burton]), mezzo-soprano, orchestra, 1980
Amente nufe, alto/countertenor, percussion, 1982

Theseus, off-stage soprano, harp and string quartet (1983) [text from the word "Arianna"]
Letters from Mignon, mezzo-soprano and orchestra (1986) [text: Goethe]
Gitanjali, soprano and orchestra (1991) [text: Rabindranath Tagore]
Aubade for Two Voices, any number of voices and any number of players (1992) [section of "Patria: The Epilogue"]
The Falcon's Trumpet, high soprano ad libitum/tape, trumpet and orchestra (1995)
Thunder: Perfect Mind, mezzo-soprano and orchestra (2004) [texts from Gnostic sources]

Carnival of Shadows, TV movie score (1983)
Lilly, film score (1993)

Kaleidoscope, tape, 1967
Okeanos, 4-track tape, 1971
The Vancouver Soundscape, tape, 1972
Harbour Symphony, foghorns, 1983

R. MURRAY SCHAFER  LINKS                          Works by Genre    ~ ~ ~    Schafer on Schafer      ~ top of page ~
[under construction]
The Father of Acoustic Ecology: A Conversation with R. Murray Schafer (Anjula Razdan, Utne Reader)
Intertextuality in R. Murray Schafer's "Adieu Robert Schumann" (Robin Elliott, Institute for Canadian Music)
Mystic Composer in a Magical Forest (Colin Eatcock, The New York Times)
Open Ears (R. Murray Schafer, Canadian Association for Sound Ecology)
R. Murray Schafer Among Music Makers Lured to Vancouver's Sonic Boom (David Gordon Duke, Vancouver Sun)
R. Murray Schafer Part of Music on Main's Spring Season (John Tanner, The Vancouver Observer)
R. Murray Schafer: String Quartets 1-7 (Molinari Quartet)
Redefining the String Quartet: A Marathon Concert of R. Murray Schafer's Seven Qts (Philip Ehrensaft, La Scena musicale)
The Sense and Sensibility of R. Murray Schafer (The Canada Council for the Arts)
A True Renaissance Man: The Visions of R Murray Schafer (Gordon Rumson, Music & Vision)

Composer website    . . .   contact R. Murray Schafer:  here

R. Murray Schafer @ Wikipedia
R. Murray Schafer @
R. Murray Schafer @ Arts Alive
R. Murray Schafer @ Arts Alive/NAC musicbox TIMELINE  also  here  &  here  &  here  &  here
R. Murray Schafer @ The Canadian Encyclopedia
R. Murray Schafer @ Canadian Association of Music Libraries, Archives, and Documentation Centres (CAML)
R. Murray Schafer @ Canadian Music Centre    also    here
R. Murray Schafer @ CDeMusic
R. Murray Schafer @ Classic Cat
R. Murray Schafer @ Classical Archives
R. Murray Schafer @ Classical Composers Database
R. Murray Schafer @ Classical Net
R. Murray Schafer @
R. Murray Schafer @ Electronic Music Foundation
R. Murray Schafer @ Facebook
R. Murray Schafer @ IMDb (Internet Movie Database)
R. Murray Schafer @ InstantEncore
R. Murray Schafer @ The Living Composers Project
R. Murray Schafer @ Mark Morris’s Guide to Twentieth Century Composers
R. Murray Schafer @ Modern Classical
R. Murray Schafer @ Molinari Quartet
R. Murray Schafer @ MusicWeb International
R. Murray Schafer @ The New York Times
R. Murray Schafer @ The Peninsula Women's Chorus
R. Murray Schafer @ The World Listening Project

R. Murray Schafer @ Arcana Editions

Streaming Audio
R. Murray Schafer @ Composer's website  -  check under individual work listings
R. Murray Schafer @ Arts Alive/NAC musicbox TIMELINE  also  here  &  here  &  here  &  here
R. Murray Schafer @ Canadian Music Centre  -  you need to create a free CMC account
R. Murray Schafer @ Classical Archives
R. Murray Schafer @
R. Murray Schafer @ PRX (Public Radio Exchange)
R. Murray Schafer @
R. Murray Schafer @ SoundCloud
R. Murray Schafer @ WNYC/Spinning on Air

R. Murray Schafer @ Composer's website
R. Murray Schafer @
R. Murray Schafer @ ArkivMusic
R. Murray Schafer @ CDeMusic
R. Murray Schafer @ CD Universe
R. Murray Schafer @ ClassicsOnline
R. Murray Schafer @ Discogs

R. Murray Schafer @ YouTube
R. Murray Schafer @ Google Video
R. Murray Schafer @ Arts Alive
R. Murray Schafer @ The World Listening Project

                                                                                                                                                                            ~ top of page ~
Schafer on Schafer: On Soundscapes and Composing (VIDEO)

Schafer on Schafer: Great Composers/Arts Alive (VIDEO)
R. Murray Schafer, composerComposers Speak on the Web at Pytheas
                            ~ click on composer picture to listen ~

Schafer on Schafer: Spinning On Air/WNYC (streaming audio)
R. Murray Schafer, composerComposers Speak on the Web at Pytheas
                            ~ click on composer picture to listen ~

. . . and check out more    Composers Speak on the Web    at Pytheas


HOME           ABOUT           RESOURCES           COMPOSERS           PERFORMANCES           20/21 ENSEMBLE           CONTACT US