Ann Southam

Ann Southam
Born (1937-02-04)4 February 1937
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Died 25 November 2010(2010-11-25) (aged 73)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Occupation Composer

Ann Southam, CM (4 February 1937 – 25 November 2010) was a Canadian composer and music teacher. She was born Winnipeg, Manitoba in 1937, and lived most of her life in Toronto, Ontario. Her father, Kenneth Gordon Southam, was a great-grandson of newspaper baron William Southam.

She began composing at age 15 after attending a summer music camp at the Banff School (now known as The Banff Centre). She studied composition with Samuel Dolin at the Royal Conservatory of Music. She studied piano with Pierre Souvairan and electronic music with Gustav Ciamaga at the University of Toronto from 1960 to 1963. She began teaching at the Royal Conservatory of Music in 1966.[1]

She was a founding member, first president (1980–88), life member (2002) and honorary president (2007) of the Association of Canadian Women Composers.[1] She was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada in 2010.[2] She was also an associate composer of the Canadian Music Centre, which named its recording collection the Ann Southam Digital Audio Archive.[1] She began a collaboration with the New Dance Group of Canada (later known as Toronto Dance Theatre) in 1967, where she became composer-in-residence in 1968. Southam was awarded with the Friends of Canadian Music Award in 2001.[3] She died, aged 73, on 25 November 2010.[1] In her will she left $14 million to the Canadian Women's Foundation.[4][5]



Southam's early works are lyrical atonal pieces written in a Romantic style, and lyricism remained an important element of her later electronic scores. She also worked with 12-tone techniques.

In 1966 she was introduced to Patricia Beatty, a Canadian choreographer who had just returned from studying modern dance in New York. Shortly afterward, Southam began working on a new score for Beatty's adaptation of Macbeth and the two became friends.[6] In the 1980s, Southam began developing an interest in music by American minimalists Terry Riley and Steve Reich. Her composition Glass Houses[6] (1981) is constructed from short tonal units that combine and re-combine, creating an overall sense of lyricism.

In the 1990s Southam largely abandoned the electroacoustic compositional style and began creating instrumental works such as Song of the Varied Thrush (1991) for string quartet; Webster's Spin (1993) for string orchestra, and Full Circles (1996, rev. 2005).[1]

Southam worked on several collaborative projects with Eve Egoyan throughout the late 90s and early 2000s including: Qualities of Consonance (1998), Figures (2001), In Retrospect (2004), and Simple Lines of Enquiry (2008).[1] Ann Southam worked over 30 years with her collaborator, Christina Petrowska Quilico on Rivers (2005), Pond Life (2008) and Glass Houses which was revised by Southam in 2009 and by Quilico in 2010.

Selected compositions







  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Ware, Evan. "Ann Southam". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Historica Canada. Retrieved 5 December 2015.
  2. "Governor General announces 74 new appointments to the Order of Canada". Governor General of Canada. 30 June 2010. Retrieved 25 November 2010.
  3. "Ann Southam: Biography". Canadian Music Centre. Retrieved December 5, 2015.
  4. Graham, David (25 October 2011). "Musician Ann Southam leaves $14M to Canadian Women's Foundation". The Star. Toronto.
  6. 1 2 "The Woman in Fleece". Retrieved 2015-12-05.

Further reading

External links

See also

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