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LINDSEY WALLIS looks forward
to the Canadian Music Centre's
tribute concert to composer Roberta Stephen


The Canadian Music Centre is celebrating the career of Roberta Stephen 21 September 2014, 3pm at Scarborough United Church in Calgary, Canada. Stephen is a well-known Calgary educator and composer. She is also the founder of the publishing house Alberta Keys, which is well-known by teachers for its pedagogical piano and vocal music publications. The free concert will feature performances by Ensemble Resonance (Stan Climie, clarinet; Colleen Athparia, piano and Michelle Todd, voice), as well as another Calgary favourite, the Lily Quartet. Other performers will include the Mount Royal Chamber Flutes and students of Stephen.

Compositions that will be featured include Naomi's Song, winner of Stephen's first compositional prize, awarded by the Coterie Club, as well as Panda Suite, written to celebrate the visit of the panda bears from China during the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary. JUNO award winning composer Allan Gordon Bell's Danse Sauvage, published by Stephen's company, will also be performed. Danse Sauvage was the imposed piece at the 1996 Honen's International Piano Competition.

Now in her eighties, Stephen has taught singing, composition, and theory in Calgary for decades. In addition to her teaching and composing work, she has been an integral part of the new music scene in Calgary. She served as President of the board of New Works Calgary and sat on the Regional Council of the Canadian Music Centre for many years.

Roberta Stephen. Photo courtesy of the Canadian Music Centre
Roberta Stephen. Photo courtesy of the Canadian Music Centre. Click on the image for higher resolution

Stephen was also the founder and President of Alberta Keys Music Publishing Co Ltd, which recently closed its doors as she retires from the industry. Alberta Keys was a champion of Canadian music, especially pedagogical works for voice, strings, piano and winds. The company published dozens of works by Stephen and other Canadian composers, including 2014 JUNO award winner Allan Gordon Bell. Alberta Keys was recently sold to Palliser Music Publishing and its titles should be available through the new publishing house soon.

Stephen's compositions include works for solo piano, vocal, choral and as well as chamber music for a variety of ensembles. In addition to compositions that have been performed by professional ensembles across the country, Stephen has written a multitude of works for young students, especially for piano and voice. Her dedication to fostering the next generation of musicians has been recognized by the fact that the Royal Conservatory of Music and Conservatory Canada, as well as Contemporary Showcase feature her works in their syllabi. She has also received a Recognition Award from the Alberta Registered Music Teachers Association for her work as a private music teacher, and in October she will be awarded the Alberta Music Education Foundation (AMEF) Recognition Award.

The concert is supported by the Canadian Music Centre, the Rozsa Foundation, the Calgary Foundation, the National Association of Singing Teachers and the Alberta Registered Music Teachers' Association.

Copyright © 15 September 2014 Lindsey Wallis,
Calgary, Canada





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