URING MY TRIP IN CANADA a month ago, I was very fortunate to have met some new musician friends. I was put in touch with a few music professors at the University of Toronto and was able to meet one of them in person. During our chat, we discussed about the situation of the local church music in Canada and in Hong Kong, which I have shared in a few posts before (HERE, HERE and HERE). I was introduced to some of the choral works by contemporary composers in Canada, and one of them is Stephanie Martin.
TEPHANIE MARTIN is an associate professor of music at York University and the director of Schola Magdalena (a women’s ensemble for chant, medieval and modern polyphony). She was the music director of the historic church of Saint Mary Magdalene in Toronto, where the famous Canadian composer Healey Willan had also held the very same position. And coincidentally, both Willan’s and Martin’s music are available for sale on Biretta Books.
Martin is a composer proficient in composing both instrumental and choral music. A lot of her choral works are composed based on religious texts. Personally, I found her composition style, a mix of chant, polyphony and modern harmonies, very beautiful and uplifting. And I would say that her sacred works are quite appropriate for liturgical use. Here is one of her compositions modeled after chant and polyphony: Kyrie from Missa Chicagoensis sung at St. John Cantius, Chicago.
If you are interested in her works, you can find out more on her website and you can also look up her works on YouTube. One of the many interesting videos I found is this interview where she talks about her setting of Sicut Cervus and how it was inspired by Palestrina, Debussy and Duruflé.
On a different note, the campus of the University of Toronto is gorgeous! Here are some pictures I took during my visit. I think many of our readers would appreciate these very classy halls and chapels.