Rose Bolton

(b. 17 February 1971, Toronto, Ontario).

Canadian composer of mostly chamber works that have been performed in North America and elsewhere; she is also active as a violinist.

Ms. Bolton studied composition with Jack Behrens and Peter Paul Koprowski at the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario from 1990–94, where she earned her BMus, and studied composition privately with Alexina Louie in Toronto in 1995–96. She then studied composition with Denys Bouliane and John Rea at McGill University in Montréal from 1996–98 and there earned her MMus. She also twice attended Domaine Forget in 1999–2000 and once attended the International Young Composers Meeting in Apeldoorn in 2000 and the Fondation Royaumont in 2001.

Among her honours are the H. C. Aitken Prize in the competition for young composers of New Music Concerts in Toronto (1995, for Ostinato), two prizes in the SOCAN Awards for Young Composers (1999, for Incidental Music of My Mind and Jade Flower Palace), participation in the project Génération 2000 of the Ensemble Contemporain de Montréal (2000), and the Toronto Emerging Composer Award (2002, a grant to write Elements). She was later a finalist in the competition of the League of Composers/ISCM (2002, for Vision of Time) and received a Canada Council for the Arts Grant for Specialized Sound Recording (2003, to enable a recording of Elements). She has received commissions from the ensemble Arraymusic, the ensemble The Burdocks, the CBC, the Canadian Electronic Ensemble, the ensemble Continuum, Ensemble Rosa, the Ergo Ensemble, the Esprit Orchestra, accordionist Joseph Petric, and the Sound Symposium.

As a violinist, she regularly performs traditional music, as well as bluegrass and country. She played as a member of the Canadian Electronic Ensemble in Toronto from 1999–2002. She co-founded with soprano Janice Jackson and double bassist Lukas Pearse the trio Inner Workings in Toronto in 2004.


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Incidental Music of My Mind, small orchestra (16 players), 1998

Under Unturned Rocks, small orchestra, 2003–04


Ostinato, oboe, clarinet, bass clarinet, French horn, viola, double bass, 2 percussion, 1994–95

Untitled work III, viola, 1995 (also version of Untitled work I for amplified viola, live electronics, 1996)

Plum Season, clarinet, trumpet, violin, double bass, 1996

Sweaters of Nettles, flute, clarinet, alto saxophone, French horn, piano, percussion, 1996–97

The Chalet in the Ke-Waid-Dun-Dot Valley, amplified viola, fixed media, live electronics, 1996–97

Sonata for Solo Accordion, 1997

Elise, violin, computer, live electronics, 1998 (also version as Elise II, violin, improvisational synthesizers, live electronics, 1999)

Killbear Music, clarinet, viola, cello, percussion, 1998

DGAECD, amplified violin, any number of improvisational players, 1999

ANSWER! (question was irrelevant), any number of non-standard musical instruments, synthesizers, 1999

(...question was ignored...), clarinet, violin, cello, piano, 1999

Note, Rest, Repeat, amplified violin, any 5 improvisational players, 1999

What Company!?, flute, clarinet, 2 saxophones, 2 French horns, trumpet, 2 trombones, tuba, electric guitar, bass guitar, piano, percussion, 1999

Orion's Quilt, flute, clarinet, bassoon, French horn, trombone, violin, cello, double bass, piano, 2000

River to the Sea, clarinet, guitar, violin, double bass, 2000, revised 2002

Vision of Time, trumpet, piano, 2 percussion, 2000–01

Suspension, any 2 treble instruments (both + amplified objects), piano, 2001

Mineral, violin, invented amplified string instrument, synthesizers, 2001

Star Lake, violin, piano, 2001

Hidden Forest, harp, 2001

Seriosity, accordion, 2002–03

Pine Needles, marimba, 2003

Floating Bog, clarinet, harp, cimbalom, violin, cello, piano, 2003

Tamarack's 25th Anniversary (Composition in Three Movements), 3 folk players, 2003

Breakdown of System (and malfunction in 5 different ways), baritone saxophone, violin, piano, percussion, 2004


Jade Flower Palace (text by Kenneth Rexroth), soprano, oboe, bass clarinet, guitar, violin, double bass, 2 percussion, 1997

Urban Haiku (text by Don Bolton), soprano, piano, 2003

Small Breeze through Long Grass, soprano, violin, 2003–04

This Is This, soprano, improvisational electronic ensemble, 2004

The Poor Simple Pidgeons Consented (text by Aesop [English translation]), soprano–speaker, violin, double bass, 2004


Elements, soprano–speaker, piano, any 4 players (with amplified objects, non-standard musical instruments), live electronics, 2002


Elements. Romina Di Gasbarro, soprano–speaker; Christopher Foley, piano; Rose Bolton, Michael Dobinson, John Mark Sherlock, Paul Stilwell, amplified objects, non-standard musical instruments, live electronics (private, 2004)

Seriosity. Joseph Petric, accordion (Victo, 2004)

Urban Haiku. Janice Jackson, soprano; Simon Docking, piano (private, 2004)