Bruce Mather

(b. 9 May 1939, Toronto, Ontario).

Canadian composer of mostly orchestral, chamber, vocal, and piano works that have been performed in Europe and North America.

Prof. Mather began private studies in piano at age six and private studies in composition at age seven. He studied composition with John Beckwith, Oskar Morawetz and Godfrey Ridout and piano with Alberto Guerrero at The Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, where he received his BMus in 1959. He attended a course in composition with Roy Harris in Toronto in 1955, attended the Aspen Music Festival and School in Colorado in 1957–58, where he studied piano with Alexander Uninsky, and studied analysis with Olivier Messiaen, composition with Darius Milhaud, counterpoint and fugue with Simone Plé-Caussade, and piano with Lazare Lévy at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris from 1959–62, on a grant from the Canada Council for the Arts. He studied composition with Leland Smith at Stanford University from 1962–64 and there earned his MA, then studied composition with John Weinzweig at the University of Toronto, where he earned his DMus in 1967.

Among his honours are the Jules Léger Prize for New Chamber Music from the Canada Council for the Arts (1979, for Musique pour Champigny; 1993, for Yquem) and the Prix Serge-Garant from the Fondation Émile-Nelligan in Montréal (2000, for his œuvre). In addition, his music has represented Canada three times at the UNESCO International Rostrum of Composers in Paris (1965, for Symphonic Ode; 1969, for Madrigal II; 1971, for Sonata [2 pianos]).

He is also active in other positions. As a pianist, he has performed contemporary music, often in collaboration with his wife, the pianist Pierrette LePage. As a writer, he has contributed articles and essays to numerous publications, including The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians.

He taught analysis, composition and harmony at McGill University in Montréal from 1966–2001.


E-mail address for consulting scores:



La Princesse blanche (opéra de chambre en 5 scènes, libretto by Renald Tremblay, after Rainer Maria Rilke), 2 sopranos, baritone, bass, small orchestra (16 players), 1993


Concerto, piano, small orchestra (flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, French horn, violins, violas, cellos), 1958

Elegy, alto saxophone, string orchestra, 1959 (also version for alto saxophone, piano)

Symphonic Ode, 1964

Orchestral Piece 1967, large orchestra (17 winds, 11 brass, harp, mandolin, piano, timpani, 4 percussion, strings), 1966–67, revised 1969

Ombres, 1967

Music for Vancouver, small orchestra (French horn, trumpet, harp, percussion/2 percussion, strings), 1969

Musique pour Rouen, 12 strings, 1971

Musigny, large orchestra (11 winds, 11 brass, 2 harps, piano, 4 percussion, 60 strings), 1980

Scherzo, 1987 (also version for small orchestra [2 flutes (both + piccolo), oboe, clarinet, bassoon, French horn, trumpet, piano, percussion, 4 violins, 2 violas, 2 cellos, double bass], 1988)

Dialogue pour Trio Basso et Orchestre, viola, cello, double bass, orchestra (8 winds, 9 brass, 3 percussion, violins), 1988

Tallbrem Variations, marimba, 4 percussion, orchestra, 1994

Quarts-de-Chaume, string orchestra, 1998


Sonata, violin, piano, 1957

Elegy, alto saxophone, piano, 1959 (version of work for alto saxophone, string orchestra)

Étude pour clarinette seule, clarinet, 1962

Mandola, mandolin, piano, 1972

Music for Organ, Horn and Gongs, French horn, organ, gongs (1 player), 1973

Eine Kleine Bläsermusik, flute, oboe, clarinet, French horn, bassoon, 1975

Barolo, cello, fixed media, 1977

Clos de Vougeot, 4 percussion, 1977

Ausone: Version A, flute, 1979 (also versions as Ausone: Version B, flute, 2 harps, 1979; Ausone: Version C, flute, ensemble [2 harps, 2 guitars, 2 violins, 2 violas, 2 cellos], 1979)

Coulée de Serrant, harp, piano, 1980

Sassicaia, clarinet, piano, 1981

Gattinara, viola, percussion, 1982

Elegy, flute (+ alto flute), cello, piano, percussion, 1983

Barbaresco, viola, cello, double bass, 1984

Clos d'Audignac, marimba, 3 percussion, 1984

Señorío de Sarria, 2 guitars (2nd tuned a quarter-tone lower), 1985

Vouvray, oboe, harp, 1986

Viola Duet, 2 violas, 1987

Vega Sicilia (concerto), guitar, ensemble (harp, viola, cello, marimba), 1989

Aux Victimes de la guerre de Vendée (1793), French horn, 2 pianos, synthesizer, fixed media, 1990

Yquem, 4 pianos, 4 Ondes Martenot, 1991

Romance, bassoon, synthesizer, 1992

Standing Wave, clarinet, cello, piano, percussion, 1994

Advanced Harmony, winds, brass, 1995

Quintette pour clarinette et cordes, clarinet, string quartet, 1995

Duo basso, bass flute, bass oboe, 1996

Quatre Études, cimbalom, marimba, 1996

Tempranillo, guitar (tuned in sixths of tones), 1997

Hoya de Cadenas, alto flute, guitar (tuned in fourths of tones), 1997

Doisy Daëne, flute, piano, 1997

Quinta da Camarate, guitar (tuned in twelfths of tones), 1998

Violin Duet, 2 violins, 1998

Bourgueil, clarinet, violin, cello, piano, percussion, 1999

Quintette pour saxophones et piano, 4 saxophones, piano, 1999

Sancerre, harp, harpsichord, 1999

Four Études, 6 percussion, 2001

In memoriam Bengt Hambraeus, theorbo, 2001

Trio, violin, cello, piano, 2002

Deux Pièces pour Ondes Martenot et piano en seizièmes de ton, piano (tuned in sixteenths of tones), Ondes Martenot, 2004

65 Takte für Robert Aitken, 2 flutes, 2004

Music for San Francisco, cello, ensemble (oboe, French horn, harp [3 strings tuned a quarter-tone lower], violin, viola, piano), 2005

For Amie Watson, vibraphone, tubular bells, 13 cowbells (1 player), 2006


Lament for Pasiphaë (text by Robert Graves), soprano, baritone, mixed chorus, orchestra (10 brass, harp, piano, celesta, percussion, strings), 1962

Counting the Beats (text by Robert Graves), soprano, baritone, mixed chorus, orchestra (10 brass, harp, piano, celesta, percussion, strings), 1962

La Lune mince... (text by Paul Valéry), mixed chorus, 1965

Two Stanford Songs (text by Frank Stanford), 6 mixed voices, 1988


Two Songs (text by Thomas Hardy), bass-baritone, orchestra, 1956

Venice (text by George Gordon Byron, 6th Baron Byron), soprano, clarinet, cello, piano, 1957

Lost Love (text by Robert Graves), soprano, string orchestra, 1958

The Finding of Love (text by Robert Graves), soprano, string orchestra, 1958

Cycle Rilke (text by Rainer Maria Rilke), tenor, guitar, 1959

The Song of Blodeuwedd (text by Robert Graves), baritone, small orchestra (harp, piano, timpani, percussion, strings), 1961

Sick Love (text by Robert Graves), soprano, orchestra, 1961

Orphée (text by Paul Valéry), soprano, piano, percussion, 1963

Madrigal I (text by Hector de Saint-Denys Garneau), soprano, alto, flute, harp, mandolin, violin, cello, 1967

Madrigal II (text by Hector de Saint-Denys Garneau), soprano, alto, flute, harp, violin, viola, cello, 1968

Madrigal III (text by Hector de Saint-Denys Garneau), alto, harp, piano, marimba, 1971

Madrigal IV (text by Hector de Saint-Denys Garneau), soprano, flute, piano, fixed media, 1972

Madrigal V (musique passéiste, text by Hector de Saint-Denys Garneau), soprano, alto, flute (+ piccolo), oboe, 2 clarinets (both + bass clarinet), French horn, trumpet, harp, mandolin, 2 violins, viola, cello, double bass, piano, electronic organ, 2 percussion, 1973, revised 1980

Au Château de Pompairain (vocalise), mezzo-soprano, orchestra, 1976

Musique pour Champigny (vocalise), soprano, mezzo-soprano, alto, clarinet, French horn, harp, piano, percussion, 1976

Les Grandes Fontaines (text by Anne Hébert), soprano, piano, 1981

Un Cri qui durerait la mer (song-cycle, text by Marie-France Rose), bass-baritone, piano, 1985

Travaux de nuit (text by Marie-France Rose), bass-baritone, piano, 1990 (also version for bass-baritone, orchestra [5 winds, French horn, trumpet, piano (+ synthesizer), percussion, strings], 1990)

Des Laines de Lumière (text by Gatien Lapointe), bass-baritone, 2 pianos (both tuned in fourths of tones), 1996

La Voix de l'Oiseau (text by Anne Hébert), coloratura soprano, piano, 1998

Trois Poèmes de Gatien Lapointe (text by Gatien Lapointe), low voice, piano, 1998

Onze Poèmes pour la main gauche (song-cycle, text by Anne Hébert), coloratura soprano, piano, 2000


Smaragdin, 1960

Like Snow, 1960

Mystras, 1962

Fantasy, 1964, revised 1967

Sonata, 2 pianos, 1969–70

In memoriam Alexander Uninsky, 1974

Régime 11, Type A, 2 pianos (2nd tuned a quarter-tone lower), 1978

Poème du délire, 3 pianos (all tuned in sixteenths of tones), 1982

Hommage à Carrillo, piano (tuned in sixteenths of tones), 1996

D'Après un cri, 1996

Régime 17, piano (tuned in thirds of tones), 1997

Huit Études pour piano en seizièmes de tons, piano (tuned in sixteenths of tones), 2000

In memoriam Gordon Sheppard, piano (tuned in sixteenths of tones), 2 pianos (2nd tuned a quarter-tone lower), 2006


Six Études pour orgue, 1982

Étude Nos. 78, 1993

Ardennes, 2002

Cinq Pièces faciles, organ 4 hands, 2002


Saumur, harpsichord (tuned in fourths of tones), 1990