Canadian composer Brian Cherney (b.1942) studied composition with Samuel Dolin at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto from 1960 until 1963 and later with John Weinzweig at the University of Toronto. He received graduate degrees from the University of Toronto in both composition (Mus.M.’67) and musicology (Ph.D.’74). Since 1972 he has been on the staff of the Faculty of Music (now the Schulich School of Music) at McGill University in Montreal, where he teaches composition. From 2002 to 2005 he was Chair of the Department of Theory.
Since 1960, Cherney has written more than ninety pieces, including orchestral music, concertos, chamber music and music for solo instruments. His music has been performed and broadcast throughout Canada and also in Europe, the United States, South America and Japan. He has received commissions from many organizations and performers over the years, including the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, La Société de musique contemporaine du Québec, the Esprit Orchestra, the 1990 New Music America Festival, Le Nouvel ensemble moderne, Amici, the Pierrot Ensemble, The Montreal Symphony Orchestra, L’Orchestre Symphonique de Québec, The Strings of the Future, Viva Voce, Rivka Golani, Lawrence Cherney, Louis-Philippe Pelletier, Robert Aitken, Antonio Lysy, Paul Vaillancourt and Andrée Martin, Julie-Anne Derome and the RIAS Kammerchor of Berlin.
In 1979 Cherney’s String Trio, a CBC commission, tied for first place among the “recommended” works at the International Rostrum of Composers in Paris. In 1985 he was awarded the Jules Léger Prize for New Chamber Music for River of Fire, a work for oboe d’amore and harp. His 1995 orchestral work, Et la solitude dérive au fil des fleuves… (1995), commissioned by the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, was premiered by that orchestra, under Charles Dutoit, on May 28 and 29, 1996, in Montreal. Another recent piece, Echoes in the Memory (1997), commissioned by the CBC for the Toronto group, Amici , was premiered by that group in Toronto on November 21, 1997. In July, 1998, a new work for flute and percussion, Entendre marcher un ange, was premiered by Andrée Martin and Paul Vaillancourt at the Sound Symposium in Newfoundland. On October 21, 1998, the Contemporary Chamber Players of SUNY at Stony Brook, New York, presented a concert which included five of Cherney’s pieces, dating from 1983 to 1998.
Many of Cherney’s works have been published by the Québec publisher Éditions Doberman-Yppan. He is also the author of a monograph on the music of Harry Somers, commissioned by the Canadian Music Centre and published by the University of Toronto Press in 1975.
In April of 2006, he was the Michael and Sonja Koerner Distinguished Visitor in Composition at the Faculty of Music, University of Toronto, at which time a work especially commissioned for the occasion, Quelques espaces entre les anges et la terre for Wind Ensemble and Percussion, was premiered.
MMus University of Toronto, Composition
PhD University of Toronto, Musicology
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