BA + B.Mus - University of Western Ontario LCCM - Canadian National Conservatory of Music
Brampton, ON - Coburg, ON
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Nancy Telfer is a Canadian composer who received her formal education at the University of Western Ontario where she concentrated on music education, composition, piano and voice. She then worked full-time as a composer.
Since 1979, she has composed more than 350 works for soloists, chamber ensembles, orchestras, bands and choirs, almost 200 of which are published in Canada, the United States and Europe. Her music is performed in many different countries and she has been commissioned by many fine performers. Nancy's reputation for creative experimentation is linked with the belief that all music should delight the ears, capture the imagination of the mind and feed the soul.
"In Telfer's imaginative approach to traditional musical devices, illumination of the text is always paramount. Open fifths and modal harmonic progressions are frequent characteristics. She has also written for solo voice and a wide variety of instrumental media including orchestra, strings, band, brass, woodwinds, keyboard, and percussion." - The Canadian Encyclopedia Selected works
Missa Brevis* - SSA a capella. This strictly three part a capella mass pulls the best out of three-part writing. While not always staying strict to conventional functional harmony, Telfer does not shy away from writing with the use of consonant dissonances, especially the major second, to enhance her writing of this missa brevis.
The Spell of Times Long Past (set of 4)* - SATB and piano. This set of four pieces brim with creativity. The first movement, A Love Song, opens with a gentle piano introduction then juxtaposed by a more active chorus line. The second, Solitude, speaks true to it's title. Almost entirely homophonic and often in unison, this legato and sparse lines for piano and choir conjures images of bitter cold. The third, The Wind and the Flower, is a much faster paces piece in a scattered mood, reminiscent of trying to find something lost. The final movement tells the cheeky story in the style of a sea chantey, of a Sailor's sweetheart. These sets would be a highlight for a University choral program.
The Arrow and the Song - SA and SATB choirs and piano. This lesser known piece of Telfer's written for two choirs and piano features the poetry of H.W. Longfellow.
Telfer began to play piano and french horn during her youth, and taught music, drama, and special education until she returned to Western University to study music. She is also often in demand as a choral judge and adjudicator across the world, and is a successful writer of educational music literature.