R. Murray Schafer - Five Greek Folk Dances

This world premiere recording of renowned composer R. Murray Schafer’s exciting newly recorded work Five Greek Folk Dances (2012) is a folk-inspired piece recorded by two of Canada's finest musicians violinist Stephen Sitarski and pianist Réa Beaumont.

A recipient of 5 honorary doctorates, composer R. Murray Schafer (b.1933) wrote the violin part for Five Greek Folk Dances after travelling through Greece & Crete in 1957. A few years ago he revised the piece, added a piano part and sent it to Réa Beaumont to première. Réa teams with violinist Stephen Sitarski for this world premiere recording.

According to the composer, the first tune in Five Greek Folk Dances is ‘Scaros,’ from the region of Iannina, that Schafer heard played by shepherds on large wooden flutes. The next three melodies are from Cyprus and use Aksak rhythms that alternate rhythms of 5 & 7 with 4 & 6 etc. The last tune is a free rhythm from the Dodecanese, a group of Greek islands in the Aegean Sea near Turkey.  

R. Murray Schafer, composer
World-renowned composer R. Murray Schafer is the recipient of five honorary doctorates.  During his tenure at Vancouver's Simon Fraser University between 1965 and 1975, he established the World Soundscape Project with grants from UNESCO and the Donner Canadian Foundation. At SFU Dr. Schafer introduced the concept of ‘soundscape,’ which examines relationships between people and their acoustic environments. 

An outspoken, prolific composer and author, Schafer has composed a cycle of mammoth music dramas “Patria” (homeland) over the past 40 years.  The works draw freely on mythologies and are staged outdoors, incorporating the natural environment into the work itself. 

In 2013 Dr. Schafer was made a Companion of the Order of Canada “for his contributions as an internationally renowned composer of contemporary music, and for his groundbreaking work in acoustic ecology.” He was awarded the first Glenn Gould Prize (1987), the Canada Council for the Arts’  Walter Carsen Prize, and the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Artistic Achivement (2005), which is Canada’s highest honour in the performing arts.    

Stephen Sitarski, violin
Concertmaster of Canada’s Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra and the contemporary Esprit Orchestra, renowned violinist Stephen Sitarski has premiered a number of works by leading Canadian composers.  He is a regular participant in diverse festival events nationally and internationally, with tours to Taiwan and China. Sitarski was recently awarded the Queen’s Jubilee Medal as a faculty member of Canada’s National Youth Orchestra and he is a frequent performer with Soundstreams.  Currently he is a faculty member of Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo (Canada), at Toronto’s Glenn Gould School of the Royal Conservatory of Music, and maintains an active private studio in Toronto. 

Dr. Réa Beaumont, piano
Described as “a tremendous pianist” (CBC Radio 2), Dr. Réa Beaumont has garnered critical acclaim for her solo recordings and virtuoso performances that have been broadcast in 13 countires, most recently on BBC Radio 3.
She has performed 60 premieres, including those commissioned for her by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC).
She has won awards from The Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, FACTOR, British Columbia Arts Council, SOCAN, Banff Centre for the Arts, and Heritage Canada.  

© 2018 Dr. Réa Beaumont - Toronto Pianist, Composer.  All rights reserved.  
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