The Composer

Toronto composer PHILIP McCONNELL was born in Coventry, England. He studied at the University of Reading, majoring in composition, and subsequently obtained a Ph.D. in Musicology. In preparation for his doctoral thesis, he spent two and a half years in Vienna researching the original manuscripts of the Bruckner symphonies. A resident of Canada since 1970, Dr. McConnell recently retired as Head of Integrated Arts Earl Haig Secondary School to devote more time to composition. He was Artistic Director of the Canadian Sinfonietta for three years, then became composer-in-residence with the Toronto Sinfonietta in 2003. He has been Conductor of the Toronto District School Board Youth Orchestra since 2000. He is an Associate Composer with the Canadian Music Centre and a member of the Canadian League of Composers. His orchestral, chamber, and choral works have been performed in North America, Europe and Asia. In 2004 his music for the silent movie, “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” was performed at the Royal Ontario Museum. In 2005 Fantasy for Yang-qin and String Quartet was performed in Toronto and his Divertimento for Strings No. 2 was premiered in Los Angeles. 2006 saw the premieres of Auguries of Innocence and Dialogue for Violin and Organ, both in Austria, and his Naschmarkt Walz in Toronto. A new score for the silent movie “Nosferatu” was performed on October 28, 2006 in Toronto.

ELEGY FOR STRINGS was premiered on June 26, 2005 by the orchestra of the Church of the Lighted Window, La Canada, California, conducted by Joel Lish. The concert was part of the Los Angeles concert series, “In Praise of Music.”

ELEGY FOR STRINGS is the central slow movement of my Divertimento for Strings No. 2. It is a poignant work, with drifting tonal centers which gravitate toward A. Its thematic and harmonic tension dissipate in an ethereal variation toward the end. The opening ideas are then restated, and the movement ends ambiguously.