Gustav Ciamaga | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Gustav Ciamaga

Gustav Ciamaga. Composer, teacher, writer, b London, Ont, 10 Apr 1930, d Toronto, 11 Jun 2011; MFA (Brandeis) 1958. He attended the University of Western Ontario 1951-4 while studying privately with Gordon Delamont.

Gustav Ciamaga

Gustav Ciamaga. Composer, teacher, writer, b London, Ont, 10 Apr 1930, d Toronto, 11 Jun 2011; MFA (Brandeis) 1958. He attended the University of Western Ontario 1951-4 while studying privately with Gordon Delamont. He studied composition 1954-6 with John Weinzweig and John Beckwith at the University of Toronto and composition and musicology at Brandeis U in Waltham, Mass, where his composition teachers were Arthur Berger, Harold Shapero, and Irving Fine. He continued his studies in Waltham until 1963, and also organized an electronic studio. He joined the Faculty of Music, University of Toronto, in 1963 and became director of the Electronic Music Studio in 1965 and chairman of the theory and composition department in 1968. On sabbatical in 1970 he worked in several European electronic studios. He was dean of the Faculty of Music 1977-84 and acting principal of the RCMT 1983-4.

Ciamaga has written a number of non-electronic works, including a mass and a string quartet, but most of his compositions in the latter half of the 1960s and in the 1970s employed electronic tape. In co-operation with Hugh Le Caine of the National Research Council, Ciamaga developed apparatus, such as the Serial Sound Structure Generator, for use in the creation of electronic music. Many of his Two-Part Inventions employ this equipment. His experiments with the application of computer control to music (in the PIPER Project at the University of Toronto during the mid-1960s) have included an arrangement for computer (1969) of Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 1. He has worked, as well, with electrical level controls such as a modified Hamograph and a two-channel alternator and, beginning in 1985, with digital control via original computer programs of various electronic music synthesizers. Ciamaga's works have been performed in Canada, the USA, and Europe. He has provided scores for films, the theatre, and TV documentaries. Curtain Raiser, composed with Louis Applebaum, opened the NAC in 1969, and Solipsism While Dying was premiered in 1973 by the Lyric Arts Trio. Ciamaga is a member of the CLComp, an associate of the Canadian Music Centre, and an honorary member of the Canadian Electroacoustic Community.

See also Electroacoustic music.

Selected Compositions

Television and Film
Phone-phugue (with Cross). 1965. TV

Margaree (with Tony Gnazzo). 1966. TV

Mosaic (film by Jack Chambers). 1966

Music for the Film 'Dizziness' (film by U of T Faculty of Medicine, with Talivaldis Kenins). 1968-9

Other non-elec works include pieces for jazz or stage band, a Mass (1956, rev 1986), a String Quartet, Fanfare for Nine Trumpets (1975), short pieces for orch.

Also 17 arr (1977-85) of music by Berlin, Ellington, Gershwin, Porter, and Rodgers for 6 voices or chorus with and without accompaniment.


- and Gabura, James. 'Digital computer control of sound generating apparatus for the production of electronic music,' J of the Audio-Engineering Soc, vol 16, 1967

- and Le Caine, Hugh. 'A preliminary report on the serial sound structure generator,' Perspective of New Music, vol 6, Fall-Winter 1967

'Some thoughts on the teaching of electronic music,' Inter-American Institute for Musical Research Yearbook, vol 3, 1967

- and Le Caine, Hugh. 'The sonde: a new approach to multiple sine wave generation,' J of the Audio-Engineering Soc, vol 18, 1970

'The training of the composer in the use of new technological means,' Music and Technology (Paris 1971)

'The tape studio,' The Development and Practice of Electronic Music, ed Jon A. Appleton and Ronald C. Perera (New York 1975)

'Hugh Le Caine,' The New Grove Dictionary

Unpubl papers; book and record reviews for the CMJ

Electronic Tape

One Part Invention. 1965

Two Part Inventions No. 1-9. 1965-83

Scherzo. 1966

Ottawa 1967 (with Louis Applebaum). 1966. Tape sections for outdoor theatre production

Fanfare for Computer. 1967

Four Part Invention No. 1. 1967

Ragamuffin No. 1, 2 (with Lowell Cross). 1967

Bach Brandenburg Concerto No. 1 (movement 3, transcr). 1969. Computer

Curtain Raiser/Lever de rideau (with Applebaum). 1969

Canon for Stravinsky. 1972. Computer

A Greeting for J.W. 1973. Computer. CMB, 6, Spring/Summer 1973

Solipsism While Dying (Atwood). 1973. V, fl, piano, tape. Ms

Ars nova (medieval and 20th-century theorists). 1976. Synths, tape, narrs. Ms

'Is the Moon further than St. John?' 1985

Patterns: Daydreams: Excursions. 1985-6

Also more than 30 works for microcomputer, 1981-91

Further Reading