Diana McIntosh | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Diana McIntosh

Diana McIntosh (b Lowes). Pianist, composer, performance artist, b Calgary 4 Mar 1937; ARCT 1957, LMM 1961, B MUS (Manitoba) 1972.

McIntosh, Diana

Diana McIntosh (b Lowes). Pianist, composer, performance artist, b Calgary 4 Mar 1937; ARCT 1957, LMM 1961, B MUS (Manitoba) 1972. Diana McIntosh's teachers were Gladys Egbert (Calgary), Boris Roubakine (Royal Conservatory of Music, Banff School of Fine Arts), Adele Marcus (Summer Music School, Aspen, Col, and New York), Alma Brock-Smith, Leonard Isaacs (Winnipeg), and Michael Colgrass (Toronto). Living in Winnipeg after 1959, McIntosh performed works by Jean Papineau-Couture, Roussel, and Schumann with the CBC Winnipeg Orchestra 1971-3 and was broadcast on CBC radio's 'Music Manitoba,' 'Music West,' and 'Two New Hours,' and on CBC TV.

Premieres; Canadian Repertoire

A champion of 20th-century Canadian music, Diana McIntosh premiered, or participated in the premieres of, works by Peter Allen (Logos 1977), Norma Beecroft (Cantorum Vitae 1981), Robert Daigneault (Corridors, Reminiscences 1977), Alexina Louie (Pearls 1980), Marjan Mozetich (Apparition 1985), Boyd McDonald (Fantasy 1974), Jean Papineau-Couture (Les Arabesques d'Isabelle 1990), Ann Southam (Four Bagatelles 1964, Integruities 1973, Inter-views 1975), Robert Turner (Homage to Melville 1974), and John Winiarz (Vortices 1977), and has included in her repertoire works by S.C. Eckhardt-Gramatté, Robert Fleming, Jacques Hétu, and Oskar Morawetz.

Innovations and Multimedia

In 1977, with Ann Southam, McIntosh established the concert series Music Inter Alia ('contemporary music for people who don't like contemporary music'), remaining its director until 1991; in 1990 the series became GroundSwell.

As both performer and composer, McIntosh believes that communication with people is of paramount importance. A love of joy and playfulness is a prominent feature in her own music, for instance in Climb to Camp 1, for Piano Interior, in which various non-keyboard piano sounds are created with the aid of pieces of camping equipment. Her recitals are often multimedia, employing slide projections, mime, and narration. She explores the influence of painting on music by performing compositions in the presence of their visual inspiration. Among her own compositions, Paraphrase No. 1 (1976) is based on Lawren Harris's 'Maligne Lake,' Paraphrase No. 2 (1977) on an abstract painting by Marcel Barbeau, and Sound Assemblings (1983) on a painting by Bertram Brooker. In some quarters, however, McIntosh's work has not been taken seriously.

Commissions, Performances, Recordings

McIntosh received commissions from the Canadian Music Educators' Association (Music at the Centre), CBC (Kiviuq), Rivka Golani (Gut Reaction), York Winds (Patterns and Digressions), Joan Rowland (Channels), and Beverley Johnston (Uhuru Kamili), among others, as well as from the Royal Canadian College of Organists, the New York New Music Ensemble (Time and Again), and several commissions from the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. She is a regular performer at the Winnipeg New Music Festival. Her one-woman show, Solitary Climb, for which she wears mountain-climbing equipment, was premiered in Winnipeg in 1990. Another one-woman show was Beryl Markham: Flying West with the Night (1995). A similar endeavour, for narrator and orchestra, is Through the Valley: Milgaard, premiered with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra Jan 2001.

McIntosh has performed throughout Canada and in the US, the UK, France, Portugal and elsewhere in Europe, and Kenya. Her music has been performed by others in Canada, the US, and western Europe; Rivka Golani recorded Nanuk (1998, CMC CD 5798), and Christina Petrowska-Quilico recorded Worlds Apart (1999, YFA 00999).

The recording The Original McIntosh (Aurum 101) offers a sampling of the composer's work 1978-83. This was followed by Another Byte of McIntosh (1995, Aurum 102). Her video Serious Fun with McIntosh (1989) was broadcast by CBC TV in September 1990. She is a member of the Canadian League of Composers and the Association of Canadian Women Composers, and an associate of the Canadian Music Centre.

Selected Compositions

Paraphrase No. 1, No. 2. 1978. Pf. Ms

Luminaries. 1979. Fl, piano. Ms. Aurium 101 (Spencer fl, McIntosh piano)

Music at the Centre (Woodsworth). 1981. Cl, piano, percussion, tape, slides, narrator. Ms

Aiby-Aicy-Aidyai. 1983. Amplified mouth percussion, toy piano. Ms. Aurium 101 (McIntosh)

Sound Assemblings. 1983. Pf, tape. Ms. Aurium 101 (Mcintosh)

... and 8:30 in Newfoundland. 1985. Multimedia. Ms. Aurium 101/4-ACM 37 (CD) (McIntosh)

Kiviuq, an Inuit Legend. 1985. Narr, orch. Ms

Towards Mountains. 1985. Orch. Ms

Channels. 1986. Pf. Ms

Gut Reaction. 1986. Va, tape. Ms

Patterns and Digressions. 1987. Ww quintet. Ms

Shadowed Voices. 1988. Pf, voice, percussion, digital delay. Ms

Dance for Daedalus. 1989. Alto saxophone, piano. Ms

Margins of Reality. 1989. Str orch. Ms

Nine-Foot Clearance. 1996. Piano and orchestra

Four on the Floor. 2002. 4 pianos, 3 brass, 2 percussion. Premiered 27 Jan 2003

From a Dark Journey. 2004. Piano. Premiered 16 Oct 2004


'Communicating through music,' Mime Journal, 1986

Further Reading

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