Elizabeth Raum | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Elizabeth Raum

Elizabeth Raum (b Hodges). Composer, oboist, b Berlin, NH, 13 Jan 1945, naturalized Canadian 1985; B MUS and Performer's Certificate (Eastman School of Music, Rochester) 1966, M MUS (Regina) 1985, hon DHumL (Mount Saint Vincent) 2004.

Raum, Elizabeth

Elizabeth Raum (b Hodges). Composer, oboist, b Berlin, NH, 13 Jan 1945, naturalized Canadian 1985; B MUS and Performer's Certificate (Eastman School of Music, Rochester) 1966, M MUS (Regina) 1985, hon DHumL (Mount Saint Vincent) 2004. Elizabeth Raum grew up in Boston, where she studied oboe and piano and did some composing. She studied oboe 1962-6 with Robert Sprenkle at the Eastman School of Music, then did freelance orchestral, operatic, ballet, and other work in Boston. She moved to Halifax in l968, and was principal oboist 1968-75 with the Atlantic Symphony Orchestra and the Charlottetown Festival Orchestra.

In 1975, Raum moved to Regina, and began playing part-time with the Regina Symphony Orchestra (SO). She also took up composing again, now seriously; and studied composition 1983-4 with Thomas Schudel at the University of Regina. Her master's thesis project was the opera The Garden of Alice, first performed in a condensed concert version by the Contemporary Directions Ensemble, a local new-music organization she helped found in 1978.

In 1986, Raum became principal oboist with the Regina SO; she also performs with the orchestra's Chamber Players. Her husband, Richard Raum, who became principal trombonist of the Regina SO in 1975, is a professor of theory and trombone at the University of Regina. Elizabeth Raum has written prolifically for the trombone, and since the 1990s has developed a special, abiding interest in the tuba; she has worked closely with, and been commissioned by, leading tubists and has become celebrated within their community. In 1994, she founded the Prairie Festival of New Music.

Compositions for Video and Film

She received a $10,000 senior arts grant from the Saskatchewan Arts Board in 1985 to produce Canada's first classical video with original music. She composed the score (Evolution: A Theme with Variations, which spans musical styles from Renaissance to modern) and produced the video in collaboration with the Arts Board, the CBC, the Canadian Music Centre, the Regina SO, and the University of Regina; it was premiered by the CBC in April 1986. She has won the Saskatchewan Film and Video Showcase Award for best musical score three times: for the documentary Saskatchewan River (1992); for Like Mother, Like Daughter (1993, a documentary on the composing and recording of her Concerto for Violin, written for and performed by her daughter, violinist Erika Raum); and for the feature film Sparkle (1999). She has also collaborated on films involving her works The Green Man (1993), Symphony of Youth (1995), and Prelude to Parting (1996), all broadcast on national television.

Commissions and Recordings

Since the early 1980s, most of Raum's music has been commissioned. She has been commissioned repeatedly by the CBC and the Regina SO (including its Chamber Players), and has received commissions from many other organizations in her home city and province, including the City of Regina, the Globe Theatre, the Prairie Opera Company, the Province of Saskachewan, the Regina Male Voice Choir, the Saskatchewan Arts Board, the Saskatchewan Band Association, the Saskatchewan Choral Federation, the Saskatchewan Music Educators Association, the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra, and the University of Regina. She has also been commissioned by the Calgary Philharmonic, the Canadian Music Centre, Canadian Music Competitions, Music Toronto, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, the Scotia Festival, and the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra. (Some of her commissions have been assisted by the Canada Council.) She has written test pieces for the Eckhardt-Gramatté National Music Competition, and has received commissions from many ensembles and individual performers and patrons.

Raum's music is performed often across Canada and is heard frequently on the CBC; she has also had performances outside Canada - in the US, England, continental Europe (including Scandinavia and Russia), and in China, Japan, and South America. More than a dozen of her works have been recorded, including most of those for tuba. The three concertos appear on the CD The Legend of Heimdall, with the Orchestra of the Capella of St. Petersburg, and solo works appear on CDs by John Griffiths. Her works are included on two Centrediscs CDs produced by the Canadian Music Centre (CMC). Publishers of her music have included Alry, the CMC, Editions Bim, Southern, Treble Clef Music, the Tuba/Euphonium Press, Virgo Music House, and Warwick.

Raum has served as a jurist for music competitions and arts councils, and has lectured on composition at conferences, eg for the Alliance for Canadian New Music Projects, the Eastman School of Music, and Orchestras Canada.

Raum's Style

Raum is enormously prolific, and her body of work covers a wide range of genres and styles. Her music is unabashedly conservative: tonal, tuneful, often light-hearted, at times frankly programmatic (eg, Echoes of Fort San), drawing eclectically on traditional vocabularies and sonorities. One of her best works, the Fantasy for Double Orchestra (1988), is deeply expressive and shows a sophisticated command of medium and material. Raum is skeptical of most avant-garde music and philosophy (she parodies them mercilessly in Thunder in a Concave Vacuum) and strives to be accessible to a broad public.

Raum is an associate of the Canadian Music Centre and a member of SOCAN.


For all vocal music, the text is by Elizabeth Raum unless otherwise specified.

Bracketed information gives details of lyricists and premieres.

Music theatre and multi-media

The Final Bid. 1980. One-act opera, for 4 singers with chamber orchestra or piano. (University of Regina, 1980)

The Garden of Alice. 1983 (after Lewis Carroll). Two-act opera, for 9 singers, 2 percussionists, and piano (Globe Theatre, Regina, 1985); concert version as Garden of Alice (1983), for 4 singers, narrator, 2 percussionists, and piano (Norman Mackenzie Art Gallery, Regina, 1984)

Mulligan's Toy Shop. 1983. Musical for children, with piano and optional rhythm band

The Adventures of Ian the Oboe. 1985. Narrator and chamber orchestra

Thunder in a Concave Vacuum. 1986. Multi-media theatre work, for live musicians and tape (Globe Theatre, Regina, 1986)

The Robot from Orion. 1989. Narrator, 2 optional dancers, and chamber orchestra

Eos: The Dream of Nicholas Flood Davin. 1990. Three-act opera, for 6 singers, chorus, narrator, and chamber orchestra (Prairie Opera, Regina and Saskatoon, 1991; University of Regina, 2003)

The Green Man. 1993. Ballet

Orchestra, band, and large ensemble

Evolution: A Theme with Variations. 1985. Chamber orchestra; arr. two pianos

Processional Fanfare. 1985. Large brass ensemble and percussion

Echoes of Fort San. 1987. Concert band

Fantasy for Double Orchestra. 1988

Suite from Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. 1989. Chamber orchestra; arr. orchestra

A Prairie Alphabet Musical Parade. 1993. (Jo Bannatyne-Cugnet), solo voice with chamber orchestra; arr. symphonic band

Legislative Assembly Fanfare. 1993. Brass and percussion

Salute to Mt Carmel. 1993. Woodwind octet, trombone, and double bass

Prairie Jubilee. 1996. String orchestra

Festival Fanfare. 1997. Brass quintet or large brass ensemble and percussion

Impulse. 1997. Orchestra

Sodbuster. 1999. Concert band

Jason and the Golden Fleece. 2000. Tuba ensemble

A Little Monster Music. 2000. Tuba ensemble

Fanfare Overture. 2002. Orchestra

Queen City Fanfare. 2002. Wind symphony; arr. brass band

One Hundred Years of Fanfares. 2005. Band

Soloist with orchestra or band

The Legend of Heimdall. 1991. Tuba and orchestra

Capriccio. 1992. Violin and orchestra

Concerto for Violin. 1993. Violin and orchestra

Concerto for Double Bass (or Cello) and Orchestra. 1993. Arr. with taped synthesized accompaniment

Olmütz Concerto. 1994. Alto trombone and orchestra

Sherwood Legend. 1996. French horn and orchestra; arr. for euphonium and orchestra

Concerto del Garda. 1996. Tuba and orchestra; arrs. with band and piano

Pershing Concerto. 1998. Tuba and band; arrs. with orchestra and piano

Romance. 2001. Trombone and chamber orchestra; arr. with piano; arr. French horn, bassoon, and cello

The Phantom Drum. 2003. Oboe, strings, and percussion

Faustbuch. 2004. Tuba or euphonium and concert band; arr. with piano

Persephone and Demeter. 2004. Violin, viola, and orchestra

Chamber and keyboard

Four Elements. 1980. Violin and trombone

Quintet for Brass. 1980. Arr. Quartet for Brass, 2 trombones, 2 trumpets

Conversations for Flute and Piano. 1982

Idiom. 1982. French horn

Suite for Woodwind Quintet. 1982

Fantasy for Trombone. 1985. With piano; arr. French horn and piano

Arabesque. 1985. Double bass and English horn

Processional Fanfare. 1985. Trombone quartet

Phoenix. 1986. Flute, clarinet, cello, trombone, percussion, and piano

Reverie. 1987. Viola and piano

Rhapsody. 1987. Violin, cello, harp, and organ

King Lear Fantasy. 1987. Woodwind quintet

Les Ombres. 1988. Violin and piano

Rondo Variations. 1989. Piano, violin, and double bass (or cello)

Baroque Suite. 1989. Clarinet (optional doubling on E-flat), flute (optional doubling on alto flute and piccolo), and piano; "mix and match" arrs. for violin on first part and viola on second

Valentine Variations, on a theme by Thomas Schudel. 1991. Flute and piano

Barcarole. 1991. Flute (or piccolo) and piano

Prairie Suite. 1992. Violin, cello, oboe, and piano

The International Suite. 1992. Wind octet

Sextet. 1992. Woodwind quintet and piano

Romance for French Horn. 1992. Arr. with chamber orchestra

Parody for Clarinet. 1992

String Quartet. 1993

Prelude to Parting. 1994. Trombone, violin, and tape

Northern Lights. 1994. Flute and tape

River Rhapsodie. 1994. Piano

Sonata for Violin and Piano. 1994

Searching for Sophia. 1995. Piano trio; arr. oboe and string quartet

Cinderella Suite. 1996. Piano trio; arr. flute, cello, and piano

Three Jazz Moods. 1996. Tenor trombone and piano; arr. trombone and band

Prayer and Dance of Praise. 1996. Viola and piano; arrs. for violin and cello

Will There Be a Time. 1996. Tuba, incl. dialogue

Festival Fanfare. 1997. Brass quintet; arr. brass and percussion

Secret: Melodrama for Tuba and Tape. 1998

Nation. 1998. Tuba and tape; arr. with chamber orchestra

Quartet for Horns. 1998

Diversions for Trombone Quartet. 1998

Aegean Perspective. 1999. Flute, clarinet, saxophone, tuba, and percussion, with narration (after Greek myths)

(W)right State of Mind. 2000. Saxophone and tape

Pantheon. 1999. Horn, violin, and piano

Sonata for Piano Four Hands. 2000

Romance for Tuba and Piano. 2000

Canzoni di Natali. 2000. Brass trio, violin, and organ

Wascana Park. 2001. Piano

Fast Lane. 2001. Organ

Duet and Burlesque. 2001. Violin, clarinet, and piano

Mutability. 2002. Piano

The Bushwakker Brewpub. 2002. Horn, clarinet, and piano; arr. clarinet, trumpet, and piano; arr. trumpet, horn, and piano; arr. clarinet, saxophone, and piano

Fantasy on Amazing Grace. 2002. Trumpet, clarinet, and piano

Sweet Dances. 2002. Tuba

Requiem for Wounded Knee. 2003. 2 tubas, narrator, and piano; arr. with orchestra

Freya. 2003. Violin and piano

Faustbuch. 2003. Euphonium and piano; arr. F tuba and piano

Four Elements for String Quartet. 2004

Mr. S.C. 2005. Tuba (or euphonium), saxophone quartet, vibraphone


Place of Beginnings. 1988. High-school chorus and string orchestra, with optional violin; arr. with piano

Four Medieval Songs. 1990. Chorus with brass quintet or piano

Posaune Oratorio. 1992. Based partly on the Bible. Chorus, soloists, organ, and trombone quartet

Symphony of Youth. 1993. Orchestra, stage band, concert chorus, and swing chorus

Little Dove. 1995. Chorus and piano; arr. women's chorus and piano

The Right Combination. 1995. Chorus and piano

Voices Raised. 1995. Men's chorus

Piano on the Prairie. 2004. Arrs. for SA, SSA, SAB, SATB, and TTBB

Capital Pontiac. 2005. Chamber chorus


Four Songs from The Garden of Alice. 1983. High and medium male voices and piano

The Garden Song. 1983. From The Garden of Alice. Soprano and piano

A Hymn to God the Father (John Donne). 1983. Soprano and piano

The Passing (Emily Dickinson). 1983. Soprano or mezzo-soprano and piano

The Orphic Thread (John V. Hicks). 1984. Mezzo-soprano and woodwind quintet

Player Pianist (Priscilla Hallberg). 1984. Song cycle for soprano, violin, oboe, and marimba

Joke Aria from The Final Bid. 1984. Tenor and piano

Men I Have Known. 1984. Song cycle for mezzo-soprano and piano

A Poet's Day (Emily Schudel). 1984. Soprano, piano, and optional string bass

First and Gracious Sight (John V. Hicks). 1987. Tenor, oboe, and piano; or baritone, violin, and piano

Victims of Eagles (John V. Hicks). 1990. Tenor and piano

What Is Truth? 1990. Tenor and piano

Carol in Three-Three Time (John V. Hicks). 1992. Soprano and piano

The Golden Years. 1992. Voice and piano

Wait Until Morning. 1992, from Eos. Soprano and piano

River of Life. 1997. Soprano and piano

Dark Thoughts (Betsy Warland). 1998. Countertenor, clarinet, and piano

Renovated Rhymes (John V. Hicks). 1999. Soprano, viola (or violin), and piano

Sirens (after Greek myths). 2004. Two voices and piano

Music for young performers

Ballad to Saskatchewan. 1980. Unison children's chorus or SATB youth chorus and piano

Saskatchewan Mosaic. 1980. Children's chorus, piano, optional recorder trio and drum

The Seasons. 1980. Children's chorus and piano

T for Tuba. 1991. Professional and student versions solo tuba; arrs. for trombone and baritone

Barcarola. 1994. Flute or piccolo and piano

Flowers. 1994. Flute or oboe and piano

Canterbury Ayre. 1990. Woodwind quintet

Serenade à la Posthorn. 1995. Flute or oboe and piano

Ballad and Dance. 2001. Cello and piano

Three Easy Songs for Beginner Singer and Accompaniment. 2004

Six Easy Tunes for Beginner Piano. 2004

Further Reading

External Links