Stephen Chatman

Stephen (George) Chatman. Composer, teacher, b Faribault, Minn, 28 Feb 1950; B MUS (Oberlin) 1972, M MUS (Michigan) 1973, DMA (Michigan) 1977. Stephen Chatman studied with Ross Lee Finney, Leslie Bassett, William Bolcom and Eugene Kurtz.

Stephen Chatman

Stephen (George) Chatman. Composer, teacher, b Faribault, Minn, 28 Feb 1950; B MUS (Oberlin) 1972, M MUS (Michigan) 1973, DMA (Michigan) 1977. Stephen Chatman studied with Ross Lee Finney, Leslie Bassett, William Bolcom and Eugene Kurtz. In 1973 he was awarded a Fulbright-Hays grant to study with Karlheinz Stockhausen at the Hochschule für Musik in Cologne. He won three BMI Student Composer Awards (1974-6) and received a prize from the US National Institute of Arts and Letters in 1975; a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1977 and, the following year, a Martha Baird Rockefeller Fund grant to assist in recording On the Contrary for the Composers' Recording, Inc. label.

Stephen Chatman began teaching composition and orchestration at the University of British Columbia in 1976. He has received commissions from the Madison (Wisconsin) Symphony Orchestra, the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, the Guitar Society of Toronto, the Canadian Chamber Ensemble, the Windsor Symphony Orchestra, Vancouver's Music in the Morning for contralto Maureen Forrester, the CBC, the Vancouver Chamber Choir, the Banff Centre for the Arts, the Vancouver Cantata Singers, and the Toronto Symphony, among others. His works have been performed by the Pro Arte and Purcell String Quartets, flutist Robert Aitken and guitarist Leo Brouwer, pianist Jane Coop, several of Canada's major orchestras, and by the orchestras of St. Louis, San Francisco, Detroit, Sydney and the Berlin Radio.

Stephan Chatman was British Columbia's first composer-in-residence 1988-9, and was composer-in-residence for the National Youth Orchestra of Canada in 2004. As co-director of the University of British Columbia Contemporary Players new music ensemble, he taught Glenn Buhr, Arne Eigenfeldt, Mark Armanini, Peter Hatch, Melissa Hui, Ramona Luengen and John Oliver.

Chatman's Compositions

Stephan Chatman's music has been warmly received by critics and the public alike, eliciting adjectives such as 'shimmering,' 'evocative,' 'eclectic,' and 'compelling'. Quotations and the mixing of unusual instrumental colours are favourite devices, especially in his orchestral compositions. Some works have shown influences as diverse as Bartók, Ives, Ravel, Crumb and Berio. Some of Chatman's titles (Due North, Grouse Mountain Lullaby, Five British Columbia Folk Songs) reflect the geographical character and musical traditions of his adopted country; others (Mirage, Crimson Dream, Fleeting Thoughts) suggest poetic, even transitory images. His orchestral work, Crimson Dream, has been performed by dozens of orchestras spanning three continents.

He is an associate of the Canadian Music Centre and a member of the American Society of University Composers and the American Music Center.

Awards and Recognition

As part of an exchange between China and Canada in 2003, Chatman and two other composers travelled to Beijing and Shanghai. Chatman was the first composer to receive the University of British Columbia's Dorothy Somerset Award for Performance and Development in the Visual and Creative Arts (2004). In 2005, 2006 and 2010 he won outstanding classical composition at the Western Canadian Music Awards (Proud Music of the Storm, 2005, Lawren S. Harris Suite for Piano Quintet, 2006). In 2007 he was nominated for a Juno award (classical composition of the year) for Vancouver Visions, and again in that category in 2010 for Earth Songs. In 2010 Chatman also received the SOCAN Jan V. Matejcek New Classical Music Award.


Stephan Chatman is an associate of the Canadian Music Centre and a member of the Canadian League of Composers; SOCAN; the Society of Composers, Inc.; and a member of the American Society of University Composers and the American Music Center. He was president of the Vancouver New Music Society.

Selected Compositions and Discography

Orchestra And Band
Occasions: 'Sunday Daydream,' 'Celebration,' '3 AM on the Square'. 1977. Orch. E.B. Marks 1978 (rental), Presser 1984. ('Celebration') RCI 653 (NYO)

...They All Replied. 1978. Band. Presser 1984. 1978. Crest CBSLO-78-5 (University of British Columbia Wind Symphony, Berinbaum conductor)

Grouse Mountain Lullaby. 1978. Orch (band or piano). E.B. Marks 1980

Crimson Dream. 1983. Orch. Presser 1985 (rental)

The Song of Solomon/Le cantique des cantiques (Bible, in English and French). 1986. High voice (medium voice), orch. Ms

Variations on a Canadian Folk Song. 2 piano, orch. 1988. Ms


Wild Cat. 1971 (rev 1974). Fl. Job 1975. Opus One 52 (Aitken)

Music for Timpani. 1971. Alto fl, trombone, piano, timp. Berandol 1979

O Lo Velo. 1973. Alto saxophone, percussion. Etoile 1974

On the Contrary. 1974. Solo clarinet, with fl, bsn, vibraphone, 2 percussion, celesta, violoncello. E.B. Marks 1978 (rental), Presser 1984?. 1978. CRI SD-414 (Onofrey clarinet, Eastman Musica Nova, Hodkinson conductor.)

Quiet Exchange. 1976. Alto saxophone (clarinet), percussion. Dorn 1976. 1980. Opus One 46 (Ramsbottom clarinet, Moore percussion)

Slink. 1977. Fl. Berandol 1978

Five Scenes. 1978. Fl (piccolo), guitar. E.B. Marks 1980

Hesitation. 1975. Vn, celesta (piano). Berandol 1978. 1977. CRI SD-414 (Loban violin, M. Chatman celesta)

Outer Voices. 1978. Chamber ensemble. E.B. Marks 1981 (rental), Presser 1985?

Variations on 'Home on the Range'. 1979. Str quart (saxophone quartet). E.B. Marks 1981 (string quartet, rental), Dorn 1981 (saxophone quartet)

Fleeting Thoughts. 1980. Guit. Berandol 1981

Cycles. 1988. Chamber ensemble. Ms

Also works for various instrumental groupings


'Whisper Baby' (Chatman). 1975. SATB, piano. Berandol 1979. 1977 CRI SD-426 (University of British Columbia Chamber Singers, Hultberg conductor)/Centrediscs CMC CD-3388 (Vancouver Chamber Choir)

'You Have Ravished My Heart' (Bible). 1981. SATB, E.B. Marks 1982. 1983 University Singers US-1 (University Singers of University of British Columbia, Fankhauser conductor)/Centrediscs CMC CD-3388 (Vancouver Chamber Choir)

An Elizabethan Spring (Nash, Campion, anonymous). 1983. SATB. Waterloo 1985. Centrediscs CMC CD-3388 (Vancouver Chamber Choir)/UBC unnumbered (1984, U Singers of British Columbia, Fankhauser conductor)

Five British Columbia Folk Songs. 1983. SATB. Gordon V. Thompson 1985 (No. 2, 4, 5). Centrediscs CMC CD-3388 (Vancouver Chamber Choir)

There is Sweet Music Here (Tennyson, Blake, Shelley). 1984. SATB, oboe. Ms. Centrediscs CMC CD-3388 (Vancouver Chamber Choir)

Due North (Chatman). 1986. SATB. Ms. Centrediscs CMC CD-3388

'Love and Shapes High Fantastical' (Shakespeare). 1986. SATB, narrator, English horn, piano, harp. Ms. Centrediscs CMC CD-3388 (Vancouver Chamber Choir)

Also other choral works and works for voice some published by Berandol, E.B. Marks and Agape.

Also Amusements piano solos for beginners (1978), Frederick Harris 1989, and other works for piano, some published by Berandol

Due West. Vancouver Chamber Choir, Linda Lee Thomas piano, Jon Washburn conductor. 2000. CBC Records MVCD 1132

Proud Music of the Storm. Chatman and Gunther Herbig conductors, BBC Symphony, University of British Columbia Symphony Orchestra, Vancouver Bach Choir. 2004. Centrediscs CMCCB 10304

Further Reading

  • MacMillan, Rick. 'Canadian distinctiveness influencing Chatman works,' Music Scene, 313, May-Jun 1980

    Mertens, Susan. 'A busy life spent making music,' Vancouver Sun, 30 Oct 1984

    PRO Canada Ltd. 'Stephen Chatman,' pamphlets, 1982, 1989

    Dykk, Lloyd. "Dream Fantasy lullabies reawaken new music ardor," Vancouver Sun, 2 Feb 1993

    MacMillan, Rick. "Chatman draws listeners in with twists and surprises," Words & Music, April 1999