A Canadian composer, ecologist, theorist and teacher born July 18, 1933 in Sarnia (Canada) who died August 14, 2021.
A pianist by training, having studied at the Royal Conservatory, the University of Toronto as well as the Royal School of Music in London, Raymond Murray Schafer also taught himself journalism, languages, literature and philosophy.
In the 1960s he undertook research into sound ecology and developed the concept of sound landscape. In his best-known work, The Tuning of the world (1977), he studied the social, scientific and artistic aspects of sound and documented the results of the World Soundscape Project he cofounded in 1969. In the field of music education, his innovative pedagogical theories are applied in, notably, South America, Japan and Scandinavia.
A prolific composer, Schafer has written for all musical genres, from opera (Beauty and the Beast, 1979) to music theatre (Jonah, 1979; Job, 2011), from chamber music (String Quartet n° 12, 2012) to large orchestra (Son of Heldenleben, 1968), without forgetting choral music (The death of the Buddha, 1989), vocal works (Tantrika for mezzo-soprano and percussions, 1986; Letters from Mignon for mezzo-soprano and orchestra, 1987) and music for solo instruments (The Crown of Ariadne for harp, 1979; Deluxe Suite for piano, 1995). He often uses graphic notation with an artistic talent that has earned him exhibitions in art galleries.
He is interested in the themes of alienation and political oppression (Protest and incarceration for mezzo and orchestra, 1960), mythology (Okeanos for tape, 1971) and oriental mysticism (Gitanjali, 1991 for soprano and orchestra), as well as in the sounds of the environment (String Quartet nº 2 ‘Waves’, 1976) and in the beauty of Canadian landscapes (Patria, cycle of music dramas rooted in the landscapes of the Canadian countryside, celebrating local regional cultures).