Jan. 23, 2003, Gazette
Dr. Clark Ross
St. John's and its twinned city of Waterford,
Ireland, will have a new cultural connection thanks to a festival of
contemporary music being held in Waterford from Jan. 24-31. The New
Music Festival is organized by the Waterford Institute of Technology
(WIT) and the Garter Lane Arts Centre.
Dr. Clark Ross, a faculty member in Memorial University's School of
Music, has been chosen to be composer-in-residence at the prestigious
week long event.
Dr. Ross says that he is pleased to be able to participate in this event,
which will see him spend two hours per day teaching students at the
WIT about the intricacies of musical composition. He said the rest of
the time will be spent playing and performing music while forging new
professional relationships with the musical community in Waterford and
"I am looking forward to meeting the students and faculty with
whom I'll be working," Dr. Ross said. "I am excited about
making connections in a part of the world in which I have no connections."
Related to his presence at the festival is another link between the
two places. Dr. Ross helped create the guidelines for a composition
competition which will be open to students from Memorial students and
students from WIT. The prizes for the award winning entries are in the
2,000 and 3,000 Euros range. The competition includes three categories:
small orchestra, solo piano and solo voice with a small a group. "The
prizes are substantial in terms of composition competitions in Canada
for people at this level. I expect that some of the students I will
be interacting with at the festival will be entering this competition
and I hope to provide feedback to them about their efforts."
Dr. Ross has already garnered some media attention having done an interview
with Irish radio on his visit. Dr. Tom Gordon, director of Memorial's
School of Music, is pleased that one of his faculty members is getting
this kind of international recognition.
"The interesting thing is that, when we think about the links between
Irish and Newfoundland music, we tend to focus on the traditional,"
Dr. Gordon explained. "We sometimes completely overlook the fact
that Ireland has a vibrant avant-garde music scene with many festivals
like this one in Waterford. Newfoundland and Labrador, with activities
like Sound Symposium, is also seen as a leading force in contemporary
music. The fact that Clark was selected from among other composers around
the world is a signal that the activity in contemporary art music here
is widely respected in many respects it's better known beyond our shores
than it is here."
Dr. Ross is only one of several interesting cultural connections to
Waterford and to Ireland. In the musical vein, Anita Best has visited
the city to share her knowledge about traditional Newfoundland music.
Ms. Best has been working Dr. Beverly Diamond, the university Canada
Research Chair in Traditional Music. In addition, historian Dr. Peter
Hart, also a Canada Research chairholder at Memorial, has Irish history
as his research focus.