President's Award for Outstanding Research
The President's Award for Outstanding Research recognizes researchers who have made outstanding contributions to their scholarly disciplines. Each award includes a $5,000 research grant.
Dr. Clark Ross, Music
Dr. Clark Ross is a little unsure about his qualifications for the President's Award for Outstanding Research.
Although not thought of as typical research projects, his numerous compositions have qualified for and
earned him one of the university's most prestigious awards.
“Sometimes I wonder if a mistake has been made,” said Dr. Ross. However, the university recognizes that the
School of Music's only composer is indeed an outstanding researcher.
Since joining Memorial in 1992, Dr. Ross has been commissioned numerous times for his pieces and awarded grants by the Canada Council, the CBC, and the NSO.
His Interlude for String Orchestra, premiered in 1995 by the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra, was recorded by the Memorial University Chamber Orchestra. In addition, Fanfare for a New-Found Land, commissioned by the Royal Bank in honour of Newfoundland's Cabot 500 celebrations, was performed at major NSO concerts
throughout 1997. His two most recent works, Last Dance and The Misty Mall of Avalon, were both supported by the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council.
When composing, Dr. Ross always remains conscious of his audience, his peers, and himself.
“As a composer I try to write music that expresses something personal to me, yet expresses universal emotions,” said Dr. Ross of the writing and composition process. “Ultimately, a composer must write music
that he or she wants to hear.”
A self-proclaimed late bloomer in music, Dr. Ross first completed his BA in humanities before taking a career turn into the world of music. After finishing eight years at the Royal Conservatory of Music, he was
accepted into the master's program at the University of Toronto. Upon completing his Mus.Doc. in composition, he joined Memorial's School of Music, where he teaches composition, theory, electronic
music, orchestration and classical guitar.
As the only composer at the music school, he views this award as an affirmation of his choice to pursue a career in music.
“This award means a tremendous amount to me. Being a late starter, there was always a sense of having to catch up with my field. This award is a recognition, an affirmation, that I have
made the right choices.”
Being located in Newfoundland has been a very positive experience for Dr. Ross. He believes that the university and the music community allow him a certain freedom that other composers in larger centres are
not privilege to.
“In the larger centres it is easier to become self-conscious when there are others in your field, but here at the university, there is a tremendous freedom to do and express what you want.”
On a much-earned sabbatical, Dr. Ross is taking the time to relax and continue his research. He has completed two-and-a-half compositions and will begin work shortly on a viola concerto for Rivka Golani and the
Winnipeg Symphony, one of his most prestigious commissions to date.
Dr. Ross's piece “Interlude for String Orchestra: La Muerte Me Está Mirando", along with other selections from Tour '95, by the Chamber Ensembles of Memorial University of Newfoundland, is on this CD. See About this Report for details.